Changes in Tactics and Strategy

Changes in Tactics and Strategy

Early Medieval Warfare: 500-1066

  • Shield walls: This was a common tactic used, wherein soldiers would form a line, holding their shields side-by-side to defend against archers and charging enemies.
  • Charging: After the initial archery and javelin attack, armies would typically engage in a ferocious and often disorganised charge.

The Norman Conquest and Feudal Warfare: 1066-1450

  • Feudal levy: The Normans implemented a system where vassals would provide knights for the army, often trained in castle grounds.
  • Castles as strongholds: Castles served as bases for controlling territories. Siege warfare became more common.
  • Cavalry charge: The charge of heavily-armoured knights became a decisive factor in many battles.

Early Modern Warfare: 1450-1815

  • Use of gunpowder: The introduction of cannons and handheld firearms led to new tactics, including the use of ‘pike and shot’ formations.
  • Linear tactics: Soldiers were organised in tight formations to maximise the effectiveness of their firearms.

Industrial Age and World Wars: 1815-Present

  • Trench warfare: The First World War was characterised by static trench warfare, where opposing sides were separated by ‘no man’s land’.
  • Combined operations: In the Second World War, advances in technology led to a blend of naval, air, and land forces working together.
  • Blitzkrieg (“Lightning War”): This was a strategy used by the Germans during the Second World War, involving fast, concentrated attacks aimed at quickly defeating the enemy.
  • Nuclear deterrent: The development of nuclear weapons has significantly impacted the strategy and tactics of warfare, creating a mutual deterrence situation.