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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5
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1answer
159 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'...
-2
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1answer
193 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 ...
5
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1answer
215 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 ...
4
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0answers
54 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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0answers
97 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 ...
7
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1answer
91 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 ...
26
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3answers
6k 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 ...
2
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1answer
122 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 ...
-2
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2answers
196 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 ...
3
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1answer
216 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 ...
10
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3answers
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 ...
10
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2answers
2k views

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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2answers
275 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 ...
1
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1answer
135 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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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 ...
22
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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, ...
1
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0answers
164 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 ...
32
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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
196 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 ...
4
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3answers
359 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 ...
1
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1answer
186 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 ...
51
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17answers
21k 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
413 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 ...
4
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1answer
201 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 ...
0
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1answer
385 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
392 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 ...
2
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0answers
107 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 ...
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1answer
286 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 ...
2
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6answers
742 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 ...
21
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1answer
4k 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 ...
8
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1answer
545 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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5answers
634 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 ...
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0answers
117 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
514 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, ...
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1answer
175 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?
0
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6answers
1k 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 enemy ...
6
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1answer
294 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 ...
6
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1answer
553 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 ...
18
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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 ...
11
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1answer
3k 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
543 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 ...
2
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2answers
602 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 ...
2
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1answer
674 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 ...
5
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3answers
862 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
663 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
250 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 ...
79
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7answers
21k 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 ...
14
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1answer
782 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 ...
6
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3answers
789 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 ...
8
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5answers
910 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 ...

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