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

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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 ...
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0answers
36 views

What is the difference between SAM, ASM, AAM and SSM missiles? [on hold]

Aside from where it's launched from and where it's going, of course. I mean, they're all missiles. Why don't just use the same missile to attack surface and air? Perhaps, their 'ingredients'? Thanks. ...
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2answers
246 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?
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2answers
585 views

Can you identify the plane in the picture?

Can you help identify this U.S. Air force four engine prop, numbered 2753.
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4answers
28k views

Does the number of legs in the air of a horse statue indicate how its rider died?

I have heard that the number of legs a horse has in the air in a statue indicates how the rider died. According to what I have understood: 2 legs in the air: rider died in battle 1 leg in the air: ...
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2answers
252 views

Identification of ship and seaplane type

Can anyone give clues on the type of ship and seaplane and the time frame?
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1answer
81 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?
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1answer
486 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 ...
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3answers
545 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 ...
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1answer
294 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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1answer
147 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, ...
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4answers
367 views

Why were the 8th Route Army better at fighting the Japanese than the Nationalists were?

Numerous sources have noted the (Communist) 8th Route Army's effectiveness in its resistance against Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) occupation; British, American observers, even Japanese commanders have ...
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4answers
299 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 ...
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3answers
155 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 ...
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6answers
2k 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 ...
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6answers
12k views

Why didn't Japanese infantrymen and samurai use shields?

Shields were considered useful in Europe until the development of full plate armor. Despite the fact that they never had anything comparable to plate armor, shield use was apparently abandoned by the ...
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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 ...
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2answers
238 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
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 ...
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1answer
111 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 ...
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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 ...
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8answers
4k views

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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2answers
106 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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3answers
1k views

Military brothels in WW2

Did any of the other belligerents of WW2 besides Japan and Germany provide their troops with authorised military brothels?
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4answers
3k 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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6answers
384 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 ...
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6answers
1k views

Why were troops with bayonets often effective against enemy cavalry even though the bayonet was a “secondary” weapon?

The bayonet was introduced in the late 17th century as a knife (later a short sword) attached to a musket, to enable the musketeer to protect himself when reloading their single-shot weapons. As such, ...
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10answers
12k 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 ...
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2answers
134 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 ...
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10answers
17k views

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 ...
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0answers
86 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 ...
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0answers
121 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 ...
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3answers
311 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 ...
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2answers
157 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?
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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 ...
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2answers
164 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 ...
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2answers
311 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
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 ...
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1answer
454 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 ...
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3answers
2k views

What prevented the Mongolian Empire from expanding into Europe?

The Mongolian Empire reached quite a vast extent according to the map below and leaders such as Genghis Khan seemed to defeat all their enemies consistently. Yet, the empire never extended into ...
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2answers
1k views

World War 1 Indian propaganda posters

In World War 1, because war broke out between the triple entente and the central powers (and they happened to have a lot of foreign colonies), the allies made posters to recruit soldiers from all ...
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1answer
124 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 ...
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71 views

What percentage of the Mongol army consisted of foreign mercenaries, and subjugated peoples forced into service?

Mostly referring to the armies involved in the large scale invasions of Europe, the Middle East and southeast Asia. Did the Mongolic and Turkic tribes alone have the manpower to launch successful ...
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1answer
115 views

How was Takeda defeated at the Battle of Nagashino

The 1575 Battle of Nagashino resulted in the evntual end of the Takenda clan during the sengoku jidai in Japan. In the movie Kagemusha the Takeda cavalry charges guns and is devastated. The ...
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2answers
260 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 ...
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6answers
6k 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 ...
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3answers
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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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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1answer
798 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 ...
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1answer
135 views

Identification of location and type of bi-plane

Could the location be on the west coast or in Hawaii? 1920s time frame?