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68 votes
Accepted

WW1 soldier in WW2 : how would he get caught?

They Think He’s in La Résistance I’m going to do a bit of a frame challenge, after seeing your comments. The problem here isn’t why they’d get suspicious, it’s how to make it believable that he could ...
Davislor's user avatar
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53 votes
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How to stop ants from learning philosophy and taking over Belarus

Ants are Already in Charge Your question is based on the typical vertebrate naivety that humans are the dominant species on the plant. This is incorrect. Humans are not the dominant species. The ...
Daron's user avatar
  • 66.1k
48 votes

How can a pre-industrial civilization effectively defend against aerial attacks from large, fire-breathing creatures without the use of magic?

A normal human society would not try to defend itself against non-magical large, flying, fire breathing creatures. A normal human society would hunt them and kill them dead. Humans are very good at ...
AlexP's user avatar
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39 votes
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Can a war in an 1800's level society kill a billion people in 17 years?

According to the estimates I have seen, what you ask is not possible, for the simple reason that a 1800 level tech society barely supports something less than 1 billion people. A war which is fought ...
L.Dutch's user avatar
  • 283k
38 votes
Accepted

Would lightning bolts be effective against modern military vehicles?

Not effective at all. Now - let's be charitable, some of the electronics inside modern military equipment don't like being struck by lightning and so you may get some reduced functionality if she gets ...
TheDemonLord's user avatar
  • 22.5k
36 votes

How do I prevent combat-oriented aircraft from being viable?

In real life, aircraft haven't proven all that omnipotent. They have been used to great effect against nations advanced enough to have mechanized armies, but not integrated air defenses. However, once ...
Therac's user avatar
  • 4,918
31 votes
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How detailed would these medieval era reports be?

When we say that try to get these reports done quickly in order to get them to the monarch in a timely fashion, we need to take into account that, first, it will take some time for the report to reach ...
AlexP's user avatar
  • 87.5k
30 votes

WW1 soldier in WW2 : how would he get caught?

Everything Language First and foremost, if he was a French soldier in WWI, I can't imagine he'd speak English, which would make blending in as an American soldier difficult. Clothing The French army ...
jdunlop's user avatar
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29 votes
Accepted

Is it possible to fight a CONVENTIONAL war against an enemy who can win any direct confrontation?

We get a lot of questions about how to fight godlike creations And the answer is always "you can't, you need to introduce a weakness that you can narratively take advantage of." Frankly, it ...
JBH's user avatar
  • 120k
28 votes

Would lightning bolts be effective against modern military vehicles?

Your mage is not much more dangerous than your average infantryman Fighter jets, helicopters, warships, and submarines are all speced to take the occasional lightning strike and be fine. These are ...
Nosajimiki's user avatar
  • 90.5k
28 votes

Are there any good alternatives to firearms for 1920s aircrafts?

Problems: Drag and speed There are two problems with low-tech projectiles aerial combat: High relative speed of aircraft, which leads to high maneuvering speed. When you shoot an arrow (average 50 m/...
Therac's user avatar
  • 4,918
28 votes

How might weapons and armor evolve in a world where Humans coexist with Dinosaurs?

Not Much Difference People often underestimate just how much of a force multiplier a sharpened stick, complex language skills, and human ingenuity really was for our ancestors. Cavemen faced off ...
Nosajimiki's user avatar
  • 90.5k
27 votes

Necessity of army and navy in a space warfare setting

Space ships are like aircraft. They are very good at projecting power, but they are less good at things like gathering intelligence or holding indoor positions. A spaceship or aircraft can knock ...
Monty Wild's user avatar
  • 59.5k
26 votes

Would a lizard-mounted cavalry be effective against pikes?

What you describe is how a boar charges, and it doesn't make pike ineffective against them. Also, don't forget that while pikes can be kept raised before the impact, they can also be raised with a ...
L.Dutch's user avatar
  • 283k
25 votes

How would zombies affect trench warfare?

As described, zombies would not make a significant difference to most combat. Firstly, they are not available in large enough numbers to send overwhelming hordes across no mans land. Taking the ...
ShellGhost's user avatar
  • 1,507
24 votes
Accepted

Would a freeze ray be effective against modern military vehicles?

It would immobilize or destroy just about anything other than nuclear powered ships. The big issue I see it causing is simply engine air intake and exhaust. Even tanks need this, so covering a tank in ...
JamieB's user avatar
  • 7,662
23 votes
Accepted

Would a lizard-mounted cavalry be effective against pikes?

This application of cavalry is suicidal It doesn't matter whether you have horses, lizards, or elephants. You do not charge into pike formations head-on unless you can out-range them with your own ...
SPavel's user avatar
  • 7,958
23 votes

What makes my artificial intelligence indestructible, but containable?

The AIs have a weapon with a deadman's switch There came a point in the war where the AIs were losing, but had an extremely powerful weapon in reserve. The AIs could use the weapon to kill billions of ...
causative's user avatar
  • 7,243
23 votes

Are there any good alternatives to firearms for 1920s aircrafts?

Flechettes: a real WWI-era anti-infantry weapon. I'm surprised that no one has brought them up. As KerrAvon2055's current top answer notes notes, If any other weapons had been effective, they would ...
Daniel B's user avatar
  • 19k
22 votes

Would a freeze ray be effective against modern military vehicles?

Yes, Extremely Effective There are 2 things (and a bunch of secondary things) that would make a Freeze Ray against vehicles terrifying. Shrinkage No, I'm not talking about that kind of Shrinkage, I'm ...
TheDemonLord's user avatar
  • 22.5k
20 votes

What would make winged centaurs a reasonable fighting force?

They can Fly I don't think you appreciate how much an advantage that is. Bridge destroyed? Rough Terrain? Quagmire from too much rain? Dangerous mountain path? Nope - they can fly. Castle walls? Nope -...
TheDemonLord's user avatar
  • 22.5k
20 votes

What laws of war would pertain to this futuristic situation, hundreds of years from now?

The relevant Geneva Convention talks about persons who have fallen into the power of the enemy The convention explicitly prohibits the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions ...
o.m.'s user avatar
  • 114k
20 votes
Accepted

How would a 4-armed, blind species,use firearms?

[Frame Challenge] They probably wouldn't. As @Questor hinted at in a comment, if this species has hearing as their primary sense, they'd be reluctant to use explosives as a propellant for the same ...
MediocreFantasy's user avatar
20 votes

What is the easiest fuel a blockaded, sanctioned nation can procure/synthesize during a war?

Biofuel. With time to establish sufficient distributed infrastructure for the farming and manufacture of biofuels before the outbreak of war, it would be possible to break dependence upon fuels ...
Monty Wild's user avatar
  • 59.5k
19 votes
Accepted

How would the "Hardness vs Toughness" dynamic of gems apply if it were possible to make shields out of them?

Toughness is more important in a shield Toughness refers to the amount of energy necessary to deform a material. A tougher material will be able to absorb harder blows without being damaged, and if it ...
Shawn O'Neil's user avatar
  • 2,148
18 votes

Would the use of sulfuric acid "piranha" weapons be considered chemical weapons, and thus, War Crimes?

White phosphorus usage in war is forbidden on human targets according to the 1980 convention of Geneva, because it causes deep and painful burns. Similarly, expanding bullets are forbidden in war, ...
L.Dutch's user avatar
  • 283k
18 votes

Individual Laser-Point-Defense

Potentially, but a minor frame challenge Other answers may bring up power-density or computation issues. I have a much simpler one. Tanks can get away with active protection systems which blow apart ...
KEY_ABRADE's user avatar
  • 12.8k
16 votes

Can a war in an 1800's level society kill a billion people in 17 years?

Running an estimate: The 30 Years' War ran approximately 30 years and killed about half the population in the affected area. But not every day had the same intensity of fighting. The war caused mass ...
o.m.'s user avatar
  • 114k
16 votes

Necessity of army and navy in a space warfare setting

You can bombard as much as you want, but until you are not able to set your boots on the ground and hold them there, you will not be controlling a piece of land. Look at the most recent wars, like ...
L.Dutch's user avatar
  • 283k
15 votes

How to stop ants from learning philosophy and taking over Belarus

Biological warfare. This would be to incapacitate as much of the army as possible, possibly sowing confusion, panic and dissent where possible. Cordyceps: Turn them into zombies. There's a wonderful ...
Escaped dental patient.'s user avatar

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