For questions related to: acts of organized violence between groups of people where the violence often has a political purpose; the impact of such violence on peoples/nations; and any other related questions.

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1answer
109 views

Sieges: Average Attacker to Defender Ratio in Middle Ages

I have read that attackers should outnumber defenders, 20 to 1 or better 50-100 to 1 in sieges in a book about conquest of İstanbul, though I can not find its reference right now. I remember that this ...
5
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1answer
83 views

Did MacArthur ever consider ordering Wainwright's troops to fight an insurgency war, rather than surrendering?

The American surrender of Wainwright's and Sharp's forces in the Philippines, during World War II, was the largest surrender of troops under the US flag in the history of the country. Reports at the ...
4
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1answer
75 views

Were slings used as melee weapons?

Slings were a common weapon in history. Cheap to construct and with ammo plentiful, they were very cost effective to field in great numbers. What I want to know is if there is any historical ...
5
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2answers
275 views

Why were Soviets so extremely effective snipers in WW2?

I found a top 10 sniper list from 2nd world war which contains 9 soviet soldiers, and only 1 finnish soldier. Namely: Stepan Vasilievich Petrenko Vasilij Ivanovich Golosov Fyodor Trofimovich ...
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4answers
1k 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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4answers
1k views

How did the Nazis plan to “defeat” America during World War II?

Yamamoto famously advised against a war with the United States, because he could tell how powerful they would be once they got going. The Nazis, however, declared war on the United States of their ...
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4answers
425 views

What were Britain's defensive plans for a Nazi invasion?

Despite the fact that it never ended up happening, a Nazi invasion of England was kind of a common sense inevitability for a while during the beginning of World War 2. Had the Battle of Britain gone ...
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3answers
1k views

How were fortification doors protected against fire?

Ancient and medieval fortifications are often shown to have wooden gate doors in the midst of their stone walls. Now granted, these doors are often massive and incredibly thick, but it still seems ...
2
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1answer
208 views

Devastating air strike over Middle Eastern country during religious holiday

I'm trying to remember a historical incident I read about but have a foggy recollection of. As far as I recall, during a religious holiday, a neighboring country launched an air strike against ...
3
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2answers
273 views

Why did the musket become the standard infantry combat weapon in European armies around 1700?

Could it have been because of the introduction of the bayonet, particularly in "socket" form? This question goes (well) beyond a related question. Until the introduction of a bayonet, musketeers ...
3
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0answers
168 views

Why sabres replaced swords after middle age [closed]

After the middle age sabres almost completely replaced swords in the europe. I don't see any reason why sabres are superior to swords used before so why that happened? By swords used before I mean ...
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2answers
154 views

Did the British Army burn any capitals other than Washington?

It has been written that the British invasion of Washington, and the burning of the Capitol, White House, and other public buildings, was in retaliation for American raids in Canada which caused the ...
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1answer
143 views

What were the Japanese defenses for an allied invasion of Kyushu?

At Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and other island bases of the Japanese forces, the Japanese created a network of deep tunnels and bunkers that made US attempts to evict Japanese forces extremely difficult, time ...
5
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1answer
100 views

Once formed, could a Confederate militia company find replacements to remain an effective force? How?

As I understand it, Confederate militia companies were formed of 100 men recruited at the beginning of the war often from within the same county. Disease, battle losses and desertions obviously took ...
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3answers
248 views

How do modern historians evaluate Sherman's “Total War”?

A major element of Sherman's march to the sea was his army's burning southern farms and cities. The rationale for what Sherman called "Total War," approved by Grant and Lincoln, was that it would ...
8
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1answer
202 views

Ancient China military sizes

When reading about warfare records in ancient China, I see a lot of references to "# of chariots" instead of "#k soldiers" or something like that. Do we know how big these armies actually were? As in, ...
4
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1answer
643 views

When did people first tried to limit weapons used in war? [closed]

The first example that I know is about chemical weapons after the first world war.
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8answers
488 views

Why didn't Germany attack US ports with U-boats during WW II?

During WW2, Germany owned ships along the eastern US coast with U-boats pretty much unopposed. So... why didn't Germany head into US ports and destroy infrastructure? Why did they keep their actions ...
20
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2answers
618 views

Classical battle sizes vs medieval battle sizes

Why did classical battles did tend to be larger than medieval ages? One particular example I am thinking of was the battle of Stamford bridge, which had around 30,000 participants, compared to the ...
8
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2answers
297 views

Were certain soldiers considered to be neutral by both sides?

Not sure how to word this... I remember back in high school learning about World War II, and I distinctly remember that my teacher made a mention that "medics would often have to clear the ...
5
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2answers
250 views

Was it not possible to exploit the gaps between each pre-modern melee formation?

Soldiers seem to be split into their respective companies or battalions but on the battlefield instead of presenting a complete front line they split up and leave gaps in the line between each ...
12
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3answers
422 views

What was the most recent country to be conquered and dissapear

In the Old Days, one country would conquer another and add it to its empire. What was the most recent country to be conquered and cease to exist as a country?
49
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3answers
8k views

When did bombs actually look like this?

I guess most are familiar with the cartoonish "bomb icon". It is used to warn of metaphorical or literal explosive danger and shows a deep black sphere with a smaller cylinder attached. That is where ...
6
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2answers
349 views

How did melee soldiers in the front rank of a formation fight without getting tired?

The Romans used a system of rotating out the front rank through a shield push. But how did other soldiers, for example the Greek Hoplites, fight in battles which often lasted hours without getting ...
6
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1answer
216 views

What deaths were caused by weapons deployed during a war long after the war has ended? [closed]

Inspired by Last death caused by World War I. Even as recently as 2013, we still have had casualties from abandoned munition stockpiles and the likes from WW1. I'm wondering if there are any wars ...
5
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2answers
233 views

What exactly were currours, and what were they used for?

In researching this question on Medieval light cavalry, I came across this reference to "currours" in Wikipedia, with no link: Many countries developed their own styles of light cavalry, such as ...
11
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3answers
455 views

Roughly, what percentage of arrows can be reused after a battle?

The English Longbowman according to some sources can shoot at/above 10 arrows per minute. Some of the medieval battles would last for many hours. Back-of-the-envelope math says the number of shots ...
4
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2answers
413 views

What was the combat effectiveness of German infantry in the western front of the Second World War?

I am specifically looking for statistics that estimate man for man what Wehrmacht infantry units were worth compared to allied infantry (principally British and American) after the opening of the ...
4
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1answer
122 views

What was the custom/consensus regarding irregular combatants 19th century?

Immediately prior to the battle of Sedan, the German soldiers who captured the town of Bazeilles executed a number of armed civilians who had been firing on German troops that day. This happened in ...
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4answers
472 views

Why was the the sack of cities acceptable?

When reading history, it seems that the sacking(killing citizens ) of a city after a successful siege was a common and accepted practice... Why was it acceptable?
8
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1answer
441 views

How did Aztec armor and weaponry match up to the Spaniards?

If you discount the germs and the gunpowder, how did the average Aztec warrior match up against the average Spaniard facing him? As I understand it European metallurgy was considerably more advanced, ...
7
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2answers
377 views

Did any armies systemically favor axes/hammers over swords?

In fantasy literature there are plenty of examples of cultures (such as the Dwarves of Lord of the Rings) who favor axes or hammers above swords in combat. Did any historical army follow that ...
1
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1answer
133 views

Was the 18th century Russian peasant braver; or simply more afraid of Cossacks?

Frederick the Great famously noted after the Battle of Zorndorf that "It's easier to kill the Russians than to win over them." For that same battle the Russian commander (William Fermor) is noted as ...
9
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3answers
312 views

What went on during multi-year sieges?

You hear all the time in ancient history about cities or fortresses being besieged for a year, or two years, or even many years such as the sieges of Tripoli or Carthage or Drepana. I'm wondering, ...
12
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2answers
629 views

Why were the Huns so successful at siege warfare but the Goths were not?

I am listening to Mike Duncan's podcast titled "The History of Rome" and in it he mentioned that it is kind of a mystery that the Huns were so successful at siege warfare but the Goths were not. Both ...
6
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2answers
574 views

Did American forces specifically target officers during the revolutionary war?

There is a story that says that American revolutionaries fought unconventionally against the British, including targeting their officers, which was not done between European forces. Is this true or ...
12
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3answers
2k views

What forces/incentives drove the Mongols to conquer a much larger land territory than they could comfortably settle or rule?

Internet resources on the Mongol Empire usually dwell on the Mongol conquests of a huge mass of territory. Unfortunately, seldom are the reasons behind the conquests explained. One gets the impression ...
7
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1answer
203 views

Battle of Xiaoting: was Shu's invasion doomed from the start?

The Battle of Xiaoting was one of the three major battles of China's Three Kingdoms period; after the kingdom of Wu invaded Jing province a few years earlier, the state of Shu amassed an army to ...
27
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4answers
2k views

How did Genghis Khan's army feed so many horses?

The average horse eats 10-20 pounds per day, according to this pet website. Considering the fact that the horses may have to eat even more because of the hard traveling they had to endure, it's likely ...
10
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2answers
415 views

When did the parole of prisoners of war become unacceptable?

Prisoners of war in earlier centuries, especially officers, could be given temporary or permanent freedom in return for various conditions: A parole. This overlaps with the modern civilian use of ...
3
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3answers
2k views

How effective were longbow archers against plate-armored infantry?

It is quite common knowledge that longbows most likely did not penetrate the plate armor worn by the French chevaliers at Poitiers and Agincourt. However, how effective were these longbows in ...
6
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2answers
193 views

Organisation of mercenaries

In the War of the roses how were mercenary units organised and administrated? Were they paid per lance, archer, knight etc? Would there be a King's representative who would go the mercenary ...
6
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7answers
976 views

Battles won by much weaker side [closed]

I'm interested in battles that were won by much weaker side or even lost by it, but for example making the stronger side to keep fight against this weaker force and thus providing it strategic ...
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1answer
3k views

Do Navy Seals die in training? [closed]

I didn't know where to ask this but i've heard that sometimes Navy Seals die during traing? Is this true? The same goes fro Green Berets.
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Patriotism and how it contributed to the recruitment process in WW1

I know that a lot of people joined the army (and the navy) in World War 1 due to patriotism – the will to fight for your country. This shows that a lot of people, even those who were unemployed or ...
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9answers
1k views

Why were people from the Asian Steppes able to militarily dominate Europeans on a repeated basis?

From the Huns through the Mongolians, why were nomadic people from the east able to create such havoc in Europe? Was it an endless 'first mover' advantage with horse domestication? Was it a higher ...
2
votes
2answers
307 views

How did the triple entente manage such a large breakthrough in WW1?

In WW1, there have been many attempts at breakthroughs in order to evade the trench system. The battle of Somme was one of the less successful attempts at a German breakthrough. Yet, before USA ...
4
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1answer
807 views

Machine gun specs in WW1

I know that machine guns were a vital part of world war 1. I know that they were mainly used in the trenches as fixed position weapons. However, I would like some specifications about the machine gun ...
6
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1answer
2k views

How were dogs used in WW1

I know that dogs were used in WW1. I know that they weren’t vital, but didn’t play a reasonable role in helping the soldiers in the trenches. However, there is one thing that confuses me: How were ...
4
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3answers
3k views

Why did Germany attack Neutral Belgium in the first world war?

I have a basic idea about the Schieffen plan and I know that Germany attacked Belgium in the First world war. But I am slightly confused about this topic, as despite the fact that the schieffen plan ...