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39

It is true that bombs in World War II would make a whistling sound as they fell. This could be heard by both the pilot and the target, however due to the Doppler effect, they heard different things. The pilot would hear a high pitched whistle and as the bomb accelerated it lowered in pitch. The target would initially hear a higher pitched whistle than what ...


34

Democratication came at the hands of improved communications, improved education, the industrial revolution and the agricultural revolution. Not at the hands of cheap weapons. The invention of the printing press democratised knowledge. Books became significantly cheaper to make and were more widely distributed. It was possible for a wider range of thoughts ...


27

Cavalry sabres (a.k.a. Shashkas) were still widely used in the Russian Civil War (1918-1922) and appear in many books on that period. This weapon is primarily associated with Cossacks even though it was standard equipment in the Russian and later Soviet army. The Russian Wikipedia article claims that Shashkas were still used by the cavalry in the Second ...


25

Yes, I can tell you from personal experience that they certainly did whistle. When I was a boy I lived in Nottingham, and until May 1941 we were lucky in that, although we heard (and sometimes saw) German aircraft, they usually passed over on their way to less fortunate cities like Sheffield, Coventry or Birmingham. But on the night of Thursday 8 May 1941, ...


23

It did exist but no one is sure what it was. The making of such was split between different orders and each only knew how to make the next step in the chain. It was delivered via tubes and could be "thrown" towards the enemy. Some of those were man-portable, other were ship bound. Sometimes, you could find it in jars. The best guess is that it was a ...


19

Perhaps you're thinking of a video game, because I'm sure that what you posit makes no sense whatsoever in hand-to-hand combat. A shield is just movable armor. It's big enough not to require a lot of accuracy in placement, just a shift toward the direction of attack. Its design, at some minimal level, will resist blows from hand weapons passively, i.e. ...


18

According to wikipedia, the earliest evidence of archery equipment unearthed (from a Danish Bog) was dated about 9000-10000 BCE. Before that, it appears that spear-throwers were generally used for the same purpose. Considering that the only societies known to be out of touch with the rest humanity after that period were those in Australia, and they are also ...


17

"armour" is a bit general, from the fancy gleaming best tournement suit to the few bits of salvaged chain mail stitched onto an archers leather jacket. Generally the knights and foot soldiers wouldn't march in anything like full armour, medieval battles were fought on agreed sites when the armies were visible to each other - not ambushes or blitzkreig. So ...


16

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. ...


15

I believe that the last use of sword in Western military were cavalry sabres used in cavalry charges alongside revolvers. Those were used in the Crimean war and in the USA Civil War. So we are talking mid-19th century. After the USA Civil War automatic rifles made cavalry obsolete (or nearly so) so I do not think you will find any more examples. ...


14

The answer differs between "carried" and "owned", and "in towns" vs "not". I'll only cover the first of the 4 combinations. You did not carry guns in many towns. Tombstone, AZ prohibited carrying firearms, as did Deadwood, as IIRC did Dodge City. The ordinances prohibited it, the signs indicated that you had to check in your firearms at the Sheriff's or ...


13

In fact, the U.S. did do a lot of work on AA missile systems, chiefly the Nike program. This included the Nike Ajax, Nike Hercules, and Nike Zeus. The latter was expected to counter ICBM launches. The program was scrapped in 1965 when it was determined that Soviet ICBMs would ultimately overwhelm any defenses, and that the only real defense was the MAD ...


12

This was also a direct question in an interview with J. Robert Oppenheimer's biographer Ray Monk, which he chose to answer thus (approx. 16' into the program): One of the aspects of the Manhattan project that is often not emphasized as much as it should is the sheer scale of the industrial operation. Two whole towns were created for doing nothing but ...


12

Interesting question. Firstly, it's impossible to know for certain how the traditional round shield was used, but we can make a number of assumptions based on evidence from literature (the sagas), the archaeology of construction and wounds suffered in battle and by looking at later fight books such as MS I.33, Talhoffer's duelling shields etc. Taking the ...


11

The following article describes in great detail the production and deployment of munitions by the Army Ordnance Dept. (AOD). The Great Arsenal of Democracy ... Lt. Gen. Levin H. Campbell, Jr., Chief of Ordnance from 1942 to 1946, proudly had this to say: From Pearl Harbor to V-J Day the Industry-Ordnance team furnished to the Army and ...


11

Originally, only citizens with a certain amount of wealth were eligible to serve in the Roman army. They were responsible for the upkeep of their own equipment. Polybius records that each of the different types of soldiers had their own equipment made from the same standard materials and with the same standard measurements. More desperate times saw the ...


11

Germany had its own version of the Manhattan project know as Uranprojekt; here is a comparison between them. In a project like an atomic bomb, the intellectual requirements are far greater than economic needs. No doubt, there is a minimum economic limit to carry out such a project, but Nazi Germany, when it started Uranprojekt in April 1939, still possessed ...


11

The shield came first. The sword is an invention of the bronze age, but the shield has been used to protect against many types of weapons by stone age (not primitive) peoples. It is still in use today by traditional societies. For example: See pics of an Australian aborigine and a Zulu warrior. The shield is believe to have been invented in the late ...


10

Like this thread on catapulting diseased dead bodies, the pouring of boiling oil and tar did happen - though not so commonly. Remember that many castles never saw action. Many more castles were built decoratively as a fashion rather than because defence was needed. However, when you look to city wall and city gates, here you see more use. Also a city will ...


10

Ironically, even though tanks were introduced in 1916 (at the battle of the Somme), they had little impact on World War I. They did not break up the trench warfare of the time (even though they were designed to do that). It was during the period BETWEEN the two world wars, that generals thought about tanks. The British expert was Basil Lidell-Hart, and the ...


10

Around 1542 (the date is not certain) a chinese junk was blown onto the shores of the island of Tanegashima of the southern coast of Kyushu. On board were three Portuguese travellers, the first Westerners to land on Japanese soil. To Lord Tokitada, the daimyo of Tanegashima, the most strking thing about the stranded Westerners were the guns that two of them ...


10

It was more accidental than anything else, but the first "shooting" battle treated as such by history was the battle of Crecy, in 1346, during the 100 Years' War. This was waged mainly between 6,000-7,000 longbowmen on the English side, and 6,000 (Genovese) crossbowmen on the French side. The English had perhaps 3,000-6,000 non-bow infantry and cavalry, ...


10

As it is, all three are interesting for being completely different methods of achieving a high quality of steel. Equally interesting is that they are each of high quality in different ways. As for Tamahagane, the iron that was available in Japan was actually very poor compared to that found in Europe. It had a characteristically low carbon content, and the ...


10

For completeness, all wikipedia has to say: The range of the medieval weapon is not accurately known, with estimates from 165 to 228 m (180 to 249 yds). Modern longbows have a useful range up to 180 m (200 yd). A 667 N (150 lbf) Mary Rose replica longbow was able to shoot a 53.6 g (1.9 oz) arrow 328 m (360 yd) and a 95.9 g (3.3 oz) a distance of 249.9 m ...


10

You might want to reivew the history of the NATO alliance, Charles De Gaulle, and the special relationship. In particular Immensely patriotic, de Gaulle and his supporters held the view, known as Gaullism, that France should continue to see itself as a major power and should not rely on other countries, such as the United States, for its national ...


9

According to wikipedia, Steel has been around since antiquity, but reference to steel weapons can be found in 4th century BC Ibernia, Romans, and in Chinese references during their Warring States era. The steel that we think of today was originally made East Africa by the Haya people over two eons ago, but wouldn't be rediscovered until the Industrial ...


9

Toledo steel was a very good steel, comparable to mainstream contemporary ones. It is based mostly on the content of the material and way of hardening. Now the best European steel for blades is not Spanish, but Swedish V10. With Damascus there is a wide-spread fallacy. What is now called "true damascus" - blades based on the way of smithing of two or more ...


9

Not all blades were constructed in the same way and of the same materials, but the Chinese are noted for originating binary swords. Ancient Chinese metallurgy recorded six different bronzes. In practice, the archeological record shows a much wider array of proportions, if only because much bronze was likely to have been recycled, but it seems clear that ...


9

The situation is complex. While the pike-or-equivalent must be of a sufficient length and density to be effective against cavalry, the longer the weapon the more difficult it is to adjust formation and facing. Cavalry's most effective weapon on the battlefield is its speed. A mass of spearmen facing one direction are easily flanked and broken up, and then ...


8

A possible description of the one depicted in your picture (source): The most popular continued to be the strange dagger-axe. Dagger-axes came in various lengths from 9–18 ft and were now used as thrusting spears with a slashing blade available if needed. The Qin particularly seemed to like the Dagger-axe, creating an eighteen foot long pike version. ...



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