HIE 275 - Technology, Society, and Warfare
Technological Change in Warfare
"World War II had a very important impact on the development of technology, as a whole." Barry Commoner
14 February 2013
The aim of this outline is to compare and contrast doctrines intended and used by both sides during conflict, and to discuss a set of technology (in particular the tanks) that are crucial and important in affecting that technology in the military conflict.
What is Military Doctrine?
Military doctrine is a level of military planning between national and unit-level tactics, techniques, and procedures.[i] Tactics is the collective name for methods of winning a small-scale conflict, performing an optimization by troops, warships, etc during a battle.[ii] Doctrine defines the nature of war, the purpose of military forces, the relationship of military forces to other instruments of power, and similar subject matter on which less abstracts beliefs are founded.
The doctrine was define as such in relation to the mechanized warfare: The tank. German Doctrine
"The Blitzkrieg military doctrine was just that – a quick and decisive attack carried out by a large “panzer” (mechanized) attack force, mainly tanks and aircraft, as well as mechanized artillery and infantry for support, which would pierce an enemy’s defensive line and quickly exploit it by continuing to attack through this point of weakness before the enemy could respond."[iii] British Doctrine
"The doctrine of the British Army during the period 1934-1939 was one of creating a proper mechanized Army. First, they improved their doctrine to include the establishment of armoured and mechanized divisions. Second, they designed training to include close cooperation between the infantry, armour, artillery and Air Force. Third, they realized the value of a mobile service support element to accompany armoured and mechanized formations. Finally, they mechanized all combat arm elements of these formations."[iv]
What is Mechanized Warfare?
WWII started on 1 September 1939 and lasted six years until 2 September 1945. It was the largest and most destructive war in history. While military operations in WWII were conducted primarily on the European continent, WWII battles were fought in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. World War II was the most extensive and costly armed conflict in the history of the world, involving the great majority of the world's nation, being fought simultaneously in several major theatres, and costing approximately 55.5 million lives. The war was fought between two groups of power: the alliance of the British Commonwealth, the United States, Soviet Union, China, and the government-in-exile of France, Poland, and other occupied European countries collectively known as the allies; and the alliance of Germany, Italy, and Japan and their allies collectively known as the Axis.[v]
More technology of warfare was developed in WWII than ever before. The effectiveness of these weapons depended on their used in combination, and their concentration at the decisive point of battle. The doctrine of armoured warfare also called tank warfare was developed to break the static nature of World War I trench warfare on the western front, and return to the 19th century school of thought that advocated manoeuvre and "decisive battle" outcomes in military strategy.
Modern armour warfare doctrine developed during the years immediately preceding WWII, in most cases with the tank seen as an infantry support weapon in the breakthrough of defence lines role. A fundamental key to conventional warfare is the concentration of force at a particular point on the enemy's defence line seen as either weak or offering other tactical, operational or strategic advantages.
Concentration of force increases the chance of victory in a particular engagement...