Questions related to particular battles, commanders, troops, and war machines involved.

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30
votes
11answers
7k views

Lost battles - under which conditions does the losing party actively commemorate a battle?

I am trying to understand under which conditions battles are predominantly remembered and commemorated by the losing party (who acknowledge their defeat), not the victors. This is not who gets to ...
28
votes
5answers
8k views

Why did trench warfare accept deadlocks?

As someone who has never studied military history or strategy I find it very hard to understand how and why both sides got locked into relatively short lines of heavily defended trench warfare with ...
15
votes
7answers
749 views

Battles that took place on the ice

As my favorite ice hockey team became the champion of Poland today, I reminded famous Battle of the Ice that took place in 1242. During the fights, forces of Alexander Nevsky managed to draw Teutonic ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

How did ancient armies keep the route of supplies to their battlefield?

How did ancient armies like the Romans, Greeks, Persians, Chinese, or even in later times, the Arabs and Mongols keep the route of supplies going to support their armies marching through the vast ...
13
votes
4answers
5k views

Did the Celts really go into battle naked?

Yes, this of-repeated tale was reported by the Romans all the time, but it sounds a lot like rumor. Stuff the victors write about their former enemies, "they were so stupid, they went into battle ...
11
votes
2answers
963 views

English monarchs on the battlefield

It seems that in English 'older times' it was expected for the King or monarch to lead the armies in battle. My research suggests that this was the case in the 12th century in the civil war between ...
10
votes
2answers
806 views

How did galleys battle?

Until the late 16th century, galleys were the main battleships. They were then started to be replaced by larger galleons, as the galleons could carry much bigger cannons with the developed technology. ...
8
votes
5answers
634 views

Was the Battle of Trafalgar strategically pointless?

On a tactical level, the Battle of Trafalgar is one of the most analysed naval battles in history and there are many books and papers covering the battle itself. Most of the strategic analysis covers ...
8
votes
2answers
302 views

Did King Porus's men use snake poison against Alexander's troops?

This claim comes from about.com. It references this source which doesn't claim that Porus specifically did it, merely that such a practice was common. It also cites Adrienne Mayor who claims that ...
8
votes
4answers
10k views

Are the “bone fields” of the Stalingrad encircled battlefields real?

In this podcast by Dan Carlin's Hardcore history show, Dan mentions that there are areas inside of the Stalingrad pocket where human remains are openly visible above ground, exposed to the weather. ...
8
votes
4answers
645 views

Was the American Civil War the first to include multiple multi-day battles?

Looking at wikipedia reveals that there were plenty of multi-day battles in the American Civil War. I looked at its article on the Crimean War, which as far as I know was the previous significant ...
8
votes
1answer
254 views

Were there any naval engagements during the Mongol invasions of Japan?

During the 13th century, the Yuan empire made two invasion attempts at Japan, in the battles of Bun'ei and Kōan. In both cases, the samurai defenders fought the Mongols off their beachheads, and the ...
7
votes
2answers
873 views

How was the dynamics of a naval battle in the 17th century?

I'm curious about the "mechanical" aspects in the course of a naval battle in the 17th century. To explain better, here are some questions whose answers would provide a text-answer explaining the ...
7
votes
1answer
221 views

Are there any battles that have been extensively studied across the world? [closed]

Has there been any historical battle which became so universally well regarded, that military academies from across the world would would study it? Or are most military academies inherently biased ...
6
votes
7answers
2k views

Battles won by much weaker side [closed]

I'm interested in battles that were won by much weaker side or even lost by it, but for example making the stronger side to keep fight against this weaker force and thus providing it strategic victory....
6
votes
6answers
786 views

Battles under the influence (of alcohol)

I'm looking for documented antecedents that describe the use or abuse of alcohol in the historical context of battles. Not necessarily well known battles. I remember watching (many years ago) a ...
6
votes
2answers
746 views

Proportion of footmen and soldiers to knights in battles

Im looking for some scientific articles/expert opinions on the typical proportion of footmen and soldiers to knights in small and big scale battles in the 14th and 15th century. A summary for pretty ...
6
votes
1answer
908 views

When was the first airborne combat drop?

I know that airborne troops became famous in WWII, but was that the first time they actually fought after parachuting into the combat zone? What was the first instance in which paratroopers in an ...
5
votes
1answer
895 views

Why was the massive Human Wave attack used in WWI? [closed]

If the Human Wave Attack wave tactic is in all the lights, a invitation to a carnage, why was it so largely used in battles in WWI? Weren't other tactical options available at the time that could have ...
5
votes
2answers
183 views

Could the anti-Napoleonic forces have done better by uniting earlier before Waterloo?

During the Waterloo campaign, there were TWO Allied armies facing Napoleon, one under England's Wellington, and one under Prussia's Blucher. Napoleon first defeated Blucher at Ligny, then turned on ...
5
votes
2answers
459 views

Who was the oldest recorded participant in a battle whom we know of?

This is a record of a eighy-year-old's participation in a battle -- the Battle of Vienna in 1683 -- from Andrew Weatcroft's The Enemy At the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans and the Battle for Europe; he ...
5
votes
1answer
231 views

What are the top 5 bloodiest battles in terms of British casualties?

I have done a bit of research and it seems the Somme, Towton and maybe Bannockburn are up there? Any more to throw into the mix? Great site by the way!
4
votes
1answer
181 views

What was the custom/consensus regarding irregular combatants 19th century?

Immediately prior to the battle of Sedan, the German soldiers who captured the town of Bazeilles executed a number of armed civilians who had been firing on German troops that day. This happened in ...
4
votes
3answers
206 views

Why is the battle of Hampton Roads know as the Monitor vs the Merrimack?

The American Civil War battle of the ironclad warships which took place on the Elizabeth River in Virginia has several common names. One way which it is commonly referenced is as simply the "Monitor ...
3
votes
4answers
287 views

Magic armies examples in history?

Are there any examples of attempting to use magic in history? Note that I don't mean magic is real. I mean that some crazy commanders could THINK it is real and try to utilize it in battle. For ...
3
votes
3answers
161 views

Why was Luodian important in the Battle of Shanghai?

In the middle of the 3-month long Battle of Shanghai, the small town of Luodian on the outskirts of Shanghai saw some of the heaviest fighting. After Japanese troops made successful amphibious ...
3
votes
1answer
303 views

Does any evidence exist that suggests Hitler’s primary reason for declaring war on America was an attempt to draw Japan into his war with Russia?

During the first few months of the Nazi invasion of Russia, Stalin feared a Japanese attack from the east would create a two front war. In August, he was finally convinced by intelligence reports that ...
3
votes
0answers
159 views

Dimensions and parts of Fort Douglas, Winnipeg Canada

I am having troubles estimating the dimensions of Fort Douglas that WAS in Winnipeg Canada. Fort Douglas (from what I understand, correct me if I'm wrong) was the stage of the battle of Seven Oaks. I ...
2
votes
5answers
610 views

Battles that ended with a disaster for all the parties

Have there ever been (recorded) battles (in the middle-ages) which ended badly for all parties? I would like to explain what could be meant by disaster giving to possible scenarios: by disaster I ...
2
votes
1answer
342 views

How thick was late medieval horse armor?

Do you know how thick was late medieval horse plate armor? Was it as thick as its rider's armor? Good horses were expensive and valuable, especially during a battle, so it makes sense to protect them. ...
2
votes
2answers
211 views

What were the most used drugs in battles and wars?

I have read that germans used extensively Pervitin (Methamphetamine) in WWII. So, I guess there are other drugs used in wars and battles throughout history. What were the most used drugs in battles ...
2
votes
2answers
208 views

German offensives between Normandy and Bulge?

In regards to World War II, I always hear about the great number of Allied victories won between the Battle of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. Very little is spoken of German victories. ...
2
votes
2answers
259 views

What was the purpose of tunnel fighting in a 17th century siege?

Since I watched the movie Alatriste, and wondered what was the usage of tunnel fighting in the 17th century, as can be seen in the Hulst siege scene. I am aware that in medieval times, tunnels (or ...
2
votes
1answer
155 views

What was Gen. Buford's ultimate objective at the Battle of Gettysburg?

On the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Gen. Buford and the Union cavalry were initially defending the ridges to the north and west of the town. Even after Gen. Reynolds arrived with the Union I ...
1
vote
2answers
713 views

Which was the last pitched battle fought by Western powers? [closed]

If we define a pitched battle as a fierce military engagement on close combat on the ground between two armies at war. Both intending on fighting the other and not retreating or escaping before ...
1
vote
3answers
209 views

Battle which has been decided by an epidemic plague

Well i think the title say's all but here some necessary details to make some focus: I would like to know if there's a record of a Battle or a Siege (or War, but only optional) which have been ...
1
vote
1answer
276 views

Which battle enabled Andrew Jackson to become the President of USA?

Which significant battle enabled Andrew Jackson to become the President of the USA? Considering his leadership and contribution to this war he was catapulted to the White House.
1
vote
3answers
226 views

Did medieval commanders exchange words before battle?

Random question for anyone who reads accounts of medieval battles. Was it customary for European medieval commanders to exchange words before battle, not merely for diplomatic reasons but more out of ...
1
vote
0answers
86 views

Historical use of air guns in major battle?

In the 18 century some armies of Europe had air guns to their disposal. I remember that during some major battle sharpshooters from Tirol used air guns with deadly effect on troops from opponent side, ...
1
vote
0answers
146 views

Where there any major battles between Australian Aborigines and English Colonists? [closed]

The English were hostile to most of the natives near their colonies. However, I can't seem to find any evidence as to whether or not the Aborigines partook in any battle against British colonists in ...
0
votes
2answers
275 views

Besides Crecy and Poitiers, in what battle was the Longbow the decisive weapon?

I am looking for the Longbow itself being the decisive weapon, not the Longbow men, as was the case in Agincourt. This could mean some significant disadvantages to the enemy, including things like: ...
0
votes
1answer
144 views

Terrain types and WW2 unit types disadvantage in battle [on hold]

I'm designing a ww2 board game. Unit types are infantry, tanks, artillery. I intend for each battle to take place to a specific terrain type (that would be on any front in Europe or North Africa). ...
0
votes
0answers
113 views

Help me recognize this naval action

I recall reading a Wikipedia article about an Age of Sail naval combat incident between two vessels, the smaller one being attacked by the larger one. I don't remember anything about the participants ...