Periods of Military History

I need to group the wars I’m interested in for the simple reason that a drop down menu with all of them runs off the screen.

General history has a range of ways to cut and slice history (Wikipedia: List of Time Periods) but as my main interest is military history I opted to follow Wikipedia: Periods of Military History. My focus is Europe, or at least European armies, so I have ignored regional variations. I’ve also adjusted the start and end dates so they don’t overlap.

That leaves me with:

  • Ancient warfare (to 476 AD)
  • Medieval warfare (476 – 1492 AD)
  • Gunpowder warfare (1492 – 1854)
  • Industrial warfare (1854 – 1945)
  • Modern warfare (1945-Present)

Ancient warfare (to 476 AD)

Macedonians, Romans, Celts and all that. I have chosen to end the period with the sack of Rome (476 AD).

Ancient warfare is war as conducted from the beginnings of recorded history to the end of the ancient period. In Europe and the Near East, the end of antiquity is often equated with the fall of Rome in 476, and the wars of the Eastern Roman Empire Byzantium in its South Western Asian and North African borders and the beginnings of the Muslim conquests in the 7th century.

Wikipedia: Ancient Warfare

Medieval warfare (476 – 1492 AD)

Stirrups, artillery and castles. I have chosen to start the period with the sack of Rome (476 AD) and end it with the discovery of the New World (1492).

Medieval warfare is the warfare of the Middle Ages. In Europe, technological, cultural, and social developments had forced a dramatic transformation in the character of warfare from antiquity, changing military tactics and the role of cavalry and artillery. In terms of fortification, the Middle Ages saw the emergence of the castle in Europe.

Wikipedia: Medieval Warfare

When stirrups came into use some time during the Dark Ages militaries were forever changed. This invention coupled with technological, cultural, and social developments had forced a dramatic transformation in the character of warfare from antiquity, changing military tactics and the role of cavalry and artillery.

Wikipedia: Military History

Gunpowder warfare (1492 – 1854)

Black powder guns from arquebus to flintlock musket. I have chosen to start this period with the discovery of the New World and end it with the Siege of Sevastopol (1854–1855) – the first of the milestones from Wikipedia: Industrial Warfare.

Early modern warfare is associated with the start of the widespread use of gunpowder and the development of suitable weapons to use the explosive, including artillery and handguns such as the arquebus and later the musket, and for this reason the era is also summarized as the age of gunpowder warfare.

Wikipedia: Gunpowder Warfare

Industrial warfare (1854 – 1945)

Nation states backed by industry. The milestones from Wikipedia: Industrial Warfare start with the Siege of Sevastopol (1854–1855) and end with the Battle of Leyte Gulf (1944). I have stretched the period to include the end of World War II.

Industrial warfare is a period in the history of warfare ranging roughly from the early nineteenth 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 and navies through the process of industrialization. The era 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, chemical weapons, armoured warfare, metal warships, submarines, and aircraft.

Wikipedia: Industrial Warfare

Modern warfare (1945-Present)

Modern technology in small scale wars. WW2 could be in the Industrial Warfare or Modern Warfare periods. I have arbitrarily lumped it into the earlier, Industrial, period because in wargaming circles “Modern” usually means post-WW2.

Modern warfare, although present in every historical period of military history, is generally used to refer to the concepts, methods and technologies that have come into use during and after the Second World War and the Korean War. The concepts and methods have assumed more complex forms of the 19th- and early-20th-century antecedents, largely due to the widespread use of highly advanced information technology, and modern armies must modernize constantly to preserve their battleworthiness.

Wikipedia: Modern Warfare

What distinguishes modern military organizations from those previous is not their willingness to prevail in conflict by any method, but rather the technological variety of tools and methods available to modern battlefield commanders, from submarines to satellites, from knives to nuclear warheads.

Wikipedia: Military History

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