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Combined Arms is an approach to
war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (new ...

war
fare which seeks to integrate different
combat arms Combat arms (or fighting arms in non-American parlance) is a collective name for troops within national armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for wa ...
of a
military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or pa ...

military
to achieve mutually complementary effects (for example, using infantry and armor in an urban environment, where one supports the other, or both support each other). According to strategist William S. Lind, combined arms can be distinguished from the concept of "supporting arms" as follows:
Combined arms hits the enemy with two or more arms simultaneously in such a manner that the actions he must take to defend himself from one make him more vulnerable to another. In contrast, supporting arms is hitting the enemy with two or more arms in sequence, or if simultaneously, then in such combination that the actions the enemy must take to defend himself from one also defends himself from the other(s).
Though the lower-
echelon ECHELON, originally a secret government code name, is a surveillance Surveillance is the monitoring of behavior, activities, or information for the purpose of information gathering, influencing, managing or directing. This can inclu ...
units of a combined arms team may be of similar types, a balanced mixture of such units are combined into an effective higher-echelon unit, whether formally in a table of organization or informally in an ''
ad hoc Ad hoc is a Latin phrase __NOTOC__ This is a list of Wikipedia articles of Latin phrases and their translation into English. To view all phrases on a single, lengthy document, see: * List of Latin phrases (full) The list also is divided alpha ...

ad hoc
'' solution to a battlefield problem. For example, an
armored division A division is a large military unit or formation, usually consisting of between 6,000 and 25,000 soldiers. In most armies, a division is composed of several regiment A regiment is a military unit. Its role and size varies markedly, d ...
—the modern paragon of combined arms doctrine—consists of a mixture of
infantry Infantry is an army specialization whose military personnel, personnel engage in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry, artillery, and armored warfare, armored forces. Also known as foot soldiers, infantrymen or infanteer, i ...

infantry
,
tank A tank is an armored fighting vehicle An armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) is an armed combat vehicle protected by armour, generally combining operational mobility with offensive and defensive capabilities. AFVs can be wheeled or tr ...

tank
,
artillery Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch Ammunition, munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry firearms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach defensive walls and fortifications dur ...

artillery
,
reconnaissance In military operations, reconnaissance or scouting is the exploration of an area by military forces to obtain information about enemy forces, terrain Relief map of Sierra Nevada, Spain Terrain or relief (also topographical Topogr ...

reconnaissance
, and perhaps even
helicopter A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which Lift (force), lift and thrust are supplied by horizontally spinning Helicopter rotor, rotors. This allows the helicopter to VTOL, take off and land vertically, to hover (helicopter), hover, and to ...

helicopter
units, all coordinated and directed by a unified
command structure A command hierarchy is a group of people who carry out orders based on others' authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and cultu ...
. Also, most modern military units can, if the situation requires it, call on yet more branches of the military, such as infantry requesting bombing or shelling by fighter or bomber aircraft or
naval forces A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a Nation's armed forces principally designated for naval warfare, naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake-borne, riverine, littoral zone, littoral, or ocean-borne combat operations and ...

naval forces
to augment their ground offensive or protect their land forces. The mixing of arms is sometimes pushed down below the level where homogeneity ordinarily prevails, for example by temporarily attaching a tank company to an infantry battalion.


Ancient warfare

Combined arms operations date back to antiquity, where armies would usually field a screen of
skirmisher Skirmishers are light infantry Light infantry is a designation applied to certain types of foot soldiers () throughout history, typically having lighter equipment or or a more mobile or fluid function than other types of infantry, such a ...
s to protect their spearmen during the approach to contact. Especially in the case of the Greek
hoplites Hoplites () ( grc, ὁπλίτης : hoplítēs) were citizen-soldiers of Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: ...

hoplites
, however, the focus of military thinking lay almost exclusively on the heavy infantry. In more elaborate situations armies of various nationalities fielded different combinations of light, medium, or heavy infantry, cavalry, chariotry, camelry, elephantry, and artillery (mechanical weapons). Combined arms in this context was how to best use the cooperating units, variously armed with side-arms, spears, or missile weapons in order to coordinate an attack to disrupt and then destroy the enemy.
Philip II of Macedon Philip II of Macedon ( grc-gre, Φίλιππος ; 382 – 21 October 336 BC) was the king (basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in cer ...
greatly improved upon the limited combined arms tactics of the Greek city-states and combined the newly created Macedonian phalanx with heavy cavalry and other forces. The phalanx would hold the opposing line in place, until the heavy cavalry could smash and break the enemy line by achieving
local superiority Local may refer to: Geography and transportation * Local (train), a train serving local traffic demand * Local, Missouri, a community in the United States * Local government, a form of public administration, usually the lowest tier of administrati ...
. The pre-Marian
Roman Legion The Roman legion ( la, legiō, ) was the largest military unit of the Roman army The Roman army (: ) was the armed forces deployed by the Romans throughout the duration of , from the (to c. 500 BC) to the (500–31 BC) and the (31 BC– ...

Roman Legion
was a combined arms force and consisted of five classes of troops. Lightly equipped
velites ''Velites'' (singular: ) were a class of infantry at the Battle of the Somme (July–November 1916) during the First World War Infantry is an army specialization whose military personnel, personnel engage in military combat on foot, dist ...
acted as skirmishers armed with light javelins. The
hastati ''Hastati'' (singular: ''Hastatus'') were a class of infantry employed in the armies of the early Roman Republic who originally fought as spear A spear is a pole weapon consisting of a shaft, usually of wood, with a pointed head. The head ma ...
and
principes ''Principes'' (Singular: ''princeps'') were spearmen A spear is a pole weapon A pole weapon or pole arm is a close combat weapon A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used with the intent to inflict damage ...
formed the main attacking strength of the legion with sword and
pilum The ''pilum'' (; plural ''pila'') was a javelin (weapon), javelin commonly used by the Roman army in ancient times. It was generally about long overall, consisting of an iron shank about in diameter and long with a pyramidal head. The shank wa ...

pilum
, whilst the
triarii ''Triarii'' (singular: ''Triarius'') were one of the elements of the early Roman military Maniple (military unit), manipular legions of the early Roman Republic (509 BC – 107 BC). They were the oldest and among the wealthiest men in the army an ...
formed the defensive backbone of the legion fighting as a
phalanx The phalanx ( grc, φάλαγξ; plural phalanxes or phalanges, , ) was a rectangular In Euclidean plane geometry, a rectangle is a quadrilateral A quadrilateral is a polygon in Euclidean geometry, Euclidean plane geometry with four Edge ...

phalanx
with long spears and large shields. The fifth class were the
equites The ''equites'' (; la, eques nom. singular; literally "horse-" or "cavalrymen", though sometimes referred to as "knight A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by a head of state (including the pope) or representati ...
(the cavalry) used for scouting, pursuit and to guard the flanks. After the
Marian reforms 150px, Gaius Marius The Marian reforms were reforms of the ancient Roman army The Roman army (Latin language, Latin: ) was the armed forces deployed by the Romans throughout the duration of Ancient Rome, from the Roman Kingdom (to c. 500 BC) ...
the Legion was notionally a unit of heavy infantrymen armed with just
sword A sword is an edged, bladed weapon intended for manual cutting or thrusting. Its blade, longer than a knife A knife (plural knives; from Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Ge ...

sword
and
pilum The ''pilum'' (; plural ''pila'') was a javelin (weapon), javelin commonly used by the Roman army in ancient times. It was generally about long overall, consisting of an iron shank about in diameter and long with a pyramidal head. The shank wa ...

pilum
, and fielded with a small attached auxiliary skirmishers and missile troops, and incorporated a small cavalry unit. The legion was sometimes also incorporated into a higher-echelon combined arms unit — e.g., in one period it was customary for a general to command two legions plus two similarly sized units of auxiliaries, lighter units useful as screens or for combat in rough terrain. The army of the
Han Dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han Dynasty
is also an example, fielding mêlée infantry, crossbowmen, and cavalry (ranging from horse archers to heavy lancers). Civilizations such as the Carthaginians and
Sassanid The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ''Iran (word), Ērānshahr''), and also called the Neo-Persian Empire by historians, was the last Persian Empire, Persian imperial dynasty before the spread of I ...
s also were known to have fielded a combination of infantry supported by powerful cavalry.


Middle Ages

At the
Battle of Hastings The Battle of Hastings or nrf, Batâle dé Hastings was fought on 14 October 1066 between the Norman-French army of William, the Duke of Normandy, and an English army under the Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Cu ...

Battle of Hastings
(1066) English infantry fighting from behind a shield wall were defeated by a Norman army consisting of archers, foot soldiers (infantry), and mounted knights (cavalry). One of the tactics used by the Normans was to tempt the English to leave the shield wall to attack retreating Norman infantry only to destroy them in the open with cavalry. Likewise Scottish
sheltron A schiltron (also spelled sheltron, sceld-trome, schiltrom, or shiltron) is a compact body of troops forming a battle array, shield wall The formation of a shield wall ( or in Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest re ...
s – which had been developed to counter the charges by English heavy cavalry, and had been used successfully against English cavalry at the
Battle of Stirling Bridge The Battle of Stirling Bridge ( gd, Blàr Drochaid Shruighlea) was a battle of the First War of Scottish Independence The First War of Scottish Independence was the first of a series of wars between English and Scottish forces. It lasted f ...
(1297) – were destroyed at the
Battle of Falkirk The Battle of Falkirk (''Blàr na h-Eaglaise Brice'' in Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic ...
(1298) by English archers acting in concert with mounted knights. Both Hastings and Falkirk showed how combined arms could be used to defeat enemies relying on only one arm. The English victories of
Crécy
Crécy
,
Poitiers Poitiers (, , , ; Poitevin: ''Poetàe'') is a city on the Clain river in west-central France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ext ...
and Agincourt were examples of a simple form of combined arms, with a combination of dismounted knights forming a foundation for formations of English
longbowmen A longbow is a type of bow that is tall – roughly equal to the height of the user – allowing the archer a fairly long draw. A longbow is not significantly recurved. Its limbs are relatively narrow so that they are circular or D-shaped in cross ...
. The lightly protected longbowmen could down their French opponents at a distance, whilst the armoured men-at-arms could deal with any Frenchmen who made it to the English lines. This is the crux of combined arms: to allow a combination of forces to achieve what would be impossible for its constituent elements to do alone. During the Middle Ages military forces used combined arms as a method of winning battles and furthering a war leader or king's long term goals. Some historians claim that during the Middle Ages there was no strategic or tactical art to military combat. Kelly DeVries uses the Merriam-Webster definition of combat "as a general military engagement". In the pursuit of a leader's goals and self-interest tactical and strategic thinking was used along with taking advantage of the terrain and weather in choosing when and where to give battle. The simplest example is the combination of different specialties such as archers, infantry, cavalry (knights or shock mounted troops), and even peasant militia. At times, each force fought on its own and won or lost depending on the opposing military competence. During the Middle Ages leaders utilized a combination of these skilled and unskilled forces to win battles. An army that has multiple skills available can engage a larger force that incorporates mainly one or two types of troops. Each type of military formation – infantry, archers, cavalry, or peasants – has certain advantages that the other does not have. Infantry allows a force to hold ground and in the event of overwhelming enemy forces withdraw into terrain that mounted troops cannot maneuver as easily, thus negating the advantage of the horse. Archers provide standoff with their bows or crossbows. Cavalry can maneuver faster and provide fast attack before the enemy has had time to prepare defenses. Peasants are more numerous and cheaper on the royal coffers. Over the long term the army can cross-train and learn the skills of the specialties to increase
combat effectiveness Combat effectiveness is the capacity or performance of a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict bet ...
. This is known as a combat multiplier today. The combination of the different skills help provide a commander the flexibility to minimize risk when it comes to engagements. The overall objective of any military force is to fight and win, while also preserving the largest number of combatants to carry on the larger strategic aims of the king. This can be seen in some of the engagements during the Middle Ages.


Examples of combined arms use in battle

The effective use of combined arms can – in conjunction with strategic and tactical considerations – overwhelm opposing forces, even those which are numerically superior. The use of terrain and weather can also aid in the use of combined arms to bring about the desired results of the commander of a military force. ;Crecy-en-Ponthieu: Mid-1346, at , an English army numbering between 3,000–20,000 mixed troops set up a defensive line for the oncoming French forces numbering nearly 100,000 mixed troops. The English being in a defensive position dismounted their knights to augment the infantry forces on the lines of defense. It is unclear from the sources of the location of the English archers, either on the flanks, intermingled with the line troops, or behind the lines; the most likely was that they were formed up along the flanks according to prior positions in previous battles. The French arrived on the battlefield and sent their crossbowmen in advance of the cavalry to assault the English lines. The effectiveness of the crossbowmen was limited by rain having soaked the strings of the crossbows reducing its effectiveness. The English archers had been able to keep their bow strings dry and only used them when the crossbowmen were in range. This led to the massacre of the crossbowmen and a retreat of the survivors who were then trampled by the advancing French cavalry. This also disrupted an already disorganized advance after a long march to the battlefield by the cavalry. The piecemeal assault of the French forces would lead to an English victory. ;Battle of Morgarten: In 1315, Swiss peasants, archers, and infantry a larger Austrian force. The Swiss had rebelled against Austrian rule and funneled the Austrian forces into easily defended passes in the Swiss mountains. The peasants and archers on the high ground effectively rained down arrows and rocks to disorganize the Austrian forces and the infantry charged in forcing the advance guard to retreat into the main body causing more confusion, as well as a general military retreat by the Austrian military. ;Battle of Auberoche: In 1345, an English army of about 1,200 men had been moving through the Périgord region of Gascony. The French army had caught up outside the town of Auberoche but did not know the English had hidden in the woods near where the French had encamped upon arrival. During the evening meal the French were surprised by an attack under the cover of English archers. The disorganized French forces were slaughtered and had no choice but to withdraw.


15th to 19th centuries

Generally the savanna cavalries of
West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania ...

West Africa
used a combined arms approach, seldom operating without supporting infantry. The French army of the Valois kings, composed of heavily armoured ''
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'' (professional versions of the medieval
knight A knight is a person granted an honorary title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualification. In so ...

knight
),
Swiss Swiss may refer to: * the adjectival form of Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial ...
and
Landsknecht The (also rendered as ''Landsknechts''; singular: , ) were Germanic mercenaries used in pike and shot formations during the early modern period. Consisting predominantly of pikemen and supporting infantry, foot soldiers, their front line was f ...

Landsknecht
mercenary A mercenary, sometimes known as a soldier of fortune, is a private individual, particularly a soldier, who takes part in military conflict War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societi ...

mercenary
pikemen A pike is a pole weapon A pole weapon or pole arm is a close combat Close combat means a violent physical confrontation between two or more opponents at short range.''MCRP 3-02B: Close Combat'', Washington, D.C.: Department Of The Navy, Hea ...
, and heavy cannons took form during the transition from the medieval way of war to the
early modern period The early modern period of modern history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and linguistics, and since the History of writing, adve ...
. The late
15th century The 15th century was the which spans the years () to (). The term is often used to refer to the 1400s, the century between 1400 and 1499. In , the 15th century includes parts of the , the , and the . Many technological, social and cult ...
saw the development of combined
pike and shot Pike, Pikes or The Pike may refer to: Fish * Blue pike or blue walleye, an extinct freshwater fish * Ctenoluciidae, the "pike characins", some species of which are commonly known as pikes * '' Esox'', genus of pikes ** Northern pike The nor ...
formations in
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
, starting with the ''colunelas'' of the
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
general A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate on Littoral Zone, littoral zone in suppo ...
Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba y Enríquez de Aguilar, 1st Duke of Santángelo (1 September 1453 – 2 December 1515) was a Spanish general and statesman who led successful military campaigns during the Conquest of Granada and the Italian W ...

Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba
, evolving into the ''
tercio A ''tercio'' (; Spanish for " third") was a military unit of the Spanish Army in the early modern period The early modern period of modern history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past ...

tercio
s'' of
Hapsburg Spain Habsburg Spain was the Spain of the 16th and 17th centuries (1516–1700) when it was ruled by kings from the House of Habsburg (also associated with its role in the history of Central and Eastern Europe). The Habsburg rulers (chiefly Charles I of ...
and the Imperial Army of the Holy Roman Empire during the
16th century The 16th century begins with the Julian calendar, Julian year 1501 (Roman numerals, MDI) and ends with either the Julian or the Gregorian calendar, Gregorian year 1600 (Roman numerals, MDC) (depending on the reckoning used; the Gregorian calend ...
. In Japan, at the
battle of Nagashino The took place in 1575 near Nagashino Castle on the plain of Shitarabara in the Mikawa Province of Japan. Takeda Katsuyori attacked the castle when Okudaira Sadamasa rejoined the Tokugawa shogunate, Tokugawa, and when his original plot with Oga Y ...

battle of Nagashino
(長篠の戦い) in 1575, forces of the
Oda clan The was a family of Japanese people, Japanese ''daimyōs'' who were to become an important political force in the unification of Japan in the mid-16th century. Though they had the climax of their fame under Oda Nobunaga and fell from the spotlig ...
successfully employed combined arms against the
Takeda clan The was a Japanese clan A clan is a group of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-cons ...
, which heavily relied on cavalry. The Oda army erected
palisade A palisade, sometimes called a stakewall or a paling, is typically a fence or defensive wall made from iron or wooden stakes, or tree trunks, and used as a defensive structure or enclosure. Palisades can form a stockade. Etymology ''Palisade'' ...
s to protect their
ashigaru were infantry employed by the samurai class of History of Japan#Medieval Japan, feudal Japan. The first known reference to ''ashigaru'' was in the 14th century, but it was during the Ashikaga shogunate (Muromachi period) that the use of ''ashiga ...
musketeers A musketeer (french: mousquetaire) was a type of soldier A soldier is one who fights as part of a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for war ...
that shot down the Takeda cavalry while their
samurai were the hereditary military nobility and officer caste of History of Japan#Medieval Japan (1185–1573/1600), medieval and Edo period, early-modern Japan from the late 12th century to their abolition in 1876. They were the well-paid retainer ...

samurai
cut down any enemies who managed to approach
melee A melee ( or , French: mêlée ) or pell-mell is disorganized hand-to-hand combat Hand-to-hand combat (sometimes abbreviated as HTH or H2H) is a physical confrontation between two or more persons at short range (grappling Grappling, in h ...
range. The 17th century saw increasing use of combined arms at lower (regimental) level. King
Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden Gustavus Adolphus (9 December
ld Style and New Style dates, N.S 19 December LD may refer to: Arts and entertainment Film and television *Lorraine "L.D." Delacorte, a character on the TV series ''Degrassi ''Degrassi'' is a Canadian teen drama In film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving pi ...
15946 November ld Style and New Style dates, N.S 16 November1632), also known in English as Gustav II Adolf or Gustav II Adolph, was King of Sweden from 1611 to 1 ...
was the proponent of the idea. For fire support he attached teams of "commanded musketeers" to cavalry units and fielded light 3-pounder guns to provide infantry units with organic artillery. In the eighteenth century, the concept of the legion was revived. Legions now consisted of
musketeer A musketeer (french: mousquetaire) was a type of soldier equipped with a musket. Musketeers were an important part of early modern warfare particularly in Europe as they normally comprised the majority of their infantry. The musketeer was a prec ...

musketeer
s,
light infantry Light infantry is a designation applied to certain types of foot soldiers (infantry) throughout history, typically having lighter equipment or Weapon, armament or a more mobile or fluid function than other types of infantry, such as heavy infa ...
,
dragoon Dragoons were originally a class of mounted infantry Mounted infantry were infantry at the Battle of the Somme The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme offensive, was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies ...

dragoon
s and
artillery Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch Ammunition, munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry firearms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach defensive walls and fortifications dur ...

artillery
in a
brigade A brigade is a major tactical military formation Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed forces of a State (polity), state so as to offer such military capability as a military policy, national de ...

brigade
sized force. These legions often combined professional military personnel with
militia A militia () is generally an army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land-b ...
. Perhaps the most notable example is the use of
light cavalry Light cavalry comprises lightly armed and armor Armour (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in Hist ...
,
light infantry Light infantry is a designation applied to certain types of foot soldiers (infantry) throughout history, typically having lighter equipment or Weapon, armament or a more mobile or fluid function than other types of infantry, such as heavy infa ...
and light
horse artillery Horse artillery was a type of light, fast-moving, and fast-firing artillery Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch Ammunition, munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry firearms. Early artillery develop ...
in advance detachments by France's
La Grande Armée Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the List of cities and towns in California, largest city in California. With an estimated population of nearly four millio ...
during the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major World war, global conflicts pitting the First French Empire, French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of Coalition forces of the Napoleonic W ...
.


Napoleonic Wars

After 25 years of near continuous warfare, the armies that met at the
Battle of Waterloo The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815, near Waterloo Waterloo most commonly refers to: * Battle of Waterloo, a battle on 18 June 1815 in which Napoleon met his final defeat :* Waterloo, Belgium, a municipality in Belgium fr ...

Battle of Waterloo
were organised in a similar manner–into corps which contained infantry, cavalry and artillery (see Order of battle of the Waterloo Campaign), and used similar combined arms tactics. Within each corps were divisions of infantry or cavalry made up of brigades and an artillery unit. An army would usually also have reserves of all three arms under the direct command of the army commander which could be sent in support of any corps or division of a corps to increase any arm which the army general considered necessary. The great French cavalry charge commanded by
Marshal Ney Michel Ney (), 1st Duke of Elchingen, 1st Prince of the Moskva (10 January 1769 – 7 December 1815), popularly known as Marshal Ney, was a French military commander and Marshal of the Empire Marshal is a term used in several official titles ...
during the battle failed to break Wellington's squares of infantry and Ney's failure to supplement his cavalry with sufficient horse artillery to break the squares open is usually given as a major contributing factor in the failure. It is an example of why generals needed to use combined arms to overcome the tactics used by enemy officers to frustrate an attack by a single arm of an army. In contrast the 27th (Inniskilling) suffered 478 casualties from an initial strength of 750 because of their exposure to attack by French combined arms. They were located near the centre of Wellington's line, but unlike most of the rest of Wellington's infantry were in a declivity on the exposed side of the Mont-Saint-Jean
escarpment An escarpment is a steep slope In mathematics, the slope or gradient of a line Line, lines, The Line, or LINE may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Films * ''Lines'' (film), a 2016 Greek film * ''The Line'' (2017 film) * ''The L ...

escarpment
. Exposed as they were, they were forced to stand in square for most of the day for fear of cavalry attack and so made an easy dense target for Napoleon's massed artillery.


20th-century developments

The development of modern combined arms tactics began in the
First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainmen ...
. Early in the Western Front, fighting descended into stagnant
trench warfare Trench warfare is a type of land warfare Ground warfare or land warfare is the process of military operations eventuating in combat that takes place predominantly on the battlespace land surface of the Earth, planet. Land warfare is categor ...

trench warfare
. Generals on both sides applied conventional military thinking to the new weapons and situations that they faced. In these early stages, tactics typically consisted of heavy artillery barrages followed by massed frontal assaults against well entrenched enemies. These tactics were largely unsuccessful and resulted in large loss of life. As the war progressed new combined arms tactics were developed, often described then as the "all arms battle". These included direct close
artillery Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch Ammunition, munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry firearms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach defensive walls and fortifications dur ...

artillery
fire support Fire support is defined by the United States Department of Defense as "Fires BBQ. Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction Product (chemistry), pr ...
for attacking soldiers (the
creeping barrage In military usage, a barrage is massed sustained artillery Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch Ammunition, munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry firearms. Early artillery development focused ...

creeping barrage
),
air support In military tactics, close air support (CAS) is defined as air action such as Airstrike, air strikes by Fixed-wing aircraft, fixed or rotorcraft, rotary-winged aircraft against hostile targets near friendly forces and require detailed integration ...

air support
and mutual support of
tank A tank is an armored fighting vehicle An armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) is an armed combat vehicle protected by armour, generally combining operational mobility with offensive and defensive capabilities. AFVs can be wheeled or tr ...

tank
s and infantry. One of the first instances of combined arms was the Battle of Cambrai, in which the British used tanks, artillery, infantry, small arms and air power to break through enemy lines. Previously such a battle would have lasted months with many hundreds of thousands of casualties. Co-ordination and planning were the key elements, and the use of combined arms tactics in the
Hundred Days Offensive The Hundred Days Offensive (8 August to 11 November 1918) often considered one of the deadliest battles of WW1 was a series of massive Allied An alliance is a relationship among people, groups, or sovereign state, states that have joined to ...
in 1918 allowed the Allied forces to exploit breakthroughs in the enemy trenches, forcing the surrender of the
Central Powers The Central Powers, also known as the Central Empires,german: Mittelmächte; hu, Központi hatalmak; tr, İttifak Devletleri / ; bg, Централни сили, translit=Tsentralni sili was one of the two main coalitions that fought World W ...
. In World War II combined arms was a fundamental part of some operational doctrines like the German
Blitzkrieg Blitzkrieg (, from ''Blitz'' lightning"+ ''Krieg'' war" is a method of warfare where the attacker spearheads an offensive using a rapid overwhelming force concentration Force concentration is the practice of concentrating a military forc ...

Blitzkrieg
or the Soviet deep battle doctrine, which was based on combining tanks, mobile units (mechanised infantry or cavalry) and infantry, while supported by artillery. In 1963 the
United States Marine Corps The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines, is the maritime land force service branch Military branch (also service branch or armed service) is according to common standard the subdivision of the na ...
formalized the concept of the
Marine Air-Ground Task Force Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF, pronounced MAG-TAF) is a term used by the United States Marine Corps to describe the principal organization for all missions across the range of military operations. MAGTFs are a balanced air-ground, combined ar ...
, which combined Marine aviation and Marine ground units for expeditionary missions. The
Vietnam War {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Vietnam War , partof = the Indochina Wars The Indochina Wars ( vi, Chiến tranh Đông Dương) were a series of wars fought in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled ...
had a profound influence on the development of the US Army's combined arms doctrine. Due to the very difficult terrain that prevented access to the enemy-held areas of operation, troops were often deployed by
air assault Air assault is the movement of ground-based military forces by vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft—such as the helicopter—to seize and hold key terrain which has not been fully secured, and to directly engage enemy forces behind en ...
. For this reason, US troops in Vietnam saw six times more combat than in preceding wars, due to less time spent on logistic delays. The result: an infantry unit increased in effectiveness by a factor of four for its size, when supported with helicopter-delivered ammunition, food and fuel. In time the US Army in Vietnam also learned to combine helicopter operations and airmobile infantry with the armoured and
artillery Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch Ammunition, munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry firearms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach defensive walls and fortifications dur ...

artillery
units operating from
fire support base A fire support base (FSB, firebase or FB) is a temporary military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically officially authorized and mai ...
s as well as the US
brown-water navy The term brown-water navy or riverine navy refers in its broadest sense to any naval force A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a Nation's armed forces principally designated for naval warfare, naval and amphibious warf ...
and
USAF The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Aerial warfare, air military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces, and is one of the eight uniformed services of the United States, U.S. uniformed services. Initially formed as a ...
Close Air Support In military tactics Military tactics encompasses the art of organizing and employing fighting forces on or near the battlefield A battlefield, battleground, or field of battle is the location of a present or historic battle A battle i ...
units supporting them. In the 1991
Gulf War The Gulf War was a war waged by coalition forces The term "coalition" is the denotation for a group formed when two or more people, factions, states, political parties, militaries etc. agree to work together temporarily in a partnership t ...
a mix of strikes by fixed-wing aircraft including
carpet bombing . 1300 people were killed in 3 days, in March 16-18th, 1938 , German bombers set the entire inner city ablaze, killing 814 inhabitants Image:Wesel 1945.jpg, 300px, Wesel was 97% destroyed before it was finally taken by Allied troops in 1945 Carpe ...
and precision bombing was used in combination with large numbers of strikes by attack helicopters. During the ground assault phase, tanks and other s supported by attack aircraft swept over remaining forces. The front line moved forward at upwards of 40–50 km/h at the upper limit of the Army's tracked vehicles.


Post Cold War (1993 to present)

In 2000, the US Army began developing a new set of doctrines intended to use information superiority to wage warfare. Six pieces of equipment were crucial for this:
AWACS#REDIRECT Airborne early warning and control An airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system is an airborne radar picket system designed to detect aircraft, ships and vehicles at long ranges and perform command and control of the battlespace ...
, an airborne look-down radar
JSTARS The Northrop Grumman E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) is a United States Air Force airborne ground surveillance, Battle Management, battle management and Command and control (military), command and control aircraf ...
,
GPS The Global Positioning System (GPS), originally Navstar GPS, is a satellite-based radionavigation system owned by the United States government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government) is the national ...

GPS
, the lowly
SINCGARS Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) is a Combat Net Radio (CNR) currently used by U.S. and allied military forces. The CNR network is designed around three systems: SINCGARS, the high frequency (HF) radio, and the SC tactic ...
VHF Very high frequency (VHF) is the designation for the range of s (s) from 30 to 300 (MHz), with corresponding wavelengths of ten meters to one meter. Frequencies immediately below VHF are denoted (HF), and the next higher frequencies are kn ...
digital radio, and ruggedized PCs. The mix is supplemented by satellite photos and passive reception of enemy radio emissions, forward observers with digital target designation, specialized scouting aircraft, anti-artillery radars and gun-laying software for artillery. Everything feeds into the network. Based on this doctrine, many US ground vehicles moved across the landscape alone. If they encountered an enemy troop or vehicle concentration, they would assume a defensive posture, lay down as much covering fire as they could, designate the targets for requested air and artillery assets. Within a few minutes, on station aircraft would direct their missions to cover the ground vehicle. Within a half-hour heavy attack forces would concentrate to relieve the isolated vehicle. In an hour and a half the relieved vehicle would be resupplied.


See also

*
Joint warfare Joint warfare is a military doctrine which places priority on the integration of the various service branches of a state's armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primar ...
*
Armoured warfare Armoured warfare or armored warfare (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United Sta ...
*
Battlegroup (army) A battlegroup (British/Commonwealth term), or task force A task force (TF) is a unit or formation established to work on a single defined task or activity. Originally introduced by the United States Navy ), (unofficial)."''Non sibi sed ...
*
Blitzkrieg Blitzkrieg (, from ''Blitz'' lightning"+ ''Krieg'' war" is a method of warfare where the attacker spearheads an offensive using a rapid overwhelming force concentration Force concentration is the practice of concentrating a military forc ...

Blitzkrieg
*
Close air support In military tactics Military tactics encompasses the art of organizing and employing fighting forces on or near the battlefield A battlefield, battleground, or field of battle is the location of a present or historic battle A battle i ...
*
Organic unit An organic unit is a military unit Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed forces of a state so as to offer such military capability as a national defense policy may require. In some countries paramili ...
*
Marine Air-Ground Task Force Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF, pronounced MAG-TAF) is a term used by the United States Marine Corps to describe the principal organization for all missions across the range of military operations. MAGTFs are a balanced air-ground, combined ar ...
*
Network-centric warfare Network-centric warfare, also called network-centric operations or net-centric warfare, is a military doctrine Military doctrine is the expression of how military forces contribute to campaigns, major operations, battle A battle is an o ...


References


Bibliography

*Thornton, John Kelly ''Warfare in Atlantic Africa'', 1500–1800, Routledge: 1999


Further reading

* * {{DEFAULTSORT:Combined Arms Armoured warfare Warfare post-1945 Warfare by type