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Authors

Eric Maher

Department

Sociology

Faculty Advisor

Daniel Dorogi

Abstract

This paper proposes to show that the return of mercenaries is due largely to the shift of infantry warfare from large pitched battles to small skirmishes. This research analyses the historic reasons for employment of mercenary companies, including their self-sufficiency, high level of combat experience and specialization in different fields of combat. The era of the mercenary of antiquity sees its end with the rise of the musket. It is this invention which causes drastic change in the dynamics of the battlefield, rendering mercenary companies obsolete. However, the world has seen a massive resurgence of private military companies, with the dynamics of warfare once again turning to a battlefield requiring individuals who possess the same characteristics of mercenaries past. Addressing this past and comparing it to the present, we see that mercenaries are not a new phenomenon, no matter what label is applied, and that mercenaries will continue to remain a consistent part of warfare until technology once again renders them obsolete.

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