The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to war:
War – organised and often prolonged armed conflict that is carried out by states and/or non-state actors – is characterised by extreme violence, social disruption, and economic destruction. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political communities, and therefore is defined as a form of political violence or intervention.
Warfare – refers to the common activities and characteristics of types of war, or of wars in general.
Types of war
Types of warfare
Warfare by objective
Warfare by strategic doctrine
Warfare by terrain
Warfare by equipment or weapon type
Warfare by era
Warfare by stages
- First-generation warfare – refers to battles fought with massed manpower, using line and column tactics with uniformed soldiers governed by the state. It includes the earliest stages of organized, state-controlled armed forces waging war in the modern era.
- Second-generation warfare – tactics of warfare used after the invention of the rifled musket and breech-loading weapons and continuing through the development of the machine gun and indirect fire.
- Third-generation warfare – focuses on using speed and surprise to bypass the enemy's lines and collapse their forces from the rear. Essentially, this was the end of linear warfare on a tactical level, with units seeking not simply to meet each other face to face but to outmaneuver each other to gain the greatest advantage.
- Fourth-generation warfare – conflict characterized by a blurring of the lines between war and politics, soldier and civilian. It includes any war in which one of the major participants is not a state but rather a violent non-state actor. Fourth-generation warfare is characterized by the nation states' loss of their near-monopoly on combat forces, returning to modes of conflict common in pre-modern times.