Questions tagged [weapons]

Questions on historical weapons, their use and significance.

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20
votes
3answers
4k views

Why did it take so long for the Germans to develop the first tank model in World War I?

World War I still featured a lot of trench warfare due do a lack of mobility that placed an advantage upon the defender. When the British managed to invent the first tank, that seemed like an ...
-1
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2answers
2k 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. ...
2
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1answer
161 views

Is there evidence this weapon existed? [closed]

Recently, I came across different medias depicting the same weapon: what looks like a lance blade with a staff of an approximately equivalent length. The most known example would be the spear of ...
2
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1answer
148 views

What was this weapon (or its mechanism), that Iraq was accused of having in the 1990's, called?

Back in the 1990's Iraq was accused of having a missile-based weapon system that could deliver a mist of toxic gas over a large area through a two-phase explosion. In the scenario that was painted in ...
5
votes
1answer
300 views

Can anyone identify this possibly Czechoslovak uniform?

I have this photo of my Great Grandfather Antonin Hošek and his wife Elisabeth Hofrichter with my Grandma as a baby Alzběta Hošková. I am trying to find out more about my family's past and I'd love to ...
8
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1answer
357 views

How common was gun ownership by Londoners in the early 20th century?

By Londoners, I mean laypeople in London, England. I was reading about the Tottenham Outrage on Wikipedia which mentions policeman borrowing pistols from bystanders or the public three times, which ...
9
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1answer
512 views

What is the purpose of this Roman siege tactic as shown in this Illustration?

When browsing Wikipedia, I came across this illustration that displays some of well known siege weapons of Roman empire. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_engine#/media/File:Roman_siege_machines.gif ...
3
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2answers
514 views

Why is neither side of the warhammer blunt?

I have seen a lot in medieval reconstrunctions like this, that the side opposite to the spike is not flat, but have cross notches (sometimes very pronounced, like in the example). Does anyone know ...
12
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2answers
3k views

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 ...
0
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1answer
174 views

In the Middle Ages - 18th century, how long would it take for a blacksmith forge a regular farming scythe to a war scythe?

Whenever I look up how long it took for a blacksmith to certain tools or weapons, I just get information on forging swords. Let's say a peasant is trying to make his scythe efficient for self-defense ...
11
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1answer
1k views

Did the ancient Greeks ban the gastraphetes?

From what I remember, Galántai Zoltán once claimed in a lecture (at Budapest University of Technology and Economics) that in ancient Greek times, some people mutually agreed to outlaw the use of the ...
5
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2answers
701 views

Did ancient Greeks harden steel weapons?

Let's limit this question to the Classical period (c. 5th-4th centuries BC) Did Greeks harden their iron swords, spearheads, arrowheads etc. before putting them into use? Was hardening technology ...
1
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1answer
482 views

Did the 1st Marine Division use the M3 carbine on Okinawa?

I wanted to know if the 1st Marine Division used the M3 infrared sniper carbine on Okinawa during World War II.
7
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2answers
236 views

Which personal weapons, if any, were carried by the 1606 Janszoon expedition when it landed in Australia?

Wikipedia mentions early 17th century exploration of New Holland beginning in the first few years of the 1600s, but insofar as I can tell doesn't really go into what was carried on board those ships. ...
7
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2answers
643 views

What accounts exist of blowpipe vs machine gun and rifle in World War 2?

If you check this documentary, you'll see that Borneo natives used blowpipes vs Japanese during 1944-1945. I find this sort of engagement fascinating, since the poison used in the blowpipe dart must ...
15
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6answers
9k views

How tight were shield walls in Saxon England?

After watching the BBC show The Last Kingdom, depicting conflicts between Saxons and Danes in the 800s AD, I was surprised by the multi-layered shield walls depicted. For example: or even: I had ...
0
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0answers
171 views

What was the meaning of Samnite swastika?

I was recently reading about the Samnite Wars and since I wanted to have better image of how soldiers on both sides during the period looked I googled images of Roman and Samnite warriors and one of ...
1
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0answers
107 views

When is the last time a trebuchet was used in combat? [closed]

When was a trebeuchet or any similar weapons (such as an onager, mangonel, catapult) last used in combat? My guess is that they were replaced by the cannon in the gunpowder age. But I know the cannon ...
-2
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1answer
136 views

Were eastern weapons ever seen in medieval Europe and western weapons ever seen in medieval Asia? [closed]

Like could some trader in medieval France be selling a katana or urumi amongst his wares that he obtained in his travels? Could a merchant in Japan have a zweihander or flamberge in his collection?
5
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1answer
651 views

Where and when were air guns used in a major battle?

In the 18th century some European armies had air guns at their disposal. I remember that during some major battle sharpshooters from Tirol used air guns to deadly effect on the troops of the opposing ...
4
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2answers
997 views

Were bricks instead of bombs occasionally thrown out of war planes in WWI?

I remember reading in a school textbook or perhaps hearing my history teacher tell the story of how bricks instead of bombs were occasionally thrown out of war planes in WWI, perhaps because of ...
65
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8answers
24k views

What damage did anti-tank rifles hope to inflict on tanks in WW2?

Initially I was surprised to learn that such a thing as an anti-tank rifle even exists. It seems a ludicrous idea to try to shoot a tank with a rifle. But let's suppose that the bullet really hits a ...
3
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2answers
13k views

Why has the khopesh never been used since ancient Egypt?

The ancient Egyptians used a weapon called the khopesh. It was a curved blade that was excellent for getting around shields and puncturing body parts like kidneys. Why did no other army in the ...
11
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2answers
2k views

Why was the first production PzKpfw V (Panther) called the Ausf.D, and the second production version called the Ausf.A?

Background The first Panther (PzKpfw V) production variant, produced from January 1943 through September 1943 was called the Ausf.D. (see below) The second Panther production variant, produced ...
6
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3answers
1k views

What was the general breakdown of casualties per their cause during American Civil War?

What was the general breakdown of casualties per their cause during American Civil War? E.g. bullets vs. artillery vs. edged weapons vs. disease vs. natural death. Did that breakdown change in ...
25
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12answers
74k views

How far could an English war bow shoot?

The range of the medieval weapon is not accurately known, with estimates from 165 to 228 m (180 to 249 yds) So says Wikipedia. I did read, however, in a semi-fictional, semi-historical work of ...
26
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5answers
13k views

How did archers judge distance before range finders?

Before electronics, was there a method for judging distance in archery? What methods were used historically? How were combat archers trained to judge distances?
3
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7answers
878 views

What weapon systems have come and gone very quickly?

Looking at Battle of Tsushima, 1905, something that struck me was And finally, by 27 May 1905, Admiral Tōgō and his men had two battleship fleet actions under their belts, which amounted to over ...
3
votes
2answers
886 views

How did the Chinese crossbows that shot bullets work?

It's commonly accepted that East Asian people invented the crossbow. However, it seems they had crossbows that shoot bullets as well. As an example, Jing Fang uses this description when explaining his ...
10
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2answers
3k views

What kind of siege weapons were used during Punic wars?

I would like to know which kind of siege weapons were used during Punic wars on both sides, there is not very much information around.
9
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3answers
830 views

Did the Thracian Rhomphaia ever clash with a Roman Gladius?

From what I understand, the Odrysian kingdom became a client state of Rome after the Third Macedonian War (171–168 BC). Did the Thracians (Odrysian or otherwise) ever clash with the Romans in a ...
22
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7answers
5k views

Who was the last European king to actively engage in combat?

Specifically, I would like to know who the most recent European monarch (or monarchs, if they lived roughly at the same time) is that actively engaged in combat whilst reigning: that is, used a sword, ...
8
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3answers
1k 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
204 views

What kind of rifle used this shell case?

Please, anyone able to tell me what kind of shell is it and what mean this symbol on the bottom ? Is it from 1917?
-2
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1answer
201 views

In which instances in history did an attacker ask the attackee to borrow some of their ammunition in order to continue the fight?

I read on https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Peter_Tordenskjold&oldid=937200048#Court-martial: In 1714, Wessel was court-martialled after an indecisive sea battle with a Swedish frigate....
6
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2answers
1k views

Can someone help me identify this sword?

It looks like a wide hacking blade, obviously a short sword. But because the tang isn't real wide and the way the handle fits, it looks like it was ceremonial or even ornamental. The blade itself is ...
3
votes
1answer
308 views

Why did Sidewinder missiles score so well before Vietnam?

In the Wikipedia article about the Second Taiwan Strait crisis that the USA had provided Taiwan air forces with Sidewinder missiles. During clashes with PLA's air force, Sabre equipped with the ...
13
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2answers
509 views

How “successful” were WWII pigeon-guided missiles?

In World War II, a prototype missile guidance system was developed in Project Pigeon, whereby a pigeon's pecks (or pecks by multiple pigeons) would be used to guide a missile. Test runs were ...
6
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1answer
613 views

How many javelins would a Thracian Peltast carry into battle?

According to the Wikipedia page on Thracian Peltasts, they carried several javelins with them. I am just wondering how many could they realistically carry into battle. Also, would they run back to ...
3
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1answer
256 views

Were any tactical missiles used during the 1971 Indo Pakistan war?

During the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971, some Sidewinder and Atoll missiles were used in the air. The SA 2 guidline was used by the Indian side as SAM, and on sea the Indian navy struck Pakistani bases ...
4
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2answers
392 views

In the 19th century, do we know how armor changed with respect to guns of the time?

I know that the 19th century was relatively peaceful in Europe according to Wikipedia. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_warfare#Land_warfare) Interestingly, industrial technology has aided in ...
18
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2answers
1k views

Has a battering ram been used to breach a gate?

I am looking for a specific example of a battering ram used to breach the gate of a castle or fortification in Europe. I can find lots of indirect references to the use of battering rams on gates (...
2
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0answers
116 views

How effective were arrow-firing guns?

In the Europe, briefly after the appearance of firearm, gun-fired arrows made their appearance, but very soon after, the ball projectiles became standard ammunition used in both cannons and handgonnes ...
1
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3answers
403 views

Did some Nazi death camp guards use Lee Enfield rifles?

I was watching the Netflix series The Devil Next Door and there was was video footage of a Nazi death camp. What was strange was that one of the guards appeared to be wielding a Lee Enfield No4 rifle ...
52
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5answers
17k views

Did it take 3 minutes to reload a musket when the second amendment to the US constitution was ratified?

The NPR News podcast and video Beto O'Rourke Wants To Ban, Confiscate Some Guns. Texas Voters Want Details (about 6.5 minutes long) contains the following assertion by Congressman O'Rourke: In under ...
4
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3answers
2k views

Why does the UK buy some of its major military hardware from the USA while France is self-reliant?

UK: Trident missile. M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System. AgustaWestland Apache Boeing E-3 Sentry. Raytheon Sentinel some other examples In contrast, France isn't nearly as reliant on USA. Why did ...
2
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0answers
191 views

What did a tournament sword made of whale bone (baleen) look like?

I accidentally found this information from the Wikipedia page Boiled leather: The word cuirass for a breastplate indicates that these were originally made of leather.[11] In the Late Middle Ages, ...
-1
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1answer
217 views

Was the Horo Cavalry “Balloon cloak” effective?

Was the Horo Cavalry Balloon cloak effective? and if so is there a European/Non Japanese Variant? My understanding is to defend against arrowfire positioning armor away from the body is ...
7
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10answers
14k views

Which arm was the shield held in?

I'm asking a question elsewhere and I'm sure I've heard some historical text to back this up as well as sound reasoning: you want your strongest arm to stop yourself from getting killed by using a ...
48
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2answers
10k views

Why couldn't soldiers sight their own weapons without officers' orders?

The 4th bullet here contends Gen. Joubert viewed the aftermath of the battle and noted that the British rifles were sighted at 400-600 yards when the battle raged at about 50-100 yards, as the ...