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Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “timelines”

Marines in Iraq 2004-2008: An Anthology and Annotated Bibliography

Marines in Iraq 2004-2008: An Anthology and Annotated Bibliography

(Paper – http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/670246464)


Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What challenges did US Marines find in Iraq?
  • What Marines units participated in the early occupation of Iraq?
  • When did Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani negotiate a truce in Najaf?


From the introduction:

This anthology presents a collection of 21 articles describing the full range of U.S. Marine Corps operations in Iraq from 2004 to 2008. During this period, the Marines conducted a wide variety of kinetic and non-kinetic operations as they fought to defeat the Iraq insurgency, build stability, and lay the groundwork for democratic governance.

The selections in this collection include journalistic accounts, scholarly essays, and Marine Corps summaries of action. Our intent is to provide a general overview to educate Marines and the general public about this critical period in the history of the U.S. Marine Corps, the United States, and Iraq. Many of the conclusions are provisional and are being updated and revised as new information and archival resources become available.

The accompanying annotated bibliography provides a detailed overview of where current scholarship on this period currently stands.

The annotated bibliography runs from page 269 through page 294 and includes primary and secondary sources. The articles and bibliographies offer many differing viewpoints. Between the essays and the bibliography, you ought to be reasonably informed about many aspects of the Iraq War from 2004-2008.

In addition to the articles and annotated bibliography there is a useful “Chronology of Events” starting at page 261.

The web version of the book is presented in seven PDF files. If you’d like a paper copy try interlibrary loan through your local public library.

U.S. Marines in Afghanistan, 2001-2002: From the Sea

U.S. Marines in Afghanistan, 2001-2002: From the Sea. Col Nathan S. Lowrey, USMCR. 2011. 410 pp.

(Paper: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/778362271) – Links to online copies

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What were some of the Marine operations in Jalalabad?
  • How did the Navy treat American and Afghani wounded in the early phases of the campaign in Afghanistan?
  • How was al-Qaeda officially viewed by the US prior to 2001?
  • How were seized airfields maintained in the early phases of the war?
  • Description:

From the foreward:

This monograph is more than the story of Marine expeditionary operations in Afghanistan. It describes who our nation’s enemies are; how America became involved in the Global War on Terrorism; and how the Marine Corps struggled to acquire a major role in Operation Enduring Freedom, as well as the actions of Marines and sailors who helped prosecute the air and ground campaigns against Taliban and al-Qaeda forces.

The work is arranged chronologically, with some chapters named after operations or areas of special interest. For example, Chapter 12 is titled Tora Bora (p. 221 of PDF file) and contains analysis, criticism and defense of the way the search for Osama bin Laden was handled. Interestingly, while this chapter carries maps of the area, there are no photos of the caves area.

There are a large number of color photos in this book and the index is of some use in locating them. Between the narrative text and the index are five appendices. While all of them look useful to writers, two stand out:

  • Appendix D: Chronology of events
  • Appendix E: Unit awards and messages

The chronology of events is interesting not only as a useful scaffold for stories set during the war, but because it starts in 1992 when “Al-Qaeda affiliates target U.S. Marines during hotel bombing in Aden, Yemen.”

The Unit awards and messages are communications from the Secretary of the Navy and other high ranking officials and set the tone for the justification of the war and how each of the commended units contributed to the mission. These might make useful templates for similar communications in fictitious wars here and on other worlds.

U.S. Marines in the Persian Gulf, 1990-1991: With the I Marine Expeditionary Force in Desert Shield and Desert Storm

U.S. Marines in the Persian Gulf, 1990-1991: With the I Marine Expeditionary Force in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Col Charles J. Quilter II, USMCR. 1993. 131 pp.

(Paper: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/28365610)


(Page Images)

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What was the Baghdad Express?
  • What were some examples of so-called “friendly fire” incidents?
  • What was the “Scud Bowl” and why did Saudis find it offensive?
  • What did Marines think of Saudi driving?
  • How did the liberation of Kuwait begin?


From the preface:

This monograph was written from mid-1991 to February 1992 and consists of events and issues from the perspective of the I MEF commander, Lieutenant General Boomer, who incidentally made the historians’ job infinitely easier by recording all of his staff meetings.

This work appears to be arranged chronologically. It has both an index and subject descriptive chapter headings in the table of contents. The work concludes with three appendices.

U.S. Marines in the Persian Gulf, 1990-1991: With the 2d Marine Division in Desert Shield and Desert Storm

U.S. Marines in the Persian Gulf, 1990-1991: With the 2d Marine Division in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. LtCol Dennis P. Mroczkowski, USMCR. 1993. 107 pp.
(Paper: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/29231691)

(Page Images)

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What was an AAV and what was its purpose?
  • What did the 2nd Division do after the cessation of hostilities?
  • When are night vision goggles useless?


From the preface,

This history is also limited in scope, partly because of time constraints. It also is not meant to be the definitive work on the 2d Marine Division’s participation in the war in the Persian Gulf area; that is intended by the Director of Marine Corps History and Museums to come later. This volume studies the participation of the division as an entity, and is written from that perspective. The actions of regiments, battalions, companies, small units, or individuals are noted as they are exceptional or contributed significantly to the division’s overall efforts.

This work is mostly arranged chronologically, with information on preparations and intelligence efforts prior to the start of hostilities. The narrative concludes with an epilogue that is part celebratory, part reflective and part summary. It also includes a statement on how many Iraqis surrendered and how much enemy equipment was captured or destroyed.

Between the narrative section and the index are four appendices.Two that will be valuable to writers of stories during this period are Appendix C, List of Acronyms and Abbreviations and Appendix D, Chronology.

USCG in Vietnam Chronology (Coast Guard)

USCG in Vietnam Chronology (Coast Guard) – http://www.uscg.mil/history/uscghist/USCGVietnamChronology.pdf

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • When was the US Coast Guard (USCG) first involved in operations in Vietnam?
  • What USCG ships were transfered to the South Vietnamese Navy?
  • When was the largest naval engagement of the war?


A four page PDF file chronicling milestones of Coast Guard involvement in Vietnam. Document notes creation and disbanding of units, ships lost or transferred and Coast Guard members killed in action.

U.S. Air Force’s First War: Korea 1950-1953 Significant Events

U.S. Air Force’s First War: Korea 1950-1953 Significant Events

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • When did US intelligence find vital parts from a MIG 15?
  • How many sorties did the Fifth Air Force run in April 1951?
  • What was the effect of the first attack against previously excluded irrigation dams on May 13, 1953?


From the preface:

The chronology points out the relationship of these operations to the land battle, naval operations, and important political and diplomatic events. It also identifies such USAF historical firsts as the first all-jet air battle, the introduction of new weapons systems, and the initiation of tactics, techniques, or procedures that had a major impact on later air operations. The chronology also identifies important people, such as key commanders, recipients of the Medal of Honor, and aces. Finally, it attempts to summarize those USAF events in Korea that best illustrate the air war and the application of airpower in the theater.

The chronology offers a monthly summary, then a listing of daily events.

Civil War Bookshelf (Center of Military History)

Civil War Bookshelf (Center of Military History) – http://www.history.army.mil/html/bookshelves/resmat/civil_war/index.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How many times did President Lincoln change either his overall commander or his commander of the Army of the Potomac?
  • What were the positions of Union and Confederate troops at the Battle of Bull Run?
  • What did military ambulances look like during the Civil War?


The Civil War Bookshelf is one of the most developed online bookshelves from the Army’s Center of Military History. This may be related to the recent 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War or due to the proximity of many Civil War battlefields to the Center.

In addition to the usual tabs for “published material” and “archival material” found on other “online bookshelves”, this site features a timeline, a set of images and links to additional resources.

There are really two timelines in the “Timeline” section. The first is a detailed PDF file with many specific dates with activities. The second is a set of campaign summaries that deal with specific battles or geographies in a chronological matter. Writers will find these very helpful pegs to hang their civil era stories on.

The images come from a tab labeled “Artwork and Photos”, although they appear to be mostly paintings. Some of the paintings happened during the war and some after. They may be useful in getting the sense of a scene, though they ought to be used with caution.

The “Published Materials” section features a number of articles about each year of the Civil War as well as maps and an article about Union African-American soldiers. The “Archival Materials” section features letters from Civil War soldiers.

War of 1812 Timeline (National Park Service)

War of 1812 Timeline (National Park Service) – http://www.nps.gov/subjects/warof1812/index.htm

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What battles were won by the Americans in the War of 1812?
  • Where was the battle of Burnt Corn fought?
  • When did British forces seize Ft. Niagra?


Part of a larger War of 1812 Bicentennial site, the Timeline is a concise list of battles annotated with the victorious country. Each battle is described in a sentence that includes the present day location of the battle. Each entry links to an outside resource providing additional material on the battle. These external resources appear to vary in quality and level of citation, so information you find outside of the National Park Service site ought be cross checked against additional resources. The Timeline itself is a useful scaffold for telling stories set during this era.


American Revolution Day by Day (National Park Service)

American Revolution Day by Day (National Park Service) – http://www.nps.gov/revwar/about_the_revolution/revolution_day_by_day.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What was the Huddy-Asgill Affair?
  • When did the British evacuate Savannah, Georgia?


A daily calendar of Revolution-related events from 1775 – 1783. Click on year, then by month. This calendar offers a global scope to the Revolution, which became part of a larger war between Britain, France, Spain and others. For examples, duels between French and British ships in the Indian Ocean are recorded, as well as Indian attacks in Kentucky.

Individual event entries vary from a sentence to a paragraph. Enough detail is offered to make searching in other sources fruitful. This seems like a very handy way to ensure a historical novel set in the Revolutionary Era keeps its chronology straight.

Search Tip:

You can locate specific people or types of events by going to your favorite search engine and conducting a search in the form of:
[search terms] inurl:revolution_day_by_day

For example, mutiny inurl:revolution_day_by_day retrieves nine results, including General Washington’s 1783 denouncement of soldiers threatening mutiny over back pay. Using “benedict” in the same way brings up 12 results, including some of Benedict Arnold’s honest service to the Americans before his betrayal.

If you use this search tip, you will need to click on “repeat the search with the omitted results included” to get a full list of results.

America During the Age of Revolution, 1776-1789 (Library of Congress)

America During the Age of Revolution, 1776-1789 (Library of Congress) – http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/continental/timelin2.html
Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What was the “Conway cabal”?
  • When did British forces seize Charleston, South Carolina?
  • How did Continental soldiers react to having their pay shorted in 1783?


A timeline of significant events that took place during the Revolutionary years. Each event is given 2-4 sentences. Exact dates are not usually offered, but enough detail exists to research in other places. Timeline is part of a digital library of documents.

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