Weapons, Tactics, and Warfare Objectives That Changed the Way Wars Are Fought
In this thought-provoking, exhaustively researched book, noted military historian William R. Weir reveals the stunning leaps of martial imagination that redefined combat and conquest, from the first sharpened sticks of our ancestors to the shock and awe of today's satellite-guided weaponry. Gaze out from the massive stone fortifications of a European castle, bear witness as gunpowder weaponry ends the samurai age, and board a modern aircraft carrier that projects a nation's might worldwide. Pivotal moments in military history come brilliantly alive with photos and illustrations that complement fascinating insights into the social, technological, and even religious underpinnings behind each development:
- From stone to steel—the arms race begins in the cave
- The birth of standing armies—religious fervor and nationalism spur conscription
- Limited warfare—economy and maneuver trump brute force
- Breech-loading and repeating rifles—gun warfare comes of age
- Fortifications—and their nemesis, siege artillery
- Mobilization—combat according to the railroad timetable
- Blitzkrieg—the “lightning war” and the rise of the tank
- Modern navies—power projection goes worldwide
- Submarines—war beneath the waves
- Air power—military formations and civilian cities bear the brunt of attacks from above
- Smart weapons—precision munitions for more discriminating destruction
- "Guerilla," or asymmetrical warfare—the modern dilemma
These and other landmark moments in the history of armed conflict combine to create this compelling analysis of how wars are made, won, and lost—and the technical and strategic challenges that are yet to be faced.
William R. Weir served as a U.S. Army combat correspondent during the war in Korea, then became a newspaper reporter and photographer in the Midwest before becoming military editor of the Topeka State Journal. He has published several books on military history and more than fifty articles for such magazines as Military History and Military Engineer. A frequent guest military analyst on radio and television programs, as well as lecturer on military topics, he lives in Connecticut.