From Ancient times to the present day, the role of the armies has always remained the same – to attack enemy territory and defend the country from attack. Armies usually work in close partnership with air and naval forces. Throughout history, foot soldiers called infantry have done most of the fighting, supported by troops on horseback called cavalry. Today, cavalry have been replaced on the battlefield by armored tank units.

History of Armies:

The world’s first armies, raised in Assyria, Egypt, China and India, were ill trained, undisciplined civilians forced to fight for their leaders. The ancient Greeks introduced compulsory military service and rigors training for their civilian army. Later, the Romans established the first professional (paid) army to protect its empire.

Modern Army:

Combat troops fighting in the front line need plenty of support. Engineers, for example, repair damaged roads and bridges to help troops cross rough terrain. Other support staff includes doctors and nurses to treat wounded soldiers, caterers to feed the army and communication experts.


In some countries, the army is made up entirely of volunteer recruits who willingly join the army for a fixed period of time. In other countries, the army is made up largely of conscripts – that is, young people required by law to spend a number of years in the army.

Specialist Units:

Most armies have units of troops trained to carry out specialist tasks, such as reconnaissance missions and sabotage raids behind enemy lines, tackling terrorists and rescuing hostages. These units include the US Army’s Green Berets and the British Special Air Service (SAS)


Modern weapons use advanced technology, so troops need to be not just physically fit but also able to make split-second decision and operate highly complex computerized equipment. For this reason, technical instruction is just as important a part of a soldiers training as exercises and parade–ground drill.


An army needs a strong chain of commands, from the highest to the lowest ranks, so that orders are passed on quickly and clearly officers received training in leading and inspiring their troops. Officer’s ranks are shown by special symbols on their uniforms.

Terrorist Armies:

Sometimes, armies are set up by groups of people struggling to overthrow the existing government or achieve independence for their country or region. These supporters call them freedom fighters. But those who oppose them call them Terrorists. Such groups often stage spectacular bump attacks to gain publicity for their cause.

Non – Combat Roles:

When a nation is at peace, its army still has a vital role to play. For example, when natural disasters occur – such as earthquakes, floods or famines, an army can bring in medical supplies and food and restore communication links and electricity and water supplies. Armies can also help to establish peace in other war – torn countries.


To separate warring sides in a civil war or to keep the peace once a ceasefire has been negotiated, the United Nations (UN) often sends Multinational forms consisting of troops from many different armies.

Crisis Response:

Armies need to react quickly and efficiently in times of crisis. Hugh cargo aircraft carry supplies, trucks and even small tanks to the crisis area, while passenger planes take troops and other personnel.

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