Saturday, September 15, 2007

Cycling Generations

I came across an interesting blog recently, Netwars, that has a lot of good posts on 4GW including this one presenting some thoughts on the generation model as cyclical:

I posit these transformations are cyclical depending on technology and organizational capability.
In the Stone/Bronze age

1st generation – Spearmen
2nd generation –Archers following the Bow revolution
3rd generation – Bronze weapons and specialized armies with logistics
4th Generation – The Chariot revolution and conquests by the Steppe nomads

Iron Age in Europe

1st Generation – Greek hoplites
2nd Generation – Macedonian phalanx and heavy cavalry using hammer and anvil tactics
3rd Generation – Roman legions with flexible formations and long-distance maneuver
4th Generation – Germanic war bands and Steppe nomads

The 4th Generation Warfare of the Iron Age destroyed the Roman Empire. The Gunpowder Revolution brought back 1st generation military tactics.


Purpleslog said...

The blog looks interesting. I am going through their 4GW stuff now.

phil said...

Yeah, there's some good stuff there.

subadei said...

Good looking stuff. I've applied 3GW to the mongols given the superior maneuverability of their armies. It's good to see the xGW framework explored beyond the confines of Lind's chronological evolution (i.e 4GW was the advent of Mao, 3GW the German blitz, etc.)It brings a flexibility to the theory that makes for intriguing exploration and discussion that, imo, wouldn't otherwise exist.

phil said...

Hey Subadei,
I agree. I think if we're going to use the generation model then we need to apply it more broadly rather than just lumping vast amounts of history into the "premodern" war category. So I found Mike of Netwars' ideas interesting and worth thinking about.