Changes in tactics and strategy
Early Warfare Prior to the Middle Ages (c500-1065)
- During this period, warfare was primarily a man-to-man combat with each warrior accountable for his own actions.
- Strategy was limited in early warfare, generally revolving around hand-to-hand combat with weapons such as swords and axes.
The Middle Ages (1066-1485)
- Warfare in the Middle Ages saw the rise of the ‘feudal system’ where King’s granted lands to the nobles who in return provided knights for the king’s army.
- The invention of the longbow and the development of the knight played significant roles in the change of warfare tactics.
- Castles also became key strategic points in warfare.
The Gunpowder Era (1485-1750)
- The introduction of gunpowder and cannons in the late Middle Ages drastically changed warfare tactics and strategies.
- Muskets replaced the longbows as the primary weapon of the infantry.
- Line formation was adopted. This formation allowed soldiers to reload while still maintaining a steady rate of fire.
The Industrial Revolution (1750-1914)
- The Industrial Revolution saw a massive change in warfare with the advent of steam power and railways, offering new means of transport and communication.
- Shrapnel shells and rifled barrels made artillery more accurate and deadly.
- Introduction of trenches as a means of protecting infantry from increasingly deadly artillery.
The Modern Era (1914-present)
- The Modern era witnessed mechanisation of warfare especially in World War I, with tanks, aeroplanes, submarines coming into play.
- Chemical warfare was also introduced in World War I.
- In World War II, blitzkrieg or lightning war was developed by the Germans, emphasizing speed and concentrated firepower.
- The development of nuclear weapons in mid 20th century brought a significant change to warfare and strategy, shifting emphasis to deterrence and diplomacy.
- Electronic Warfare became a critical aspect in the late 20th and 21st century. This includes anything from cyber attacks to jamming enemy communications.