Medival Warfare Essay, Research Paper
The traditions established in the military of the middle ages has had a lasting impact and still influences modern warfare today. It is also the basis for some modern day customs and courtesies. Many modern day weapons were influenced by medieval thoughts and ideas. The idea of striking the enemy before meeting on the battlefield began at this time period. Changing weapons also meant changing tactics. The invention of the longbow eventually led to demise of knights (cavalry). Nowadays, many people claim Chivalry is dead.” However, this is simply not true. Chivalry continues today in America s armed services. There were many new weapons and new ideas introduced with medieval warfare. At first, there was only hand-to-hand combat, and then the longbow and crossbow were introduced. This led to the idea of attacking the opponent and weakening them even before meeting on the battlefield. This whole idea led to the invention of artillery and other BVR (Beyond-Visual-Range) weapons. Along with hand-to-hand combat came a need for brave soldiers with one-track-minds. Pay was not good, and the marches were usually long and tiring, so they had to be dedicated. Training to be a knight was a very long process. They went through a series of stages (such as page and squire) and began their training at about age seven. This developed the courage and dedication needed for life as a knight. Fighting hand-to-hand is a terrifying and rigorous experience, and without the proper motivation instilled in a soldier s mind over years, it is a very tough thing to survive. In America s armed forces, dedication and bravery do not need to stressed, because it comes with the territory. When American soldiers are trained, they are trained in their teams (platoon, squad, or flight). This builds a bond between people that can only be experienced in these types of situations and in training together. If by the time they graduate from boot camp they are not fighting for their patriotism, they are fighting for their team s sake. Unlike projectile weaponry (for the most part), hand-to-hand combat requires much more skill. First, soldiers must be physically strong. In order of hurl a twenty pound broadsword with accuracy, and with enough force to penetrate body armor they must have a pretty significant build. Second, they must be mentally quick. Warriors must be calculating their opponent s next move in order to block it, and also be searching for a weakness in his opponite s technique and then strike. This is not instantly acquired. Soldiers must be trained rigorously, and even then, no amount of training can equal first hand combat experience. The skills required to master the use of a longbow or a assault rifle are much simpler and are easier to teach than the art of sword fighting. In modern days, a week long course called Combat Arms Training will inexpensively train a soldier how to use, maintain, and effectively operate the standard M-16 assault rifle and 9mm pistol. However short, this course is easy to remember and is the only training necessary to legally operate those weapons. It is substantially easier to learn, and is much less expensive and takes less time than all that is necessary for a medieval knight to be taught and trained. The training still has the same purpose, only the tactics and equipment are easier to master today. Hand-to-hand combat is also not as an efficient way of fighting (one soldier simply cannot make much of a difference by himself, only as a entire force can his side win). A medieval confrontation is merely a large two-on-two match. There is only one bad guy for every good guy,” and when somebody defeats another person, he simply find another bad guy and fights with him, almost like a huge bar fight. The side that has the most defeats collectively wins. Battles fought in modern times are more effective in many ways. They take much less time than in the middle ages. A battle can be done in as little time as five minutes, sometimes less. The lethality has increased dramatically. Soldiers can do much more by themselves then in medieval days. One well-entrenched soldier with a machine gun can devastate an entire enemy force. Navy SEAL (SEa, Air, and Land) teams can be equipped with nuclear bombs that strap easily to their backs, or one sniper can change an entire war by killing the commanding general or the other country s president. In these ways, wars are very different then they used to be. Fighting hand-to-hand also has some other effects on soldiers. Medieval conflicts tended to be extremely violent. Modern warfare is a little more humane (although people obviously still get badly hurt). If a modern day soldier got killed, maybe he was lucky and took a bullet in the head and went quickly, instead of stepping on a land mine. Medieval soldiers were not that fortunate. They didn t just get a small bullet wound, they got their whole arm, leg, or perhaps their head taken off. Medieval warriors used terrible weapons including the battle ax, mace, and the sword; all inflicting very large and painful wounds that usually weren t instantly lethal. It was very mentally scaring to see a buddy get hit in the face with battle ax, or watching him being dismembered by a screaming man swinging a mace around his head. If he survived, then he definitely was a different man. Today s wars still are very mentally scaring; there is no doubt about that. That is one thing in common with any war. While not nearly as bloody, it is in many ways more emotional today. Mentioned before was the fact that America s soldiers share a very deep friendship with each other. This is excellent for teamwork, but when everybody is best friends, they feel very much for each of their fallen comrades. Navy SEALs follow a tradition that was past down from their beginnings in World War Two. They are taught that no matter what happens, to never get separated from their Battle Buddy (SEALs always do things in teams of two), even in death they are trained to carry their buddy s body home (Halberstadt U.S. Navy SEALs in Action,73). Those who survive are usually best friends for life and always keep in touch (that s why there are so many veteran s clubs from WWII still around).
Sometimes this causes life long mental problems. In Vietnam veterans, this is a common problem. The vets constantly relive those horrible events over and over in their minds until it completely consumes them, many never recover. However, they are not the only people effected by the stresses of war. During the Vietnam war era, many soldiers were under extreme stress form many sources (Fear of death and torture, rebellions back in the U.S., ect), this was also the first time in American history when the people did not completely support their troops. All this stress built up in the soldiers minds, and some completely lost it and unnecessarily attacked innocent civilians.The economics have also changed, for instance: medieval warriors had to pay for their own equipment, and today, the government pays for it all. Imagine a fighter pilot buying his $16 million plane himself. Maintaining a knight was a very expensive endeavor, also. There were many things that required a lot of attention that were also expensive. A mounted knight requires someone to care for (feed, groom, ect.) his horse. His armor must be custom tailored to fit perfectly by a blacksmith. Along with that, the blacksmith must fashion the knight s shield, lance, sword, horseshoes, and be expected to mend any damage to his armor. This is all very expensive, and therefore could not be governmentally issued or funded then. Instead, each knight must buy his own equipment (or find someone to sponser him). Also, a knight must be responsible for training his pages and squires, and see that they are fed, ect. Soldiers today cost close to the same amount as back then when taking in for account insurance, ect. However, they require much less hassle, training, and care taking. Total equipment for an infantrymen includes one M-16 (about $1,000), web gear [belt with suspenders ($10), a butt-pack ($4), ammo pouch ($8), flashlight ($8), combat knife($30), and pistol ($300-$600)], ALICE pack (backpack, $20), BDU s (Battle Dress Uniform, a.k.a. camouflage. $30), and combat boots ($60); also rations for three days ($48), plus training, which costs about $8,000-$10,000 (estimated), and plus $809.10 standard pay for private. A modern, fully equipped soldier (Infantry, without housing, insurance, and advanced training options, ect.) costs about $12,610.90 to the U.S. Government to train, equip, and pay them (The Army: Your Financial Advantage, pamphlet # RPI 236, Feb 1996). Many people use the quote, Chivalry is dead. This, however, is a fallacy. An officer in the U.S. armed forces is held to a very high standard of honor. Without their honor, their oath to protect America is a lie. Honor is an extremely important part of military life. Soldiers must be able to trust one another 100%, all of the time. One instance of even the slightest inconsistency of the truth leaves a doubt in the back of their fellow soldier s mind about that person, which may get both of them killed. All it takes is one proven instance were a soldier is caught lying to get him in big trouble, and 90% of the time, kicked out. This helps to build the strong bonds between the soldiers. They know that besides joking matters, 100% of the time what their buddy or commanding officer says is true, without a doubt.The Honor Code: We will not Lie, Cheat, or Steal, nor tolerate those among us who do. They are taught to live and to die by these words. This is also important because any person who wears a U.S. military uniform is responsible for representing their country 100% of the time. That means being the perfect gentleman, and to always be on their Honor. When soldiers salute each other, it is not just a funny thing they do that just looks good. It is a medieval tradition that was passed down and adapted to what it is today. When knights met to joust, before they fought, they stopped and made a gesture of respect by lifting their visor to the other gladiator. This gesture showed that they respected the other person, they were chivalrous (followed the rules of war ), and that they trusted that the other warrior would not attack while they were exposed with their visor up. After they dropped their visiors, they began fighting. This later was adopted for every greeting, combative or not.In conclusion, the customs and basics of warfare of the medieval times and modern times are similar, yet also in some ways (especially technology) very different. It is surprising how some of medieval warfare s problems are the same as the problems of today. It is also interesting to see how humans have evolved since then. War is still a part of our lives, but for many more complicated reasons. It is important to remember that soldiers are ordinary people faced with extraordinary responsibilities and impossible tasks to perform. There are some people in the world that are responsible for destroying it, if necessary. In modern times, not only have the problems evolved into more complicated things, but so have the weapons, and their capibilities.