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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7answers
688 views

Has the American Civil War led to any significant innovations in 19th-century warfare?

The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a major conflict with a long string of battles. Has it led to any innovations in 19th-century warfare? It has been pointed out that it may have been the first ...
6
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2answers
303 views

When and where was the first naval gunnery school/college established?

While I have found that the first naval battle including ship mounted cannon occurred in 1338. It would seem that the use of such weapons did not turn the tide of the battle. Further reading brought ...
7
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11answers
2k views

Destruction of iconic structures in wars of the 20th century and later

I was thinking about this question I just asked, and I wonder whether the potential destruction of such an iconic building is even a realistic fear. Has there been any incident of deliberate ...
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2answers
229 views

Medical personnel fighting on the battlefield

How common was it for Red Cross medical personnel to take part in military action on the battlefields (in both World Wars)? How was this received by the combatants (friendly and enemy)? The question ...
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2answers
401 views

Was a technological advantage more effective in European warfare than in China's history?

In Europe, the Spartans won against the Persians due to hoplites fighting in a phalanx formation. Then the Spartans were defeated by Macedonians because the Macedonians used longer spears called ...
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0answers
85 views

Was it ever claimed by a scholar that the Byzantines intentionally missed the battle of Civitate? [closed]

I have seen a claim to this effect in a popular article but it strikes me as very very odd. So - Was it ever claimed by a scholar that the Byzantines intentionally missed the battle of Civitate? ...
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10answers
2k 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 ...
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1answer
194 views

How did Greeks make greek fire? [closed]

How did Greeks make Greek fire? Did they put oil in the bottle because it could burn on water due to its ability of floating on it? This is an interesting topic, although how do we put the fire out? ...
4
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1answer
179 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 ...
8
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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 ...
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0answers
78 views

Is the evidence for the thesis in SLA MArshall's Men Against Fire compelling? [closed]

SLA Marshall wrote that only a small percentage of infantry engaged with the enemy actually fired at their opponent. This has been denied by veterans and debated by others ever since. Is the ...
4
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1answer
461 views

How long did it take to repair wooden war ships after battle in the 1600's to 1800's? [closed]

How long did it take to repair wooden war ships (like the galleon) in the 1600's to 1800's? I'm interested mainly in repairs needed due to cannon fire (hull damage, mast damage, etc), or even if it ...
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9answers
15k views

How severe were the casualties in ancient/medieval battles?

I've heard that in most battles prior to the introduction of gunpowder weapons, the casualties were usually very low (around 5% even in long battles) prior to the moment when someone's formation was ...
5
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0answers
295 views

Was Napoleon's own strategy the cause of his downfall? [closed]

I've been reading Rothenburg's The Art of Warfare in the Age of Napoleon and Parker's Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500-1800, and while I realize there were a ...
10
votes
3answers
619 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 ...
2
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1answer
202 views

What are some other celebrated military failures, besides Gallipoli? [closed]

The Gallipoli campaign in WWI is a hugely important event in Australian and New Zealand history. 2015 is the 100th anniversary of the landings and there are huge commemorations planned to mark the ...
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3answers
10k 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 ...
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3answers
2k views

Comparison of naval fleet strengths during the Napoleonic wars

Do we have knowledge on the number of vessels in the armadas of the various belligerents of the Napoleonic wars? Information on the types of boats, captured vessels, and sunk vessels will also be ...
5
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1answer
259 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 ...
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2answers
693 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
946 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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2answers
1k 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 ...
3
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2answers
596 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 ...
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4answers
1k 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 ...
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1answer
245 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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0answers
334 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
203 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
328 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
votes
1answer
141 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
326 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
325 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, ...
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3answers
7k 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 ...
8
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2answers
367 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 ...
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4answers
4k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
322 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 ...
13
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3answers
629 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?
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2answers
624 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
949 views

How did ancient armies keep the route of supplies to their battlefield?

How did ancient armies like the Romans, Greeks, Persians, Chinese, or even in later times, the Arabs and Mongols keep the route of supplies going to support their armies marching through the vast ...
6
votes
1answer
283 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 ...
13
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3answers
834 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Most fought over piece of land? [closed]

If you divided the Earth into plots of (say) 1 square mile each, and looked at the history of each one over (e.g.) the last 2000 years, which one would have seen the most years with war? If there is a ...
4
votes
2answers
889 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
votes
1answer
162 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 ...
13
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3answers
6k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
1k 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, ...
12
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2answers
2k 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 ...
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6answers
3k 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 ...
2
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1answer
193 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
497 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, ...