Introduction

Warfare was a big part of life in Mesopotamian society because cities fought over land and water rights. They fought because of religious beliefs. Conquest was considered the mission of the king, whose role was to bring more land, people, and goods under the national god, Ashur.
images3RNB7ABM.jpg
This is the national god that most mesopotamians believed in.

Armour/Weapons

Mesopotamian soldiers created and used lots of different military technologies. Elite soldiers were armed with bronze armour and weapons. The less armed, but more defensive and mobile troops were armed with sling shots as well as bows and arrows. The most used offensive weapon was the bow and arrow. The most common defensive armor, was the helmet and shield. Other weapons were spears (for thrusting), javelins (for throwing), battle-axes with metal blades, maces with stone heads, and daggers.
.20120208-Assyrian_Archers.jpg
On the left, is a bow used for long range shooting on the battlefield and for hunting.

Chariots

By the 2nd millennium BC, one of the greatest strengths of the Assyrian army was its chariots. A chariot is a wheeled vehicle pulled by two to four horses. Riders would stand on the chariot. Typically there were two riders; a driver and a soldier armed with a spear and a bow and arrow. Sometimes a third man was added to protect the rear. Mastering chariot warfare demanded considerable training and practice. Chariots were used to smash into enemy lines and create a gap for the rest of the army. They were also used for leaders and generals who could move about the battlefield quickly.
images61ZBPJC3.jpg
This is a chariot, its a wheeled vehicle pulled by horses. There were usually two people in the chariot, one for steering the other for attacking.

The Army

The early Assyrians were a warrior society. Every young man was expected to train as a warrior and be ready to fight. As the Assyrian Empire grew, they built a standing army. A standing army is one made up of professional soldiers whose only job is to fight. The had the largest army up to that time in the Mediterranean. Their armies had professional soldiers, charioteers, infantry, mounted archers, fast horses, engineers and wagoners.It is estimated that the size of the Assyrian army at its peak was several hundred thousand soldiers.
20120208-Assyrian-Arabian-Battle.jpg
These are soldiers in battle fight against their enemy.

Tactics

The Assyrian soldiers were trained in battle tactics, siege warfare, and hand-to-hand combat. Every spring the Assyrian army would launch a battle campaign. They would conquer rich cities, and expand the Assyrian Empire by bringing back wealth to the king. The kings of the Assyrians were expected to be warriors themselves. They led the Assyrian army into battle and fought fiercely. Of course, they were surrounded by an elite force of troops whose job was to keep the king alive. Even so, some kings did die in combat, such as Sargon II. The Assyrians fought their enemy with brutality. Those that joined their empire were treated well. Those that resisted the men were killed. The women and children were abducted and resettled in foreign land.
20120208-Balawat-Salmanassar22.jpg
This is a picture of the Assyrians capturing and killing the men that resisted to join their army.

Conclusion

Much of Mesopatamia was built on the strength of their powerful army. The warrior society of the Assyrians produced fearsome soldiers as well as innovative warfare technology like chariots, and iron weapons. This was an important historical change how wars were fought, and won.


References:

http://www.ducksters.com/history/mesopotamia/assyrian_army.php
http://factsanddetails.com/world/cat56/sub363/item1516.html
http://mesopotamia.lib.uchicago.edu/mesopotamialife/article.php?theme=Warfare%20and%20Empire
http://www.timemaps.com/civilization/ancient-Mesopotamia


A Letter to King Sargon II


Dear King Sargon II,

This is one of your soldiers speaking. I am here to recommend changing the position for our attack. You see, we have been using this strategy against almost every other king, and it hasn’t worked. We may have won some battles, but we’ve lost more. I think we should use our tough soldiers in the front to try and break the enemy lines, have the archers on defensive protecting the tough soldiers, and have a group of stealthy soldiers sneaking up from behind. This strategy is useful because our enemy would focus only on our men at the front and our archers at the back; they won’t even notice that we have men sneaking up on them.

For the group of people sneaking up on our enemy, we need them to be stealthy, quick, and quiet. I recommend we specially train this group aside from the soldiers and archers. We can use this group of people to take out their archers so they’ll have no defense. That’s when your soldiers at the front break the enemy lines, and we charge for their kingdom. We will gain more land and rule all of Assyria. We should call the group of stealth soldier’s, S.S.S.F, short for special stealth soldier force.

As for our archers, we should look for better materials to use for the heads of their arrows. I have been hearing about a very strong type of metal called iron. We should change our archer formation too. I’m thinking of changing our straight line of archers to more of a semi-circle; that way, if they’re soldiers decide to charge in a straight line at our archers, we can hit them from the side and the front.

Our soldiers need to be strong, if even one soldier is a little bit weak, he could allow the enemy to break our lines of defense and even take over our kingdom. I have been speaking to most of the warriors out here on the battlefield, and we think you should fight with us in battle. Yes, there is a risk at death but there is also a fine reward of confidence in yourself and loyalty/respect from the citizens of your city.

To conclude my letter of recommendation, whatever choice you make is the right one. I just think we could win a lot more battles if we switch up the strategy of attack. Not to offend you in any way great king Sargon II. There should also be a leader for the S.S.S.F, I consider myself as a great leader for the force.

Sincerely,

Turrakum Bouldahk