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Warfare & Battles in Ancient Greece

Warfare & Battles in Ancient Greece

We have prepared four lesson plans including classroom activities, assignments, homework, and keys as well as:

  • Multiple choice quiz questions in an excel format.
  • Glossary of keywords and concepts in an excel format.
  • Open questions adaptable for debates, presentations, and essays.
  • Recommended resources to provide you and your students with a comprehensive list of trustworthy references on the topic (includes all media types: videos, texts, primary resources, maps, podcasts, 3D models, etc.).
  • Tools to give your students such as tips to write a great essay.
  • Tools to make your life easier, such as marking grids.
  • Make sure to check out our games and quizzes on this topic too!

All our education material is varied and built to develop middle and high-school students' skills to succeed in social studies. You will also find several alternatives in the lesson plans to allow for differentiation and adaptation to your students' level of ability.

This pack includes all of the following topics:

  • Greek Forces
  • The Persian Wars
  • The Peloponnesian Wars
  • Alexander's Macedonian Empire

We are a non-profit organization and it is one of our goals to provide quality material to teachers by building engaging courses and finding reliable sources. If you want to join our team of volunteers and help us create great teaching resources, please contact us.

Warfare and Battles in Ancient Greece

We provide quality resources for teachers and homeschoolers on Ancient and Medieval History, our domain of expertise. Here you will always find lesson plans for your students, together with plenty of engaging activities and supporting material. Make sure to check out our collections where we gather, on a specific theme, articles (over 50 are audio), definitions, images (sometimes 3D), videos, maps from our website to help with class preparation and to make connections. Make history relevant!

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Four lesson plans including classroom activities, assignments, homework, and keys as well as:

  • Multiple choice quiz questions in an excel format
  • Glossary of keywords and concepts in an excel format
  • Open questions adaptable for debates, presentations, and essays
  • Recommended resources to provide you and your students with a comprehensive list of trustworthy references on the topic (includes all media types: videos, texts, primary resources, maps, podcasts, 3D models, etc.)
  • Tools to give your students such as tips to write a great essay
  • Tools to make your life easier, such as marking grids

Make sure to check out our games and quizzes on this topic too!
All our education material is varied and built to develop middle and high-school students’ skills to succeed in social studies. You will also find several alternatives in the lesson plans to allow for differentiation and adaptation to your students’ level of ability.

This pack includes all of the following topics:

  • Greek Forces
  • The Persian Wars
  • The Peloponnesian Wars
  • Alexander’s Macedonian Empire

We are a non-profit organization and it is one of our goals to provide quality material to teachers by building engaging courses and finding reliable sources. If you want to join our team of volunteers and help us create great teaching resources, please contact us.


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The Greco-Persian Wars [ edit | edit source ]

The Greco-Persian Wars (499-448 BC) were the result of attempts by the Persian Emperor Darius the Great, and then his successor Xerxes I to subjugate Ancient Greece. Darius was already ruler of the Greek cities of Ionia, and the wars are taken to start when they rebelled in 499 BC. The revolt was crushed by 494 BC, but Darius resolved to bring mainland Greece under his dominion. Many city-states made their submission to him, but others did not, notably including Athens and Sparta. Darius thus sent his commanders Datis and Artaphernes to attack Attica, to punish Athens for her intransigence. After burning Eretria, the Persians landed at Marathon. An Athenian army of c. 10,000 hoplites marched to meet Persian army of c. 20-60,000. [ citation needed ] The Athenians were at a significant disadvantage both strategically and tactically. Raising such a large army had denuded Athens of defenders, and thus any attack in the Athenian rear would cut off the Army from the City. Tactically, the hoplites were very vulnerable to attacks by cavalry [ citation needed ] , and the Athenians had no cavalry to defend the flanks. After several days of stalemate at Marathon, the Persian commanders attempted to take strategic advantage by sending their cavalry (by ship) to raid Athens itself. [ citation needed ] This gave the Athenian army a small window of opportunity to attack the remainder of the Persian Army.

The Greek wings (blue) envelop the Persian wings (red)

This was the first true engagement between a hoplite army and a non-Greek army. [ citation needed ] The Persians had acquired a reputation for invincibility, but the Athenian hoplites proved crushingly superior in the ensuing infantry battle. To counter the massive numbers of Persians, the Greek general Miltiades ordered the troops to be spread across an unusually wide front, leaving the centre of the Greek line undermanned. However, the lightly armored Persian infantry proved no match for the heavily armored hoplites, and the Persian wings were quickly routed. The Greek wings then turned against the elite troops in the Persian centre, which had held the Greek centre until then. Marathon demonstrated to the Greeks the lethal potential of the hoplite, and firmly demonstrated that the Persians were not, after all, invincible.

The revenge of the Persians was postponed 10 years by internal conflicts in the Persian Empire, until Darius's son Xerxes returned to Greece in 480 BC with a staggeringly large army (modern estimates suggest between 150,000-250,000 men). Many Greeks city-states, having had plenty of warning of the forthcoming invasion, formed an anti-Persian league though as before, other city-states remained neutral or allied with Persia. Although alliances between city-states were commonplace, the scale of this league was a novelty, and the first time that the Greeks had united in such a way to face an external threat. This allowed diversification of the allied armed forces, rather than simply mustering a very large hoplite army. The visionary Athenian politician Themistocles had successfully persuaded his fellow citizens to build a huge fleet in 483/82 BC to combat the Persian threat (and thus to effectively abandon their hoplite army, since there were not men enough for both). Amongst the allies therefore, Athens was able to form the core of a navy, whilst other cities, including of course Sparta, provided the army. This alliance thus removed the constraints on the type of armed forces that the Greeks could use. The use of such a large navy was also a novelty to the Greeks.

The second Persian invasion is famous for the battles of Thermopylae and Salamis. As the massive Persian army moved south through Greece, the allies sent a small holding force (c. 10,000) men under the Spartan king Leonidas, to block the pass of Thermopylae whilst the main allied army could be assembled. The allied navy extended this blockade at sea, blocking the nearby straits of Artemisium, to prevent the huge Persian navy landing troops in Leonidas's rear. Famously, Leonidas's men held the much larger Persian army at the pass (where their numbers counted for nothing) for three days, the hoplites again proving their superiority. Only when a Persian force managed to outflank them by means of a mountain track was the allied army overcome but by then Leonidas dismissed the majority of the troops, remaining with 300 Spartans (and perhaps 2000 other troops) to guard the pass, in the process making one of history's great last stands. The Greek navy, despite their lack of experience, also proved their worth holding back the Persian fleet whilst the army still held the pass.

Thermopylae provided the Greeks with time to arrange their defences, and they dug in across the Isthmus of Corinth, an impregnable position although an evacuated Athens was thereby sacrificed to the advancing Persians. In order to outflank the isthmus, Xerxes needed to use this fleet, and in turn therefore needed to defeat the Greek fleet similarly, the Greeks needed to neutralise the Persian fleet to ensure their safety. To this end, the Greeks were able to lure the Persian fleet into the straits of Salamis and, in a battleground where Persian numbers again counted for nothing, they won a decisive victory, justifying Themistocle's decision to build the Athenian fleet. Demoralised, Xerxes returned to Asia Minor with much of his army, leaving his general Mardonius to campaign in Greece the following year (479 BC). However, a united Greek army of c. 40,000 hoplites decisively defeated Mardonius at the Battle of Plataea, effectively ending the invasion. Almost simultaneously, the allied fleet defeated the remnants of the Persian navy at Mycale, thus destroying the Persian hold on the islands of the Aegean.

The remainder of the wars saw the Greeks take the fight to the Persians. The Athenian dominated Delian League of cities and islands extirpated Persian garrisons from Macedon and Thrace, before eventually freeing the Ionian cities from Persian rule. At one point, the Greeks even attempted an invasion of Cyprus and Egypt (which proved disastrous), demonstrating a major legacy of the Persian Wars: warfare in Greece had moved beyond the seasonal squabbles between city-states, to coordinated international actions involving huge armies. The ambitions of many Greek states had dramatically increased, and the tensions resulting from this would lead directly onto the Peloponnesian War.

Battle of Chaeronea, 338 BC

The decline of the Greek empire and the subsequent Macedonian rule under Alexander the Great, was a direct result of the Battle of Chaeronea and was fought in 338 BC between the Greek allied city-states and the forces of Philip II of Macedon. Though Philip had brought peace to the internally warring Greece, he had also claimed himself as the leader of the nation &ndash much to the chagrin of the independent and patriotic Greeks. As Athens attempted to break away from his leadership, and formed an alliance with a city Philip was trying to seize, he declared war on the state. The battle was at a stalemate for several months before Philip&rsquos forces advanced into the region and attempted to take Thebes and Athens. The large Macedonian army easily crushed the Greek forces. The battle is commonly seen as one of the most important in the Ancient World. The Greek city-states were defeated, Athens&rsquo power dwindled and the country came under the rule of the Macedonians for centuries.

Weapons of Ancient Greece

In ancient Greece, warriors developed from armed bands led by a certain leader. They shifted warfare from the rule of private individuals to the domain of the state. Groups or assemblies of elite people allowed wars.

For generals or Strategoi, they became accountable for all their actions. They were often elected for specific operations in the military or for fixed terms.

In the earlier times of the Greek Warfare, training became very disorganized. Also, weapons were often make-do pieces, and soldiers would only get paid if they met their quotas. They had no insignia or uniforms, and once the battle was over, the soldiers would go back to their farms.

By the 5th century of ancient Greece, the Sparta’s military skill became a model for all states to follow. With their well-trained, full-time and skilled army, the Spartans displayed professionalism in warfare.

What were the Weapons used for Warfare in Ancient Greece?

Early armies in ancient Greece consisted of foot soldiers coming from poor families. They battled with no more than spears and stones. This was because only the wealthy could afford horses and better weapons.

Yet as time passed, warfare became trickier: from battles in open areas to those in walled cities. The development in wars required various strategies and types of soldiers for battles. Yet the most vital elements in battle are the different weapons.

Below is a list of weapons used in ancient Greece’s warfare and battles.

The Spear – Was it Really Effective?

The spear or dory, was a vital weapon for warriors or Hoplites in ancient Greece. These were around 6 – 8 feet long and often made out of wooden shafts, sharp iron heads, and bronze butt. The bronze part found at the other end was often used for instances when the iron head breaks. Aside from these, the Hoplites also carried swords during battles.

Most of their swords had double edges and effective for stabbing and slashing. Despite this, the swords were secondary to the spear. This is because swords were only used after throwing a spear or when it breaks.

The spear was a strong and effective piece used for thrusting during one-on-one combat. If not, it was also a piece thrown as a missile-weapon in battles. In ancient Greece, preparing the spear for throwing required the use of an Ankyle. This was a leather thong attached to the spear’s shaft along its heart of mass.

Fashioned with a small loop, the ankyle used this to have the warrior insert his first two fingers. This is possible while they’re still holding their spear with is other fingers and thumb. While holding the weapon this way, the warrior would rest the spear in his palm.

Theoretically, the purpose of this was to increase the spear’s thrust. It is also for adding more distance to the throw. Yet the real effect of the Ankyle on its throw is still unknown.

Xiphos – Short & Deadly

The Spartan Hoplites also carried the Xiphos. This was a short sword which they used as an auxiliary weapon when the spear broke or if an enemy took it away. It is a close range piece that sometimes featured a midrib. The Spartans wore the Xiphos by hanging this from a baldric under one’s left arm.

For Greek warriors, the Xiphos’ blade often had a length of two feet. Those used by the Spartans usually ranged from 12 to 18 inches. Its cross section was either lenticular or diamond.

The Xiphos had a leaf-shaped design which was effective for both thrusting and cutting. Its design has been existing since the development of the first swords. Bronze and iron blades like the Xiphos are suitable for a leaf shape since these metals are soft unlike steel.

The shorter weapon of the Spartan proved to be deadly during the crush due to colliding phalanx formations. It was able to thrust through the gaps of the enemy armor and walls. This was advantageous since there was no room for lengthy weapons. The Spartans often targeted the throat and groin of the enemy.

What is the Kopis?

In ancient Greece, the Spartans chose to use the Kopis as an alternative for the Xiphos. This was their secondary weapon with a thick, curved iron blade. It measured a total of 65 centimeters which they used for hacking. It wielders used this like an axe than a sword. Athenian art often showed Spartan warriors wielding the Kopis.

The Kopis is a heavy knife that featured a forward-curving blade. It has a single edge unlike the Xiphos that has a dual edge. It is a cut and thrust sword. It was originally used for cutting meat, animal sacrifice, and ritual slaughter.

Wielders of the Kopis used this with one hand. People considered this to be more suitable for use while on horseback but it was also efficient when on foot.

What is the Ancient Bashing Shield?

The Spartans utilized their shield for defense. However, they could also use it when they needed to bash and knock down their enemies. It was also great for stunning opponents, giving enough room for the user to reach for another weapon. This also works as a blunt weapon for killing due to its weight and thin edge.

The Aspis was the ancient bashing shield that the Hoplites used. It was not only great for defense, but was also useful for surprise attacks. It was made out of wood and its outer layer was bronze. For its weight, it was around thirty pounds.

What is a Javelin and what are its Uses?

The Peltasts, who often served as skirmishers, equipped javelins. These usually came with throwing straps to add the stand-off power. The Peltasts threw their javelins at the phalanx of the enemy to break their lines. With that, the attacking army would take the chance to destroy their opponents’ weakened formation.

In the battle of Lechaeum, the Athenian general Iphicrates took advantage of the move of the Spartan Hoplite phalanx. The Phalanx was operating in an area near Corinth and they moved to the open field without without the protection of any missile-throwing troops. Iphicrates decided to ambush the Phalanx with his Peltasts and launched repeated hit-and-run attacks towards the Spartan formation. Iphicrates’ army was able to defeat the Spartans.

This was the first time that an army of Peltasts defeated a force of Hoplites in Greek military history.

The Thorakitai and Thureophoroi gradually replaced the Peltasts. They also used javelins together with a short sword and a long thrusting spear.

The javelin was effective as a hunting weapon and using straps added sufficient power to take down large game. Those in the Ancient Olympics and Panhellenic games also used this weapon. Participants threw the Javelin in a certain direction and whoever threw it the farthest with the tip hitting first would win the game.

The Laws of War in Ancient Greece

One of the earliest and the most famous statements of realism in international law comes from ancient Greece: the Melian dialogue in history of the Peloponnesian War. In 416 B.C.E., the Athenians invaded Melos, a small island in the Aegean that sought to remain neutral and avoid joining the Athenian empire. Thucydides presents an account of the negotiation between the Athenians and the Melian leaders. The Athenians offer the Melians a choice: become a subject of Athens, or resist and be annihilated. The Melians argue, among other things, that justice is on their side. The Athenians dismiss arguments from justice as irrelevant and reply with a statement that many scholars believe represents view: “We both alike know that in human reckoning the question of justice only enters where there is equal power to enforce it, and that the powerful exact what they can, and the weak grant what they must.”


Among the Greeks and Romans, dogs served most often as sentries or patrols, though they were sometimes taken into battle. [3] The earliest use of war dogs in a battle recorded in classical sources was by Alyattes of Lydia against the Cimmerians around 600 BC. The Lydian dogs killed some invaders and routed others. [4]

During the Late Antiquity, Attila the Hun used large war dogs in his campaigns. [1] Gifts of war dog breeding stock between European royalty were seen as suitable tokens for exchange throughout the Middle Ages. Other civilizations used armored dogs to defend caravans or attack enemies.

In the Far East, Vietnamese Emperor Lê Lợi raised a pack of 100 hounds, tended and trained by Nguyễn Xí, whose skills were impressive enough to promote him to the commander of a shock troop regiment. [5]

Later on, Frederick the Great of Prussia used dogs as messengers during the Seven Years' War with Russia. Napoleon also used dogs during his campaigns. Dogs were used until 1770 to guard naval installations in France. [ citation needed ]

The first official use of dogs for military purposes in the U.S. was during the Seminole Wars. [1] Hounds were used in the American Civil War to protect, send messages, and guard prisoners. [6] General Grant recounts how packs of Southern bloodhounds were destroyed by Union troops wherever found due to them being trained to hunt men. [7] Dogs were also used as mascots in American WWI propaganda and recruiting posters. [8]

Dogs have been used in warfare by many civilizations. As warfare has progressed, their purposes have changed greatly. [9]

  • Mid-seventh century BC: In the war waged by the Ephesians against Magnesia on the Maeander, their horsemen were each accompanied by a war dog and a spear-bearing attendant. Dogs were released first and broke the enemy ranks, followed by an assault of spears, then a cavalry charge. [10] An epitaph records the burial of a Magnesian horseman named Hippaemon with his dog Lethargos, his horse, and his spearman. [11]
  • 525 BC: At the Battle of Pelusium, Cambyses II used a psychological tactic against the Egyptians, arraying dogs and other animals in the front line to effectively take advantage of the Egyptian religious reverence for animals. [12]
  • 490 BC: At the Battle of Marathon, a dog followed his hoplite master into battle against the Persians and was memorialized in a mural. [13]
  • 480 BC:Xerxes I of Persia was accompanied by vast packs of Indian hounds when he invaded Greece. They may have served in the military and were possibly being used for sport or hunting, but their purpose is unrecorded. [14]
  • 281 BC:Lysimachus was slain during the Battle of Corupedium and his body was discovered preserved on the battlefield and guarded vigilantly by his faithful dog. [15]
  • 231 BC: Roman consul Marcus Pomponius Matho led the Roman legions through the inland of Sardinia. The inhabitants led guerrilla warfare, against the invaders, used "dogs from Italy" to hunt out the natives who tried to hide in the caves. [16]
  • 120 BC:Bituito, king of the Arverni, attacked a small force of Romans led by the consul Fabius, using just the dogs he had in his army. [17]
  • 1500s: Mastiffs and other large breeds were used extensively by Spanish conquistadors against Native Americans. [18]
  • 1914–18: Dogs were used by international forces to deliver vital messages. About a million dogs were killed in action. [19]Sergeant Stubby, a Bull Terrier or Boston Terrier, [2][20] has been called the most decorated war dog of World War I, and the only dog to be nominated for rank and then promoted to sergeant through combat. [21] Recognized in connection with an exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution. [21][22][23] Among many other exploits, he's said to have captured a German spy. [21] He also became mascot at Georgetown University. Rags was another notable World War I dog.
  • 1941–45: The Soviet Union deployed dogs strapped with explosives against invading German tanks, with limited success.
  • 1943–1945: The United States Marine Corps used dogs, donated by their American owners, in the Pacific theater to help take islands back from Japanese occupying forces. During this period, the Doberman Pinscher became the official dog of the USMC however, all breeds of dogs were eligible to train to be "war dogs of the Pacific". Of the 549 dogs that returned from the war, only four could not be returned to civilian life. Many of the dogs went home with their handlers from the war. [24]Chips was the most decorated war dog during World War II.
  • 1966–73: About 5,000 US war dogs served in the Vietnam War (the US Army did not retain records prior to 1968) about 10,000 US servicemen served as dog handlers during the war, and the K9 units are estimated to have saved over 10,000 human lives 232 military working dogs [25] and 295 [26] US servicemen working as dog handlers were killed in action during the war. An estimated 200 Vietnam War dogs survived the war to be assigned to other US bases outside the US. The remaining canines were euthanized or left behind. [27][28]
  • 2011: United States Navy SEALs used a Belgian Malinois military working dog named Cairo in Operation Neptune Spear, in which Osama bin Laden was killed. [29][30]
  • 2019: United States 1st SFOD-D operators used a male Belgian Malinois named Conan during the Barisha raid.
  • 2020: According to Democratic senator Richard Blumenthal, US military working dogs should be US breed instead of European. American breeders are said to become a necessity in the near term, Blumenthal said, solely due to increase in demand for the dogs. [31]

Dogs have been used for many different purposes. Different breeds were used for different tasks, but always met the demands of the handlers. Many roles for dogs in war are obsolete and no longer practiced, but the concept of the war dog still remains alive and well in modern warfare.

Fighting Edit

In ancient times, dogs, often large mastiff-type breeds, would be strapped with armor or spiked collars and sent into battle to attack the enemy. This strategy was used by various civilizations, such as the Romans and the Greeks. While not as common as in previous centuries, modern militaries continue to employ dogs in an attack role. SOCOM forces of the US military still use dogs in raids for apprehending fleeing enemies or prisoners, or for searching areas too difficult or dangerous for human soldiers (such as crawl spaces). [32]

Another program attempted during World War II was suggested by a Swiss citizen living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. William A. Prestre proposed using large dogs to kill Japanese soldiers. He convinced the military to lease an entire island in the Mississippi to house the training facilities. There, the army hoped to train as many as two million dogs. The idea was to begin island invasions with landing craft releasing thousands of dogs against the Japanese defenders, then followed up by troops as the Japanese defenders scattered in confusion. One of the biggest problems encountered was getting Japanese soldiers with whom to train the dogs, because few Japanese soldiers were being captured. Eventually, Japanese-American soldiers volunteered for the training. Another large problem was with the dogs either they were too docile, did not properly respond to their beach-crossing training, or were terrified by shellfire. After millions of dollars were spent with inconclusive results, the program was abandoned. [33]

The Soviet Union used dogs for antitank purposes beginning in the 1930s. Earlier antitank dogs were fitted with tilt-rod mines and trained to run beneath enemy tanks, which would detonate the mines automatically. However, the dogs were trained with stationary Russian tanks and very seldom ran under the moving tanks instead, they were shot as they ran beside the moving tanks. When both Russian and German tanks were present, the dogs would preferentially run towards the familiar Russian tanks.

Logistics and communication Edit

About the time World War I broke out, many European communities used dogs to pull small carts for milk deliveries and similar purposes. [34] Several European armies adapted the process for military use. [35] In August 1914, the Belgian Army used dogs to pull their Maxim guns on wheeled carriages and supplies or reportedly even wounded in their carts. [36] Two dogs of the sturdy and docile Martin Belge breed were used to pull each machine gun or ammunition cart. Already in common civilian use and cheap to buy and feed, the dogs proved hardier and more suitable for military use under fire than packhorses. [37] The dogs were officially withdrawn from military use in December 1916, although several months were needed before horse-drawn carts and motor vehicles had fully replaced them. [38]

The French had 250 dogs at the start of World War I. The Dutch army copied the idea and had hundreds of dogs trained and ready by the end of World War I (the Netherlands remained neutral). The Soviet Red Army also used dogs to drag wounded men to aid stations during World War II. [39] The dogs were well-suited to transporting loads over snow and through craters.

Dogs were often used to carry messages in battle. They were turned loose to move silently to a second handler. This required a dog that was very loyal to two masters, otherwise the dog would not deliver the message on time or at all. Some messenger dogs also performed other communication jobs, such as pulling telephone lines from one location to another. [ citation needed ]

A 2-kilogram (4-pound) Yorkshire terrier named Smoky was used to run a telegraph wire through a 10-to-20-centimetre-diameter (4-to-8-inch), 21-metre-long (70-foot) pipe to ensure communication without moving troops into the line of fire.

Mascots Edit

Dogs were often used as unit mascots for military units. The dog in question might be an officer's dog, an animal that the unit chose to adopt, or one of their canines employed in another role as a working dog. Some naval dogs such as Sinbad and Judy were themselves enlisted service members. Some units also chose to employ a particular breed of dog as their standard mascot, with new dogs replacing the old when it died or was retired. The presence of a mascot was designed to lift morale, and many were used to this effect in the trenches of World War I. An example of this would be Sergeant Stubby for the US Army. [40]

Medical research Edit

In World War II, dogs took on a new role in medical experimentation, as the primary animals chosen for medical research. [41] The animal experimentation allowed doctors to test new medicines without risking human lives, though these practices came under more scrutiny after the war. The United States' government responded by proclaiming these dogs as heroes.

The Cold War sparked a heated debate over the ethics of animal experimentation in the U.S., particularly aimed at how canines were treated in World War II. [41] In 1966, major reforms came to this field with the adoption of the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act. [42]

Detection and tracking Edit

Many dogs were used to locate mines. They did not prove to be very effective under combat conditions. Marine mine detecting dogs were trained using bare electric wires beneath the ground surface. [43] The wires shocked the dogs, teaching them that danger lurked under the soil. Once the dog's focus was properly directed, dummy mines were planted and the dogs were trained to signal their presence. While the dogs effectively found the mines, the task proved so stressful for the dogs they were only able to work between 20 and 30 minutes at a time. The mine-detecting war dogs anticipated random shocks from the heretofore friendly earth, making them extremely nervous. [ clarification needed ] The useful service life of the dogs was not long. Experiments with laboratory rats show that this trend can be very extreme in some tests. rats even huddled in the corner to the point of starvation to avoid electric shock.

Dogs have historically also been used in many cases to track fugitives and enemy troops, overlapping partly into the duties of a scout dog, but use their olfactory skill in tracking a scent, rather than warning a handler at the initial presentation of a scent.

Scouts Edit

All scout dogs must be taught the difference between human and animal scent. Some dogs are trained to silently locate booby traps and concealed enemies such as snipers. The dog's keen senses of smell and hearing would make them far more effective at detecting these dangers than humans. The best scout dogs are described as having a disposition intermediate to docile tracking dogs and aggressive attack dogs. [44] Scouting dogs are able to identify the opposing threat within 1,000 yards of area. This method of scouting is more efficient compared to human senses. [45]

Scout dogs were used in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam by the United States to detect ambushes, weapon caches, or enemy fighters hiding under water, with only reed breathing straws showing above the waterline. The US operated a number of scout-dog platoons (assigned on a handler-and-dog team basis to individual patrols) and had a dedicated dog-training school in Fort Benning, Georgia. [44]

Sentries Edit

One of the earliest military-related uses, sentry dogs were used to defend camps or other priority areas at night and sometimes during the day. They would bark or growl to alert guards of a stranger's presence. During the Cold War, the American military used sentry dog teams outside of nuclear weapons storage areas. A test program was conducted in Vietnam to test sentry dogs, launched two days after a successful Vietcong attack on Da Nang Air Base (July 1, 1965). Forty dog teams were deployed to Vietnam for a four-month test period, with teams placed on the perimeter in front of machine gun towers/bunkers. The detection of intruders resulted in a rapid deployment of reinforcements. The test was successful, so the handlers returned to the US while the dogs were reassigned to new handlers. The Air Force immediately started to ship dog teams to all the bases in Vietnam and Thailand.

The buildup of American forces in Vietnam created large dog sections at USAF Southeast Asia (SEA) bases 467 dogs were eventually assigned to Bien Hoa, Binh Thuy, Cam Ranh Bay, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Tuy Hoa, Phù Cát, Phan Rang, Tan Son Nhut, and Pleiku Air Bases. Within a year of deployment, attacks on several bases had been stopped when the enemy forces were detected by dog teams. Captured Vietcong told of the fear and respect that they had for the dogs. The Vietcong even placed a bounty on lives of handlers and dogs. The success of sentry dogs was determined by the lack of successful penetrations of bases in Vietnam and Thailand. The United States War Dogs Association estimated that war dogs saved over 10,000 U.S. lives in Vietnam. [46] Sentry Dogs were also used by the Army, Navy, and Marines to protect the perimeter of a large bases

Modern uses Edit

Contemporary dogs in military roles are also often referred to as police dogs, or in the United States and United Kingdom as a military working dog (MWD), or K-9. Their roles are nearly as varied as those of their ancient relatives, though they tend to be more rarely used in front-line formations. As of 2011, 600 U.S. MWDs were actively participating in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. [47]

Traditionally, the most common breed for these police-type operations has been the German Shepherd in recent years, a shift has been made to smaller dogs with keener senses of smell for detection work, and more resilient breeds such as the Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherd for patrolling and law enforcement. All MWDs in use today are paired with a single individual after their training. This person is called a handler. While a handler usually does not stay with one dog for the length of either's career, usually a handler stays partnered with a dog for at least a year, and sometimes much longer. [ citation needed ]

The latest canine tactical vests are outfitted with cameras and durable microphones that allow dogs to relay audio and visual information to their handlers. [ citation needed ]

In the 1970s, the US Air Force used over 1,600 dogs worldwide. Today, personnel cutbacks have reduced USAF dog teams to around 530, stationed throughout the world. Many dogs that operate in these roles are trained at Lackland Air Force Base, the only United States facility that currently trains dogs for military use. [48]

Change has also come in legislation for the benefit of the canines. Prior to 2000, older war dogs were required to be euthanized. The new law permits adoption of retired military dogs. [48] One notable case of which was Lex, a working dog whose handler was killed in Iraq.

Numerous memorials are dedicated to war dogs, including at March Field Air Museum in Riverside, California [49] the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia [49] at the Naval Facility, Guam, with replicas at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in Knoxville [50] the Alfred M. Gray Marine Corps Research Center in Quantico, Virginia [51] and the Alabama War Dogs Memorial at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, Alabama. [52]

Law enforcement Edit

As a partner in everyday military police work, dogs have proven versatile and loyal officers. They can chase suspects, track them if they are hidden, and guard them when they are caught. They are trained to respond viciously if their handler is attacked, and otherwise not to react at all unless they are commanded to do so by their handler. Many police dogs are also trained in detection, as well. [ citation needed ]

Drug and explosives detection Edit

Both MWDs and their civilian counterparts provide service in drug detection, sniffing out a broad range of psychoactive substances despite efforts at concealment. Provided they have been trained to detect it, MWDs can smell small traces of nearly any substance, even if it is in a sealed container. Dogs trained in drug detection are normally used at ports of embarkation such as airports, checkpoints, and other places where security and a need for anti-contraband measures exist. [ citation needed ]

MWDs can also be trained to detect explosives. As with narcotics, trained MWDs can detect minuscule amounts of a wide range of explosives, making them useful for searching entry points, patrolling within secure installations, and at checkpoints. These dogs are capable of achieving over a 98% success rate in bomb detection. [53]

Intimidation Edit

The use of MWDs on prisoners by the United States during recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has been controversial. [ citation needed ]

Iraq War: The United States has used dogs to intimidate prisoners in Iraqi prisons. [54] In court testimony following the revelations of Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse, it was stated that Colonel Thomas M. Pappas approved the use of dogs for interrogations. Private Ivan L. Frederick testified that interrogators were authorized to use dogs and that a civilian contract interrogator left him lists of the cells he wanted dog handlers to visit. "They were allowed to use them to . intimidate inmates", Frederick stated. Two soldiers, Sergeant Santos A. Cardona and Sergeant Michael J. Smith, were then charged with maltreatment of detainees, for allegedly encouraging and permitting unmuzzled working dogs to threaten and attack them. Prosecutors have focused on an incident caught in published photographs, when the two men allegedly cornered a naked detainee and allowed the dogs to bite him on each thigh as he cowered in fear. [55]

Guantanamo Bay: The use of dogs to intimidate prisoners in Iraq is believed to have been learned from practices at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. [55] The use of dogs on prisoners by regular U.S. forces in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base was prohibited by Donald Rumsfeld in April 2003. A few months later, revelations of abuses at Abu Ghraib prison were aired, including use of dogs to terrify naked prisoners Rumsfeld then issued a further order prohibiting their use by the regular U.S. forces in Iraq. [56]

Retirement Edit

Traditionally, as in World War II, US MWDs were returned home after the war, to their former owners or new adopted ones. The Vietnam War was different in that US war dogs were designated as expendable equipment and were either euthanized or turned over to an allied army prior to the US departure from South Vietnam. [57] Due to lobbying efforts by veteran dog handlers from the Vietnam War, Congress approved a bill allowing veteran US MWDs to be adopted after their military service. In 2000, President Bill Clinton signed a law that allowed these dogs to be adopted, [58] making the Vietnam War the only American war in which US war dogs never came home. [28] [59]

Other roles Edit

Military working dogs continue to serve as sentries, trackers, search and rescue, scouts, and mascots. Retired MWDs are often adopted as pets or therapy dogs.

Warfare & Battles in Ancient Greece - History

No. 1941:

John Lienhard presents guest Robert Zaretsky

Today, our guest, historian Robert Zaretsky, talks about the Greek use of war. The University of Houston presents this series about the machines that make our civilization run, and the people whose ingenuity created them.

C lausewitz famously wrote that war is nothing but the continuation of politics by other means. An example from ancient Greece reveals an unexpected depth to this dictum.

In Herodotus' History, a Persian commander, preparing to invade Greece, dismisses its inhabitants: they fight, he sneers, "out of mere ignorance and stupidity." Having arranged themselves on the "fairest and most level piece of ground" they simply charge one another. The result: great losses for the winners, even greater losses for the losers.

As it happens, at the battle of Marathon in 490 BCE, the Athenians behaved stupidly -- and won handily. How? Their tactics were inseparable from their politics. Historian Victor Davis Hanson invites us to reconsider the genius of the Greeks -- not only in the arts, but also in war.

The Athenians who confronted the Persians were not trained soldiers. Rather, they were what the Greeks called hoplites: citizen soldiers who carried their own armor and weapons. The armor, which tipped the scale at sixty pounds, included a shield, called the hoplon. (How telling that these soldiers should be named after this particular tool!)

Usually ranged in eight rows, the hoplites formed a phalanx. Each hoplite's shield, held by the left arm, also protected the man directly to his right. Once having closed with the enemy, the phalanx's front rows bristled with spears and swords. And those in the back rows? They hunched behind their shields and they pushed. And pushed yet more, their goal to collapse the enemy line and thus end the contest.

The young fight our wars in ancient Greece, war knew no age. Athenian hoplites were as young as 18, as old as 60, the old men (like Socrates) tempering the inexperience of young men. The poor usually fight our wars in ancient Greece, war knew no class. Great merchants fought alongside modest landholders, artists next to artisans. The tragic playwright Aeschylus wished only to be remembered for having fought at Marathon. Hence the great morale of the citizen soldiers of Athens: not only was their democracy direct and participatory, so too was their view of war and death.

Citizens could not fight long battles: farms and vineyards would not wait. Thus the genius of Greek battle: it was nasty, brutish and short. A good thing too: once the battle was decided, the hoplites returned home, picking up again the private lives they had left behind.

Nietzsche wrote that the ancient Greeks were superficial out of profundity. With shock battle, it's as if the Greeks decided that sharper and shorter violence was more humane. It is only now that humankind has become truly stupid, maintaining ancient Greek tactics in an age of advanced technology, thus transforming armies into killing machines that the Greeks were incapable of imagining. Having taken this invention of the Greeks and made it grotesque, we can only envy their superficiality.

I'm Rob Zaretsky, at the University of Houston, where we're interested in the way inventive minds work.

(Theme music)
Robert Zaretsky is professor of French history in the University of Houston Honors College, and the Department of Modern and Classical Languages.

V. D. Hanson, The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical Greece. (New York: Knopf, 1989)

Herodotus, The History. (translated by David Grene) (Chicago: Uni-versity of Chicago Press, 1987)

Greek helmet at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. (Photo by John Lienhard)

Greco-Roman Ancient Warfare Tactics In Summary

Perseus Surrenders to Aemilius Paulus by Jean-François-Pierre Peyron , 1802, via the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts

Beginning with the Greeks, furthered by the Macedonians, Spartans, Romans, and Egyptians , ancient warfare strategy was as ubiquitous as the Greek or Latin language in this era. Be it infantry or cavalry formation strategy, each culture of the ancient world provided its own flare and styling in ancient combat.

These infantry formations first implemented in ancient warfare prove timeless: some two thousand years later, Napoleon would deploy similar tactics to protect his infantry from cavalry charges.

Depiction of ancient Greek hoplites in the phalanx formation on the Chigi Vase , ca. 650-640 BCE, via Brown University, Providence

The ancient Chinese military strategy text known as the Art of War , written by Sun Tzu in the 5th century BCE, offers strategic thought on the battlefield. Though no direct battlefield formations are discussed, the art of skillfully employing a strategy to decimate the enemy with minimal costs proves to be the most crucial part of warfare. Strategy is the most effective means of doing so. Without the fundamentals established in ancient warfare, the political scape of the ancient world would have been completely different.

Watch the video: Η πυγμαχία στην Αρχαία Ελλάδα (January 2022).