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Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar each developed an elaborate system of relays by which messages were carried from one messenger post to another by mounted messengers traveling at top speed.They were thus able to maintain contact with their homelands during their far-flung campaigns and to transmit messages with surprising speed. As he advanced upon his conquests he established pigeon relay posts across Asia and much of eastern Europe.The Prussian army in 1833 assigned such visual telegraph duties to engineer troops.
The beam was interrupted by a key-operated shutter that permitted the formation of the dots and dashes of the Morse code. Because consistency and regularity of sunshine were important, the heliograph was never widely adopted throughout the armies of continental Europe.
Before the outbreak of World War I, military adaptation of the telephone did take place, but its period of growth had not yet arrived.
Near the close of the 19th century, a new means of military signal communication made its appearance—the wireless telegraph, or radio.
The development of the flash signaling, adopted in the British navy in 1867, was an adaptation of the Morse code to lights.
The first application of the telegraph in time of war was made by the British in the Crimean War in 1854, but its capabilities were not well understood, and it was not widely used.