Questions tagged [warfare]

For questions related to: acts of organized violence between groups of people where the violence often has a political purpose; the impact of such violence on peoples/nations; and any other related questions.

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What usually happened to the medieval peasants whose farmlands were burned by their own people as a part of the 'Scorched Earth' policy? [on hold]

The Hungarian kingdom employed scorched earth tactics against invading Mongols to great effect. Similar tactics were also employed by Polish. King Stephen III 'The Great' of Moldavia also used ...
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Medieval infantry deployed in ranks of #(?) men (formation depth)?

We know quite a lot about Greek phalanx, its deployment and depth and, I believe, about Roman legions as well. But do we know anything about Western European infantry formations of high/late middle ...
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What are tanks for? [closed]

I asked myself the simple question: "what is the purpose of tanks?", and I came up short. It is said that a common misconception of tanks is that they are designed to destroy other tanks. That is ...
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6answers
605 views

Where is the bloodiest area with most deaths within a single day?

Caused by war or other violent encounters, where have the most people died throughout history within a single day? These should include deaths at the hands of others, or themselves, using any ...
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1answer
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Did Henry V’s archers at Agincourt fight with no pants / breeches on because of dysentery?

At the Battle of Agincourt (1415), according to the War History Online article The Time English Soldiers went to Battle without Pants, and Won The conditions for the archers at the start of the ...
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1answer
479 views

Where and when has Thucydides been studied?

Thucydides' history of the Peloponnesian war between Sparta and Athens, of which he was a contemporary and participating general, is studied still today in war academies and by political scientists ...
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4answers
531 views

Has there ever been a massacre or genocidal act via people thrown off a cliff?

I was wondering if there ever was a genocidal act or massacre where people were thrown off a cliff? I don't mean killed and then thrown off, I mean instances where people were thrown off and killed ...
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helmet change from Greek to Macedon, Rome and Medieval period

Why did Roman helmets not cover the mouth like their greek counterparts? Did individual soldiers need to shout commands? Same for companion calvary Boeotian helmet vs that of medieval knights.
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2answers
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Could medieval soldiers be organized into a Roman style legion order of battle?

Is there any reason why medieval soldiers could not have been organized into the order of battle of the Roman Empire by a ruler or empire that chose to do so? Integrating crossbowmen, longbowmen, ...
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1answer
162 views

Well poisoning: time frame until usable again? [closed]

How long did it take for a well to be usable again after removing the carcass from it? Did it make the well unusable for years?
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6answers
858 views

Has any war in recorded history ever resulted in the complete annihilation (civil and military) of an enemy - all of them killed with no survivors?

Question In reviewing the Wiki topic on War of annihilation it is clear that there have been several examples (many of them in recent history) wherein the goal of a war was to utterly destroy an ...
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1answer
258 views

Were smoke signal used to trigger a company-scale infantry advance by the US during WWII?

In the context of WW2, US land forces, any non-Pacific theater (Africa, Italy, Normandy--Germany campaign): Was there a doctrine in place utilizing smoke grenade signals for triggering an infantry ...
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1answer
249 views

How many javelins would a Thracian Peltast carry into battle?

According to the Wikipedia page on Thracian Peltasts, they carried several javelins with them. I am just wondering how many could they realistically carry into battle. Also, would they run back to ...
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What other one word responses have been made to military ultimatums besides “Nuts!”, “Mokusatsu” and “If”?

I am aware of three well known circumstances where a one word response was given to a military ultimatum: The Japanese government responded “mokusatsu” to the Potsdam Declaration prior to the ...
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1answer
2k views

How much gunpowder could the average Napoleonic ship of the line carry?

I've run across a few references to a ship's magazine detonating during combat, and by all accounts the explosions were massive. I'm trying to put them into context a bit by figuring out how much ...
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2answers
434 views

With no heavy infantry, how could melee units be effective, facing competition from ranged units?

Arrows can sometimes even penetrate heavy armor. Yet, as far as I'm aware, Egyptians or Persians did not have heavy infantry, but only had light units. In light of this, I am uncertain how could the ...
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2answers
341 views

How effective were archers/ slingers / skirmishers in Greek, Roman and Medieval Period?

So it seemed that from the accounts of Thermopelea, Roman military strategy of waiting out an arrow storm, and Knights holding out for hours behind a shield wall during the first crusade it ...
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1answer
278 views

What was the range of medieval bombards?

We know the weights of various medieval bombards and the weight of the stones they launched (such as the famous Mons Meg or Dardanelles gun). But I can't find any information about their range or how ...
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3answers
728 views

How can a skilled battle commander like Napoleon Bonaparte lose to Prussians at Waterloo (Belgium) as such?

According to this website Napoleon Bonaparte lost the battle at Waterloo to Prussians because(Chronologically): 1. The failure of Grouchy keeping the Prussians away from the Battlefield. 2. The ...
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1answer
501 views

How did the Filipinos lose the Philippine-American War? [closed]

The Americans were fighting a war thousands of miles away from their country, against the Filipinos who just won a war of independence against Spain. Change the Filipinos to Vietnamese and Spain to ...
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2answers
234 views

Has the side with less artillery ever won? [duplicate]

Exclude cases where the artillery simply lacked ammo, was positioned so it couldn't fire, or got humanwaved. I am pretty sure there is no battle where the side with less artillery lost. Since the bulk ...
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7answers
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Why bother to attack in trench warfare?

At least on the western front, trenches were heavily defended. Any charge was just suicidal, with heavy losses for the attacker and much smaller losses for the defender. As there is a big strategic ...
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1answer
411 views

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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3answers
575 views

How accurately could ancient soldiers/commanders maneuver during battles

I am currently working on a small strategy game/interactive simulation of historical battles, whose main goal is to give the player – playing as the general of a ancient army – a more realistic amount ...
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5answers
802 views

How did pastoral nomads keep winning battles/wars? When did the tide turn against them for settled societies?

From the Huns to the Mongols, pastoral nomads keep coming up in history books. Entire empires have fallen to them, from Rome to various Chinese dynasties to Persians. And yet, when these nomads settle ...
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10answers
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How did pilots know when to release bombs on airplanes during World War2?

Given that during this time computing technology wasn't advanced enough to calculate when to drop bombs accurately on a target, I recall hearing something about bomber pilots using a modified watch to ...
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How large was Henry the Fowler's army?

About how many fighting men was Henry the Fowler, King of East Frankia (919 - 936) and Duke of Saxony (912 - 936) able to field during a given campaign?
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235 views

How did steppe-nomad military tactics change in response to widespread firearms in the 18th/19th centuries?

Please forgive my ignorance of the cultures extant in the Eurasian steppe at this time, but I was wondering how the military tactics of steppe-cultures changed in response to the massed musket tactics ...
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5answers
454 views

Are there any examples of civilians competing with, or hindering, a military?

What I am looking for: A village or area of civilians—either with very few military personnel, or none at all—that managed to defend itself against an invading force (this may be its own government, ...
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2answers
287 views

How “old” is mechanized infantry in terms of usage in warfare and what should be called as such?

This topic often fascinated me as a kid. I often questioned myself if there was an equivalent of the use of machinery to protect ground soldiers during a siege or an attack at some city or whatever ...
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1answer
172 views

When did enscribing messages on bombs first happen?

I would like to know when and why, messages written on bombs appeared for the first time. In particular if only US crew members used it during the operations in war.
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2answers
9k views

How would a Spartan have held his shield?

I am astonished at the weight of a Spartan shield, which I have read would have weighed 30 lbs (13.5 kg). This is, of course, extremely heavy for most people. Ergo, it raised the question for me: ...
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2answers
416 views

Was the Persian army dependent on cornel wood?

In the following book I found the passing statement that cornel wood was used by the Persian cavalry for their javelins: Nelson, Richard. Armies of the Greek and Persian Wars 500 to 350 BC, 2015. p30. ...
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1answer
113 views

Why are there multiple royal squadrons of the Companion Cavalry?

The Companion Cavalry was a famous group of horsemen in Ancient Macedonia. They served quite literally as the companions of the Macedonian kings during battle. Alexander the Great himself rode with ...
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Is Josephus account of destruction of Temple considered reliable?

I'm currently finishing up "The Jewish War" by Josephus. Josephus describes the lengths that Romans went to preserve the temple. On the one hand, I know Romans had rather a synthetic approach to ...
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1answer
4k views

In Antiquity, were Persian arrows considered superior to their Greek counterparts?

In Xenophon's Anabasis I ran into the following part: The Persian bows are also large, and consequently the Cretans could make good use of all the arrows that fell into their hands; in fact, ...
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3answers
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Did Japan ever attack Vladivostok in WW2? Why or why not?

That's a screenshot from Battlefield Season 4 Episode 3. I added the location of Vladivostok. In all my readings, I have never found a Japanese attack on Vladivostok during or right before WW2. You ...
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2answers
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Are there any cases of rewarding an enemy commander for sparing a city from looting?

According to Wikipedia, after the Battle of Lübeck (1806) [...] the city became the target of large-scale looting and rampage by the French soldiers. [Marshal] Bernadotte, struggling desperately to ...
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Why did Coloman of Slavonia leave Sajó bridge weakly defended against the Mongols?

During the beginning hours of the Battle of Mohi, Coloman of Slavonia was able to repulse the Mongol attempt to secure the bridge for their safe crossing over the river. But within two hours after ...
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How heavy were the heaviest war hammers actually used?

On the German Wikipedia page about warhammers it says their weight reached from 3 to 14 Kg! Having done some really heavy sports in my past, I was truly surprised by this last number! I searched ...
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Did the Pope's crossbow and archery bans have any effect?

One of the more famous and certainly curious decisions at the Second Council of the Lateran in 1139 was a ban on using missile troops against Christians. Specifically, Canon 29 states that: We ...
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1answer
275 views

Was there a military practice of reloading while marching/running, in Europe or America during the 18th and 19th centuries?

This reenactor does a fine job of reloading a flintlock rifle while running. He is attempting to recreate something from the Indian Wars in America, in the 1770s. My question is about the historical ...
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2answers
409 views

How accurate was rocket artillery in the 18th and 19th centuries?

In the 1700s and 1800s, how accurate was rocket artillery in Europe (or Asia, if you prefer to speak of her)? Its accuracy is frequently made a joke, that rockets couldn't be relied on to hit their ...
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132 views

How far were early grenades thrown in the 17th century?

Early grenades weighed about three pounds, apparently, and were generally thrown by tall, strong men. I haven't been able to find a figure on how far they were normally thrown, at what range they were ...
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1answer
2k views

What metallurgy advancement allowed the transition from mail hauberk to plate armor?

Why did it happen in the 14th century, when the blast furnace was invented much earlier? Can someone explain, how medieval blacksmiths figured it out? What discovery enabled them to create plate ...
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1answer
383 views

Jerusalem 1187: How would Saladin's army have laid siege to the walls?

BACKGROUND In fall of 1187 Saladin's "12,000 professional cavalrymen [and] 30,000 volunteers" arrived at Jerusalem and began a two week siege, assaulting the walls with towers, arrows, rocks, and ...
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Why didn't the British Grand Fleet force an engagement with the German Imperial Navy in WW1?

I'm watching the channel The Great War on YouTube, which documents the goings on of the First World War week by week (careful, it's addictive and there are literally hundreds of episodes). It is my ...
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2answers
441 views

Could the warriors of the Tollense battlefield be considered the world's first standing army?

Slaughter at the bridge: Uncovering a colossal Bronze Age battle - from Science Mag (2016) Apparently an amateur archaeologist discovered this site in 1996 and there were thousands of warriors ...
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1answer
166 views

Was there any Empire that only used bronze?

As far as I know, the Hittite and the Assyrian were Bronze Age empires but one of the reasons why they conquered other people was because of their mass produced iron weapons. Mycenaean used bronze but ...
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814 views

How effective were the Mongol siege equipment?

From what I understand, the mongols had engineers from China and Persia to handle the siege machinery. I'm mostly curious as if the machinery made by the Chinese engineers was unique and/or superior ...