Today’s Top Ten Armies (Military Powers) in the World

This list of Top Ten Armies (Military Powers) in the world is subjective at best.  Unless you looked at specific aspects and judged based on that criteria alone, the list cannot be definitive.  One can look at a nation’s defense budget or the size of their enlisted members, or combine the two.  Another area for consideration is the amount of armor a nation has inventoried including tanks, helicopters, aircraft and ships.  This top ten took in a little of all of that, but it is still one perspective looking at the Armies around the world.  Input and educational pieces on other armies not listed here, or any additional information that may have been omitted, are welcomed.   Before listing the top ten, one country fell just short of making the list, but certainly deserves to be mentioned – North Korea.  They not only have one of the largest Special Forces in the world – 120,000 members – they have a very large inventory of armor.   10.  Pakistan Pakistan is known for their good upper leadership.  Founded in 1947, their three branches of service totals more than 600,000 people – all volunteers.  They have close ties to the militaries of the US and China.  Pakistan’s budget of over $5 billion is smaller than all the other top ten militaries, but it does exceed the overall defense budget of a number of other countries around the world.  While Pakistan has about the same number of naval craft as the United Kingdom (see below), they have more aircraft and helicopters and an incredible total of 9,000 tanks and armored vehicles.  They...

Working Dogs in the Military

The use of working dogs in the military dates back to ancient times.  Some of the first use of dogs in a military role dates back to the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Persians and the Romans to name a few.  The Greeks and the Romans often used dogs as guards – or sentries – and on patrols.  They were sometimes used in battle.   During the Middle Ages, European Royalty accepted dogs as tokens if they were specifically bred for war.  Other civilizations during that time were known to armor the dogs and use them to defend their caravans or attack oncoming enemies.  During the Seven Year War with Russia, Frederick the Great utilized canines as messengers.  Some believe they were used up until the mid to late 1700s to guard France’s naval installations.   In the United States, the first canine on record to serve in the military is noted during the Seminole War.  Later, during the Civil War, they were used for a variety of reasons including protection and as messengers.   It is believed they were used during WWI as mascots to lift the morale of the men in the trenches.   They were also used during this time to pull small carts containing guns and other necessary supplies.   WWII Canine Roles Canines were used in a variety of roles during World War II.  The USMC used them to assist with overtaking islands in the South Pacific that were occupied by the Japanese Forces.  It was during this time the Doberman Pincher was named the official dog of the United States Marine Corps.  This did not exclude...

The M1942 Bayonet from World War II

  A well-known bayonet used in World War II was the M1942.  Though Bayonets have been a weapon of choice as early as the 17th Century, they were also extensively utilized throughout WWII.  Their design, shape and application evolved some, but overall, the bayonet has maintained a basic structure since its inception.   Early History Prior to the 17th Century reference to bayonets, the term was in fact used during the 16th Century, however, sources are unable to confirm if the name referred to what has since been called a bayonet, or if the term referred to an object more in line with a knife.  In either case, the bayonet is believed to have first been developed as a hunting weapon.  It was used in early battles in conjunction with muskets.   M1942 Bayonet Bayonets evolved over the centuries and but the M1942 Bayonet was used extensively as its design enabled it to be used with the M1 Garand.  The blade on the M1942 is 16” long and the handle is 4” long.  This particular bayonet is an exact duplicate of the M1905 Bayonet, used with the US Rifle Model 1903.  The construction of these bayonets allowed them to be used interchangeably with the M1903 fitting the M1 Garand and the M1942 fitting on the M1903 and the other variants of this weapon produced throughout WWI and WWII.   By 1943, a change in design was proposed.  The US Army had decided that a shorter bayonet would better serve the military on a number of levels.   At this time, a number of the M1905 and M1942s were recalled and...

Admiral William H. McRaven and Operation Neptune Spear

Admiral William H. McRaven – currently a four-star Admiral of the United States Navy – was born on November 6, 1955 in Pinehurst, NC.  Admiral McRaven, commander of the US Joint Special Operations Command, is most recently noted for his involvement in Operation Neptune Spear, in which US Navy Special forces DEVGRU, hunted, located and killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.  Click here to view a brief Armed Forces History Museum video on the movie “Zero Dark Thirty”  Before the Attack Admiral McRaven has held every level of command within special operations.  On September 11, 2001, when terrorists attacked the United States McRaven, then a Navy SEAL Captain, was in the hospital recuperating from a sky diving accident that left him with a broken pelvis and back.   The four SEAL teams under McRaven’s command had trained for such an incident, but McRaven soon found it necessary to step down from command.    A decade later, William H. McRaven - recovered from his injuries - had risen up through the ranks.  Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden had remained evasive and was still alive.  Their paths were now destined to cross.    The Planning Begins Reports mention that then Vice-Admiral McRaven, commander of the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command, was called to the CIA’s headquarters in Langely, VA by its director, Leon Panetta.  The two discussed the compound where bin Laden was thought to hiding and began to lay the plans for a military strike.  For the next several weeks, Admiral McRaven would use his covert background while working with the CIA on this plan.  He devised three possible options: 1)     ...

Austria’s Steyr AUG – Assault Rifle

Austria’s Steyr AUG assault rifle is probably the most incongruously designed weapons in history.  Production on the Steyr began in 1978 and has continued through present day.  This assault rifle is the standard small arm of the Austrian Bundesheer as well as other national police unit.  This rifle and its many variants are used by armed forces throughout the world and is considered one of the top rifles of the military.   Step back in time as you step into the Firearms and Ordnance Gallery at the Armed Forces History Museum.  Witness an array of  weapons and feel their power.  Represented in this gallery are authentic weapons from around the world dating throughout history.  The oldest piece on display is a very rare bayonet from the Revolutionary War.   Steyr AUG Design The Steyr is a bull-pup rifle with a conventional gas piston operated action which fires from a closed bolt.  The rifle can easily adapt to a number of roles by changing out the barrel.  The trigger can produce a semi-automatic fire when it is pulled halfway and when pulled all the way to the rear, the trigger produces fully automatic fire.  The Steyr also features a safety mechanism located above the hand grip, which when located in the ‘safe’ position, mechanically disables the trigger.   The AUG as a 30 round capacity (can use an extended 42 round) fed from a transparent, double-column box magazine.  The Steyr AUG assault rifle comes with a number of standard accessories, including the following: Four magazines Muzzle cap Spare bolt for left-handed shooters Blank-firing adaptor Cleaning kit Sling Bayonet American M7 (or)...

United States M16 Assault Rifle

The United States M16 assault rifle was designed in 1956, but production did not begin until 1963.  This rifle is considered one of the top rifles of the military.  The M16 first entered into service in the US Army during the Vietnam War as an effective weapon against jungle warfare - becoming standard issue by the US military by 1969.  After Vietnam, the variants of the M16 have remained the primary service rifles of the US armed forces.  This assault rifle is also used by a number of militaries throughout the world.  To date, more than 8 million M16s have been manufactured world-wide, making this assault rifle the most produced firearm of its caliber.   Step back in time as you step into the Firearms and Ordnance Gallery at the Armed Forces History Museum.  Feel the power insisde this extensive gallery of authentic weapons from around the world dating throughout history.  Included in this display is an M16 Assault Rifle.    About the M16 A lightweight, air-cooled assault rifle, the M16 is built using steel, an aluminum alloy, composite plastics and polymer.  This 5.56 x 45 mm NATO cartridge rifle is magazine fed, capable of 12 to 15 rounds per minute of sustained firing and 45 to 60 rounds per minute of semi-automatic firing.  Its muzzle velocity is 3,110 feet per second and the M16 has an effective range of 550 meters point target and 800 meters for an area target.  The barrel length on the M16 is 20 inches and it only weighs 7.18 lbs. (without ammo).   Originally, the rifle experienced a jamming problem known as ‘failure to extract’.  This occurs when the...