The red earth tasted of iron and sun and he knew he was sick. Sun sick even as it set behind burnt hills. Mackenzie stumbled out of the crowd and found refuge in the lee of a tent. The two-degree difference in the weak haze felt like a new world to him. Someone offered him water and he took what he could, throwing most of it up. He had vague memories of bodies lifting him, an IV, a needle in his arm and a cool compress against his forehead.
He smiled himself stupid under the gaze of volunteer medics. To survive Diyala Province and Operation Blacksmith and the donkey whisperer and the Mickey Mouse IED and two tours before and how many to come and to die of heat stroke in Oklahoma—who would tell that story? Someone should, he laughed. The next morning he felt better. His head clear, fluids replenished, he could now walk under his own power. Mack politely shrugged off the offers of evacuation to the nearest town—two hours away over torn county roads and not much of a town on the other end—and promised to drink more water and nothing else, eat something bland if he could hold it down, un-fried if he could find it.
Mack resumed his search for the Painted Man.
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With his head on straight he could talk to the man, ask for the meaning behind the tattoos, and see their full extent. Mackenzie saw the Painted Man loom large as a pillar. Feet of a shark? Mack stopped short when the Painted Man turned. Cheeks streaked with black tears, forehead bore witness to chapter and verse, nose covered in skeletal relief. Later he would know her as Sera Quarron. Before he knew her name all he wanted was to hear her reveal it to him and that would have been enough in this life. She stood alone, half-turned away from Mack, and he wanted to know her.
He wanted her to let him know her. Black hair, the color of the distance between galaxies, straight and short and blowing, slender limbs and strong and full of life. Her shoulders visible beneath a white tank top, heralding the dawn through the boughs of a sycamore, branches reaching to her arms, in full leaf, a mighty tree brushed across the back of this woman. The trunk extended down, towards her waist, and he wondered at the roots. Wings covered her arms—the feathered wing of an angel on her left, the leathered wing of a bat on her right.
Symbols descended past her elbows, cryptic logos and characters spilling stories of mystery. She turned and John saw her face and she looked at him and they stopped, or at least he hoped she stopped and looked at him. She smiled and he hoped forever that in the moment he smiled back. She was beautiful, and strong, and her eyes looked right into his and not to the side or above or beyond. She saw him and he saw her. She turned her back on him in an invitation, stepped back towards him, and she crossed her arms. The white tank top, stark against her body. She turned her head, looked up at him, and he pulled back.
Her eyes were not warnings but questions, curiosity meeting hesitation. He paused and let his arms fall to the side. She turned back and they both moved in time to the music and each other. Her arms and chest showed birds and vegetation, an entire forest of life bounding across her body.
Her bare legs held entire oceans of sea creatures, and his head swam. Somehow they spoke—Sera with an e, she explained, Quarron with a q.
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She answered his questions quickly, easily, asking her own and waiting for his answers, leaning close to listen and speak over the music. She must have pegged him as a soldier instantly but gave no voice to those thoughts. He scanned the human current for her black hair or white shirt, the blood flash of lipstick or bra, searching stupidly for the peculiar cross she wore on a leather strap tight around her neck. Words echoed over the thrum of music and humanity. Hours later—he searched, his head and stomach clearing after the sickness of that morning, his heart beating against his chest slow but burdened—Mack saw giant black clouds piling up on the horizon.
A storm of any size would soak the dusty fields, make rivers of mud erupt and weave out of dance floors and carnival midways. The weakest breeze would surely topple the speakers and the scaffolding, one bolt of lightning would toss the Ferris wheel down, and this was no storm of just any size. The hurricane came, as foreseen and foretold and worse. Mackenzie sought shelter with other human refugees under a giant canopy until it ripped, laden with rainwater and slashed by hail.
They scattered and he wandered across the belly of his nation, red mud painting his body as the sun died forever behind menacing clouds. He remembered Tent City to the west, higher ground at the campsite, so he followed what remained of his internal compass and collapsed at the same time as the storm came again, howling wind giving a last shrieking challenge to the land. And then—as now—he was awake and fully remembered where and what he was.
He was on the ground, on his back, staring into the warming blue of an eggshell sky. He assumed he was still in Oklahoma but would not have been surprised to find himself back in Mesopotamia, or Oz, or Hell. A rock jabbed Mackenzie in the small of his back. He decided to let it, for now, as he finished assembling his memories and considered the day. If he tilted his head back he saw hints of red and orange. If it were morning that meant his feet pointed west; if evening then east.
The dome above was wet and crystalline, soft as a blanket but completely unbroken by clouds. A small brown cross circled high above. His lips curled—was it here to eat him? Not a vulture, he realized. A hawk of common breed. Not hunger but curiosity, even caution, especially this early. A low and primal warning bloomed from the direction of his feet, freezing him in place. West, some small part of his brain reminded him. His arm wedged beneath him, Mackenzie lifted his head and focused on a coyote no farther than a few feet from his naked toes. The creature was lean, powerful, nothing wasted on its spare frame.
The eyes were smart and keen, looking right at—. The snake struck, mouth open and fangs extended, aiming for his bare foot. The coyote was faster, grabbing the snake just behind its head and thrashing it to death in a second. She turned from Mackenzie, trotted away, and stopped. She swung her feral head back and he swore the coyote winked at him. The animal departed—loping easily and efficiently across the muddy plains, away from the campsite and towards the wild brush to enjoy her breakfast—and he heard laughter behind him.
He spun, as surprised as when the snake attacked, and saw Sera. She sat with her legs folded underneath her, denim shorts and black bra and no other threads on her body, the small wooden cross topped with a circle resting in the notch between her collarbones, burning cigarette dangling from slender fingers. She stopped laughing and smiled. He smiled, repositioning himself to face her. Her body was as clean as his was muddy. She shook her head. John looked around as he lit up. Her tent lay in a pile behind her, battered by the storm, and tents and sleeping bags and camper trailers close aboard showed signs of the prairie hurricane.
She laughed, sprinkling glass and bell music. That was a chapter closing, John Mackenzie, a book opening up, the heavens sending us a signal to rejoice and be fearful and wake the fuck up. She spoke without accent, at least none he could detect. The sun had burned her shoulders, forearms, the parts of her chest not covered by cloth. She was once again beautiful but he had no clue what to say next. He propped himself up more comfortably. Getting your fix of spirituality before you go back? John looked at Sera and an image of her body curled against his flashed into his mind.
He took a gamble. She laughed and shook her head, her black bangs hanging over her eyebrows and her short ponytail swinging freely. You found my tent near midnight, mumbled something about donkeys and stomach flu, and collapsed. Slept a few hours inside, then insisted on counting stars after the second storm passed. You cry out in your sleep. Mackenzie felt his heart blast, one insane surge against his chest wall, and he felt like he might throw up. She was a molecule but big as a mountain. He might not be recovered from the flu or the storm or the coyote or the war but he sensed something in her stance that prevented him from leaving, made him want to stay.
Travis Klempan joined the Navy to see the world. Most of it turned out to be water so he came home to Colorado where he lives and works. There are many shades of darkness, and now she faced the deepest, blackest shade of all. Not a single flicker of light penetrated the abyss — not a car, a house, not even a camp fire. Starved for light, the ghostly green image in her night vision goggles sparkled and flickered. Suspended from her helmet, they looked like two toilet paper rolls duct taped together. They transformed the blackness beyond their lenses into a fuzzy fluorescent green universe, denying night her ancient cloak of secrecy.
At over a hundred and thirty miles per hour, the helicopter skated over calm, frozen air. She felt as if floating motionless in a green ping pong ball. The lack of vibration and apparent motion denied her brain the sensations it craved. Through the goggles, only a blurry line separating two different shades of dark green betrayed the faint horizon. It, and an occasional glance at the softly-glowing instruments, provided her only clues to the universe beyond the cockpit.
With this trickle of sensory input a pound woman kept the ten-ton helicopter right side up and pointed toward its destiny. She shared the helicopter strapped to her back with three other crewmen. Before the mission they had real names, but were now only known by their roles: The Team sat on the cold metal floor against the aft bulkhead, knees pulled up against their chest in casual misery. Cradling their weapons, they kept their night vision goggles flipped up. This part of the mission did not belong to them.
Powerless to affect its outcome, they preferred not to watch, satisfied in the dark, each alone with his thoughts until their moment for action arrived. The faint, tobacco sweet odor permeated the cockpit, but no one ever complained about his minor infraction of regulations. The copilot relaxed her vise-like grip on the control stick, called a cyclic, and flexed her right hand. With a deep breath, she lightly placed two fingers back on the cyclic. They sat sideways, immediately behind each pilot, gripping heavy machine guns and scanning the darkness out each side.
In response, a feeble ray of light brightened the probe, revealing how uncomfortably close the rotor disk and probe tip were to each other. A gauntlet of snow-capped granite slowly materialized to either side. Her brain feasted on the visual references, providing a jolting awareness of how high and fast she flew. As if on cue, turbulent eddies of air rolled off the peaks and jostled the helicopter. The turbulence, while expected, made her job even more demanding. The copilot glanced left in time to catch a dark blur zoom by in the opposite direction. Over a mile away, the giant tanker airplane appeared to scrape the canyon walls as it banked hard to swing in behind the helicopter.
The copilot knew the gunner poked his head out the window by the sound of the wind roaring across his boom microphone. Okay, the pilot is going to take the controls anytime, she thought. Right gunner, you should see him now. She tried to breathe, struggling not to tense up. The long years of training were over, and now real consequences lay before her.
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This mission would last several hours, but its success pivoted on this one moment. Start your climb now. Her moment had arrived. The copilot pulled up on the collective, the power lever in her left hand. Her right hand nudged the cyclic, and the helicopter obeyed with a sluggish climb. In the faint light, she saw the pilot grin around the tobacco bulging in his cheek.
She followed his finger. In the overhead window, an enormous shadow swallowed the stars as it passed directly overhead. Deep bass concussions, sensed more than heard, pounded through the rotor blades. Okay, Co, get in there and get some gas. She snapped her goggles left in time to see twinkling flashes arc into sky on the other side of the valley. Training and instinct instantly kicked in, along with a burst of adrenaline. The copilot keyed the microphone to tell the tanker to break away due to the enemy fire. Before she could act, the pilot spoke up.
A drogue parachute, about a meter across, popped out from a pod near the left wingtip. It blossomed in the slipstream, revealing a metal receptacle the size of a tea saucer at its center. He must be freezing, she thought. Motionless behind his night vision goggles, the loadmaster betrayed nothing. Darkness their only shield, the odd formation hung suspended above the valley floor. Built to fly high and fast, the tanker usually sought refuge among the clouds. The helicopter found safety hiding behind hills, and skimming over the trees. Here, a few lucky bullets could doom them both.
The safety of both aircraft depended on finishing the refueling quickly, so each could return to where it belonged. Understand pilot has the controls? Determined, excited, resigned, terrified…she tried to tamp down the conflicting emotions and focus on her first combat aerial refueling. From this perspective the copilot could better see the turbulence jostling the tanker, its wingtips rocking up and down, whiplashing the refueling drogue. He completed jump school with the Special Forces.
Later, he jumped with and was awarded Cambodian paratrooper wings. He also flew with and received Cambodian pilot wings. After leaving the Air Force he lived in Europe to establish and direct international operations for the sale of spares for military aircraft. He also established Berent and Woods Inc, a firm that managed many aviation related activities.
Under the name Berent Sandberg he and Peter Sandberg collaborated on three novels.
The Wings of War series. Berent states it is never too late for any endeavor: He was inducted into the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame in The dark side that surfaces in untoward moments when bad memories spring unbidden from a well I try to keep capped. Moments when others, not of the sky, hear my harsh laughter and see the frost in my eyes. It is the side that bears extreme malice and near-consuming rage toward those who wasted the lives of my fellow airmen on missions that accomplished little except strengthen the enemy's resolve. Missions that gratified only the arrogant civilian Caesars who, at White House luncheons, picked not only the targets but the bomb loads and the ingress and egress routes as well.
It is the side that detests those members of the media who trivialized and scorned our efforts; it is the side that despises that wretched movie female who sat at an enemy antiaircraft gun, made broadcasts from Hanoi, and called our tortured POWs liars; it is the side that bears hard anger toward some of our own men in uniform who saw war only as a career enhancing program. It is also of these contemptible people I am compelled to write.
Are you an author? Help us improve our Author Pages by updating your bibliography and submitting a new or current image and biography. Learn more at Author Central. Some of the military unit types and technologies which were developed in the ancient world are: For settled agrarian civilizations, the infantry became the core of military action.
The infantry started as opposing armed groups of soldiers underneath commanders. The Greeks and early Romans used rigid, heavily armed phalanxes. The Macedonians and Hellenistic states would adopt phalanx formations with sarissa pikemen. The Romans would later adopt more flexible maniples from their neighbors which made them extremely successful in the field of battle. The kingdoms of the Warring States in East Asia also adopted infantry combat, a transition from chariot warfare from centuries earlier. Cavalry became an important tool.
In the Sicilian Expedition , led by Athens in an attempt to subdue Syracuse , the well-trained Syracusan cavalry became crucial to the success of the Syracusans. Macedonian Alexander the Great effectively deployed his cavalry forces to secure victories. The early Indo-Iranians developed the use of chariots in warfare. The scythed chariot was later invented in India and soon adopted by the Persian Empire.
War elephants were sometimes deployed for fighting in ancient warfare. They were first used in India and later adopted by both the Persians and Alexander the Great against one another. Naval warfare was often crucial to military success. Early navies used sailing ships without cannons; often the goal was to ram the enemy ships and cause them to sink. There was human oar power, often using slaves, built up to ramming speed. Galleys were used in the 3rd millennium BC by the Cretans. The Greeks later advanced these ships.
In BC, the first recorded naval battle was fought between Suppiluliuma II , king of the Hittites , and Cyprus , which was defeated. In the Persian Wars , the navy became of increasing importance. Triremes were involved in more complicated sea-land operations. Themistocles helped to build up a stronger Greek navy, composed of ships, and defeated the Persians at the Battle of Salamis , ending the Persian invasion of Greece.
In the First Punic War , the war between Carthage and Rome started with an advantage to Carthage because of their naval experience. A Roman fleet was built in BC, with the addition of the corvus that allowed Roman soldiers on board the ships to board the enemy ships. The bridge would prove effective at the Battle of Mylae , resulting in a Roman victory.
The Vikings , in the 8th century AD, invented a ship propelled by oars with a dragon decorating the prow, hence called the Drakkar. The 12th century AD Song Dynasty invented ships with watertight bulk head compartments while the 2nd century BC Han Dynasty invented rudders and sculled oars for their warships.
Fortifications are important in warfare. Early hill-forts were used to protect inhabitants in the Iron Age. They were primitive forts surrounded by ditches filled with water. Forts were then built out of mud bricks, stones, wood, and other available materials. Romans used rectangular fortresses built out of wood and stone. As long as there have been fortifications, there have been contraptions to break in, dating back to the times of Romans and earlier. Siege warfare is often necessary to capture forts.
Bows and arrows were often used by combatants. Egyptians shot arrows from chariots effectively. It helped to give the English a large early advantage in the Hundred Years' War , even though the English were eventually defeated. It dominated battlefields for over a century. In the 10th century, the invention of gunpowder led to many new weapons that were improved over time. Black powder was used in China since the 4th century, but it was not used as a weapon until the 11th century. Then came the matchlock , which was used widely until around the s. Leonardo da Vinci made drawings of the wheel lock which made its own sparks.
Eventually, the matchlock was replaced by the flintlock. Cannons were first used in Europe in the early 14th century, and played a vital role in the Hundred Years' War. The first cannons were simply welded metal bars in the form of a cylinder, and the first cannonballs were made of stone. At the beginning of the 16th century, the first European fire ships were used. Ships were filled with flammable materials, set on fire, and sent to enemy lines.
This tactic was successfully used by Francis Drake to scatter the Spanish Armada at the Battle of Gravelines ,  and would later be used by the Chinese, Russians, Greeks, and several other countries in naval battles. Naval mines were invented in the 17th century, though they were not used in great numbers until the American Civil War.
They were used heavily in the First and Second World Wars. Air-deployed naval mines were used to mine the North Vietnamese port of Haiphong during the Vietnam War. However, the first military submarine was constructed in by Isaac Peral. Robert Fulton then improved the submarine design by creating the Nautilus.
The Howitzer , a type of field artillery , was developed in the 17th century to fire high trajectory explosive shells at targets that could not be reached by flat trajectory projectiles. Organizational changes resulting in better training and intercommunication, made the concept combined arms possible, allowing the use of infantry, cavalry, and artillery in a coordinated way.
Bayonets also became of wide usage to infantry soldiers. Bayonet is named after Bayonne , France where it was first manufactured in the 16th century. It is used often in infantry charges to fight in hand-to-hand combat. General Jean Martinet introduced the bayonet to the French army. They were used heavily in the American Civil War , and continued to be used in modern wars like the Invasion of Iraq. Balloons were first used in warfare at the end of the 18th century. Previously military scouts could only see from high points on the ground, or from the mast of a ship.
Now they could be high in the sky, signalling to troops on the ground. This made it much more difficult for troop movements to go unobserved. At the end of the 18th century, iron-cased artillery rockets were successfully used militarily in India against the British by Tipu Sultan of the Kingdom of Mysore during the Anglo-Mysore Wars. Rockets were generally inaccurate at that time, though William Hale , in , was able to develop a better rocket. The new rocket no longer needed the rocket stick , and had a higher accuracy.
In the s there were a series of advancements in rifles. The first repeating rifle was designed in by a company bought out by Winchester , which made new and improved versions. Springfield rifles arrived in the midth century also. Machine guns arrived in the late 19th century. Automatic rifles and light machine guns first arrived at the beginning of the 20th century. In the later part of the 19th century, the self-propelled torpedo was developed.
At the start of the World Wars, various nations had developed weapons that were a surprise to their adversaries, leading to a need to learn from this, and alter how to combat them. Flame throwers were first used in the First World War. The French were the first to introduce the armored car in Then in , the British produced the first armored troop carrier. Many early tanks were proof of concept but impractical until further development.
In World War I, the British and French held a crucial advantage due to their superiority in tanks; the Germans had only a few dozen A 7 V tanks, as well as captured tanks. The British and French both had several hundred each. In , the first helicopter flew, but it wasn't practical for usage. Aviation became important in World War I, in which several aces gained fame. In an aircraft took off from a warship for the first time. Landings on a cruiser were another matter. This led to the development of an aircraft carrier with a decent unobstructed flight deck.
Chemical warfare exploded into the public consciousness in World War I but may have been used in earlier wars without as much human attention. The Germans used gas-filled shells at the Battle of Bolimov on January 3, These were not lethal, however. In April , the Germans developed a chlorine gas that was highly lethal, and used it to moderate effect at the Second Battle of Ypres. Gas masks were invented in matter of weeks, and poison gas proved ineffective at winning battles. It was made illegal by all nations in the s. World War II gave rise to even more technology.
The worth of the aircraft carrier was proved in the battles between the United States and Japan like the Battle of Midway.
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Radar was independently invented by the Allies and Axis powers. It used radio waves to detect objects. Molotov cocktails were invented by General Franco in the Spanish Civil War, directing the Nationalists to use them against Soviet tanks in the assault on Toledo. During the Cold War , the main powers engaged in a Nuclear arms race.
Other technological advances centered on intelligence like the spy satellite and missiles ballistic missiles , cruise missiles. Nuclear submarine , invented in This meant submarines no longer had to surface as often, and could run more quietly. They evolved into becoming underwater missile platforms. The influence of technology on military history, and evident Eurocentrism are nowhere more pronounced than in the attempt by the military historians to divide their subject area into more manageable periods of analysis.
While general discipline of history subdivides history into Ancient history Classical antiquity , Middle Ages Europe, 4th century — 15th century , Early Modern period Europe, 14th century — 18th century , Modern era Europe, 18th century — 20th century , and the Post-Modern USA, —present , the periodisation below stresses technological change in its emphasis, particularly the crucial dramatic change during the Gunpowder warfare period.
Periodisation is not uniformly applied through time and space, affirming the claims of Eurocentrism from regional historians.
For example, what might be described as prehistoric warfare is still practised in a few parts of the world. Other eras that are distinct in European history, such as the era of medieval warfare , may have little relevance in East Asia. Much of what we know of ancient history is the history of militaries: There are many reasons for this. Kingdoms and empires, the central units of control in the ancient world, could only be maintained through military force.
Due to limited agricultural ability, there were relatively few areas that could support large communities, so fighting was common. Weapons and armor , designed to be sturdy, tended to last longer than other artifacts, and thus a great deal of surviving artifacts recovered tend to fall in this category as they are more likely to survive.
Weapons and armor were also mass-produced to a scale that makes them quite plentiful throughout history, and thus more likely to be found in archaeological digs. Such items were also considered signs of prosperity or virtue, and thus were likely to be placed in tombs and monuments to prominent warriors.