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Questions tagged [military]

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

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13
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3answers
2k views

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 ...
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2answers
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In which situation is the broadside more preferable than every gun firing on their own time?

Mathematically, a ship should be able to fire more shots if each of the cannons fire at their fastest speed, instead of waiting for everyone to be ready, but it seems that a broadside is sometimes ...
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1answer
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Did Japan make a contribution to World War II way out of proportion to its nominal relative GDP? [closed]

I was surprised to read these 1938 figures (admittedly estimates) of 1938 GDP for the major combatants of World War II. In round figures, the U.S. had $85 billion, the Germans $42 billion, Britain $...
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1answer
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Did 20th century militaries have their own fire-fighter units?

I tried googling this but fire-fighter is too similar to fire-fight (as in gun fight or shootout) so I keep getting the wrong results. I'm asking about fire-fighting as in containing and extinguishing ...
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1answer
565 views

Husaria, the winged hussars

The Polish husaria did carry wings -- as can be seen here or here. Their purpose has been debated with no clear answer. What I want to know is was there an evolution in the wings design or just one ...
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1answer
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“Musketeer” beard, mustache and hairdress - where did they originate?

This is a portrait of typical French musketeer, with typical triangle beard, mustache and long wavy hairs. I wonder where this fashion originates from? Is not it the Byzantine Empire where such ...
13
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1answer
446 views

What kind of crew members did ancient artillery teams consist of?

According to what I understand from Pieter's answer to the question "Why didn't the Persians make and use ballistas and other kinds of artillery?", he said that since 2,000 years ago until now, ...
13
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1answer
247 views

How long did it take US fleet submarines during World War 2 to charge their batteries?

How long did it take a US fleet submarine running on the surface to recharge its battery fully for maximum duration submergence? I realize that the answer depends on how many engines were being used ...
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Which air minister said (before or during WW2) that parachute troops are just a circus?

In Chapter 32, Airborne Forces of Liddell Hart (ed), The Soviet Army, Kurt Student says, after noting the abscence of paratroop involvment in the invasion of Poland (p. 378), that `Parachute troops ...
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4answers
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What Are the Dynamics of A “Forced March?”

In the "Art of War," Sun Tzu opined that if you put your army on a forced march of a certain speed, you will lose one-third of your troops along the way. A rough rule of thumb was that an army would ...
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1answer
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What is the story of war that started with “if”?

I was told about a story, of how one army sent terms to another army threatening 'if' they did not obey them, they would be punished. The receiving army replied to the threat with one word "if". I ...
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Have any armies equipped/fed their officers and enlisted men equally?

In the Soviet army during WW2 the officers had bigger food rations. They also had better boots (kirza vs. leather). The air force pilots were fed even better (but that is not very relevant). What ...
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2answers
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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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2answers
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Is there a difference between Douhet and Walther Wever's strategic bombing theories?

Wiki introduces Wever this way: Walther Wever (11 November 1887 – 3 June 1936) was a pre-World War II Luftwaffe Commander. He was an early proponent of the theory of strategic bombing as a ...
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2answers
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How did the Roman army go from constantly losing battles in the middle of the 3rd century to winning almost everything?

During the middle of the 3rd century (crisis years) the roman legions seemed to be beaten left and right by the Goths, Sassanians and numerous Germanic tribes. Then suddenly with the arrival of the ...
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1answer
393 views

Are submarine launched ballistic missiles still inaccurate?

In the early 1980s documentary First Strike, one of the arguments made for the development of the MX missile program was that in the event of a massive Soviet attack on the land-based missile and ...
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3answers
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Were there any battles in Continental Europe that were decided by “peasants with pitchforks?”

I can think of one such battle in the British Isles; the battle of Bannockburn in 1314 in Scotland. In that battle, a 14,000-man English army despoiled a bunch of "homeless" vagrants on their way to ...
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1answer
605 views

Did the more experienced hoplites fight in the front or the back of the phalanx?

I have heard two conflicting ideas with regard to phalanx fighting formations, both from respectable history shows. One source indicates that the more mature/experienced men fought at the front ...
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1answer
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Was there any new military innovation during the Siege of Malta?

In the Siege of Malta, the Knights Hospitaller defended the island despite being heavily outnumbered by the invading Ottoman troops. Malta was such a small island, the Turks were the masters of the ...
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2answers
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What kind of armor did the soldiers use in pre-gunpowder Southeast Asia?

The tropical Southeast Asia (especially the Malay world, e.g. Malaysia/Indonesia) are very hot, and apparently wearing European-style full armor is very uncomfortable in hot climates. What kind of ...
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1answer
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What was the size of the Chola Empire's navy under Raja Raja Chozhan I?

Raja Raja Chola I was an Indian emperor who lived around the 11th century. He created an empire in South India through conquests, including naval campaigns. He was able to conquer Sri Lanka and the ...
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5answers
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Does Grant's use of attrition tactic support his reputation as a general?

In 1864, General Ulysees S. Grant began the "final campaign" against Richmond using a war of attrition. That's because of the Union's 2-to-1 numerical advantage against a qualitatively superior ...
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Can you identify the plane in the picture?

Can you help identify this U.S. Air force four engine prop, numbered 2753.
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6answers
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Why did the British have so few destroyers going into World War II?

In September, 1940, Britain traded a number of its New World naval base sites for 50 "overaged' (old) destroyers in the so-called "Destroyer Deal." That doesn't seem like a large number of destroyers, ...
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2answers
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Percentage of the draft pool that were conscripted during WW2 and Vietnam

During the times of these conflicts I'm pretty sure the eligible ages to be drafted were from 18 - 25. During these times what percentage of US males between those ages were drafted. I'd like to be ...
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Why did post-Roman rulers abandon tax-paid army?

According to C. Wickham's The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages 400-1000, pages 102-104, in 5th century rulers abandoned Roman tax-paid army in favor of medieval feudal one, which was ...
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2answers
403 views

Identification of radio equipment and its purpose in Vietnam

The following photograph is from the first years of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. These soldiers are wearing baseball caps and their patches are in color. Later, the patches were olive drab. Obviously, ...
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2answers
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How were Roman Legions disarmed/disbanded before entering Italia?

When Caesar crossed the Rubicon, it was illegal. Legions were supposed to disarm (edit: disband) themselves before coming back to Rome, in order to discourage any coups. But I've also read in various ...
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2answers
458 views

How could black men serve as officers in the US army during segregation?

How did black men such as Benjamin Oliver Davis Sr achieve high ranks in the US military during segregation? Those ranks should put them in position of power over white people, not very segregation-...
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2answers
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Why were the ship names “Scharnhorst” and “Gneisenau” used together?

In the German Navy (both the Kaiserliche Marine and Kriegsmarine), the two ship names of Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were used together for sister ships; for example the SMS Scharnhorst and Gneisenau ...
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1answer
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How large were the East India Company armed forces?

The British East India Company maintained an armed force large and competent enough to subdue and control Mughal India, but just how large was it? How comparable was it to contemporary national ...
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3answers
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At the Battle of Zama, was the Roman army more “native” than the Carthaginian?

At the battle of Zama, which army had a higher proportion of native troops? Within the context of this question consider troops to be either "native" or "mercenary". Native troops serve out of ...
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2answers
875 views

How and why did Charles XII Get to Poltava?

The decisive battle of the Great Northern War between Sweden and Russia was the battle of Poltava. That's located deep in the Ukraine, southeast of Kiev, between Cherkassy and Kharkov. That seems ...
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1answer
467 views

1985 magazine cover about Strategic Defense Initiative - Who is Darth Vader?

Here is a the cover of the French magazine "Science&Vie", dated February 1985. The lead article, "La Paix des Étoiles" (Star Peace) is obviously about the Strategic Defense Initiative. February ...
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2answers
501 views

At the beginning of English Civil War, why did Parliament take a hard line with neutrals, thereby effectively helping Royalist recruitment?

In Cavaliers and Roundheads, Christopher Hibbert notes the problems King Charles I had recruiting men for his army. Even in late August 1642, he had “scarcely more than 1,000 men” and was greatly ...
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2answers
469 views

What was the legal process of raising a legion in late Republican Rome?

I've read some about both the Roman army and the Late Republican period, but realized that, while I understand well enough how legions worked in the field, I have only a very incomplete idea of who ...
11
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2answers
728 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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1answer
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What was the summer uniform of the streltsy?

The Russian streltsy (shooters) of 17th century are usually depicted in winter uniform wearing fur hats and dress. What was their summer uniform?
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2answers
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History of the Wehrmacht after the surrender

Wikipedia tells us, that: Following the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht, which went into effect on 8 May 1945, some Wehrmacht units remained active, either independently (e.g. in ...
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1answer
704 views

Are there any historical sources that support the claim that ancient high-speed archers held multiple arrows in their hand?

Lars Andersen was able to fire off 10 arrows in 4.9 seconds by holding several arrows in his right hand. As a comparison, medieval archers were expected to shoot 12-20 arrows per minute, or 0.98 to 1....
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1answer
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Where did the design of the US Colonel insignia come from?

I've been trying to figure out why the insignia for a colonel in the U.S. military is an eagle. Obviously, there is the connection with the seal of the united states. But why is it used by the colonel ...
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2answers
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Which Allied aircraft scored the most air-to-air kills against the Me 262 in WWII?

Backgound: The Schwalbe (German: "Swallow") fighter version of the Messerschmitt Me 262 was the first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft, with the first test unit having been formed on 19 April,...
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1answer
510 views

Were groups (or 'companies') of dogs used to attack enemy armies in medieval battles?

In Dogs in warfare and The Dogs of War, a number of examples are given where dogs were used in battle in ancient times. Polyaenus, in ‘Stratagems’, also gives a clear example (late 7th century BC): ...
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1answer
296 views

Why didn't Emperor Gaozu of Tang let Crown Prince Li Jiancheng command battles more often?

When Emperor Gaozhu of Tang (唐高祖) was reigning, there were a number of battles that were helmed by his second son, Li Shimin(李世民) instead of the crown prince Li Jiancheng(太子李建成), such as: The ...
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9answers
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What is the best historical example of conflict between two cultures with differing levels of technology? [closed]

Let me start with some background, in fiction authors like to explore situations where the human race meets another civilization. As a rule of thumb both races in one way or another - sometimes after ...
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2answers
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What Roman legions were present in London (UK)?

I have just come across an interesting article about the Romans in London (UK): Roman eagle found by archaeologists in City of London a Picture from the above article (just to have an idea): My ...
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7answers
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Has there ever been an attempted military takeover of a democracy in the western world?

Ignoring the Spanish 1981 and Greek 1967 coups. Are there any other examples of the military attempting (or even managing) to overthrow an elected government in an advanced democracy in the western ...
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4answers
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What is this strange uniform?

Colonel John Tiltman wears a very strange uniform in this picture, dated 1919. The original webpage where I saw the picture is http://www.colossus-computer.com/colossus1.html.
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4answers
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Were mounted soldiers really an advancement during the Middle Ages?

While reading Charles Oman's "A History of the Art of War in the Middle Ages" it occurred to me that horses and a kind of knight were always available to the Roman Empire, and nevertheless the legions ...
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2answers
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Distinguish Mitsubishi G6M1-L2 and G4M1 aircraft in this picture

Here is a picture of Bataan 1 and Bataan 2: Wikipedia: Bataan 1 and Bataan 2 were two demilitarized Japanese bomber/transport aircraft that carried the first surrender delegations from Japan to Ie ...