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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.

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18
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11answers
6k views

Why were people from the Asian Steppes able to militarily dominate Europeans on a repeated basis?

From the Huns through the Mongolians, why were nomadic people from the east able to create such havoc in Europe? Was it an endless 'first mover' advantage with horse domestication? Was it a higher ...
4
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1answer
189 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
300 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 ...
47
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17answers
19k 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?). ...
1
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1answer
159 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 ...
0
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2answers
328 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 ...
1
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4answers
1k 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 ...
17
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5answers
2k views

How was Napoleon's invasion of Russia supplied?

How was such a great army, like the army of Napoleon on its way to Moscow, supplied with food and other needed things? Were they transporting it from France or maybe stealing from territory on their ...
1
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5answers
614 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 ...
12
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2answers
812 views

What's the correlation between an excessive unmarried male population and a big war breaking out?

I recently heard a commentator talking about the effects of the one-child policy in China. It went basically like this: For various economic and cultural reasons, it's considered better to have a ...
0
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1answer
247 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 ...
1
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6answers
381 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 ...
6
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3answers
545 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. ...
22
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10answers
60k views

How far could an English war bow shoot?

The range of the medieval weapon is not accurately known, with estimates from 165 to 228 m (180 to 249 yds) So says Wikipedia. I did read, however, in a semi-fictional, semi-historical work of ...
13
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3answers
957 views

Why did Ottoman Army use camels in the Siege of Vienna 1683?

I was reading up on Siege of Vienna 1529. I saw a rather curious image with camels in it: For full resolution image, click here. I was surprised to see Ottoman Empire using camels in the ...
6
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0answers
190 views

When Were Morions Last Worn By Spanish Soldiers?

Around when were morions last worn by Spanish soldiers, particularly in the Western Hemisphere? I can't find much about this online. I'm also wondering what they were replaced with at the time.
4
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2answers
2k 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 ...
5
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3answers
2k views

What was the combat effectiveness of German infantry in the western front of the Second World War?

I am specifically looking for statistics that estimate man for man what Wehrmacht infantry units were worth compared to allied infantry (principally British and American) after the opening of the ...
-3
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1answer
270 views

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 ...
1
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0answers
96 views

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 ...
9
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0answers
242 views

When did Abu Bakr agree to lower taxes for the Arabs living under the rule of Byzantine and Sassanid Empire?

The Wikipedia entry about the Muslim conquest of Persia says: First invasion of Mesopotamia (633) After the Ridda Wars, a tribal chief of north eastern Arabia, Al-Muthanna ibn Haritha, ...
2
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6answers
643 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 ...
19
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1answer
3k views

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 ...
35
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11answers
9k views

Did archers synchronize fire? Why?

I noticed that in medieval movies and TV shows, when there is a big battle happening, groups of archers always synchronize their firing. I was wondering whether this is something that writers made up ...
7
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1answer
503 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 ...
11
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2answers
502 views

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 ...
42
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14answers
9k views

Has anyone ever named a war after their own country or faction?

An interesting conversation has come up on the Science Fiction and Fantasy SE site. I will try to summarize it as briefly as possible. Someone asked a question about the second Star Wars prequel. ...
7
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3answers
3k views

Why did the line infantry not use shields in the 18th century?

Why did soldiers in the line infantry in the 18th century not used shield as protection against the fire from the other line infantry ? I have seen that line infantry was used this way where the one ...
2
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2answers
416 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 ...
17
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6answers
8k views

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 ...
8
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5answers
840 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 ...
1
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0answers
105 views

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.
3
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2answers
375 views

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, ...
1
vote
1answer
168 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?
10
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4answers
3k views

Why were swords used in battle?

I hope this isn't too general, but I am talking about any warfare before the invention of firearms. In a one vs one duel between sword and pole arm, it seems like the pole arm has significant ...
2
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6answers
917 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 ...
13
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7answers
37k views

How effective were longbow archers against plate-armored infantry?

It is quite common knowledge that longbows most likely did not penetrate the plate armor worn by the French chevaliers at Poitiers and Agincourt. However, how effective were these longbows in ...
30
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12answers
9k views

Were slings used for throwing hand grenades? If not, why?

It seems using a sling is far more effective than throwing things with your bare hands. As far as I know, slingers were widespread in the Ancient era, as well as in the Middle ages: However, in XIX-...
6
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1answer
271 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 ...
4
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1answer
2k views

What caused the shift from annexation of territory, to colonization of territory?

What caused the shift from annexation of territory, to colonization of territory? I've been thinking about this for some time, but can't come to any definite conclusions as my knowledge in history ...
5
votes
1answer
309 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 ...
17
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3answers
2k views

Roughly, what percentage of arrows can be reused after a battle?

The English Longbowman according to some sources can shoot at/above 10 arrows per minute. Some of the medieval battles would last for many hours. Back-of-the-envelope math says the number of shots ...
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 ...
52
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10answers
16k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
471 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 ...
1
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1answer
366 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 ...
8
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0answers
412 views

Is there evidence for the use of the solenarion in late Medieval Ethiopia?

Shihab al-Umari, an Arab historian of the 14th century, wrote much of what's know of Emperor of Ethiopia Amda Seyon I campaigns against the Muslim States, namely Awfat, Dawaru, Arababni, Hadya, ...
5
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3answers
788 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
543 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 ...
52
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14answers
25k views

When were swords last used in European warfare?

Specifically, I'm interested in the last documented occurrence of swords (of any sort) being used as a primary weapon by infantrymen or cavalrymen in Western warfare. That is, when did any European or ...