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Modern warfare is warfare that is in notable contrast with previous military concepts, methods, and technology, emphasizing how combatants must modernize to preserve their battle worthiness.As such, it is an evolving subject, seen differently in different times and places. In its narrowest sense, it is merely a synonym for contemporary warfare.
In its widest sense, it includes all warfare since the "gunpowder revolution" that marks the start of early modern warfare, but other landmark military developments have been used instead, including the emphasis of artillery marked by the Crimean War, the military reliance on railways beginning with the American Civil War, the launch of the first dreadnought in 1905, or the use of the machine gun, aircraft, tank, or radio in World War I.In other senses, it is tied to the introduction of total war, industrial warfare, mechanized warfare, nuclear warfare, counter-insurgency, or (more recently) the rise of asymmetric warfare also known as fourth-generation warfare.
Some argue that the changing forms of third generation warfare represents nothing more than an evolution of earlier technology.
Aerial warfare is the use of military aircraft and other flying machines in warfare. Aerial warfare includes bombers attacking enemy concentrations or strategic targets; fighter aircraft battling for control of airspace; attack aircraft engaging in close air support against ground targets; naval aviation flying against sea and nearby land targets; gliders, helicopters and other aircraft to carry airborne forces such as paratroopers; aerial refueling tankers to extend operation time or range; and military transport aircraft to move cargo and personnel.
A military situation in which two belligerents of unequal strength interact and take advantage of their respective strengths and weaknesses. This interaction often involves strategies and tactics outside conventional warfare.
Biological warfare, also known as germ warfare, is the use of any organism (bacteria, virus or other disease-causing organism) or toxin found in nature, as a weapon of war. It is meant to incapacitate or kill enemy combatants. It may also be defined as the employment of biological agents to produce casualties in man or animals and damage to plants or material; or defense against such employment.
Chemical warfare is warfare (associated military operations) using the toxic properties of chemical substances to incapacitate or kill enemy combatants.
Electronic warfare refers to mainly non-violent practices used chiefly to support other areas of warfare. The term was originally coined to encompass the interception and decoding of enemy radio communications, and the communications technologies and cryptography methods used to counter such interception, as well as jamming, radio stealth, and other related areas. Over the later years of the 20th century and early years of the 21st century, this has expanded to cover a wide range of areas: the use of, detection of and avoidance of detection by radar and sonar systems, computer hacking, etc.
Fourth generation warfare (4GW) is a concept defined by William S. Lind and expanded by Thomas X. Hammes, used to describe the decentralized nature of modern warfare. The simplest definition includes any war in which one of the major participants is not a state but rather a violent ideological network. Fourth Generation wars are characterized by a blurring of the lines between war and politics, combatants and civilians, conflicts and peace, battlefields and safety.
While this term is similar to terrorism and asymmetric warfare, it is much narrower. Classical insurgencies and the Indian Wars are examples of pre-modern wars, not 4GW. Fourth generation warfare usually has the insurgency group or non-state side trying to implement their own government or reestablish an old government over the one currently running the territory. The blurring of lines between state and non-state is further complicated in a democracy by the power of the media.
Ground warfare involves three types of combat units: Infantry, Armor, and Artillery.
Infantry in modern times would consist of Mechanized infantry and Airborne forces. Usually having a type of rifle or sub-machine gun, an infantryman is the basic unit of an army.
Armored warfare in modern times involves a variety of Armored fighting vehicles for the purpose of battle and support. Tanks or other armored vehicles (such as armored personnel carriers or tank destroyers) are slower, yet stronger hunks of metal. They are invulnerable to enemy machine gun fire but prone to rocket infantry, mines, and aircraft so are usually accompanied by infantry. In urban areas, because of smaller space, an armored vehicle is exposed to hidden enemy infantry but as the so-called "Thunder Run" at Baghdad in 2003 showed, armored vehicles can play a critical role in urban combat. In rural areas, an armored vehicle does not have to worry about hidden units though muddy and damp terrain have always been a factor of weakness for Armored tanks and vehicles.
Artillery in contemporary times, is distinguished by its large calibre, firing an explosive shell or rocket, and being of such a size and weight as to require a specialized mount for firing and transport. Weapons covered by this term include "tube" artillery such as the howitzer, cannon, mortar, field gun, and rocket artillery. The term "artillery" has traditionally not been used for projectiles with internal guidance systems, even though some artillery units employ surface-to-surface missiles. Recent advances in terminal guidance systems for small munitions has allowed large calibre shells to be fitted with precision guidance fuses, blurring this distinction.
Guerrilla warfare is defined as fighting by groups of irregular troops (guerrillas) within areas occupied by the enemy. When guerrillas obey the laws and customs of war, they are entitled, if captured, to be treated as ordinary prisoners of war; however, they are often treated by their captors as unlawful combatants and executed. The tactics of guerrilla warfare stress deception and ambush, as opposed to mass confrontation, and succeed best in an irregular, rugged, terrain and with a sympathetic populace, whom guerrillas often seek to win over or dominate by propaganda, reform, and terrorism. Guerrilla warfare has played a significant role in modern history, especially when waged by Communist liberation movements in Southeast Asia (most notably in the Vietnam War) and elsewhere.
Guerrilla fighters gravitate toward weapons which are easily accessible, low in technology, and low in cost. A typical arsenal of the modern guerrilla would include the AK-47, RPGs and Improvised explosive devices. The guerrilla doctrines' main disadvantage is the inability to access more advanced equipment due to economic, influence, and accessibility issues. They must rely on small unit tactics involving hit and run. This situation leads to low intensity warfare, asymmetrical warfare, and war amongst the people. The rules of Guerrilla warfare are to fight a little and then to retreat.
Propaganda is an ancient form of disinformation concerted with sending a set of messages aimed at influencing the opinions or behavior of large numbers of people. Instead of impartially providing information, propaganda in its most basic sense presents information in order to influence its audience. The most effective propaganda is often completely truthful, but some propaganda presents facts selectively to encourage a particular synthesis, or gives loaded messages in order to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the cognitive narrative of the subject in the target audience.
Psychological warfare had its beginnings during the campaigns of Genghis Khan through the allowance of certain civilians of the nations, cities, and villages to flee said place, spreading terror and fear to neighboring principalities. Psychological actions have the primary purpose of influencing the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of hostile foreign groups in such a way as to support the achievement of national objectives.
Made possible by the widespread use of the electronic media during World War II, Information warfare is a kind of warfare where information and attacks on information and its system are used as a tool of warfare. Some examples of this type of warfare are electronic "sniffers" which disrupt international fund-transfer networks as well as the signals of television and radio stations. Jamming such signals can allow participants in the war to use the stations for a misinformation campaign.
Naval warfare takes place on the high seas (blue water navy). Usually, only large, powerful nations have competent blue water or deep water navies. Modern navies primarily use aircraft carriers, submarines, frigates, cruisers, and destroyers for combat. This provides a versatile array of attacks, capable of hitting ground targets, air targets, or other seafaring vessels. Most modern navies also have a large air support contingent, deployed from aircraft carriers [ dubious ]. In World War II, small craft (motor torpedo boats variously called PT boats, MTBs, MGBs, Schnellboote, or MAS-boats) fought near shore. This developed in the Vietnam War into riverine warfare (brown water navy), in intertidal and river areas. Irregular warfare makes this sort of combat more likely in the future.
Network-centric warfare is essentially a new military doctrine made possible by the Information Age. Weapons platforms, sensors, and command and control centers are being connected through high-speed communication networks. The doctrine is related to the Revolution in Military Affairs debate.
The overall network which enables this strategy in the United States military is called the Global Information Grid.
Nuclear war is a type of warfare which relies on nuclear weapons. There are two types of warfare in this category. In a limited nuclear war, a small number of weapons are used in a tactical exchange aimed primarily at enemy combatants. In a full-scale nuclear war, large numbers of weapons are used in an attack aimed at entire countries. This type of warfare would target both combatants and non-combatants.
Space warfare is the hypothetical warfare that occurs outside the Earth's atmosphere. No wars have been fought here yet. The weapons would include orbital weaponry and space weapons. High value outer space targets would include satellites and weapon platforms. Notably no real weapons exist in space yet, though ground-to-space missiles have been successfully tested against target satellites. As of now, this is purely science fiction.
Armour or armor is a protective covering that is used to prevent damage from being inflicted to an object, individual or vehicle by direct contact weapons or projectiles, usually during combat, or from damage caused by a potentially dangerous environment or activity. Personal armour is used to protect soldiers and war animals. Vehicle armour is used on warships and armoured fighting vehicles.
An armored fighting vehicle (AFV) is an armed combat vehicle protected by armour, generally combining operational mobility with offensive and defensive capabilities. AFVs can be wheeled or tracked. Main battle tanks, armoured cars, armoured self-propelled guns, and armoured personnel carriers are all examples of AFVs.
A battle is a combat in warfare between two or more armed forces. A war usually consists of multiple battles. Battles generally are well defined in duration, area, and force commitment. A battle with only limited engagement between the forces and without decisive results is sometimes called a skirmish.
A rocket-propelled grenade is a shoulder-fired anti-tank weapon system that fires rockets equipped with an explosive warhead. Most RPGs can be carried by an individual soldier. These warheads are affixed to a rocket motor which propels the RPG towards the target and they are stabilized in flight with fins. Some types of RPG are reloadable with new rocket-propelled grenades, while others are single-use. RPGs, with some exceptions, are generally loaded from the muzzle.
A tank is an armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat. Tanks have heavy firepower, strong armour, and good battlefield manoeuvrability provided by tracks and a powerful engine; usually their main armament is mounted in a turret. They are a mainstay of modern 20th and 21st century ground forces and a key part of combined arms combat.
A military aircraft is any fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft that is operated by a legal or insurrectionary armed service of any type. Military aircraft can be either combat or non-combat:
Combined arms is an approach to warfare which seeks to integrate different combat arms of a military to achieve mutually complementary effects. According to strategist William S. Lind, combined arms can be distinguished from the concept of "supporting arms" as follows:
Combined arms hits the enemy with two or more arms simultaneously in such a manner that the actions he must take to defend himself from one make him more vulnerable to another. In contrast, supporting arms is hitting the enemy with two or more arms in sequence, or if simultaneously, then in such combination that the actions the enemy must take to defend himself from one also defends himself from the other(s).
Anti-tank warfare originated from the need to develop technology and tactics to destroy tanks during World War I (1914-1918). Since the Triple Entente developed the first tanks in 1916 but did not deploy them in battle until 1917, the German Empire developed the first anti-tank weapons. The first developed anti-tank weapon was a scaled-up bolt-action rifle, the Mauser 1918 T-Gewehr, that fired a 13mm cartridge with a solid bullet that could penetrate the thin armor of tanks of the time and destroy the engine or ricochet inside, killing occupants. Because tanks represent an enemy's greatest force projection on land, military strategists have incorporated anti-tank warfare into the doctrine of nearly every combat service since. The most predominant anti-tank weapons at the start of World War II in 1939 included the tank-mounted gun, anti-tank guns and anti-tank grenades used by the infantry, as well as ground-attack aircraft.
Technology during World War I (1914–1918) reflected a trend toward industrialism and the application of mass-production methods to weapons and to the technology of warfare in general. This trend began at least fifty years prior to World War I during the American Civil War of 1861–1865, and continued through many smaller conflicts in which soldiers and strategists tested new weapons.
Technology played a significant role in World War II. Some of the technologies used during the war were developed during the interwar years of the 1920s and 1930s, much was developed in response to needs and lessons learned during the war, while others were beginning to be developed as the war ended. Many wars had major effects on the technologies that we use in our daily lives. However, compared to previous wars, World War II had the greatest effect on the technology and devices that are used today. Technology also played a greater role in the conduct of World War II than in any other war in history, and had a critical role in its final outcome.
Aerial warfare is the battlespace use of military aircraft and other flying machines in warfare. Aerial warfare includes bombers attacking enemy installations or a concentration of enemy troops or strategic targets; fighter aircraft battling for control of airspace; attack aircraft engaging in close air support against ground targets; naval aviation flying against sea and nearby land targets; gliders, helicopters and other aircraft to carry airborne forces such as paratroopers; aerial refueling tankers to extend operation time or range; and military transport aircraft to move cargo and personnel. Historically, military aircraft have included lighter-than-air balloons carrying artillery observers; lighter-than-air airships for bombing cities; various sorts of reconnaissance, surveillance and early warning aircraft carrying observers, cameras and radar equipment; torpedo bombers to attack enemy shipping; and military air-sea rescue aircraft for saving downed airmen. Modern aerial warfare includes missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. Surface forces are likely to respond to enemy air activity with anti-aircraft warfare.
An area denial weapon or Anti Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) weapon system is a device or a strategy used to prevent an adversary from occupying or traversing an area of land, sea or air. The specific method used does not have to be totally effective in preventing passage as long as it is sufficient to severely restrict, slow down, or endanger the opponent. Some area denial weapons pose long-lasting risks to anyone entering the area, specifically to civilians, and thus are often controversial.
Military aviation is the use of military aircraft and other flying machines for the purposes of conducting or enabling aerial warfare, including national airlift capacity to provide logistical supply to forces stationed in a theater or along a front. Airpower includes the national means of conducting such warfare, including the intersection of transport and war craft. Military aircraft include bombers, fighters, transports, trainer aircraft, and reconnaissance aircraft.
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.
Plan 1919 was a military strategy drawn up by J.F.C. Fuller in 1918 during World War I. His plan criticised the practice of physically destroying the enemy, and instead called for tanks to rapidly advance into the enemy's rear area to destroy supply bases and lines of communication, which would also be bombed. He suggested a lightning thrust toward the command center of the German Army:
Infantry tactics are the combination of military concepts and methods used by infantry to achieve tactical objectives during combat. The role of the infantry on the battlefield is, typically, to close with and engage the enemy, and hold territorial objectives; infantry tactics are the means by which this is achieved. Traditionally infantry have made up the largest proportion of an army's fighting strength, and consequently often suffer the heaviest casualties. Throughout history, infantrymen have sought to minimise their losses in both attack and defence through effective tactics.
Industrial warfare is a period in the history of warfare ranging roughly from the early 19th century and the start of the Industrial Revolution to the beginning of the Atomic Age, which saw the rise of nation-states, capable of creating and equipping large armies, navies, and air forces, through the process of industrialisation.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to military science:
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to war:
The concept of four "generations" in the history of modern warfare was created by a team of United States analysts, including William S. Lind, for the purpose of an argument for "the changing face of war" entering into a "fourth generation".