For example, actors such as leadership and tactics have been known to significantly affect the nature of warfare. In evaluating the importance of these factors in comparison to that of technological advances it will be possible to make a sustained analysis. During the 19th Century, key technological, both military and non-military developments were made. These included artillery, rifles and communications. It is apparent that these advances significantly affected the nature of warfare.
For example, whereas formerly soldiers had been required to fight at close quarters, the development of guns such s the Needle Rifle in the Crimean War allowed soldiers to fire from larger distances whilst simultaneously shielding themselves, benefiting defense. Furthermore, the fact that the Needle Rifle was able to fire 5 times faster than previous guns made open attack suicidal. As well as leading to revolutionary changes on the battle field, the dominance of defensive weaponry prolonged wars but made them less exhaustive.
How Important new technology can be determining the outcome of battles is evident for example, the development of the Maxim machine gun proved vital In the Battle of Motorman, where the use of It resulted In the death of 11,000 Sudanese, and the victory of Britain. L Furthermore, the development of an effective transport system in the Crimean war empowered the British to transport abundant numbers of troops and supplies to different locations where needed.
This well-organized and pioneering system secured victory for the British as they were able to outnumber enemy forces. This would not have been possible without the elaborate network of railways at the disposal of the British. While It Is evident that advances In technology id Influence the nature of 19th century warfare, other factors also had an impact. For example, the use of an efficient transportation system which was essential in British victory was only possible due to the British leadership’s use of economic power and great organization in logistics.
British leaders new found competence put them at an advantage as they were able to plan and synchronize the transportation of a great number of soldiers as their economic stability allowed for a major transportation system to exist and be Implemented Into the war effort. This could not have been achieved without leadership with great organization. However, in its early years The Crimean War is usually regarded… Only as perhaps the most ill-managed campaign in English History. 2 It is notorious for logistical failure which hampered the British war effort, logistic inadequacy that is unparalleled, as around 22,000 men came off their boats they were poorly equipped and their first night was spent incompetent leadership. An organized leader with effective planning and logistic organization capabilities would have avoided the problems with morale and health issues. In the first half of the 20th Century, the battlefield was dominated with the placement of heavy artillery and machine guns.
In contrast to the 18th Century where advancements in defensive weaponry resulted in less intensive fighting, the development of these lethal weapons lead to long ferocious battles, as near unconquerable technology ruled out any possibility of decisive outcomes; wars of the early 20th Century resulted into wars of attrition. This is perfectly illustrated in World War 1, a war famous for its long and drawn out battles, where 70% of the casualties were due to these new weapons illustrates how lethal the weapons were and how significant a role they played in affecting warfare.
As well as changing the intensity and duration of wars, modern technology changed the arrangement of the forces as innovation in weaponry led to specializing within the armies and the scale of the engagements in World War I and World War II necessitated mass conscripts in order to endure warfare. Specialization had not been required in the earlier years; however technological innovations made it necessary in order to successfully respond to diverse forms of attack, for instance, planes in World War One were used almost exclusively for reconnaissance the development and use of fighter planes in World War II made pilots indispensable.
An example of this was The Battle of Britain, The Battle of Britain was the first major campaign to be fought entirely by air forces, and was also the largest and most sustained aerial bombing campaign to that date. The German objective was to gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force (RAE), especially Fighter Command. The failure of Germany to achieve its objectives of destroying Britain’s air defenses is considered its first major defeat and a crucial turning point in the Second World War.
This incredibly significant role of airborne warfare contrasted to the armies of the past that primarily placed major importance on infantry men and the cavalry. Whereas in the 19th Century, battles hadn’t directly affected citizens, new technology allowed the opposition to deliberately target civilians, thus directly involving them in warfare. This is illustrated through The Blitz of 1941 where the consecutive bombings between September 1940 and May 1941 resulted in the death of over 43,000 civilians. This series of bombings was orchestrated in order to destroy civilian and governmental morale.
There is evidence that suggests other factors outweighed technology in influencing the nature of early 20th Century warfare. Sun Tug stressed the importance of tactics and strategy under leadership ‘All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved. ‘3 For example, leadership and tactics could evidently determine the outcome of battles, as illustrated in World War 1, where assaults on well-defended trenches ordered by the commanders resulted in massacres.
An example of this is the offensive at Uneven Chapel in 191 5, which ailed due to the fact that Hag did not appreciate the importance of artillery in combat. This theory is stated in The Battles of British Expeditionary Forces, 1914-1915 by Fred R. Van Harvested. 4 Hag introduced the lance to cavalry in 1909 and in a British training manual it stated: ‘The rifle cannot replace the effect produced by the speed of the horse, the magnetism of the charge. ‘5 This shows the backwardness of followed the past.
Hag was a cavalry officer. He did not understand how to fight a war with infantrymen. His one tactic was to attack over and over again, no matter how little was gained or how many died. Hag epitomized the way things were in the good old days, but it has become clear that old tactics were a massive problem in the warfare of the time. Furthermore, the influence of the commanders, in a positive light, is explicitly highlighted through the fact that the use of new tactics essentially ended World War 1. For example, the Battle of Amines in 1918 is widely agreed to have been the turning point in the war, due to the fact that as opposed to bombarding the opposition, heavy emphasis was instead placed on the element of surprise. The success of this strategic innovation broke the German morale, as 29,873 Germans were captured, but also hugely motivated the British to continue fighting. The loss of morale in the German High Command is considered by Alistair McCauley to have been pivotal in the ending of the war (Amines-1918-The Black Day of the German Army). This single battle illustrates how strategy, tactics, and will to win can be vitally important in influencing the outcome. The second half of the 20th Century saw the development of nuclear weapons, Jet fighters and helicopters. Due to the chance of MAD, victory in warfare was harder to define and achieve as destruction of n enemy would also mean destruction of oneself. Therefore the focus was put on the role of diplomacy, political leadership and for countries possessing nuclear weapons; the traditional chain of command was switched to the Head of State.
The clearest examples are present in the Cold War through the creation of the Warsaw pact and the Cuban Missile Crisis, in which a Hot Line was established between Soviet Russia and the USA: Kennedy and Khrushchev. The significance of nuclear weapons is illustrated in the Vietnam War, where the Americans, who were in possession of such weapons, posed a huge threat to the Vietnamese who lacked hem. These drawbacks lead the latter to instigate the guerrilla warfare they had previously used against French forces, as it was the only possible way to oppose the Americans.
This war demonstrates how the development of such destructive nuclear weapons lead to unconventional types of warfare. Irregular warfare due to advanced technology also had a huge impact on structure and organization of forces. For example, in the Soviet war against Afghanistan, the occupation of the Soviets in major urban centers antagonized the civilians, and subsequently provoked uprisings. The Soviets found themselves drawn into fighting against the Sights and the Munched, which forced them to abandon conventional “front lines” and instead form disorderly groups to try and oppress the rebels.
This irregular warfare was especially intense as the side that couldn’t compete technologically with the opposition waged ferocious wars. For example the Munched launched relentless ambushes and raids on the Soviets, keeping their initiative through offensive action. This type of fighting also affected the civilians, who were frequently targeted by the Soviets due to their purport of the Munched.