Fathers of Modern Warfare

I can say with certainty that, basically, the fathers of modern warfare were the Germans and the French. Modern warfare is a long process that began in the 19th century and went hand in hand with the Second Industrial Revolution. The German and the French were the first to introduce and use in combat breech-loading rifles that fired one-piece paper cartridge, replacing the old, muzzle-loading muskets. Both the Dreyse needle gun and the Chassepot rifle were employed in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71). In this armed conflict, Germany was the first country in Europe to employ the railway to transport troops in huge numbers to the battlefield, while the French used the first types of machine guns.

At the end of the 19th century, the French Generals introduced the first breech-loading, artillery piece, with a hydro-pneumatic recoil system. It was a 75mm gun, whose recoil system provided it with accuracy and a much higher rate of fire. The canon de 75 modèle 1897, as it was called in French, would be used in battle in World War I. Meanwhile, the Germans would be the first to employ infiltration tactics, using battle-hardened, highly-trained assault troops, equipped with handgrenades, trench knifes, and steel helmets, to get behind enemy lines and capture command posts and artillery emplacements. These troops were called in German “Stosstruppen” (Stormtroopers) and were the first modern commandos. In 1917, the French employed the first modern armoured vehicle; the Renault FT-17, the first tank in history equipped with a single, rotating turret armed with a gun. All the future tank designs would be based on this French tank.

In the 1930s, a German General, Heinz Guderian would publish “Achtung Panzer”, in which he proposed the massive use of tanks as fast, independent units to punch holes in the enemy lines and encircle large numbers of enemy troops in pincers movement. This innovative military tactic, when combined and synchronized with dive bombers, became the “Blitzkrieg” (lightning war) , which would be implemented for the first time during the German invasion of Poland, in World War II. Not only did German Luftwaffe participate in the Blitzkrieg, but it was also the first armed force in history to use in combat airborne troops that dropped behind enemy lines to capture and destroy bunkers, airfields, artillery positions, etc. The German paratroopers successfully captured the Belgian strongholds of Eben Emael and the Greek island of Crete, defeating the British troops deployed there. Germany would also be the first country to use long-range, surface-to-surface missiles in war; the V1 and V2 flying bombs.

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Thor

Thor is Carlos Benito Camacho, the manager and writer of this blog.