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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1answer
209 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 ...
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1answer
356 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
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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 ...
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2answers
477 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 ...
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1answer
223 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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2answers
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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. ...
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4answers
684 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 ...
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1answer
367 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 ...
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2answers
428 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
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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 ...
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3answers
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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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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
355 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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142 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 (...
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2answers
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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 ...
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3answers
737 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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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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
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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. "...
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1answer
319 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 ...
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1answer
416 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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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
578 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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153 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 ...
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1answer
329 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 ...
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1answer
463 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 ...
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677 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.
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299 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, raided the ...
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2answers
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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. ...
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2answers
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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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1answer
387 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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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 ...
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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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0answers
164 views

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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14answers
11k 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-...
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1answer
686 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 ...
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1answer
345 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 ...
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6answers
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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
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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 ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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1answer
253 views

The end of swords as infantrymen sidearms [duplicate]

When did infantrymen of Western armies cease to be issued of swords as sidearms (and backup weapons), on a general basis? PS, Swords were rather common stuff for infantrymen even in 19th century (...
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7answers
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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 ...
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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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When was the name of the Mexican war changed to Mexican-American war?

I learned recently (by having an answer marked wrong in Pub Quiz) that the conflict which was called the Mexican War when I was in school is now called the Mexican-American War. My question: When, ...
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1answer
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Using a lance while on a charging horse against ground based enemy

In historic light cavalry, if a rider was using a lance, how many times could it be reused? How long before it became a liability by getting someone stuck on the end of it, or got snagged on a body ...
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2answers
893 views

How blockadable was the Strait of Gibraltar before Operation “Torch?”

I'm going to take it as an article of faith that if one power, e.g. Britain, controlled both the Rock of Gibraltar to the north, and the Algerian coast to the south, that this country would be able to ...
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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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1answer
475 views

What was the official reason for not invading France until the middle of 1944? [duplicate]

As I understand it, Stalin was urging the western powers to open a second front in France ever since Barbarossa begin in 1941 June. What was the official reason for waiting until 1944 June? They ...
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1answer
477 views

Did Western China have special-named martial arts during Islamic era?

Islam brought by Prophet Mohammad had reached (parts of) Central Asia in less than 50 years after his death. Central Asia, especially China, is nowadays famous of its martial arts. Even in some muslim ...
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What caused this cratering pattern at Hiroshima?

I was reading this article here, which includes an interesting photo of Hiroshima: The caption on the photo indicates that it was taken three weeks after the atomic bomb was dropped. The photo seems ...