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Scrutiny
  
Dark chambers of apocalypse...
The twentieth century saw the development of some of the most gruesome war doctrines. Yet, ironically, a few even contributed to save the world... like the MAD doctrine, or Mutually Assured Destruction!
16/10/2008

It was not until the advent of the World Wars in the 20th century that the very concept of war doctrines got prominence and constant refinement. No doubt, the invention of the gun powder itself had a lasting impact as to how a war should be fought; and cannons took it further. Yet, even during World War I, there was an undeniable dependence on the infantry, even though the modernised cannon in the form of Howitzers and machine guns were making their presence felt. Air force, rudimentary though, was bringing a new dimension to the concept of warfare.

Overwhelming the opponent lurking in the deep trenches was now not that difficult as it was in the past. And war was now not just for the sake of territorial expansion but also a weapon to fight back against colonialism and dominance. The gap between the First World War and Second was essentially the one when technology was making sure that the very paradigm of war would be changed once and for all and especially that in many cases, the realms of war would be far away from the places of action. War has never been an incident in isolation but an extension or perhaps the last resort in the furthering issues of geopolitics. All that the World Wars did was to extend it to a global affair. The Second World War, in particular, was more of a war between one doctrine versus the other than just one between the Allies and the Axis. So, while the Germans had overwhelmed the British, the French and the Russians with their ‘Blitzkrieg’ doctrine [wherein, they would attack with an overwhelming force with an admixture of infantry, artillery and air support. It starts with aerial bombing, followed by a swift invasion by the army and tanks], the Japanese had taken it one step further by their ‘Kamikaze’ [suicide missions] doctrine on the US naval base in Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, with their Yokosuka D4Y bombers.
But the US had/has dwarfed perhaps both of them with their ‘Shock and Awe’ strategy with the annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan eventually conceded defeat. With time, names changed but the resonance of the doctrines of Blitzkrieg, Kamikaze and ‘shock and awe’ still make their presence felt every now and then. With the dropping of the two atom bombs on August 6 and August 9, 1945, by the B-29 Superfortress bombers, the superiority of the Air force in warfare was established. It brought in the new concept as to how a war can be won and an invincible enemy can be brought down on its knees from a height of 40,000 feet without even putting a foot on the ground just as the Germans had baptised the indispensability of the submarine, which had almost won the war for the Germans. Wish Napoleon had the same luck.

The end of the Second World War was also the beginning of the biggest polarisation that the world had ever seen. The Berlin Wall put the final stamp on the clear demarcation between the Western Capitalist Bloc and the Eastern Soviet Bloc and it was the green signal of the beginning of a 40 year long Cold War. This era saw a flurry of activities in literally carrying forward the legacy of Second World War [without actually fighting the real war] and perhaps bettering it. At times, with the world remaining with the constant fear of an impending war, many felt that it would perhaps do a whole lot of good to fight it out once and for all. But that did not happen. What happened, instead, was the constant upgradation of weapon systems and their delivery mechanism. So while B-29 bombers gave way to the colossal B-52 [powered by eight engines] and TU-142 type long range bombers and later TU-160, [which could travel half the earth, bomb a place and then comfortably come back] in response came the era of interceptor aircraft, the foremost and the pioneer among them being the ubiquitous and the ever versatile Soviet made Mig- 21. In fact, since the end of the Second World War, two of the biggest revolutions in warfare have been pioneered by the Russians. If one of them is the Mig-21, which forced the Americans to think of stealth, dogfights and supersonic bombers, the invention of the AK-47 by Mikhail Kalashnikov changed the very paradigm of the foot soldier. Probably no other fighter aircraft or assault rifle has been made in so many variants by so many countries as has been in the case of Mig-21 & AK-47. The whole era of Cold War is imbibed with several instances of Soviet Tu-142 being intercepted and escorted out of the Western territory by US or British interceptors like the F-102 Delta, F-106, F-14, or Tornado.

By:- B&E
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