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Introduction

Austerlitz-baron-Pascal.jpg
The Battle of Austerlitz by François Gérard.
War is a state of conflict between relatively large groups of people (such as nations, states, organizations, social groups), which is characterized by the use of armed lethal violence between combatants or upon civilians. Other terms for war, which often serve as euphemisms, include armed conflict, hostilities, and police action.

A common look on war is a series of military campaigns between at least two or more opposing sides involving a dispute over sovereignty, territory, resources, ideology or a host of other issues. A war to liberate an occupied country is sometimes characterised as a "war of liberation", while a war between internal elements of the same state may constitute a civil war.

Aside from humans and their primate brethren, ants are the only other animals known to exhibit such behavior on a large scale.

A battle is a single engagement fought between two or more parties, wherein each party or aligned group will seek to defeat their opponent. Battles are most often fought during military campaigns and can usually be well defined in time, space and action. Wars are generally the continuum of a related series of battles and are guided by strategy, whereas individual battles are the stage on which tactics are employed.

Military history is the recording and analysis of those events in the history of humanity that fall within the category of organised armed conflict, and that relate to the institutions and organizations that prosecute such conflict.

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Featured article

Cross section of the Jarmann M1884

The Norwegian Jarmann M1884 was a bolt action repeating rifle fireing a 10.15 mm black powder cartridge in an 8-round, tubular magazine. It was among the earliest repeating rifles to be adopted in the world. Its adoption, and subsequent modifications, turned the Norwegian Army from a fighting force armed with single-shot black powder weapons into a force armed with modern repeating weapons firing smokeless ammunition. Several thousands were manufactured to equip both Norwegian and Swedish forces in the 1880s. The design is unique, and is the brainchild of Norwegian engineer Jacob Smith Jarmann. After the design had been phased out of the Norwegian Army, a number of the weapons were rebuilt as harpoon guns.

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Fight for the Bagration flèches

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Featured picture

Lowering the flag on Zuikaku

Zuikaku was an aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Her planes took part in the attack on Pearl Harbor that started the Pacific War, and she fought in several of the most important naval battles of the war. Sustaining heavy damage in the battle off Cape Engaño, the crew lowered the flag (shown here; note the sharp list to port) and attempted to abandon ship, but were unable to do so before she capsized.
Photo credit: Kazutoshi Hando

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Selected anniversaries

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Major topics and categories

Eras of warfare

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Types of warfare

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Armies • Battles • Civil wars • Corps • Divisions • Fleets • Invasions • Operations • Orders of battle • Sieges • Tactics • Wars • Weapons • World War II Commanders

Other related topics

Genocide • Peace • United Nations

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