August 3, 2018 in Research
Evolution in Warfare

Construction of the theory of operational art is extremely difficult for those paths to be chosen for this.

“A new method strategy has never been born, like Minerva from the head of Jupiter, – says Schlichting – it arises from the conditions of the era and provides the latest weapons of war” (Messenger, 2001).

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All of the factors of our time in their socio-political, economic and military-technical sense give the source material to determine the nature of future warfare operations (Murray, Williamson & Sinnreich, 2006).

These factors can not, however, only be considered in the static of new era. The trend of development, important to determine the nature of warfare, can be deduced and understood only in the dynamics of the historical process.

To understand the exact nature itself of a modern operation, we need to define the prerequisites and conditions that caused its origin and determine its evolution to the present day. This historical approach will identify also conditions that determine the further evolution of the operational forms of armed struggle at this stage of their development.

The army and the military strategies of antiquity: Egypt, State Hittites, Persia, Assyria

As known, this is the beginning of civilization, Egypt, Sumer, China and India. It is there that we find traces of ancient and magnificent churches and buildings that show a high level of development of ancient peoples, which was left to us by these material traces.

At that time (Old Kingdom) when the ancient Egyptians built the majestic pyramids of Giza – the Great, Big and Small – martial art was developed only at a primitive level.

Professor Faulkner, a famous scholar of the military organization of ancient Egypt, said that kind of standing army existed in Egypt in the time of the First Dynasty (Faulkner, 1929). Pharaohs of the Old Kingdom fought wars, and these wars were many. The same is said also by other historians of the country Kemet (the so-called ancient Egypt).

In the Old Kingdom pharaohs always have core of the army, the captains of the pharaoh, which from the beginning of hostilities become officers in the dialed peasant militia.

But the concept of military science was not there. Army commanders also had the vaguest idea about tactics. Commander just led his troops to where the enemy was. Army came together, and the battle begins. Opponents showered each other with arrows and engage in close combat. Also, there was no concept of art and possession of knives. Blows with swords and clubs were applied, haphazardly without any skill.

During the Middle Kingdom, the situation has not changed much. But by this time the army became more organized institution.

XV dynasty of the Hyksos invaders of Egypt gave the Kemet country much namely in the development of military art. Initially dependent on the rulers of the Theban Pharaohs Rulers of Hyksos XVII Dynasty of II transition period began a major war against the invaders and brought the country to the brink of big gains.

The main tool of the future empire – the army, began to form the rulers XVII dynasty was under the influence of the Hyksos. And they owe it to the Egyptians, which later they had a very strong and efficient army.

The Hyksos brought chariots in Egypt, which then became the queen of the battlefield.

Battle tactics and weapons, more and more improved and this has led to the emergence of a class of professional soldiers, mercenaries. And in the Army of the Pharaohs began to emerge gradually and hired shelves. It was much more expensive than collecting the militia, but the effectiveness of such an army was much higher. These were the soldiers of the various tribes – the Libyans, Nubians sherdany and others. In the times of Ramses II Egypt already had a foreign legion (Dupuy & Dupuy 1977).

Talking about the art of war, it is impossible to not to mention the state Hittites. Under the blows of Suppiluliuma one of the most powerful states of the then world – Mitanni was demolished, which was the province of the Hittite Empire, then the Syrian and Phoenician kings were crushed . As a result of these campaigns Hittite state borders came to Egypt.

Researcher O. Henry, a great expert on the Hittite subject pretty well explained the victories of the Hittite kings. The strength of the Hittite Empire was based on rapidly development of new weapon light chariot drawn by horses (O Henry, 2001). It has appeared in West Asia soon after 1600. BC. Of course, by itself, chariots were not new.

Such weapons were the Sumerians. There were two types of chariots – two-wheeled and four-wheeled. But the wheels of the chariots were continuous, and so do the chariots were heavy, and they were harnessed wild donkeys. For this reason, the Sumerians always relied primarily on their infantry phalanx, and never made chariots chief weapon of victory.

Hittite empire under Suppiluliume was actively moved towards greater achievements. Hittite army of this period is well depicted in Egyptian reliefs describing the great battle of Kadesh. Of these reliefs is clear that the Hittite chariots were not inferior to any other.

Like in the Egyptians, the chariots were striking force of the Hittite army. Proof of this are the following facts from the military strategy of the Hittites: Hittite kings always conquered and defeated the enemy in the open field. There was, where to deploy the chariot. And it is in the open field chariots could be used with maximum efficiency.

We should also mention the Cimmerian tribes, although the Cimmerians have not created a great empire. These tribes lived in the steppes of the northern Black Sea region and the Crimea to the arrival of the Scythians in the VIII century BC. The boundaries of their settlement – the northern coast of the Black Sea from the mouth of the Danube in Chisinau, Kiev, Kharkov. Then these tribes appear in Asia Minor, and to the VI century BC disappear from the historical scene.

There is evidence that they first have mastered the technique of riding and the first created cavalry troop. And it happened in about 1500 BC. In other words, the Cimmerians were at the very origins of the cavalry.

Before the Cimmerians used horses for chariots. And the appearance of the cavalry at first light, and then the heavy, lead to the fact that the art of war has made a huge step forward. And the widespread use of the cavalry was until the mid XX century AD.

Assyria interests us, since in its last hill and turning for a short time in a mighty empire there were improved military business, and new reforms were introduced that have had a great influence on the development of military art.

Assyrians have introduced a number of innovations warfare, unknown to the ancient world.

In addition to the chariots, they created the cavalry regiments, adopting useful skill at riding nomads. Assyrians created a military intelligence and began to collect information on the enemy. They took care of the creation of auxiliary parts needed in any campaign. These were military armorers that repaired and re-made weapons, engineering units that helped the army to build bridges and to conduct the siege of fortresses.

Assyrian siege technology has reached such perfection that the fortified city, which in past centuries was kept a long siege, the Assyrians took in 20 days. And the art of the siege – is the most difficult of the martial arts of the time.

Assyrians poured siege wall height equal besieged fortress walls, left the city without water, looking away toward the river, and it fired up, down or destroying the dam. Also they constructed rams wall and movable towers from which soldiers could jump directly on the walls of the besieged city.

That was the strategy for victory and the great importance of the Assyrian military art for the general development of the art of the ancient world war. For a century Assyria did not know defeat. This state crushed Israel and Damascus, made a death blow to Urartu state. Also telling blows were received from Assyria by Babylonia and Median kingdom.

For two centuries (VI-IV centuries BC) Achaemenid huge state dominated in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean. The existence of this world power is completely dependent on the army, which is the most important tool of Persian policy. A secret of fantastic victories of ruler of small Persian tribe is hidden namely in the army.

Striking force of the Achaemenid army was cavalry, though auxiliary infantry also was used.

In contrast to already discussed the Egyptian empire, and in contrast to the kingdom of the Persians, Hittites cavalry came to the fore, although it is not for long, and the role of the infantry should not be discounted entirely. The bulk of the troops, as the Egyptians and the Hittites, is still represented by infantrymen. The Persians had cavalry as a very special horse fighting tool and Cyrus II and his successors perfected it so that later in the course of centuries, it was hard to underestimate the role of light cavalry.

The Army of the Achaemenid Empire were divided into garrison troops that obey the king, and provincial – satrapies troops – which included military colonists.

Tactically Persians used mainly light cavalry – mounted archers and javelin throwers. Actually heavy cavalry appears in the Achaemenid Empire much later in the course of military transformation of Artaxerxes I, when he was preparing for war with Greece. In late Greek and Byzantine they were called cataphractarians, because they were dressed in steel armor cataphracts (Frisbee).

While the cavalry was then mostly light, its effectiveness in combat was very high.

Attack of numerous light-horse detachments in sedentary and discordant infantry regiments (before of the Greek phalanx) always brought victory to cavalry. Cavalry hurled a cloud of arrows ranks of infantry and so upset their ranks.

Also chariots served as strike force – “ancient tanks” (Archer et al, 2008).

Ancient Greece

Greek city-states began to compete with the mighty Persian Empire in the V century BC.

The basis of the Greek city-states were the army heavily armed foot soldiers – the hoplites. They were very, very poorly trained in the art of unarmed combat (the exception to this rule are the Spartans). But hoplites were able to fight in close formation.

In Greece an important role was given to youth physical activity. But gymnastics and art of fighting with knives is not the same. Only the Spartans from a young age was taught the art of combat art of war. It was a city of professional soldiers.

But how other cities fighted? Here phalanx came to help – a special kind of combat formation. It was absolutely not designed for combat in parts – only shoulder to shoulder. Each was armed with a large hoplite shield, 60 cm in diameter, and with a spear (about 2.2-2.5 m). These two pieces of weaponry actually featured hoplite. Namely panel determined that it belongs to the “heavy infantry”, not armor.

Of course, besides the heavy infantry, each policy had lightly armed troops. These were mostly not archers as the Persians, but throwers of darts and soldiers with clubs.

Dart is very heavy weapon, and therefore highly dangerous. But except for the defeat of the enemy threat, it has another important mission. Dart hit to the shield of enemy makes use of a shield impossible, first row of attacking are appearing helpless in front of enemy hoplites. So, since the low level of training throwers of darts brought quite a significant benefit in the battle. These support groups were consisted not of full-fledged citizens of the polis, but of the servants and slaves. Light infantry usually stood behind hoplites and throw darts.

As for tactics and army building policies, they are also characterized by extreme simplicity. Phalanx of 10-20 thousand people, of course, could be a huge single system. It simply could not go on the field in such a construction. In battle, the troops were based on taxis – Segment phalanx, who had each intervals necessary to maintain order. Taxis can be very different, usually they were either a contingent present in the field, that is comprised of 200-3000 people. If the army had a number greater than 3000, it was divided in accordance with their inner-device, for example, in Athens it was on territorial units – filaments. Taxis were built into the interior as needed from 8 to 25 ranks (Murray, Williamson & Sinnreich 2006).

The tactics of the Greek army at the time completely dispensed with the preparation of individual soldiers. Hand combat itself Greeks did not know, they just had never reached it. Battle final was defined by moment of collision, in which the fundamental importance was the depth of the building and inspiring the troops.


Natural continuation of the Greek-Persian wars were crushing by the Greek-Macedonian army of Persian Achaemenid Empire. Ancient dispute was completed by Alexander the Great and the great empire founded by Cyrus II fell.

It is believed that the Macedonian king Philip II improved infantry phalanx, and it has become the main instrument of his victories. But the successes of the Macedonians were achieved not only because of it. The strength of the Macedonian army was due to the cohesion of individual parts and the union of all branches of service. Philip and his son Alexander became the first in the history of Greece’s military leaders, who redefined the role of the cavalry in battle and established the cavalry, able to break through the enemy’s formation. These armies of cavalry has the same value with the phalanx. The Battle of the Granicus, Alexander won only with the help of the cavalry. Infantry did not even enter into the battle (Dupuy & Dupuy, 1977).

In the victory of Alexander the phalanx is purely auxiliary. The main role in the victory belongs to the cavalry.

Tactical battle formation of “heavy” cavalry was a wedge. This scale was adapted by Philip II in the Thracians and Scythians. This formation was more effective than building a square Persian heavy cavalry. It was convenient to maneuver and direction detachment in the right direction. Therefore the cavalry of Alexander attacked with open formation without large intervals between construction of the rectangle – silt.

In such way only units of Macedonian cavalry of getayrs were built. Other ethnic groups of cavalry in the army of the Macedonian king had their own battle formations. Greek sludge consisted of 130 people and lined rectangle in 8 rows wide and 16 people deep.

In his battles King Philip II put the cavalry on the flanks. And it strikes a blow, while the infantry center were starting the fight with the enemy, and went out into the rear of the enemy waxes thanks to its maneuverability and speed.

Alexander led his getayrs and podroms and tried to attack the enemy commander. Because he knew that after his death, heterogeneous groups of enemies and units quickly disintegrated. These units with the king were on the right flank the Macedonian army. The Persian army consisted of units collected from different nations often hostile to each other. They were connected only by the will of the king. And Alexander realized that if knocking out this link – it is possible to win (Messenger, 2001).

Function of the light cavalry remained the same. Horse archers and throwers of darts had by cloud of arrows and darts add to the ranks of the enemy confusion and embarrassment. They are often preceded by a blow of heavy cavalry of King Alexander or covering the deployment of his troops in battle order.

The Roman Empire

Roman Republic and later Empire gave many names of generals, and Roman soldiers won many victories over the world.

Fighting militia’s of civil patrician name legion (legio) comes from the word “collect” or “gain”. Rome was composed of associations of citizens curiae and tribes and those organizations obliged men to protect the interests of the city with arms in hands.

At first there were 3 tribes and curiae – 13. Each Curia was obliged to put 100 infantry and 10 cavalry. Consequently, the militia – legion – had a total 3000 soldiers.

But the king Servius Tullius had to change this situation, and the division into tribes and the Curia was replaced by division into classes. And obligation to serve now was not only for the patricians, but for all citizens, that possessed real property. The army was butchered by five digits. Most security is in the cavalry, others in heavy infantry, and others in the auxiliary troops.

Building the Legion then had a strong resemblance to the phalanx, of which we have already spoken. Legion of Servia times had six rows deep. The first and second rows are first-class citizens with full protective arms (helmet, armor, round bronze shield and leggings), the third and fourth second-class citizens included, without the shell, but in a helmet with a rectangular shield and greaves, the fifth and sixth ranks consisted of third class citizens armed in the same way but without Leggings. Fourth class citizens was armed only with a spear and spear, according to Titus Libya were outside the phalanx, with arrows drawn from the fifth grade. Legion were assigned to five additional centuriae: two artisans attached to the first and second class, one of the trumpeter, one of the trumpeters and ranked as one of the commands, lightly from fifth grade. The cavalry was on the flanks of the Legion, in composition of which it was (Dupuy, 1990).

But Samnite war showed all the imperfections of this battle formation. Phalanx was clumsy and new conditions of war demanded change and new tactics of war. And infantry phalanx were divided into maniples that were separated from each other by intervals. This is quite an opportunity for increased flexibility. And since maniples became part of the army, and this division was maintained for centuries (Kohn, 2006).

Transition of the Roman army into a professional finally occurred only at the times of princeps Octavian Augustus. Roman army during the reign of Augustus rose to 75 legions. The total strength of the army reached 350 thousand.

Empire army already had a stable organizational forms, the hierarchy of commanders, the system of education and training, and was truly permanent regular army. In the Legion was restored harsh military discipline, which fell sharply during the period of civil wars.

The army was a mainstay of the imperial power, and as such was an independent political force: the legions proclaimed their generals as emperors.

Ancient India

In parallel martial art was developed in ancient India.

Ancient Indian army consisted of six categories of forces: hereditary forces that formed the backbone of the army, the mercenaries, troops recruited by corporations (shreni), troops provided by vassal and allied states, deserters from the enemy armies, “savages”, recruited from alien tribes and used for guerrilla warfare in the jungle and mountain regions.

The Indian army was traditionally divided into four corps: elephants, cavalry, chariots and infantry, and some sources are added here navy intelligence services, avant-garde, quartermaster troops, bringing thus the number of cases to eight. From the point of view of the modern strategy the most important was the corps of elephants.

Elephants were trained and provided with special care, and they were at the head of the army, as modern armored vehicles, crushing the enemy ranks, taking down fences, gates and other defensive items, and if necessary, used as living bridges to cross the river. Often they were defended by leather armor, and their tusks worn metal end.

Elephant, besides mahouts, carried the usual two or three men, armed with bows, spears and long spears, and below elephant was defended by small force of infantry.

Indian tactics made on the elephants too high and unjustified from a practical point of view bet. Yes, at the moment of attack the fighting beasts could produce animal terror in the Army attackers who saw them for the first time, but it did not make them invincible. Greeks, Turks and other invaders soon ceased to be afraid of elephants. These animals are very easily frightened, especially the fire and, panic-stricken, were able to cause damage to its own army. Muslim conquerors who followed the Indians started using elephants for military purposes, faced with the same problems (Kohn, 2006).

Cavalry in India, despite its importance, has never played a leading role as in the other nations of antiquity, which explains the weakness of the Indian army, who defeated the invaders who came from the north-west. Decisive victory o Alexander over Por in 326 BC. and the victory of Muhammad Ghori over Prithviradzhey in 1192 proved the advantage of cavalry (Messenger, 2001).

Some texts speak of ships, which were used for military purposes, but the Indian rulers, apparently were not aware of the meaning and power of the fleet. Ships primarily served to deliver troops to large rivers.

Infantry, although a rare appearance in the text, was always at the core of the armed forces. Most states have elite troops, a sort of Praetorian Guard. In the south, in the medieval era they were guarding the royal person, when changing the governor affirmed their loyalty by taking part in a ceremonial feast. Privilege to feast with the king transformed into a sort of guard of the nobility, and Marco Polo calls them “honorary companion” (The Evolution Of Warfare).

According to most theorists, the basic combat unit of the Indian army was a kind of a mixed unit – Patty, consisting of elephants, chariots, horsemen and three of five marines. Three Patti form senamukhu, three senamuk formed gulm, and so on, until the Army Corps – akshauhini, consisting of 21870 Patti (Kohn, 2006).

Weapons were not much different from the one used in other ancient civilizations.

As for artillery, Indians, like other peoples of the era, used stone throwing machine (probably unknown to the reign of Maurya), battering rams and other battering implements.

European armies of the Middle Ages

In late V-VI centuries in Western Europe a series of barbarian kingdoms develops: in Italy – the kingdom of the Ostrogoths on by Theodoric, on the Iberian peninsula – the kingdom of the Visigoths, and in Roman Gaul – kingdom francs.

In these circumstances, new type of army begins to form. As classic example of a European army VI-VII centuries an army of Franks can be considered. Initially, the army was recruited from all the free men of the tribe who can handle weapons. For service they received from the King land holdings of the newly conquered lands. Franks fought dismounted, using their horses only to get to the battle. Frankish infantry battle lines copied ancient form phalanx, gradually increasing the depth of its construction. Armament consisted of their short spears, battle-axes (Francis), long double-edged sword (sleep) and skramasacses (short sword with a long handle and a leaf-edged blade, 6.5 cm wide and 45-80 cm in length) (Nicholson, 2004).

However, in the VIII century in the structure of the Frankish army significant change is undergoing, resulting in the change in other armies of Europe. In 718, the Arabs, before it captured the Iberian Peninsula and conquered the Visigoth kingdom, crossed the Pyrenees and invaded Gaul. De facto ruler of the Frankish kingdom at the time – mayordom Charles Martel had to find ways to stop them. He immediately faced with two problems: first, the land reserve of the royal treasury was exhausted, and there was nowhere to take over the land to honor the soldiers, and secondly, as was shown by several battles, the Frankish infantry was unable to effectively counter the Arab cavalry. To solve these problems, he carried out the secularization of church lands, thus obtaining sufficient land bank for rewarding his soldiers, and announced that from now to war is going not the militia of all free francs, but only the people that can get the complete set of arms of rider: athlete warhorse, spear, shield, sword and armor that included leggings, armor and helmet. The reform of Charles Martel was named beneficiary. At the Battle of Poitiers (25.10.732) new army of Franks under Charles Martel stopped the Arabs (Keen, 1999).

Many historians consider the battle a turning point in the military history of the Middle Ages, arguing that from that moment the infantry lost its critical significance, passing it to heavy cavalry.

Changed and battle tactics. Now the battle began with the well-organized strike spears heavy cavalry, split system opponent. After the first attack, the battle disintegrated into single combat knight with a knight.

Another feature of the military in X-XI centuries is flourishing castle fortifications. However, one can say that in this period there is a rise of martial skill of Western armies – siege weapons increased in quantity, but hardly change qualitatively. Cities were taken or starvation, or by undermining the walls. (Nicholson, 2004).

Summing up the development of the army and military affairs in the countries of Western Europe in this period, we note another important feature of the process: at the relevant time begins active borrowing in Western martial art of tactical and strategic methods, parts of armor or weapons from the military art of other nations, most all – of the East. This process takes a much larger scale in the next period of European history – the period of the Crusades.

The Crusades had an enormous influence on the history of medieval Christian Europe, and especially their influence was evident in the military sphere.

Evolution of the Christian army in the East, of its structure, armament, and, hence, the tactics of battle was in two main ways.

On the one hand, the role of infantry and archers in the hostilities (bow, of course, was known in Europe long before the Crusades, but with such massive use of these weapons Europeans first encountered in Palestine), arbalest is borrowed. Many knights, trying to catch up with the Turks in mobility, borrow their light weapons: armor, lightweight helmet, round shield cavalry, light curved sword and spear. Naturally, knights armed like were no longer self-sufficient, and were forced to work in active cooperation with the infantry and rifle company.

On the other hand, the vast majority of armed knights evolves towards weighting: the size and thickness of the spears increases so that it becomes impossible to control his free hand. In armor helmet-pot, appears covering head, and leaving only a narrow slit for the eyes, the shell becomes significantly harder, and even more than before fixes the knights’ full range of motion. In this type of weaponry famous knight spear attack was impossible – every single knight, first, take too much space, and second, was too unwieldy – and, thus, the fight immediately broke into many fights, in which each Knight chose his opponent and tried to grab him. This direction in the development of armaments became a major European warfare throughout the XIII century.

Secondly, the Crusades most strongly influenced the rise of group solidarity of European chivalry, suddenly recognizing itself as a united army of Christ. This awareness is evident in several key ways, among which are education and widespread military-religious orders and the emergence of tournaments.

The invention and rapid improvement in firearms, followed by its implementation in daily military practice in Europe and Asia has dramatically changed the entire course of development of warfare of Eurasia. We emphasize once again that the revolution associated with the proliferation of firearms as an integral component of the military forces of the state, without which it could not compete on equal terms with the neighbors, wore a truly global, worldwide character (Keen, 1999).

XIV – XV centuries at the whole became in the history of Western warfare a time of a major change, a sort of a new day dawning. The central event of this period, one of the major military conflicts of the Middle Ages, the Hundred Years War of 1337-1453 years between England and France, sharply accelerated the process of European warfare development. It was during this war, the tactics and strategy of the European armies are becoming more and more meaningful form, and the army themselves become much more complex in structure.

By the middle of the XV century certain conditions developed in order to move to a new, higher level of European warfare. This step was taken during the last phase of the Hundred Years War and the wars of Burgundy, especially during the many wars that have raged in Italy in the late Middle Ages. It was at this time the first attempt to create a truly permanent, regular armies.

However, despite some sporadic cases of successful use of firearms, the battle and condottieri, and the Swiss and the French have solved yet in close combat, in a fight face to face with the use of knives. The crisis has not come yet, and medieval warfare still retained considerable reserves for improvement.


Military science and the art of war is not developed in a strict sequence, and to make predictions in this area is difficult. In the course of the history traditional military concepts changed drastically, for example, after the invention of gunpowder, ships with a steel hull and steam engines, weapons, charging breech, machine guns, mines, submarines, tanks, aircraft and electronic equipment. All these and many other inventions had a great influence on the war and the military both on strategic and on tactical level, at that the advantages always were get first by countries assessed and practically applying a new invention. Sometimes the use of the invention were conditional for improved offensive capabilities, and sometimes – defensive. But rarely a new invention immediately leads to the radical change in the old ways of war, because the military authorities, especially in time of peace, are reluctant to replace the old, tried and tested methods and equipment with new, not yet tested in practice.

New weapons appeared now again change conventional notions about the war, and to a greater extent than ever before. It is quite natural that the future generations will regard these invention as epochal. The appearance of nuclear weapons will lead to more significant than ever in the past, changes in the nature of war, the way of its conducting, as well as in the structure of all branches of the armed forces. It is therefore very important that we are always positioned on the fullest possible information on changes, as the most significant feature of our era, an era of weapons of mass destruction, is that there will be no time to gain experience on the battlefield.


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