Army

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An army (from Latin arma "arms, weapons" via Old French armée, "armed" [feminine]) or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land-based military branch, service branch or armed service of a nation or state. It may also include aviation assets by possessing an army aviation component. In certain states, the term army refers to the entire armed forces (e.g., People's Liberation Army). Within a national military force, the word army may also mean a field army.

Military branch is according to common standard the subdivision of the national armed forces of a sovereign nation or state.

Field army military formation in many armed forces

A field army is a military formation in many armed forces, composed of two or more corps and may be subordinate to an army group. Likewise, air armies are equivalent formation within some air forces. A field army is composed of 100,000 to 150,000 troops.

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In several countries, the army is officially called the Land Army to differentiate it from an air force called the Air Army, notably France. In such countries, the word "army" on its own retains its connotation of a land force in common usage. The current largest army in the world, by number of active troops, is the People's Liberation Army Ground Force of China with 1,600,000 active troops and 510,000 reserve personnel followed by the Indian Army with 1,129,000 active troops and 960,000 reserve personnel.

Air force military branch of service primarily concerned with aerial warfare

An air force, also known in some countries as an aerospace force or air army, is in the broadest sense, the national military branch that primarily conducts aerial warfare. More specifically, it is the branch of a nation's armed services that is responsible for aerial warfare as distinct from an army or navy. Typically, air forces are responsible for gaining control of the air, carrying out strategic and tactical bombing missions, and providing support to land and naval forces often in the form of aerial reconnaissance and close air support.

French Air Force Air warfare branch of Frances armed forces

The French Air Force[aʀme də lɛʀ], literally Army of the Air) is the air force of the French Armed Forces. It was formed in 1909 as the Service Aéronautique, a service arm of the French Army, then was made an independent military arm in 1934. The number of aircraft in service with the French Air Force varies depending on source, however sources from the French Ministry of Defence give a figure of 658 aircraft in 2014. The French Air Force has 225 combat aircraft in service, with the majority being 117 Dassault Mirage 2000 and 108 Dassault Rafale. As of early 2017, the French Air Force employs a total of 41,160 regular personnel. The reserve element of the air force consisted of 5,187 personnel of the Operational Reserve.

Peoples Liberation Army Ground Force land warfare branch of Chinas military

The People's Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) is the land-based service branch of the People's Liberation Army and it is the largest and oldest branch of the entire Chinese armed forces. The PLAGF can trace its lineage from 1927; however, it was not officially established until 1948.

By convention, irregular military is understood in contrast to regular armies which grew slowly from personal bodyguards or elite militia. Regular in this case refers to standardized doctrines, uniforms, organizations, etc. Regular military can also refer to full-time status (standing army), versus reserve or part-time personnel. Other distinctions may separate statutory forces (established under laws such as the National Defence Act), from de facto "non-statutory" forces such as some guerrilla and revolutionary armies. Armies may also be expeditionary (designed for overseas or international deployment) or fencible (designed for – or restricted to – homeland defence)

Irregular military Any non-standard military organization

Irregular military is any non-standard military component that is distinct from a country's national armed forces. Being defined by exclusion, there is significant variance in what comes under the term. It can refer to the type of military organization, or to the type of tactics used. An irregular military organization is one which is not part of the regular army organization. Without standard military unit organization, various more general names are often used; such organizations may be called a "troop", "group", "unit", "column", "band", or "force". Irregulars are soldiers or warriors that are members of these organizations, or are members of special military units that employ irregular military tactics. This also applies to irregular troops, irregular infantry and irregular cavalry.

A regular army is the official army of a state or country, contrasting with irregular forces, such as volunteer irregular militias, private armies, mercenaries, etc. A regular army usually has the following:

Militia generally refers to an army or other fighting force that is composed of non-professional fighters

A militia is generally an army or some other fighting organization of non-professional soldiers, citizens of a nation, or subjects of a state, who can be called upon for military service during a time of need, as opposed to a professional force of regular, full-time military personnel, or historically, members of a warrior nobility class. Generally unable to hold ground against regular forces, it is common for militias to be used for aiding regular troops by skirmishing, holding fortifications, or irregular warfare, instead of being used in offensive campaigns by themselves. Militia are often limited by local civilian laws to serve only in their home region, and to serve only for a limited time; this further reduces their use in long military campaigns.

History

India

India's armies were among the first in the world. The first recorded battle, the Battle of the Ten Kings, happened when an Hindu Aryan king named Sudas defeated an alliance of ten kings and their supportive chieftains. During the Iron Age, the Maurya and Nanda Empires had the largest armies in the world, the peak being approximately over 600,000 Infantry, 30,000 Cavalry, 8,000 War-Chariots and 9,000 War Elephants not including tributary state allies. [1] [2] [3] [4] In the Gupta age, large armies of longbowmen were recruited to fight off invading horse archer armies. Elephants, pikemen and cavalry were other featured troops.

The Battle of the Ten Kings is a battle alluded to in the Rigveda, the ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns. The battle took place during the middle or main Rigvedic period, near the Ravi River in Punjab. It was a battle between the Puru Vedic Aryan kingdoms of the Bharatas, allied with other tribes of the dhanbad India, and the Trtsu-Bharata (Puru) king Sudas, who defeats other Vedic tribes.

Indo-Aryan peoples ethnic group

The Indo-Aryan peoples or the Indic peoples are a diverse Indo-European-speaking ethnolinguistic group of speakers of Indo-Aryan languages. There are over one billion native speakers of Indo-Aryan languages, most of them native to the Indian subcontinent and presently found all across South Asia, where they form the majority.

Sudās was an Indo-Aryan tribal king of the Bhāratas, during the main or middle Rigvedic period. He led his tribe to victory in the Battle of the Ten Kings near the Paruṣṇī in Punjab, defeating an alliance of the powerful Puru tribe with other tribes, for which he was eulogised by his purohita Vashistha in a hymn of the Rigveda. His victory established the ascendency of the Bhārata clan, allowing them to move eastwards and settle in Kurukshetra, paving the way for the emergence of the Kuru "super-tribe" or tribal union, which dominated northern India in the subsequent period.

In Rajput times, the main piece of equipment was iron or chain-mail armour, a round shield, either a curved blade or a straight-sword, a chakra disc and a katar dagger.[ citation needed ]

Rajput member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and some parts of Pakistan

Rajput is a large multi-component cluster of castes, kin bodies, and local groups, sharing social status and ideology of genealogical descent originating from the Indian subcontinent. The term Rajput covers various patrilineal clans historically associated with warriorhood: several clans claim Rajput status, although not all claims are universally accepted.

China

A bronze crossbow trigger mechanism and butt plate that were mass-produced in the Warring States period (475-221 BCE) Warring States or Western Han crossbow.jpg
A bronze crossbow trigger mechanism and butt plate that were mass-produced in the Warring States period (475-221 BCE)

The states of China raised armies for at least 1000 years before the Spring and Autumn Annals [ citation needed ]. By the Warring States period, the crossbow had been perfected enough to become a military secret, with bronze bolts which could pierce any armor. Thus any political power of a state rested on the armies and their organization. China underwent political consolidation of the states of Han (韓), Wei (魏), Chu (楚), Yan (燕), Zhao (趙) and Qi (齊), until by 221 BCE, Qin Shi Huang (秦始皇帝), the first emperor of the Qin dynasty, attained absolute power. This first emperor of China could command the creation of a Terracotta Army to guard his tomb in the city of Xi'an (西安), as well as a realignment of the Great Wall of China to strengthen his empire against insurrection, invasion and incursion.

<i>Spring and Autumn Annals</i> official chronicle of the State of Lu covering the period from 722 BCE to 481 BCE

The Spring and Autumn Annals or Chunqiu is an ancient Chinese chronicle that has been one of the core Chinese classics since ancient times. The Annals is the official chronicle of the State of Lu, and covers a 241-year period from 722 to 481 BC. It is the earliest surviving Chinese historical text to be arranged in annals form. Because it was traditionally regarded as having been compiled by Confucius, it was included as one of the Five Classics of Chinese literature.

Warring States period Era in ancient Chinese history

The Warring States period was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period and concluded with the Qin wars of conquest that saw the annexation of all other contender states, which ultimately led to the Qin state's victory in 221 BC as the first unified Chinese empire, known as the Qin dynasty.

Han (state) ancient Chinese state

Han was an ancient Chinese state during the Warring States period of ancient China. It is conventionally romanized by scholars as Hann to distinguish it from the later Han Dynasty (漢).

Sun Tzu's The Art of War remains one of China's Seven Military Classics, even though it is two thousand years old. [5] Since no political figure could exist without an army, measures were taken to ensure only the most capable leaders could control the armies. [6] Civil bureaucracies (士大夫) arose to control the productive power of the states, and their military power. [7]

Sparta

The Spartan Army was one of the earliest known professional armies. Boys were sent to a barracks at the age of seven or eight to train for becoming a soldier. At the age of thirty they were released from the barracks and allowed to marry and have a family. After that, men devoted their lives to war until their retirement at the age of 60. Unlike other civilizations, whose armies had to disband during the planting and harvest seasons, the Spartan serfs or helots , did the manual labor.

This allowed the Spartans to field a full-time army with a campaign season that lasted all year.[ citation needed ] The Spartan Army was largely composed of hoplites, equipped with arms and armor nearly identical to each other. Each hoplite bore the Spartan emblem and a scarlet uniform. The main pieces of this armor were a round shield, a spear and a helmet.

Ancient Rome

A 2nd-century depiction of Roman soldiers on Trajan's column Relief Kolumna Trajana2.jpg
A 2nd-century depiction of Roman soldiers on Trajan's column

The Roman Army had its origins in the citizen army of the Republic, which was staffed by citizens serving mandatory duty for Rome. Reforms turned the army into a professional organization which was still largely filled by citizens, but these citizens served continuously for 25 years before being discharged. [8]

The Romans were also noted for making use of auxiliary troops, non-Romans who served with the legions and filled roles that the traditional Roman military could not fill effectively, such as light skirmish troops and heavy cavalry. After their service in the army they were made citizens of Rome and then their children were citizens also. They were also given land and money to settle in Rome. In the Late Roman Empire, these auxiliary troops, along with foreign mercenaries, became the core of the Roman Army; moreover, by the time of the Late Roman Empire tribes such as the Visigoths were paid to serve as mercenaries.

Medieval Europe

Armies of the Middle Ages consisted of noble knights, rendering service to their suzerain, and hired footsoldiers Belagerung von Calais 1346-1347.JPG
Armies of the Middle Ages consisted of noble knights, rendering service to their suzerain, and hired footsoldiers

In the earliest Middle Ages it was the obligation of every aristocrat to respond to the call to battle with his own equipment, archers, and infantry. This decentralized system was necessary due to the social order of the time, but could lead to motley forces with variable training, equipment and abilities. The more resources the noble had access to, the better his troops would be.

Initially, the words "knight" and "noble" were used interchangeably as there was not generally a distinction between them. While the nobility did fight upon horseback, they were also supported by lower class citizens – and mercenaries and criminals – whose only purpose was participating in warfare because, most often than not, they held brief employment during their lord's engagement. [9] As the Middle Ages progressed and feudalism developed in a legitimate social and economic system, knights started to develop into their own class with a minor caveat: they were still in debt to their lord. No longer primarily driven by economic need, the newly established vassal class were, instead, driven by fealty and chivalry.

As central governments grew in power, a return to the citizen armies of the classical period also began, as central levies of the peasantry began to be the central recruiting tool. England was one of the most centralized states in the Middle Ages, and the armies that fought in the Hundred Years' War were, predominantly, composed of paid professionals.

In theory, every Englishman had an obligation to serve for forty days. Forty days was not long enough for a campaign, especially one on the continent. [10]

Thus the scutage was introduced, whereby most Englishmen paid to escape their service and this money was used to create a permanent army. However, almost all high medieval armies in Europe were composed of a great deal of paid core troops, and there was a large mercenary market in Europe from at least the early 12th century.

As the Middle Ages progressed in Italy, Italian cities began to rely mostly on mercenaries to do their fighting rather than the militias that had dominated the early and high medieval period in this region. These would be groups of career soldiers who would be paid a set rate. Mercenaries tended to be effective soldiers, especially in combination with standing forces, but in Italy they came to dominate the armies of the city states. This made them considerably less reliable than a standing army. Mercenary-on-mercenary warfare in Italy also led to relatively bloodless campaigns which relied as much on maneuver as on battles.

In 1439 the French legislature, known as the Estates General (French: états généraux), passed laws that restricted military recruitment and training to the king alone. There was a new tax to be raised known as the taille that was to provide funding for a new Royal army. The mercenary companies were given a choice of either joining the Royal army as compagnies d'ordonnance on a permanent basis, or being hunted down and destroyed if they refused. France gained a total standing army of around 6,000 men, which was sent out to gradually eliminate the remaining mercenaries who insisted on operating on their own. The new standing army had a more disciplined and professional approach to warfare than its predecessors. The reforms of the 1440s, eventually led to the French victory at Castillon in 1453, and the conclusion of the Hundred Years' War. By 1450 the companies were divided into the field army, known as the grande ordonnance and the garrison force known as the petite ordonnance. [11]

Early modern

Swiss mercenaries and German Landsknechts fighting for glory, fame and money at the Battle of Marignan (1515). The bulk of the Renaissance armies was composed of mercenaries. Marignano.jpg
Swiss mercenaries and German Landsknechts fighting for glory, fame and money at the Battle of Marignan (1515). The bulk of the Renaissance armies was composed of mercenaries.

First nation states lacked the funds needed to maintain standing forces, so they tended to hire mercenaries to serve in their armies during wartime. Such mercenaries typically formed at the ends of periods of conflict, when men-at-arms were no longer needed by their respective governments.

The veteran soldiers thus looked for other forms of employment, often becoming mercenaries. Free Companies would often specialize in forms of combat that required longer periods of training that was not available in the form of a mobilized militia.

As late as the 1650s, most troops were mercenaries. However, after the 17th century, most states invested in better disciplined and more politically reliable permanent troops. For a time mercenaries became important as trainers and administrators, but soon these tasks were also taken by the state. The massive size of these armies required a large supporting force of administrators.

The newly centralized states were forced to set up vast organized bureaucracies to manage these armies, which some historians argue is the basis of the modern bureaucratic state. The combination of increased taxes and increased centralisation of government functions caused a series of revolts across Europe such as the Fronde in France and the English Civil War.

In many countries, the resolution of this conflict was the rise of absolute monarchy. Only in England and the Netherlands did representative government evolve as an alternative. From the late 17th century, states learned how to finance wars through long term low interest loans from national banking institutions. The first state to master this process was the Dutch Republic. This transformation in the armies of Europe had great social impact. The defense of the state now rested on the commoners, not on the aristocrats.

However, aristocrats continued to monopolise the officer corps of almost all early modern armies, including their high command. Moreover, popular revolts almost always failed unless they had the support and patronage of the noble or gentry classes. The new armies, because of their vast expense, were also dependent on taxation and the commercial classes who also began to demand a greater role in society. The great commercial powers of the Dutch and English matched much larger states in military might.

As any man could be quickly trained in the use of a musket, it became far easier to form massive armies. The inaccuracy of the weapons necessitated large groups of massed soldiers. This led to a rapid swelling of the size of armies. For the first time huge masses of the population could enter combat, rather than just the highly skilled professionals.

The colonels of the French Guards and British guards politely discussing who should fire first at the Battle of Fontenoy (1745). An example of "lace war". Battle-of-Fontenoy.jpg
The colonels of the French Guards and British guards politely discussing who should fire first at the Battle of Fontenoy (1745). An example of "lace war".

It has been argued that the drawing of men from across the nation into an organized corps helped breed national unity and patriotism, and during this period the modern notion of the nation state was born. However, this would only become apparent after the French Revolutionary Wars. At this time, the levée en masse and conscription would become the defining paradigm of modern warfare.

Before then, however, most national armies were in fact composed of many nationalities. In Spain armies were recruited from all the Spanish European territories including Spain, Italy, Wallonia (Walloon Guards) and Germany. The French recruited some soldiers from Germany, Switzerland as well as from Piedmont. Britain recruited Hessian and Hanovrian troops until the late 18th century. Irish Catholics made careers for themselves in the armies of many Catholic European states.

Prior to the English Civil War in England, the monarch maintained a personal bodyguard of Yeomen of the Guard and the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms, or "gentlemen pensioners", and a few locally raised companies to garrison important places such as Berwick on Tweed or Portsmouth (or Calais before it was recaptured by France in 1558).

Troops for foreign expeditions were raised upon an ad hoc basis. Noblemen and professional regular soldiers were commissioned by the monarch to supply troops, raising their quotas by indenture from a variety of sources. On January 26, 1661 Charles II issued the Royal Warrant that created the genesis of what would become the British Army, although the Scottish and English Armies would remain two separate organizations until the unification of England and Scotland in 1707. The small force was represented by only a few regiments.

After the American Revolutionary War the Continental Army was quickly disbanded as part of the Americans' distrust of standing armies, and irregular state militias became the sole ground army of the United States, with the exception of one battery of artillery guarding West Point's arsenal. Then First American Regiment was established in 1784. However, because of continuing conflict with Native Americans, it was soon realized that it was necessary to field a trained standing army. The first of these, the Legion of the United States, was established in 1791.

Until 1733 the common soldiers of Prussian Army consisted largely of peasantry recruited or impressed from BrandenburgPrussia, leading many to flee to neighboring countries. [13] To halt this trend, Frederick William I divided Prussia into regimental cantons. Every youth was required to serve as a soldier in these recruitment districts for three months each year; this met agrarian needs and added extra troops to bolster the regular ranks. [14]

The battle of the Nations (1813), marked the transition between aristocratic armies and national armies. Masses replace hired professionals and national hatred overrides dynastic conflicts. An early example of total wars. MoshkovVI SrazhLeypcigomGRM.jpg
The battle of the Nations (1813), marked the transition between aristocratic armies and national armies. Masses replace hired professionals and national hatred overrides dynastic conflicts. An early example of total wars.

Russian tsars before Peter I of Russia maintained professional hereditary musketeer corps (streltsy in Russian) that were highly unreliable and undisciplined. In times of war the armed forces were augmented by peasants. Peter I introduced a modern regular army built on German model, but with a new aspect: officers not necessarily from nobility, as talented commoners were given promotions that eventually included a noble title at the attainment of an officer's rank. Conscription of peasants and townspeople was based on quota system, per settlement. Initially it was based on the number of households, later it was based on the population numbers. [16] The term of service in the 18th century was for life. In 1793 it was reduced to 25 years. In 1834 it was reduced to 20 years plus 5 years in reserve and in 1855 to 12 years plus 3 years of reserve. [16] [ chronology citation needed ]

The first Ottoman standing army were Janissaries. They replaced forces that mostly comprised tribal warriors ( ghazis ) whose loyalty and morale could not always be trusted. The first Janissary units were formed from prisoners of war and slaves, probably as a result of the sultan taking his traditional one-fifth share of his army's booty in kind rather than cash.

From the 1380s onwards, their ranks were filled under the devşirme system, where feudal dues were paid by service to the sultan. The "recruits" were mostly Christian youths, reminiscent of mamluks.

China organized the Manchu people into the Eight Banner system in the early 17th century. Defected Ming armies formed the Green Standard Army. These troops enlisted voluntarily and for long terms of service.

Late modern

Indian Army personnel during Operation Crusader in Egypt, 1941 Operation Crusader.jpg
Indian Army personnel during Operation Crusader in Egypt, 1941

Conscription allowed the French Republic to form the Grande Armée , what Napoleon Bonaparte called "the nation in arms", which successfully battled European professional armies.

Conscription, particularly when the conscripts are being sent to foreign wars that do not directly affect the security of the nation, has historically been highly politically contentious in democracies.

Canada also had a political dispute over conscription during World War II. Similarly, mass protests against conscription to fight the Vietnam War occurred in several countries in the late 1960s.

In developed nations, the increasing emphasis on technological firepower and better-trained fighting forces, the sheer unlikelihood of a conventional military assault on most developed nations, as well as memories of the contentiousness of the Vietnam War experience, make mass conscription unlikely in the foreseeable future.

Russia, as well as many other nations, retains mainly a conscript army. There is also a very rare citizen army as used in Switzerland (see Military of Switzerland).

Armies as armed services

Western armies are usually subdivided as follows:

Field army

A field army is composed of a headquarters, army troops, a variable number of corps, typically between three and four, and a variable number of divisions, also between three and four. A battle is influenced at the Field Army level by transferring divisions and reinforcements from one corps to another to increase the pressure on the enemy at a critical point. Field armies are controlled by a general or lieutenant general.

Formations

Standard map symbol for a numbered Army, the 'X's are not substituting the army's number Army Nato.svg
Standard map symbol for a numbered Army, the 'X's are not substituting the army's number

A particular army can be named or numbered to distinguish it from military land forces in general. For example, the First United States Army and the Army of Northern Virginia. In the British Army it is normal to spell out the ordinal number of an army (e.g. First Army), whereas lower formations use figures (e.g. 1st Division).

Armies (as well as army groups and theaters) are large formations which vary significantly between armed forces in size, composition, and scope of responsibility.

In the Soviet Red Army and the Soviet Air Force, "Armies" could vary in size, but were subordinate to an Army Group-sized "front" in wartime. In peacetime, a Soviet army was usually subordinate to a military district. Viktor Suvorov's Inside the Soviet Army describes how Cold War era Soviet military districts were actually composed of a front headquarters and a military district headquarters co-located for administration and deception ('maskirovika') reasons.

See also

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Mercenary soldier who fights for hire

A mercenary, sometimes known as a soldier of fortune, is an individual who takes part in military conflict for personal profit, is otherwise an outsider to the conflict, and is not a member of any other official military. Mercenaries fight for money or other forms of payment rather than for political interests. In the last century, mercenaries have increasingly come to be seen as less entitled to protections by rules of war than non-mercenaries. Indeed, the Geneva Conventions declare that mercenaries are not recognized as legitimate combatants and do not have to be granted the same legal protections as captured soldiers of a regular army. In practice, whether or not a person is a mercenary may be a matter of degree, as financial and political interests may overlap, as was often the case among Italian condottieri.

Swiss mercenaries

Swiss mercenaries (Reisläufer) were notable for their service in foreign armies, especially the armies of the Kings of France, throughout the Early Modern period of European history, from the Later Middle Ages into the Age of the European Enlightenment. Their service as mercenaries was at its peak during the Renaissance, when their proven battlefield capabilities made them sought-after mercenary troops. There followed a period of decline, as technological and organizational advances counteracted the Swiss' advantages. Switzerland's military isolationism largely put an end to organized mercenary activity; the principal remnant of the practice is the Pontifical Swiss Guard at the Vatican.

Mobilization assembling and readying troops and supplies for war

Mobilization, in military terminology, is the act of assembling and readying troops and supplies for war. The word mobilization was first used, in a military context, to describe the preparation of the Imperial Russian Army during the 1850s and 1860s. Mobilization theories and tactics have continuously changed since then. The opposite of mobilization is demobilization.

Imperial Japanese Army Official ground-based armed force of the Empire of Japan, from 1868 to 1945

The Imperial Japanese Army was the official ground-based armed force of the Empire of Japan from 1868 to 1945. It was controlled by the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Office and the Ministry of the Army, both of which were nominally subordinate to the Emperor of Japan as supreme commander of the army and the navy. Later an Inspectorate General of Aviation became the third agency with oversight of the army. During wartime or national emergencies, the nominal command functions of the emperor would be centralized in an Imperial General Headquarters (IGHQ), an ad-hoc body consisting of the chief and vice chief of the Army General Staff, the Minister of the Army, the chief and vice chief of the Naval General Staff, the Inspector General of Aviation, and the Inspector General of Military Training.

French Army Land warfare branch of Frances military

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Roman army terrestrial forces of Roman governments

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Recruitment in the British Army

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Foot drill

Foot drill is a part of the training regimen of organized military and paramilitary elements worldwide. "Foot drill" or "Drill" stems from time since antiquity when soldiers would march into battle, be expected to gather in a formation, and react to words of command from their commanders once the battle commenced. Much of the drill done today is either ceremonial, or implemented as a core part of training in the Armed Forces. Military discipline is enhanced by drill, as it requires instant obedience to commands and synchronized completion of said commands with the others in the unit.

Reservist military personnel in a reserve capacity (not employed on full-time active duty)

A reservist is a person who is a member of a military reserve force. They are otherwise civilians, and in peacetime have careers outside the military. Reservists usually go for training on an annual basis to refresh their skills. This person is usually a former active-duty member of the armed forces, and they remain a reservist either voluntarily, or by obligation. In some countries such as Israel, Norway, Singapore, and Switzerland, reservists are conscripted soldiers who are called up for training and service when necessary.

Military history of Switzerland

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A military reserve force is a military organization composed of citizens of a country who combine a military role or career with a civilian career. They are not normally kept under arms and their main role is to be available to fight when their military requires additional manpower. Reserve forces are generally considered part of a permanent standing body of armed forces. The existence of reserve forces allows a nation to reduce its peacetime military expenditures while maintaining a force prepared for war. It is analogous to the historical model of military recruitment before the era of standing armies.

Military volunteer person who enlists in military service by free will, and is not a mercenary or a foreign legionnaire

A military volunteer is a person who enlists in military service by free will, and is not a mercenary or a foreign legionnaire. Volunteers often enlist to fight in the armed forces of a foreign country. Military volunteers are essential for the operation of volunteer militaries.

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Imperial Russian Army land armed force of the Russian Empire

The Imperial Russian Army was the land armed force of the Russian Empire, active from around 1721 to the Russian Revolution of 1917. In the early 1850s, the Russian army consisted of more than 900,000 regular soldiers and nearly 250,000 irregulars.

The history of the United States Army began in 1775. From its formation, the United States Army has been the primary land based part of the United States Armed Forces. The Army's main responsibility has been in fighting land battles and military occupation. The Corps of Engineers also has a major role in controlling rivers inside the United States. The Continental Army was founded in response to a need for professional soldiers in the American Revolutionary War to fight the invading British Army. Until the 1940s, the Army was relatively small in peacetime. In 1947, the Air Force became completely independent of the Army Air Forces. The Army was under the control of the War Department until 1947, and since then the Defense Department. The U.S. Army fought the Indian Wars of the 1790s, the War of 1812 (1812–15), American Civil War (1861–65), Spanish–American War (1898), World War I (1917–18), World War II (1941–45), Korean War (1950–53) and Vietnam War (1965–71). Following the Cold War's end in 1991, Army has focused primarily on Western Asia, and also took part in the 1991 Gulf War and war in Iraq, and the war in Afghanistan.

France was the first modern nation state to introduce universal military conscription as a condition of citizenship. This was done in order to provide manpower for the country's military at the time of the French Revolution. Conscription continued in various forms for two hundred years until being finally phased out between 1996 and 2001.

References

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