Outline of war

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.[1][2] 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.[1][3]

Warfare – refers to the common activities and characteristics of types of war, or of wars in general.[4]

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.[5]
  • 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.[5]
  • 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.[5]
  • 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.[5]

Other