Key Battles of American History Episodes

Show notes for all the latest episodes of Key Battles of American History.

Show notes for all the latest episodes of Key Battles of American History.


Iwo Jima (KB 8), Part Two

On February 19, 1945, 40,000 Marines landed on Iwo Jima, and many more would follow. Within four days, they had taken the summit of Mt. Suribachi, a key position that commanded the entire island, and had raised an enormous flag (an event made famous in the iconic photo by Joe…

Iwo Jima (KB 8), Part One

In order to make the strategic bombing runs over Japan more effective, General Curtis LeMay and other USAAF leaders wanted the B-29s to be escorted by fighters. In order for this to happen, the US needed a base much closer to Japan, because no fighter at the time could make…

American Bombers in the Pacific Theater

In May 1944, the US unveiled a new weapon, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber.  It was bigger and faster than the B-17, it had a greater range, and it could carry a heavier bomb load (8-10 tons).  Despite many early problems, by early 1945, B-29s were causing heavy damage on…

American Submarines in the Pacific

In this episode, James and Scott take a break from the narrative of battles to take a deep dive (pun intended!) into the topic of American submarines in the Pacific War.  Due to technical problems, early submarine torpedoes seldom destroyed their targets.  By mid-1944, however, these problems had largely been…

Leyte Gulf (Key Battle 7), Part Two

In the last episode, we saw that the Japanese fleet, despite suffering some initial setbacks at the hands of the Americans, were still pressing hard toward the American invasion fleet in Leyte Gulf.  Due to a major communication breakdown, the US Navy had left the San Bernardino Strait unguarded, so…

Leyte Gulf (Key Battle 7), Part One

After their overwhelming victories at the Philippine Sea and the Mariana Islands, American military leaders faced several options for their next target.  Due in large part to lobbying by General MacArthur, they chose the Philippines.  Japan’s leadership knew that losing the Philippines would mean the severing of the supply line…

Philippine Sea (Key Battle 6)

While the American attack on Saipan was still in progress, the Japanese Pacific fleet launched an attack on the American fleet, hoping to halt the invasion and to destroy the American fleet in a final, decisive battle.  The Japanese fleet was powerful, but it was no match for Admiral Raymond…

Saipan (Key Battle 5)

In June 1944, the U. S. launched its Marianas campaign, beginning with an amphibious assault on the key island of Saipan. After more than three bloody weeks of fighting, culminating in a massive banzai charge and the horrific suicides of thousands of civilians, the Americans controlled the island.  Join James…

America Moves Closer to Japan

In the fall of 1943, top Japanese leaders decided to pull Japan’s defensive perimeter back closer to Japan, in an effort to stop the American juggernaut.  American and other Allied forces continued to press forward, taking Biak in the southwestern Pacific and the Caroline Islands (including the key Japanese air/naval…

The Solomons, the Gilberts, and the Marshalls

In June 1943, American forces kicked off Operation Cartwheel, an attack on additional islands in the Solomons chain and parts of New Britain and New Guinea, under the command of General Douglas MacArthur.  At the same time, Admiral Ernest King decided to launch a second major offensive under Admiral Nimitz’…

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