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

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What were the German “general” ranks in World War II?

The Anglo-American armies share ranks up to "full" (or four star) general. (The German army has ranks equivalent to those armies for non-general officers). The American army deviated from the English ...
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2answers
983 views

Military tactics specifically aimed against cavalry horses

Were tactics specifically aimed against horses common in past cavalry warfare and what forms did they take? For instance, did opponents try to harm (poison or shoot-them-first), distract (loud ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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1answer
197 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 ...
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2answers
303 views

Did the Gallic army besieged in Alesia conduct itself well when expecting relief?

During a Gallic revolution against Rome, a Gallic army of some 80,000 men took shelter in the fortress town of Alesia, where they were besieged by some 50,000 Romans under Julius Caesar. (His army may ...
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2answers
281 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 ...
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6answers
541 views

What advantages have motorized infantry enjoyed over standard infantry besides speed?

My understanding is that motorized infantry have greater combat value than "standard" infantry (foot soldiers armed with rifles, or perhaps machine guns), over and above their greater mobility. Do ...
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5answers
472 views

What incentives are in place for American soldiers to go fight in Iraq?

I am from Brazil, a country that has not fought any war since WW2. If you join the army, go fight in Iraq and then return, what will the USA pay you? Is there a health plan for life, a pension, or ...
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1answer
133 views

Were Russian recruits ever chained?

This paper contains the following remark: Recruits were then marched off, without proper care, to a destination that might be hundreds of miles away; initially they were branded and even ...
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1answer
262 views

Was the battle of Stalingrad “unique” in the annals of history?

I'm referring to the fact that BOTH sides ordered their troops to fight for the city "to the last man and last round." (Hitler). The Soviet Union's General Vasili Chuikov echoed this by saying "We ...
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1answer
508 views

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 ...
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1answer
206 views

What is “quarter column”

I'm watching a documentary on the Boer War and apparently, during the Victorian era, the British Army commonly employed their infantry in "quarter column". I've tried to look it up, but can't find ...
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1answer
242 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 ...
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1answer
595 views

Missing link in the German tank development?

As you know, the Leopard 1 was not the first tank of postwar Germany. Germany work on different new tanks. There are prototypes as medium tank Indienpanzer (later developed into a Swiss KW30 and its ...
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1answer
152 views

Identification of a treacherous general of 17th century China

My aunt is part of an informal discussion group interested in the history of China. Apparently, during the Ming dynasty in the 1600s, there was a general whose treachery (I the charge was he was ...
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1answer
753 views

Did the Soviet Union know when DEFCON levels changed?

The US military uses a scale of alert readiness called DEFCON, with DEFCON 5 being the lowest alert level and DEFCON 1 being the highest, preparing for imminent nuclear war. At least once during the ...
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4answers
158 views

Two Successive Coups?

Is there any country in which a coup has been overthrown by another coup? In specific I'm looking for a scenario in which: 1) A ruler was overthrown in a coup by person B 2) Person B left the ...
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1answer
165 views

British way in construction of AFV

Why have British tanks not changed very much? The USA have moved from the VSS, VVSS, HVSS (Lee and Sherman) suspensions to the torsion bar suspension (T26 and Patton family), USSR - from twin bogies ...
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5answers
322 views

Historical examples of significant no man's lands between states in perpetual conflict

What are some historical examples, if any, of large-scale (say > 10000 km squared) "no-man's lands" between states in perpetual conflict? These states would be mutually hostile, firmly divided ...
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4answers
247 views

Were there bows employed by tribes living in the desert, and if so, what were they made of?

For tribes that inhabited desert areas (e.g. Arabian Peninsula, Sahara, etc...), there seems to have been a problem: a good bow would likely require materials that would be hard to come by in the ...
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2answers
478 views

Why did the Monitor and Merrimac (aka Virginia) have such radically different designs?

This is something that's always baffled me. You have one ship that appears to sit just above the water with one little canon on a turret (the Monitor) and a second that sits high and is brimming with ...
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3answers
1k views

Was the US Navy larger in 1917, and if so, why?

Following the recent discussion in the third US Presidental Debate about the size of the Navy, there actually seemed to be a good discussion buried in there. How does the US Navy compare to its ...
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2answers
1k views

When people use spears to fight cavalry do infantry stab the horse or the rider?

I am just curious. In most games spear infantry is a "counter" against cavalry. How does that really work anyway? Any clips on actual cavalry fighting infantry that's historically accurate would be ...
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1answer
206 views

Gengkhis Khan armor secret

Gengkhis Khan the king of the Mongolian Empire used a specific kind of cloth material for his military fatigues. This cloth material worked as an armor and was an advantage for his soldiers to win ...
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3answers
350 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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1answer
917 views

Any notable battles fought with steel vs. bronze weapons?

In answering the question Was the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age violent I found out a few facts that I hadn't expected. Namely, that the early iron weapons weren't necessarily much ...
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2answers
290 views

In which situation is the broadside more preferable than every gun firing on their own time?

Mathematically, a ship should be able to fire more shots if each of the cannons fire at their fastest speed, instead of waiting for everyone to be ready, but it seems that a broadside is sometimes ...
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2k views

How did Medieval Armies survive the use of mail armor in the deserts of the Middle East?

Something that has long puzzled me is the use of full mail hauberks and the like in the Crusades. How did Crusaders and their various enemies avoid cooking inside their armor? I know many of them did ...
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2answers
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Why was the US so against Japanese aggression in China but did nothing about Germany in Europe?

The US was very vocal against Japanese aggression in China in the 1930's and early 1940's but said nothing against German aggression in Europe. The US finally placed an embargo on sending oil and ...
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4answers
200 views

Why are the police never responsible for guarding the Head of the State?

Why does the military provide the Head of State's honor guard? Why is the Head of State always accompanied by military personnel? Why don't the police escort the Head of State?
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1answer
461 views

What is the history of standing armies in India?

Specifically, the points I am looking answers to are: 1) What is the first recorded instance of a standing army in the Indian subcontinent. 2) When did it become a general practice to have standing ...
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2answers
238 views

What is the origination of the Forlorn Hope?

Going back to a comment I had made in the question on What were the types of sieges something I had seen often referred to in the Bernard Cornwell Sharpe series was the Forlorn Hope. Basically these ...
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302 views

What Were the Types of Sieges?

As I understand it, there were two types of sieges. One was where the attacking army would "camp," surrounding the city, and let the defenders run out of food. An example was Ulysses S. Grant's siege ...
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1answer
187 views

Was the “Mot Pulk” formation simply a propaganda ploy?

The "Mot Pulk" was a motorized formation used by the Germans during World War II. Based on when it was introduced (after heavy defeats in the USSR) and the vague descriptions that I've found, it ...
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1answer
254 views

Are there examples of well known medieval battles with very little archaeological evidence?

When I was researching the history of The Battle of Kulikovo (битва на Куликовом поле), I was struck by the seemingly complete dearth of available archaeological evidence at the site of the battle ...
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8answers
315 views

Is there a confirmed historic record of using “non-standard” live animals for military purposes?

Is there a confirmed historic record of using "non-standard" live animals for military purposes? To clarify, the following doesn't count due to either being standard or non-military: "Standard" ...
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0answers
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What was the end of Indian Army Leader Netaji Subash Chandra Bose? [closed]

I heard many things about Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, He was a great and brave man in india. But i dont the end of that great leader. Anyone Knows this..
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1answer
112 views

Explosive Ordinance Yield Over History

I'm writing an essay, and one of the elements of it has to do with the development of military technology throughout history. I've noticed that there is a quickly increasing and disturbing trend in ...
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1answer
2k 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 ...
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3answers
649 views

What Are the Dynamics of A “Forced March?”

In the "Art of War," Sun Tzu opined that if you put your army on a forced march of a certain speed, you will lose one-third of your troops along the way. A rough rule of thumb was that an army would ...
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1answer
1k views

“Musketeer” beard, mustache and hairdress - where did they originate?

This is a portrait of typical French musketeer, with typical triangle beard, mustache and long wavy hairs. I wonder where this fashion originates from? Is not it the Byzantine Empire where such ...
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3answers
186 views

How does a country give “aid” to another?

This may not be historical because it's a contemporary event. However, it's been going on for a while. Suharto said, "No to your aids" (or something like that). For instance. Say US gives aid to ...
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1answer
126 views

Is/were there cases of hazing and violence against younger conscripts in armies of Arabic countries?

Is/were there cases of hazing and violence against younger conscripts in armies of Arabic countries? It is often advertised in the media that there are no such things in Israeli army, but what about ...
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3answers
329 views

Was there any separation between hunting bow technology and weapon bows?

Was there a clear trend throughout early history (say, before 1300 for Europe) to have (or ot have) separate technologies/materials for bows and arrows for hunting purposes, and same-period ...
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1answer
519 views

Could the Russians Have Done Better at the Battle of Tsushima Straits Than They Actually Did?

In 1905, during the Russo-Japanese War, a Russian fleet sailing all the way from the Baltic was annihilated by the Japanese fleet in the Tsushima Straits. The Russian fleet was larger, with thirteen ...
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934 views

About Naval Formations?

What are the differences between the "line ahead" and "line abreast" formations in naval warfare? Which is more likely to lead to the (advantageous) of "crossing the opponents' T" (or being crossed)?
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222 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 ...
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1answer
132 views

What Factors Contributed to the Success of Certain “Long March” Strategies?

In the middle of the 100 years' War, France's Bertrand du Guesclin reportedly used "countermarch" tactics successfully against the English. Another example was General National Greene's "March to the ...
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1k 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 ...
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2answers
519 views

When was the last cavalry charge?

When was the last instance of a unit of cavalry charging? I know that the Polish forces had units of cavalry during World War II and those were used against Nazi units but was there any later than ...