The introduction of gunpowder weapons at the turn of the Seventeenth Century was the most significant transistional period in modern warfare.

Essay by Axis_of_EvilUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, February 2003

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Question: Using your best military history judgment based on the study of modern warfare, which transitional period was the most significant--introduction of gunpowder weapons at the turn of the Seventeenth Century Why? Analyze the military point of view within the contextual aspects of war. Explain and analyze the successes on the battlefield and their influences on military history. Be specific in your answer by discussing technology, tactics, formations, organizations, weaponry, training and leadership. Use specific examples to support your answer.


Regardless of what era of military history is studied, there is one basic principle that is ever prevalent--in order to conquer an enemy, to crush a revolution, to successfully overthrown a tyrant government, or even in the modern scope, to enforce safety and security through 'peacekeeping'--an army only accomplishes its mission through use of ground troops. Whether it is Alexander the Great marching across Asia Minor, William the Conqueror unifying England and then securing it through a string of castles, Hitler 'blitzkrieging' through Poland, or America and the Coalition pushing Iraq back across the Kuwaiti border, the ground troops were there, insuring that every inch of ground was paid for, secured, and left with follow-on forces to prevent it changing hands.

Although the combustion engine allowed further and phenomenal contributions to warfare, it essentially did nothing for the dismounted infantry but speed up the process by which they could take and hold land. Therefore, it is the gunpowder weapons, mainly the cannon, and then the musket/rifle that was the most significant transition on the battlefield.

As was mentioned before, the Although Ferrill's Offense-Defense Inventive Cycle is purely evident in the case of siege warfare. Closer to the close of the fourteenth century, cannons were capable of shooting large iron balls up to 800 pounds--and although this is a heavier...