Technologies of War The reasons humans have gone to war with each other are as varied and are as many as are the wars that have been waged themselves. Countries and peoples have fought for land and power or for freedom from oppressors; for reasons of self-defense or for the want of resources to grow their own economies, seemingly all viable reasons have been levied as worthy enough to risk the life and death of its citizens. Whatever the reason or purpose, the goal of war has forever been the same; one must win. To accomplish this goal the technologies of war have been studied and improved upon from the first time prehistoric humans picked up a rock or a stick to fend off predators or each other. Medieval Advancements Different weapons were needed for different situations. For example, a sharp blade has always been handy in personal combat but as feudal knights in Europe developed full plated body armor that could effectively shield a person’s body from slashing weapons the emergence of more mace like clubs and axes designed to crush through or pierce the armor became prevalent on the battlefield. However, just one concept has done the most for the advancement of weapons technology than has any other conceptual idea. That is the principle of negating an enemy’s threat from a distance. Roman Advancements Roman legions used javelins to great effect, throwing them at advancing enemy masses to eliminate as many as possible before hand to hand combat ensued, and the famous Greek warriors of Sparta used the technology of elongated spears in cohesion with a battle formation called a phalanx to keep their enemies at the greatest distance to them as possible. But the most effective means of long range combat of the ancient and medieval world was the bow and arrow. European Advancements The English long bow was the most efficient and fear weapon of this class, partly because of the soldiers who used them. The long bow’s great advantage was its outstanding range granted it by its large size and by the burly men who wielded them. As enemies were neutralized at greater and greater distances the advantages of this type of combat became apparent. It not only allowed for and enemy to be defeated but it also allowed for a commander’s own fighting men to be spared. As European explorers ventured into the orient they brought back to the western hemisphere the recipe for gunpowder. As firearms began to develop simple peasants could be armed with a weapon capable of de-horsing a knight, as well trained and deadly a professional solider as could be found. The technology of firearms developed rapidly and within a century of the renaissance great European empires had been built upon the back of gunpowder and its ability to hurl projectiles, both small and large, across the open fields and seas of battle. Becoming incessantly deadly, small arms have continued to develop and offer to the armies of the earth the capabilities to cause great destruction. But in keeping with the initial concept of putting distance between oneself and the enemy, nations have developed increasingly devastating weapon systems that far exceed the destructive force of a single firearm. The impact of weapons of mass destruction has yet to be seen in any continued use by men among men. By doing so, however, man may have advanced the technology of weapons to the point of creating their own destruction.
Pages to are hidden for
"Stevens-Henager 1_Technologies of War_Carver"Please download to view full document