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

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Military Strategy of Carnot

I'm listening to Mike Duncan's podcast, Revolutions, episode 3.44, and in it, he details the misfortunes of the French bumbling about the wrong side of the Rhine. According to Duncan, Carnot, now a ...
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4answers
223 views

Were there many “co-headed” commands where the senior member was younger than the junior?

When one thinks of "partnership" commands, one may think of the Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene. Perhaps Hindenburg and Ludendorf in World War I Or Robert E. Lee and "Stonewall" Jackson. In each ...
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4answers
2k views

Is there evidence Muslim soldiers fought in the Continental Army?

It is said that Muslims fought for the American Revolution, by serving in the Continental Army. Wikipedia cites a few names: Records from the American Revolutionary War indicate that at least a ...
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1answer
137 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.
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1answer
212 views

Has ramming ever been considered a viable tanking tactic?

Has any nation's tank doctrine ever used ramming as a primary or secondary means of combat? I'm aware that Soviet tanks at the Battle of Kursk would ram German tanks once they (the Soviets) ran out of ...
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4answers
542 views

Why did the German air force lose experienced pilots faster than the Allies, even though they were defending their home airspace?

During the 1940 Battle of Britain, German and British planes shot down each other at roughly a one to one rate. This gave an advantage to the British because all of the surviving German pilots shot ...
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6answers
6k views

Why did the Roman military start to favour swords over the spear phalanx?

Up until the rise of the Roman Republic, the Greek phalanx was considered the dominant form of military tactics. Evolution had simply favoured longer and longer spears: by the time of Alexander, ...
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1answer
77 views

The end of swords as infantrymen sidearms [duplicate]

When did infantrymen of Western armies cease to be issued of swords as sidearms (and backup weapons), on a general basis?
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9answers
16k views

Why did archery not make a comeback when armor was phased out in the 18th century?

Even if we account for the argument that it is much more tedious to train a man to use a bow than a musket, why then did the arbalest not make a comeback? Its effective range - reportedly at 300m, is ...
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2answers
160 views

Are there any specific events which grants a soldier permission to execute a prisoner on sight? (Like in the movie: Fury)

I recently watched the movie Fury. Although the movie is full of historical inaccuracies as usual, there are some events looked very questionable to me. In a scene, the U.S. soldiers capture a ...
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4answers
432 views

Examples of defense without walls

Walls (or physical barriers) appear to be the standard defensive structure for a city in order to keep invaders out. Are there examples of cultures/cities that successfully defended themselves without ...
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12answers
15k 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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6answers
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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
2k 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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3answers
259 views

Is there a precedent for private companies maintaining a military force? [closed]

In general we think of Corporations as not acting on nations with force, simply with legal power. (Perhaps they maintain a fleet of security guards). We generally think of Corporations as leaving the ...
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5answers
8k views

Why did trench warfare accept deadlocks?

As someone who has never studied military history or strategy I find it very hard to understand how and why both sides got locked into relatively short lines of heavily defended trench warfare with ...
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4answers
1k views

What happened to aircraft if their aircraft carrier was damaged?

Obviously if a plane takes off from a carrier but can't return because the carrier is damaged or sunk, it has to go somewhere. Or if it can't reach an airfield, its crew would need to ditch it and ...
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4answers
658 views

Why was the US unable to win in Korea? [closed]

The US had just defeated 1 Axis power and contributed greatly to the defeat of another. Its soldiers saw wide ranging combat experience over the 3 years in conflict against veteran soldiers of Germany ...
2
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1answer
112 views

Which countries have used rail bikes in their armed forces?

Some 15 years ago, I read an article on "rail biking" and as part of the article it showed pictures of soldiers riding the rails on rail bikes! I believe the photos were from between 1850 and 1950. ...
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11answers
7k views

Lost battles - under which conditions does the losing party actively commemorate a battle?

I am trying to understand under which conditions battles are predominantly remembered and commemorated by the losing party (who acknowledge their defeat), not the victors. This is not who gets to ...
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5answers
432 views

How Did The Mongol Empire Get So BIG?

Undoubtedly, the largest empire in the existence of human history was the Mongol Empire, once a hodgepodge of warring nomadic tribes from Central Asia before banding together under the banner of ...
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3answers
1k views

How much firepower did the British navy represent in 1940?

A question was recently asked about how Britain would have defended herself against a cross-channel invasion by Hitler. A key element in the British defense would be the Royal Navy. At the beginning ...
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6answers
7k 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 Europe,...
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4answers
1k views

What was the origin of the roles of “lieutenant” officers?

A "captain" is a commander of a basic unit, a company in the military. As such, it makes sense that he will have one or more "lieutenants," first and second lieutenants that is. A major commands the ...
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3answers
341 views

Origin/reason for reversed flag on right shoulder?

Virtually any time the American flag is depicted or flown, it has the orientation seen in the following image, with the stars in the upper hoist (left) quarter of the flag: However, when the flag ...
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3answers
3k views

Are there military commanders other than Khalid ibn al-Walid who have never been defeated?

I was reading about Khalid ibn al-Walid, a commander in the Muslim's era. What is interesting about him is that he was never been defeated in any of the hundred battles that he encountered. Are there ...
5
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1answer
237 views

What would my 2x Great Grandfather and his unit in the British Army have been doing in South Africa between 1900-1902?

My 2x Great Grandfather, James Walter Juden, served in the Royal Sussex Regiment from 1889 to 1902. I have a copy of his service records. Which I have downloaded from FindMyPast, the images can be ...
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1answer
197 views

What would my 2x Great Grandfather and his unit in the British Army have been doing in India between 1891-1897?

My 2x Great Grandfather, James Walter Juden, served in the Royal Sussex Regiment from 1889 to 1902. I have a copy of his service records. Which I have downloaded from FindMyPast, the images can be ...
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3answers
316 views

Why did India use Soviet military hardware during the Cold War?

A former British colony, I'd have thought that India would use Western military hardware during the Cold War. In fact, they fought shoulder-to-shoulder with British soldiers against the Japanese. ...
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2answers
388 views

Why weren't R-4 helicopters used in the European theatre in 1944-5?

Early helicopters it seems were deployed by the American military in WW2 in the Burma and China theatres, and in the South Pacific. Their principal use would appear to have been small scale rescue ...
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6answers
2k views

Is chain mail expensive?

I've read many textbooks and talked to plenty of people who explained to me that making thousands of rings, then interlocking them is terribly expensive. This confuses me because history had Vikings ...
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6answers
993 views

How to explain the Khalkhin Gol outcome in view of Soviet weakness and Japanese strength at that time?

Conventional wisdom says that the USSR was very weak in 1939/40/41, in large part due to the purges of the 1930s, ideological interference in the armed forces, and lack of equipment, preparation and ...
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4answers
5k views

Given their reputation for fighting to the last man in the Pacific, why did 700,000 Japanese troops surrender in Manchuria?

I just read this. It says: On August 8, 1945 ... the Soviet Union launched the invasion of Manchuria, a massive military operation mobilizing 1.5 million soldiers against one million Kwantung Army ...
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0answers
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Why didn't Emperor Gaozu of Tang let Crown Prince Li Jiancheng command battles more often?

When Emperor Gaozhu of Tang (唐高祖) was reigning, there were a number of battles that were helmed by his second son, Li Shimin(李世民) instead of the crown prince Li Jiancheng(太子李建成), such as: The ...
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2answers
927 views

Why did fighter pilots wear their hats lopsided during the World Wars?

In many photographs of flying aces of the two World Wars, they wear their hats in a lopsided manner instead of straight. Here's photos of Albert Ball, a British WWI era pilot, and Erich Hartmann, the ...
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4answers
430 views

Military training in the Hijaz during early Islamic era

The expansion of the Islamic rule during early Islamic era was quite impressive. Before 629, Muhammad's rule was limited to one city Medina. 15 years later, at the end of Umar's rule, the Caliphate ...
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2answers
125 views

When & what are the first recorded peacetime uses of soldiers?

Today, military personnel are often used as a labour force to fulfil various peaceful functions, given that most soldiers aren't preoccupied with fighting wars in the most peaceful period of human ...
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5answers
1k 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 War,...
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1answer
376 views

Why couldn't the UN lift the siege of Sarajevo?

The Siege of Sarajevo lasted for more than three years, and the people inside were very much trapped. This was in 1992, at which time the UN had ~40,000 troops, which it had mobilized for the specific ...
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1answer
87 views

Which leading Serbs and Croats argued against their own extremists in the wars 1992-95?

Looking back on the wars in Bosnia and Croatia twenty years on, and having read many of the histories of the period, I can't think of any accounts of commanders on either side behaving with vision or ...
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3answers
383 views

Why did leaders seem to overlook diseases in their campaigns?

During military campaigns in the 19th century many soldiers died of diseases. Why did the military leaders not seem to pay as much attention to the importance of supply to the army? Let me give some ...
3
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2answers
188 views

French Military uniform identification

I'm trying to identify the uniform in this picture of my great-great-great uncle Leon. The picture was taken some time between 1860 to 1890 we think. I've done image searches for uniforms from that ...
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6answers
350 views

How do nations maintain sovereignty over conquered nations?

After the battle of Hastings, William defeated the English with ~7000 men. What I don't understand fully, is how an army of 7000 can maintain control over England, which had around 1.7 million people ...
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2answers
313 views

When and why did tank crews cover their tank markings in WWII?

I'm currently working on a modeling project and would like to know why and when tank crews started to paint over their marking. I'm also interested in which force started the trend and why? I'm ...
2
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2answers
192 views

Did any country adopt a straight pull bolt-action rifle?

I know that Canada developed the Ross-rifle, but was it officially adopted? I'm also interested in adoption not only for infantry, but for any armed forces.
2
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1answer
159 views

Historical precedent for using bodyguards as special forces?

In many sci-fi stories such as Star Wars (before TFA invalidated it) featured emperors, leaders, and senators with personal bodyguards trained in martial arts and advanced weaponry that also doubled ...
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10answers
8k views

What's the advantage of the infantry column formation in the Napoleonic Wars?

In movies/books set in the Napoleonic Wars, the British are normally deployed into lines and the French into columns. The columns are usually the advancing ones, charging into the line as the line ...
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4answers
2k views

How long would the average sword last in the middle ages?

Assuming normal wear and tear, how long before a knight had to replace his sword?
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2answers
361 views

Why were the ship names “Scharnhorst” and “Gneisenau” used together?

In the German Navy (both the Kaiserliche Marine and Kriegsmarine), the two ship names of Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were used together for sister ships; for example the SMS Scharnhorst and Gneisenau ...
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2answers
431 views

When did the German people learn that they had a large, powerful military, in violation of the Versailles Treaty?

According to the terms of the Versailles Treaty at the end of the First World War, Germany's military was limited to a force so tiny as to be utterly irrelevant in any major conflicts. When Hitler ...