Questions tagged [military]

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

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6k views

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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In WW2, which midget submarine program was the most successful?

In WW2, which midget submarine program was the most successful? I know at least Great Britain and Japan had midget submarines and used them during the course of the conflict. Which WW2 combatant had ...
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What was the first example of a foreign mercenary unit?

Employing foreign mercenaries as royal guards is an ancient trend. The Pope employed Swiss guards starting with the Renaissance. The Basileus had his Varangian Guard. Even the Roman emperors briefly ...
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Did Germany produce ammunition with depleted uranium?

Albert Speer in a footnote in Inside the Third Reich states, "During 1940 1200 metric tons of uranium ore had been seized in Belgium." Later in the book, Speer states, "In the summer of 1943 ...
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Did the Gallic army besieged in Alesia conduct itself well when expecting relief?

During a Gallic revolution against Rome, a Gallic army of some 80,000 men took shelter in the fortress town of Alesia, where they were besieged by some 50,000 Romans under Julius Caesar. (His army may ...
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915 views

Would every Roman army have dedicated engineers?

Would a Roman army have dedicated engineers to design and build the siege engines (onagers, scorpions etc)? Would the engineers be expected to fight? Personally, I am particularly interested in what ...
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Why has SACEUR exclusively been an American officer?

After reading this BBC article about the new SACEUR, General Philip Breedlove, United States Air Force, it occurred to me that SACEUR has always been an American officer. Supreme Allied Commander ...
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Did Hannibal start the Second Punic War prematurely?

IN 221 BC, Hamilcar, Hannibal's father, made a peace with Rome that divided Spain north and south between Rome and Carthage. The latter got the larger "piece," the area shaded in green on the map ...
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Could an enlisted soldier in German Imperial Army get rank above Gefreiter?

According to wiki, up until 1918, Gefreiter was the only rank to which an enlisted soldier could be promoted. Sounds strange. Is it true? Where did Germans take their Corporals, Sergeants and ...
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When did the use of “Contact!” by soldiers emerge?

I was recently watching a World War One docudrama-esque show (Our World War (BBC)) and, while patrolling and fighting to control Trones Wood, some British troops unexpectedly encounter the German ...
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What were the most common reasons why draft-age men were not conscripted for the Union Army?

Based on this question and an answer, it appears that although almost all southern white men of draft age were in the military during the Civil War, only about half of northerners were. For those in ...
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Jerusalem 1187: How did ethnicity impact Saladin's army?

This is intended to be the first (and longest) of a series questions about the Siege of Jerusalem in 1187. It was originally one massive question, but the community rightly recommended that I break it ...
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How was the transfer of personnel from British women's military services managed?

In the 1990's,the former women's services - WRNS, WRAC, and WRAF - were disbanded and women absorbed into the regular services. Whilst women still cannot serve in combat roles, they are armed and ...
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779 views

Why do foreign dignitaries inspect guards of honour upon arrival?

I've been watching videos of various dignitaries (heads of state, heads of government, important officials, etc.) arriving for state visits in foreign countries. I noticed that upon disembarking from ...
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981 views

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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235 views

How was the Roman army in fact organized during Caesar's campaigns in Gaul?

I'm finding contradictory descriptions about how Roman legions were organized during the Gallic Wars (58-50 BC). An appendix on Roman military organization in The Landmark Julius Caesar highlights ...
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When was the testudo / tortoise formation first used by the Romans?

When was the earliest known use of the testudo formation by the Romans? Wikipedia's article on the testudo formation includes a quote from Cassius Dio which mentions the use of a testudo formation at ...
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258 views

What Factors Contributed to the Success of Certain “Long March” Strategies?

In the middle of the 100 years' War, France's Bertrand du Guesclin reportedly used "countermarch" tactics successfully against the English. Another example was General National Greene's "March to the ...
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What did the Royal Sussex Regiment do in India between 1891-1897?

My 2x Great Grandfather, James Walter Juden, served in the Royal Sussex Regiment from 1889 to 1902. I have a copy of his service records, which I have downloaded from FindMyPast; the images can be ...
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In the Film Master and Commander, why do they start towing their rowboats after they beat to quarters?

In the first scene on Master and Commander after the ship beats to quarters they're shown lowering three rowboats and towing them behind the ship. Why do they do that?
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Has there been an occasion where ranged weapons were available but not used?

I have been trying to prove my thinking wrong. I believe that there can never be an occasion where ranged weapons are available in outdoor battles / skirmishes that they would not be used. I am ...
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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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Why hire Hessian troops?

During the American Independence War the British army made use of mercenaries hired from various German state (About 30,000 German soldiers fought for the British during the American Revolutionary War,...
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What advantages have motorized infantry enjoyed over standard infantry besides speed?

My understanding is that motorized infantry have greater combat value than "standard" infantry (foot soldiers armed with rifles, or perhaps machine guns), over and above their greater mobility. Do ...
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Why didn't Eisenhower personally sign Act of Military Surrender in Reims, 1945?

My question is about German Army Surrender in Reims. The unconditional surrender was signed by Colonel General Alfred Jodl, on behalf of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht and General Walter Bedell Smith ...
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Why did Robert E. Lee stop offensive maneuvers?

According to the Wikipedia article on the Battle of Gettysburg, after that battle Robert E. Lee stopped making offensive maneuvers and rather started reacting to Union offensives. Is this 100% true, ...
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What incentives are in place for American soldiers to go fight in Iraq?

I am from Brazil, a country that has not fought any war since WW2. If you join the army, go fight in Iraq and then return, what will the USA pay you? Is there a health plan for life, a pension, or ...
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What is this war machine shown on Trajan's column?

The most comprehensive visual evidence about Roman army of I-II centuries is the Trajan column. It shows in great detail cloths, weapons, ships, military machines and other equipment of the Roman army....
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What type of military uniform is this?

I'm researching a CDV I bought this past summer and am having great difficulty finding what type of uniform this is. I have it narrowed down to a French military uniform, likely post 1900. I was able ...
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Why was the government expenditures of the Roman Empire very low compared to modern governments?

I was trying to compare the military spending of the Roman empire in the 1st century with modern military spending and how much of a burden that was to Roman people. The Wikipedia page of the ...
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Did many Nationalist Chinese soldiers fight in the Korean War on the Communist side?

Some years ago I was told by some Taiwanese friends that Nationalist troops who had surrendered to the Communists during or after the Chinese Civil War were made to fight for the Communists rather ...
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Identification of ship and seaplane type

Can anyone give clues on the type of ship and seaplane and the time frame?
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How Did Modern Weapons Change the Dynamics of City Fighting?

In medieval times, an attacking army that had breached the walls/outer defense of a city, could enter it and overrun the defenders at relatively little cost. A major modern exception was the battle ...
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What do men in the middle of a phalanx contribute?

I understand how the Phalanx can have an almost impenetrable front, and I understand the rear and sides may have to defend against an attack like the front - but what purpose do men in the middle ...
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Roman Legion composition

I've always read that the typical roman legion composition had the first line covered by the hastati followed by, in order, principes and triarii. Any sources I've always bumped into, and, of course, ...
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Why did fighter pilots wear their hats lopsided during the World Wars?

In many photographs of flying aces of the two World Wars, they wear their hats in a lopsided manner instead of straight. Here's photos of Albert Ball, a British WWI era pilot, and Erich Hartmann, the ...
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What were the advantages and disadvantages of Mongolian cavalry (compared to European cavalry)?

My understanding is that Mongolian cavalry fought mainly with bows and arrows, that is, missile weapons, in "hit and run" style, while European cavalry fought mainly with "contact" weapons such as ...
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Why was the Marian reforms' inclusion of landless masses necessary?

The Marian reforms of the late Roman Republic changed Rome's military into a standing, professional volunteer force and greatly enhanced its effectiveness, thereby ensuring Rome's dominance for ...
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What was the nominal strength of a company in a British Regiment during the American war of Independence?

How were these organised into Divisions, Grand Divisions or battalions?
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Ancient China military sizes

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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How did Poland avoid partition in the 17th century, but not the 18th century?

During the "Deluge" of 1648-1667, Poland was invaded and largely overrun by Sweden and Russia, the latter supporting dissident Ukrainian rebels. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deluge_(history) Yet, ...
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Conscientious objectors in Germany during WWI

Was there a special treatment for conscientious objectors in Germany during WWI? I know that Britain had a process of exemptions, which was however rather harshly and sparingly administered (see wiki)....
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What Roman legions in Spain revolted against Caesar before the battle at Munda?

I was debating an interesting topic recently about Pompey's legions in Spain and why they hadn't fought alongside him against Caesar at Pharsalus. Now Caesar forcefully convinced most of them to join ...
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What would be a typical rank for KGB intelligence officers spying abroad in the 1980s?

What would be typical ranks of KGB officers spying in the west during the 1980s? I know some western spies were recruited by the KGB, that after defecting to the Soviet Union got/had ranks in the ...
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First Roman battles after the Marian reforms

I'm quite interested in the removal of the Hastati, Principes and Triarii elements introduced by the Marian reforms in 107 BC, and how it affected the Roman army at first. Looking on Wikipedia for ...
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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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Were there bows employed by tribes living in the desert, and if so, what were they made of?

For tribes that inhabited desert areas (e.g. Arabian Peninsula, Sahara, etc...), there seems to have been a problem: a good bow would likely require materials that would be hard to come by in the ...
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Identification of a treacherous general of 17th century China

My aunt is part of an informal discussion group interested in the history of China. Apparently, during the Ming dynasty in the 1600s, there was a general whose treachery (I the charge was he was ...
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What happened to aircraft if their aircraft carrier was damaged?

Obviously if a plane takes off from a carrier but can't return because the carrier is damaged or sunk, it has to go somewhere. Or if it can't reach an airfield, its crew would need to ditch it and ...
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Have revolutions been won without the military establishment?

Various historical and political theorists (for instance, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita) have asserted that the support, or, at most, the abstention of a country's military is necessary for a successful ...