As defined by the U.S. Department of Defense, a frontline is described as “A line that indicates the most forward positions of friendly forces in any kind of military operation at a specific time. The Forward Line of Own Troops (FLOT) normally identifies the forward locations of covering and screening forces. The FLOT may be at, beyond, or short of the forward edge of the battle area. An enemy FLOT indicates the forward-most position of hostile forces.”[1]

A frontline is a formation of a line of some sort, during a confrontation and usually during war. However, with many geographical terrains in the world, the frontline has been altered in many ways. In current warfare, frontlines usually consist of smart weapons and mobile vehicles. Modern day frontlines depend a lot on computer and information technology.


Weapons are used in times of conflict. The intent of a weapon is to harm or injure by inflicting damage to the other party. It can be used for an attack method or in self defense. Weapons can range from a sword to a smart missile system.

Weapons have changed dramatically throughout the years. Major developments in weaponry and warfare techniques are summarized in the following bullet points:

  • Ancient Greece and Rome:
In ancient Greece and Rome, weapons were used to extend the physical strength of humans. Most weapons were fairly primitive and consisted of objects such as swords.
  • The Middle Ages:
The Middle Ages marked a new era of weapon usage, with armored knights and castles.
  • The Renaissance Era:
The Renaissance era paved the way for combustion weapons and guns such as cannons and personal firearms. This development was due to the invention of gunpowder, and would spark many future developments to ever changing weapons systems.[2]
  • The American Revolution:
The American Revolution is also known as the Age of Rifles. This period brought about the invention of the machine gun. Firearms were used by infantry and in infantry support (cannons).[3]
  • World War 1:
World War 1 brought about industrialized warfare. There were many types of technological advancements, such as aircrafts and other mobile vehicles, introduced at this time. Trench warfare also began in this time period. Toxic gases (mustard gas, nerve gases) were developed and incorporated into warfare during World War 1.
  • World War 2:
Simply stated, World War 2 brought about the age of nuclear weaponry in warfare. This development drastically increased the human race’s ability to inflict mass destruction.
  • The Cold War:
The period of the Cold War can be represented by the “space race” that occurred primarily between the United States of America and the Soviet Union. This race was represented best by satellite technology. The Soviet Union was the first country to send a satellite to space. The satellite was named Sputnik and successfully orbited the Earth.[4]

Changes in Frontlines/WarfareEdit

Warfare is an always changing ordeal. Depending on the locations of conflicts, geographic features may cause some restrictions. Here are examples of the types of warfare that can take place depending on the geographic location. Also discussed are ways that infantry units can use technology to remedy geographic restraints.

  • Desert Warfare:
Examples of this type of warfare include the Gulf War and nearly all other Middle East conflicts. Basically, desert warfare is exactly what the name states, war held in deserts. Desert terrain is thought to be one of the most hostile terrains to fight in. The desert can be a bigger challenge then the enemy itself. Temperatures can be unbearably hot during the day but freezing cold by nightfall.[5]
  • Jungle Warfare:
Examples of this type of warfare include the Vietnam War and World War 2 (Japanese in Southeast Asia). Jungle warfare is a term used to cover the special techniques needed for military units to survive and fight in jungle terrains.[6]
  • Naval Warfare:
This type of warfare consists of sea and ocean battles. The use of ships in wars can be dated back to the invention of ships. Ships, and the later invention of the submarine, are used in confrontations between enemies and to supply troops with adequate equipment for survival in foreign terrains.[7]
  • Sub-aquatic Warfare:
Sub-aquatic warfare consists of the he development of submarines and the rise of shore warfare. This includes invasions and bombardments along the shoreline of a country.
  • Mountain/Alpine Warfare:
Examples of this type of warfare include World War 1 and the Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan. Mountain/alpine warfare is held in mountainous terrain. It is considered to be the most dangerous type of warfare. Extremely cold weather is a one of the main problems with such warfare. Terrains are also inhospitable for foreign troops. Enemies hide inside mountains and create a search and destroy type of warfare, which is extremely dangerous.[8]
  • Urban Warfare:
Examples of this type of warfare include fighting in Fallujah, Iraq, Monrovia, Liberia, Mogadishu, Somalia, and Jenin, West Bank. This type of warfare is considered to be our modern type of warfare. Conflicts occur within cities and towns, and civilian casualty rates are high. A common problem with urban warfare is that the enemy often hides out in buildings (snipers, booby traps). Also, enemies blend in with local civilians; therefore it’s harder for troops to separate enemies from local bystanders.[9]
  • Information/Modern Day Warfare:
Though not a geographic terrain, informational warfare and modern day warfare consists of computer usage and guided precision bombardments. This occurs when a “front” approaches an enemy area and is under attack. Troops can call for a precision guided air bombardment in a specific area. The “front” will be relocated to a safer location.[10]

Discussion PointsEdit

  • What is a frontline and how has it changed over time?
  • What types of warfare have we seen in recent years?
  • How has the change of weapons contributed to warfare?


  1. (Accessed 25 November 2006)
  2. (Accessed 25 November 2006)
  3. (Accessed 25 November 2006)
  4. (Accessed 25 November 2006)
  5. (Accessed 25 November 2006)
  6. (Accessed 25 November 2006)
  7. (Accessed 25 November 2006)
  8. (Accessed 25 November 2006)
  9. (Accessed 25 November 2006)
  10. (Accessed 25 November 2006)

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