Many of us like to think we are familiar with the story of the Spanish Armada: how a vast force sent by Philip II to conquer these isles was scattered to the four winds after the English f leet, inspired by the genius of Queen Elizabeth I, won a decisive victory in the Channel. As we learn in this issue of MHM, however, it turns out that most of us have only a partial understanding of this central event in English and Spanish history.
In our cover story, Geoffrey Parker, co-author of a new book about the Armada, explains that we have long known a great deal about how England avoided invasion, thanks to the publication of the major Elizabethan documents. But it is only now – with the disclosure of new evidence from Armada shipwrecks, and from archives in Spain, Belgium, and Italy – that it has become possible to tell the full story.
Also in this issue, we mark the 80th anniversary of El Alamein, one of the pivotal battles of the Second World War. In our two-part special, Graham Goodlad assesses the career of Bernard Montgomery and analyses how the controversial general led the Eighth Army to victory.
Elsewhere, you’ll find two features on submarine warfare. In the first, John Lock recalls the underwater drama of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the second, John Medhurst looks further back in time to explain how these strange new vessels were able eventually to revolutionise conflict.
And finally, Andrew Southam tells the grim story of the Battle of Mohács, the devastating 1526 defeat of Hungary by the armies of Suleiman the Magnificent, which signalled the country’s demise as a unified independent kingdom.