Questions pertaining to characteristics of armed forces' structure, manpower, equipment, or expenditures.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

2
votes
0answers
57 views

How did soldiers in WWI who wore Jackboots keep the boots from being sucked off in the mud?

In the trench warfare of the First World War, the mud was often knee deep, although it sometimes reached well above the soldiers' chests. These conditions were obviously horrendous, and made it ...
0
votes
1answer
109 views

Were non German soldiers treated differently than German soldiers in the German army during the Great War?

For some reason I cannot find reliable source about that. Germany's population were in majority German, but there was also Frenchs in the west, Danes in the north, Lithuanians, and Poles in the east, ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Were any fortified castles self-sufficient in food?

I read here and there about sieges of fortified castles which lasted extended lengths of time (two years for instance). Was there any castle in Medieval Europe that was self-sustaining? By ...
2
votes
1answer
138 views

How late where plumed helmets and muscle cuirasses used by Roman/Byzantine soldiers?

According to the osprey book Byzantine Imperial Guardsmen by Raffaele D’Amato, Byzantine imperial guardsmen where known to have worn muscle cuirasses and also plumed helmets. Its gotten me curious ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Korean DMZ Soldiers

The recent news about the Koreans got me intrigued so I looked up images of the DMZ and it got me wondering... Here's an image: Why do the South Koreans stand the way they do? Why do the North ...
21
votes
6answers
3k views

By mid-1945, was Japan capable of maintaining the war even in the absence of further direct American attacks? [closed]

The USA went to a great effort to defeat Japan, but do historians regard it as necessary? For example if the USA had just kept the naval action going to the extent of cutting of all shipping to ...
4
votes
1answer
193 views

What happened in Calcutta in 1961?

I was watching a clip of the American flag being raised in Havana for the embassy re-opening since closing in 1961. There were some retired Marines there who were there when the flag was taken down. ...
1
vote
0answers
78 views

How many samurai warriors were there during the Sengoku period?

I was trying to estimate the number of warriors who were part of the samurai class. I am mainly interested in the 16th and 17th centuries. Trying to search for that, I came across this. It states ...
2
votes
3answers
171 views

What are the capabilities of a warhorse?

I am really curious about the capabilities of warhorses that the military used before the combustion vehicle came and mostly replaced them on modern battlefield. I had read a bit about warhorse, but ...
4
votes
3answers
435 views

Why didn't Romans fight in a single line formation?

I read that historically, Romans fought in checker board formation, composed of 3 lines. But I play Rome Total War and in the game, that deployment means a nice recipe for high casualties. In the ...
6
votes
1answer
848 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
102 views

When did the use of “Contact!” by soldiers emerge?

I was recently watching a World War One docudrama-esque show (Our World War (BBC)) and, while patrolling and fighting to control Trones Wood some British troops unexpectedly encounter the German ...
6
votes
3answers
335 views

Why was there a tradition attached to Crossbowmen?

Medieval literature makes several references to Gascon, Flemish and especially Genoese to denote elite troops wielding Crossbows. However, it isn't exactly hard to shoot a Crossbow accurately and ...
9
votes
2answers
238 views

At what age did samurai children start going into battles in the Sengoku era?

Exactly as the title says, from what age did a child of a samurai start to join his father in battles? I suspect it is when the child was considered an adult, but what age was considered an adult ...
3
votes
1answer
167 views

Was the US close to running out of volunteer manpower during the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars?

I remember during the early-middle days of the Iraq War there were growing concerns on the need to reinstate conscription to shore up US troop numbers. Was there any legitimate concern behind this or ...
-1
votes
1answer
94 views

Since when were the US the strongest military power? [closed]

I was wondering since when the USA became the strongest military power. Moreover, which states was in this position before the united states?
7
votes
1answer
164 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the story of war that started with “if”?

I was told about a story, of how one army sent terms to another army threatening 'if' they did not obey them, they would be punished. The receiving army replied to the threat with one word "if". I ...
2
votes
5answers
318 views

Did any nation have a demonstrable qualitative advantage in their soldiers of the 18th century, and how did they achieve this?

I once read in a primary source that whilst the Prussians had the best drilled regiments who were able to fire 4 shots a minute to everyone else's standard of 3, the Redcoats were the best shots, by ...
8
votes
2answers
402 views

How did the ancient Chinese coordinate armies of tens and hundreds of thousands?

According to what I've read, during the Warring States period and also later during the Three Kingdoms period there were armies of the magnitude of (a few) hundred thousands. How could they ...
8
votes
1answer
310 views

Did Japan make a contribution to World War II way out of proportion to its estimated relative GDP? [closed]

I was surprised to read these 1938 figures (admittedly estimates) of 1938 GDP for the major combatants of World War II. In round figures, the U.S. had $85 billion, the Germans $42 billion, Britain ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

In the Film Master and Commander, why do they start towing their rowboats after they beat to quarters?

In the first scene on Master and Commander after the ship beats to quarters they're shown lowering three rowboats and towing them behind the ship. Why do they do that?
6
votes
1answer
397 views

Did barracks exist in the middle ages?

In many medieval RTS games soldiers come out of a building named 'Barracks'. Where did medieval soldiers actually train ? Did such specialised buildings exist ? Most peasants probably got no training ...
2
votes
1answer
127 views

How did Native Americans defend militarily? [closed]

I've seen Native Americans as great warriors who charged armies and raided settlements but I haven't heard much about their defensive capabilities. When they were attacked, did they have set up any ...
3
votes
1answer
191 views

What were the major strategies/ideas Britain exerted against Indian Independence movement?

The first flames of freedom were lighted in the 1857 revolt in India. After that in 1900s, the movements became stronger and spread over the country. There was diverse political, economic, military, ...
4
votes
1answer
211 views

Does the reversal of the ribbon on a military medal (South Africa / UK; WWII) carry meaning or is it simply an error?

My father was showing me his father's WWII medals for service in the South African military. Having found images depicting the official order of wear I noticed that some had reversed ribbons. I ...
5
votes
2answers
411 views

How many soldiers did Ghengis Khan field?

I'm looking for the number of soldiers the Mongol Empire had at the time of Genghis Khan. What percentage of them were ethnically Mongolians?
1
vote
1answer
110 views

Outdoors Survival Knowledge for Samurai?

Did any era's Samurai know Outdoors Survival Knowledge? If so, which eras, which country (or however Japan separated its land at that time), and how much did they know?
3
votes
1answer
352 views

How were snipers used on the western front during WW2?

When the topic of snipers in WWII comes up, it's almost always about Soviet snipers and the eastern front. What about the western front? I'm specifically interested in how or if the British, American, ...
3
votes
3answers
391 views

What was American anti-tank doctrine during WWII on paper, and how did it differ from in practice?

What was the prevailing doctrine in the US Army on how to deal with German tanks during WWII? In an ideal situation, what sort of unit (anti-tank infantry, tank destroyers, towed AT guns, etc.) would ...
10
votes
4answers
543 views

Why were the Mongolian armies able to to use greater percentages of archers than (Medieval) Europeans?

Much has been made in other posts about how hard it was for European armies to train and maintain large numbers of archers able to use a longbow, crossbow, or similar weapons. Yet, the Mongolians ...
8
votes
3answers
609 views

Why hire Hessian troops?

During the American Independence War the British army made use of mercenaries hired from various German state (About 30,000 German soldiers fought for the British during the American Revolutionary ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

How was titanium transported from Soviet Union to Area 51 for Oxcart?

Oxcart was one of its kind, a sophisticated aircraft designed during the Cold-War era. Its body was made up of titanium. Titanium was only found in substantial quantities in the then Soviet Union. The ...
11
votes
2answers
496 views

History of the Wehrmacht after the surrender

Wikipedia tells us, that: Following the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht, which went into effect on 8 May 1945, some Wehrmacht units remained active, either independently (e.g. in ...
0
votes
1answer
131 views

Must scopes have revealing reflections? [closed]

This is my first post in History. I hope this is a good stack for my question, as I see a lot of posts related to military hardware. If not, well, let me know. Are there any documented cases of lens ...
2
votes
2answers
179 views

Ratio of population to military size throughout European history? [closed]

I realise that this is a fairly broad question, but I am trying to get a sense of the ratio between the total population and the size of the military that societies could support at different times ...
2
votes
2answers
185 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
0answers
110 views

Which Field Marshal famously used to fire Staff Officers if they could not write orders within two pages?

I recall a military anecdote which described a Field Marshal who considered Officers ineffectual if they were unable to write concisely. I believe the standard applied was that all plans or orders ...
4
votes
0answers
151 views

Who is ISIS/ISIL, Really? [closed]

For the past 6 months or so (probably longer), I've heard a lot about ISIS, and I know that they are involved in military actions in Syria, but I am still confused as to what their true purpose is. If ...
2
votes
2answers
189 views

How was Ivaylo's Bulgarian peasant army able to repel the Mongols?

So this peasant in Bulgaria named Ivaylo says he's tired of all these Mongols and gets together a peasant army. How was this roughshod force able to repel the Mongols when so many others have failed?
6
votes
3answers
394 views

Why was the government expenditures of the Roman Empire very low compared to modern governments?

I was trying to compare the military spending of the Roman empire in the 1st century with modern military spending and how much of a burden that was to Roman people. The Wikipedia page of the ...
5
votes
0answers
70 views

How was the transfer of personnel from British women's military services managed?

In the 1990's,the former women's services - WRNS, WRAC, and WRAF - were disbanded and women absorbed into the regular services. Whilst women still cannot serve in combat roles, they are armed and ...
6
votes
2answers
227 views

What buildings could be found in the inner ward of a castle?

I'm familiar with some different layouts of castles (motte and bailey, concentric,...) and the main parts or areas they have or need (Keep, moat, barbican, ward, cistern, great hall, etc.) While ...
16
votes
3answers
4k views

Did military operation names ever have any meaning?

For example, the American operation name for the assault on Okinawa was known as Operation Iceberg. However, Okinawa is a relatively hot area of Japan, and as far as I know, there were no icebergs or ...
1
vote
1answer
152 views

Was the US's pre-emptive bombardment of Iwo Jima insufficient? [closed]

[Source:] The lessons learned on Iwo Jima served as guidelines for the following Battle of Okinawa and the planned invasion of the Japanese homeland. For example, "because of the casualties taken ...
3
votes
1answer
201 views

How was Takeda defeated at the Battle of Nagashino?

The 1575 Battle of Nagashino resulted in the eventual end of the Takenda clan during the sengoku jidai in Japan. In the movie "Kagemusha", the Takeda cavalry charges guns and is devastated. The ...
8
votes
3answers
496 views

How and why did the Cavalry lance temporarily fall out of favour during the 16-18th centuries?

In the late middle ages, every knight or even his retainers and squires were armed with a spear or a lance. When heavy cavalry gave way to pike squares, we still see the lance still in use among the ...
33
votes
6answers
7k views

Why did Europe not see Roman-era numbers of men participating in battles until the 17th century?

Typical decisive battles in Roman times involve 4+ legions - around 20,000 men + auxiliaries giving a total of about 30,000 men, on the Roman side only. Battles in even the late middle ages and early ...
3
votes
1answer
837 views

What is that gold plaque Scottish soldiers wore around their necks?

If you see pictures of Scottish officers in traditional dress, sometimes they are wearing a gold plaque hanging from a chain around their neck. It is usually kind of kidney shaped. Does anyone know ...
12
votes
5answers
732 views

Is chain mail expensive?

I've read many textbooks and talked to plenty of people who explained to me that making thousands of rings, then interlocking them is terribly expensive. This confuses me because history had Vikings ...