Artillery: An Illustrated History of Its Impact

Artillery: An Illustrated History of Its Impact

Artillery: An Illustrated History of Its Impact

Artillery: An Illustrated History of Its Impact

Synopsis

Addressing its technical evolution as well as its military and social impact, this comprehensive reference shows how historic leaders such as Dionysus of Syracuse, the Ottoman sultan Mohammad II, Oliver Cromwell, and Napoleon Bonaparte were successful in battle because of their innovative use of artillery.

• Includes case studies of the wars of Louis XIV, the Napoleonic Wars, the American Civil War, and the Franco-Prussian War illustrating the impact of specific technical and strategic innovations in artillery

• Dozens of photographs and illustrations show various types of artillery, artillery mechanisms, and projectiles

Excerpt

Weapons both fascinate and repel. They are used to kill and maim individuals and to destroy states and societies, and occasionally whole civilizations, and with these the greatest of man’s cultural and artistic accomplishments. Throughout history tools of war have been the instruments of conquest, invasion, and enslavement, but they have also been used to check evil and to maintain peace.

Weapons have evolved over time to become both more lethal and more complex. For the greater part of human existence, combat was fought at the length of an arm or at such short range as to represent no real difference; battle was fought within line of sight and seldom lasted more than the hours of daylight of a single day. Thus individual weapons that began with the rock and the club proceeded through the sling and boomerang, bow and arrow, sword and axe, to gunpowder weapons of the rifle and machine gun of the late nineteenth century. Study of the evolution of these weapons tells us much about human ingenuity, the technology of the time, and the societies that produced them. the greater part of technological development of weaponry has taken part in the last two centuries, especially the twentieth century. in this process, plowshares have been beaten into swords; the tank, for example, evolved from the agricultural caterpillar tractor. Occasionally, the process is reversed and military technology has impacted society in a positive way. Thus modern civilian medicine has greatly benefited from advances to save soldiers’ lives, and weapons technology has impacted such areas as civilian transportation or atomic power.

Weapons can have a profound impact on society. Gunpowder weapons, for example, were an important factor in ending the era of the armed knight and the Feudal Age. They installed a kind of rough . . .

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