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

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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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8answers
328 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" ...
4
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2answers
376 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
1k 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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4answers
595 views

Does Grant's use of attrition tactic support his reputation as a general?

In 1864, General Ulysees S. Grant began the "final campaign" against Richmond using a war of attrition. That's because of the Union's 2-to-1 numerical advantage against a qualitatively superior ...
7
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2answers
319 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
301 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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3answers
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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 ...
9
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3answers
796 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 ...
8
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1answer
135 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 ...
12
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2answers
542 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
333 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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7answers
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Why weren't aircraft carriers utilized during D-day?

Why were aircraft carriers not used during and following D-Day? They could have added a great deal of range to the air support operations.
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3answers
413 views

Why did Robert E. Lee stop offensive maneuvers?

According to the Wikipedia article on the Battle of Gettysburg, after that battle Robert E. Lee stopped making offensive maneuvers and rather started reacting to Union offensives. Is this 100% true, ...
6
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1answer
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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9answers
5k 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 ...
16
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6answers
2k views

How did a besieged city/castle defend itself vs. catapulting diseased dead bodies into it?

I was a bit shocked to read that diseased dead bodies/animals where catapulted into besieged castles/towns. Biological warfare in the middle ages. But this "method" of warfare had probably a lot of ...
43
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4answers
7k 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? ...
3
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1answer
236 views

How was Australia able to start to demobilize in 1944?

Frank Welsh's mammoth history of Australia, Great Southern Land notes that From June 1944 ... the Australian government began demobilising its soldiers. Welsh doesn't go into detail but I'm ...
7
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2answers
553 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 ...
16
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1answer
1k views

What is this military patch with the silhouette of a pegasus on it?

I found this patch among my grandfather's things. I know it's a military patch of some sort because it was with his war memorabilia. He served in the European theater during WWII, if that helps at ...
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5answers
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What new technology/tactics allowed the breakthrough of the trenches in WW I western front?

Reading the answers to this question about WW1 Western Front, it appears that breaking through the trenches was a very difficult task to do. How did the Allies finally make it? Was it the invention of ...
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3answers
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Why was the Western Front so static in World War I?

Once the German advance was halted, neither side could seriously advance for two years. This seems like an extraordinarily long time. Why didn't anyone succeed at going around the trenches or striking ...