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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Where was gunpowder invented/ discovered?

There are many people on the internet claiming that India discovered/ invented gunpowder for eg, many of these claims quote Dr. Gustav Oppart (acs.org, and see below). Wikipedia says that gunpowder ...
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3 votes
1 answer
457 views

Was the quality of Roman armor really worse than the armor of knights of the XII-XIV centuries?

When I was studying the metallurgy of ancient Rome, I saw a rather controversial study done by Michael Fulford, David Sim and Alistair Doig called "The production of Roman ferrous armour:a ...
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14 votes
5 answers
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Were British infantry trained to shoot attacking aircraft with rifles?

In WWII the Allies were surrounded at Dunkirk as they waited for the Navy to ferry them back to England. In the movie "Dunkirk" there are entire Battalions of British troops standing in huge ...
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10 votes
1 answer
280 views

What is the price of modern warfare compared to medieval in terms of GDP?

I recently read that the Russians launched 35 missiles each costing around 1 million USD on Jarov, which made me realize that modern warfare is, to put it mildly, very expensive. But I would probably ...
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2 votes
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Do wars in Europe rarely start on a Wednesday? [closed]

When the Russian ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, was asked by the German newspaper Die Welt whether Russian armed forces would start to invade the Ukraine on Wednesday February 16th, as ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
246 views

Why did armies meet on the battlefield, and how often did they? (medieval times) [closed]

A common criticism I hear of fiction set in medieval-esque worlds is that it makes no sense for the defending army to leave the fortifications in order to meet the attacking army on the battlefield. ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Have sanctions ever stopped a nation from starting or continuing a war?

I am asking about nations that would be considered “Great Powers”. It is my understanding that the U.S. oil embargo on Imperial Japan did nothing to stop Japan’s war in China and actually caused them ...
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5 votes
0 answers
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Where and how were the catapults/trebuchets operators trained?

Practice makes perfect: give someone enough time with a sling, bow or crossbow and after a while he will learn to hit the target - you don't need to know much science, as much of the learning revolves ...
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1 answer
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How, just how you can burn down a stone structure? [closed]

I often encounter claims that this or that stone temple or fortress was "burned down" sometime in the past. How this could happen? One example (of many) is the claim that Church of St. Mary ...
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2 votes
2 answers
315 views

Why did Lübeck not have colonies like other strong city-states?

Why did Lübeck not have colonies, far away trading-posts or even more land like other strong city-states? They had a big fleet and a big army as well. For example the city-state of Venice was rich on ...
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Has any losing general in history tried to save his mens' lives by offering to disband, rather than surrender, his army?

The losing general proposes to effect a "cease fire" by giving his soldiers discharge papers (or absent papers, a "token") that the enemy agrees to honor, signifying that the ...
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Are there any modern history examples of large scale conflicts where warfare technology provides a great advantage to the defender, except WWI? [closed]

One of the characteristics of World War I was the Trench warfare which shows one of those cases when defender has a large advantage over the attacker: (..) a revolution in firepower was not matched ...
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4 votes
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Do we know why the Scythians and Sarmatians were overpowered by the Goths, Huns, and Slavs so quickly?

I'm doing a project on the Scythians and Sarmatians and so I've been reading up on ancient wars involving them and I've noticed the following: So, from around 500 BCE to 1 CE the Scytho-Sarmatians ...
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0 votes
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How were warriors wielding axes deployed in combat?

IIRC ancient & medieval soldiers have been wielding axes in battles since Sumerian times. My question is essentially, how were these warriors deployed in an Army? Most soldiers were in tight ...
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3 votes
2 answers
427 views

Did medieval armies cultivate resources during their campaigns?

Reading on the siege of Constantinople of 717, the following is mentioned: The Arab army was well-provisioned, with Arab accounts reporting high mounds of supplies piled up in their camp, and had ...
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40 votes
4 answers
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Were kamikaze pilots an effective strategy for Japan?

history.howstuffworks.com claims kamikaze pilots were not overly effective. Wikipedia states that there was no noticeable increase in number of ships lost even as kamikaze pilots became more common, ...
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2 answers
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How was reconnaissance performed in medieval warfare?

During the middle ages reconnaissance played at least a minor part in a tactician's plans. As evidenced by this question Irish Hobelars would be used to scout ahead in terrain that was too difficult ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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After World War 2, was there a trend to say "defense" instead of "war"?

In answering a question whether "defense forces" has any legal meaning, I noticed a trend. Before World War 2 military departments and ministries used terms like "war". After World ...
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25 votes
5 answers
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Have any kings ever been serving admirals?

As the title says, has any person who has held or has gone on to hold the title of King (or some other similar monarchical title) ever been a serving admiral, who has exercised actual command of a ...
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3 votes
0 answers
151 views

Was combat beneath the pikes a common type of fight in XVII century?

As far as one can see, warfare is always defined by the leading army that at some point dominated a region. For instance in Europe in the XVII century one of the most famous and effective "army&...
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-1 votes
2 answers
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Do revolutions always need public support in order to succeed long-term? [closed]

I normally frequent Worldbuilding StackExchange, and I recently asked a question about werewolves attempting to declare themselves an independent, sovereign state in the American West. However, this ...
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1 vote
3 answers
456 views

Are there any tanks with the gun and autoloader outside the main turret?

Basically as title. I've been thinking about this hybrid turret design for quite some time now. Essentially, I had this idea for a potential design for a tank turret that could be accomplished with an ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Did French troops use chemical weapons during the Siege of Laghouat in 1852?

During the Siege of Laghouat in Algeria, the French army massacred around 3627 civilians. Many sources suggest that the colonial army also used chemical weapons in that confrontation. However in these ...
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6 votes
3 answers
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How common was capturing a post-sail warship?

From this answer it appears that capturing an enemy warship in battle, either by boarding, or by shooting at them from bow or stern until they surrender, was relatively common in the age of sail. ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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Has a prize ship ever been surrendered to a neutral country?

According to the Hague Peace Convention of 1907, §13 Art. 3, whenever a belligerent power captures a prize ship in the territorial waters of a neutral power, the belligerent power must surrender the ...
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9 votes
1 answer
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What is the origin of Americans sometimes refering to the Second World War "the Good War"?

WWII has gone down in American popular memory as "the Good War" (later criticized by authors like Studs Terkel, etc.). But who coined this term? I don't mean the concept, which refers to the ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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Did Spanish missions block exploration of South America?

According to The river sea : the Amazon in history, myth, and legend, page 112, In any study of these wild regions [of South America], one is constantly astounded, even moved, regardless of one's ...
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5 votes
6 answers
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Was the tide of war ever turned by a wonder weapon?

There seems to be a repeating topos in history, where powers on the loosing side of a war try to turn its tide by inventing new, secret and/or super weapons. The misguided hope seems to be that these ...
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1 answer
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Did they use flying drones around 1925 for warfare?

In the Soviet sci-fi film "Napoleon-gas" (1925) they use radio-controlled flying drones for air warfare. Here is the timed link to this place in the film. I wonder if this is a pure sci-fi ...
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6 votes
2 answers
390 views

How did smaller feudal vassal realms survive a war or raid?

Say you're a knight or baron or just generally a landowner who swears fealty to a much more higher title than you. One day a war breaks out between a rival realm or raiders from a more tribal-like one ...
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9 votes
2 answers
511 views

Did Germans refuse to take Cossacks prisoners in WWI? If so, why?

The Russian Wikipedia's page about Kozma Kryuchkov, the first awardee of Russia's Cross of Saint George in the First World War, says: После этого случая, освещённого почти во всей тогдашней ...
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34 votes
3 answers
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Has there been any "invasive plants warfare" in the past?

Has there been any events of warfare in the past which used invasive plants to damage any country's (or kingdom's) food crops or its natural vegetation? Some details: The damage done by invasive ...
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27 votes
1 answer
7k views

Who said: "Armies prepare to fight their last war, rather than their next war"?

There is a famous quote which I've seen phrased in several different ways. "Armies prepare to fight their last war, rather than their next war" "Generals prepare to fight their father'...
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5 votes
1 answer
212 views

Which 'march across the ice' had comparatively the most casualties?

I'm wondering whether a 'march across the ice' has ever ended in a catastrophe. These events are typically described as "risky", "daring", "bold", and "exceptional&...
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2 votes
0 answers
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Where from, and in what way, did the first detailed account of the use of self-propelled torpedoes reach the RN and USN?

Three possible candidates seem to exist for the first verified (non-participant) observation of a torpedo boat assault. The options are the Russo-Turkish War, at Caldera Bay, or at Weihaiwei, all of ...
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8 votes
2 answers
618 views

Help on finding out about a sword

After my mother passed away, I found this sword. I'm trying to get any information on it. It's one-piece, and appears to be brass under all the erosion but I could be wrong about the metal. I think it'...
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1 answer
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Were there any generals in history who were willing to risk "half their army" in order win the war quickly?

In studying the campaigns of American generals such as Nathaniel Greene in various campaigns, George McClellan at Antietam,* George Meade at Gettysburg, and others, I was struck by the reluctance of ...
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5 votes
2 answers
520 views

Was the M4 Sherman used frequently in artillery capacity?

I've heard the M4 Sherman had instruments on it that allowed it to act as an artillery piece. Is there any evidence to suggest this was effective? I've heard that the Sherman had of course, its High ...
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4 votes
0 answers
94 views

Can the Notitia Dignitatum help identify colors for Late Republic/Early Imperial Roman Shields?

Traditionally Hollywood has showed us red shields for the Legions, but of course Hollywood only pays historical fact-checkers to say they have one, not to do what the fact-checkers say! The actual ...
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1 vote
0 answers
159 views

When is the last time a trebuchet was used in combat? [closed]

When was a trebeuchet or any similar weapons (such as an onager, mangonel, catapult) last used in combat? My guess is that they were replaced by the cannon in the gunpowder age. But I know the cannon ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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Were there any specific laws/treaties enshrining the Principle of Distinction in the 18th century?

Hathaway and Shapiro (2017): By the middle of the eighteenth century, European armies had come to recognize a “Principle of Distinction,” the doctrine central to modern humanitarian law, which ...
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30 votes
3 answers
7k views

Why were Royal Navy ships forbidden to attack the ARA Veinticinco de Mayo in Argentinian waters?

I watched this video on the British hunt for the Argentinian aircraft carrier ARA Veinticinco de Mayo, during the Falklands war. Involved, among other ships, was the Royal Navy nuclear submarine HMS ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Does the long dense habitation and cultivation of lands correlate with a high incidence of tetanus and gangrene in badly disinfected wounds?

William Keen claims in his Treatment of war wounds (written at the end of WW1) that the soil of France, since it was inhabited and cultured since antiquity, was extraordinarily infected with bacteria ...
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-2 votes
2 answers
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Why were/are mines ever considered sensible as a weapon? [closed]

Ever since I was a kid, up until now that I'm middle-aged, I've always wondered why, in wars or otherwise, they bother digging down mines which explode when humans tramp on/near them. This seems like ...
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3 votes
1 answer
313 views

Did the Nazi Army have a telephone conversation pattern?

The film "Valkyrie" (2008) depicts that while Stauffenberg was on his way to Berlin, Friedrich Fromm called Keitel to ask him about the rumors circulating in Berlin about Hitler's death. Fromm to ...
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9 votes
3 answers
2k views

Did they really have automatic anti-aircraft cannons in WW2? [closed]

I tried to find it before asking, but I couldn't. A few years ago, I read in a Wikipedia article, and saw photos of, what apparently was a fully automatic anti-aircraft cannon which, if I didn't get ...
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10 votes
2 answers
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What was the significance of the BEF moving into the gap between German forces in First Battle of the Marne?

The German troops fighting in the Battle of the Marne were exhausted and their commanders seemed to communicate very little. After the Marne they retreated to the river Aisne and more or less began ...
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0 votes
2 answers
330 views

Have there been any known cases of governments/military powers PRETENDING to be incompetent, as a sneaky form of security?

This intrigues me, especially after reading a lot about WW2 ciphers and sneaky techniques by the British, etc. Are there any known/famous cases of governments/military powers consistently and ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Was the decrypting of communications in WW2 a one-sided effort, or did Germany also do it? [closed]

Lately, I've read a lot about how the "Allies" in WW2 (I always found that term strange since the others were also "allies", just not with the USA!) kept breaking all the German ciphers from both the ...
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23 votes
6 answers
5k views

Who was the last European king to actively engage in combat?

Specifically, I would like to know who the most recent European monarch (or monarchs, if they lived roughly at the same time) is that actively engaged in combat whilst reigning: that is, used a sword, ...
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