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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.

11
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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 ...
3
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2answers
350 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 ...
0
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0answers
101 views

How did troops fight during the wars of the latter half of the 19th century?

I am talking specifically about the Franco-Prussian War, Russo-Turkish War and Austro-Prussian War. The latter half of the 19th century saw great advances in battlefield technology, such as ...
1
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1answer
128 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 ...
1
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1answer
155 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 ...
4
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3answers
504 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 ...
2
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1answer
261 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 ...
2
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2answers
217 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 ...
76
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7answers
17k views

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 ...
13
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1answer
262 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 ...
5
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3answers
404 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 ...
4
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4answers
385 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 ...
51
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10answers
15k views

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 ...
1
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0answers
80 views

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?
3
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1answer
179 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 ...
-3
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5answers
287 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, ...
2
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2answers
224 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 ...
3
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1answer
137 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.
53
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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: ...
4
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2answers
273 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. ...
1
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1answer
105 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 ...
3
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2answers
183 views

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 ...
23
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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, ...
0
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3answers
388 views

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 ...
8
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0answers
222 views

Rewarding an enemy commander for sparing a city?

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 ...
10
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1answer
1k views

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 ...
3
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1answer
686 views

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 ...
34
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2answers
7k views

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 ...
5
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1answer
238 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 ...
3
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2answers
313 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 ...
2
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0answers
113 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 ...
11
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1answer
1k 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 ...
6
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1answer
284 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 ...
30
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4answers
6k views

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 ...
4
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2answers
327 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 ...
2
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1answer
144 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 ...
8
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3answers
548 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 ...
1
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1answer
154 views

How did the development of unbreakable and asymmetric encryption change warfare?

Modern encryption is generally considered mathematically impossible to break, unlike well-known historical instances like the Enigma. Additionally, asymmetric encryption negates the need to ensure ...
0
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1answer
154 views

Were smoke signals used in conflict between European-American and Native Americans?

Native Americans are known for using smoke signals to communicate messages over long distances. Were they able to use these to send (encoded) messages to coordinate battle against European-Americans? ...
3
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2answers
153 views

Cannon Aiming: Spanish vs English and Chinese vs English?

I recall reading that the Spanish tended to aim for sails or masts which was considered less effective than aims at the body of the ship but I guess also allowed the ships to be taken with less damage....
14
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3answers
7k views

How did warriors age historically?

How good was a 40 years old or 50 years old frontline warrior expected to be historically? Experienced or decrepit? I know boxing champion statistics, but war is more complicated than boxing.
12
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2answers
1k views

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 ...
9
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2answers
1k views

Agincourt - Where was the Earl of Suffolk (de la Pole)?

The English army at Agincourt was divided (largely) into three positions: Henry V in the center, then Camoys and the Duke of York on the sides. One of the most famous English casualties of the battle ...
2
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0answers
190 views

How would ancient jungle civilizations fight pitched battles?

It's my understanding that battles between civilizations in ancient and medieval times (i.e. the time before gunpowder weaponry became widespread) were often pitched affairs in which soldiers fought ...
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1answer
151 views

Why did former warfare so focused on capturing fortifications persist till modern times? [duplicate]

One thing I do not get is why Army leaders in the past milleniums weagermess of seizing fortresses instead of going around them. I believe more and more that this paradigm of "We must take this ...
10
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1answer
266 views

Which college president nearly finished a book in 1914 that argued that there would be no more wars?

In 1954, Presbyterian theologian Gordon Clark published a brief essay in which he criticized the moral optimism of the pre-WWI era. He included the following intriguing tidbit: In the summer of ...
9
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2answers
799 views

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 ...
4
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2answers
262 views

How did the Mongol Nomads' System of Raiding and Trading Work?

I've read (in a source I no longer remember) that the Mongol tribes of the Steppe, like some other cultures, had this habit of raiding each other without it being seen as an act of war. More ...
2
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1answer
183 views

Have truces for the duration of Ramadan ever been customary/mandatory?

I know that you are exempt from fasting during Ramadan if a war is on (and also for other various reasons). But - has it ever been customary (or even - required) for Muslim fighting forces to offer ...
1
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1answer
654 views

Has a CIWS system ever shot down a missile in combat?

Has any Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) successfully intercepted and shot down a missile in combat? Surely they have had the chance to, for example Phalanx systems were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. ...