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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4
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0answers
117 views

When was the name of the Mexican war changed to Mexican-American war?

I learned recently (by having an answer marked wrong in Pub Quiz) that the conflict which was called the Mexican War when I was in school is now called the Mexican-American War. My question: When, ...
20
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6answers
6k views

Why did Sun Tzu believe you shouldn't wait besides a river when eager to fight?

In Sun Tzu's Art of War, Chapter 9 (The Army on the March), Verse 5, Tzu says If you are anxious to fight, you should not go to meet the invader near a river which he has to cross. My thinking ...
0
votes
2answers
297 views

How blockadable was the Strait of Gibraltar before Operation “Torch?”

I'm going to take it as an article of faith that if one power, e.g. Britain, controlled both the Rock of Gibraltar to the north, and the Algerian coast to the south, that this country would be able to ...
64
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7answers
18k views

Why didn't Germany blockade the Strait of Gibraltar during WW2?

The Strait of Gibraltar, at its narrowest point, is about 14 km wide. Why didn't Germany blockade it during WW2? It seems to me that only a handful of submarines and destroyers could do the job. Wasn'...
9
votes
1answer
346 views

Using a lance while on a charging horse against ground based enemy

In historic light cavalry, if a rider was using a lance, how many times could it be reused? How long before it became a liability by getting someone stuck on the end of it, or got snagged on a body ...
3
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1answer
141 views

What was the official reason for not invading France until the middle of 1944? [duplicate]

As I understand it, Stalin was urging the western powers to open a second front in France ever since Barbarossa begin in 1941 June. What was the official reason for waiting until 1944 June? They ...
15
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7answers
10k views

What is the longest effective range artillery weapon ever built?

What is the longest effective range artillery weapon ever built, regardless of wether it was actually used in combat?
25
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8answers
5k views

Why was PTSD not written about as much before the 20th century?

As late as WW1 there was very little literature surrounding PTSD/'shellshock'. In fact, the term was not coined until the 1980's. Considering the fact that warfare has been a part of human life since ...
10
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3answers
355 views

Have there been any joint US-Russia/Soviet military engagements post WW II?

Reportedly, now both the USA and Russia are engaged in military combat against Islamic State in Syria. Although contexts are different and it remains debatable exactly whom Russia are targeting, the ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

Did Western China have special-named martial arts during Islamic era?

Islam brought by Prophet Mohammad had reached (parts of) Central Asia in less than 50 years after his death. Central Asia, especially China, is nowadays famous of its martial arts. Even in some muslim ...
9
votes
1answer
294 views

Did hanging tyres from Mostar's bridge help at all to protect it?

At various points (e.g. 00:14) in this BBC documentary on Mostar's Stari Most (Old Bridge) you can see dozens of car tyres hanging from the bridge prior to its destruction in the Croat-Bosniak ...
28
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3answers
10k views

How did Europeans first acquire gunpowder?

I know that gunpowder was first invented in China around the 10th century, and it seems that gunpowder likely made its way to Europe via the "Silk Road." However, there doesn't seem to be a ton of ...
10
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3answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
281 views

What caused this cratering pattern at Hiroshima?

I was reading this article here, which includes an interesting photo of Hiroshima: The caption on the photo indicates that it was taken three weeks after the atomic bomb was dropped. The photo ...
6
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0answers
95 views

Has there ever been a mass migration of factories comparable to the USSR's in WW2?

When the Soviet Union was invaded in 1941, the authorities quickly decided to move their factories east across the Urals in anticipation of the Blitzkrieg. This saved a lot of production capacity and ...
5
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4answers
266 views

What was the purpose of a division staff in a US Navy Task Force/Fleet in WWII?

Just watching Midway, and in the scene of Raymond Spruance taking command of the Midway Task Force, I remembered an old question that nagged me. Apparently, the US Navy equipped task forces and fleets ...
9
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3answers
406 views

Why were swords used in battle?

I hope this isn't too general, but I am talking about any warfare before the invention of firearms. In a one vs one duel between sword and pole arm, it seems like the pole arm has significant ...
11
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11answers
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 ...
9
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4answers
313 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 ...
65
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2answers
7k views

Why were ships-of-the line not supposed to open fire on frigates during fleet actions?

Found this passage in the book Patrick O'Brian's Navy (p. 57) In the era of fighting sail there was an unspoken convention that line-of-battle ships did not fire on frigates during any fleet ...
3
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0answers
93 views

When Were Morions Last Worn By Spanish Soldiers?

Around when were morions last worn by Spanish soldiers, particularly in the Western Hemisphere? I can't find much about this online. I'm also wondering what they were replaced with at the time.
5
votes
1answer
653 views

What equipment and formations did the Muslim armies employ against the Crusades?

One can easily find articles on Wikipedia about typical tactical formations of Romans, but I haven't found such information on the Muslim world, specifically during the crusades. Did the Muslim armies ...
-3
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1answer
111 views

How many warriors (troops) did feudal vassals have to provide to the king? [closed]

In a medieval feudal system, how many knights and warriors did a vassal have to give to the king in time of war?
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1answer
83 views

Country/Area joins war after claiming neutral then attacking [closed]

I don't know a whole lot about wars or the history of, so this is possibly an easy question. Has there ever been an instance where a country or area that declared neutral, but instead of joining a war ...
37
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4answers
21k views

Did World War II-era bombs actually whistle?

In WWII-era films and newsreels, aerial bombs are often shown making a whistling sound as they fall; starting high pitched, then decreasing as the bomb approaches the Earth (example here, starting at ...
12
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9answers
2k 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 ...
70
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12answers
14k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
328 views

Are there any examples of balistas, scorpions, or other catapult-like weapons being used in field battles

I know balistas, scorpions, and other war machines were used for sieges, but I'm wanting to know if they were ever used as offensive weapons for field battles. I've heard about the Battle of Jaxartes, ...
4
votes
2answers
942 views

Why did the Line Infantry not use shields?

Why did soldiers in the line infantry in the 18th century not used shield as protection against the fire from the other line infantry ? I have seen that line infantry was used this way where the one ...
2
votes
1answer
163 views

What was the first recorded instance of burning a city or village in war?

I'm curious what the first recorded instance of a military putting a city or village to the torch. Certainly, war predates history, as does the tactic of destroying a dwelling, but I'm focused on ...
12
votes
1answer
440 views

Who was the first military force to use teppo (guns) in mass battles during the Sengoku-jidai?

Oda clan used guns to great efficency against the Takeda clan but which warlord (or faction) used them for the first time? I seem to recall that some of the sohei order had access to firearms and ...
4
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0answers
125 views

What's the correlation between an excessive unmarried male population and a big war breaking out?

I recently heard a commentator talking about the effects of the one-child policy in China. It went basically like this: For various economic and cultural reasons, it's considered better to have a ...
3
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1answer
401 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 ─░stanbul, though I can not find its reference right now. I remember that this ...
2
votes
1answer
183 views

What was the equivalent of “Shoulder Arms, Fire!” for archers in Ancient Rome?

Up until firearms were invented, armies used archers for similar purposes. A well-timed volley, when one can't see the sky for the flying arrows, can have a demoralizing effect on the enemy in ...
4
votes
1answer
261 views

When did cavalry soldiers unsheathe swords?

Most movies depict cavalry's unsheathing of swords before a cavalry charge, far before their swords can ever be used. Is this authentic? The Young Winston (1972) exemplifies the above, but bizarrely....
18
votes
7answers
3k views

What was the cleanest war ever fought?

If not all, the vast majority of wars in known history were dirty, cruel and with a lot of civilian casualties. That makes me wonder if there has ever been a "clean" war where both sides played "by ...
11
votes
4answers
917 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
228 views

What military first used fire support bases?

What country first introduced the use of fire support bases (FSB) as seen, for example, during the Vietnam War? Is this a uniquely U.S. military doctrine that developed out of that specific war? The ...
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5answers
1k views
5
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4answers
10k 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 ...
17
votes
7answers
15k views

How far could an English war bow shoot?

The range of the medieval weapon is not accurately known, with estimates from 165 to 228 m (180 to 249 yds) So says Wikipedia. I did read, however, in a semi-fictional, semi-historical work of ...
23
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8answers
9k 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 ...
2
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4answers
481 views

From how far away could an experienced and skilled archer hit a man?

So I'm not asking about shooting into the enemy formation without specific target but targeting a single individual with a reasonable chance of success.
12
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4answers
1k 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 pattern?...
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votes
1answer
172 views

Is there any historic record of using a wooden bow as a club?

Every time I see someone hit a person with the limb of a wooden bow in a movie I cringe. I mean first of all, it's way too light, thin and bendy to have any reasonable impact, but hollywood is as ...
2
votes
1answer
212 views

Was there ever a situation where members of two warring militaries were on leave in the same neutral location? [closed]

Or not necessarily on leave, but in some capacity where they were present in numbers but not allowed to fight?
14
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3answers
858 views

Supplies for army of Napoleon

How was such a great army, like the army of Napoleon on its way to Moscow, supplied with food and other needed things? Were they transporting it from France or maybe stealing from territory on their ...
10
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4answers
2k views

What Are the Dynamics of A “Forced March?”

In the "Art of War," Sun Tzu opined that if you put your army on a forced march of a certain speed, you will lose one-third of your troops along the way. A rough rule of thumb was that an army would ...
9
votes
4answers
727 views

When was the earliest recorded battle with the usage of gunpowder as an offensive weapon?

When was the earliest recorded battle (on script) with the usage of gunpowder (in any form) as an offensive weapon?
6
votes
1answer
858 views

When did people first try to limit which weapons could be used in war? [closed]

The first example that I know is about chemical weapons after the first world war.