Training and recruitment
Early Warfare Prior to the Middle Ages (c500-1065)
- Warrior culture predominated. Young men were expected to become proficient in weapons use and physical combat.
- Individual prowess was highly prized. The most successful warriors earned respect and status in their communities.
- There were usually no formal training academies; instruction was often passed down from father to son, or between members of a community.
The Middle Ages (1066-1485)
- Feudal levies provided many of a lord or king’s soldiers. These were farmers and workers who were expected to serve in battle when required.
- Knights received professional training often from a young age, mastering weapons like swords and lances, and learning to fight in heavy armour on horseback.
- Large battles were relatively rare. Many ‘wars’ were actually composed of sieges, skirmishes and raids.
The Gunpowder Era (1485-1750)
- Militaries began employing professional soldiers. These troops were trained in the use of firearms like muskets.
- Drill and discipline became more important as firearm tactics required tight formations and well-executed manoeuvres.
- Mercenaries could be hired for specific campaigns. Recruitment focused on finding experienced soldiers.
The Industrial Revolution (1750-1914)
- Conscription became a common practice in many countries during periods of war, rapidly increasing army numbers.
- Training focused on instilling discipline and training soldiers to operate and maintain increasingly complex weapons.
- The increasing scale of war required whole societies to mobilise for war. This led to creation of organisations like war offices to manage recruitment and training.
The Modern Era (1914-Present)
- Massive conscription continued through the world wars, leading to the need for rapid training of large numbers of recruits.
- The professionalisation of armies increased post-WWII. This involved a longer, more intensive period of training for recruits.
- The development of complex systems and technologies led to a need for specialised training. Soldiers might be trained as tank operators, pilots, communications specialists, etc.
- Recent decades have seen the rise of asymmetric warfare. Training often involves preparing for situations with non-uniformed combatants, urban combat and peacekeeping duties.