138

Yes, a trained archer can probably put more effective shots on an unarmored target than a trained musketman of the 18th century. The problem is that word trained. Consider that most nations in the 18th century did not have a standing army. Men were called up, served their time, and left. That means you either need to use skills they already have (in WWII ...


125

Saying that no Wehrmacht soldier ever refused to kill civilians or PoWs is wrong, there are documented instances of this happening. It's just that this did not happen often enough to make a difference. What happened to those who refused to participate? There is this study on some documented instances. In multiple cases, some punishment indeed was inflicted ...


120

Anti-tank rifles were made as a stopgap measure during and after WWI. The infantry needed something to stop a tank smaller than an artillery piece, and from further away than you could throw a grenade. There were no rockets. To give you an idea how desperate the US army was for anti-tank weapons, they tried shoving rifles and even rocks into the running gear ...


103

While the total encirclement might be the most impressive thing about Cannae, remember that it's just a special case of a pincer movement where the pincer goes all the way around the enemy. A pincer is itself just a special case of a flanking manuever in which both flanks are attacked simultaneously. The most important thing about Cannae was that Hannibal ...


98

The sights on the Springfield Model 1861 had settings for three distances: 100, 300, and 500 yards. In the civil war, however, many battles were fought at much closer range. According to Battle Tactics of the Civil War (Paddy Griffith) many were fought inside of 100 yards. At this shorter range, the bullet didn't drop as much as the sights were calibrated ...


91

(1) Alcibiades, of course. During the course of the Peloponnesian War, Alcibiades changed his political allegiance several times. In his native Athens in the early 410s BC, he advocated an aggressive foreign policy and was a prominent proponent of the Sicilian Expedition, but he fled to Sparta after his political enemies brought charges of ...


89

Ref. Das Boot showing a similar chain of command (although only with one additional person). The lieutenant commander gives orders to the watch officer, who passes them below deck. The commander could pass them himself, but doesn't, for the same reasons the officers in your movie don't. Hunt for Red October has a similar scene, and they are really on a timer....


88

While the tactical factor (not being able to move units around) is important, the main issue is one of soldiers panicking. Remember that it does not matter what the numbers are actually; your soldiers cannot see the lines in the map and are victims of the fog of war. Soldiers in the battlefield do not get to see a nice map showing the position of the units, ...


81

There are two simple reasons they did not, besides "they couldn't" The "they couldn't" make the airborne assault with paratroopers is underscored by the fact that their longest range transport planes had ranges (one way) of at most 3300 km (about 1700 NM) so even on a one way trip they can't reach Hawaii. But the idea is dead in the water for a number of ...


78

Armies go around castles all the time, but what usually happens is that the castle is placed under siege. This is done at least with the intention of keeping the defenders in, and hopefully taking the castle via attrition, bombardment, sapping or treachery. The need to siege the castle is important; if you ignore the castle and march on, this leaves the ...


78

Why not an even value, such as 130 mm? Neat Numbers Don't Kill The Enemy The general answer to that is because the design goal is to make the best gun possible, not have the numbers come out neatly. The engineers designing and building the gun don't care if it's in neat numbers. They might start with one neat number, but derived dimensions are subservient ...


75

If you look only at the numbers, then Israel was bound to lose the war of course. The Arab countries had far more soldiers and they also had better/more equipment (the Soviet Union supplied them well). This view leaves out a number of important factors however: Surprise: By launching a preemptive attack Israel took the Arab countries by surprise which ...


74

There are two assumptions that need to be clarified. What is the attacker's strategic intent? What time are you talking about? If the attacker wants to possess the territory defended by the castle, then "going around" isn't an option. "Going around" only makes sense if the attacker wants to control territory beyond the castle. This also assumes that the ...


74

Concerning your questions, beyond the original "why didn't they refuse" one: the massacres definitely caused psychological problems for many soldiers, even the SS - to the point that Himmler himself decided to replace shootings with gas chambers and have prisoners and local auxillaries handle the victims and their bodies as much as possible. Summary from ...


67

That's actually exactly what they did. In the early 17th century, Maurice of Orange reformed the Dutch army and drilled them to use volley fire. This involved the first rank (i.e. the first row of the line) firing and moving to the back of the line. For obvious reasons, this harmed the cohesion of the formation. By 1670, the French had begun firing by ranks....


66

These are jodhpurs, a style of pants developed primarily for horseback riding. Their intent was to allow flexibility in the hip and thigh while the more narrow lower portion worked well with riding boots and didn't get caught up in stirrups.


65

sides got locked into relatively short lines of heavily defended trench warfare with little prospect of gains for either side. The lines on the Western Front were not by any stretch of the imagination "short". The Western Front ran all the way from Switzerland to the Atlantic Ocean. Side attacks? Well the Race to the Sea (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...


65

The assassination itself did not cause the war — it only caused the first declaration of war in World War One. What really happened between the assassination (June 28) and the eruption of war (August 1 & 2) was this: Convinced that anti-Austrian propaganda coming out of Serbia had led to the assassination, Austria, or rather Austro-Hungary, declared ...


65

I think it comes down to a few basic factors: Early steam engines weren't very efficient or reliable. So it made sense to retain sails as a backup should the steam engine(s) breakdown or should the ship run out of fuel (especially on longer oceanic voyages were replenishment was uncertain). Wind-power is essentially free (once you've invested in the masts &...


62

Perhaps Napoleon's marshal Michel Ney? He was first one of the marshals that forced Napoleon's abdication, and was promoted when Louis XVIII was put on the throne. During the Hundred days, he promised to bring Napoleon back in a cage, raised a force, but defected to Napoleon at first chance and commanded the army that fought Wellington at Quatre Bras and the ...


62

SHORT ANSWER In antiquity, the Scythians (Eurasian nomads) and the Sarmatians (nomads of Iranian origin who moved westwards, gradually overwhelming the Scythians) had significant numbers of female warriors. Estimates based on archaeological discoveries range from 15% to over 30% of women who were warriors. The precise role of these fighters remains unclear, ...


58

That was the whole idea behind it. Not every bit of coastline is liable to invasion. Only on certain beaches troops could be landed. Steep cliffs and dangerous shallows didn't need protection. Place a very strong defense tower with a gun crew, and that single gun crew could keep a possible invasion force at bay. Don't forget that coastal defense has the ...


53

Sweden was a vital source of iron ores to Germany, an important strategic resource for her war effort. Because the allies controlled the seas, Scandinavia was Germany's main source of good quality iron. Attacking Sweden would have disrupted the supply for no real gain. Production of high-grade steel suitable for armour plate and gun barrels depended ...


52

Because the Japanese Government surrendered on 15 August. Naturally, the Japanese military was ordered to lay down their arms. For Manchuria this meant the much-reduced Kwantung Army, which accordingly surrendered as a unit to the advancing Soviets. There is a surprising amount of confusion over when exactly the surrender took place. A quick search found ...


51

I think that N.A.M Rodger covers this quite well in chapter 27 of his book "The Command of the Ocean". It was for long an article of faith among naval historians that eighteenth century British warships were inferior to their French and Spanish opponents, because British shipwrights remained wedded to craft traditions while their continental rivals were ...


50

The specific scenario of using paratroopers is a nonstarter. In addition to @KorvinStarmast's answer on why it's infeasible, Japan actually only had about 1,500 paratroopers. There simply wasn't enough of them to actually do anything, even if they could be transported to Hawaii. (For the rest of the post I'm treating "take Pearl Harbor" as taking Hawaii. ...


48

The battle caused mass casualties. The commemoration is part of the mourning. Example: Stalingrad from the German viewpoint. The battle showed outstanding heroism from the defeated side. The commemoration celebrates the heroes. Example: Camerone from the Foreign Legion viewpoint. The battle was perceived as perfidy from the winning side. The defeated side is ...


47

The only landing in Europe and Africa that got carrier support was the Torch landing in North Africa in late 1942. In that case, it was not possible to use land-based air support, since there weren't any bases there. All following landings were within land-based air range (deliberately) and relied on it soley. Aircraft carriers were very valuable, being ...


47

Postcards produced on Kodak Professional AZO paper had 'AZO stamp boxes' on the reverse. The style of these boxes varied over time. In this case, we have four triangles in the corners of the stamp box, two 'up' and two 'down'. This suggests that the card was produced in the date-range 1918-1930. The ship name on the reverse appears to be 'USS Marica'. A ...


46

The Egyptians, along with Syria and Jordan, had worked up a plan to attack Israel a couple of weeks prior to the actual war. Apparently some recently declassified documents confirm that the Egyptians had planned to launch bombers against Israel to take out their airfields and other strategic military positions. They had also deployed a number of tank units ...


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