Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now

Hot answers tagged

53

No country is impossible to invade. Andorra could invade the USA. The question you should have asked was "Was Switzerland Impossible to Conquer during World War II?". The answer is no country is impossible to conquer. But there is great variation in the probability that a specific country will actually conquer another specific country if it tries to ...


38

Ok, since I think I finally got your real question (as I see it): I'm simply asking if the defense of Switzerland during WW2 was overrated. Many people claim that the country was impossible to occupy, I just want to know if this is not clearly exaggerated. The emphasis is what I interpret as your "real" question (since there is a lot of confusion here) ...


28

tl; dr At least some of the archers who fought at the Battle of Agincourt almost were almost certainly suffering from dysentery contracted at Harfleur. However, most of the worst affected had been shipped home to England before Henry left Harfleur for Calais. Is there any evidence in the chronicles of the time that some or most of the English & ...


25

What factors were Hitler's / Germany's motivations for WW2? Revanchism, stealing raw materials, and racial hatreds. The Swiss are largely German-speaking / Germanic, so there's no "racial superiority" factor to promote invasion and de facto depopulation/extermination and colonization. They don't have a excessive amount of arable land for "true German" ...


22

The most famous one in France is le mot de Cambronne (Cambronne's word), supposedly uttered when he was surrounded with Napoleon's Old Guard in Waterloo, June the 18th, 1815: Colville insisted and ultimately Cambronne replied with one word: "Merde!" (literally, "Shit!", figuratively, "Go to hell!") This version of the reply became famous in its own right, ...


21

The Germans were certain they could. For instance, their 1940 plans for Operation Tannenbaum estimated that a force of 300,000 to 500,000 men would have been sufficient. Swiss military leadership also thought that an invasion would have been successful: Their revised military plan for the event of an invasion, the Réduit national, called for a delaying ...


18

"No" or "Ohi" In Greece they celebrate "Ohi Day" or "No Day" to commemorate the day that Greek prime minister Ioannis Metaxas rejected the ultimatum made by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini on 28 October 1940 allegedly with a simple "No". Wikipedia reports that his actual reply was “Alors, c’est la guerre!” (so this is war!). References: https://www....


15

Maybe not an ultimatum, but the British general Charles Napier is reputed to have replied "Peccavi" (latin for "I have sinned") after accidentally conquering the Indian region of 'Sindh' when he discovered belated orders telling him not to.


15

Thucydides has been widely read and cited since ancient times, though not always to same extent in different periods. Martin Hammond, in his translation of The Peloponnesian War, observes: Thucydides was not as widely read in the fourth century and the hellenistic period as the more obviously attractive Herodotus and Xenophon, but he was far from ...


10

There were many practical reasons why Switzerland was not occupied of which none of the first answer of @AmorphouBob apply Some of these reasons are: militarily Switzerland was considered a 'thorny' problem, as expressed in the question and the Swiss strategy there was no strategic advantage (Switzerland was surrounded by the Axis powers) an economic ...


8

This is an hypothetical question. I'll try to answer based only on the military concept. You have already answered your own question, in part 4. You don't need to conquer the whole country; only the main cities and the fields are desirable. Forget about the mountains; you don't need them. Once in a while they'll have to attack some places to prevent ...


7

The role of tanks changed substantially from their introduction in WWI, through WWII, the Cold War, and to the present day. Any attempt to get a single answer for something that evolved over a century is bound to fail. The very first tanks were pillbox and MG nest busters. Moving not much faster than a walking infantryman across shell-holed terrain, with ...


7

Given that the question asks specifically for conventional weapons (so ruling out Hiroshima and Nagasaki), and is now limited to a 24 hour period in history, you are probably looking at Operation Meetinghouse where 279 B-29 bombers dropped 1,665 tons of bombs on Tokyo on the night of 9–10 March, 1945. Approximately 100,000 people were killed. The bombs ...


7

The Rwandan genocide is a fair contender for the top place in terms of casualties per day -- at 5-10k/day. Another is WW2, which resulted in 70 million to 85 million casualties depending on the estimates (50-56m from the war itself, and another 19-28m from disease and famine), over the course of 2,193 days (Sep 1 1939 to Sep 2 1945) -- 32-39k/day. A few ...


7

A runner-up must be "Μολών λαβέ" (usually translated as "come and get them") by Leonidas of Sparta after being told by the Persians (ridiculously outnumbering them) to surrender their weapons at the pass of the Thermopylae.


6

Many of the settlers in California during the Gold Rush were extremely hostile to Indians and the California government adopted anti Indian policies. In fact some people write about the "California Genocide" in that era. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Genocide1 A number of California tribal groups suffered large population decreases from ...


6

As far as I know, "Instructions for training a ships crew in the use of arms in attack and defence" by Lieutenant William Pringle Green, is the first book on how a crew of the Royal Navy should train with swords and guns, how they should defend their ship in case of boarding, or to board an enemy vessel themselves. The year of publication is 1812, so not ...


5

Yes, in the Awa'uq Massacre, or Massacre of Refuge Rock. In this episode Russians under fur magnate Grigorii Shelikhov fired on Koniag Alutiiq people (per Wikipedia, those of the Qik’rtarmiut Sugpiat tribe) massed atop the large rock. One source, Briutikov, is reported to have said that 500 were killed in their fall from the rock. Owen Matthews in his book "...


5

As comments about mokusatu and Cambronne's example show, these one word answers tend not to be actually literal or not to be actually just one word. However, a famous one word answer to an ultimatum was Greece's answer to Italian ultimatum on October 28th 1940: "ohi" (no). It is still celebrated every year in Greece in Ohi Day.


5

This video steps through WW2-era U.S. infantry tactical doctrine at the squad level, assembled from several contemporary manuals. In describing the final assault (@ ~22:10) on an enemy position (top centre) it outlines how smoke might be used to signal the fire shift by the base group (bottom right) from to for protection of the assault group (top left) as ...


5

NO. The Roman army was made up of "professional" soldiers, who served 25 years (from their late teens to their early 40s, like modern ball players), before they were disbanded. No medieval armies had soldiers of this standing, although the Kommenians came closer than others. This started after the Punic Wars, when cheap grain acquired from Sicily (and ...


5

Shields up!!! It was advantageous for the Germans not to conquer Switzerland, and this would be a major factor in deciding the merit of doing so. A few only examples: Switzerland provided the Nazis access to bank accounts and "safe" deposits of Jews and others. Exactly how these were divied up is unknown to me, but one can safely assume that the Nazis did ...


4

Two issues here. Toxic chemicals, and disease (bacteria and viruses). If something introduced toxic chemicals into the well, and the source for those chemicals has been removed, this is a question of how long it takes for the remaining chemicals already in there to become so diluted as to be no longer harmful. That depends on the type of chemical, how much ...


4

Impossibility of an invasion My answer is based on wikipedia article Operation Tannenbaum, which is about German plans for war against Switzerland during WW2: Germany started planning the invasion of Switzerland on 25 June 1940, the day that France surrendered. At this point, the German army in France consisted of three groups with two million soldiers ...


3

7-800 soldiers were forced or pushed off of a 1000 foot cliff in one of the unification battles of Hawai'i. Wikipedia article This was one of the last major battles of the campaign. The article details how the remains were discovered during construction 100 years later (in 1898).


3

If you want within a single day and within a very confined area like a square kilometer, then the final suppression of the Nika riots on or about 18 January 532 AD is a good contender. (See here and here.) With 30,000-35,000 rioters in the Hippodrome in Constantinople, the imperial troops blocked the exits and slaughtered everyone. I realize there are ...


3

On the number of javelins, the short (and safe) answer is at least two for those peltasts who used them – not all did, and weapons changed over time. Unfortunately, there do not seem to be any ancient written sources which give a number and, even if one source did, we could not assume that number to be true in all circumstances or in different centuries. ...


3

Götz von Berlichingen's famous (to Germans at least) Schwäbischer Gruß; "Er kann mich im Arsche lecken" - "he can lick my arse". This may be entirely legendary. Götz von Berlichingen really did exist, he was a minor nobleman, knight, pirate, kidnapper and freebooter in the 16th century, constantly feuding with all and sundry. The story was made popular ...


2

I'm not sure if "rewarding" is the right word, but Dietrich von Choltitz, who was appointed the German military governor of Paris in August 1944, refused Hitler's orders to destroy the city. After he surrendered, he was never formally charged with any crimes and was released in 1947. https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-two/military-commanders-of-...


2

Staff slings were used to throw petards (16th century bombs), particularly over walls, such as castle walls, as you could obtain more height & distance using a staff sling than by hand. As for typical slings, there are multiple methods to use slings and not all require a lot of room or complex twirling pattern. Short slings typically use a single throw ...


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