Questions tagged [military]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
26
votes
8answers
5k views

Operation Vengeance and Individual Targeting of Enemy Commanders

Operation Vengeance (1943) was a US military operation aimed specifically to kill Japanese Admiral Yamamoto. It looks like something weird in contemporary era: are there any similar military ...
26
votes
11answers
12k views

Why wasn't the Republic of Ireland invaded (by either side) in WW2?

Ireland was neutral in WW2, however it was never invaded (by either side). How come? Why wasn't Ireland invaded by the UK to prevent the Germans invading? Why didn't germany invade ireland? It would ...
26
votes
5answers
13k views

How was the Luftwaffe able to destroy nearly 4000 Soviet aircraft in 3 days of operation Barbarossa?

According to Wikipedia: a Soviet archival document recorded the loss of 3,922 Soviet aircraft in the first three days against an estimated loss of 78 German aircraft. How were German combat ...
26
votes
8answers
7k views

Why were troops with bayonets often effective against enemy cavalry even though the bayonet was a “secondary” weapon?

The bayonet was introduced in the late 17th century as a knife (later a short sword) attached to a musket, to enable the musketeer to protect himself when reloading their single-shot weapons. As such, ...
26
votes
3answers
7k views

Was any significant percentage of Mongol army infantry?

Mongols of Khan's time are generally considered to be a cavalry army, which makes sense logistically, given the width and speed of their military maneuvers. But is there historical evidence of Khan's ...
26
votes
5answers
4k views

Which WW2 belligerents provided military brothels?

Did any of the other belligerents of WW2 besides Japan and Germany provide their troops with authorized military brothels?
26
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the earliest known account of the modern military salute?

The military salute, made with right hand to head of a soldier, seems to be a European tradition, however it is adopted by many armies in the world. What are origins of this gesture? I came across a ...
26
votes
3answers
3k views

Have there been any notable battles fought with steel vs. bronze weapons?

In answering the question "was the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age violent?" I found out a few facts that I hadn't expected. Namely, that the early iron weapons weren't necessarily ...
25
votes
9answers
15k views

Why weren't aircraft carriers utilized during D-day?

Why were aircraft carriers not used during and following D-Day? They could have added a great deal of range to the air support operations.
25
votes
5answers
10k views

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 ...
25
votes
6answers
6k views

What happened to US's Lend-Lease machinery given to the Soviet Union?

Although most sources say that the Russians were supplied with great amounts of equipment and food as part of Lend-Lease program, I have not in all my years living in Russia seen US labeled machinery. ...
25
votes
6answers
3k views

What was the first battle in history fought by vast-majority-% “distance-shooting” non-mechanized force?

Historically, armies usually had a balance between warriors with projectile weapons (bows/guns) and close combat edged weapons (sword/pike/axe etc...). This was necessary because ranged weapons of ...
25
votes
14answers
36k views

What was the ratio of German to Soviet losses on Eastern front during different stages of the war?

I've read somewhere that the ratio of Soviet to German casualties on the Eastern front was 1.4 for the whole war. But what about data for different stages of the war? (this ratio wasn't constant after ...
24
votes
8answers
22k views

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,...
24
votes
6answers
10k views

Was there any practical use for German spiked helmets (Pickelhaube)?

In 1916, during the First World War, the Germans dropped the idea of using the pickelhaube because it wasn't practical in the trenches. I read the wiki, but I am left with one question: It remained ...
23
votes
5answers
5k views

How did a besieged city/castle defend itself vs. catapulting diseased dead bodies into it?

I was a bit shocked to read that diseased dead bodies/animals where catapulted into besieged castles/towns. Biological warfare in the middle ages. But this "method" of warfare had probably a lot of ...
23
votes
6answers
4k views

By mid-1945, was Japan capable of maintaining the war even in the absence of further direct American attacks? [closed]

The USA went to a great effort to defeat Japan, but do historians regard it as necessary? For example if the USA had just kept the naval action going to the extent of cutting of all shipping to ...
23
votes
2answers
3k views

What were the criteria for class ranking at West Point prior to the Civil War?

I was watching Grant on The History Channel last night, and it was mentioned that Robert E. Lee graduated second in his class, while Grant was in the middle*. They also made a point of pointing out ...
23
votes
8answers
21k views

Why did the scutum fall out of use?

Wikipedia says By the end of the 3rd century the rectangular scutum seems to have disappeared. Why did the rectangular scutum design fall out of use? Why was the shield design not commonly used ...
23
votes
1answer
4k views

What is this military patch with the silhouette of a pegasus on it?

I found this patch among my grandfather's things. I know it's a military patch of some sort because it was with his war memorabilia. He served in the European theater during WWII, if that helps at ...
22
votes
7answers
6k views

Why did England consistently adopt red as their primary colour for insignia and uniform?

Throughout the last 1000 years red has become a consistent motif for military clothing and heraldic imagery in England. What are the reasons for this? Are there economic, environmental (eg. dyes used ...
22
votes
3answers
329 views

How expensive were castles? And how were the costs distributed?

In, Castles, Battles, Bombs: How Economics Explained Military History, I came across this passage : "The cost lay mostly in direct labor cost, as most labor had to be paid. (In contrast, raw material ...
22
votes
2answers
5k views

Was Hiroshima targeted because its mountains would “rebound the explosion back into the city for more damage”?

In English class, while analyzing the anti-war themes of a book, my teacher brought up something that I had never heard before and honestly significantly doubt the accuracy of. She said that: ...
22
votes
4answers
205k views

Does the number of legs in the air of a horse statue indicate how its rider died? [closed]

I have heard that the number of legs a horse has in the air in a statue indicates how the rider died. According to what I have understood: 2 legs in the air: rider died in battle 1 leg in the air: ...
22
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
22
votes
2answers
3k views

Why did the Monitor and Merrimac (aka Virginia) have such radically different designs?

This is something that's always baffled me. You have one ship that appears to sit just above the water with one little canon on a turret (the Monitor) and a second that sits high and is brimming with ...
22
votes
3answers
4k views

World War 1 Indian propaganda posters

In World War 1, because war broke out between the triple entente and the central powers (and they happened to have a lot of foreign colonies), the allies made posters to recruit soldiers from all ...
21
votes
6answers
6k views

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 ...
21
votes
2answers
5k views

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 ...
21
votes
3answers
4k views

Who is the woman in this United States military propaganda image representing?

In this image who or what is the lady in the background representing?
21
votes
3answers
7k views

Did military operation names ever have any meaning?

For example, the American operation name for the assault on Okinawa was known as Operation Iceberg. However, Okinawa is a relatively hot area of Japan, and as far as I know, there were no icebergs or ...
21
votes
3answers
4k views

Why was the Western Front so static in World War I?

Once the German advance was halted, neither side could seriously advance for two years. This seems like an extraordinarily long time. Why didn't anyone succeed at going around the trenches or striking ...
21
votes
1answer
5k views

Was the British Army a millionaire factory in the early 20th century?

I'm reading "Kenya Diary" by Richard Meinertzhagen where he relates his experiences as a junior officer in the British army around 1902. At one point he states that during his 5 year service in East ...
21
votes
3answers
7k views

Couldn't an army of archers easily defeat Macedonian style phalanxes?

At that time of military history, it seems the phalanx was the accepted supreme military style that won battles. So countries tried to outdo each to see who could do the phalanx best. Since archers ...
21
votes
1answer
5k views

What type of plane is this wreck?

I have found this picture on MSN, with the claim that it is a P-38 somewhere at the French Riviera. However the P-38 Lightning is a twin-engined fighter, while this wreck has most probably four. What ...
21
votes
1answer
3k views

Did firing trials of pre-WW1 British dreadnoughts involve actually firing at them?

On the Wikipedia page of HMS Dreadnought it is mentioned that during firing trials against HMS Hero there were some vulnerabilities of its fire control systems revealed: namely, wiring and voice tubes ...
21
votes
3answers
3k views

Why didn't the Persians make and use ballistas and other kinds of artillery?

In 1980 E.P.Thompson published an interesting paper called *Barbarian Invaders and Roman Collaborators *. Among other subjects he consdiers there the leakage from Rome to its enemies of technical ...
20
votes
7answers
6k views

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 ...
20
votes
9answers
5k views

At the end of WWII, were Nazis working on any other super weapon besides V-2?

At the end of WWII, were Nazis working on anything else besides the V-2? If so, what was it, how close was it to completion, and could it have potentially turn the events around for them?
20
votes
3answers
4k views

What was the tactical benefit of using flamethrowers as weapons?

I often hear stories of flamethrower troops storming the beaches of Iwo Jima and burning bunkers full of troops. But isn't it more risky to carry a tank of flammable liquid with limited fuel and ...
20
votes
1answer
4k views

Could the Russians Have Done Better at the Battle of Tsushima Straits Than They Actually Did?

In 1905, during the Russo-Japanese War, a Russian fleet sailing all the way from the Baltic was annihilated by the Japanese fleet in the Tsushima Straits. The Russian fleet was larger, with thirteen ...
20
votes
4answers
13k views

How long would the average sword last in the middle ages?

Assuming normal wear and tear, how long before a knight had to replace his sword?
20
votes
6answers
17k views

How quickly could the Roman legions march? How did it compare to their cavalry?

In the history of Rome there are numerous instances of legions being marched up and down Europe, from Spain to Rome and from Rome to Syria. I'm interested to know how quickly these armies could move? ...
20
votes
1answer
3k views

Did the Soviet Union know when DEFCON levels changed?

The US military uses a scale of alert readiness called DEFCON, with DEFCON 5 being the lowest alert level and DEFCON 1 being the highest, preparing for imminent nuclear war. At least once during the ...
19
votes
3answers
4k views

Uniform identification: c20th male, General, mid/light green double breasted, red facing, red neck tags, blue/green shoulder boards

Can anyone tell what uniform this man is wearing and what is his rank?
19
votes
3answers
3k views

Was the US Navy larger in 1917, and if so, why?

Following the recent discussion in the third US Presidental Debate about the size of the Navy, there actually seemed to be a good discussion buried in there. How does the US Navy compare to its ...
19
votes
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 ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

Could the Soviet Union have supported Czechoslovakia primarily by air in 1938?

The Soviet Union was bound by treaty to support Czechoslovakia in 1938. One "sticking point" was that the Soviet Union would have to cross Polish and/or Romanian territory to do so. Was ...
19
votes
2answers
3k views

How did Roman armies survive in the desert?

I'm writing a novel set in the third century. A general is marching his army through the middle of the Syrian Desert. How did Roman armies with tens of thousands of soldiers survive in the arid ...
19
votes
2answers
40k views

Were soldiers in the World Wars paid?

There have always been professional soldiers however during the world wards there were vast conscription to encourage young men to join up for "King and Country". Presumably there was some sort of ...

1
2
3 4 5
16