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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14
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1answer
788 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
790 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 ...
62
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5answers
53k views

Did World War II-era bombs actually whistle?

In WWII-era films and newsreels, aerial bombs are often shown making a whistling sound as they fall; starting high pitched, then decreasing as the bomb approaches the Earth (example here, starting at ...
10
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2answers
916 views

When were marching bands last used in warfare?

In the era of muskets and closed troop formations, musicians marched together with the solders and played marching music even during the battle. When was the last time such practices were used in ...
1
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0answers
91 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?
23
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5answers
5k views

How did a besieged city/castle defend itself vs. catapulting diseased dead bodies into it?

I was a bit shocked to read that diseased dead bodies/animals where catapulted into besieged castles/towns. Biological warfare in the middle ages. But this "method" of warfare had probably a lot of ...
54
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2answers
10k 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: ...
3
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1answer
299 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
487 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, ...
28
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2answers
3k views

Classical battle sizes vs medieval battle sizes

Why did classical battles did tend to be larger than in the medieval period? One particular example I am thinking of was the Battle of Stamford Bridge, which had around 30,000 participants, compared ...
2
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2answers
343 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 ...
5
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1answer
216 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.
13
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3answers
2k views

What went on during multi-year sieges?

You hear all the time in ancient history about cities or fortresses being besieged for a year, or two years, or even many years such as the sieges of Tripoli or Carthage or Drepana. I'm wondering, ...
17
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2answers
4k views

How did Aztec armor and weaponry match up to the Spaniards?

If you discount the germs and the gunpowder, how did the average Aztec warrior match up against the average Spaniard facing him? As I understand it European metallurgy was considerably more advanced, ...
1
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1answer
136 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 ...
6
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0answers
379 views

What was the average tooth to tail ratio of medieval armies

The tooth to tail ratio is the ratio between the fighting force (tooth) and the non-fighting force in an army. In other words, how many non-combatants directly supported and supplied an army. I'm ...
3
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2answers
271 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, ...
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 ...
7
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3answers
1k views

Did ancient or medieval warriors “substitute” in and out of combat?

This question arose in the role-playing games SE Some claim that in archery, horse archery, or hand-to-hand combat, a warrior could function effectively for at most 2-3 minutes. Therefore, frontline ...
34
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2answers
11k 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 ...
6
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1answer
310 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 ...
17
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1answer
2k views

How frequently were homing pigeons used in the World Wars?

It seems that the strategic weight of specially bred pigeons is much higher than I thought at first, based on the number of pigeons used and the effort to stop them. (In WW2 Germans even trained ...
2
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2answers
513 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
145 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 ...
10
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1answer
2k 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
478 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
7k 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 ...
9
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4answers
2k views

Was Otto Carius fair in his assessment of American forces vs. Russians?

In his book "Tigers in the Mud", Otto Carius talks about his experiences in the western front (mostly spent inside the Ruhr Pocket) with great disdain. Some quotes: We were used to an opponent the ...
3
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7answers
1k views

What were the expectations of a medieval castle or fortress hoping to break or outlast a siege?

In Medieval Europe (ie before gunpowder), medieval siege tactics are well known. I am curious if there is any conventional wisdom in western Europe of how sieges were broken. If you were in a castle ...
10
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1answer
352 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 ...
8
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2answers
3k views

Did archers lay on their back to draw bows?

I saw a movie called "The Hero" from 2002. I know the movie has a lot of artistic scenes, and less to do with reality. In one scene, many of the Chinese archers laid on the ground and used a big ...
9
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1answer
662 views

Was there ever a war mission where the personnel were instructed to surrender when the mission complete?

For instance, an air raid beyond bomber's range where after completing the mission the pilots should land or eject at the enemy land and surrender.
2
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1answer
187 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 ...
11
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5answers
716 views

Did the British Army burn any capitals other than Washington?

It has been written that the British invasion of Washington, and the burning of the Capitol, White House, and other public buildings, was in retaliation for American raids in Canada which caused the ...
1
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1answer
173 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 ...
2
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1answer
236 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? ...
15
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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.
2
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2answers
173 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....
10
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5answers
1k views

When was the earliest recorded battle with the usage of gunpowder as an offensive weapon?

When was the earliest recorded battle (on script) with the usage of gunpowder (in any form) as an offensive weapon?
2
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1answer
311 views

What are these 2 compartments next to these war chariots?

Consider chariots like this: What are those 2 compartments on the side of the chariot, above the wheel. The ones that cross over each other making an 'x'. I've tried researching but have ...
23
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6answers
8k views

Why did Sun Tzu believe you shouldn't wait beside a river when eager to fight?

In Sun Tzu's Art of War, Chapter 9 (The Army on the March), Verse 5, Tzu says If you are anxious to fight, you should not go to meet the invader near a river which he has to cross. My thinking is ...
29
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9answers
6k views

Why was PTSD not written about as much before the 20th century?

As late as WW1 there was very little literature surrounding PTSD/'shellshock'. In fact, the term was not coined until the 1980's. Considering the fact that warfare has been a part of human life since ...
5
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1answer
346 views

How Hussars had turned from heavy cavalry into light cavalry?

In 16th century Polish hussars were heavy cavalry, they were what knights became. In 17-18th centuries hussars were light cavalry. How and why did the change happen? Wiki mentions the change, but ...
6
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7answers
3k views

Why were rockets not popular as part of artillery until 20th century?

Why were rockets not extensively used throughout the world like cannon until the 20th century? Maybe one may ask the reason for pointing out 20th century. I guess it's fair enough after thinking about ...
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 ...
4
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2answers
446 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 ...
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 ...
14
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5answers
7k views

Did American forces specifically target officers during the revolutionary war?

There is a story that says that American revolutionaries fought unconventionally against the British, including targeting their officers, which was not done between European forces. Is this true or ...
7
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4answers
652 views

In Mongolian Conquests, how did they screen the population for engineers?

I just read this from Wikipedia's article on Mongolian military tactics: When Mongols slaughtered the whole population from settlements that resisted or didn't opt to surrender, they often spared ...