A battle is a combat in warfare between two or more armed forces. A war consists of multiple battles. Battles are well defined in duration and force commitment. A battle with only limited engagement between the forces and without decisive results is sometimes called a skirmish. Wars and military campaigns are guided by strategy, whereas battles take place on a level of planning and execution known as operational mobility. German strategist Carl von Clausewitz stated that "the employment of battles... to achieve the object of war" was the essence of strategy. Battle is a loanword from the Old French bataille, first attested in 1297, from Late Latin battualia, meaning "exercise of soldiers and gladiators in fighting and fencing", from Late Latin battuere "beat", from which the English word battery is derived via Middle English batri; the defining characteristic of the fight as a concept in Military science has been a dynamic one through the course of military history, changing with the changes in the organisation and technology of military forces.
While the English military historian Sir John Keegan suggested an ideal definition of battle as "something which happens between two armies leading to the moral physical disintegration of one or the other of them", the origins and outcomes of battles can be summarized so neatly. In general a battle during the 20th century was, continues to be, defined by the combat between opposing forces representing major components of total forces committed to a military campaign, used to achieve specific military objectives. Where the duration of the battle is longer than a week, it is for reasons of staff operational planning called an operation. Battles can be planned, encountered, or forced by one force on the other when the latter is unable to withdraw from combat. A battle always has as its purpose the reaching of a mission goal by use of military force. A victory in the battle is achieved when one of the opposing sides forces the other to abandon its mission and surrender its forces, routs the other, or completely annihilates the latter resulting in their deaths or capture.
However, a battle may end in a Pyrrhic victory, which favors the defeated party. If no resolution is reached in a battle, it can result in a stalemate. A conflict in which one side is unwilling to reach a decision by a direct battle using conventional warfare becomes an insurgency; until the 19th century the majority of battles were of short duration. This was due to the difficulty of supplying armies in the field, or conducting night operations; the means of prolonging a battle was by employment of siege warfare. Improvements in transportation and the sudden evolving of trench warfare, with its siege-like nature during World War I in the 20th century, lengthened the duration of battles to days and weeks; this created the requirement for unit rotation to prevent combat fatigue, with troops preferably not remaining in a combat area of operations for more than a month. Trench warfare had become obsolete in conflicts between advanced armies by the start of the Second World War; the use of the term "battle" in military history has led to its misuse when referring to any scale of combat, notably by strategic forces involving hundreds of thousands of troops that may be engaged in either a single battle at one time or multiple operations.
The space a battle occupies depends on the range of the weapons of the combatants. A "battle" in this broader sense may be of long duration and take place over a large area, as in the case of the Battle of Britain or the Battle of the Atlantic; until the advent of artillery and aircraft, battles were fought with the two sides within sight, if not reach, of each other. The depth of the battlefield has increased in modern warfare with inclusion of the supporting units in the rear areas. Battles are, on the whole, made up of a multitude of individual combats and small engagements within the context of which the combatants will only experience a small part of the events of the battle's entirety. To the infantryman, there may be little to distinguish between combat as part of a minor raid or as a major offensive, nor is it that he anticipates the future course of the battle. Conversely, some of the Allied infantry who had just dealt a crushing defeat to the French at the Battle of Waterloo expected to have to fight again the next day.
Battlespace is a unified strategy to integrate and combine armed forces for the military theatre of operations, including air, land and space. It includes the environment and conditions that must be understood to apply combat power, protect the force, or complete the mission; this includes friendly armed forces. Battles are decided by various factors; the number and quality of combatants and equipment, the skill of the commanders of each army, the terrain advantages are among the most prominent factors. A unit may charge with high morale but less discipline and still emerge victorious; this tactic wa
Urban warfare is combat conducted in urban areas such as towns and cities. Urban combat is different from combat in the open at both the operational and tactical level. Complicating factors in urban warfare include the presence of civilians and the complexity of the urban terrain. Urban combat operations may be conducted in order to capitalize on the strategic or tactical advantages with which possession or control of a particular urban area gives or to deny these advantages to the enemy. Fighting in urban areas negates the advantages that one side may have over the other in armour, heavy artillery, or air support. Ambushes laid down by small groups of soldiers with handheld anti-tank weapons can destroy entire columns of modern armour, while artillery and air support can be reduced if the'superior' party wants to limit civilian casualties as much as possible, but the defending party does not; some civilians may be difficult to distinguish from combatants such as armed militias and gangs, individuals who are trying to protect their homes from attackers.
Tactics are complicated by a three-dimensional environment, limited fields of view and fire because of buildings, enhanced concealment and cover for defenders, below-ground infrastructure, the ease of placement of booby traps and snipers. The United States Armed Forces term for urban warfare is an abbreviation for urban operations; the used U. S. military term MOUT, an abbreviation for military operations in urban terrain, has been replaced by UO, although the term MOUT Site is still in use. The British armed forces terms are OBUA, FIBUA, or sometimes FISH, or FISH and CHIPS; the term FOFO refers to clearing enemy personnel from narrow and entrenched places like bunkers and strongholds. Israel Defense Forces calls urban warfare לש "a Hebrew acronym for warfare on urban terrain. LASHAB in the IDF includes CQB training for fighting forces. IDF's LASHAB was developed in recent decades, after the 1982 Lebanon War included urban warfare in Beirut and Lebanese villages, was further developed during the Second Intifada in which IDF soldiers entered and fought in Palestinian cities and refugee camps.
The IDF has a special advanced facility for training soldiers and units in urban warfare. Urban military operations in World War II relied on large quantities of artillery bombardment and air support varying from ground attack fighters to heavy bombers. In some vicious urban warfare operations such as Stalingrad and Warsaw, all weapons were used irrespective of their consequences. However, when liberating occupied territory some restraint was applied in urban settings. For example, Canadian operations in both Ortona and Groningen avoided the use of artillery altogether to spare civilians and buildings, during the Battle of Manila in 1945, General MacArthur placed a ban on artillery and air strikes to save civilian lives. Military forces are bound by the laws of war governing military necessity to the amount of force which can be applied when attacking an area where there are known to be civilians; until the 1970s, this was covered by the 1907 Hague Convention IV – The Laws and Customs of War on Land which includes articles 25–27.
This has since been supplemented by the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, relating to the Protection of Victims of International and Non-International Armed Conflicts. Sometimes distinction and proportionality, as in the case of the Canadians in Ortona, causes the attacking force to restrain from using all the force they could when attacking a city. In other cases, such as the Battle of Stalingrad and the Battle of Berlin, both military forces considered evacuating civilians only to find it impractical; when Russian forces attacked Grozny in 1999, large amounts of artillery fire were used. The Russian Army handled the issue of civilian casualties by warning the inhabitants that they were going to launch an all-out assault on Grozny and requested that all civilians leave the city before the start of the artillery bombardment. Fighting in an urban environment can offer some advantages to a weaker defending force or to guerrilla fighters through ambush-induced attrition losses.
The attacking army must account for three dimensions more and expend greater amounts of manpower in order to secure a myriad of structures, mountains of rubble. Ferroconcrete structures will be ruined by heavy bombardment, but it is difficult to demolish such a building when it is well defended. Soviet forces had to fight room by room, it is difficult to destroy underground or fortified structures such as bunkers and utility tunnels. The characteristics of an average city include tall buildings, narrow alleys, sewage tunnels and a subway system
Military history is a humanities discipline within the scope of general historical recording of armed conflict in the history of humanity, its impact on the societies and economies thereof, as well as the resulting changes to local and international relationships. Professional historians focus on military affairs that had a major impact on the societies involved as well as the aftermath of conflicts, while amateur historians and hobbyists take a larger interest in the details of battles and uniforms in use; the essential subjects of military history study are the causes of war, the social and cultural foundations, military doctrine on each side, the logistics, technology and tactics used, how these changed over time. On the other hand, Just War Theory explores the moral dimensions of warfare, to better limit the destructive reality caused by war, seeks to establish a doctrine of military ethics; as an applied field, military history has been studied at academies and service schools because the military command seeks to not repeat past mistakes, improve upon its current performance by instilling an ability in commanders to perceive historical parallels during a battle, so as to capitalize on the lessons learned from the past.
When certifying military history instructors the Combat Studies Institute deemphasizes rote detail memorization and focuses on themes and context in relation to current and future conflict, using the motto "Past is Prologue."The discipline of military history is dynamic, changing with development as much of the subject area as the societies and organisations that make use of it. The dynamic nature of the discipline of military history is related to the rapidity of change the military forces, the art and science of managing them, as well as the frenetic pace of technological development that had taken place during the period known as the Industrial Revolution, more in the nuclear and information ages. An important recent concept is the Revolution in Military Affairs which attempts to explain how warfare has been shaped by emerging technologies, such as gunpowder, it highlights the short outbursts of rapid change followed by periods of relative stability. In terms of the history profession in major countries, military history is an orphan, despite its enormous popularity with the general public.
William H. McNeill points out: This branch of our discipline flourishes in an intellectual ghetto; the 144 books in question fall into two distinct classes: works aimed at a popular readership, written by journalists and men of letters outside academic circles, professional work nearly always produced within the military establishment.... The study of military history in universities remains underdeveloped. Indeed, lack of interest in and disdain for military history constitute one of the strangest prejudices of the profession. Historiography is the study of the history and method of the discipline of history or the study of a specialised topic. In this case, military history with an eye to gaining an accurate assessment of conflicts using all available sources. For this reason military history is periodised, creating overlaying boundaries of study and analysis in which descriptions of battles by leaders may be unreliable due to the inclination to minimize mention of failure and exaggerate success.
Military historians use Historiographical analysis in an effort to allow an unbiased, contemporary view of records. One military historian, Jeremy Black, outlined problems 21st-century military historians face as an inheritance of their predecessors: Eurocentricity, a technological bias, a focus on leading military powers and dominant military systems, the separation of land from sea and air conflicts, the focus on state-to-state conflict, a lack of focus on political "tasking" in how forces are used. If these challenges were not sufficient for the military historians, the limits of method are complicated by the lack of records, either destroyed or never recorded for its value as a military secret that may prevent some salient facts from being reported at all. Researching Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, for example, have presented unique challenges to historians due to records that were destroyed to protect classified military information, among other reasons. Historians utilize their knowledge of government regulation and military organization, employing a targeted and systematic research strategy to piece together war histories.
Despite these limits, wars are some of the most studied and detailed periods of human history. Military historians have compared organization and strategic ideas and national support of the militaries of different nations. In the early 1980s, historian Jeffrey Kimball studied the influence of a historian's political position on current events on interpretive disagreement regarding the causes of 20th century wars, he surveyed the ideological preferences of 109 active diplomatic historians in the United States as well as 54 active military historians. He finds that their current political views are moderately correlated with their historiographical interpretations. A clear position on the left-right continuum regarding capitalism was apparent in most cases. All groups agreed with the proposition, "historically, Americans have tended to view questions of their national security in terms of such extremes as good vs. evil." Though the Socialists were split, the other groups agreed that "miscalculation and/or misunderstanding of the situation" had caused U.
S. interventionism." Kimball reports that: Of historians in the field of diplomatic history, 7% are Socialist, 19% are O
Biological warfare —also known as germ warfare—is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria and fungi with the intent to kill or incapacitate humans, animals or plants as an act of war. Biological weapons are living organisms or replicating entities that reproduce or replicate within their host victims. Entomological warfare is considered a type of biological weapon; this type of warfare is distinct from nuclear warfare and chemical warfare, which together with biological warfare make up NBC, the military initialism for nuclear and chemical warfare using weapons of mass destruction. None of these are considered conventional weapons, which are deployed for their explosive, kinetic, or incendiary potential. Biological weapons may be employed in various ways to gain a strategic or tactical advantage over the enemy, either by threats or by actual deployments. Like some chemical weapons, biological weapons may be useful as area denial weapons; these agents may be lethal or non-lethal, may be targeted against a single individual, a group of people, or an entire population.
They may be developed, stockpiled or deployed by nation states or by non-national groups. In the latter case, or if a nation-state uses it clandestinely, it may be considered bioterrorism. Biological warfare and chemical warfare overlap to an extent, as the use of toxins produced by some living organisms is considered under the provisions of both the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention. Toxins and psychochemical weapons are referred to as midspectrum agents. Unlike bioweapons, these midspectrum agents do not reproduce in their host and are characterized by shorter incubation periods; the use of biological weapons is prohibited under customary international humanitarian law, as well as a variety of international treaties. The use of biological agents in armed conflict is a war crime. Offensive biological warfare, including mass production and use of biological weapons, was outlawed by the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention; the rationale behind this treaty, ratified or acceded to by 170 countries as of April 2013, is to prevent a biological attack which could conceivably result in large numbers of civilian casualties and cause severe disruption to economic and societal infrastructure.
Many countries, including signatories of the BWC pursue research into the defense or protection against BW, not prohibited by the BWC. A nation or group that can pose a credible threat omass casualty has the ability to alter the terms on which other nations or groups interact with it. Biological weapons allow for the potential to create a level of destruction and loss of life far in excess of nuclear, chemical or conventional weapons, relative to their mass and cost of development and storage. Therefore, biological agents may be useful as strategic deterrents in addition to their utility as offensive weapons on the battlefield; as a tactical weapon for military use, a significant problem with a BW attack is that it would take days to be effective, therefore might not stop an opposing force. Some biological agents (smallpox, have the capability of person-to-person transmission via aerosolized respiratory droplets; this feature can be undesirable, as the agent may be transmitted by this mechanism to unintended populations, including neutral or friendly forces.
While containment of BW is less of a concern for certain criminal or terrorist organizations, it remains a significant concern for the military and civilian populations of all nations. Rudimentary forms of biological warfare have been practiced since antiquity; the earliest documented incident of the intention to use biological weapons is recorded in Hittite texts of 1500–1200 BC, in which victims of tularemia were driven into enemy lands, causing an epidemic. Although the Assyrians knew of ergot, a parasitic fungus of rye which produces ergotism when ingested, there is no evidence that they poisoned enemy wells with the fungus, as has been claimed. In 1346, the bodies of Mongol warriors of the Golden Horde who had died of plague were thrown over the walls of the besieged Crimean city of Kaffa. Specialists disagree over whether this operation may have been responsible for the spread of the Black Death into Europe, Near East and North Africa, resulting in the killing of 25 million Europeans.
The British Army commanders approved the use of smallpox as a biological weapon in the French and Indian War to target Native Americans during the Siege of Fort Pitt in 1763. Correspondence between General Jeffrey Amherst and Colonel Henry Bouquet provides further evidence that the English army planned for the use of biological weapons to kill Native Americans, as detailed in Native American disease and epidemics. A smallpox outbreak was reported in the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes area through 1763 and 1764; the spread of smallpox weakened the French and Native American resistance to the British troops led by Bouquet. The smallpox outbreak was considered a direct result of two blankets and a scarf taken from a Small Pox Hospital gifted by William Trent and others English army representatives to leader Maumaultee and warrior Turtle Heart of the Delaware people during their visit to Ft Pitt. Amherst and Bouquet discussed other biological weapon deployments as a result. Apologists pose questions as to whether the outbreak was the result of the Fort Pitt incident or the virus was present among the Delaware people.
It is that the British Marines used smallpox in New S
Cold-weather warfare known as Arctic warfare or winter warfare, encompasses military operations affected by snow, thawing conditions or cold, both on land and at sea. Cold-weather conditions occur year-round at high elevation or at high latitudes, elsewhere materialise seasonally during the winter period. Mountain warfare takes place in cold weather or on terrain, affected by ice and snow, such as the Alps and the Himalayas. Most such operations have been during winter in the Northern Hemisphere; some have occurred above the Arctic Circle where snow and cold may occur throughout the year. At times, cold or its aftermath—thaw—has been a decisive factor in the failure of a campaign, as with Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812 and the German invasion of Russia during World War II. Northern and Eastern Europe were the venues for some well-documented winter campaigns. During World War II several actions took place above the Arctic Circle. Recent cold-weather conflicts have occurred in the Himalayas.
In 1242, the Teutonic Order lost the Battle on the Ice on Lake Peipus to Novgorod. In 1520, the decisive Battle of Bogesund between Sweden and Denmark occurred on the ice of lake Åsunden. Sweden and Denmark fought several wars during the 17th centuries; as a great deal of Denmark consists of islands, it was safe from invasion, but in January 1658, most of the Danish waters froze. Charles X Gustav of Sweden led his army across the ice of the Belts to besiege Copenhagen; the war ended with the treaty of Roskilde, a treaty favorable to the Swedish. During the Great Northern War, Swedish king Charles XII set off to invade Moscow, but was defeated at the Battle of Poltava after being weakened by cold weather and scorched earth tactics. Sweden suffered more casualties during the same war as Carl Gustaf Armfeldt with 6,000 men tried to invade Trondheim. Three thousand of them died of exposure in the snow during the Carolean Death March. During the Finnish War, the Russian army unexpectedly crossed the frozen Gulf of Bothnia from Finland to the Åland Islands and, by 19 March 1809, reached the Swedish shore within 70 km from the Swedish capital, Stockholm.
This daring maneuvre decided the outcome of the war. Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812 resulted in retreat in the face of winter with the majority of the French army succumbing to frostbite and starvation, rather than combat injuries; the Finnish Army used ski troops during the Winter War and the Second World War, where the numerically dominant Soviet forces had a hard time fighting mobile, white-clad ski soldiers. In Operation Barbarossa in 1941, both Russian and German soldiers had to endure terrible conditions during the Russian winter; the German-Finnish joint offensive against Murmansk in 1941 saw heavy fighting in the Arctic environment. Subsequently, the Petsamo-Kirkenes Operation conducted by the Red Army against the Wehrmacht in 1944 in northern Finland and Norway drove the Germans out of there. In late 1944, Finland turned against their former cobelligerents, Nazi Germany, under the Soviet Union's pressure and pressured the Germans to withdraw in the ensuing Lapland War. While use of ski infantry was common in the Red Army, Germany formed only one division for movement on skis.
From June 1942 to August 1943, the United States and Canada fought the Japanese in the Aleutian Islands Campaign in the Alaska Territory. The Battle of Chosin Reservoir was a stark example of cold affecting military operations in the Korean War. There were many cold malfunctions of materiel, both vehicles and weapons; the Siachen conflict is a military conflict between India and Pakistan over the disputed Siachen Glacier region in Kashmir. The conflict began in 1984 with India's successful Operation Meghdoot during which it gained control over all of the Siachen Glacier. A cease-fire went into effect in 2003; the following actions were fought in the Arctic by land and naval forces between 1941 and 1945 in the following theaters of operations: The raid on Kirkenes and Petsamo took place on 30 July 1941 when the British Fleet Air Arm launched an unsuccessful raid from the aircraft carriers HMS Victorious and Furious to inflict damage on merchant vessels owned by Germany and Finland and to show support for Britain's new ally, the Soviet Union.
Operation Rösselsprung was a plan by the German Kriegsmarine to intercept an Arctic convoy in mid-1942, resulting in the near destruction of Convoy PQ 17. Operation Wunderland was a large-scale operation undertaken in summer 1942 by the Kriegsmarine to enter the Kara Sea during the summer thaw and destroy as many Russian vessels as possible; the Winter War was a military conflict between Finland. It began with a Soviet invasion of Finland on 30 November 1939, three months after the outbreak of World War II, ended three and a half months with the Moscow Peace Treaty on 13 March 1940; the Lapland War was fought between Finland and Germany from September 1944 to April 1945 in Finland's northernmost Lapland Province. It included: Operation Birke was a German operation late in World War II in Finnish Lapland to protect access to nickel. Operation Nordlicht was a German scorched-earth retreat operation in Finland during the end of World War II; the Petsamo–Kirkenes Offensive was a major military offensive during World War II, mounted by the Red Army against the Wehrmacht in 1944 in northern Finland and Norway.
The liberation of Finnmark was a military operation, lasting from 23 October 1944 until 26 April 1945, in which Soviet and Norwegian forces wrestled away control of Finnmark, the northernmost county of Norway, from Germany. It started with a major Soviet offensive. Operation Silver Fox was
Defensive fighting position
A defensive fighting position is a type of earthwork constructed in a military context large enough to accommodate anything from one soldier to a fire team. Tobruk type positions are named after the system of defensive positions constructed by the Italian Army at Tobruk, Libya. After Tobruk fell to the Allies in January 1941, the existing positions were modified and expanded by the Australian Army which, along with other Allied forces, reused them in the Siege of Tobruk. A foxhole is one type of defensive strategic position, it is a "small pit used for cover for one or two personnel, so constructed that the occupants can fire from it". It is known more within United States Army slang as a "fighting position" or as a "ranger grave", it is known as a "fighting hole" in the United States Marine Corps, a "gun-pit" in Australian Army terminology, a "fighting pit" in the New Zealand Army. In British and Canadian military argot it equates to a range of terms including slit trench, or fire trench, a sangar or shell scrape, or simply—but less accurately—as a "trench".
During the American Civil War the term "rifle pit" was recognized by both U. S. Army and Confederate Army forces. A protected emplacement or concealed post in which one or several machine guns are set up is known in U. S. English as a machine gun nest. During the fighting in North Africa, U. S. forces employed the shell scrape. This was a shallow excavation allowing one soldier to lie horizontally while shielding his body from nearby shell bursts and small arms fire; the slit trench soon proved inadequate in this role, as the few inches of dirt above the soldier's body could be penetrated by bullets or shell fragments. It exposed the user to assault by enemy tanks, which could crush a soldier inside a shallow slit trench by driving into it making a simple half-turn. After the Battle of Kasserine Pass, U. S. troops adopted the modern foxhole, a vertical, bottle-shaped hole that allowed a soldier to stand and fight with head and shoulders exposed. The foxhole widened near the bottom to allow a soldier to crouch down while under intense artillery fire or tank attack.
Foxholes could be enlarged to two-soldier fighting positions, as well as excavated with firing steps for crew-served weapons or sumps for water drainage or live enemy grenade disposal. The Germans used hardened fortifications in North Africa and in other fortifications, such as the Atlantic Wall, that were in essence foxholes made from concrete; the Germans knew them as Ringstände. The Germans put a turret from an obsolete French or German tank on the foxhole; this gave the gunner protection from shrapnel and small arms. Modern militaries publish and distribute elaborate field manuals for the proper construction of DFPs in stages. A shallow "shell scrape" is dug, much like a shallow grave, which provides limited protection; each stage develops the fighting position increasing its effectiveness, while always maintaining functionality. In this way, a soldier can improve the position over time, while being able to stop at any time and use the position in a fight. A DFP is a pit or trench dug deep enough to stand in, with only the head exposed, a small step at the bottom, called a fire step, that allows the soldier to crouch into to avoid fire and tank treads.
The fire step slopes down into a deeper narrow slit called a grenade sump at the bottom to allow for live grenades to be kicked in to minimize damage from grenade fragments. When possible, DFPs are revetted with star pickets and wire or local substitutes. Ideally, the revetting will be dug in below ground level so as to minimise damage from fire and tank tracks; the revetting helps the DFP resist cave-in from near misses from artillery or mortars and tank tracks. Time permitting, DFPs can be enlarged to allow a machine gun crew and ammunition to be protected, as well as additional overhead cover via timbers. In training, DFPs are dug by hand or in some cases by mechanical trench diggers. On operations, explosives shaped charges, may be used to increase the speed of development. Developing and maintaining DFPs is a constant and ongoing task for soldiers deployed in combat areas. For this reason, in some armies, infantry soldiers are referred to as "gravel technicians", as they spend so much time digging.
Because of the large expenditure in effort and materials required to build a DFP, it is important to ensure that the DFP is sited. In order to site the DFP, the officer in charge should view the ground from the same level that the intended user's weapons will be sighted from; the OIC will need to lie on his belly to obtain the required perspective. This ensures. Pillbox Sangar Spider hole Shell scrape Tett turret Trench warfare All-around defense/Perimeter defense Entrenching tool Westrate, Edwin V.. Forward Observer. New York City: Stratford Press. U. S. WWII Newsmap, "Foxholes are Life Savers", hosted by the UNT Libraries Digital Collections