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Subject: The Industrial Age and its impact on Military Strategy rss

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Kev.
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What factors if any, impacted military strategy as a direct result of the changes wrought from the Industrial Age?
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Pete Belli
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It takes years of training to become an effective bowman.

Any peasant can be taught to fire a musket.

Everything else follows that development.
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Killing became automated.
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In a nutshell:


Spoiler (click to reveal)





acorn








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Kev.
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super... I am missing the acorn references..

I was thinking that the Telegraph was one the first aids to communication and therefore impacted strategy, moving away from classical modes to newer modes.
Peter good point about the bowman, that was a weapon that changed the use of armor and cavalry. The advent of guns furthered that on the battle field tactically.

What other technologies changed the way Strategy evolved?
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Another major impact was the development, expansions, and implementation of railroad in warfare.

Its first abilities to move troops quickly relative to overland marching in the American Civil War to the Schlieffen plan before WWI. Germany was banking on its ability to quickly eliminate France and then using its extensive railroad development in Germany to relocate its army to the eastern front so it would be in place before Russia could ever mobilize...

I'm not saying the plan was a good one. I'm highlighting that railroad had definitely made an impact on planning in warfare.
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hipshot wrote:
What factors if any, impacted military strategy as a direct result of the changes wrought from the Industrial Age?
Kev, are you asking for help with your doctoral thesis? (Wink.)
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Could spend all day on this topic, but the logic sequence goes something like this (at least according to some authors):

-- Interchangeable parts in gunpowder firearms meant they could be mass produced. Firearms took little skill, so mass armies were now possible. With mass armies, campaigns need not be decided in a single season or with a single battle since armies lost could be easily raised again (provided the social conditions allowed for that, which was why the French Revolution was so important for Napoleon's Way of War in Europe).

-- While foraging could feed an advancing army, railroads did far better to augment waterborne/riverine traffic in supplying those mass armies. Riverine traffic also was motorized, making it easier to move supplies upriver. Battles consumed a lot of ammo, even for the winning side, so having ready access to ammo resupply was easier with steam riverboats and railroads.

-- Operational art was not only possible, it became essential to command armies dispersed in such a way. The telegraph made this easier than in Napoleon's day, but one still finds Generals-In-Chief darting hither and yon to supervise campaigns (Grant with Meade's Army in 1864-65; Von Moltke the Elder in 1866 and 1870--particularly in supervising Steinmetz; good negative example in von Moltke the Younger not going forward in 1914 but issuing vollmacht to his intelligence officer, LtCol Hentsch, to make decisions for him). The presence of a President/Sovereign in the field is no longer necessary--Napoleon III's abdication at Sedan in 1870 pretty much ensured that.

-- Wars/Campaigns of Attrition became easier to manage. We see this in the American Civil War for the Union high command in 1864-65; World Wars I & II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War provide some good illustrations. Note that I'm not saying wars/campaigns of attrition become easier to win, just to manage. Gaining strategic advantage shifted beyond the merely logistical/economic and even military in the latter cases, moving into the political/moral spheres of influence and action.

-- Rail Road enhanced mobilization capabilities put nations on hair-triggers politically and militarily...mobilization means war. Nobody wanted anyone else to get a jump on them. This is still much the case today as most military indications and warning systems watching state behavior is based on evidence of mobilization. Strategies of pre-emption become quite popular.

Am being very simplistic here, but the wavetops are all you can manage in this kind of venue!
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CM Randall wrote:
Its first abilities to move troops quickly relative to overland marching in the American Civil War to the Schlieffen plan before WWI.


Railroad transportation saw its first significant impact in European warfare in the Italian War of Independence in 1859; granted, practically at the same time as the ACW.
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ericmwalters wrote:
Am being very simplistic here, but the wavetops are all you can manage in this kind of venue!


No kidding. The emergence and synthesis of private industry benefiting from technological leaps and bounds into the national and international military market alone would be worth a PhD in Economics.

Hell, if it wasn't for warfare in the industrial age, people would think the name Krupp was a coffee machine.
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ericmwalters wrote:
Could spend all day on this topic, but the logic sequence goes something like this (at least according to some authors):

-- Interchangeable parts in gunpowder firearms meant they could be mass produced. Firearms took little skill, so mass armies were now possible. With mass armies, campaigns need not be decided in a single season or with a single battle since armies lost could be easily raised again (provided the social conditions allowed for that, which was why the French Revolution was so important for Napoleon's Way of War in Europe).

-- While foraging could feed an advancing army, railroads did far better to augment waterborne/riverine traffic in supplying those mass armies. Riverine traffic also was motorized, making it easier to move supplies upriver. Battles consumed a lot of ammo, even for the winning side, so having ready access to ammo resupply was easier with steam riverboats and railroads.

-- Operational art was not only possible, it became essential to command armies dispersed in such a way. The telegraph made this easier than in Napoleon's day, but one still finds Generals-In-Chief darting hither and yon to supervise campaigns (Grant with Meade's Army in 1864-65; Von Moltke the Elder in 1866 and 1870--particularly in supervising Steinmetz; good negative example in von Moltke the Younger not going forward in 1914 but issuing vollmacht to his intelligence officer, LtCol Hentsch, to make decisions for him). The presence of a President/Sovereign in the field is no longer necessary--Napoleon III's abdication at Sedan in 1870 pretty much ensured that.

-- Wars/Campaigns of Attrition became easier to manage. We see this in the American Civil War for the Union high command in 1864-65; World Wars I & II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War provide some good illustrations. Note that I'm not saying wars/campaigns of attrition become easier to win, just to manage. Gaining strategic advantage shifted beyond the merely logistical/economic and even military in the latter cases, moving into the political/moral spheres of influence and action.

-- Rail Road enhanced mobilization capabilities put nations on hair-triggers politically and militarily...mobilization means war. Nobody wanted anyone else to get a jump on them. This is still much the case today as most military indications and warning systems watching state behavior is based on evidence of mobilization. Strategies of pre-emption become quite popular.

Am being very simplistic here, but the wavetops are all you can manage in this kind of venue!


Thank you one and all. I'm not writing a thesis. But I am interested in the transition from Classical Strategy to Operational Art.
Technology played a wide and varied roll in that, from the Telegraph to in tank Radios.

Since all of you are smarter, more experienced, have read more and love to share I thought of you guys first. Don't worry a reading list request may be my next post, so I can dig in deeper. I have the faintest threads of an idea for a series of game plays that would pull this history together for me.
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ericmwalters wrote:
Could spend all day on this topic, but the logic sequence goes something like this (at least according to some authors):

-- Interchangeable parts in gunpowder firearms meant they could be mass produced. Firearms took little skill, so mass armies were now possible.


Care to elaborate? Armies of peasants utilizing farm tools that can be made at home (a fire, 2 pieces of steel and a hammer) vs. weapons that require some actual machining? Hitting someone with a stick or poking them with a ptich fork takes little skill, Being able to load a firearm and then hit what you aim at takes training.

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In a nutshell...acorn. Get it now?
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monongahela wrote:
ericmwalters wrote:
Could spend all day on this topic, but the logic sequence goes something like this (at least according to some authors):

-- Interchangeable parts in gunpowder firearms meant they could be mass produced. Firearms took little skill, so mass armies were now possible.


Care to elaborate? Armies of peasants utilizing farm tools that can be made at home (a fire, 2 pieces of steel and a hammer) vs. weapons that require some actual machining? Hitting someone with a stick or poking them with a ptich fork takes little skill, Being able to load a firearm and then hit what you aim at takes training.



Fairly standardized firearms mark a key junction of easy to train, relatively inexpensive to equip and supply, and quite effective. Most options previously are of the "pick two (or sometimes just one)" options.
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Seth Owen
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The short answer is everything changed. Aside from the dying, there's little similarity between industrial age warfare and per-industrial warfare. Not only strategy but tactics and logistics were transformed out of all recognition. I think it's safe to say that a Roman general could probably have adequately led a Napoleonic corps with the aid of a translator. A French marshal, on the other hand, would be hard pressed to led a modern infantry battalion.
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Robert Stuart
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One of the major factors as well was the rise of nationalism and the decline of feudalism, and later, the rise of more democratic traditions within national systems. In a fedual society you do not want well-functioning lower order peasant-based military units (ie, squads), learning to operate independently. They might help win the battle for you, but afterwards they might use their new-found abilities to challenge the feudal hierarchy.

With the rise of nationalism, however, and more especially of mass education and democracy, it becomes possible to develop small-unit tactics, on the one hand (the average person is trained to think independently, and hence can operate more effectively in small military units), AND it enhances the strength of the state, rather than creating the potential for destabilization, on the other hand.

It's interesting, to me, that the US founding fathers seemed to have recognized this. The US second amendment states, "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

As I read it, this doesn't give an unregulated right to the individual to stockpile and keep weapons, as much as it guarantees the right of the citizenry itself (through the agency of 'a well trained militia') to defend and protect the country as soldiers, national guardsmen (and women), and police.

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wargamer55 wrote:
I think it's safe to say that a Roman general could probably have adequately led a Napoleonic corps with the aid of a translator. A French marshal, on the other hand, would be hard pressed to led a modern infantry battalion.


I wouldn't mind seeing what Davout could do with elements of the 3rd Cav, though.
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pete belli wrote:
It takes years of training to become an effective bowman.


how bad a mess could I make of a large crowd with a bow, 50 arrows and no recent training? I suspect a lifetime's experience won't be equal to a breeze strong or variable. The significant point is that arrows can't penetrate armour, as they are not energetic enough. Perhaps a bigger question concerns the overall utility of armour, especially to what extent it was [& is] discarded or retained. I recall we once helped an academic with an answer to why the earliest pikemen carried shields in contrast to all their successors.

Stopping a charge was the other question. Only magazine weapons with self-contained bullets in experienced hands could do this, but machineguns were better, and both arrived in the later 19th century.
Thus there was about 100 years between the advent of true industrialisation and marked military transformation.

Quote:
-- Interchangeable parts in gunpowder firearms meant they could be mass produced.


Continuous large-scale mass production of firearms was required for the American west circa 1850 where everyone, not just soldiers, found themselves in combat all the time, and this required robotic production of parts which would therefore be near-identical and hopefully interchangeable. The principal then transferred to machinery manufacture generally.
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[q] The short answer is everything changed. Aside from the dying, there's little similarity between industrial age warfare and per-industrial warfare. Not only strategy but tactics and logistics were transformed out of all recognition. I think it's safe to say that a Roman general could probably have adequately led a Napoleonic corps with the aid of a translator. A French marshal, on the other hand, would be hard pressed to led a modern infantry battalion. [q/]

@ That is what I want to explore.!! The mode changes from Classical, the impact that technology and industrialization had upon how Generals waged war. But in particular how it changed their view of strategy. The differences between Alexander and Napoleon are not that great in terms of strategy. The 'efficency' of Classical Strategy was approaching its nadir.



[q]
With the rise of nationalism, however, and more especially of mass education and democracy, it becomes possible to develop small-unit tactics, on the one hand (the average person is trained to think independently, and hence can operate more effectively in small military units), AND it enhances the strength of the state, rather than creating the potential for destabilization, on the other hand. [q/]

@ Very interesting point. Not just leaders where institutionalized per Keegans thoughts on Wellington, but the soldiers themselves were now smarter and more able to conduct more efficient warfare

[q]
I wouldn't mind seeing what Davout could do with elements of the 3rd Cav, though. [q/]

@ Indeed!!


[q]
how bad a mess could I make of a large crowd with a bow, 50 arrows and no recent training? I suspect a lifetime's experience won't be equal to a breeze strong or variable. The significant point is that arrows can't penetrate armour, as they are not energetic enough. Perhaps a bigger question concerns the overall utility of armour, especially to what extent it was [& is] discarded or retained. I recall we once helped an academic with an answer to why the earliest pikemen carried shields in contrast to all their successors.
[q/]
@ The same could be said for musket fire too right? Inaccurate massed fire.

[q]
Stopping a charge was the other question. Only magazine weapons with self-contained bullets in experienced hands could do this, but machineguns were better, and both arrived in the later 19th century. Thus there was about 100 years between the advent of true industrialisation and marked military transformation. [q/]

@ Note that around the time of the ACW the Operational Art of War was being employed, then we migrated " backwards" and WWI was this classical strategy style penultimate war of attrition. The Soviets took note and began developing new strategies that were now available to war makers as a result of the innovations in technology and mass production of standardized weaponry. At least that is what I perceive?

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wargamer55 wrote:
The short answer is everything A French marshal, on the other hand, would be hard pressed to led a modern infantry battalion.


But he'd still probably do a better job than the average wargamer
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wargamer55 wrote:
The short answer is everything changed. Aside from the dying, there's little similarity between industrial age warfare and per-industrial warfare. Not only strategy but tactics and logistics were transformed out of all recognition. I think it's safe to say that a Roman general could probably have adequately led a Napoleonic corps with the aid of a translator. A French marshal, on the other hand, would be hard pressed to led a modern infantry battalion.


I think the impact on logistics is often underappreciated.

From a strategic perspective, Industrial Age innovations -- railroads, steamships, the telegraph and wireless communications, preserved food stuffs, standardization, etc. -- revolutionized military logistics, enabling commanders to command and sustain larger forces over increasingly greater distances all year round.
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Eldard wrote:
wargamer55 wrote:
The short answer is everything changed. Aside from the dying, there's little similarity between industrial age warfare and per-industrial warfare. Not only strategy but tactics and logistics were transformed out of all recognition. I think it's safe to say that a Roman general could probably have adequately led a Napoleonic corps with the aid of a translator. A French marshal, on the other hand, would be hard pressed to led a modern infantry battalion.


I think the impact on logistics is often underappreciated.

From a strategic perspective, Industrial Age innovations -- railroads, steamships, the telegraph and wireless communications, preserved food stuffs, standardization, etc. -- revolutionized military logistics, enabling commanders to command and sustain larger forces over increasingly greater distances all year round.


Bill good point.

I think the Operational Art of War vs Classical Strategy places an emphasis on logistics that is more important, as the 'one final', 'one massive' battle of annihilation is not really possible any more.

Therefore being adaptable, and have the capacity to maneuver, and drive you enemy to battle on your terms requires excellent logistics.
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aforandy wrote:
pete belli wrote:
It takes years of training to become an effective bowman.


how bad a mess could I make of a large crowd with a bow, 50 arrows and no recent training? I suspect a lifetime's experience won't be equal to a breeze strong or variable. The significant point is that arrows can't penetrate armour, as they are not energetic enough.
Quote:
-- Interchangeable parts in gunpowder firearms meant they could be mass produced.




I believe the French knights at Agincourt would have loved to have been immune to English longbows...
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Eldard wrote:
I think the impact on logistics is often underappreciated.

From a strategic perspective, Industrial Age innovations -- railroads, steamships, the telegraph and wireless communications, preserved food stuffs, standardization, etc. -- revolutionized military logistics, enabling commanders to command and sustain larger forces over increasingly greater distances all year round.

I would say this was the biggest impact. More so than the effect on weapons and training, which I would argue was more evolutionary up to about WWI, with weapons that were largely faster firing and more powerful versions of the weapons introduced with the advent of gunpowder; for me, what really changed this aspect was the introduction of the internal combustion engine to the battlefield - meaning trucks, tanks and planes.

Furthermore, the exploitation of these advances in logistics and command capabilities was possible due the actual economic impact of industrialization, in that advances in agriculture made possible large surpluses with reduced workforces and a large increase in population. It meant a significant change of scale: this is what allowed the deployment of multi-million men armies covering very large fronts for extended periods, and the change from Napoleonic battles involving a couple hundred thousand men mostly lasting one day (so in terms of scale not that different from antiquity) to battles involving millions and extending for months, like Verdun.
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