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War types

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Wars and warfare

World war

A world war is a large-scale war involving many of the countries of the world or many of the most powerful and populous ones. World wars span multiple countries on multiple continents, with battles fought in many theaters. While a variety of global conflicts have been subjectively deemed "world wars", such as the Cold War and the War on Terror, the term is widely and generally accepted only as it is retrospectively applied to two major international conflicts that occurred during the 20th century: World War I (1914–1918) and World War II (1939–1945).

Wars and warfare

Punic Wars

The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and Carthage from 264 BC to 146 BC. At the time, they were some of the largest wars that had ever taken place. The term Punic comes from the Latin word Punicus, meaning "Carthaginian", with reference to the Carthaginians' Phoenician ancestry.

Wars and warfare

Civil war

A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same state or country. The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region or to change government policies. The term is a calque of the Latin bellum civile which was used to refer to the various civil wars of the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC.

Wars and warfare

Total war

Total war is warfare that includes any and all civilian-associated resources and infrastructure as legitimate military targets, mobilizes all of the resources of society to fight the war, and gives priority to warfare over non-combatant needs. The American-English Dictionary defines total war as "war that is unrestricted in terms of the weapons used, the territory or combatants involved, or the objectives pursued, especially one in which the laws of war are disregarded."

Wars and warfare

Asymmetric warfare

Asymmetric warfare is war between belligerents whose relative military power differs significantly, or whose strategy or tactics differ significantly. This is typically a war between a standing, professional army and an insurgency or resistance movement militias who often have status of unlawful combatants.

Wars and warfare

Proxy war

A proxy war is an armed conflict between two states or non-state actors which act on the instigation or on behalf of other parties that are not directly involved in the hostilities. In order for a conflict to be considered a proxy war, there must be a direct, long-term relationship between external actors and the belligerents involved. The aforementioned relationship usually takes the form of funding, military training, arms, or other forms of material assistance which assist a belligerent party in sustaining its war effort.

Wars and warfare

Religious war

A religious war or holy war is a war primarily caused or justified by differences in religion. In the modern period, debates are common over the extent to which religious, economic, or ethnic aspects of a conflict predominate in a given war. According to the Encyclopedia of Wars, out of all 1,763 known/recorded historical conflicts, 123, or 6.98%, had religion as their primary cause, and of that percentage, 66, or 53.66%, were related to Islam. Matthew White's The Great Big Book of Horrible Things gives religion as the cause of 13 of the world's 100 deadliest atrocities. In several conflicts including the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the Syrian civil war, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, religious elements are overtly present but variously described as fundamentalism or religious extremism - depending upon the observer's sympathies. However, studies on these cases often conclude that ethnic animosities drive much of the conflicts.

Wars and warfare

Medieval warfare

Medieval warfare is the European warfare of the Middle Ages. Technological, cultural, and social developments had forced a dramatic transformation in the character of warfare from antiquity, changing military tactics and the role of cavalry and artillery. In terms of fortification, the Middle Ages saw the emergence of the castle in Europe, which then spread to Western Asia.

Wars and warfare

Urban warfare

Urban warfare is combat conducted in urban areas such as towns and cities. Urban combat is very different from combat in the open at both the operational and tactical level. Complicating factors in urban warfare include the presence of civilians and the complexity of the urban terrain. Urban combat operations may be conducted in order to capitalize on the strategic or tactical advantages with which possession or control of a particular urban area gives or to deny these advantages to the enemy.

Wars and warfare

Undeclared war

An undeclared war is a military conflict between two or more nations without either side issuing a formal declaration of war. The term is sometimes used to include any disagreement or conflict fought about without an official declaration. Since the United Nations "police action" in Korea followed the example set by the United Kingdom during the so-called Malayan Emergency, a number of democratic governments have pursued disciplinary actions and limited warfare by characterizing them as something else, such as a "military action" or "armed response".

Wars and warfare

Ethnic conflict

An ethnic conflict is a conflict between two or more contending ethnic groups. While the source of the conflict may be political, social, economic or religious, the individuals in conflict must expressly fight for their ethnic group's position within society. This final criterion differentiates ethnic conflict from other forms of struggle.

Wars and warfare

Unconventional warfare

Unconventional warfare is the support of a foreign insurgency or resistance movement against its government or an occupying power. Whereas conventional warfare is used to reduce the opponent's military capability directly through attacks and maneuvers, unconventional warfare is an attempt to achieve victory indirectly through a proxy force. UW contrasts with conventional warfare in that forces are often covert or not well-defined and it relies heavily on subversion and guerrilla warfare.

Wars and warfare

Tunnel warfare

Tunnel warfare is a general name for war being conducted in tunnels and other underground cavities. It often includes the construction of underground facilities in order to attack or defend, and the use of existing natural caves and artificial underground facilities for military purposes. Tunnels can be used to undermine fortifications and slip into enemy territory for a surprise attack, while it can strengthen a defence by creating the possibility of ambush, counterattack and the ability to transfer troops from one portion of the battleground to another unseen and protected. Also, tunnels can serve as shelter for combatants and non-combatants from enemy attack.

Wars and warfare

Preemptive war

A preemptive war is a war that is commenced in an attempt to repel or defeat a perceived imminent offensive or invasion, or to gain a strategic advantage in an impending war shortly before that attack materializes. It is a war that preemptively 'breaks the peace'.

Wars and warfare

Cold war (general term)

A cold war is a state of conflict between nations that does not involve direct military action but is pursued primarily through economic and political actions, propaganda, acts of espionage or proxy wars waged by surrogates. This term is most commonly used to refer to the Soviet-American Cold War. The surrogates are typically states that are "satellites" of the conflicting nations, i.e., nations allied to them or under their political influence. Opponents in a cold war will often provide economic or military aid, such as weapons, tactical support or military advisors, to lesser nations involved in conflicts with the opposing country.