Requiem Aeternam - Eternal Rest Grant unto Them
The image of the battlefield is one that exerts a powerful hold on our collective imagination. It immediately evokes in our minds the sight of massed troops clashing furiously with each other, culminating in a decisive outcome that determines the fate of a wider conflict. However, such military confrontations have largely vanished from the contemporary landscape of war. Infantry troops typically engage each other today at ranges of several hundred metres. Sporadic skirmishes far outweigh large-scale engagements. The projection of uncontested air power is much the favoured use of force for risk-averse Western militaries. Conflicts simmer on or peter out without any grand clash of arms deciding their outcome.
But the decline of the traditional conception of the battlefield is hardly a novel phenomenon.
Although the Napoleonic Wars were still marked by pivotal one-day battles fought with tight formations of troops in close combat, by the late 19th century the classical battlefield was already in crisis.
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