Steven J. Zaloga received his BA in history from Union College and his MA from Columbia University. He has worked as an analyst in the aerospace industry for over two decades, covering missile systems and the international arms trade, and has served with the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federal think-tank. He is the author of numerous books on military technology and military history, with an accent on the US Army in World War II as well as Russia and the former Soviet Union.

What are you doing at the moment?

Recovering from a trip to the Moscow airshow/working on a future Osprey Duel title.

When did you get hooked on history and why?

My dad was a GI in World War II (as was my grandfather and most of the men in my neighborhood). So I heard a lot of war stories growing up. American TV at the time was full of shows like Combat, The Gallant Men, War at Sea, The Big Picture, Rat Patrol, etc. At university, I started in engineering, realized it made my brain hurt, and fell back on history as more suited to my temperment.

If you were any warrior from history who would you be?

None. I've read enough military history not to want to be a soldier. (I had my chance, I had a Congressional nomination for the US Air Force Academy)

What is your favourite war film?

Seven Samurai (best film); Battleground (best war film)

Why do you think Military History is important?

War is ubiquitous in human society so to ignore war (as is the fashion in academia at the moment) is foolish.

What is your favourite quote from history/historical quote?

Paix c'est le reve de les sages; guerre c'est l'historie de l'homme (Peace is the dream of the wise; war is the history of man) Pardons if my French grammar isn't so hot.

If you could fly any plane or drive any tank from history, which would it be?
Sikorsky Ilya Muromets bomber / Amiot 143 a close-runner up; Char B1 bis tank.

Best military cock-up in history?

Too many to choose from!

Who is your military hero?

Dwight Eisenhower.

If you could pit two armies from history against each other, which two would you pick, and why?

Strategic Air Command B-52s at Waterloo (with appropriate nods to John Belushi/Dan Ackroyd/Saturday Night Live).

Elephants or horses? Discuss the pros and cons…

Not my era. I suppose horses as my grandfather was a cavalry NCO in the 1920 war between Poland and the Bolshies (the last big cavalry vs. cavalry battle in European history was near his hometown). No elephants in the US Army that I can recall.

Favourite Michael Caine quote?

Who's he? (You need to list a proper Yank actor!)

What is your favourite war comic?

When I was a kid it was Sgt. Rock and the Howlin' Commandos. I don't know if that series is still in print (probably not).

Spartan or Roman?

Did they have tanks?

What is your favourite Osprey book?

You mean I'm supposed to read those things? (Just about anything by David Fletcher.)