Industrial warfare

Industrial warfare

Industrial warfare [p.410, Christon I. Archer, World History of Warfare [,M1] ] is a period in the history of warfare ranging roughly from the start of the Industrial Revolution to the beginning of the Information Age, which saw the rise of nation-states, capable of creating and equipping large armies and navies through the process of industrialization. It featured mass-conscripted armies, rapid transportation (first on railroads, then by sea and air), telegraph and wireless communications, and the concept of total war. In terms of technology, this era saw the rise of rifled breech-loading infantry weapons capable of massive amounts of fire, high-velocity breech-loading artillery, metal warships, submarines, aircraft, rockets and missiles, armoured warfare, and nuclear weapons.

Total War

One of the main features of Industrial warfare is the concept of "total war." The term was coined during World War I by Erich Ludendorff (and again in his 1935 book "Total War"), which called for the complete mobilization and subordination of all resources, including policy and social systems, to the German war effort. It has also come to mean waging warfare with absolute ruthlessness, and its most identifiable legacy today has been the reintroduction of civilians and civilian infrastructure as targets in destroying a country's ability to engage in war.

There are several reasons for the rise of total warfare in the nineteenth century. The main one is industrialization. As countries' capital and natural resources grew, it became clear that some forms of warfare demanded more resources than others. Consequently, the greater cost of warfare became evident. An industrialized nation could distinguish and then choose the intensity of warfare that it wished to engage in. Additionally, warfare was becoming more mechanized and required greater infrastructure. Soldiers could no longer live off the land, but required an extensive support network of people behind the lines to keep them fed and armed. This required the mobilization of the home front. Modern concepts like Propaganda were first used in order to boost production and maintain morale, while rationing took place to provide more war material.

The earliest modern example of total war was the American Civil War. Union generals Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman were convinced that, if the North was to be victorious, the Confederacy's strategic, economic, and psychological ability to wage war had to be definitively crushed. They therefore believed that to break the backbone of the rebellion, the North had to employ scorched earth tactics. Sherman's advance through Georgia and the Carolinas was characterized by widespread destruction of civilian supplies and infrastructure. However, in contrast to later conflicts, the damage done by Sherman was almost entirely limited to property destruction. In Georgia alone, Sherman claimed he and his men had caused $100,000,000 in damages.


Conscription allowed the French Republic to form the "La 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. For instance, during World War I, bitter political disputes broke out in Canada (see Conscription Crisis of 1917), Newfoundland, Australia and New Zealand (See Compulsory Military Training) over conscription. Canada also had a political dispute over conscription during World War II (see Conscription Crisis of 1944). Similarly, mass protests against conscription to fight the Vietnam War occurred in several countries in the late 1960s. (See also: Conscription Crisis)

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 smaller nations such as Switzerland, retain mainly conscript armies.



Prior to the invention of the motorised transport, troops were transported from place to place by wagons, horses and their own two feet. With the advent of locomotives, large groups of soldiers, supplies and equipment were able to be transported faster and in numbers far too large for the old methods. To counter this, an opposing army would destroy rail tracks to hinder their enemies movements. The army of General Sherman during the American Civil War for example, would tear up tracks, heat them up and wrap them around trees.

The mass transportation of soldiers was further revolutionized with the advent of the internal combustion engine and the automobile. Combined with the widespread use of the machine gun, the horse, after millennia of use, was finally supplanted in its war time role. During both the first and second world wars, trucks were used to carry soldiers and materials, while cars and jeeps were used to scout enemy positions.

The mechanization of infantry occurred during the second world war. The tank, a product of the Great War and discounted as not being an important factor in warfare, came into its own. Evolving from thin skinned, lumbering vehicles into fast, powerful war machines of various types that dominated the battlefield and allowed the Germans to conquer most of Europe. As a result of the tank's evolution, a number of armored transport vehicles appeared, such as armoured personnel carriers, armored cars, armored trains.

After the war ended, armored transports continued to evolve. The armored car and train largely declined and faded in use, largely becoming regulated to military and civilian use as transportation for VIPs. Infantry fighting vehicles rose to prominence with the creation of the Soviet BMP-1. IFVs are a more combat capable version of the APC, with heavier armaments (such as autocannons), while still retaining the ability to transport soldiers into and out of battles.


Sealift is a military logistics term referring to the use of cargo ships for the deployment of military assets, such as weaponry, military personnel, and materiel supplies. It complements other means of transport, such as strategic airlifters, in order to enhance a state's ability to project power. A state's sealift capabilities may include civilian-operated ships that normally operate by contract, but which can be chartered or commandeered during times of military necessity to supplement government-owned naval fleets. During World War I, the United States bought, borrowed or commandeered vessels of various types, ranging from pleasure craft to ocean liners to transport the American Expeditionary Force to Europe. Many of these ships were scrapped, sold or returned to their owners after the war ended.


There are two different kinds of airlifts in warfare, a strategic airlift and a tactical airlift. A strategic airlift is the use transporting of weapons, supplies and personnel over long distances (from a base in one country to another base in another country for example) using large cargo aircraft. This contrasts with tactical airlifts, which involves transporting the same above items within a theater of operations. This usually involves cargo planes with shorter ranges and slower speeds, but higher maneuverability.


*Homing pigeon/War pigeon
*Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet
*Message precedence
*Semaphore (communication)
*Signal Corps
*Smoke signal


*Aldis lamp
*International maritime signal flags

Land warfare

Land warfare, as the name implies, is warfare conducted on land and is the most common type of warfare, as it encompasses several types of warfare. These include urban, arctic and mountain.

Rifles and Artillery

Rifling referred to the act of adding spiral grooves to the inside the barrel of a firearm. The grooves would cause a projectile to spin as it traveled down the barrel, giving it added range and accuracy. Once rifling became easier and practical, a new type of firearm was introduced, the rifle.

Artillery are large cannons designed to fire projectiles a great distance.

tatic Defense

Maneuver Warfare

*Armoured warfare
* Deep operations

Naval warfare

Ironclads and Dreadnoughts

The period after the Napoleonic Wars was one of intensive experimentation with new technology; steam power for ships appeared in the 1810s, improved metallurgy and machining technique produced larger and deadlier guns, and the development of explosive shells, capable of demolishing a wooden ship at a single blow, in turn required the addition of iron armor, which led to ironclads. The famous battle of the "CSS Virginia" and "USS Monitor" in the American Civil War was the duel of ironclads that symbolized the changing times. Although the battle was inconclusive, nations around the world subsequently raced to convert their fleets to iron, as ironclads had shown themselves to be clearly superior to wooden ships in their ability to withstand enemy fire.

In the late Nineteenth Century, naval warfare was revolutionized by Alfred Thayer Mahan's book "The Influence of Sea Power upon History". Mahan argued that in the Anglo-French wars of the 18th century and 19th centuries, domination of the sea was the deciding factor in the outcome, and therefore control of seaborne commerce was critical to military victory. Mahan argued that the best way to achieve naval domination was through large fleets of concentrated capital ships, as opposed to commerce raiders. His books were closely studied in all the Great Powers, influencing their naval arms race in the years prior to World War I.

As the century came to a close, the familiar modern battleship began to emerge; a steel-armored ship, entirely dependent on steam, and sporting a number of large shell guns mounted in turrets arranged along the centerline of the main deck. The ultimate design was reached in 1906 with "HMS Dreadnought" which entirely dispensed with smaller guns, her main guns being sufficient to sink any existing ship of the time. The Russo-Japanese War and particularly the Battle of Tsushima in 1905 was the first test of the new concepts, resulting a stunning Japanese victory and the destruction of dozens of Russian ships. World War I pitted the old Royal Navy against the new navy of Imperial Germany, culminating in the 1916 Battle of Jutland. Following the war, many nations agreed to limit the size of their fleets in the Washington Naval Treaty and scrapped many of their battleships and cruisers. Growing tensions of the 1930s restarted the building programs, with even larger ship than before: the Japanese battleship "Yamato", launched in 1941, displaced 72,000 tons and mounted 46-cm guns. However, this marked the climax of "big gun" warfare, as aircraft would gradually play a larger role in warfare. By the 1960s, battleships had all-but vanished from the fleets of the world.

Aircraft Carriers

Between the two world wars, the first aircraft carriers appeared, initially as a way to circumvent the tonnage limits of the Washington Naval Treaty (many of the first carriers were converted battlecruisers). Though several ships had previously been designed to launch and in some cases, the first true "flat-top" carrier was "HMS Argus", launched in December 1917. By the start of the Second World War, aircraft carriers typically carried three types of aircraft: torpedo bombers, which could also be also used for conventional horizontal bombing and reconnaissance; dive bombers, also used for reconnaissance; and fighters for fleet defence and bomber escort duties. Because of the restricted space on aircraft carriers, these aircraft were almost always small, single-engined warplanes. The first true demonstration of naval air power was the victory of the Royal Navy at the Battle of Taranto in 1940, which set the stage for Japan's much larger and more famous attack on Pearl Harbor the following year. Two days after Pearl Harbor, the sinking of "HMS Prince of Wales" and "HMS Repulse", marked the beginning of the end for the battleship era. Following World War II, aircraft carriers continued to remain key to navies throughout the latter 20th century, moving in the 1950s to jets launched from Supercarriers, behemoths which could displace as much as 100,000 tons.


Just as important was the development of submarines to travel underneath the sea, at first for short dives, then later to be able to spend weeks or months underwater powered by a nuclear reactor. The first successful submarine attack in wartime was in 1864 by the Confederate submarine "H.L. Hunley" which sank the frigate "USS Housatonic". In both World Wars, submarines primarily exerted their power by sinking merchant ships using torpedoes, as well as other warships. All nations practiced unrestricted submarine warfare in which submarines sank merchant ships without warning, but the only successful campaign during this period was America's submarine war against Japan during the Pacific War. In the 1950s the Cold War inspired the development of ballistic missile submarines, each one loaded with dozens of nuclear-armed missiles and with orders to launch them from sea should the other nation attack.

Aerial warfare

The first use of airplanes in war was the Italo-Turkish War of 1911, when the Italians carried out several reconnaissance and bombing missions. During World War I both sides made use of balloons and airplanes for reconnaissance and directing artillery fire. To prevent enemy reconnaissance, some airplane pilots began attacking other airplanes and balloons, first with small arms carried in the cockpit, and later with machine guns mounted on the aircraft. Both sides also made use of aircraft for bombing, strafing and dropping of propaganda leaflets. The German air force carried out the first terror bombing raids, using Zeppelins to drop bombs on Britain. By the end of the war airplanes had become specialised into bombers, fighters and surveillance aircraft. Most of these airplanes were biplanes with wooden frames, canvas skins, wire rigging and air-cooled engines. Between 1918 and 1939 aircraft technology developed very rapidly. By 1939 military biplanes were in the process of being replaced with metal framed monoplanes, often with stressed skins and liquid cooled engines. Top speeds had tripled; altitudes doubled (and oxygen masks become commonplace); ranges and payloads of bombers increased enormously.

Some theorists, most famously Hugh Trenchard and Giulio Douhet, believed that aircraft would become the dominant military arm in the future, and argued that future wars would be won entirely by the destruction of the enemy's military and industrial capability from the air. This concept was called strategic bombing. Douhet also argued in "The Command of the Air" (1921) that future military leaders could avoid falling into bloody World War I-style trench stalemates by using aviation to strike past the enemy's forces directly at their vulnerable civilian population, which Douhet believed would cause these populations to rise up in revolt to stop the bombing. Others, such as Billy Mitchell, saw the potential of air power to neutralize the striking power of naval surface fleets. Mitchell himself proved the vulnerability of capital ships to aircraft was finally in 1921 when he commanded a squadron of bombers that sank the ex-German battleship "SMS Ostfriesland" with aerial bombs. (See Industrial warfare#Naval warfare)

During the Second World War, there was a debate between strategic bombing and tactical bombing. Strategic bombing missions focused on targets such as factories, railroads, oil refineries and cities, and required heavy four-engine bombers carrying large payloads flying deep into enemy territory. Tactical bombing focused on troop concentrations, command and control facilities, airfields, and ammunition dumps, and required dive bombers and fighter bombers, small aircraft that could fly low over the battlefield. In the early years of World War II, the German "Luftwaffe" focused on tactical bombing, using large numbers of Ju-87 Stukas as "flying artillery" for land offensives. Artillery was slow and required time to set up a firing position, whereas aircraft were better able keep up with the fast advances of the German panzer columns. Close air support greatly assisted in the successes of the German Army in the Battle of France. It was also important in amphibious warfare, where aircraft carriers could provide support for soldiers landing on the beaches.

Strategic bombing, by contrast, was unlike anything the world has seen before or since. In 1940, the Germans attempted to force Britain to surrender through attacks on its airfields and factories, and then on its cities in The Blitz in what became the Battle of Britain, the first major battle whose outcome was determined primarily in the air. The campaigns conducted by the Allies in Europe and the Pacific could involve thousands of aircraft dropping tens of thousands of tonnes of munitions over a single city.

Military aviation in the post-war years was dominated by the needs of the Cold War. The postwar years saw a rapid conversion to jet power, which resulted in enormous increases in speeds and altitudes of aircraft. Until the advent of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile major powers relied on high-altitude bombers to deliver their newly-developed nuclear deterrent; each country strove to develop the technology of bombers and the high-altitude fighters that could intercept them. The concept of air superiority began to play a heavy role in aircraft designs for both the United States and the Soviet Union.

Nuclear warfare

The use of nuclear weapons first came into being during the last months of World War II, with the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This was the first, and only, use of nuclear weapons in combat. For a decade after World War II, the United States and later the Soviet Union (and to a lesser extent the United Kingdom and France) developed and maintained a strategic force of bombers that would be able to attack any potential aggressor from bases inside their countries. Before the development of a capable strategic missile force in the Soviet Union, much of the war-fighting doctrine held by western nations revolved around the use of a large number of smaller nuclear weapons used in a tactical role. It is arguable if such use could be considered "limited" however, because it was believed that the US would use their own strategic weapons (mainly bombers at the time) should the USSR deploy any kind of nuclear weapon against civilian targets.

A new revolution in thinking occurred with the introduction of the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which the Soviet Union first successfully tested in the late 1950s. To deliver a warhead to a target, a missile was far less expensive than a bomber that could do the same job. Moreover, at the time it was impossible to intercept ICBMs due to their high altitude and speed. In the 1960s, another major shift in nuclear doctrine occurred with the development of the submarine-based nuclear missile (SLBM). It was hailed by military theorists as a weapon that would assure a surprise attack would not destroy the capability to retaliate, and therefore would make nuclear war less likely.

Important Industrial Wars

*American Civil War
*Arab-Israeli Wars
*Franco-Prussian War
*Korean War
*Russo-Japanese War
*Vietnam War
*World War I
*World War II
*Iran–Iraq War


ee also

* Arms race
* Cold war
* Curtis LeMay
* Home front
* Mass production
* Mobilization
* Technology during World War I
* Technology during World War II
* Technological escalation during World War II
* Total war
* Trench warfare
* Unconditional surrender
* Unrestricted Warfare
* World war


External links

*" [ Modern Tendencies in Strategy and Tactics as shown in Campaigns in the Far East] " (1906) by Lieutenant Colonel Yoda, Imperial Japanese Army.

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