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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4
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0answers
51 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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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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11answers
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What was the cleanest war ever fought?

If not all, the vast majority of wars in known history were dirty, cruel and with a lot of civilian casualties. That makes me wonder if there has ever been a "clean" war where both sides played "by ...
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1answer
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How thick was Late Medieval horse armor?

Is it known how thick Late Medieval horse plate armor (for field of battle) was? Was it as thick as its rider's armor? Good horses were expensive and valuable, especially during a battle, so it ...
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8answers
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Has the American Civil War led to any significant innovations in 19th-century warfare?

The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a major conflict with a long string of battles. Has it led to any innovations in 19th-century warfare? It has been pointed out that it may have been the first ...
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8answers
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Why didn't horse-mounted archers dominate the world until Genghis Khan?

Genghis Khan's military dominance was due largely to the horse and the Mongolian composite bow. So I was surprised to learn that Inner Asian horsemen were using composite bows more than 1,500 years ...
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1answer
893 views

What were the Japanese defenses for an allied invasion of Kyushu?

At Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and other island bases of the Japanese forces, the Japanese created a network of deep tunnels and bunkers that made US attempts to evict Japanese forces extremely difficult, time ...
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11answers
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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 ...
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1answer
86 views

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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3answers
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How accurate is Karl Heinz Frieser when he said that the blitzkrieg was a myth?

In his book, The Blitzkrieg Legend (original title Blitzkrieg-Legende, der Westfeldzug 1940), Karl Heinz Frieser wrote that during the campaign in France, blitzkrieg was just improvised, and that even ...
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2answers
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Why were Soviets so extremely effective snipers in WW2?

I found a top 10 sniper list from 2nd world war which contains 9 soviet soldiers, and only 1 Finnish soldier. Namely: Stepan Vasilievich Petrenko Vasilij Ivanovich Golosov Fyodor Trofimovich ...
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7answers
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Why didn't Germany blockade the Strait of Gibraltar during WW2?

The Strait of Gibraltar, at its narrowest point, is about 14 km wide. Why didn't Germany blockade it during WW2? It seems to me that only a handful of submarines and destroyers could do the job. Wasn'...
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4answers
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Are there any records that indicate a submarine vs submarine battle?

I am aware of only one which is the U-864 was sunk by the HMS Venturer but that was when both were being submerged -- according to wikipedia. Is that accurate? Which battles did happen between two (...
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1answer
121 views

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 the Huns so successful at siege warfare but the Goths were not?

I am listening to Mike Duncan's podcast titled "The History of Rome" and in it he mentioned that it is kind of a mystery that the Huns were so successful at siege warfare but the Goths were not. Both ...
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3answers
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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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4answers
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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 ...
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2answers
195 views

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
543 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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1answer
213 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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12answers
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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 ...
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16answers
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Why bother attacking castles at all? Why not go around?

Castles were designed to hold people, weapons, and supplies to survive a siege. They were well-defended. Taking one could easily be a long, bloody struggle. Why attack at all? Most castles I've seen ...
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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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1answer
930 views

How big were Ancient China military forces?

When reading about warfare records in ancient China, I see a lot of references to "# of chariots" instead of "#k soldiers" or something like that. Do we know how big these armies actually were? As in, ...
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3answers
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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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7answers
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How Did the Mongol Empire Get So Big?

Undoubtedly, the largest empire in the existence of human history was the Mongol Empire, once a hodgepodge of warring nomadic tribes from Central Asia before banding together under the banner of ...
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0answers
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Why were the Mongols so victorious? [duplicate]

I read that the Mongol Empire conquered and unified China. My question is... how were the Mongols able to conquer so much when China's population almost certainly was larger during that time period? ...
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4answers
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What forces/incentives drove the Mongols to conquer a much larger territory than they could comfortably settle or rule?

Internet resources on the Mongol Empire usually dwell on the Mongol conquests of a huge mass of territory. Unfortunately, seldom are the reasons behind the conquests explained. One gets the impression ...
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1answer
329 views

Why didn't the Khalkh Mongols support the Dzungars in their fight against China?

Khalkha Mongol khans fought for China against the Dzungars. What was the reason for that? Why did the Dzungars become enemies of the Khalkh Mongols? See: Dzungar Genocide & Dzungar–Qing ...
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4answers
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Did generals really fight in ancient China?

When we think of generals, we usually think of someone that leads. We don't see General MacArthur charge in front of his soldiers to personally slaughter thousands of regular troops. In fact, even one ...
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1answer
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How do war elephants fight?

Do they just run into a phalanx, breaking it up? Do they lift their front foot and then crush enemies below? What do elephants do? Or do the fighters on top of it just shoot arrows?
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1answer
442 views

Why did Cao Cao slaugther the inhabitants of towns?

Cao Cao besieged Yongqiu for some months and eventually conquered it, after which he massacred its population, along with Zhang Chao and his family. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhang_Miao Was ...
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2answers
5k views

How did the ancient Chinese coordinate armies of tens and hundreds of thousands?

According to what I've read, during the Warring States period and also later during the Three Kingdoms period there were armies of the magnitude of (a few) hundred thousands. How could they ...
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2answers
272 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
133 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
10k views

How did Genghis Khan's army feed so many horses?

The average horse eats 10-20 pounds per day, according to this pet website. Considering the fact that the horses may have to eat even more because of the hard traveling they had to endure, it's likely ...
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7answers
4k 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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0answers
86 views

Have there really been disputes settled by combat of two chosen champions? [duplicate]

It seems to me that the losing side might still fight on unless part of the idea was to give both sides a way to judge what the likely outcome of a full-scale war would be. I know that if they simply ...
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3answers
1k 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 ...
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17answers
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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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1answer
532 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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6answers
4k views

What was the most recent country to be conquered and disappear?

In the Old Days, one country would conquer another and add it to its empire. What was the most recent country to be conquered and cease to exist as a country?
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2answers
537 views

How common was it for Red Cross personnel to fight (in both World Wars)?

How common was it for Red Cross medical personnel to take part in military action on the battlefields (in both World Wars)? How was this received by the combatants (friendly and enemy)? The question ...
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0answers
157 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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0answers
195 views

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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1answer
200 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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3answers
354 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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1answer
184 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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2answers
407 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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