Has technology removed all honour and skill from warfare?

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I believe that there was never honour. Honour was started to keep the lords from abusing their peasants and prisoners during war. Skill is still an integral part of war. Whether it be in the form of a sword or Stinger. The only difference in my opinion is that in ancient warfare it was much easier to carve out a name as a good warrior because of the fewer number of combatants in the first place, so your attitude would often show in your reputation, and most people would rather be thought of fondly. The other side is that the bards are the ones who would spread stories of conquest and fame, and few people want to know that their lord goes around raping and pillaging at will, so the bards would often change the story to have a good vs. evil scenario. As for me, I would rather fight as a Viking because of my size and strength. In modern context that would make me an easier target for a stray bullet,and I like the idea of fighting in bloody melee.

trty00:
There are no more clear-cut villains, there are no more unambiguous victories, there's no more room for Jingoism, and nationalism, in warfare. And if you ask me? That's a good thing.

You really think there's none of that in the modern world? Oh geez...

P.S. Save for very few individuals, there have NEVER been "villains."

Why do honor and skill matter in warfare? Trying to survive would be the only thing I care about.

A form of honor and skill has always continued to exist even in modern warfare. That kid with the AK-47 can still be killed just the same way. Tanks can still be destroyed. That plane dropping bombs on above can still be at risk, or forced into a one on one dogfight with another plane. There is still putting ones life on the line, which takes honor and bravery in itself. That has always been a constant.

Until now, anyway... Now that the ultimate form of cowardice has become the future of modern weaponry in the West. Drones. Unmanned weapons. No longer does that pilot have to put themselves at risk. No longer does the operator have to assess the situation, and make the decision whether to end the lives of their targets. Now, its just becoming a damn expensive video game.

Drones, like WMDs, in my opinion, are one technology that should not exist in warfare. If your cause isn't worth putting your very life at risk for, it isn't worth fighting for.

Just like Google Earth and GPS have removed all of the mystery and thrill of exploration from the world.

HarryScull:

also the last fucking insult you made on a whole post of fucking insults was saying that luck is involved, which it is not. In war everything is skill, you used the example of mines and air support but and an infantrymen you take precautions against that and try and out skill the mine planters/pilots its not as though they just walk around randomly hoping they dont get "unlucky" and step on a mine/air support, fuck no! you take precautions against that shit and use skill to detect and deal with mines/air support and the same goes for anything else

also just in case my above comments haven't made it perfectly clear if you give a 14 year old kid with 0 training against a professional solder, the kid is literally 0 threat to the professional solder, he will win that battle 100:100 times easily

if the wall of text is to big to read just so you know I think you are 100% wrong and displays a level of ignorance and insult (intentional or not) rarely seen outside of fox news

I agreed with most of your post up until this point. As much as skill is important in warfare, sometimes you do get unlucky and when that happens you die. Your on patrol in Afghanistan and at a checkpoint an an IDE goes off in a truck that you're about to check, dead. You're unit is advancing when a stray artillery round lands on you, dead. You're a Japanese soldier stationed at Hiroshima when the bomb goes off, dead.

Skill is about giving the enemy as few chances as possible, while giving yourself as many chances as possible and learning to use these chances as best you can. No amount of training can prevent any enemy from getting any chance to kill you because sometimes a six year old with a gun can kill a professional soldier, but that doesn't mean an army of them would be worth a damn.

When your intestines have spilled on the ground, I doubt it matters much to you whether it's because of a sword held by an "honorable" opponent, or an IED you tripped over. You're still about to be dead.

chimeracreator:

HarryScull:

also the last fucking insult you made on a whole post of fucking insults was saying that luck is involved, which it is not. In war everything is skill, you used the example of mines and air support but and an infantrymen you take precautions against that and try and out skill the mine planters/pilots its not as though they just walk around randomly hoping they dont get "unlucky" and step on a mine/air support, fuck no! you take precautions against that shit and use skill to detect and deal with mines/air support and the same goes for anything else

also just in case my above comments haven't made it perfectly clear if you give a 14 year old kid with 0 training against a professional solder, the kid is literally 0 threat to the professional solder, he will win that battle 100:100 times easily

if the wall of text is to big to read just so you know I think you are 100% wrong and displays a level of ignorance and insult (intentional or not) rarely seen outside of fox news

I agreed with most of your post up until this point. As much as skill is important in warfare, sometimes you do get unlucky and when that happens you die. Your on patrol in Afghanistan and at a checkpoint an an IDE goes off in a truck that you're about to check, dead. You're unit is advancing when a stray artillery round lands on you, dead. You're a Japanese soldier stationed at Hiroshima when the bomb goes off, dead.

Skill is about giving the enemy as few chances as possible, while giving yourself as many chances as possible and learning to use these chances as best you can. No amount of training can prevent any enemy from getting any chance to kill you because sometimes a six year old with a gun can kill a professional soldier, but that doesn't mean an army of them would be worth a damn.

I have to accept this point, I was a bit extreme (as you can probably tell I was pretty pissed of while I was writing this) and while luck is still involved you use skill to massively reduce your odds of being killed by something like, and almost all deaths can be attributed to a solder doing something wrong as opposed to "wrong place wrong time" (for example, you can dig in to avoid a mortar and take the appropriate action to disable its threat but no amount of skill can stop that 1 in a thousand shell that lands in your foxhole)

not meaning to be a dick or be disrespectful to dead solders but that's just how it is

I see your point, and even agreed at one time, but I've met a Korean War veteran and an active-duty Marine. Both were honorable men, and both were rather skilled. So I guess I'll say no.

Still, forget about war, you run the risk of slipping in the shower, or rolling out of bed in your sleep and dying. It's best not to dwell on it.
Keep calm and carry on.

I suppose nowadays you can't do much to "block" incoming blows ie bullets like you used to. Then again, the ability to block didn't help you in the old days when another guy walked up behind you while you were fighting his friend and cut your legs out from under you and left you to drown in the mud. If war way back when was less capricious, it wasn't for the lack of trying. And as people have pointed out, history is full of wily "unfair" tactics winning over bravado. Look at Agincourt. As I recall, the English let the French cavalry get mired in the mud and by their own plate armor and shot them full of arrows.

I do know that war is much harder to romanticize now; sure it's glamorized but in popular consciousness that glamorization is not nearly as total as it used to be. Back in the old days you didn't really get much by way of anti-war media, and even those that acknowledged that war wasted lives (epic poems, etc) tended to go "well, at least they died in a kinda cool way." I think that's all part of the reason why we tend to remember it so fondly and write recreate it in stories about badass guys with swords bashing each other and saving the world. Generally you don't see the same sort of treatment for, say, the Vietnam war.

theparsonski:
that was, say, 300 SAS men against even 2000 Taliban insurgents, I reckon the Taliban would end up winning.

It's actually a huge amount more about luck than it is skill nowadays.

Of course the SAS would not stand against 2000 insurgents...
the SAS are not light infantry, they are specialists.

If you took 300 Light Infantry...
US Marines, US Rangers, US 101st Airborne, UK Royal Marines, French Chasseurs Alpins...

i don't think the insurgents would stand a chance...

evilthecat:

/snip

Yeah this guy has it right. Most medieval soldiers didn't use swords, instead sticking with pole arms like spears. Swords were complicated weapons with relatively short range that could easily hit allies or walls with wide swings if you weren't careful.

Spears on the other hand had a really big range, were pretty simple to use, and because they were designed for stabbing they could operate easily in tight spaces and with a lot of other people close by.

Eventually the pike and the lance pretty much dominated melee battle. Knights stuck to riding on horseback and using lances and foot soldiers, like evilthecat said, got close together and held out their pikes as a primary strategy.

I think people also misunderstand the honour aspect of the middles ages and how it can change. Crossbows by the English during the 100 years war were seen as unhonourable because any idiot could use them whereas with a bow like a welsh/english longbow which could draw at a poundage of anywhere between 100-185lbs and I bet near enough most people here couldn't draw that if they tried never mind fire continuously for 20 shots. For example I do a bit of archery and I can draw 50 comfortably for about an hour but even that can be a strain and I'm probably of average strength and so required a life of training from a young age hence the old english law that every boy must practice archery on a sunday.

Their was also the French (I think though it could have been Milanese) General who refused to use cannons because he thought they were to unhonourable and would rather mow down the enemy with a glorious cavalry charge.

But armies get past this and develop the best weapons possible and incorporate them into their technology. You also have to take into account that armies didn't fight honourably most of the time anyway actually the battle of Agincourt was a good example of this.

The British were outnumbered and running out of supplies and weren't receiving reinforcements anytime soon and so utilised the best bet they had to perfection that being the longbow. They sat on a hill and laid out stakes at the bottom and dug pit holes and muddied up the area to make it as hard to traverse as possible on horseback (The French having some of the best cavalry known at that time if not the best). The French infantry went in first to try and absorb some arrows and act as fodder but were making slow progress and were getting mown down to quickly and so the cavalry just ran them over pretty much and got trapped in the mud with horse legs breaking on the pits. The English had some right fun after that because they descended down the hill and just got out their knives and sliced the necks through the armour joints of the French nobility since they couldnt get up because they were wearing heavy plate and were being weighed down by the mud. Not exactly the battle that the french wanted but it was brutal efficient and effective and a great example of old military tactics and history for the English and a massive blunder for the French.

If you think war was ever honourable, you must be seriously delusional. War has never been honourable, its always been just a gigantic cluster fuck with innocent people dieing left and right for some retarded asshole who calls the shots. But since you brought up Roman times, lets take a look at specifically made war in Roman times also stupid.

Champthrax:
You were often fighting to protect your lands and families from massacre, and a single skilled warrior could make a difference even against difficult odds.

Most soldiers still think they are fighting to protect their lands and families (as to the amount that actually are, and are not fighting for the political ideals and greed of there current leader, is a matter up for debate). As for the single skilled warrior. In an all out way it didn't make much difference how skilled you were, and real life isn't a movie where one guy stands against and cuts down an army of 100.

Champthrax:
By skill, I mean that a medieval or Roman warrior for example, could train all their lives in the art of warfare, and could become exceptional in single combat.

Some soldiers still train for years even now and will become exceptionally good at shooting or close range combat. The amount such skills influence whether you win or die in a gigantic open fight is probably minimal at best, when you're just slashing at anything that moves.

Champthrax:
Almost everything that kills you in ancient warfare was preventable, for example, you would not have been disembowelled if you had parried, or you would not have an arrow in the knee if you had had your shield up. Modern warfare on the other hand, can get you killed in a million and one ways that you have no way of stopping or preventing. You can step on a land mine, a plane can drop a bomb, artillery can blow you to kingdom come. There are far more things that can kill you just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, so dumb luck has a far greater effect than skill.

You seem to have a very mythic view of ancient warfare were every fight revolved around a couple heroes going at it, every other soldier was just background noise, and the outcome of that fight would be decided simply by the hero's fight. Don't get me wrong it makes for great movies and stories (which is preciously why that is a lot of what you see), but it isn't realistic to think that everyone forms a circle round the generals and watches them fight.

As for random stuff that could kill you, sure it is perhaps more limited, but off the top of my head, you could be killed:
1) An arrow fired into the fray
2) A scared horse/elephant running around after a failed charge
3) Another soldier stabbing you or cutting your knee while you weren't looking
4) Any form of other projectile weapon

Champthrax:
It seems like individual far less relevant, since any emaciated 14 year old can pick up an ak-47, and be a threat to even a modern warrior who has trained their whole life.

You have obviously never fired a gun or you don't remember the first time you fired a gun if you think it is that easy to hold a gun on mark and accurately shoot something. He'd be as much a threat as you would be if I gave you a short short gladius and threw you in the coliseum versus a Centurion. You put the kid and the soldier both at 30m and 999 out of 1000 that soldier will win.

I would give a kid with a gun a much better statistical chance of beating a modern soldier with a gun, than a kid with a sword beating a trained swordsman.

>honor
>in a war and combat context

With that out of the way, no. It's there never was "honor" in war, and the skillset has simply been adjusted. It still takes skill to target correctly in spite of winds and counterattack possibility, just not the traditional war skills of actually being able to hold your ground in a punchfight.

Xangba:

trty00:
There are no more clear-cut villains, there are no more unambiguous victories, there's no more room for Jingoism, and nationalism, in warfare. And if you ask me? That's a good thing.

You really think there's none of that in the modern world? Oh geez...

P.S. Save for very few individuals, there have NEVER been "villains."

Look, you have to take that post in context. That's my third post on this because of my text limit. Find the first two, then talk to me. Secondly, NO! I don't think there's any more room for patriotic jingoism in war, and it doesn't really work anymore. If you're going to call me out on something, actually back it up.

There is nothing honorable about war, and what skills are involved I'd rather people put to better use. Sometimes war is something people have to do to save themselves, but it's a dirty business any senseable person would rather not be doing.

Honor in war is a nice romantic ideal that only belongs in fiction. having honor be a part of war would be to glorify it. That's not right...

If you're asking if war is now fought by cowardly armchair warriors... well, it still takes skill to pilot a predator drone, but, as far as i'm concerned, honor has never been a part of war. there is no honor in killing someone. too messy.

trty00:

Xangba:

trty00:
There are no more clear-cut villains, there are no more unambiguous victories, there's no more room for Jingoism, and nationalism, in warfare. And if you ask me? That's a good thing.

You really think there's none of that in the modern world? Oh geez...

P.S. Save for very few individuals, there have NEVER been "villains."

Look, you have to take that post in context. That's my third post on this because of my text limit. Find the first two, then talk to me. Secondly, NO! I don't think there's any more room for patriotic jingoism in war, and it doesn't really work anymore. If you're going to call me out on something, actually back it up.

I read your other posts, but that statement is completely independent. Half of war is centered around those things, it's always been that way. There will always be those things. Don't get hostile on me for pointing out that fact, and don't make assumptions about whether or not I have read your other posts.

No. There was never any honor in warfare to begin with, and the new hardware means you need MORE skill than before. Two hundred years ago you didn't need the spatial awareness or trigger discipline, you didn't need the windage skills, you didn't need to be anywhere near as fit, and you damn sure didn't need to be able to fix computers while quite literally under fire.

You know which army fought with honor? The British, during the American Revolution. And what happened? They got beaten by a smaller, worse-equipped army who realized the point of war wasn't to fight with honor, it's to kill the other side before they kill you.

And as for skill? Individual skill didn't matter anywhere near as much as overall tactical skill from the commanders. The soldiers didn't have to be skilled beyond being able to point the proper end of a gun at the enemy soldier and pull the trigger.

Obviously, now we must make the jump from modern soldier to Space Marine. Plenty of honour and skill when it comes to Space Marines. Well... depends which chapter you talk about I suppose.

TestECull:
No. There was never any honor in warfare to begin with, and the new hardware means you need MORE skill than before. Two hundred years ago you didn't need the spatial awareness or trigger discipline, you didn't need the windage skills, you didn't need to be anywhere near as fit, and you damn sure didn't need to be able to fix computers while quite literally under fire.

Two hundred years ago you most certainly needed those skills. Remember, that was back in the day of sailing ships and trust me that came up. Artillery also existed then so it was a big deal. Windage has been an issue ever since people started using projectile weapons. Likewise fitness was at least as important because of the lack of combined arms for military deployments. When it comes to killing people while trying to avoid being killed skill and discipline are always important and in a war group tactics are absolutely vital no matter what century it is.

Now I am not saying that modern all volunteer armies don't show a level of skill and fitness that did not exist for the bulk of human history, but that doesn't mean that the soldiers of yore didn't require a fairly large skill set as well. Modern soldiers do have some other serious advantages thanks to the whole not constantly dying of dysentery thing and not being ravaged by plagues while still young thus permanently stunting their development.

Obviously, warfare is different now (total war). However, I would never say that there is now no honour or skill. There is still honour, and there is most definitely still a ton of skill required. They train for a reason. Try going into a war without any training... you probably won't get very far.

There is no honor in war.

It's just the mistakes of men compounding.

Well the other day, I saw a fight. Bare fists, no tech.

I'm going to be honest, it wasn't exactly honourable. So if tech has lost MORE.... Jeeze.

thaluikhain:

Esotera:
As for skill, look at how the Libyan rebels fire their guns, then look at how the SAS fire their guns. Skill is very much still there, it's just that most modern wars have involved one side with a disproportionate amount of firepower (such as air strikes) that mean skill doesn't need to be used as often.

I'd disagree. Yes, combined arms is a big thing, but that doesn't mean skill isn't involved. How much training does it take you to become a lieutenant? It's not exactly easy.

I wasn't saying that all armed forces are more skilled than others, just that warfare today is a lot more dependent on hiding from bullets and calling in artillery support, which doesn't really require that much skill. Training is superior these days, but that doesn't mean that troops get to use it very often.

Champthrax:
As per the title, do you think that as we have advanced technologically, the honour and martial skill aspects of warfare have been greatly diminished?

By honour, I mean that old fashioned warfare was simple, up close and personal. You were often fighting to protect your lands and families from massacre, and a single skilled warrior could make a difference even against difficult odds. The battle made you stand face to face with your enemy. I do not want to label modern war as "cowardly" but I do think it required a different kind of guts to wade into a melee of death, or to charge across a battlefield, sword held high. I think the transition to warfare from close range to long range has affected this. Today, the conflicts our soldiers are involved in are much more complex, and often times an individual soldier has no stake in what the conflict is over.

By skill, I mean that a medieval or Roman warrior for example, could train all their lives in the art of warfare, and could become exceptional in single combat. Almost everything that kills you in ancient warfare was preventable, for example, you would not have been disembowelled if you had parried, or you would not have an arrow in the knee if you had had your shield up. Modern warfare on the other hand, can get you killed in a million and one ways that you have no way of stopping or preventing. You can step on a land mine, a plane can drop a bomb, artillery can blow you to kingdom come. There are far more things that can kill you just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, so dumb luck has a far greater effect than skill.

It seems like individual far less relevant, since any emaciated 14 year old can pick up an ak-47, and be a threat to even a modern warrior who has trained their whole life.

"Honor" truly died in the Boshin war, but it was on its way out long before that. Swords and shields were costly if you wanted actual units.

Costly and time consuming to make.
Costly and time consuming to train (lifetime for the actual units).
Costly and time consuming to replace.

The invention of the gun actually made war SIMPLER than it ever has before. The "uniformed" iron clad soldiers of the middle ages never existed. They were rag tag irregular units with different weapons and armor of varying quality due to their backround.

Here comes the kicker, before the invention of the gun the main unit in any army was an unarmored peasant with cheap or makeshift weaponry taking on rich kids who could afford full blown plate/chain armor or other emaciated peasants.

The gun leveled the playing field. Knights, and nobles were no longer able to live due to spending money on good gear. They were just as vulnerable as the guy next to them in the line.

There was nothing "honorable" by drafting a young boy off the farm, shoving a pitchfork into his hands, and sending him into the fray against an armored opponent.

Honour in combat is romanticising. Combat has always been cruel and brutal, whether you are fighting with swords or with rifles.
Honour in military comes from how you treat others; the treatment of prisoners and of civilians. How you hold yourself to a standard of decency and do not waver from it. Honour comes from discipline and respect. Looking at things like the Abu Ghraib torture, one feels uncertain about the state of modern military honour.

Someone has been playing to much Call of Duty.....

Every romanticizing of melee warfare is a load of bullshit. Most people bled out on those battlefields after being blindsided by an opportunist or an arrow. Single combat has never had any place on a battlefield.

We have removed the need to train for your entire life to be good for anything more arrow/cannon fodder, though (can get decent results out of a few months' training instead of a decade minimum now!)... so there's that.

Scarecrow1001:
Someone has been playing to much Call of Duty.....

I agree.
I live in Israel, warfare in urban territories is very complicated. A lot harder than the fights you had in medieval time. Then you at least knew who you were supposed to shoot.
Just watch some US army training programs on national geographic. If that's not skill I don't know what is.
Another complication is the technology - today infantry have to know to operate a lot of complex equipment and are probably expected to fix simple malfunctions as well.

TLDR: if anything, warfare became more complicated, not simpler.

Daystar Clarion:
'Honour' is a code of rules an individual chooses to follow.

Expecting others to follow the same code is naive at best, especially in a combat situation.

That is an exceptionally narrow definition of honor, one I do not agree with.

OT: Yeah, I agree. I have often thought exactly this, and my friends all think I'm retarded for it, but what the hell do they know. Especially the skill thing. Who dies now is more determined by who the enemy decides to shoot at first, I mean, it's not like you can train to dodge/block bullets. There is certainly some skill to it, in knowing what situations are too dangerous to go into it, but not as much as in melee combat.

Champthrax:

Esotera:

I'd disagree. Yes, combined arms is a big thing, but that doesn't mean skill isn't involved. How much training does it take you to become a lieutenant? It's not exactly easy.

Well I am not sure rank is exactly reflective of your martial skill. Its really more a leadership / hierarchy thing. I mean, here in Canada, if you join the army with a university degree you are pretty much automatically a 2nd lieutenant

Pretty much the same here in the US. Not sure of exact rank, but a 4 year degree starts you off as an officer of some sort.

bullet_sandw1ch:
they can move as a group, but even the SAS would get slaughtered by 2000 taliban. theres too many, in every senario they would be in a lethal crossfire. and they cant hide, 300 people is not a small amount of people. in the woods, the taliban woulod probably all climb in trees, bang. SAS dead in 5 min. or less.

Yeah, because the Taliban are the ones that are highly trained for any possible situation... You give those idiots with guns a little too much credit. The SAS are trained in all forms of modern combat, they are trained to work in small teams, they are trained up to a level which Talbian Bob can't achieve. I'd say 1 SAS guy is worth 10 Talbian in this situation, the regular team of those way more.

SAS would win unless they are somehow ambushed while they are all sleeping...

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