Questions on historical weapons, their use and significance.

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44
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11answers
12k views

Did the Soviets excel in one area of weaponry during World War II?

The Germans had some of the best machine guns and tanks during World War II. Likewise, the Americans had a big advantage with the M1 Garand (which Patton famously called "The greatest battle implement ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Did a capital ship ever hit anything with a torpedo?

It seems WWI and inter-war ship designers went a bit torpedo mad, both in their fear of them and in their use, finally coming to their senses in the harsh realities of WWII. I've seen many examples ...
17
votes
4answers
5k views

Is it true that US tracer rounds were red and VC green during Vietnam war?

Quote from American Marine diary about tracers during vietnam: 0200 hours - Heavier fire coming in. Never had seen green tracers used against us. In a way, kind of pretty to look at, red ...
36
votes
4answers
18k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
347 views

What are Gottfried Juch Ferlach guns?

I have came into possession of a double barrel firearm, apparently for hunting. The only inscription it has is Gottfried Juch Ferlach. It is quite interesting, since it has some really beautiful ...
4
votes
2answers
209 views

Why didn't the Chinese repeating crossbow dominate?

Why didn't this devastating machine gun dominate the world? This fires faster than early musketeers.
18
votes
2answers
2k views

What was the tactical benefit of using flamethrowers as weapons?

I often hear stories of flamethrower troops storming the beaches of Iwo Jima and burning bunkers full of troops. But isn't it more risky to carry a tank of flammable liquid with limited fuel and ...
17
votes
2answers
9k views

In the Medieval period, how long would an average swordsmith need to forge an average sword?

Based on this question over in RPG, I'm trying to figure out how long it took to forge a sword in the Medieval/Renaissance smith to make swords. I am recalling a figure of about 9-12 months per ...
-3
votes
2answers
128 views

What impact did the rocket inventions of the German rockeeters have on WW2? [closed]

I'm a fourth year student in secondary school, I'm currently writing an essay regarding the Second World War, and would love to hear your thoughts on the question "What impact did the rocket ...
12
votes
1answer
407 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
votes
1answer
223 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
122 views

Did electric weapons exist in Russia in the 1920s?

Reading "The fatal eggs" by Bulgakov, I was surprised by his reference to "electric revolvers". The novel is science fiction, but it is very much Jurassic park style. It plays in contemporary (for the ...
21
votes
3answers
5k views

What were the EMP effects, if any, of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is generated from any atomic bomb, as far as I know. An EMP could destroy the electronics of many devices, including lighting, electric motors, radios, phones, etc. So why ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Why did Chinese use high tin bronze for swords?

Also unique for Chinese bronzes is the consistent use of high tin bronze (17–21% tin) which is very hard and breaks if stressed too far, whereas other cultures preferred lower tin bronze (usually ...
2
votes
2answers
619 views

What field guns, howitzers and mortars were used by the Indian Army and the Pakistan Army during the 1971 war?

While the tank battles are better documented, the role of the field guns are not so well recorded (at least not in available documents). I know that 3.7 inch howitzers were part of the first artillery ...
17
votes
7answers
12k 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
377 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
votes
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 ...
18
votes
8answers
16k views

How do Tamahagane, Damascus, and Toledo Steel compare?

Has a comparison been made of the qualities of Samurai (Tamahagane), Damascus and Toledo steel (rather than the swords)? I've seen claims for each being better than the others. If it's on topic, I'm ...
7
votes
2answers
185 views

Did the Thracian Rhomphaia ever clash with a Roman Gladius?

From what I understand, the Odrysian kingdom became a client state of Rome after the Third Macedonian War (171–168 BC). Did the Thracians (Odrysian or otherwise) ever clash with the Romans in a ...
36
votes
5answers
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, ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does the UK buy some of its major military hardware from the USA while France is self-reliant?

UK: Trident missile. M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System. AgustaWestland Apache Boeing E-3 Sentry. Raytheon Sentinel some other examples In contrast, France isn't nearly as reliant on USA. Why did ...
13
votes
5answers
7k 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?
8
votes
1answer
523 views

Who started the “katana is the soul of the Samurai” meme?

Samurai used to be defined by their ability to use horses and bows in the early history of Japan. This moved to using the sword, first tachi then katana. Within the Tokugawa period, the katana ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

How come all the major WW1 rifles were bolt action?

The main disadvantage of bolt action is that one has to remove the right hand from the trigger which leads to slower rate of fire. Neither lever nor pump have this problem. Rate of fire was viewed as ...
4
votes
1answer
611 views

Archers laying on their back, was it real?

I saw a movie called "The Hero" from 2002. I know the movie has a lot of artistic scenes, and less to do with reality. In one scene, many of the Chinese archers laid on the ground and used a big ...
42
votes
11answers
9k views

When were swords last used in European warfare?

Specifically, I'm interested in the last documented occurrence of swords (of any sort) being used as a primary weapon by infantrymen or cavalrymen in Western warfare. That is, when did any European or ...
5
votes
0answers
406 views

What is known about how many Ulfberht swords exist?

For those who don't know, the Ulfberht sword was a Viking weapon of the finest quality, made with exquisite skill from the best materials available. They were produced between 800 and 1000 CE in ...
9
votes
2answers
593 views

Which came first, the shield or the sword? [closed]

According to the history stated in Wikipedia: The oldest form of shield was a protection device designed to block attacks by hand weapons, such as swords, axes and maces, or ranged weapon ...
15
votes
4answers
21k views

Number of bullets used in WW2

I have wondered if there are any estimates on the number of bullets used in World War 2. I have thought about the question but cannot even get a plausible attack strategy.
3
votes
0answers
109 views

What were the names of the weapon manufacturers in France in the late 1700's

What were the names of the companies that manufactured hand weapons in France in the late 1700's and who were the most productive.
11
votes
0answers
213 views

How many firearms were owned by civilian population between 1836 and 1912 in USA?

How many firearms in total were owned by civilian population between 1836 and 1912 in USA (cumulatively, not simultaneously)? The timeframe is what I would consider "Old West" timeframe, but starting ...
5
votes
1answer
151 views

When did civilians in Europe gain access to breech-loaded firearms?

I know European militaries started adopting breech-loaded firearms around the 1840s with the Prussians adopting the Dreyse needle gun. My question is about the civilians. When did the breech-loaded ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

How were dagger axes used in battle?

During the Chinese warring states, weapons knowns as dagger axes were used and there is a wide body of evidence that those were common at one time -- so so I believe. Is there any record of fighting ...
2
votes
1answer
277 views

How was the naval battle of Guadalcanal affected by Japanese ships loading bombardment shells rather than Armor Piercing?

During the first Naval Battle of Guadalcanal an American flotilla of five cruisers and eight destroyers challenged a Japanese group of two battleships, one cruiser, and eleven destroyers that was ...
10
votes
4answers
656 views

Mystery of the many-loaded muzzles

I recall, way back in high school, someone came to describe the American Civil War, show local artifacts, that sort of thing. I remember them mentioning that muzzle-loaded weapons had been found with ...
4
votes
2answers
990 views

Were crossbows used by the Japanese?

Were crossbows used in any significant way by the Japanese? If so, what period and how were they fielded? I found some very brief references: Jonathan Clements' "A Brief History of the Samurai" ...
5
votes
2answers
470 views

What was the standard pistol used in Yugoslavia during WWII?

I've looked into the firearms used during WWII, but I can't find what pistol was used by Yugoslavian infantry men at the time. What did they use?
0
votes
2answers
177 views

Were naval mines an underutilized weapon in WW2? [closed]

Why did the Germans (and Allies for that matter) not devote more energy to the mining of enemy controlled waters (in the Med, British and North American waters for the Germans and Med, Baltic and ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Machine gun specs in WW1 [closed]

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 ...
17
votes
6answers
2k 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, ...
4
votes
1answer
167 views

Anti-personnel use of blowguns

The wikipedia entry for blowguns currently states that blowguns were historically used to hunt small wild game and only rarely used as an anti-personnel armament. This made me wonder if there are any ...
4
votes
1answer
180 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 ...
7
votes
7answers
1k views

At what point did Soviet armored units have qualitative parity with Wehrmacht armored units?

Was the T-26 a match for the Panzer II,III, and IV in the early stages of Barbarossa? The T-34 has been given a lot of credit as the tipping point where Soviet technology created a weapons platform ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Where did the French revolutionists get their weapons?

I have learned in class that the main purpose of raiding the Bastille in 14 July 1789 was to acquire the weapons in the Bastille. There was only a few political prisoners held there. There were, on ...
22
votes
1answer
636 views

Did Archery evolve independently on separate continents?

Is there evidence that early civilizations across the world discovered archery independently from one another (like Native Americans, Europeans and Africans)? Or can the technology be traced back to a ...
3
votes
0answers
339 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 ...
13
votes
8answers
2k views

At the end of WWII, were nazis working on any other super weapon besides V-2?

At the end of WWII, were nazis working on anything else besides V-2? If so, what was it, how close was it to completion, and could it potentially turn the events around for them?
8
votes
2answers
507 views

Identify WW2 ammo

I found some ammo, which I think is from World War II. The cartridges are stamped WRA 42 and DEN 42. I do not know what the big piece is. It has a stamp: N2117 III Does anyone know what the big ...
6
votes
2answers
966 views

How was Hitler able to rearm?

It seems that Germany must've been under incredible scrutiny especially by the British. How was Hitler able to rearm? Please provide specifics on personnel and weapons classes.