Modern Warfare - US civil V Crimean


Modern Warfare - US civil (Technology and Weapons) V Crimean (Communication and Transport)


  • Trains - CR - The first war where the railway was constructed for military purposes was the Crimean War. It was 7 miles long and was built between Balaclava and Sevastopol. The Crimean War altered the purpose of the railway, trains were now to haul equipment and supplies to the trenches and to evacuate the wounded, not move freight or passengers.  Military railways proved to be a great advantage, as it would enable once vast expanses of warfare to be crossed quickly and safely, which is an incredible alteration in warfare. This is an evident revolution in warfare as troops would no longer have to face the gruelling marches across wastelands that was seen in the French Invasion of Russia in 1812, where the Russian terrain and weather severely limited the efficiency of the Grande Armée, and when the Russian winter arrived, Napoleon could have easily called for supplies from his supply base if he had a railway system.  Michael Portillo would go as far as saying the First World War could never have happened if it had not of been for the railway systems, as they were critical in providing resources for 4 years.
  • Communication - CR - The Crimean War saw the first major tactical and strategic use of the electrical telegraph.  Strategically, the telegraph connected British and French commanders to Paris in London during the Crimean War, which where for the first time, commanders were in intimate contact with their political masters. Tactically, the Crimean War saw the first deployment of a Telegraph troop, with wagons, a cable cart, and 24 miles of copper wire and by the end of the Crimean, 8 headquarters had been connected.              Thus communication by cable was a revolution as orders could now be exercised in near real time. the Napoleonic Wars used a Semaphore Line that was a type of mechanical telegraph. This was a secure and effective way that Napoleon coordinated his forces. However, the Crimean War sees the revolutionized telegraph that cannot be compared to Semaphore, as the speed of the telegraph sent message within two days and could move across vast amounts of land, one line being 830km from Warsaw to St Petersburg.  Also thanks to the mass production seen in the Industrial Revolution, many receiving telegraph stations could be set up, 220 made up the Warsaw Link. This meant messages could be sent almost anywhere, not like the Semaphore, which had to be within eyesight distance.  By the First World War, the allies were still using Morse telegraphy alongside voice telegraphy. Whilst the telegraph is still used, the First World War had developed it developed into wireless telegraphy. The telegraph had also influenced new departments to set up, to find ways to intercept the enemy’s telegraphy, and portable Morse telegraph systems had also been designed. Communications had also expanded to include a larger theatre of war, to a point where co-existent networks provided coverage for the First World War, connecting direction finding departments with artillery aiming and air defense for example, thus better electrical telegraphs brought communication systems to a remarkable high level of finesse.
  • Empathy - CR - The first example is the birth of a modern military-media relationship due to first hand written reports of determination, discipline, heroism, endurance, good humour, misery and suffering and this became a sheer novelty to the public at home. Thus, because of these reports and pictures, for the first time in British history, public opinion was deeply stirred by the sufferings of the troops. Prior to the Crimean War, editors employed junior army officers to send letters home. But in the Crimean War, War Correspondents were employed like William Russell to send home critical and uncensored reports.  The public read these reports with enthusiasm, and even though a selection of the population was illiterate, anybody was able to understand an image of grotesque affairs.In depth details about the war were written about and for the first time, soldiers were now portrayed as heroes, and no longer the scum of the earth.This resorted in a new attitude towards the soldiers that made people feel more responsible for the care of the soldiers and due to the speed of transport and communications; they could actually help the soldiers in some way now, for example, the public were very concerned the governments were not doing enough to provide for the soldiers. Sir Robert Peel and Sir Moses Montefiore subscribed £200 to procure nurses and comforts to the soldiers. The Royal Patriotic fund was sent up to support widows and orphans of that war. This was the beginning the civilian effort to provide for the war effort and this would be seen to have increased on an enormous scale, with 529 societies fundraising to provide for soldiers as of today. BY WW1/WW2 people were so desperate to their part for the war effort and support the troops, those that didn't were subjected to ridicule. Women got involved in armaments, nursing, farming, etc and propaganda arrived due to the increased need to conscript which saw greater empathy, also, the fact whole towns of Brigades and greater numbers of men fought, more children and women lost their men.
  • Empathy - US C - Fundraising for soldiers can later be seen in the American Civil War where charity stamps were sold in Boston in 1862 for soldiers.
  • Women - CR -  The Times was able to inform the public of the terrible conditions in the Crimea. Correspondent Chenery was the first to write that there was no sufficient medical care for the wounded, and this inspired Nightingale to offer her services. Prior to the Crimean War, leaders such as Napoleon and Wellington, despised having women in war and often confined them to the barracks, many of which were prostitutes.  The War Office was initially reluctant to send nurses to finding the idea too radical and it was untrained men that were found to be supervising the sick. With the acceptance of Sir Sidney Herbert she and 38 nurses went to Scutari. Florence Nightingale was a unique character and brought very modern practices to the Crimean War, especially the newfound theory of sanitation in Military Hospitals.  Florence Nightingale was an excellent commander and was given responsibly over the nurses in the Crimean that she organised with strict discipline. She also established an Army Medical Board and was also able to influence leading politicians such as the Secretary of War who was willing to listen to her ideas for reform. Florence Nightingale had become a powerful authority figure and she even persuaded a royal commission to investigate the conditions suffered in the Crimean War. It is from this point we see Nightingale as a leading figure in female liberation and increase in the amount of work that women could do in the army, by the Second Boer War, 800 female nurses had been employed into the army. There had been heroic women in warfare prior to the Crimean War, however this is limited to examples like Catherine Baland of the 95th during the Napoleonic Wars, who simply distributed goods and encouraged fighting, thus is in no way comparable to the revolutionary authority of Nightingale and her dedication to modern medical practises and ability to make women as nurses in battle acceptable. Women in WW1 - Women also volunteered and served in a non-combatant role; by the end of the war, 80,000 had enlisted. They mostly served as nurses in the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS), the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY), founded in 1907, also known as the “Princess Royal’s Volunteer Corps”. founded in 1907, also known as the “Princess Royal’s Volunteer Corps”. the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD); and from 1917, in the Army when the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), was founded. The WAAC was divided into four sections: cookery; mechanical; clerical and miscellaneous - even some women went into combat taking on sniper roles like the Ottomans.
  • Women - US C - By the American Civil War, the Sanitary Commission consulted Nightingale in attempt to adopt her modern sanitation skills that she used in the military hospitals in the Crimea. And similarly, began employing female nurses into military hospitals just as Nightingale had done in Crimea.
  • God - CR - Even secularisation that began in the early Seventeenth-Century was revisited as the public were beginning to show concern as to what would happen to a dead soldier if there were no heaven. This again links to the industrial revolution as it had and impact on alienating the working classes from the church. This similar to secularisation seen in the First World War, where Protestant and Catholic clergy struggled to explain the seemingly senseless horrors of the war to their congregation. This alongside the horrific reports in real time had an effect on the public, towards a more humanitarian attitude towards soldiers as the public became attached to the soldiers that were dying for them, as their brave reward may no longer be paradise.


  • Submarines - The CSS Hunley was the first submarine to attack a warship successfully. In 1864, the Hunley rammed the Union's corvette Housatonic in Charleston Harbor, successfully setting a torpedo into the ship's hull. This was the method used to deploy torpedoes before the self-propelled torpedo was developed a few years later.
  • Mines - A countermeasure to the Union's blockades, the Confederate States developed the first naval mines. When a ship contacted a mine it would explode and sink the hapless ship. The mines were promising and sank at least forty Union ships.
  • Torpedoes - The successes with mining ports to destroy Union ships eventually resulted in their application to ships directly, bringing forth the modern torpedo. One early approach to torpedo warfare was to tow an explosive charge on a line about 200 feet (61 metres) back from the submerged attack craft. After the attack craft had passed beneath the target ship, the towed torpedo would hopefully contact the hull and detonate.
  • Ordinance - There were several notable advances in ordnance during the Civil War period. For one thing, this was the first war where widespread use of rifles by infantrymen occurred. Rifled muzzle-loading muskets gradually replaced the smooth bore muzzle-loading muskets that were issued at the beginning of the war. Finally, near the end of the war, breech-loading rifles became available. Before this, rifles had been in limited use and were not generally available for use by infantrymen. Improved manufacturing methods made rifling the bore easier and rifles replaced muskets by the end of the war. Rifling increased the range and accuracy of firearms substantially and may have had a significant effect on the high number of fatalities in the war. Spencer and Henry rifles revolutionized firearms design by using manufactured metal cartridges for ammunition. Both the Spencer and the Henry could be loaded in a fraction of the time required to load a musket. However, the Henry rifle took a little longer to load than the Spencer rifle, but it had a twelve-shot magazine. The Henry rifle used more powerful ammunition than the Spencer rifle did.
  • Iron clad ships - US C - The Union and Confederate navies began to cover their gun-ships with amor plate so that they could better withstand engagements. The practice showed great promise and the ironclad ships were formidable adversaries for traditional wooden ships in use at that time. - demonstrated that the wooden ship-of-the-line was now obsolete.  War set the path for further developments, such as adding turrets and replacing the sails with engines and laying the foundations for the first pre-dreadnought called HMS Hibernia in 1890. This clearly shows designs for the dreadnoughts of the First World War lay thanks to the early ironclads of the Civil War.
  • Gatling Gun - One important invention that became operational during the Civil War was the Gatling gun. It was one of the first rapid-fire guns and a predecessor of the modern machine gun. Richard J. Gatling, set out to create a weapon so devastating that it would make the idea of war so horrible that war would become unthinkable thus ending all wars. He did succeed in creating a weapon that was very devastating for its day, but the effect was that it made killing much more efficient, thereby making his invention a complete failure when considered in light of his intended purpose.

Overall comparison

The First Modern war can only be credited to the Industrial Revolution making it possible to smelt more iron ore due to advancements in the mining of coal via steam pumps. The access iron could then be used on the battlefield to improve weaponry and technology, but also improvements in communication vs empathy over soldiers and medical care vs status of women. In the case of the US civil war, it would be down to inventors and entrepreneurs who persuaded the war office to experiment with their products, in aim of making a profit. How was the Industrial Rev responsible - Trains - The Industrial Revolution also modernised the Crimean War by vitally improving transport systems from the 1750s to the 1900s, with the innovation in transport stemming from the invention of the steam engine that accumulated from the Industrial Revolution.  Telegraph - The electrical telegraph is again, due to the Industrial Revolution, succeeded in exploiting electrical impulses for communications due to Samuel Morse and his fully functioning electrical telegraph created in 1844.  This is because Britain had access to large cheap quantities of iron due to the improvements in industry, thus he was able to use to transmit coded messages great distance.Reports/Empathy - Their correspondents had come about due to the ability to send information to the hungry newspapers at home, quickly due to the telegraph. These could also be sent in days rather than months due to the Industrial Revolution increasing the speed of communications via steamships and the telegraph which itself is a modern feat of technology. Although the Crimean War can be seen as a failure - this is not down to the improvements made but were more down to human error, for example - And although the Crimean War is renowned for its failure to supply troops, the supply departments are to blame for this, and not to do with the failures of the railway systems. - miscommunication between Captain Nolan and Lord Raglan in relation to the Charge of the Light Brigade; however, this message was written on paper and was not by fault of the telegraph. 


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