133 votes
Accepted

Is there any real reason for Dwarves not to have cavalry?

Dwarves don't have cavalry because cavalry is useless in their preferred environment. Let's take a look at history. Where does the cavalry excel? On large, open flat plains. Horses are large, ...
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  • 5,859
100 votes

Is it possible to win many wars while not being highly regarded in the military art?

The easiest way to do this is to have him on the frontier far from the important part of the country. A general who isn't of the right class/race/religion/thinking three thousand miles away is easy ...
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  • 7,163
94 votes

Military Tank drone, why are they not common yet?

Unlike a flying machine, loss of connection or autopilot malfunction is not catastrophic, in the worst case your tank just sits idle or runs into wall instead of crashing like a flying drone would. ...
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  • 2,694
94 votes
Accepted

Why would space fleets be aligned?

The crews have evolved on worlds with orientation, so their psychology and conventions reflect the reality that they are planetary creatures. Orson Scott Card captured the importance of orientation ...
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  • 9,662
88 votes

What is a realistic time needed to get a properly trained army?

Without logistical hurdles: 8 Months Minimum Basic Training: 8 Weeks. This provides the basic (minimal) set of soldier skills: Safe weapons handling and use, combat movement and reactions, ...
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  • 26.6k
87 votes
Accepted

Is the concept of a biometric smart gun that will detonate when anyone besides its owner touches the weapon unrealistic?

A smart gun which only fires in the hands of an authorised individual -- which may include any soldier in your army -- is a useful and practical concept. It may have issues when transferring weapons ...
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86 votes

What would be the pros and cons of a merged military and police?

Police and Military should never be merged. They have different missions and are set up completely differently. If you look at countries in conflict, and those that are stable today, you see a ...
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  • 19.8k
81 votes

Would tanks or small walkers be better for Lunar militaries?

I was an Anti-tank gunner for 8 years with the Marines, I'll let ya in on why walkers will never be used by a military as an armored vehicle. First, joints are huge weak points. Not just to enemy ...
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  • 20.8k
78 votes

Conquering a Metropolis with near-zero own casualties

Drone warfare Your people might not be disposable but you have the money and you have the toys. There's no reason to actually send any of your people within 500miles of the place. So you lose a few ...
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  • 114k
78 votes

Infantry weapons, or why are there people running around down there anyway?

War is not about smashing things If all you wanted to do was to blow thy enemies to tiny bits in thy mercy, then orbital bombardment will do the job without the need for infantry, that is correct. ...
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  • 39.6k
78 votes

Storming Area 51

I began to plan out various tactics and such, when I realized it was all for naught. Let's suppose they breach the perimiter of the base. They will soon face an unsolvable problem. They don't have ...
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  • 2,415
77 votes

Military Tank drone, why are they not common yet?

Many good answers here, but I thought I'd add my two cents as a former infantryman. One of the biggest benefits to using a drone aircraft is the mitigation of risk to human life. We are willing to ...
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  • 9,521
76 votes
Accepted

How much havoc can a small amount of people cause in a metropolis?

Assassinate the Garbage Collectors Every city has workers at the bottom, doing the nasty, dirty jobs needed to keep a city livable. Chances are, dear reader, you yourself don't 'see' these people in ...
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72 votes
Accepted

Would a non-lethal military be effective?

War and battle is not about killing... Summary / tl;dr Yes, this military will be effective, because you will write that it is. Your job as the author is to make it credible. ...it is about ...
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  • 39.6k
72 votes
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How would modern naval warfare have to have developed differently for battleships to still be relevant in the 21st century?

TLDR: All you need is better Anti-Aircraft Guns There's a lot of good information here, but I think @Karl actually has the best and simplest answer to the question. Imagine a scenario where instead ...
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71 votes

What measures might an early-medieval society take to deal with draugr?

Fight draugr with dogr. If you have weird dudes sneaking around the village looking for trouble, there is nothing better than a watchdog. They will be even better for draugr. Dogs will smell these ...
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  • 272k
69 votes

Conquering a Metropolis with near-zero own casualties

Inspired by a certain politician/real estate mogul: Build a high wall around the city. Make it very high, full of automated defenses and airtight. Not inspired by said person, but by a lake: Then ...
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  • 21.7k
66 votes

Is it plausible that a country developed steam engines before gunpowder?

Yes You're in luck, the first steam engine was actually invented in the 1st Century AD a good 1000 years ahead of gunpowder. The Aeolipile is technically a steam engine, what's required is for the ...
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  • 114k
66 votes

Are there examples of rowers who also fought?

Vikings! If the Vikings had to row, everyone on the longship took their turn at an oar (though they sailed any time they could, because who wouldn't?) -- and when they went ashore to fight, everyone ...
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  • 35.8k
63 votes

Mounted Cavalry in the Modern Era

I'm sorry, but there's just no way to realistically spin this in the context of modern warfare tactics, weapons, and battle doctrine. In the olden days, thousands of people would gather in a big ...
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  • 34.5k
62 votes
Accepted

Would a National Army of mercenaries be a feasible idea?

This practice was done all the time in Medieval Europe, the most famous being the Swiss Guard which was formed in the late 15th century and were stationed as guards in foreign courts until 1847 ...
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  • 8,440
62 votes

Why would The Machines not hunt humanity?

Because their programming doesn't allow them. The most likely way for a realistic AI to become "hostile" to mankind is because it learned something in a way we didn't intent to. As an ...
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  • 39.4k
61 votes
Accepted

What kind of war would lead to Ultra-Heavy tanks being useful?

A lot of people are focusing on the viability of making giant land vehicles. I mean... we already have stupidly large land vehicles, don't we? That's the BelAz. It's a huge cargo truck, to move ...
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  • 7,414
59 votes

What kind of spells would magicians cast in combat if the fuel to magic is very expensive

Snipers Given the rule that magicians can control what they can see the most effective place for a mage would appear to be as a magical sniper, special forces or artillery. It's also probable the ...
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  • 26.1k
58 votes
Accepted

How to stop soldiers from selling their equipment?

Miliary Court and Spot Checks This is the boring answer, but that's how it is handled in basically every army. Soldiers have to account for their equipment. If something is used or lost, they need to ...
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  • 696
57 votes

Is it possible to win many wars while not being highly regarded in the military art?

Yes, there are historical examples Ulysses S. Grant Grant won (or, at the very least, commanded the victorious army) at several famous battles as a field commander like Shiloh and the Siege of ...
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  • 84.2k
57 votes

Why would a country with high population suffer from low manpower?

"The events are set in a late renaissance like world, minus the gunpowder." Fine. Let's take this as given, and let's assume that by "late Renaissance-like" we understand western European Renaissance,...
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  • 73k
56 votes

Full plate - ways to make individual suits look more distinct

Historically, tabards and painted shields were used display a Coat of Arms. If you want knights from the same area (but of different houses) to show some similarity, then you can make some armaments/...
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  • 2,774
54 votes
Accepted

Reason to use tridents over other weapons?

A Few Thoughts: Although the trident is somewhat limited as a weapon, I can think of several good reasons to use them. Tradition: Cultural reasons are often more powerful than you might think. A ...
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  • 51.4k
53 votes
Accepted

What kind of land transportation can be used for plowing through hordes of zombies?

Frankly, I would not bother with cars or trucks. Use a train! Any large diesel engine, or several combined, with a snow plow up front. As a bonus, you can add waggons for any goods you may want ...
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