“Assess the significance of the deployment of new technology in influencing the nature of warfare in the years 1845-1991” In order to ascertain the effect that technological advances had on the nature of warfare within this 146 year period, it is necessary to break down the definition of the “nature” of warfare. Within this essay it Is understood to mean the ways In which wars were fought. Furthermore, one must also consider the non technological factors that affected the nature of warfare, and the ways in which wars were fought as a result of their impact.
For example, factors such as economic power and resources 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 developments were made. These included artillery, rifles and communications. It is evident that these advances significantly affected the nature of warfare.
For example, whereas previously soldiers had been forced to fight at close quarters, the development of guns such as the Needle Rifle In he Crimean War allowed soldiers to fire from greater distances whilst simultaneously protecting themselves, putting defense at an advantage. 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 intensive.
For example, during the American Civil war it is clear that the dominance of defensive weaponry made battles Inconclusive, prolonging the fighting as neither side had weaponry that decisively dominated the other. There Is evidence that Illustrates how new technology could determine the outcome of battles. 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.
Furthermore, the development of an effective transport system in the Franco-Prussian war enabled Mole to transport great numbers of troops to different locations where needed. This efficient and Innovative system secured victory for the Prussian as they were able to outnumber French forces. This would to have been possible without the intricate network of railways at Mole’s disposal. In regards to the first half of the 20th Century, the main technological advances included 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 Invincible technology ruled out any possibility AT clavicles outcomes; wars AT ten 2 Century were typically wars of attrition. For example in World War 1, the fact that 70% f the casualties were due to these new weapons illustrates how lethal the weapons were.
As well as affecting the intensity and length of wars, modern technology changed the structure of the forces as advancement in weaponry led to specializing within the armies and the scale of the conflicts in World War I and World War II demanded mass conscripts in order to sustain warfare. Specialization had not been necessary in the past, however technological innovations made it necessary in order to effectively respond to different forms of attack, for instance, the use of fighter lanes in World War II made pilots essential. This contrasted to the armies of the past that primarily consisted of 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 overpayment morale. The second half of the 20th Century saw the development of nuclear weapons, Jet fighters and helicopters.
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 them. This drawback lead the latter to instigate guerrilla warfare, 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 genealogy 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 Siesta 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 support of the Munched. While it is evident that advances in technology did influence the nature of 19th Century warfare, other factors also had an impact. For example, in the American Civil war, although there is ambiguity surrounding what factor determined the outcome; it is stipulated by Richard N Current in “Why the North won The Civil War” that it was he economic resources of the North that lead to its victory.
For example the fact that the Union had five times the number of factories than the Confederacy meant it was able to produce much more weaponry, giving them the upper hand. However, it is also argued that it was the competent leadership of Grant and Sherman that entailed success Tort ten Norton. I Nils Tate Illustrates ten coalescence AT Don economic resources and leadership in 19th Century warfare. The influence of further non- technological factors can be seen in the Prussian War, a war which demonstrates the importance of organization and leadership.
For example, the fact that the commander of the Prussian forces, Molted, realized that in order to effectively fight the French an efficient transportation system was essential, they were able to orchestrate the manipulation of up to 430,000 troops within as little as 4 weeks. Mole’s competence put them at an advantage as they were able to plan and synchronize the transportation of a great number of soldiers. This could not have been achieved without great organization. Furthermore the morale of the soldiers clearly influenced the nature of the fighting as their performance in combat relied evilly on their motivation.
For example, in the Crimean War, British morale was destroyed by the casualties to sickness. There is evidence that suggests other factors outweighed technology in influencing the nature of early 20th Century warfare. 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 failed due to the fact that High did not appreciate the importance of artillery in mamba.
This theory is stated in The Battles of British Expeditionary Forces, 1914-1915 by Fred R. Van Harvested. Furthermore, the influence of the commanders 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 ere 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. Another factor that proved to be considerably influential in early 20th Century warfare was economic power. It proved particularly important in the second half of World War 2 1942-1945, as the resources of the Allies ultimately outlasted that of the Germans, contributing to the success of the allies.
Whereas Germany failed to exploit the economy of her allies, the support of America allowed further production of equipment. For example, the Allies were able to manufacture 11604000 machine guns, which roughly outweighed the Germans’ by ten fold. This illustrates how effective deployment of technology is only possible with extensive economic resources. Late 20th Century warfare demonstrates the influence that public attitudes can have. A prime example of this is the Vietnam War, where the American publics support for he war effort decreased over the course of 10 years, eventually into hostility.
As stipulated by Tom Wells in The Oxford Companion to American Military History (1991), puddle outrage played a nudge role In ten analog AT ten war. Harshly, ten negative media portrayal and huge protests such as the 500,000 strong demonstration in Washington, fed the deterioration in American troop morale, and therefore how effective and motivated they were in combat. The anti-war movement also undermined Onion’s authority in Congress, constraining his attempts in promoting the war effort. Public opinion essentially prevented the continuation of the war.
It is clear that will to win heavily influenced the nature of the fighting in the Soviet-Afghan war. Despite the fact that their communication system was poor in comparison to the Soviet’s as they lacked walked talkies and of course the Soviet’s technology was superior to their own; fuelled by religious fanaticism and shared hatred of the Soviet’s occupation, they were able to orchestrate effective guerrilla warfare as they were prepared to suffer the casualties in their cause. Their success due to perseverance and sheer will to win is an argument shared by CA Dick in “Munched tactics in the Soviet Afghan war. ”
In conclusion, it is clear that new technological developments had an impact on the changes in the nature of warfare throughout this period; they heavily influenced the changes of the formation on the battlefield, the intensity of the wars and in some instances; new technology proves to be the dominant factor in deciding the outcome of battles. However, its significance is limited in light of the other factors that have been taken into account as the combination of all of them appear to account for the changing nature of warfare. Advances in technology can be considered to be a contributing factor, but cannot be singled out.