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

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5
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1answer
363 views

Was 18th century Prussia really so militarily obsessed?

I'm reading A Military History of Germany by Martin Kitchen, and I was surprised at the description of 18th century Prussia. The country is described as a North-Korea like military obsessed nation, ...
24
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5answers
6k views

Why did the Moors invade the Iberian peninsula?

Almost all of the information that I can find with regards to the Moorish invasion of the Iberian Peninsula simply states when the Moors invaded. There seems to be very little on what the motivation ...
7
votes
1answer
231 views

During the American Civil War, were cavalry units issued horses?

When a cavalry unit was raised during the Civil War, were the men issued with horses or did they use their personal horse? For example, 1st Arkansas cavalry (Union) was a western unit made up ...
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2answers
256 views

Did von Manstein push for mass production of late models PzKpfw IV over Panther or Tiger?

I read this claim somewhere, but cannot possibly find the source of it - did Erich von Manstein prefer large numbers of medium tanks PzKpfw IV over small numbers of heavy tanks?
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votes
1answer
146 views

Which Union General identified the defensive value of Cemetery Hill?

Who was the first Union general to realize the significance of Cemetery Hill during the battle of Gettysburg (1863) as a defensive position: Buford, Reynolds, Howard, or Hancock? They each claim to be ...
5
votes
1answer
652 views

What equipment and formations did the Muslim armies employ against the Crusades?

One can easily find articles on Wikipedia about typical tactical formations of Romans, but I haven't found such information on the Muslim world, specifically during the crusades. Did the Muslim armies ...
13
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4answers
4k views

How does the amount of equipment carried by various historical infantries compare?

I've heard many statements amount the weight of supplies and munition carried by soldiers of various historical forces. In particular, I've heard many comments about the amount that the British ...
19
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4answers
3k views

Was the Italian campaign a strategic mistake?

Background In September 1943, the Allied forces invaded Southern Italy in combined amphibious operations in Reggio di Calabria (Operation Baytown), Salerno (Operation Avalanche) and Taranto (...
10
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2answers
462 views

How and why did Charles XII Get to Poltava?

The decisive battle of the Great Northern War between Sweden and Russia was the battle of Poltava. That's located deep in the Ukraine, southeast of Kiev, between Cherkassy and Kharkov. That seems ...
18
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3answers
8k views

What did squires do in the middle of a medieval battle?

According to wikipedia, a normal squire daily job included: Carrying the knight's armour, shield, sword, Holding any prisoners the knight takes, Rescuing the knight should the knight be ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Why did Frederick the Great do so much worse against the Russians than against his other enemies in the Seven Years' War?

Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, made a name for himself and Prussia in the Seven Years' War, winning key battles against the French and Austrians at long odds. He won the battle of Rossbach ...
5
votes
1answer
168 views

Why was the Cornish Militia stationed in Devon in late 18th Century?

On Genealogy & Family History SE, I asked a question about Finding late 18th Century service record of Francis Green in Cornish Militia?, and it looks like it will need a degree of luck to find ...
8
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1answer
174 views

Identification of location of ship yard or naval base

I need help in identifying the location of this ship yard or naval base.
7
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2answers
367 views

Why some sections of Great Wall of China seem to be bidirectional?

Official historiography says that Great Wall of China is built "across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various ...
11
votes
2answers
608 views

How common was decimation in the Roman army

I know decimation happened a lot in the Roman army, but I find it hard to imagine generals like Marius, Scipio and Caesar, who all had the unwavering loyalty of their troops, practicing it.
11
votes
3answers
652 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
197 views

Scandal at Annapolis in 1934

According to the Wikipedia article on Peyton Magruder he "resigned during his senior year of 1934 partially due to a scandal which has now become a part of Naval Academy lore." What was this scandal?
7
votes
2answers
255 views

What happened to the belongings of fallen Roman soldiers?

It seems that soldiers in Rome were very well paid, even after all their running costs and other expenses were removed. What I'm curious to know is where would a soldier have kept his excess funds, ...
3
votes
1answer
196 views

Why were Chinese divisions undersized?

Reading the orders of battle for the Second Sino-Japanese War, it seems that in the major battles, the Chinese side consistently fields large numbers of divisions, but not as many total troops as that ...
70
votes
12answers
14k views

Why bother attacking castles at all? Why not go around?

Castles were designed to hold people, weapons, and supplies to survive a siege. They were well-defended. Taking one could easily be a long, bloody struggle. Why attack at all? Most castles I've seen ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

What was the tactical benefit of using flamethrowers as weapons?

I often hear stories of flamethrower troops storming the beaches of Iwo Jima and burning bunkers full of troops. But isn't it more risky to carry a tank of flammable liquid with limited fuel and ...
25
votes
10answers
8k views

Why wasn't the Republic of Ireland invaded (by either side) in WW2?

Ireland was neutral in WW2, however it was never invaded (by either side). How come? Why wasn't Ireland invaded by the UK to prevent the Germans invading? Why didn't germany invade ireland? It would ...
5
votes
1answer
264 views

How important were “columnar” strategies in Japan's invasion of China?

In trying to invade a large country like China, there are at least two main strategies 1) a narrow "columnar" strategy, usually based along an artery such as the Yangtze River that provides a natural ...
5
votes
2answers
322 views

How did Turkey achieve such a quick military rebound after World War I?

The Ottoman military had a very weak performance in World War I (1914-1918), completely defeated in the Middle Eastern theatre and ended up losing almost all of its non-Anatolia possession. This was ...
11
votes
1answer
402 views

Were Roman gladiators ever enlisted into the military?

Were Roman gladiators ever enlisted into the actual Roman military? I have heard of Roman soldiers becoming gladiators but not the other way around. I imagine this would only happen if the Roman ...
9
votes
1answer
365 views

What was the size of the Chola Empire's navy under Raja Raja Chozhan I?

Raja Raja Chola I was an Indian emperor who lived around the 11th century. He created an empire in South India through conquests, including naval campaigns. He was able to conquer Sri Lanka and the ...
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votes
7answers
4k views

Why did Civil War officers tell their men to “aim low”?

I'm listening to Gettysburg by Stephen W. Sears and the officers on both sides seem to always exhort their men to "aim low". For instance, General John Gibbon told his 2nd Division infantry: Do ...
10
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1answer
505 views

Did Japan make a contribution to World War II way out of proportion to its nominal 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 $...
11
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4answers
917 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
523 views

What was the first confirmed use of black powder to blow stuff up in war (in China and in Europe)?

In this SciFi SE answer to "Can we date the technology in the Lord of the Rings movies?" , I made a statement that I wasn't able to research as fully as I'd have liked, and therefore would like a ...
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3answers
124 views

What troop categories were used historically? [closed]

To my understanding, modern terminology such as infantry, cavalry and artillery, and especially light vs heavy and roles like skirmishers etc. generally originate from 17-18th century European efforts ...
9
votes
3answers
515 views

Roman Legion composition

I've always read that the typical roman legion composition had the first line covered by the hastati followed by, in order, principes and triarii. Any sources I've always bumped into, and, of course, ...
18
votes
7answers
3k views

Why did England consistently adopt red as their primary colour for insignia and uniform?

Throughout the last 1000 years red has become a consistent motif for military clothing and heraldic imagery in England. What are the reasons for this? Are there economic, environmental (eg. dyes used ...
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0answers
135 views

How far could Mongolian horses travel in a day?

Help! I searched this up on Google and there was nothing, I even looked it up on the Wikipedia. I need information by tomorrow. It is for a project.
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vote
2answers
228 views

What military first used fire support bases?

What country first introduced the use of fire support bases (FSB) as seen, for example, during the Vietnam War? Is this a uniquely U.S. military doctrine that developed out of that specific war? The ...
2
votes
0answers
207 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 ...
4
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3answers
260 views

What was the dominant Soviet strategy for invading Germany in the 1980's?

Through archives and doctrinal publications, was there any bias towards attacking NATO through the North German Plain, the Fulda Gap, or something else?
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0answers
92 views

What was the significance of Bitchu-Takamatsu Castle from a military/political perspective?

What was a strategic intention for building Bitchu-Takamatsu Castle? Its placement in a swamp, in a basin surrounded by mountains might on three sides made the castle impregnable, but also quite ...
6
votes
1answer
177 views

Why was the FSSF (Devil's Brigade) multinational?

During WWII, the US and Canada formed a unit together called the First Special Service Force. But why? Especially considering that Canada fought under British leadership for nearly all other aspects ...
2
votes
1answer
104 views

What were the dimensions of the Lahitolle 95 mm cannon?

What were the dimensions of this gun? Specifically I need to know the height, the width, and the length of the entire piece, not just the barrel. Thanks in advance.
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votes
3answers
373 views

Did cavalry in China use spears instead of swords?

In Japan, yari (spear) seems inferior to katana. In Shogun: Total War, for example. Spear wielding troops are "cheaper" than Samurai. The spear wielding troops are peasants. Samurai are warior classes....
3
votes
2answers
218 views

How common was cavalry in medieval Brittany?

The House of Rohan was a dynasty of French nobles from Rohan, Brittany. The early branch existed from 12th century to about 15th century or so. My question is: to what extent did medieval Brittany (...
13
votes
2answers
439 views

Are these Red Army uniforms authentic?

This image attributes all three uniforms to the Red Army of 1918-1922. I wonder whether the proposed time frame and/or details authentic. For me the first one looks like it was taken from the 1940s ...
2
votes
4answers
481 views

From how far away could an experienced and skilled archer hit a man?

So I'm not asking about shooting into the enemy formation without specific target but targeting a single individual with a reasonable chance of success.
51
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3answers
14k views

How did Israel win the Six-Day War?

Considering Israel fought several Arab countries, which had troops largely outnumbering the Israeli, how did they manage to win the war decisively, with much fewer casualties than the Arab countries? ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

What happened to US's Lend-Lease machinery given to the Soviet Union?

Although most sources say that the Russians were supplied with great amounts of equipment and food as part of Lend-Lease program, I have not in all my years living in Russia seen US labeled machinery. ...
4
votes
4answers
425 views

How effective were siege guns and gun boats compared to field artillery in the 19th century?

On the first day of the Battle of Shiloh, some 45,000 Confederates under General Albert Sydney Johnston caught 33,000 men of Union General Ulysees S. Grant by surprise. They overran (and captured) one ...
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4answers
6k views

Did the U.S. and Soviet Union have a submarine battle in 1968?

There are books and articles about the Soviet submarine K-129 and the USS Scorpion in 1968, with various stories of attempted nuclear attacks and reprisals. Is there a factual narrative about these ...
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2answers
3k views

Were the “hussars” that Jan Sobieski used at the battle of Vienna actually elite troops?

Apparently, the decisive blow at the 1683 Battle of Vienna was struck by Jan Sobieski, with only 3,000 "hussars" (cavalry). This seems a bit hard to believe, given that the Turkish army had about 100,...
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2answers
498 views

What specifc training occurred for members of medieval military orders?

What were the dominant martial and clerical themes to the training of knights in medieval military orders? Were there specific fighting or training techniques, or weapons, adopted to meet religious ...