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62

There are two assumptions that need to be clarified. What is the attacker's strategic intent? What time are you talking about? If the attacker wants to possess the territory defended by the castle, then "going around" isn't an option. "Going around" only makes sense if the attacker wants to control territory beyond the castle. This also assumes that the ...


48

If you look only at the numbers, then Israel was bound to lose the war of course. The Arab countries had far more soldiers and they also had better/more equipment (the Soviet Union supplied them well). This view leaves out a number of important factors however: Surprise: By launching a preemptive attack Israel took the Arab countries by surprise which ...


48

The sights on the Springfield Model 1861 had settings for three distances: 100, 300, and 500 yards. In the civil war, however, many battles were fought at much closer range. According to Battle Tactics of the Civil War (Paddy Griffith) many were fought inside of 100 yards. At this shorter range, the bullet didn't drop as much as the sights were calibrated ...


45

Sweden was a vital source of iron ores to Germany, an important strategic resource for her war effort. Because the allies controlled the seas, Scandinavia was Germany's main source of good quality iron. Attacking Sweden would have disrupted the supply for no real gain. Production of high-grade steel suitable for armour plate and gun barrels depended ...


43

These are jodhpurs, a style of pants developed primarily for horseback riding. Their intent was to allow flexibility in the hip and thigh while the more narrow lower portion worked well with riding boots and didn't get caught up in stirrups.


42

Armies go around castles all the time, but what usually happens is that the castle is placed under siege. This is done at least with the intention of keeping the defenders in, and hopefully taking the castle via attrition, bombardment, sapping or treachery. The need to siege the castle is important; if you ignore the castle and march on, this leaves the ...


38

A major reason would be logistics. It's not all about population sizes. The strength of an army is constrained not just by its manpower sources, but also by the logistical infrastructure available to pay for, feed, and equip it. The Romans in particular were much better at this than the feudal states of Medieval Europe, which tended to be quite factious and ...


35

Good military operation names are picked for these reasons: to deliberately deceive the enemy, to have no association with the operation whatsoever, to raise the morale of the troops, or for political/marketing reasons. The US is big on giving high level operations that will be announced to the public impressive names like "Desert Shield", "Desert Storm", ...


34

The Egyptians, along with Syria and Jordan, had worked up a plan to attack Israel a couple of weeks prior to the actual war. Apparently some recently declassified documents confirm that the Egyptians had planned to launch bombers against Israel to take out their airfields and other strategic military positions. They had also deployed a number of tank units ...


32

Before we get to the numbers it is important to state that the US Navy is really far and away the most capable blue-water navy in the world. The US Navy can project power over the entire planet. I'm not sure why you assert to the contrary in your question. Let's start with the US Navy force size from 1917-1923: TOTAL ACTIVE SHIPS: 342, 774, 752, 567, ...


31

Neither side really saw enough of a strategic advantage. The UK was already spread thin trying to defend their own island, so going out and trying to take control of Ireland didn't make sense, even if it meant preventing Germany from doing so. Given the long history of turmoil between England and Ireland, I believe they were content that Ireland didn't side ...


29

The only landing in Europe and Africa that got carrier support was the Torch landing in North Africa in late 1942. In that case, it was not possible to use land-based air support, since there weren't any bases there. All following landings were within land-based air range (deliberately) and relied on it soley. Aircraft carriers were very valuable, being ...


29

First of all, aircraft carriers are expensive. Russia (compared to USA) was never resource-rich enough to be able to afford the expense; neither was USSR. Second of all, Russia (or rather USSR) had no motivation. USA's main geopolitical goal is to safeguard seabourne trade routes; and to prevent strong competitors from arising and commanding great sets of ...


28

Things to consider: First, it is difficult to assess the size of armies in the Middle Ages. Roman troop strength is relatively easy to calculate by knowing the legions involved (the legions usually having the same size), but medieval armies usually had no such regularity. Smaller polities (kingdoms and or counties instead of empires) meant smaller ...


27

The "Winged Pegasus" patch is the insignia for British Airborne Forces and was specifically the divisional patch for the 6th and 1st Airborne Divisions during WW2. The 1st Airborne Division adopted the patch in May 1942, the sixth on the 14th of May 1943. The 44th Indian Airborne Division also adopted a similar patch with the word 'INDIAN' underneath the ...


27

Recorded in Plutarch's De garrulitate, this is an example of a Laconic phrase: After invading Greece and receiving the submission of other key city-states, Philip II of Macedon sent a message to Sparta: "If I invade Laconia you will be destroyed, never to rise again." The Spartan ephors replied with a single word: "If" (αἴκα). Subsequently ...


26

There are at least two reasons. The first is that a castle is usually located on the most strategic ground in the area, a hill, river, etc. Basically, it is, or controls, the most valuable "real estate' in the region. If an attacking army controls the "rest of the region" without controlling the castle, it probably hasn't achieved much. The second reason ...


25

Although I can't answer for heraldry, there were a number of factors that influenced the red colour of English, then British military uniforms. During the 16th to early 20th centuries, primary colours and red especially helped to blur soldiers together, so that the enemy from a distance found it difficult to distinguish numbers and individuals accurately. ...


24

Let's do the math: 100,000 mounted archers * 4 horses each * 10 kg/day * 250 days/campaign = 1,000,000,000 kg of forage required each campaign. As noted here annual forage yield of meadow steppe is about 2000 kg/ha; of typical steppe about 900 kg/ha; and even desert steppe yields 200 kg/ha. Thus the area required to support Genghis's cavalry for a campaign ...


22

The first example of catapulting plague victims into a besieged city was that of Caffa (Modern day Feodosia) in the Crimea. This was in fact the first account of plague in European history. Caffa had been under siege by the Mongol (aka. Tartar or Golden Horde) army. The siege had been long a protracted. First starting in 1343, it was lifted by the arrival ...


22

I don't have much historical evidence to bring to this one, but I've worn heavy SCA armour on hot days (hot by British Isles standards) and discussed the problem with people who have done so in hotter climates (Texas and Israel, most notably). So, first and foremost, they probably would not have worn the armour unless they were expecting to go into a fight. ...


21

They identify the size of the formation. That Free French unit you referred to with one X is actually a brigade, not a division. Similarly, the Greek and German unit facing each other German unit both have a single X, and has been explicitly labelled as brigades. All other units, including the Italian one you mentioned, have XX - indicating they are ...


21

You will find some cost/price data here: List of Prices in Medieval England Image of the Armour data: Expensive is a relative and subjective term, the best that can be done to answer the question as asked is to compare the prices with typical incomes/pay. For such a we find that a labourer would earn 1-4 pence per day (the lower pay is earlier the higher ...


20

As Shmuel Brill points out, there really wasn't a way around the trenches, the only choice was through, and that was a tough proposition. We're talking about ground troops who do not have significant body armor other than a helmet, armed primarily with bolt action rifles and bayonets, advancing on foot over significant distances of open ground against ...


20

The Germans nor the British were even remotely interested in what Ireland had to offer at the time. It was a neutral country tucked away in the NW corner of Europe. Its military was not particularly strong by any means, although the Irish Republican Party and Eamon de Valera had gained independence from the British largely by military force in the 20s. To ...


20

Wow, where to start. Basically, ignore anything in the previous answer regarding Europe and shields. As far European metallurgy goes, pattern welding was in use as early as the 2nd and 3rd centuries. The technique continued to be used up until about the end of the viking era (mid 11th century) when quenching and tempering basically took over. As a ...


19

That's not exactly how it worked. As not everybody was able to become a knight (especially without richness), many squires were adult, sometimes more than 30 years old, and because of their experience, they were well-trained fighters. Don't think of heavy cavalry only as knights. For example, the regular heavy cavalry unit in Poland was called Chorągiew ...


19

For the same reason he did not invade Switzerland, the cost-benefit ratio was not good. Also, you should realize that the Germans were not just a bunch of frenzied madmen attacking everybody. They were happy to co-exist with other countries that were friendly, such as Sweden. After the war started, many countries, including the United States (1941), Britain ...


18

Actually the motivation is pretty well-known. The motivation for the invasion of Spain was similar to that of all Muslim conquest of the period. Islamic armies under the command of the "The Rightly Guided Caliphs" and the following Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs benefited from a unifying religion to form a large and motivated armed forces, out of what had ...


18

Wunderwaffe (literally, wonder weapons) - absolutely, they had many, many designs under way. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wunderwaffe They were working on the A9/A10 (think of a V3 rocket), that would be a multi-stage ICBM that would be able to hit the US, although it wasn't likely to be very accurate. This was planned to be available from 1946. ...



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