Blitzkrieg is a method of warfare whereby an attacking force, spearheaded by a dense concentration of armoured and motorised or mechanised infantry formations with close air support, breaks through the opponent's line of defence by short, powerful attacks and dislocates the defenders, using speed and surprise to encircle them with the help of air superiority. Through the employment of combined arms in manoeuvre warfare, blitzkrieg attempts to unbalance the enemy by making it difficult for it to respond to the continuously changing front defeat it in a decisive Vernichtungsschlacht. During the interwar period and tank technologies matured and were combined with systematic application of the traditional German tactic of Bewegungskrieg, deep penetrations and the bypassing of enemy strong points to encircle and destroy enemy forces in a Kesselschlacht. During the Invasion of Poland, Western journalists adopted the term blitzkrieg to describe this form of armoured warfare; the term had appeared in 1935, in a German military periodical Deutsche Wehr, in connection to quick or lightning warfare.
German manoeuvre operations were successful in the campaigns of 1939–1941 and by 1940 the term blitzkrieg was extensively used in Western media. Blitzkrieg operations capitalized on surprise penetrations, general enemy unreadiness and their inability to match the pace of the German attack. During the Battle of France, the French made attempts to re-form defensive lines along rivers but were frustrated when German forces arrived first and pressed on. Despite being common in German and English-language journalism during World War II, the word Blitzkrieg was never used by the Wehrmacht as an official military term, except for propaganda. According to David Reynolds, "Hitler himself called the term Blitzkrieg'A idiotic word'"; some senior officers, including Kurt Student, Franz Halder and Johann Adolf von Kielmansegg disputed the idea that it was a military concept. Kielmansegg asserted that what many regarded as blitzkrieg was nothing more than "ad hoc solutions that popped out of the prevailing situation".
Student described it as ideas that "naturally emerged from the existing circumstances" as a response to operational challenges. The Wehrmacht never adopted it as a concept or doctrine. In 2005, the historian Karl-Heinz Frieser summarized blitzkrieg as the result of German commanders using the latest technology in the most beneficial way according to traditional military principles and employing "the right units in the right place at the right time". Modern historians now understand blitzkrieg as the combination of the traditional German military principles and doctrines of the 19th century with the military technology of the interwar period. Modern historians use the term casually as a generic description for the style of manoeuvre warfare practised by Germany during the early part of World War II, rather than as an explanation. According to Frieser, in the context of the thinking of Heinz Guderian on mobile combined arms formations, blitzkrieg can be used as a synonym for modern manoeuvre warfare on the operational level.
The traditional meaning of blitzkrieg is that of German tactical and operational methodology in the first half of the Second World War, hailed as a new method of warfare. The word, meaning "lightning war" or "lightning attack" in its strategic sense describes a series of quick and decisive short battles to deliver a knockout blow to an enemy state before it could mobilize. Tactically, blitzkrieg is a coordinated military effort by tanks, motorized infantry and aircraft, to create an overwhelming local superiority in combat power, to defeat the opponent and break through its defences. Blitzkrieg as used by Germany had considerable psychological, or "terror" elements, such as the Jericho Trompete, a noise-making siren on the Junkers Ju 87 dive-bomber, to affect the morale of enemy forces; the devices were removed when the enemy became used to the noise after the Battle of France in 1940 and instead bombs sometimes had whistles attached. It is common for historians and writers to include psychological warfare by using Fifth columnists to spread rumours and lies among the civilian population in the theatre of operations.
The origin of the term blitzkrieg is obscure. It was never used in the title of a military doctrine or handbook of the German army or air force, no "coherent doctrine" or "unifying concept of blitzkrieg" existed; the term seems to have been used in the German military press before 1939 and recent research at the German Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt at Potsdam found it in only two military articles from the 1930s. Both used the term to mean a swift strategic knock-out, rather than a radical new military doctrine or approach to war; the first article deals with supplies of food and materiel in wartime. The term blitzkrieg is used with reference to German efforts to win a quick victory in the First World War but is not associated with the use of armoured, mechanised or air forces, it argued that Germany must develop self-sufficiency in food, because it might again prove impossible to deal a swift knock-out to its enemies, leading to a long war. In the second article, launching a swift strategic knock-out is described as an attractive idea for Germany but difficult to achieve on land under modern conditions, unless an exceptionally high degree of surprise could be achieved.
The author vaguely suggests that a massive strategic air attack might hold out better prospe
Armoured warfare, mechanised warfare or tank warfare is the use of armoured fighting vehicles in modern warfare. It is a major component of modern methods of war; the premise of armoured warfare rests on the ability of troops to penetrate conventional defensive lines through use of manoeuvre by armoured units. Much of the application of armoured warfare depends on the use of tanks and related vehicles used by other supporting arms such as infantry fighting vehicles, self-propelled artillery, other combat vehicles, as well as mounted combat engineers and other support units; the doctrine of armoured warfare was developed to break the static nature of World War I trench warfare on the Western Front, return to the 19th century school of thought that advocated manoeuvre and "decisive battle" outcomes in military strategy. Modern armoured warfare began during the First World War with the need to break the tactical and strategic stalemates forced on commanders on the Western Front by the effectiveness of entrenched defensive infantry armed with machine guns—known as trench warfare.
Under these conditions, any sort of advance was very slow and caused massive casualties. The development of the tank was motivated by the need to return manoeuvre to warfare, the only practical way to do so was to provide caterpillar traction to guns allowing them to overcome trenches while at the same time offering them armour protection against small arms fire as they were moving. Tanks were first developed in Britain and France in 1915, as a way of navigating the barbed wire and other obstacles of no-man's land while remaining protected from machine-gun fire. British Mark I tanks first went to action at the Somme, on 15 September 1916, but did not manage to break the deadlock of trench warfare; the first French employment of tanks, on 16 April 1917, using the Schneider CA, was a failure. In the Battle of Cambrai British tanks were more successful, broke a German trenchline system, the Hindenburg Line. Despite the unpromising beginnings, the military and political leadership in both Britain and France during 1917 backed large investments into armoured vehicle production.
This led to a sharp increase in the number of available tanks for 1918. The German Empire to the contrary, produced only a few tanks, late in the war. Twenty German A7V tanks were produced during the entire conflict, compared to over 4,400 French and over 2,500 British tanks of various kinds. Nonetheless, World War I saw the first tank-versus-tank battle, during the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux in April 1918, when a group of three German A7V tanks engaged a group of three British Mark IV tanks they accidentally met. After the final German Spring Offensives of 1918, Entente tanks were used in mass at the Battle of Soissons and Battle of Amiens, which ended the stalemate imposed by trench warfare on the Western Front, thus ended the war. Tactically, the deployment of armour during the war was typified by a strong emphasis on direct infantry support; the tank's main tasks were seen as crushing barbed wire and destroying machine-gun nests, facilitating the advance of foot soldiers. Theoretical debate focused on the question whether a "swarm" of light tanks should be used for this or a limited number of potent heavy vehicles.
Though in the Battle of Cambrai a large concentration of British heavy tanks effected a breakthrough, it was not exploited by armour. The manoeuvrability of the tank should at least in theory regain armies the ability to flank enemy lines. In practice, tank warfare during most of World War I was hampered by the technical immaturity of the new weapon system causing mechanical failure, limited numbers, general underutilisation, a low speed and a short range. Strategic use of tanks was slow to develop during and after World War I due to these technical limitations but due to the prestige role traditionally accorded to horse-mounted cavalry. An exception, on paper, was the Plan 1919 of Colonel John Fuller, who envisaged using the expected vast increase in armour production during 1919 to execute deep strategic penetrations by mechanised forces consisting of tanks and infantry carried by lorries, supported by aeroplanes, to paralyse the enemy command structure. Following the First World War, the technical and doctrinal aspects of armoured warfare became more sophisticated and diverged into multiple schools of doctrinal thought.
During the 1920s, only few tanks were produced. There were however, important technical developments. Various British and French commanders who had contributed to the origin of the tank, such as Jean Baptiste Eugène Estienne, B. H. Liddell Hart and J. F. C. Fuller, theorised about a possible future use of independent armoured forces, containing a large concentration of tanks, to execute deep strategic penetrations. Liddell Hart wrote many books about the subject propagating Fuller's theories; such doctrines were faced with the reality that during the 1920s the armoured vehicles, as early road transport in general, were unreliable, could not be used in sustained operations. Mainstream thought on the subject was more conservative and tried to integrate armoured vehicles into the existing infantry and cavalry organisation and tactics. Technical development focussed on the improvement of the suspension system and engine, to create vehicles that were faster, more reliable and had a better range than their WW I predecessors.
To save weight, such designs had thin armour plating and this inspired fitting small-calibre high-velocity guns in turrets, giving tanks a good antitank capacity. Both France and Britain built specialised infantry tanks, more armoured to provide infantry
Mountain warfare refers to warfare in the mountains or rough terrain. This type of warfare is called Alpine warfare, after the Alps mountains. Mountain warfare is one of the most dangerous types of combat as it involves surviving not only combat with the enemy but the extreme weather and dangerous terrain. Mountain ranges are of strategic importance since they act as a natural border, may be the origin of a water source. Attacking a prepared enemy position in mountain terrain requires a greater ratio of attacking soldiers to defending soldiers than a war conducted on level ground. Mountains at any time of year are dangerous – lightning, strong gusts of wind, rock falls, snow pack, extreme cold, glaciers with their crevasses and the general uneven terrain and the slow pace of troop and material movement are all additional threats to combatants. Movement and medical evacuation up and down steep slopes and areas where pack animals cannot reach involves an enormous exertion of energy; the term mountain warfare is said to have come about in the Middle Ages after the monarchies of Europe found it difficult to fight the Swiss armies in the Alps because the Swiss were able to fight in smaller units and took vantage points against a huge unmaneuverable army.
Similar styles of attack and defence were employed by guerrillas and irregulars who hid in the mountains after an attack, making it challenging for an army of regulars to fight back. In Bonaparte's Italian campaign, the 1809 rebellion in Tyrol, mountain warfare played a large role. Another example of mountain warfare was the Crossing of the Andes carried out by the Argentinean Army of the Andes commanded by Gen José de San Martín in 1817. One of the divisions surpassed 5000 m in height. Mountain warfare came to the fore once again during World War I, when some of the nations involved in the war had mountain divisions that had hitherto not been tested; the Austro-Hungarian defence repelled Italian attacks as they took advantage of the mountainous terrain in the Julian Alps and the Dolomites, where frostbite and avalanches proved deadlier than bullets. During the summer of 1918, the Battle of San Matteo took place on the Italian front. In December 1914, another offensive was launched by the Turkish supreme commander Enver Pasha with 95,000–190,000 troops against the Russians in the Caucasus.
Insisting on a frontal attack against Russian positions in the mountains in the heart of winter, the end result was devastating and Enver lost 86% of his forces. The Italian Campaign in World War II, Siachen conflict were large-scale mountain warfare examples. Battles of Narvik Kokoda Track campaign Operation Rentier Operation Gauntlet Since the Partition of India in 1947, India and Pakistan have been in conflict over the Kashmir region, they have fought numerous additional skirmishes / border conflicts in the region. Kashmir is located in the highest mountain range in the world; the first hostilities between the two nations, in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, showed that both were ill-equipped to fight in biting cold, let alone at the highest altitudes in the world. During the Sino-Indian War of 1962, hostilities broke out between China in the same area; the subsequent Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 between India and Pakistan was fought in Kashmir's valleys rather than the mountains themselves, although several mountain battles took place.
In the Kargil War Indian forces sought to flush out opponents. The proxy warfare in 1999 was the only modern war, fought on mountains. Following the Kargil War, the Indian Army implemented specialist training on artillery use in the mountains, where ballistic projectiles have different characteristics than at sea level. Most of the Falklands War took place on hills in semi-Arctic conditions on the Falkland Islands. However, during the opening stage of the war, there was military action on the bleak mountainous island of South Georgia, when a British expedition sought to eject occupying Argentine forces. South Georgia is a periantarctic island, the conflict took place during the southern winter, so Alpine conditions prevailed down to sea level; the operation was unusual, in that it combined aspects of long-range amphibious warfare, arctic warfare and mountain warfare. It involved special forces troops and helicopters. Throughout history but since 1979, many mountain warfare operations have taken place throughout Afghanistan.
Since the coalition invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 these have been in the eastern provinces of Kunar and Nuristan. Kunar and eastern Nuristan are strategic terrain; the area constitutes a major infiltration route into Afghanistan, insurgents can enter these provinces from any number of places along the Pakistani border to gain access to a vast network of river valleys. In this part of Afghanistan, the US military has adopted a hybrid style of mountain warfare incorporating counterinsurgency theory, in which the population is paramount as the center of gravity in the fight. In counterinsurgency and holding territory is less important than avoiding civilian casualties; the primary goal of counterinsurgency is to secure the backing of the populace and thereby legitimize the government rather than focus on militarily defeating the insurgents. Counterinsurgency doctrine has proved difficult to implement in Nuristan. In the sparsely populated mountain regions of Eastern Afghanistan, strategists have argued for holding the high ground—a
Medieval warfare is the European warfare of the Middle Ages. Technological and social developments had forced a dramatic transformation in the character of warfare from antiquity, changing military tactics and the role of cavalry and artillery. In terms of fortification, the Middle Ages saw the emergence of the castle in Europe, which spread to Western Asia. Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus wrote De re militari in the late 4th century. Described by historian Walter Goffart as "the bible of warfare throughout the Middle Ages", De re militari was distributed through the Latin West. While Western Europe relied on a single text for the basis of its military knowledge, the Byzantine Empire in Southeastern Europe had a succession of military writers. Though Vegetius had no military experience and De re militari was derived from the works of Cato and Frontinus, his books were the standard for military discourse in Western Europe from their production until the 16th century. De re militari was divided into five books: who should be a soldier and the skills they needed to learn, the composition and structure of an army, field tactics, how to conduct and withstand sieges, the role of the navy.
According to Vegetius, infantry was the most important element of an army because it was cheap compared to cavalry and could be deployed on any terrain. One of the tenets he put forward was that a general should only engage in battle when he was sure of victory or had no other choice; as archaeologist Robert Liddiard explains, "Pitched battles in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, were rare."Although his work was reproduced, over 200 copies and extracts survive today, the extent to which Vegetius affected the actual practice of warfare as opposed to its concept is unclear because of his habit of stating the obvious. Historian Michael Clanchy noted "the medieval axiom that laymen are illiterate and its converse that clergy are literate", so it may be the case that few soldiers read Vegetius' work. While their Roman predecessors were well-educated and had been experienced in warfare, the European nobility of the early Medieval period were not renowned for their education, but from the 12th century, it became more common for them to read.
Some soldiers regarded the experience of warfare as more valuable than reading about it. While it is uncertain to what extent his work was read by the warrior class as opposed to the clergy, Vegetius remained prominent in the literature on warfare in the medieval period. In 1489, King Henry VII of England commissioned the translation of De re militari into English, "so every gentleman born to arms and all manner of men of war, soldiers and all others would know how they ought to behave in the feats of wars and battles". In Europe, breakdowns in centralized power led to the rise of a number of groups that turned to large-scale pillage as a source of income. Most notably the Vikings raided significantly; as these groups were small and needed to move building fortifications was a good way to provide refuge and protection for the people and the wealth in the region. These fortifications evolved over the course of the Middle Ages, the most important form being the castle, a structure which has become synonymous with the Medieval era in the popular eye.
The castle served as a protected place for the local elites. Inside a castle they were protected from bands of raiders and could send mounted warriors to drive the enemy from the area, or to disrupt the efforts of larger armies to supply themselves in the region by gaining local superiority over foraging parties that would be impossible against the whole enemy host. Fortifications were a important part of warfare because they provided safety to the lord, his family, his servants, they provided refuge from armies too large to face in open battle. The ability of the heavy cavalry to dominate a battle on an open field was useless against fortifications. Building siege engines was a time-consuming process, could be done without preparations before the campaign. Many sieges could take months, if not years, to demoralize the defenders sufficiently. Fortifications were an excellent means of ensuring that the elite could not be dislodged from their lands – as Count Baldwin of Hainaut commented in 1184 on seeing enemy troops ravage his lands from the safety of his castle, "they can't take the land with them".
In the Medieval period besieging armies used a wide variety of siege engines including: scaling ladders. Siege techniques included mining in which tunnels were dug under a section of the wall and rapidly collapsed to destabilize the wall's foundation. Another technique was to bore into the enemy walls, however this was not nearly as effective as other methods due to the thickness of castle walls. Advances in the prosecution of sieges encouraged the development of a variety of defensive counter-measures. In particular, Medieval fortifications became progressively stronger – for example, the advent of the concentric castle from the period of the Crusades – and more dangerous to attackers – witness the increasing use of machicolations, as well the preparation of hot or incendiary substances. Arrow slits, concealed doors for sallies, deep water wells were integral to resisting siege at this time. Designers of castles paid particular attention to defending entrances, protec
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 deception refers to attempts to mislead enemy forces during warfare. This is achieved by creating or amplifying an artificial fog of war via psychological operations, information warfare, visual deception and other methods; as a form of strategic use of information, it overlaps with psychological warfare. To the degree that any enemy that falls for the deception will lose confidence when it is revealed, he may hesitate when confronted with the truth. Deception in warfare dates back to early history; the Art of War, an ancient Chinese military treatise, puts great emphasis on the tactic. In modern times military deception has developed as a fledged doctrine. Misinformation and visual deception were employed during World War I and came into greater prominence during World War II. In the buildup to the 1944 invasion of Normandy the Allies executed one of the largest deceptions in military history, Operation Bodyguard, helping them achieve full tactical surprise. Broadly, military deception may take both tactical forms.
Deception across a strategic battlefield was uncommon until the modern age, but tactical deception dates back to early history. In a practical sense military deception employs visual misdirection and psychology to make the enemy believe something, untrue; the use of military camouflage on a large scale, is a form of deception. The Russian loanword maskirovka is used to describe the Soviet Union and Russia's military doctrine of surprise through deception, in which camouflage plays a significant role. There are numerous examples of deception activities employed throughout the history of warfare, such as: Feigned retreat Leading the enemy, through a false sense of security, into a pre-positioned ambush. Fictional units Creating fictional forces, fake units or exaggerating the size of an army. Smoke screen A tactical deception involving smoke, fog, or other forms of concealment to hide battlefield movements or positions. Trojan horse Gaining admittance to a fortified area under false pretences, to admit a larger attacking force.
Strategic envelopment A small force distracts the enemy while a much larger force moves to attack from the rear. A favoured tactic of Napoleon. Deception has been a part of warfare from the dawn of history. At first it fell to individual commanders to develop tactical deception on the battlefield, it was not until the modern era that deception was organised at a high strategic level, as part of entire campaigns or wars. Early examples of military deception exist in the ancient dynasties of China. Hannibal recognised as one of the finest military commanders in history, made extensive use of deception in his campaigns; the Ancient Greeks were noted for several forms of tactical deception. They invented smoke screens during the Peloponnesian War and stories refer to the famous Trojan horse which allowed them to defeat Troy. In his 52 BC conquest of Gaul, Julius Caesar used tactical deception to achieve a crossing of the Allier river, his opponent, shadowed Caesar's force from the opposite bank, contesting any attempted crossing.
Caesar camped overnight in a wood. Once the coast was clear, the hidden forces established a bridgehead. One volume of Roman aristocrat Frontinus's Stratagems, written in the first century AD, deals with deception. Ancient Rome professed to despise the tactic. Opinion on military deception was divided following the fall of the Roman empire; the chivalrous countries in western Europe considered the tactic to be underhanded, whilst Eastern armies considered it a key skill: the Byzantine general Belisarius was noted for using deception against overwhelming odds. For example, during the Gothic War, Belisarius exaggerated his troop sizes first by advancing them in three directions, at night by having his troops light a long chain of campfires; as a result, the much larger army of Goths fled in panic on his approach. The Normans embraced the concept of a feigned retreat. William the Conqueror appears to have used this tactic during the Battle of Hastings, but the actual events are disputed by scholars.
Whatever the truth, the battle has at least been used as a famous example of the tactic. Mongol armies used the feigned withdrawal. Mongol warlords made use of disinformation tactics, spreading rumours about the size and effectiveness of their forces, they made use of visual deception. On the battlefield, the Mongols used many tactical deceptions, from lighting fires as a smokescreen to luring opponents into traps. Other examples of deception occurred during the Crusades. In 1271, Sultan Baybars captured the formidable Krak des Chevaliers by handing the besieged knights a letter from their commander, ordering them to surrender, it was, of course, but the knights duly capitulated. At around the same time, in England, the Welsh Tudors were seeking a revocation of the price that Henry Percy had placed on their heads, they decided to capture Percy's Conwy castle.
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