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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
2
votes
2answers
491 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
votes
0answers
144 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
votes
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
votes
1answer
467 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
votes
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
votes
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
votes
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
votes
1answer
349 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
2k 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
votes
1answer
652 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
votes
1answer
184 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
votes
5answers
696 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
vote
1answer
171 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
votes
1answer
228 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? ...
14
votes
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
votes
2answers
169 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
votes
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
votes
1answer
301 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 ...
22
votes
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
votes
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
votes
1answer
333 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
votes
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
votes
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
votes
2answers
432 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
votes
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
votes
5answers
6k 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
votes
4answers
648 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
258 views

How would ancient jungle civilizations fight pitched battles?

It's my understanding that battles between civilizations in ancient and medieval times (i.e. the time before gunpowder weaponry became widespread) were often pitched affairs in which soldiers fought ...
-1
votes
1answer
187 views

Why did former warfare so focused on capturing fortifications persist till modern times? [duplicate]

One thing I do not get is why Army leaders in the past milleniums weagermess of seizing fortresses instead of going around them. I believe more and more that this paradigm of "We must take this ...
3
votes
2answers
416 views

Was Falkenhayn the first commander to recommend defeating an enemy by bleeding them to death?

In his book The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916, Alistair Horne describes the memorandum introducing Erich Von Falkenhayn's plan to compel France to throw all its men into the defense of Verdun, because (...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

How were Roman Legions disarmed/disbanded before entering Italia?

When Caesar crossed the Rubicon, it was illegal. Legions were supposed to disarm (edit: disband) themselves before coming back to Rome, in order to discourage any coups. But I've also read in various ...
27
votes
9answers
5k views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Did Khalid ibn al-Walid report that he broke nine swords in the battle of Mu'tah?

The wikipedia entry about Battle of Mu'tah contains an unsourced assertion: Khalid ibn Al-Walid reported that the fighting was so intense that he used nine swords which broke in the battle. ...
2
votes
1answer
192 views

Have truces for the duration of Ramadan ever been customary/mandatory?

I know that you are exempt from fasting during Ramadan if a war is on (and also for other various reasons). But - has it ever been customary (or even - required) for Muslim fighting forces to offer ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Has a CIWS system ever shot down a missile in combat?

Has any Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) successfully intercepted and shot down a missile in combat? Surely they have had the chance to, for example Phalanx systems were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. ...
14
votes
3answers
363 views

Has there ever been a mass migration of factories comparable to the USSR's in WW2?

When the Soviet Union was invaded in 1941, the authorities quickly decided to move their factories east across the Urals in anticipation of the Blitzkrieg. This saved a lot of production capacity and ...
85
votes
7answers
26k views

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'...
7
votes
5answers
675 views

Historical examples of significant no man's lands between states in perpetual conflict

What are some historical examples, if any, of large-scale (say > 100 square kilometers) "no-man's lands" between states in perpetual conflict? These states would be mutually hostile, firmly divided ...
2
votes
1answer
809 views

Is it true that many great ancient warriors were vegan? [closed]

This video states that. And also, most interesting - it states that Alexander's the Great army was vegan.
5
votes
1answer
327 views

Did Japan ever retaliate for the Russian attacks of 1806?

In 1806 two Russian naval vessels burned several settlements and kidnapped several citizens in far northern Japan ("Russians in Alaska" by Lydia Black). Did Japan take any military action in response ...
1
vote
0answers
140 views

Would Hannibal's men have known about his strategies?

At things like the battle of Lake Trasimene, Cannae, etc. Hannibal's plans always seemed to involve some degree of offering some form of bait to the Romans, some group of men the Romans were (...
0
votes
2answers
537 views

Had there been a significant physiological difference between the Vikings and the Europeans (around the 11th century)? [closed]

Everyone who has seen the show The Vikings surely noticed that the Nordic men are far more muscular and much bigger. Is there a genetic difference that was making them better fighters or had they ...
17
votes
5answers
3k views

Why were the Mongolian armies able to to use greater percentages of archers than (Medieval) Europeans?

Much has been made in other posts about how hard it was for European armies to train and maintain large numbers of archers able to use a longbow, crossbow, or similar weapons. Yet, the Mongolians ...
2
votes
3answers
703 views

Why was being divided a boon for Europeans, but not for anyone else?

I often see the thesis that European nations became good at warfare because they never united, and improved their technology and skill at warfare due to competition between one another. Compared to, ...
16
votes
1answer
1k views

If salt was scarce and expensive, how did people “salt the earth” to ensure their enemies would stay defeated?

A common theme through much of history seems to be ensuring that the recently defeated enemy cannot recover from the loss. A way to ensure that is restricting the ability to grow food -- i.e. "salting ...
38
votes
8answers
55k views

How severe were the casualties in ancient/medieval battles?

I've heard that in most battles prior to the introduction of gunpowder weapons, the casualties were usually very low (around 5% even in long battles) prior to the moment when someone's formation was ...
4
votes
1answer
308 views

Did anyone ever use comedy as a combat tactic?

Fighters are known to use war-cries, taunts, gestures and postures before engaging their enemy in order to increase their own adrenaline or to intimidate the enemy or throw off their concentration. A ...
7
votes
1answer
389 views

How did the Swedish soldiers pray during the Thirty Years' War? [closed]

During the Thirty Years' War, how did the Swedish soldiers (for instance, the pike-men) pray to get mentally relaxed or to feel more powerful or to get prepared before a battle? Which prayers did ...
45
votes
9answers
28k views

How did the Nazis plan to defeat America during World War II?

Yamamoto famously advised against a war with the United States, because he could tell how powerful they would be once they got going. The Nazis, however, declared war on the United States of their ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Can we classify holocaust as Hitler's war time strategic mistake?

Can we classify the Holocaust as one of Hitler's war time strategic mistake?