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Questions tagged [military]

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

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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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635 views

RAF Vulcan nuclear missions - returning to base planning

Having seen several documentaries and interviews with Vulcan crew & pilots regarding their nuclear flight plans and proposed missions, there's a reticence to discuss the post-mission plan. It's ...
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2answers
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How did an unditching beam work?

Some of the second generation British tanks in World War One carried "unditching beams" atop the hull. I know the beams were used to extricate the tanks from holes, but I have never found any ...
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How did the British Army unit size and structure in WWI change from 1915 to 1918?

Preface: For obvious reasons, we will assume ideal conditions for the purposes of this question. For convenience's sake, we will also ignore the original British Expeditionary Force that was almost ...
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Prussian Military - Percentage of recruitment

Here's a quote from a teacher and author John Taylor Gatto, which I found intriguing: The military which is quite an expensive institution to maintain even in times of peace is always constituted ...
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2answers
442 views

Were Serbs and Croats one people / tribe in the past? If not, why do they speak the same language?

Were Croats and Serbs one people that was later (politically) divided, or two unrelated peoples that came in the same area and (linguistically) merged? Before, I thought that Serbs and Croats were in ...
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1answer
645 views

What was the outcome of the first tank battle?

Today, April 24th, is the anniversary of the first tank battle. As noted on this Wikipedia page, it was three British tanks against three German tanks, but there is no mention of the outcome in ...
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1answer
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Is there any truth to the story of a British general breaking down in tears upon seeing the battlefield conditions at Passchendaele?

An oft-repeated anecdote about World War I (and the lack of understanding among high ranking officers) claims that, after the Third Battle of Ypres (aka Passchendaele), a British general visited the ...
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First Century (or earlier) gesture signifying peace between two parties?

I am working on a painting set in the first century which shows a military group confronting another group in the Middle East. I am trying to find a gesture which the leader of one army would make ...
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1answer
335 views

How did a travelling Roman army decide where to temporarily camp for the night?

I seem to remember that Sun Tzu says to avoid mountains and valley entrances, and be close to a river with grass, but how did a Roman army decide where to camp off the beaten track, such as through a ...
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3answers
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Is there a complete list of German cities bombed by the Allies in WWII?

I was doing some reading on the Allied Bombing Campaigns in WWII and found it strange that I couldn't find a specific source that listed all of the German cities bombed in WWII. I had found numerous ...
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2answers
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Have interior lines ever mattered? [closed]

There is at least one instance where being encircled tactically is an advantage: any path between two points in the interior is shorter than the corresponding perimeter. Has this ever actually ...
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Can the Largest Infantry Polearms be Wielded by Cavalry?

Someone was telling me that cavalry can use any polearm infantry can use. Including the largest halberds and pikes that were ever used. I would like to ask if this is feasible and true. I only know ...
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1answer
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Financing of the Continental Army vs. Legion of the United States/United States Army

As the concept of having a standing army gained acceptance, the Legion of the United States was raised which later became the United States Army. How was funding for this new army accomplished ? How ...
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3answers
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Did Africans defeat Europeans in battle between 1850 and 1950?

The battle of Adwa was fought between Italians and Ethiopians in northern Ethiopia in 1896. The Italians were defeated and it was the greatest victory for Africans. Were there any other battles where ...
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3answers
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What are some examples of US states warring with one another?

My question is, has there been any states that have warred with each other in the United States? Obviously the one war that comes to mind is the Civil War, not what I am looking for. My question is ...
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1answer
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How common / uncommon was sword-vs-sword combat on ancient battlegrounds?

The question Any notable battles fought with steel vs. bronze weapons?, more precisely the comment to this answer to the tone of "ah, but that was mainly a chariot battle...", piqued my interest. As ...
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1answer
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What is the history of organizing militaries primarily through semi-permanent units as opposed to individual positions?

In modern, professionalized armies, command structures tend to be composed of units and subunits, and the chain of command goes from commanding officer of a superior unit to the commanding officer of ...
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What were the incentives for joining the Roman army before the Marian reforms?

Before the Marian reforms, soldiers had to supply their own equipment. This did not exactly inspire anyone to form a professional standing army, especially since most were peasants who had to return ...
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2answers
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Identifying the Soldier in this minature painting

I bought a minature painting in a wooden / gilt frame. The portrait is signed Lila Sampson. Inside the frame was another miniature painting of a man in uniform. I am trying to find out more about both ...
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2answers
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What is this complex in Colorado?

This image is located in Windsor, Colorado(40.4526°N -104.9273°W) and it continues to puzzle me. There is a high fence surrounding the about 5 acre area. I looked up who the land is owned by and the ...
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9answers
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Why did only the English adopt, evolve and use the longbow en masse in war?

The bow was a relatively common weapon on dark age battlefields as Harold's arrow in the eye at Hastings will attest. But shortly after is was largely superseded by the crossbow, partly because pretty ...
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1answer
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How would a strength report be collected from a brigade?

I was reading a book in which I saw that the Baron de Steuben had collected strength reports from each brigade of the Continental Army when he was training them in Valley Forge, but it did not go into ...
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1answer
264 views

Did Machimoi fight in Phalanx formation?

The 'Machimoi' were low ranking Egyptian foot soldiers, pressed into service by the Ptolemaic Dynasty during a period of manpower shortage. The term Máchimoi... ...commonly refers to a broad ...
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1answer
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What was the National Revolutionary Army's “Training Brigade”?

During the Battle of Nanking, China's forces included the so-called "Training Brigade" which defended Purple Mountain. What was the nature of this formation? The Wikipedia article describes them as "...
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Did California mission priests administer, not merely call for, corporal punishment?

California missions were staffed by a Franciscan priest or two, and a half a dozen soldiers. The former addressed spiritual and administrative concerns and the latter established physical security for ...
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The Goths and The Roman Empire (Alaric) [closed]

When the Goths became Roman Mercenaries, who were they tasked to fight, if not the Huns?
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475 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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0answers
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Tomb of the Unknown soldier: why do they relax their jaw?

During the changing of the guard, I have always noticed the relief commander either relaxes their jaw before most sentences they say, or actively juts it out for every sentence (depending on the ...
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6answers
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Were there any “retaliation” anti-tank weapons widely used by infantry in World War II?

"Standard" anti-tank weapons used by infantry included bazookas and anti-tank rifles (the latter being heavier than infantry rifles, and requiring special shells). In a "pinch," infantry used "Molotov ...
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History about Triplex Plate Armour?

An example of triplex plate armour was discovered and dated to the War of the Roses at the Royal Armoury of Leeds. They even had a reproduction made by A Plaisance Armouries for a crossbow and musket ...
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203 views

Military expenditure over time [closed]

The following graph from the world bank website shows the world wide military expenditure in percentage of the world GDP over time from 1988 to 2015 I am trying to find similar data over a much ...
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How did ships acquire targets beyond the horizon in WWI?

From "The World Crisis, 1911-1928" (Winston Churchill): ... the 5th Battle Squadron had begun to fire, at the long range of 17,000 yards, upon Admiral von Hipper's last two ships. If the horizon ...
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1answer
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How many German soldiers were there by the time Nazi Germany surrendered?

How many German soldiers were out there fighting by the time Nazi Germany surrendered ? (What I mean by surrendered is 8th of may 1945) I read this and it says in early may there were around 800K ...
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Why did the Lead Dart replace the Pilum?

As I understand it, early through to mid Roman Armies use the javelin style Pilum. I've read that the late Roman army used Lead Darts, or Plumbata, in the same or a very similar fashion. Was the ...
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2answers
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Which was the first war in which photography was employed? [closed]

Undoubtedly photography has greatly changed public perception of war; but there is no clear point in which photography began to be used—whether for documenting war or anything else. So I’m left ...
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Why were bloody religious wars so incredibly frequent in Europe in the century following the Reformation? [closed]

Beginning in 1520, right after Martin Luther's Reformation, bloody religious wars began that kept recurring almost yearly for over a century. The Reformation's rapid spread drew battle lines accross ...
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1answer
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Origins of “Still on patrol”

I recently came across an article about a tradition of USN not to consider submarines lost, but rather being on a permanent patrol. After trying to find more information about the topic pretty much ...
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1answer
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Military capacity of Turkey during the Cuban missile crisis (1962)?

I am doing a Model United Nations Security Council, as the head of Turkey with the agenda Cuban Missile Crisis; or simply put I am playing the role of Turkey in reshaping world history during the time ...
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Can you identify this military uniform?

My Dad bought this painting and this is the only photo he sent me of it. I started out looking all over to find resources with military uniforms through history, but they seem to leave out the dress ...
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1answer
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Who were the members of Hartnell's _Compañía Extranjera_?

In 1832, William Hartnell convened a posse of fifty immigrants to "help keep the peace" in California (according to "The Lives of William Hartnell" by Dakin). The group was called "La Compañía ...
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5answers
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Has the Scythe ever been used as a weapon?

In Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Clopin Trouillefou uses a scythe to great effect: One was noticed who had a large, glittering scythe, and who, for a long time, mowed the legs of the ...
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1answer
227 views

How did the SAGE system send data to in flight assets for intercept tasks?

According to Wikipedia, the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment system could automatically update the autopilot of the F-106 and the guidance system of the CIM-10 Bomarc. Presumably this would send ...
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Which was the last war in which swords were used? [closed]

Which was the last war in which swords were actively used as the primary weapon by an army?
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What was the mechanized/motorized distribution in German Panzer divisions?

I've read a lot of organization charts for German Panzer divisions. In most of them, they have one panzer (tank) regiment, one artillery regiment, two or three panzergrenadiere (mobile infantry) ...
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3answers
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Historically, was the War of 1812 ever called by another name?

In the wildly popular Youtube chanel Crash Course, the narrator states that the War of 1812 bears that title only because of the historians' "great imagination" and mentions three humorous names that ...
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Which was the last major war in which horse mounted cavalry actually participated in active fighting?

Which was the last major war in which horses were used for frequent fighting? Why were these horses used, and about how many were there? This is not a duplicate of the question (When was the last ...
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Is there evidence for the use of the solenarion in late Medieval Ethiopia?

Shihab al-Umari, an Arab historian of the 14th century, wrote much of what's know of Emperor of Ethiopia Amda Seyon I campaigns against the Muslim States, namely Awfat, Dawaru, Arababni, Hadya, ...
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Why did Roman Army rarely field large Roman cavalry units and rely on foreign auxiliaries?

I have been reading a bit recently about the Roman period between say around 100bc to 100ad and I have noticed that the Roman's cavalry was almost always a small portion of their total troops and it ...
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Could the Russian fleet go via northern route to Port Arthur instead of via Cape of Good Hope?

Was there a route via the north of Russia that Admiral Rozhestvensky could have passed (maybe during the summer months) instead of the seven month odyssey of going through Cape of Good Hope around ...