Changes in Technology

Changes in Technology

Medieval Period (c. 500-1500)

  • Longbow - The introduction of the longbow in the 14th century allowed archers to shoot arrows with accuracy over long distances. Its usage was decisive in battles such as Crécy and Agincourt.
  • Mangonel/Catapult - Catapults or mangonels could hurl stones or other projectiles over fortification walls, making sieges more effective.
  • Crossbow - Originating in East Asia and adopted in Europe in the late Medieval period, this weapon was much easier to aim and could penetrate shield and armour.

Early Modern (1500-1800)

  • Handheld firearms - Harquebuses and muskets replaced bows as they had greater firepower, although they were slow to reload and inaccurate.
  • Cannons - These were key in siege warfare, capable of breaking down castle walls much more effectively than previous technologies.
  • Galleons - The introduction of larger, more heavily armed ships, known as galleons, led to important developments in naval warfare, demonstrated by key battles like the Spanish Armada.

Industrial Age (1800-1914)

  • Rifles - Rifles replaced muskets due to their increased accuracy and range. Notably used during the Crimean War.
  • Machine Guns - They could fire continuously for prolonged periods without overheating. This dramatically increased the effectiveness and scale of infantry defences.
  • Railways - Allowed rapid and bulk movement of troops and supplies, changing the pace and logistics of war. Used extensively in the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War.

World Wars (1914-1945)

  • Tanks - First used in First World War, they had the capacity to cross trenches and withstand machine gun fire, transforming land warfare.
  • Airplanes - Initially used for reconnaissance, later developed into bombers and fighters, adding a new dimension to warfare by the Second World War.
  • Radar - This allowed detection of enemy aircraft and ships, greatly enhancing defence capabilities.

Post-Modern (1945 to Present)

  • Nuclear Weapons - Capable of causing massive destruction, they have altered the nature of warfare, focusing on prevention and deterrence.
  • Guided Missiles - These can be launched from a distance and accurately guided to hit a specific target.
  • Drones - Unmanned, remotely piloted vehicles that can carry out reconnaissance or launch attacks without endangering human operators.
  • Cyber Warfare - Utilising computer technology to disrupt, disable or spy on enemy capabilities, becoming a major new front in national defence strategies.