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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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
418 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 ...
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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 ...
4
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2answers
481 views

Could the warriors of the Tollense battlefield be considered the world's first standing army?

Slaughter at the bridge: Uncovering a colossal Bronze Age battle - from Science Mag (2016) Apparently an amateur archaeologist discovered this site in 1996 and there were thousands of warriors ...
2
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1answer
177 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 ...
8
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3answers
878 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 ...
1
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1answer
166 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
204 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? ...
2
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2answers
167 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....
14
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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.
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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 ...
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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 ...
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0answers
244 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 ...
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1answer
177 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 ...
10
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1answer
336 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 ...
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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 ...
4
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2answers
416 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 ...
2
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1answer
190 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 ...
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1answer
975 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. ...
7
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4answers
628 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 ...
5
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1answer
300 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 ...
3
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2answers
408 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 (...
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3answers
946 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 ...
13
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3answers
948 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 ...
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1answer
704 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.
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1answer
311 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 ...
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0answers
138 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 (...
9
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2answers
785 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 ...
2
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3answers
639 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, ...
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0answers
350 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 ...
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 ...
16
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1answer
923 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 ...
4
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1answer
304 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
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1answer
372 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 ...
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0answers
405 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, ...
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2answers
505 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 ...
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0answers
137 views

Did each clan in Sengoku Japan have a specialty or distinctive way of war?

I know that the regions of Iga and Koga bred soldiers that excelled at guerilla warfare, The Takeda cavalry, The Otomo and Oda for their guns. Were there other daimyo who were known for the way they ...
2
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1answer
288 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 ...
3
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1answer
444 views

Do NKVD files say that during WWII, Soviet leadership knew about the rape of Soviet women liberated from labour camps and did nothing to stop it?

Wikipedia says: According to Antony Beevor, whose books were banned in 2015 from some Russian schools and colleges, NKVD (Soviet secret police) files have revealed that the leadership knew what was ...
7
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1answer
616 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.
9
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0answers
241 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, ...
5
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2answers
890 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
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2answers
894 views

Was Textile Armour More Effective at Stopping Arrows than Mail?

You hear accounts of guys trundling around with a dozen arrows sticking out of their padded armour, looking like pin cushions. This has lead to the belief padded cloth armours could stop arrows ...
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2answers
271 views

Sources for archer vs other unit comparisons? [closed]

Going around the web and gathering info about units gets you in an avalanche of information that can takes years to sort out. You can research historic battles but most of them are imbalanced in one ...
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-...
9
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1answer
623 views

First Roman battles after the Marian reforms

I'm quite interested in the removal of the Hastati, Principes and Triarii elements introduced by the Marian reforms in 107 BC, and how it affected the Roman army at first. Looking on Wikipedia for ...
5
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1answer
324 views

Gaulish logistics during Caesar's invasion

How much, if anything, do we know about how the Gauls camped and marched when facing Caesar? Did they have tents, mules, wagons, camp followers? Can we infer anything about their rate of march? Was ...
15
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6answers
4k views

What is the longest retreat?

What is the longest sustained retreat by a military force in history, by total length? Not counting naval examples, as they can be much longer. When I search for it I get a lot of results to the ...
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2answers
2k views

Was Alexander the Great undefeated in every battle?

I have heard people refer to Alexander the Great as one of the greatest military commanders of all time because he was "undefeated in battle" during his lifetime. Is this true? I can imagine him ...
6
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3answers
4k views

Why didn't trench warfare produce a similar stalemate on the eastern front in World War I?

After fall of 1914, World War I on the western front was characterized by trench warfare. That is to say that soldiers in trenches protected by machine guns and barbed wire occupied such strong ...