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

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....
Schwern's user avatar
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108 votes

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

No. The rate of fire of competent musketeers was considerably greater than one round every three minutes when the Second Amendment was adopted at the end of the eighteenth century. In his book The ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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90 votes
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How did archers judge distance before range finders?

I'm a horse archer; we use instinctive archery – there are no range finders, just a bow, a string an arrow and an archer. After a few thousand shots at various ranges, your body just knows how to aim ...
MCW's user avatar
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71 votes

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

It was a remnant of the class distinction in British life between aristocratic officers and common soldiers and enlisted men. In British units the men were instructed, forcefully, to simply obey ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
55 votes

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

Did it in fact take something like three minutes to reload muskets when the Second Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified? Is a "three minute musket" representative of the best military ...
DevSolar's user avatar
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46 votes

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

Schwern's answer is very good and exhaustive from the technical standpoint. From my experience as sniper trained on Anti-Materiel Rifles (AMRs (Hecate II), I would like to add a few tactical aspects ...
Patric Hartmann's user avatar
44 votes

Were slings used for throwing hand grenades? If not, why?

Two reasons why not to put a grenade in a sling, based on the fusing/arming system (An additional reason is that there are rifle launched grenades, if you need more range). Features of a hand ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
43 votes
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Were there U.S. weapon restrictions during 19th century?

The official way we determine how the Constitution is "understood" is through US Supreme Court decisions, and there haven't been any on that particular subject. There have been basically 3 ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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43 votes

How did archers judge distance before range finders?

They mostly didn't care. In combat, the purpose of an archer was not to land aimed shots on specific targets. It was to put large amounts of pointy wood-and-steel in the air, in the general ...
Graham's user avatar
  • 2,439
39 votes

What were sandbags used for in medieval duels?

The sandbag is from a quintain, a "jousting dummy" if you will: On Offham green there stands a Quintain, a thing now rarely to be met with, being a machine much used in former times by youth, as ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
35 votes
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Why couldn't soldiers sight their own weapons without officers' orders?

The question asks why British officers would micromanage enlisted troops by doing things like dictating the range to sight their rifles. This type of "micromanaging" is a foundation of the military ...
krb's user avatar
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34 votes
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Has a battering ram been used to breach a gate?

There appear to be very few recorded, specific examples of the successful use of battering rams on gates in either ancient or medieval times, at least compared to successful assaults on walls. ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
32 votes
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Why were slings phased out of medieval armies in favor of bows?

Phased out? Says who? Slings were used in European armies until the 16th century...the Castilian king had 30,000 infantry slingers in 1386...The sling was last used in Europe for military purposes at ...
SPavel's user avatar
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31 votes

What caused this cratering pattern at Hiroshima?

This photo is again used in recent CNN.com article "The bombing of Hiroshima" posted in Apr 26 2020: CNN But this is not the one of Hiroshima after the A-Bomb. This photo was taken from ...
TaroNakano's user avatar
31 votes

Were slings used for throwing hand grenades? If not, why?

The main reason for avoiding the sling is that it is a difficult weapon to use. Requires training to do right EVERY time. So your slinger could expect a short career indeed which would abruptly end ...
Bookeater's user avatar
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31 votes

Did the Germans use the V1 and V2 missile system on the Eastern Front in World War 2?

The V1 and V2 were short range missiles. The V-2 had an operational range of 200 miles while the V-1 had an operational range of 160 miles. These missiles weren't available until mid-1944, at which ...
Gort the Robot's user avatar
31 votes
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Did Age of Sail fighting vessels have any anti-spall technology?

The introduction of hammocks in place of cabins for the bulk of the crew both reduced the amount of wood (and thus splinters) and led to the use of rolled up hammocks as protection against splinters. ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
31 votes

When would one carry a sword on a shoulder with grip upwards?

This is anecdotal, but enough people seemed to like my comment and OP had further questions, so I'm posting it anyway. I did some re-enactment in my time. My weapon of choice was a longsword. (Well, a ...
DevSolar's user avatar
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30 votes
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Why did it take so long for the Germans to develop the first tank model in World War I?

While the Germans knew in principle that tanks could be built, they still needed to design a tank, develop a prototype, work out the problems, put it into mass production, develop tactics, and train ...
Andrew is gone's user avatar
29 votes
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Who was the last European king to actively engage in combat?

Perhaps Charles XII in 1713. The king himself killed at least one Ottoman soldier with his sword in hand-to-hand combat when he and Roos came under attack by 3 Ottomans. During parts of the ...
Tomas By's user avatar
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29 votes
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Why did so few militaries use semi automatic rifles as their standard issue infantry weapon?

The USA started development earlier Generals fight the last war. In the muddy trenches of WWI, the major semi-automatic rifle designs such as the Mondragón Modelo 1908 and the FAM 1917 rifle that you ...
SPavel's user avatar
  • 11k
27 votes
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Were slings used for throwing hand grenades? If not, why?

@KorvinStarmast has the correct answer for hand grenades. But we did use slings to lob grenades. Just think bigger. A trebuchet is basically a big staff sling used to throw a projectile. That big ...
Schwern's user avatar
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25 votes
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What kind of knife could this be?

Got it, is a Spanish M1969 Bayonet, check it here: https://www.preferredarms.com/weapons/daggers.php
Alberto Yagos's user avatar
25 votes

Did Aboriginal Australians know slings?

The ranged weaponry niche occupied by bows and slings in most other parts of the world was in Australia occupied by boomerangs and woomera (spear-thrower). These wouldn't have had the long range of a ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
24 votes
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Why would a rifleman have his bayonet fixed to the rifle in a non-combat situation?

Doctrine, regulation, and technical necessity. We observe that the Russians were the last to issue M1891 Mosin-Nagant rifles with a socket bayonet, when all other militaries had already switched to ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
23 votes
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What caused this cratering pattern at Hiroshima?

This isn't exactly an answer (yet), but for comparison, look at this aerial photograph of the damage from a conventional bombing raid over Osaka (Taken from Reports of the United States Strategic ...
PhillS's user avatar
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23 votes
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Why has the khopesh never been used since ancient Egypt?

The khopesh was a solution to the limitations of bronze as a sword material. Bronze swords can't be too long because they break. Bronze is more brittle and less flexible than iron. For this reason, ...
Alberto Yagos's user avatar
23 votes
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Why did the Metall und Lackierwarenfabrik company get asked to bid on the creation of the MG42?

After the MG 34 was introduced in 1935, the Wehrmacht almost immediately wanted improvements. The MG 34 was milled from specially alloyed steel which is slow and expensive. Stamped parts could make a ...
Schwern's user avatar
  • 55.2k
22 votes

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

With all great answers I would like to demonstrate what weak spots were targeted. Here's picture from the 1942 Soviet field manual "Уничтожай фашистские танки из противотанкового ружья" ("Destroy ...
OON's user avatar
  • 984
22 votes

Did any age of sail ship have a "back-bone cannon"?

Yes, these existed and were generally known as gunboats. Sizes varied, but typically they were a galley, schooner, or sloop of less than 75 feet in length, single-decked, with a single large cannon (...
Patrick N's user avatar
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