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HH104 American Naval History

A Library Research Guide intended for USNA Midshipmen enrolled in HH104

Battle Analysis

Here are some factors to consider in analyzing a battle:

  • The critical players -- who were the opponents or leaders, what ships or units were involved
  • Titles, persons and positions -- ranks and positions of officers or civilians who had authority or could make decisions
  • Exact dates -- verify the specific dates as many resources on wars are arranged chronologically
  • Sequence of what happened -- how did the battle progress and what was the outcome
  • Location, terrain, environmental factors -- geography and the conditions under which the battle was fought are critical and you may want to get a map to help you understand why the battle happened where it did
  • Technology and weapons -- what weapons or resources were available to each side
  • Leadership -- how effective and adaptable were the people in charge


These steps may help you with your research:

  • Read a background article to understand the above factors as you start your research. 
  • Use the library catalog to identify books on your battle. 
    • Browse the books nearby on the shelves for additional titles. 
    • Check the bibliographies in these books to lead you to more sources. 
  • Use article databases to find scholarly journal articles.
  • Finding newspaper coverage from the date of your battle or old magazine articles.
  • Finding at least one primary source (see the tab on left side).
  • Consider visiting Nimitz Library's Special Collections and Archives Division.
  • Ask a librarian for help.