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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183 views

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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2answers
259 views

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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327 views

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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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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2answers
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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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4answers
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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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194 views

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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110 views

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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5answers
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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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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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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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3answers
318 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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1answer
486 views

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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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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137 views

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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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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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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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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1answer
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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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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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453 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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3answers
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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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1answer
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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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1answer
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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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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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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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1answer
213 views

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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1answer
327 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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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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139 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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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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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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1answer
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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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2answers
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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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1answer
288 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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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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2answers
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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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313 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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1answer
150 views

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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6answers
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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1answer
892 views

What was the aftermath of a battle in the Middle Ages? How did wounded soldiers proceed?

The Red Cross was founded by 1859 over these circumstances: Until the middle of the 19th century, there were no organized and/or well-established army nursing systems for casualties and no safe and ...
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1answer
7k views

In what way were Renaissance battles like chess matches?

I have been reading Ross King's Brunelleschi's Dome: The Story of the Great Cathedral in Florence. Although the book is well documented, it has an astonishing passage for which the author provides no ...
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Which book about risk of war over time draws conclusions contrary to Pinker?

I thought I recently read about a book arguing that trends in warfare, when you use the right statistics on the right timescales, do not show a clear decline over time. The book was characterized as ...
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467 views

Was there a semi-professional soldiering class in Early Middle Ages Europe?

We're all familiar with the basic setup of feudal society: a large class of peasants supporting a small martial-administrative class of knights. In the event of a big war, peasants get handed some ...
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240 views

In Tolstoy's War and Peace, one character is captured after the Battle of Austerlitz and is taken as a POW. Was his experience historically accurate?

Prince Andrei Bolkonsky is captured after sustaining a wound in battle and is taken as a POW. He, along with other officers of the Russian Army, were treated with care and respect by the French, and ...
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24k views

Was Switzerland really impossible to invade during WW2?

My question is not about an alternative scenario, nor about the reasons that caused Switzerland to not get invaded (as could be seen here: Why was Switzerland not attacked during the two World Wars?). ...
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2answers
581 views

Why were Hoplite shields circular?

why were Hoplite shields circular? Given that humans are much taller than they are wide even taking into account that the shield has to protect the person to their left the horizontal to vertical ...
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1answer
208 views

Is there a historical example or a manuscript about troop formation or fighting stance on a boat?

Is there a historical example or a manuscript about troop formation or fighting stance on any sort of boat or ship? Especially during colonialism or the golden age of piracy, no specific location so ...
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2answers
732 views

Why the belt or strap in some plate armor and some other armor exposed in the middle front side?

(the belt or strap locate at the middle side of the breastplate or the plackart) Won't the belt become easy target to be cut or to be worn out? Making the armor prone to break up or unable to cover ...
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6answers
401 views

Was there a nation/state which conquered other ones to gather forces and fight against an even greater enemy?

I'm writing a fictional story and basically that's the case of one of the kingdoms there: conquering others to become more powerful and fight another nation. I'm asking this question to get some ...

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