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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

2
votes
2answers
174 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 this image, with the stars in the upper left portion of the flag: However, when the flag is displayed as a ...
10
votes
3answers
2k 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
votes
1answer
207 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
183 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 ...
28
votes
10answers
6k 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
278 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. ...
5
votes
2answers
385 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 ...
13
votes
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 ...
10
votes
6answers
979 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 ...
29
votes
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 ...
7
votes
0answers
70 views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
777 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
424 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
119 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 ...
9
votes
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,...
7
votes
1answer
369 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
85 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 ...
-3
votes
3answers
381 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
votes
2answers
156 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
338 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
292 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
votes
2answers
169 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
votes
1answer
154 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 ...
19
votes
5answers
6k 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,...
20
votes
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 ...
17
votes
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?
8
votes
2answers
346 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
415 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 ...
19
votes
8answers
7k 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.
2
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
21
votes
4answers
85k views

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

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: ...
1
vote
1answer
207 views

How did the Romans build their armies for the First Punic War?

The Romans built a great and vast empire, my question is what were some of the military techniques they used to build, train, and use their army? Specifically during the period of the First Punic War. ...
37
votes
6answers
10k views

Why did navies abandon armour?

Over the Cold War the many navies of the world moved away from significant;y armouring their ships besides splinter protection for some vital spaces, with a few exceptions. What prompted the shift ...
13
votes
7answers
37k views

Why have officers in the U.S. army tended to “top out” at the level of Major?

In the U.S. army, something like 75%-80% of newly-commissioned Second Lieutenants are promoted to First Lieutenant (around age 25), perhaps 75%-80% of First Lieutenants are promoted to Captain (ages ...
8
votes
1answer
269 views

Did Soviet Republics like Kazakstan and Azerbaijan have their own military units?

Were Soviet units typically separated by national origin or were all men from all Soviet nations mixed together in divisions? I'm not talking just through World War II, but from the 1940s all the way ...
2
votes
0answers
84 views

Who participated in the Gran Sasso raid/Operation Eiche?

I am looking for a list of all soldiers who participated in the Gran Sasso raid/Operation Eiche. The Wikipedia list only the 4 who received Knight's Cross, and the 9 with German Cross in Gold. But ...
1
vote
1answer
177 views

Which country/empire was the dominant hegemon for the longest time? [closed]

Say the USA has been the worlds most dominant power for 75 years. Before that one could argue the British Empire during the Victorian era, approx 1810 to 1915, was the world dominant power. Other ...
4
votes
1answer
186 views

Identification of Aircraft, Weimar, Germany, May, 1945

Identification of Aircraft, Weimar, Germany, May, 1945. ck.imgur.com/S83TI.jpg
27
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
131 views

What happened to the Swiss troops in French service after August 10, 1792?

We know that the Swiss guards were disbanded in the aftermath of the Assault on the Tuileries, on August 10, 1792, and all other Swiss troops in French service followed soon thereafter. We also know ...
2
votes
0answers
130 views

Special name for two rows of knights with raised swords?

Is there a special name to describe the formation of knights that form a row of arches with their swords (for a special person to walk through)? Was such a formation historically accurate, or only ...
10
votes
3answers
779 views

What percentage of men, ages 18 to 35, from the northern states served in the Union Army?

In my genealogy research, I can assume with some certainty that if a white southern family had sons born between 1835 and 1846 there is a pretty good chance that all of them will have served in the ...
12
votes
3answers
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
190 views

Was it possible for one medieval warrior to defeat several opponents? [closed]

I think that an experienced and equipped warrior (mercenary, for example) had no chance against two or more equal opponents in fight. But what if his opponents were three peasants? I heard a theory ...
6
votes
1answer
206 views

Did Jiang Baili receive a sword from Emperor Meiji for graduating first of his class?

Jiang Baili was a famous Chinese military trainer who attended the Imperial Japanese Army Academy. Some sources, including the Wikipedia article, claims that he graduated top of the class and that ...
8
votes
2answers
354 views

Did many Nationalist Chinese soldiers fight in the Korean War on the Communist side?

Some years ago I was told by some Taiwanese friends that Nationalist troops who had surrendered to the Communists during or after the Chinese Civil War were made to fight for the Communists rather ...
23
votes
4answers
2k views

Military brothels in WW2

Did any of the other belligerents of WW2 besides Japan and Germany provide their troops with authorised military brothels?
21
votes
6answers
3k 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, ...
5
votes
1answer
363 views

Was 18th century Prussia really so militarily obsessed?

I'm reading A Military History of Germany by Martin Kitchen, and I was surprised at the description of 18th century Prussia. The country is described as a North-Korea like military obsessed nation, ...
24
votes
5answers
6k 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 ...