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
Early modern warfare
Early modern warfare is associated with the start of the widespread use of gunpowder and the development of suitable weapons to use the explosive, including artillery and firearms. This entire period is contained within the Age of Sail, which characteristic dominated the era's naval tactics, including the use of gunpowder in naval artillery. All of the Great Powers of Europe and the Middle East were fighting numerous wars throughout this period, grouped in rough geographical and chronological terms as The European wars of religion between the 1520s and the 1640s and, the Franco-Spanish War, the Northern Wars, Polish–Swedish wars and Russo-Swedish Wars. In the Horn of Africa, the Adal's conquest of Ethiopia and the involving of the Ottomans and the Portuguese. In Asia, the Persia–Portugal war, Nader's Campaigns, the Mughal conquests, the Chinese Ten Great Campaigns, the Anglo-Mysore Wars; the earliest existent Chinese formula for gunpowder is recorded in the Wujing Zongyao manuscript published by 1044, while the fire lance, an early firearm, was used by Song Chinese forces against the Jin during the Siege of De'an in 1132.
The earliest surviving bronze hand cannon, dates to 1288, during the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty of China. Gunpowder warfare was used in the Mongol invasions of Japan in 1274 and 1281 in the form of explosive bombs fired from catapults against enemy soldiers. Japanese scrolls contain illustrations of bombs used by the Yuan-Mongol forces against mounted samurai. Archaeological evidence of the use of gunpowder include the discovery of multiple shells of the explosive bombs in an underwater shipwreck off the shore of Japan, with X-rays providing proof that they contained gunpowder. In 1326, the earliest known European picture of a gun appeared in a manuscript by Walter de Milemete. In 1350, Petrarch wrote that the presence of cannons on the battlefield was'as common and familiar as other kinds of arms'. Early artillery played a limited role in the Hundred Years' War, it became indispensable in the Italian Wars of 1494–1559. Charles VIII, during his invasion of Italy, brought with him the first mobile siege train: culverins and bombards mounted on wheeled carriages, which could be deployed against an enemy stronghold after arrival.
The period from 1500–1801 saw a rapid advance in techniques of fortification in Europe. Whereas medieval castles had relied on high walls to keep out attackers, early modern fortifications had to withstand artillery bombardments. To do this, engineers developed a style of fortress known as the trace italienne or "Italian style"; these had low, sloping walls, that would either absorb or deflect cannon fire. In addition, they were shaped with bastions protruding at sharp angles; this was to ensure that every bastion could be supported with fire from an adjacent bastion, leaving no "dead ground" for an attacker to take cover in. These new fortifications negated the advantages cannon had offered to besiegers. A polygonal fort is a fortification in the style that evolved around the middle of the 18th century, in response to the development of explosive shells; the complex and sophisticated designs of star forts that preceded them were effective against cannon assault, but proved much less effective against the more accurate fire of rifled guns and the destructive power of explosive shells.
The polygonal style of fortification is described as a "flankless fort". Many such forts were built in the United Kingdom and the British Empire during the government of Lord Palmerston, so they are often referred to as Palmerston forts, their low profile makes them easy to overlook. In response to the vulnerabilities of star forts, military engineers evolved a much simpler but more robust style of fortification. An example of this style can be seen at Fort McHenry in Baltimore in the United States of America, the home of the famous battle where The Star-Spangled Banner was penned by Francis Scott Key; the power of aristocracies vis à vis states diminished throughout Western Europe during this period. Aristocrats' 200- to 400-year-old ancestral castles no longer provided useful defences against artillery; the nobility's importance in warfare eroded as medieval heavy cavalry lost its central role in battle. The heavy cavalry - made up of armoured knights - had begun to fade in importance in the Late Middle Ages.
The English longbow and the Swiss pike had both proven their ability to devastate larger armed forces of mounted knights. However, the proper use of the longbow required the user to be strong, making it impossible to amass large forces of archers; the proper use of the pike required complex operations in formation and a great deal of fortitude and cohesion by the pikemen, again making amassing large forces difficult. Starting in the early 14th-century, armourers added plate-armour pieces to the traditional protective linked mail armour of knights and men-at-arms to guard against the arrows of the longbow and crossbow. By 1415, some infantrymen began deploying the first "hand cannons", the earliest small-bore arquebuses, with burning "m
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
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare in which a small group of combatants, such as paramilitary personnel, armed civilians, or irregulars. Guerrilla groups are a type of violent non-state actor; the Spanish word "guerrilla" is the diminutive form of "guerra". The term became popular during the early-19th century Peninsular War, when the Spanish and Portuguese people rose against the Napoleonic troops and fought against a superior army using the guerrilla strategy. In correct Spanish usage, a person, a member of a "guerrilla" unit is a "guerrillero" if male, or a "guerrillera" if female; the term "guerrilla" was used in English as early as 1809 to refer to the fighters, to denote a group or band of such fighters. However, in most languages guerrilla still denotes the specific style of warfare; the use of the diminutive evokes the differences in number and scope between the guerrilla army and the formal, professional army of the state. Guerrilla warfare is a type of asymmetric warfare: competition between opponents of unequal strength.
It is a type of irregular warfare: that is, it aims not to defeat an enemy, but to win popular support and political influence, to the enemy's cost. Accordingly, guerrilla strategy aims to magnify the impact of a small, mobile force on a larger, more-cumbersome one. If successful, guerrillas weaken their enemy by attrition forcing them to withdraw. Tactically, guerrillas avoid confrontation with large units and formations of enemy troops, but seek and attack small groups of enemy personnel and resources to deplete the opposing force while minimizing their own losses; the guerrilla prizes mobility and surprise, organizing in small units and taking advantage of terrain, difficult for larger units to use. For example, Mao Zedong summarized basic guerrilla tactics at the beginning of the Chinese "Second Revolutionary Civil War" as:"The enemy advances, we retreat. At least one author credits the ancient Chinese work The Art of War with inspiring Mao's tactics. In the 20th century, other communist leaders, including North Vietnamese Ho Chi Minh used and developed guerrilla warfare tactics, which provided a model for their use elsewhere, leading to the Cuban "foco" theory and the anti-Soviet Mujahadeen in Afghanistan.
In addition to traditional military methods, guerrilla groups may rely on destroying infrastructure, using improvised explosive devices, for example. They also rely on logistical and political support from the local population and foreign backers, are embedded within it, many guerrilla groups are adept at public persuasion through propaganda. Many guerrilla movements today rely on children as combatants, porters, informants, in other roles, which has drawn international condemnation. There is no accepted definition of "terrorism", the term is used as a political tactic by belligerents to denounce opponents whose status as terrorists is disputed. Contrary to some terrorist groups, guerrillas work in open positions as armed units, try to hold and seize land, do not refrain from fighting enemy military force in battle and apply pressure to control or dominate territory and population. While the primary concern of guerrillas is the enemy's active military units, terrorists are concerned with non-military agents and target civilians.
Guerrilla forces principally fight in accordance with the law of war. In this sense, they respect the rights of innocent civilians by refraining from targeting them. According to the Ankara Center for Crisis and Policy Studies, terrorists do not limit their actions and terrorise civilians by putting fear in people's hearts and kill innocent foreigners in the country. Irregular warfare, based on elements characteristic of modern guerrilla warfare, has existed throughout the battles of many ancient civilizations; the growth of guerrilla warfare in the 20th century was inspired in part by theoretical works on guerrilla warfare, starting with the Manual de Guerra de Guerrillas by Matías Ramón Mella written in the 19th century and, more Mao Zedong's On Guerrilla Warfare, Che Guevara's Guerrilla Warfare, Lenin's text of the same name, all written after the successful revolutions carried by them in China and Russia, respectively. Those texts characterized the tactic of guerrilla warfare as, according to Che Guevara's text, being"used by the side, supported by a majority but which possesses a much smaller number of arms for use in defense against oppression".
The Chinese general and strategist Sun Tzu, in his The Art of War or 600 BC to 501 BC, was the earliest to propose the use of guerrilla warfare. This directly inspired the development of modern guerrilla warfare. Guerrilla tactics were employed by prehistoric tribal warriors against enemy tribes. Evidence of conventional warfare, on the other hand, did not emerge until 3100 BC in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Since the Enlightenment, ideologies such as nationalism, liberalism and religious fundamentalism have played an important role in shaping insurgencies and guerrilla warfare; the Moroccan national hero Mohamed ben Abdelkrim el-Khattabi, along with his father, unified the Moroccan
Nuclear warfare is a military conflict or political strategy in which nuclear weaponry is used to inflict damage on the enemy. Nuclear weapons are weapons of mass destruction. A major nuclear exchange would have long-term effects from the fallout released, could lead to a "nuclear winter" that could last for decades, centuries, or millennia after the initial attack; some analysts dismiss the nuclear winter hypothesis, calculate that with nuclear weapon stockpiles at Cold War highs, although there would be billions of casualties, billions more rural people would survive. However, others have argued that secondary effects of a nuclear holocaust, such as nuclear famine and societal collapse, would cause every human on Earth to starve to death. So far, two nuclear weapons have been used in the course of warfare, both by the United States near the end of World War II. On August 6, 1945, a uranium gun-type device was detonated over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days on August 9, a plutonium implosion-type device was detonated over the Japanese city of Nagasaki.
These two bombings resulted in the deaths of 120,000 people. After World War II, nuclear weapons were developed by the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the People's Republic of China, which contributed to the state of conflict and extreme tension that became known as the Cold War. In 1974, in 1998, two countries that were hostile toward each other, developed nuclear weapons. Israel and North Korea are thought to have developed stocks of nuclear weapons, though it is not known how many; the Israeli government has never admitted or denied to having nuclear weapons, although it is known to have constructed the reactor and reprocessing plant necessary for building nuclear weapons. South Africa manufactured several complete nuclear weapons in the 1980s, but subsequently became the first country to voluntarily destroy their domestically made weapons stocks and abandon further production. Nuclear weapons have been detonated on over 2,000 occasions for testing demonstrations. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the resultant end of the Cold War, the threat of a major nuclear war between the two nuclear superpowers was thought to have declined.
Since concern over nuclear weapons has shifted to the prevention of localized nuclear conflicts resulting from nuclear proliferation, the threat of nuclear terrorism. The possibility of using nuclear weapons in war is divided into two subgroups, each with different effects and fought with different types of nuclear armaments; the first, a limited nuclear war, refers to a small-scale use of nuclear weapons by two belligerents. A "limited nuclear war" could include targeting military facilities—either as an attempt to pre-emptively cripple the enemy's ability to attack as a defensive measure, or as a prelude to an invasion by conventional forces, as an offensive measure; this term could apply to any small-scale use of nuclear weapons that may involve military or civilian targets. The second, a full-scale nuclear war, could consist of large numbers of nuclear weapons used in an attack aimed at an entire country, including military and civilian targets; such an attack would certainly destroy the entire economic and military infrastructure of the target nation, would have a devastating effect on Earth's biosphere.
Some Cold War strategists such as Henry Kissinger argued that a limited nuclear war could be possible between two armed superpowers. Some predict, that a limited war could "escalate" into a full-scale nuclear war. Others have called limited nuclear war "global nuclear holocaust in slow motion", arguing that—once such a war took place—others would be sure to follow over a period of decades rendering the planet uninhabitable in the same way that a "full-scale nuclear war" between superpowers would, only taking a much longer path to the same result; the most optimistic predictions of the effects of a major nuclear exchange foresee the death of many millions of victims within a short period of time. More pessimistic predictions argue that a full-scale nuclear war could bring about the extinction of the human race, or at least its near extinction, with only a small number of survivors and a reduced quality of life and life expectancy for centuries afterward. However, such predictions, assuming total war with nuclear arsenals at Cold War highs, have not been without criticism.
Such a horrific catastrophe as global nuclear warfare would certainly cause permanent damage to most complex life on the planet, its ecosystems, the global climate. If predictions about the production of a nuclear winter are accurate, it would change the balance of global power, with countries such as Australia, New Zealand, China and Brazil predicted to become world superpowers if the Cold War led to a large-scale nuclear attack. A study presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in December 2006 asserted that a small-scale regional nuclear war could produce as many direct fatalities as all of World War II and disrupt the global climate for a decade or more. In a regional nuclear conflict scenario in w
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