Questions tagged [battle]

Questions related to an historical battle, being a single engagement or combat in warfare between two or more armed forces.

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62
votes
6answers
23k views

Why did the Germans spare Allied troops trapped at Dunkirk?

I haven't seen the movie but know enough of the story to understand that Allied troops had fallen back to Dunkirk for evacuation but were trapped there until transport came. I also understand that ...
43
votes
3answers
7k views

In the Battle of the Coral Sea, how could two Japanese scouts grossly mis-identify two American ships?

I've been reading the Wikipedia pages about the Pacific theatre in WW2; in the page describing the battle of the Coral Sea there is the following passage: [...] the scout [from Shōkaku] confirmed ...
35
votes
16answers
11k views

Which battle was the most lopsided result in terms of casualties?

I have recently read about two ancient battles that were won by a much smaller army and/or lead to very different casualties: Defeat of Boudica - according to Roman accounts only 400 Romans died as ...
35
votes
12answers
8k views

Under which conditions does the losing party actively commemorate a battle?

I am trying to understand under which conditions battles are predominantly remembered and commemorated by the losing party (who acknowledge their defeat), not the victors. This is not who gets to ...
29
votes
7answers
11k views

Why did trench warfare accept deadlocks?

As someone who has never studied military history or strategy I find it very hard to understand how and why both sides got locked into relatively short lines of heavily defended trench warfare with ...
29
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4answers
6k views

How difficult was to escape from a naval battle after engaging into one during the Age of Sail?

So, I am designing a board game which includes pirates/imperial battles during the age of sail. While I have found a lot of information on the internet as well as books, papers and of course other ...
25
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7answers
14k views

Did the Celts really go into battle naked?

Yes, this of-repeated tale was reported by the Romans all the time, but it sounds a lot like rumor. Stuff the victors write about their former enemies, "they were so stupid, they went into battle ...
20
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1answer
6k views

Has any medieval army ever fought 3 or more distinct battles on the same day?

In the fantasy fiction A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of thrones, during Robert's Rebellion, three battles were fought in the same day, in the same place. There where particular conditions that lead to ...
19
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8answers
2k views

Are there famous battles that took place on ice?

As my favorite ice hockey team became the champion of Poland today, I was reminded of the famous Battle of the Ice that took place in 1242. During the fights, forces of Alexander Nevsky managed to ...
18
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2answers
2k views

English monarchs on the battlefield

It seems that in English 'older times' it was expected for the King or monarch to lead the armies in battle. My research suggests that this was the case in the 12th century in the civil war between ...
17
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7answers
39k views

Are the “bone fields” of the Stalingrad encircled battlefields real?

In this podcast by Dan Carlin's Hardcore history show, Dan mentions that there are areas inside of the Stalingrad pocket where human remains are openly visible above ground, exposed to the weather. ...
17
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3answers
2k views

Why did few French and no Dutch pilots (but many Poles and Czechs) take part in the Battle of Britain?

Among the non-British pilots, at least 141 were Polish, 84 Czech and 28 Belgian, but only 13 were French and none were Dutch, Norwegian or Danish. The reasons why there were many Polish, Czech and ...
17
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4answers
4k views

How did ancient armies keep the route of supplies to their battlefield?

How did ancient armies like the Romans, Greeks, Persians, Chinese, or even in later times, the Arabs and Mongols keep the route of supplies going to support their armies marching through the vast ...
15
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3answers
3k views

When was the first electrical intra-battlefield communication?

When was the first time a commander used, for example, the telegraph to communicate with and coordinate different parts of the same battlefield? I know that the telegraph was used extensively for ...
12
votes
3answers
4k views

How was the dynamics of a naval battle in the 17th century?

I'm curious about the "mechanical" aspects in the course of a naval battle in the 17th century. To explain better, here are some questions whose answers would provide a text-answer explaining the ...
12
votes
2answers
7k views

Physics of a heavy cavalry charge?

Can someone explain a heavy cavalry charge? A bunch of 500kg animals smashes into a dense crowd of men at speed of 40km/h. This simply cannot end good for neither side. Let's say the charge fails. The ...
12
votes
2answers
690 views

Did King Porus's men use snake poison against Alexander's troops?

This claim comes from about.com. It references this source which doesn't claim that Porus specifically did it, merely that such a practice was common. It also cites Adrienne Mayor who claims that ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

What happened at the Battle (or not?) of Luding Bridge, during the Long March of Chinese Communists in 1935?

I've just finished reading Mao: The Unknown Story by Chang and Halliday. She seems very biased against Mao and revels in accusing him of lying and manipulating. If this were to be taken as a serious ...
12
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2answers
2k views

Why did England and Portugal cheap out on the Battle of Aljubarrota?

One of the most important and famous battles in the Iberian Peninsula took place in Aljubarrota. There were two main parties: Castile (with Aragonese, French and Italian support) Portugal (with ...
11
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2answers
1k views

How did galleys battle?

Until the late 16th century, galleys were the main battleships. They were then started to be replaced by larger galleons, as the galleons could carry much bigger cannons with the developed technology. ...
11
votes
1answer
899 views

Were there any naval engagements during the Mongol invasions of Japan?

During the 13th century, the Yuan empire made two invasion attempts at Japan, in the battles of Bun'ei and Kōan. In both cases, the samurai defenders fought the Mongols off their beachheads, and the ...
10
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2answers
4k views

How true is this observation concerning battle?

I came across a quote: “One who risks his life in battle has the best chance of saving it; one who flees to save it is most likely to lose it” (Anthologia Lyrica Graeca, ed. E. Diehl2 1936-42.) The ...
10
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2answers
2k views

What was the significance of the BEF moving into the gap between German forces in First Battle of the Marne?

The German troops fighting in the Battle of the Marne were exhausted and their commanders seemed to communicate very little. After the Marne they retreated to the river Aisne and more or less began ...
9
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5answers
2k views

Are there examples of battles fought under the influence (of alcohol)?

I'm looking for documented antecedents that describe the use or abuse of alcohol in the historical context of battles. Not necessarily well known battles. I remember watching (many years ago) a ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

Was the American Civil War the first to include multiple multi-day battles?

Looking at wikipedia reveals that there were plenty of multi-day battles in the American Civil War. I looked at its article on the Crimean War, which as far as I know was the previous significant ...
9
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2answers
1k views

Why weren't the Egyptians attacked on sight in the ancient Battle of Megiddo?

In 1457 BC, Thutmose III and his army had to pass the mountains to reach Megiddo. He had three passes he could go through, one in the North, called Jokneam Pass, and another pass in the South, called ...
9
votes
2answers
969 views

Who was the oldest recorded participant in a battle whom we know of?

This is a record of a eighy-year-old's participation in a battle -- the Battle of Vienna in 1683 -- from Andrew Weatcroft's The Enemy At the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans and the Battle for Europe; he ...
9
votes
1answer
283 views

Which town or village in Britain lost the greatest percentage of men in WWI due to “Pals Battalions”?

The British decision to create "Pals Battalions" of men from a single town or village led to unanticipated disasters when Pals battalions ran into heavy resistance, with large numbers of men from a ...
8
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7answers
5k views

Battles won by much weaker side [closed]

I'm interested in battles that were won by much weaker side or even lost by it, but for example making the stronger side to keep fight against this weaker force and thus providing it strategic victory....
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Was the Battle of Trafalgar strategically pointless?

On a tactical level, the Battle of Trafalgar is one of the most analysed naval battles in history and there are many books and papers covering the battle itself. Most of the strategic analysis covers ...
8
votes
3answers
427 views

Could the anti-Napoleonic forces have done better by uniting earlier before Waterloo?

During the Waterloo campaign, there were TWO Allied armies facing Napoleon, one under England's Wellington, and one under Prussia's Blucher. Napoleon first defeated Blucher at Ligny, then turned on ...
8
votes
1answer
818 views

Did Aetius or Attila fight in the Battle of Worms (436)?

I'm looking for information on the Battle of Worms (436). Specifically, did Flavius Aetius and/or Attila command or fight there? The Wikipedia page on Aetius, under the "Battles/wars" column,...
7
votes
1answer
340 views

Who is the officer/soldier in a cave that received a morale boost from a spider?

Today on the radio, I heard about a commander or an officer who was in a cave waiting for a battle to start and he was feeling that he will be defeated because of the large enemy forces (he was in a ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

When was the first airborne combat drop?

I know that airborne troops became famous in WWII, but was that the first time they actually fought after parachuting into the combat zone? What was the first instance in which paratroopers in an ...
7
votes
1answer
214 views

Which fortress east of Ancient Megiddo did Thutmose III go to during the siege?

After the ancient Battle of Megiddo, the rebels fell back to the city of Megiddo and the Egyptian army was victorious. The Egyptian army besieged the city of Megiddo by building a moat and a wooden ...
7
votes
1answer
837 views

What was the aftermath of a battle in the Middle Ages? How did wounded soldiers proceed?

The Red Cross was founded by 1859 over these circumstances: Until the middle of the 19th century, there were no organized and/or well-established army nursing systems for casualties and no safe and ...
7
votes
1answer
657 views

Are there any battles that have been extensively studied across the world? [closed]

Has there been any historical battle which became so universally well regarded, that military academies from across the world would would study it? Or are most military academies inherently biased ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

How many tons of bombs were dropped on Britain between 1940 July 10 and September 7?

1940, July 10 to September 7, was the part of the Battle of Britain before the Blitz. In other words, it was the part where the Luftwaffe primarily focused on airfields, factories, and if I'm not ...
7
votes
2answers
714 views

What are the top 5 bloodiest battles in terms of British casualties?

I have done a bit of research and it seems the Somme, Towton and maybe Bannockburn are up there? Any more to throw into the mix? Great site by the way!
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Why was the massive Human Wave attack used in WWI? [closed]

If the Human Wave Attack wave tactic is in all the lights, a invitation to a carnage, why was it so largely used in battles in WWI? Weren't other tactical options available at the time that could have ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Proportion of footmen and soldiers to knights in battles

Im looking for some scientific articles/expert opinions on the typical proportion of footmen and soldiers to knights in small and big scale battles in the 14th and 15th century. A summary for pretty ...
6
votes
2answers
639 views

An American Civil War battle where a general was ordered to advance to a certain point and wait . . . so waiting was all he did?

I'm trying to pin down something I once read about what went wrong with the Union's plans for a certain battle in the American Civil War. I think I once read a few paragraphs about this in a book by ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Did medieval commanders exchange words before battle?

Random question for anyone who reads accounts of medieval battles. Was it customary for European medieval commanders to exchange words before battle, not merely for diplomatic reasons but more out of ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Where and when were air guns used in a major battle?

In the 18th century some European armies had air guns at their disposal. I remember that during some major battle sharpshooters from Tirol used air guns to deadly effect on the troops of the opposing ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the technical term for a head on head battle?

I am writing an essay about how accurate the film "Braveheart" is. In the film Braveheart, the battle of Stirling Bridge is shown with the two armies facing each other. I would like to know what the ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Which battles of WWII did the cracking of Enigma decisively influence?

Having just watched The Imitation Game, I am curious about the influence of the cracking of Enigma on the outcome of WWII. Which battles did the information decoded by Enigma influence? Which ...
5
votes
4answers
560 views

Magic armies examples in history?

Are there any examples of attempting to use magic in history? Note that I don't mean magic is real. I mean that some crazy commanders could THINK it is real and try to utilize it in battle. For ...
5
votes
3answers
804 views

What battle of WW2 is depicted in this Battlefield V level?

What battle of World War II is depicted in this Battlefield V level? Credit goes to the game makers of course, as it is their property. Slight update: I cannot quite remember the map name, but I ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Where was the Battle of Antioch (613 CE) fought?

The Byzantines were severely defeated in this battle by their Sassanid counterparts. But where did this battle take place i.e. what was the precise location of this battle? According to Wikipedia, ...
5
votes
2answers
466 views

Did German win any victories between Normandy and Bulge?

In regards to World War II, I always hear about the great number of Allied victories won between the Battle of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. Very little is spoken of German victories. ...