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55

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 ...


39

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.


39

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 ...


38

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 ...


29

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, ...


27

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 ...


27

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 ...


27

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 ...


26

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 ...


24

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 ...


24

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 ...


23

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. ...


21

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 ...


21

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 hasn't achieved much. The second reason is that ...


20

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 ...


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 ...


17

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 ...


17

The infantry sets their spears, meaning bracing them against the ground, to present a barrier to the charging horsemen. The long spears, also known as pikes, when held in a tight formation provided a spiked wall that would challenge mounted opponents. Some horses would balk when encountering the pikes while others would be impaled. The goal was to unhorse ...


17

I have to recommend the recent book Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing, and Dying by a historian and social psychologist here, as there isn't are more objective source for understanding the mindset of those German soldiers during WWII as their own conversations: A trove of previously unpublished, transcribed conversations among German POWs—secretly recorded ...


17

The Arab-Israeli conflict didn't start in 1948, it has a long history and was particularly intensified after the British government promised Palestine both to its Arab and Jewish population in the course of World War I. The first armed conflict is apparently assumed to be the Battle of Tel Hai in 1920. As a result, while Israel didn't exist before 1948 ...


17

The Colonel was of Scottish descent and served with the King's Own Scottish Borderers in WW I (according to Wikipedia). The trouser pattern in question could well exhibit the unit's (mainly green-and-blue) tartan. Also, the cape he wears appears very similar to those exhibited at the King's Own Scottish Borderers Regimental Museum's web site. And as for him ...


16

The prime example I can think of is Russia. In 1917, the February Revolution put a coalition government, headed by Alexander Kerensky, in charge after Tsar Nicolas abdicated the throne. The October Revolution put Lenin and the communists in charge of the government although a civil war and unsuccessful counter revolutions went on until 1921. Edit to add ...


15

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 ...


15

First of all, to clarify what you asked in the subject, US didn't "lose" Vietnam war militarily. Tet Offensive was basically a disaster for them - they didn't achieve their intended strategic objective (popular uprising in the south) and suffered major losses. However, US populace lost the will to fight in that war - as noted by others, they started viewing ...


15

What you are referring to is commonly known as the "French Column". I suppose it shouldn't be surprising that English movies and the English version of Wikipedia are pretty dismissive of it. After all, that was the opinion of everyone's favorite English General, Wellington. And he was certainly able to back it up. The first thing you have to realize is that ...


15

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. ...


14

Your main question has been pretty well answered, but I'd like to clarify a few points: If the attackers had plague victims to toss over the wall, it means they were also exposed to the plague. Which might adversely affect their ability to maintain the siege. Even an extremely virulent plague like the Black Death only killed something like a third to ...


14

Strategically, it didn't make sense to use aircraft carriers in the Atlantic. Any portion of the war that was taking place in the European theater could be reached from air bases already available in that area. The air support for D-Day was pretty considerable as it was. Towards the end of 1942, the US only had two aircraft carriers that were operational. ...


14

The Mongols wore silk underneath their armor. The benefit of using silk was that if a Mongol warrior was hit with an arrow the silk would not break and they could pull the arrow out by pulling on the silk on each side of the wound and the arrow would come out. References: Review of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World Mongol War Strategy Koryo ...


14

I work for a company that provides services specifically for the military, and because of that, they tend to hire a lot of former officers. Many of them left the military after reaching Captain because they could make more money in the private sector (plus the added benefit of nobody shooting at you). Those who stay on to reach the rank of Major often do so ...



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