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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2answers
692 views

Was it not possible to exploit the gaps between each pre-modern melee formation?

Soldiers seem to be split into their respective companies or battalions but on the battlefield instead of presenting a complete front line they split up and leave gaps in the line between each ...
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2answers
537 views

How common was it for Red Cross personnel to fight (in both World Wars)?

How common was it for Red Cross medical personnel to take part in military action on the battlefields (in both World Wars)? How was this received by the combatants (friendly and enemy)? The question ...
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1answer
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What was the first recorded instance of burning a city or village in war?

I'm curious what the first recorded instance of a military putting a city or village to the torch. Certainly, war predates history, as does the tactic of destroying a dwelling, but I'm focused on ...
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649 views

What was the purpose of a division staff in a US Navy Task Force/Fleet in WWII?

Just watching Midway, and in the scene of Raymond Spruance taking command of the Midway Task Force, I remembered an old question that nagged me. Apparently, the US Navy equipped task forces and fleets ...
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1answer
332 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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213 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.
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What was the combat effectiveness of German infantry in the western front of the Second World War?

I am specifically looking for statistics that estimate man for man what Wehrmacht infantry units were worth compared to allied infantry (principally British and American) after the opening of the ...
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1answer
286 views

What was the custom/consensus regarding irregular combatants 19th century?

Immediately prior to the battle of Sedan, the German soldiers who captured the town of Bazeilles executed a number of armed civilians who had been firing on German troops that day. This happened in ...
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1answer
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What did the end of the western front look like at the Swiss Border?

After the German advance was stopped at the First Battle of the Marne in September 1914, the race to the sea (and also to the swiss border) began with both sides trying to take as much ground as they ...
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1answer
344 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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1answer
336 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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1answer
526 views

Did MacArthur ever consider ordering Wainwright's troops to fight an insurgency war, rather than surrendering?

The American surrender of Wainwright's and Sharp's forces in the Philippines, during World War II, was the largest surrender of troops under the US flag in the history of the country. Reports at the ...
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1answer
517 views

Was the “Mot Pulk” formation simply a propaganda ploy?

The "Mot Pulk" was a motorized formation used by the Germans during World War II. Based on when it was introduced (after heavy defeats in the USSR) and the vague descriptions that I've found, it ...
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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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365 views

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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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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733 views

Was a technological advantage more effective in European warfare than in China's history?

In Europe, the Spartans won against the Persians due to hoplites fighting in a phalanx formation. Then the Spartans were defeated by Macedonians because the Macedonians used longer spears called ...
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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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How thick was Late Medieval horse armor?

Is it known how thick Late Medieval horse plate armor (for field of battle) was? Was it as thick as its rider's armor? Good horses were expensive and valuable, especially during a battle, so it ...
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4k views

From how far away could an experienced and skilled archer hit a man?

So I'm not asking about shooting into the enemy formation without specific target but targeting a single individual with a reasonable chance of success.
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8k views

Machine gun specs in WW1 [closed]

I know that machine guns were a vital part of world war 1. I know that they were mainly used in the trenches as fixed position weapons. However, I would like some specifications about the machine gun ...
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508 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 ...
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444 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
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Ancient and medieval canteens (water-bottles)

Nowadays, water-bottles, aka canteens, are routinely issued to soldiers who serve in warm climates. Was it the case in ancient times? In the Middle Ages? The case I have in mind is the Battle of ...
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1answer
200 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 ...
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1answer
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How long did it take to repair wooden war ships after battle in the 1600's to 1800's? [closed]

How long did it take to repair wooden war ships (like the galleon) in the 1600's to 1800's? I'm interested mainly in repairs needed due to cannon fire (hull damage, mast damage, etc), or even if it ...
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1answer
534 views

Were slings used as melee weapons?

Slings were a common weapon in history. Cheap to construct and with ammo plentiful, they were very cost effective to field in great numbers. What I want to know is if there is any historical ...
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3answers
354 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 ...
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How heavy were the heaviest war hammers actually used?

On the German Wikipedia page about warhammers it says their weight reached from 3 to 14 Kg! Having done some really heavy sports in my past, I was truly surprised by this last number! I searched ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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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537 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 ...
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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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1answer
273 views

Was there ever a situation where members of two warring militaries were on leave in the same neutral location? [closed]

Or not necessarily on leave, but in some capacity where they were present in numbers but not allowed to fight?
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1answer
213 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 ...
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2answers
498 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
294 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 ...
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1answer
449 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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2answers
2k views

Why did the musket become the standard infantry combat weapon in European armies around 1700?

Could it have been because of the introduction of the bayonet, particularly in "socket" form? This question goes (well) beyond a related question. Until the introduction of a bayonet, musketeers (...
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1answer
107 views

Master title for fencing

When and where did the practice of calling either a fencing teacher or a great swordsman "master" originates from? I am interested mainly in European primary sources, the older the better.
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1answer
327 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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1answer
410 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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1answer
1k views

Sieges: Average Attacker to Defender Ratio in Middle Ages

I have read that attackers should outnumber defenders, 20 to 1 or better 50-100 to 1 in sieges in a book about conquest of İstanbul, though I can not find its reference right now. I remember that this ...
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1answer
4k views

Patriotism and how it contributed to the recruitment process in WW1

I know that a lot of people joined the army (and the navy) in World War 1 due to patriotism – the will to fight for your country. This shows that a lot of people, even those who were unemployed or ...
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147 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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158 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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0answers
1k views

Why sabres replaced swords after middle age [closed]

After the middle age sabres almost completely replaced swords in the europe. I don't see any reason why sabres are superior to swords used before so why that happened? By swords used before I mean ...
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2answers
268 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 ...
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1answer
473 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 ...