By 1812, Jakob Walter, although only 24 years of age, had already served in two campaigns as a foot soldier for the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Jakob and many other conscripts in the Grande Armée were ordered to undertake the famously ill-fated march on Moscow, after which the devastated remnants of Napoleon's fighting force were left to return to their homes on their own power. Jakob's meticulous diary tells a tale of survival and perseverance during this nightmarish march against staggering odds.
In late 1918, a group of American soldiers from the 102nd Regiment of the 26th "Yankee" Division patrolled the area around their foxholes in the Argonne Forest of northeastern France, near the Belgian border. The density of the woodlands allowed infiltration by spies and reconnaissance troops, so patrols regularly monitored the area for any German presence. Private John Robert Conroy from Connecticut, one of the patrolling soldiers, was unique among the soldiers of the 102nd because when he shipped off to war, he brought his dog, a tiny terrier mix named Stubby. During the patrol, Stubby broke free without warning, and immediately darted off into the underbrush, barking as he went. Conroy and other American soldiers followed him, and when they found Stubby, his jaws were clamped around buttocks of a German infiltrator, who was mapping out the American trenches when he was surprised by the intrepid Stubby. The spy attempted to flee, but Stubby tripped him up by nipping at his heels. The American soldiers quickly disarmed and captured the insurgent, but Stubby reportedly took quite a bit of convincing before he would let go of the man's rear end.
Before he attacked and seized the crown of England in 1066, William the Conqueror held the title of Duke of Normandy, a region of northern France. Throughout the rest of his reign, and of the six English kings that followed, Normandy, while technically still owing its allegiance to France, operated under English control. More than a century later, King Richard I, known as the 'Lion-Heart', built a series of castles, including the imposing Château Gaillard, in order to retain his control of Normandy.
On a clear spring day in June of 1559, two massive horses thundered toward each other as their armored riders lowered their lances. The crowd cheered as the competitors clashed and pieces of broken lance flew into the air, signifying a score for one of the lancers. The jouster dressed in black and white tottered, then steadied himself in the saddle. As attendants rushed out to assist the wounded man, cheers turned to gasps as pieces of his opponent's shattered lance could be seen projecting from his visor. Blood spilled from the helmet; the tilt had taken a deadly turn.