Questions tagged [military]

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

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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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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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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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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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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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Evolution of destroyers

This is a question about evolution of weapons technology. Destroyer is a class of ships which exists already for more than a century. One of its main characteristics is speed (these are generally the ...
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Why was the Me262 not suited for a bomber role?

A documentary at Radio-Canada named "mégastructures nazies" mentioned the Me262 as not being suited for a bomber role. Also, Albert Speer was against the decision to convert the Me262 to this role, as ...
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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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U.S. Marine Corps and Why does the Navy’s army need its own air force?

A recent interview by C-SPAN host Brian Lamb with Washington Post staff writer Rajiv Chandrasekaran touched on many controversial issues of the F-35 acquisition program where evidently a lot of pork ...
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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 were Soviets so extremely effective snipers in WW2?

I found a top 10 sniper list from 2nd world war which contains 9 soviet soldiers, and only 1 Finnish soldier. Namely: Stepan Vasilievich Petrenko Vasilij Ivanovich Golosov Fyodor Trofimovich ...
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Was the battle of Stalingrad “unique” in the annals of history?

I'm referring to the fact that BOTH sides ordered their troops to fight for the city "to the last man and last round." (Hitler). The Soviet Union's General Vasili Chuikov echoed this by saying "We ...
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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 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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Was 18th century Prussia really so militarily obsessed?

I'm reading A Military History of Germany by Martin Kitchen, and I was surprised at the description of 18th century Prussia. The country is described as a North-Korea like military obsessed nation, ...
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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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What were the Lines of Ne Plus Ultra in the War of the Spanish Succession?

After reading another biography of Marlborough, I am annoyed by the fact the authors mention but do not describe the Lines of Ne Plus Ultra. They make it sound (I have read Chandler and Konstam) as if ...
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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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Understanding my 96 year old father's US Army discharge papers

I have my father's discharge papers and medals. I am trying to organize and classify his medals properly. Line 32 reads - Sicilian, Naples-Foggia, Southern France, Rhineland GO105 WD45 Line 33 reads ...
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What was the origin of the roles of “lieutenant” officers?

A "captain" is a commander of a basic unit, a company in the military. As such, it makes sense that he will have one or more "lieutenants," first and second lieutenants that is. A major commands the ...
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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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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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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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How big were Ancient China military forces?

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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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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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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What was the military makeup of the Baltic tribes/Lithuania from 1200 to 1500 AD?

There is quite a lot written on the Teutonic Order and its military, but I'm having a harder time finding any good English sources on the military of one of its chief foes, Lithuania and the other ...
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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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Why did Stephen II of Blois (father of King Stephen of England) abandon the First Crusade in 1098 knowing how much he would lose by doing so?

Having taken the crusader’s vow and raised an army of thousands, why did Stephen II of Blois forsake the enormous prestige associated with crusading and risk shame and accusations of cowardice by ...
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During the American Civil War, were cavalry units issued horses?

When a cavalry unit was raised during the Civil War, were the men issued with horses or did they use their personal horse? For example, 1st Arkansas cavalry (Union) was a western unit made up ...
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What is the purpose of this Roman siege tactic as shown in this Illustration?

When browsing Wikipedia, I came across this illustration that displays some of well known siege weapons of Roman empire. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_engine#/media/File:Roman_siege_machines.gif ...
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Was there ever a war mission where the personnel were instructed to surrender when the mission complete?

For instance, an air raid beyond bomber's range where after completing the mission the pilots should land or eject at the enemy land and surrender.
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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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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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Why did the Korean War result in a stalemate?

In the Korean War, the United Nations forces lead by the US held overwhelming military and technological superiority over the Chinese. Even with the initial set back from the Chinese ambush AFTER the ...
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Why was the 1944 surrender of 20,000 Germans on the Western Front remarkable?

I remember very well those days last September when we first heard the rumor that General Elster would surrender to the 99th Division, no one would believe it. "20,000 German troops and their general ...
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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 ...
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Origin/reason for reversed flag on right shoulder?

Virtually any time the American flag is depicted or flown, it has the orientation seen in the following image, with the stars in the upper hoist (left) quarter of the flag: However, when the flag is ...
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How did a nomadic minority group the Manchus come to rule over China?

The population of the Chinese empire was about 120 times larger than the Jurchen tribe, who later renamed themselves to Manchus. Yes, the Manchus were very skilled warriors and the late Ming dynasty ...
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Why was a convicted Nazi war criminal buried with military honours?

[Source 1:] Erich von Manstein died of a stroke on the night of 9 June 1973 at the age of 85. As the last but one[a] surviving German field marshal, he was buried with full military honours, his ...
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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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How were shields fastened to soldiers' backs?

I'm researching armor (from all time periods, though most of my reference is from the medieval era) and I found there's little reference for how soldiers traveled with shields. Some shields have a ...
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Were sailing ships of the line understaffed with gunnery crews so that there were not enough for 2 broadsides?

Is there any data to support or refute the hypothesis that sailing ships of the line were only complemented with enough gunnery crews to simultaneously fire 1 broadside but not 2? If it matters for ...

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