The Assyrian army became famous for its extraordinary cruelty and military effectiveness. For the first time it was a strictly professional formation which introduced or improved a number of military innovations. The Assyrians for the first time, on a large scale, armed their army in iron, introduced large, organized use of horsemen, descent troops and sapper units. The army was commanded by professional officers and military staff. Assyrian siege art, for hundreds of years, was the best in the world and the Assyrian logistics, until the Roman Empire, was the most advanced in the world. The Assyrians launched the construction of military roads, built great military warehouses and also divided their army into field and reserve troops.
The Assyrian army was feared for a variety of reasons. Their warfare was much more brutal and decisive than that of any that had come before them in ancient times; oftentimes they would terrify their enemies without even entering into battle with them. They had innovative weapons and employed new, more effective techniques than ever before.
The Assyrian army’s hierarchy was much like the was typical of the Mesopotamian armies of the same time period.1 In the beginning of the empire, the soldiers were mostly raised farmers, who would have to return to their fields to collect the harvest. The professional soldier, before the military reforms Tiglath-Pileser III, was a rarity. The only ones that existed were those whose job was to protect the King from enemies, foreign and domestic. These men were not deployed in a battle unless it was a matter of urgency.2
The Assyrians were the first to use iron in spears, swords, shields and armor. They even went as far as to use iron tipped battering rams to make them more effective.3 “ When the Assyrians first attacked their enemies with these awesome novelties of war, it caused almost as profound a reaction as the atom bomb has in [modern]our time.”4 Their enemies’ weapons and protection,...