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Questions tagged [military]

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

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17
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5answers
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How was Napoleon's invasion of Russia supplied?

How was such a great army, like the army of Napoleon on its way to Moscow, supplied with food and other needed things? Were they transporting it from France or maybe stealing from territory on their ...
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Was the Napoleonic era cavalry armour effective against firearms?

During the Napoleonic wars in Europe, many heavy cavalry units still retain the use of armours, for example, French Carabiniers-à-Cheval below, How effective were these to protect the cavalryman ...
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What decides who goes in the front rank in a line infantry formation?

In an infantry formation, the front ranks seems to have much higher chance of being killed because they are exposed to the enemy front. This thread explains how soldiers are arranged in Roman ...
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Why have officers in the U.S. army tended to “top out” at the level of Major?

In the U.S. army, something like 75%-80% of newly-commissioned Second Lieutenants are promoted to First Lieutenant (around age 25), perhaps 75%-80% of First Lieutenants are promoted to Captain (ages ...
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Are there military commanders other than Khalid ibn al-Walid who have never been defeated?

I was reading about Khalid ibn al-Walid, a commander in the Muslim's era. What is interesting about him is that he was never been defeated in any of the hundred battles that he encountered. Are there ...
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Can you identify the ship in this picture?

Unidentified ship possibly numbered 545, aircraft carrier in background, maybe San Francisco or Washington State?
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How does the amount of equipment carried by various historical infantries compare?

I've heard many statements amount the weight of supplies and munition carried by soldiers of various historical forces. In particular, I've heard many comments about the amount that the British ...
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Why were the Mongolian armies able to to use greater percentages of archers than (Medieval) Europeans?

Much has been made in other posts about how hard it was for European armies to train and maintain large numbers of archers able to use a longbow, crossbow, or similar weapons. Yet, the Mongolians ...
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When was the last cavalry charge?

When was the last instance of a unit of cavalry charging? I know that the Polish forces had units of cavalry during World War II and those were used against Nazi units but was there any later than ...
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What is a WW1 water detail?

Looking at my grandfathers files from Canadian military archives WW 1. He was in the medical corps as a stretcher bearer. One of his tasks was to be put on water detail. Would anyone know what being ...
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Why did the German air force lose experienced pilots faster than the Allies, even though they were defending their home airspace?

During the 1940 Battle of Britain, German and British planes shot down each other at roughly a one to one rate. This gave an advantage to the British because all of the surviving German pilots shot ...
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1answer
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How was titanium transported from Soviet Union to Area 51 for Oxcart?

Oxcart was one of its kind, a sophisticated aircraft designed during the Cold-War era. Its body was made up of titanium. Titanium was only found in substantial quantities in the then Soviet Union. The ...
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Were Roman gladiators ever enlisted into the military?

Were Roman gladiators ever enlisted into the actual Roman military? I have heard of Roman soldiers becoming gladiators but not the other way around. I imagine this would only happen if the Roman ...
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What is the longest retreat?

What is the longest sustained retreat by a military force in history, by total length? Not counting naval examples, as they can be much longer. When I search for it I get a lot of results to the ...
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Military intervention in government in India and Pakistan

Although India and Pakistan became independent states simultaneously, they have been travelling in different paths after that. Many believe that democracy is a major reason for the difference in ...
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2answers
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What was the fastest military draft in the United States?

In the United States, men aged 18-25 are required to register for a possible military draft. The original argument was that the country would need large numbers of troops in a hurry, and (back then) ...
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How long did it take to build siege engines in the middle ages?

How long did it take to build various siege engines? I understand this can vary widely based on the size of the engine etc., but I'd be interested in somewhat average values. Let's say a stationary ...
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What are those X in top of the flag?

Well, I was wondering. What are those crosses in the top of the flag when we visualize military battleplans? For instance, take a look in a map of the Battle for El Alamein: The Free French ...
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In Britain, what was the “Junior Service” in 1913?

I read a marriage notice from 1913, which noted that the father of the groom "has four sons abroad, three having served with distinction in the junior Service". (West Sussex Gazette, Thu 13 Feb 1913, ...
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Which were the last castles to be besieged and fall in the United Kingdom?

Which were the last castles to be besieged and fall in the United Kingdom? I'm separating the two in case a castle was besieged unsuccessfully most recently.
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Why 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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3answers
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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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Korean DMZ Soldiers

The recent news about the Koreans got me intrigued so I looked up images of the DMZ and it got me wondering... Here's an image: Why do the South Koreans stand the way they do? Why do the North ...
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What are the origins of sizing a squad in modern foot drill?

I recently came across this question "What decides who goes in the front rank in a line infantry formation?" and while trying to form an answer to it I realised I was making the assumption that the ...
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Is there a confirmed historic record of using “non-standard” live animals for military purposes?

Is there a confirmed historic record of using "non-standard" live animals for military purposes? To clarify, the following doesn't count due to either being standard or non-military: "Standard" well ...
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How to explain the Khalkhin Gol outcome in view of Soviet weakness and Japanese strength at that time?

Conventional wisdom says that the USSR was very weak in 1939/40/41, in large part due to the purges of the 1930s, ideological interference in the armed forces, and lack of equipment, preparation and ...
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2answers
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Who was Richard of York at the Battle of Grunwald?

Gloria.TV states that "the foreign knight,...Richard of York" fought, and was killed, at the Battle of Grunwald (Tannenberg) in 1410. I can find no one from the house of York who might have been at ...
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Is chain mail expensive?

I've read many textbooks and talked to plenty of people who explained to me that making thousands of rings, then interlocking them is terribly expensive. This confuses me because history had Vikings ...
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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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Were any fortified castles self-sufficient in food?

I read here and there about sieges of fortified castles which lasted extended lengths of time (two years for instance). Was there any castle in Medieval Europe that was self-sustaining? By self-...
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Example of a battering ram used to successfully breach a gate

I am looking for a specific example of a battering ram used to breach the gate of a castle or fortification in Europe. I can find lots of indirect references to the use of battering rams on gates (...
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3answers
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Why were there “hussars” all across Europe?

From what I read, hussars are originally a cavalry forces in Medieval Hungary. But then it became a class of light cavalry that were in service in many European nations, and during the Napoleonic wars:...
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Is there evidence Muslim soldiers fought in the Continental Army?

It is said that Muslims fought for the American Revolution, by serving in the Continental Army. Wikipedia cites a few names: Records from the American Revolutionary War indicate that at least a few ...
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Wiliam Wallace vs. Robert Bruce: Why Did One Win and One Lose?

At the battle of Falkirk in 1298, William Wallace (aka "Brave Heart") abandoned the guerrilla tactics that served him so well at Stirling Bridge, and adopted a strong, but "conventional" defensive ...
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Why were the Huns so successful at siege warfare but the Goths were not?

I am listening to Mike Duncan's podcast titled "The History of Rome" and in it he mentioned that it is kind of a mystery that the Huns were so successful at siege warfare but the Goths were not. Both ...
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1answer
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Why did the wagon forts of the Hussites fade away?

The wagon forts of Hussites were quite successful tactically, and helped them repel five crusades from European leaders. I was wondering why did the wagon fort tactics not see a wider adoption in ...
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Military training in the Hijaz during early Islamic era

The expansion of the Islamic rule during early Islamic era was quite impressive. Before 629, Muhammad's rule was limited to one city Medina. 15 years later, at the end of Umar's rule, the Caliphate ...
14
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1answer
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Are there examples of well known medieval battles with very little archaeological evidence?

When I was researching the history of The Battle of Kulikovo (битва на Куликовом поле), I was struck by the seemingly complete dearth of available archaeological evidence at the site of the battle (...
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Curious office hours of Topographical Bureau where Napoleon served in 1795?

In his new biography Napoleon the Great Andrew Roberts reports about Napoleon's stint in the Historical and Topographical Bureau of the war ministry in Paris between mid-August and early October 1795. ...
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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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When was the tactic of chaining ships together last used in a major naval battle?

At the Battle of Sluys in 1340, the French fleet operated: in accordance with the usual medieval tactics of a fleet fighting on the defensive. Quiéret and Béhuchet formed their forces into three or ...
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Are these Red Army uniforms authentic?

This image attributes all three uniforms to the Red Army of 1918-1922. I wonder whether the proposed time frame and/or details authentic. For me the first one looks like it was taken from the 1940s ...
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What new technology/tactics allowed the breakthrough of the trenches in WW I western front?

Reading the answers to this question about WW1 Western Front, it appears that breaking through the trenches was a very difficult task to do. How did the Allies finally make it? Was it the invention of ...
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Why did only Anglo-Saxon kings wear helmets?

According to this article on the BBC news website only Anglo-Saxon kings wore helmets. Here is the full quote: "Only Anglo-Saxon kings wore helmets and this is one of a very small number ever to be ...
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Did the French Revolution help produce French military “elan?”

In earlier wars against the British and Germans (e.g. the Seven Years' War of 1756-1763), French armies did not particularly distinguish themselves, even with a numerical advantage. Yet during the ...
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Were the mongol army boots of 13th century lined with fur?

I want to know about 13th century Mongolian army boots. I know they used leather for their boots. The leather and the source of the leather is irrelevant to my research for now. My question is that ...
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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 ...
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How common was decimation in the Roman army

I know decimation happened a lot in the Roman army, but I find it hard to imagine generals like Marius, Scipio and Caesar, who all had the unwavering loyalty of their troops, practicing it.
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In WWI, which countries used prisoners as soldiers?

What happened to prisoners incarcerated for domestic crimes (not war) before and during the outbreak of the Great War? Using a UK report, in 1914 the prison population dropped around 5000, but 11,000 ...
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What percentage of men, ages 18 to 35, from the northern states served in the Union Army?

In my genealogy research, I can assume with some certainty that if a white southern family had sons born between 1835 and 1846 there is a pretty good chance that all of them will have served in the ...