Which Technological Innovations Changed the Way War Is Fought?


Quick Answer

Technological innovations that changed warfare include the saddle stirrup and the mechanical engine. The stirrup transformed cavalry and the role of the horse on the battlefield. The mechanical engine allowed the creation of armored battleships, tanks and warplanes.

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Full Answer

The advent of the stirrup allowed for heavier armament and greater control while riding horses in combat. The stirrup’s introduction on the battlefield revolutionized warfare and was a major factor in the creation of the warrior classes in eastern and western cultures. The stirrup dates back to the fourth century A.D. in China and the eighth century in Europe.

The advent of the mechanical engine mechanized warfare in the 19th and 20th centuries. The steam engine made possible iron-hulled naval warships and railroads. The United States developed the first iron warship, USS Michigan, in 1844. The U.S. Civil War was the first war that utilized railroads as a strategic instrument.

Further progress of the engine allowed the invention of strategic combat aircraft and the battle tank. Warplanes and battle tanks first developed during World War I. However, both became significant tactical and operational factors at the onset of World War II, and they continued to be major factors in warfare through the end of the 20th century.

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