Questions tagged [military]

Questions pertaining to characteristics of armed forces' structure, manpower, equipment, or expenditures.

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7
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4answers
4k views

Why do people say, “Alexander the Great conquered the world?”

In many books, articles, or even in folktales, whenever Alexander III of Macedon (referred to as Alexander the Great) is mentioned, it is said that he conquered the world. Even some historian say that ...
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0answers
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Has the US National Guard ever been deployed nationwide before, as has been done with the Covid-19 pandemic?

I've tried looking in various places online and have been unable to find when in US history we have had nationwide deployments of the National Guards? Where can I find this out? Or do you know? Edit: ...
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1answer
197 views

How effective was Civil War-era artillery in the rain?

How did rain effect cannon of the mid-19th century? Specifically the commonly fielded types like the 12-pounder Napoleon. Could they operate effectively and reliably in heavy rainfall? I’ve been able ...
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0answers
86 views

Is there a historical example of two neutral armies meeting in the field? [closed]

Usually, when two armies of different nations are in close proximity to each other, it is for good reason. For example, They are at war with each other; There are tensions between their nations and ...
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1answer
992 views

Based on his service record, where was this soldier deployed in WW2?

I am trying to work out where my grandmother's cousin, Henry Adler, saw action during WW2. Henry was born June 14th 1917 in Glasgow. I have his Soldier's Service and Pay Book as well as his Soldier's ...
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1answer
147 views

What was the extent of military conscription by the German Army during World War 2? [closed]

I have three questions about this that I hope people can help me out with: How many soldiers were conscripted in total (in all countries)? What was punishment like if you refused? How many conscripts ...
4
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5answers
674 views

Has an offensive ever succeeded without an advantage in artillery?

I am asking if an offensive has ever succeeded without an advantage in artillery. You can quantify this in any number of ways: Number of guns Shell tonnages Some qualitative technical advantage in ...
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7answers
749 views

Did any nation have a demonstrable qualitative advantage in their soldiers of the 18th century, and how did they achieve this?

I once read in a primary source that whilst the Prussians had the best drilled regiments who were able to fire 4 shots a minute to everyone else's standard of 3. Comparatively, British Redcoats were ...
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9answers
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How did the US/South Vietnam lose the Vietnam war?

South Vietnam was helped by US. Even when the US was gone, they had a 1 million army. So why did they lose? Even without US support, South Vietnam had about the same manpower, higher technology, and ...
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2answers
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Was the battle of Stalingrad “unique” in the annals of history?

I'm referring to the fact that BOTH sides ordered their troops to fight for the city "to the last man and last round." (Hitler). The Soviet Union's General Vasili Chuikov echoed this by saying "We ...
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1answer
189 views

What can we deduce about the expected career of a US Navy “lifer” in 1972?

In 1972, a member of the U.S. Navy who's already accumulated several years of service mentions that he's expecting to spend his entire working life in the USN. What does that imply about his ...
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16answers
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Why bother attacking castles at all? Why not go around?

Castles were designed to hold people, weapons, and supplies to survive a siege. They were well-defended. Taking one could easily be a long, bloody struggle. Why attack at all? Most castles I've seen ...
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0answers
66 views

What is the performance of shells circa 1938? [closed]

The golden age Superman wasn't invulnerable to conventional ammunition, as "nothing less than a bursting shell could penetrate his skin!" [Action Comics no. 1] This got me thinking: exactly how ...
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0answers
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What were the proportions of state militias in Continental Army?

The wikipedia article on the Continental Army suggests that "The army never numbered more than 17,000 men." but also lists a number of 80,000 as the peak size. The former number refers specifically ...
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5answers
13k views

How did archers judge distance before range finders?

Before electronics, was there a method for judging distance in archery? What methods were used historically? How were combat archers trained to judge distances?
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1answer
248 views

Did the German ship SS Hansa (former Albert Ballin) continue her journey to the West after 30 January 1945?

Looking for refugees or families of refugees who were on board the Hansa on January 30th 1945 when she left Gotenhafen with the Wilhelm Gustloff. I am trying to find out what happened to the Hansa ...
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1answer
589 views

Is The King (2019) historically realistic? [closed]

The King (2019) by Netflix is about king Henry V. A few aspects of the movie struck me as either unbelievable, or contradicting what little even I know about history. In no particular order: The ...
6
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1answer
613 views

Did RAF fighter pilots wear ties while flying in WW2?

Did RAF fighter pilots wear ties while flying in WW2? It seems like that would be uncomfortable, if not dangerous, while you are experiencing high-Gs and low oxygen. However, the above movie includes ...
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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 ...
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0answers
169 views

Did people shoot from both sides of the bow in medieval times?

Most modern archers are taught to shoot with Mediterranean style; that is, putting the arrow on the left side of the bow (if they're right handed) and pulling the string with 3 fingers. Some claim ...
9
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1answer
917 views

How big were Ancient China military forces?

When reading about warfare records in ancient China, I see a lot of references to "# of chariots" instead of "#k soldiers" or something like that. Do we know how big these armies actually were? As in, ...
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8answers
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What prevented the Mongolian Empire from expanding into Europe?

The Mongolian Empire reached quite a vast extent according to the map below and leaders such as Genghis Khan seemed to defeat all their enemies consistently. Yet, the empire never extended into Europe,...
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7answers
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How Did the Mongol Empire Get So Big?

Undoubtedly, the largest empire in the existence of human history was the Mongol Empire, once a hodgepodge of warring nomadic tribes from Central Asia before banding together under the banner of ...
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0answers
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What is a good book with authoritative histories of individual RAF bases?

I write a lot about RAF radar systems. It is common to refer to the base where it was first built, like RAF Bard Hill. However, I find it very difficult to find anything about Bard Hill, what does ...
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4answers
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Did generals really fight in ancient China?

When we think of generals, we usually think of someone that leads. We don't see General MacArthur charge in front of his soldiers to personally slaughter thousands of regular troops. In fact, even one ...
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4answers
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Did cavalry in China use spears instead of swords?

In Japan, yaris (spears) seem inferior to katanas. In Shogun: Total War, for example, spear-wielding troops are "cheaper" than samurai. The spear-wielding troops are peasants. The samurai are members ...
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4answers
984 views

Are there any specific events which grants a soldier permission to execute a prisoner on sight? (Like in the movie: Fury)

I recently watched the movie Fury. Although the movie is full of historical inaccuracies as usual, there are some events looked very questionable to me. In a scene, the U.S. soldiers capture a German ...
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2answers
5k views

How did the ancient Chinese coordinate armies of tens and hundreds of thousands?

According to what I've read, during the Warring States period and also later during the Three Kingdoms period there were armies of the magnitude of (a few) hundred thousands. How could they ...
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1answer
218 views

What evidence is there of tank-vs-tank combat in Asia during the second world war?

It has been known that the Japanese army during the Second World War did not value tanks highly and as such they were not always used effectively and had significantly worse characteristics than ...
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1answer
201 views

How did British aircraft fare against Japanese aircraft during the Second World War? [closed]

It goes without saying that both the Supermarine Spitfire used by the UK and the Japanese Mitsubishi Zero are iconic fighter aircraft of the Second World War. But how did these aircraft fare when they ...
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0answers
73 views

What authority did the US Army have in Egypt between 1945 and 1950?

I am trying to research a brief period of time in Egypt immediately after Britain's withdrawal in 1945, specifically the presence and authority of the US military there (if any) before 1950. Was ...
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6answers
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How did Genghis Khan's army feed so many horses?

The average horse eats 10-20 pounds per day, according to this pet website. Considering the fact that the horses may have to eat even more because of the hard traveling they had to endure, it's likely ...
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3answers
255 views

Were Israeli-Arab conflicts in the Cold war testing grounds for NATO and Warsaw Pact equipment?

During the Cold War, Israel and it's Arab neighbors often came into conflict with each other and fought a number of wars during which Israel often used weaponry from the West (USA, UK and France) ...
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3answers
1k views

Did B-17 crews run into difficulty releasing their bombs and does data exist on this?

The B-17 was used for a significant portion of the Allied campaign during WWII. My understanding is the earliest bombs in aviation consisted of just throwing stuff out of the open cockpit of planes. ...
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2answers
3k views

Did Muslim states hire Western European knights as mercenaries before the Crusades?

In the book Hattin by John France the following claim is made: The fighting qualities of western knights were widely recognized in the Mediterranean lands, and they were often employed even by ...
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2answers
263 views

How did an advancing force walk during WW1?

I am searching for any noticeable orders, doctrine or any piece of information about how an advancing force should be organized. I am interested in the scope 1914-1918, on European and Middle-East ...
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1answer
219 views

How were wars financed under Islamic empires?

A related question is this thread, where the subject in question were banks, and how they operated and profited under Islamic rule. In Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), charging interest on loans is ...
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4answers
6k views

At what age did samurai children start going into battles in the Sengoku era?

Exactly as the title says, from what age did a child of a samurai start to join his father in battles? I suspect it is when the child was considered an adult, but what age was considered an adult ...
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3answers
331 views

Did the Germans consider an amphibious landing for Fall Blau?

In the operation Fall Blau (Case Blue) the German Wehrmacht advanced towards the Don river, and then sent Army Group A into the Caucasus region to take the oil fields in the region. They managed to ...
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1answer
170 views

What kind of rifle used this shell case?

Please, anyone able to tell me what kind of shell is it and what mean this symbol on the bottom ? Is it from 1917?
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2answers
193 views

How much did Spanish California officials earn?

It is my understanding that in Alta California, priests and natives in Missions earned no cash salary, but Spanish army officials would have. From the governor down to a junior soldier, what did they ...
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1answer
104 views

What uniform is this man wearing (probably Austro-Hungarian circa 1900)?

Trying to identify time period, soldier rank and war for this ancestor who live 1876-1918. Probably served in Austria Hungarian war. He was a Croat. It appears that the uniform is dark navy?
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5answers
795 views

Were Allied high commanders that bad at the end of WW2?

I have heard by some friends, speaking of military history, that Allied commanders were well known for being, at best, mediocre in their performance of fight. They were not able to give precise ...
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5answers
305 views

What was the timetable for Germany's Invasion of the Low Countries (Fall Gelb) in WW2?

I was watching the 1969 classic movie 'Battle of Britain' the other day and noted numerous scenes where the British were very concerned about a German invasion; "what are they waiting for?" was a ...
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3answers
5k views

When people use spears to fight cavalry do infantry stab the horse or the rider?

I am just curious. In most games spear infantry is a "counter" against cavalry. How does that really work anyway? Any clips on actual cavalry fighting infantry that's historically accurate would be ...
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7answers
3k views

Why do some sections of Great Wall of China seem to be bidirectional?

Official historiography says that Great Wall of China is built "across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various ...
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0answers
72 views

Why do graduates of Nanjing Political College receive a dagger that says “military spirit” (“軍魂”)?

Beyond the generality of the college being administered by the PLA, why are they given a dagger, and more specifically, why does it say "military spirit"? I've looked at the Wikipedia article about ...
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1answer
100 views

Can anyone help identify the era or other specifics of this Air Force jacket?

Thrifted a few years ago and haven't been able to determine anything about it in that time. I would like to have enough information to at least speculate on the rank and/or military activity of the ...
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2answers
264 views

When did the US start using sniper + spotter teams, rather than solo snipers?

The US sniper teams are a definite trope of TV and movies, but historically many armies have used solo snipers, without the spotter. When I look for info, I either find gun info, sniper statistics or ...
5
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2answers
628 views

What does this Italian soldier's 1930’s uniform tell us about his job and rank?

The below photo of a soldier was taken in Sicily in the mid to late 1930’s. I have been told he may have served in Libya for the Italians. What type of soldier was he and what rank did he have? What ...

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