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

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1answer
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Where did the design of the US Colonel insignia come from?

I've been trying to figure out why the insignia for a colonel in the U.S. military is an eagle. Obviously, there is the connection with the seal of the united states. But why is it used by the colonel ...
10
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2answers
1k 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
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3answers
672 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 ...
14
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6answers
8k views

Why did the scutum fall out of use?

Wikipedia says By the end of the 3rd century the rectangular scutum seems to have disappeared. Why did the rectangular scutum design fall out of use? Why was the shield design not commonly ...
13
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5answers
2k views

Military intervention in government in India and Pakistan

Although India and Pakistan became independent states simultaneously, they have been travelling in different paths after that. Many believe that democracy is a major reason for the difference in ...
7
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1answer
643 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 ...
18
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13answers
17k views

What was the ratio of German to Soviet losses on eastern front during different stages of the war?

I've read somewhere that the ratio of Soviet to German casualties on the eastern front was 1.4 for the whole war. But what about data for different stages of the war? (this ratio wasn't constant after ...
2
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1answer
197 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 ...
4
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1answer
267 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, ...
10
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2answers
600 views

What kind of armor did the soldiers use in pre-gunpowder Southeast Asia?

The tropical Southeast Asia (especially the Malay world, e.g. Malaysia/Indonesia) are very hot, and apparently wearing European-style full armor is very uncomfortable in hot climates. What kind of ...
11
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2answers
991 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 ...
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2answers
2k 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?
4
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1answer
299 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 ...
8
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3answers
315 views

Identification of ship and seaplane type

Can anyone give clues on the type of ship and seaplane and the time frame?
1
vote
1answer
129 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?
6
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1answer
1k views

Why has SACEUR exclusively been an American officer?

After reading this BBC article about the new SACEUR, General Philip Breedlove, United States Air Force, it occurred to me that SACEUR has always been an American officer. Supreme Allied Commander ...
6
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1answer
373 views

Did the Carthaginians have the option of sending Hannibal to Sicily?

Sicily was a major focus of the First and Second Punic Wars. The first Punic war ended with Carthage handing over major grain-growing areas on the island, and the port of Lilybaem to Rome as spoils of ...
3
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1answer
669 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, ...
4
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3answers
869 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 ...
13
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1answer
2k 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 ...
14
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2answers
1k views

What are those X in top of the flag?

Well, I was wondering. What are those crosses in the top of the flag when we visualize military battleplans? For instance, take a look in a map of the Battle for El Alamein: The Free French ...
-1
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1answer
142 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 ...
6
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5answers
2k views

Why were rockets not popular as part of artillery until 20th century?

Why were rockets not extensively used throughout the world like cannon until the 20th century? Maybe one may ask the reason for pointing out 20th century. I guess it's fair enough after thinking about ...
3
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2answers
311 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 ...
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6answers
477 views

Did it make sense to bring along infantry to reinforce attacking cavalry before the introduction of firearms?

At the Civil War battle of Brandy Station, the attacking Union cavalry general Alfred Pleasanton brought along some 3,000 infantry to even the odds, because his cavalry was outnumbered 9,500 to 8,000 ...
2
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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 ...
41
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10answers
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Why did Hitler not invade Sweden?

I was looking over a map of where the Nazis invaded and they never attacked Sweden. I was wondering why since it seems like a much better strategic move than invading Russia. Why might they have ...
2
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0answers
126 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
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0answers
183 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 ...
8
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3answers
578 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 ...
3
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2answers
244 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?
5
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0answers
77 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
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2answers
373 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 ...
9
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2answers
387 views

How Did Modern Weapons Change the Dynamics of City Fighting?

In medieval times, an attacking army that had breached the walls/outer defense of a city, could enter it and overrun the defenders at relatively little cost. A major modern exception was the battle ...
16
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3answers
5k 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 ...
11
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1answer
741 views

What are the origins of sizing a squad in modern foot drill?

I recently came across this question "What decides who goes in the front rank in a line infantry formation?" and while trying to form an answer to it I realised I was making the assumption that the ...
1
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1answer
216 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 at ...
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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 ...
6
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1answer
2k views

What rank is S. SGT in the Army Air Force during WW2?

I am looking over my Grandfather's DD214 (Military Discharge Paperwork) from WW2. His grade says "S. SGT" I am trying to figure out his rank conclusively. Nowhere on the DD214 does it display an E-5 ...
3
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1answer
900 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 ...
4
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1answer
149 views

Identification of location and type of bi-plane

Could the location be on the west coast or in Hawaii? 1920s time frame?
24
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9answers
20k views

How severe were the casualties in ancient/medieval battles?

I've heard that in most battles prior to the introduction of gunpowder weapons, the casualties were usually very low (around 5% even in long battles) prior to the moment when someone's formation was ...
2
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1answer
222 views

What are some other celebrated military failures, besides Gallipoli? [closed]

The Gallipoli campaign in WWI is a hugely important event in Australian and New Zealand history. 2015 is the 100th anniversary of the landings and there are huge commemorations planned to mark the ...
10
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2answers
444 views

Which were the last castles to be besieged and fall in the United Kingdom?

Which were the last castles to be besieged and fall in the United Kingdom? I'm separating the two in case a castle was besieged unsuccessfully most recently.
9
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1answer
255 views

Did the more experienced hoplites fight in the front or the back of the phalanx?

I have heard two conflicting ideas with regard to phalanx fighting formations, both from respectable history shows. One source indicates that the more mature/experienced men fought at the front ...
8
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1answer
1k views

How large were the East India Company armed forces?

The British East India Company maintained an armed force large and competent enough to subdue and control Mughal India, but just how large was it? How comparable was it to contemporary national ...
8
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1answer
779 views

What was the summer uniform of the streltsy?

The Russian streltsy (shooters) of 17th century are usually depicted in winter uniform wearing fur hats and dress. What was their summer uniform?
4
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2answers
870 views

Were sailing ships of the line understaffed with gunnery crews so that there were not enough for 2 broadsides?

Is there any data to support or refute the hypothesis that sailing ships of the line were only complemented with enough gunnery crews to simultaneously fire 1 broadside but not 2? If it matters for ...
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2answers
195 views

Did the chariot drop in importance between bronze age Greece and the iron age Greece? Why, why not?

In what I've read about classical Greece - about Persian wars, Pelaponesian wars, Battle of Leuctra, Macedonia conquest...etc. - military discussion seems to be mostly about the Phalanx with a bit ...
7
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2answers
543 views

Were there any battles in Continental Europe that were decided by “peasants with pitchforks?”

I can think of one such battle in the British Isles; the battle of Bannockburn in 1314 in Scotland. In that battle, a 14,000-man English army despoiled a bunch of "homeless" vagrants on their way to ...