Tactics

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Tactics:

       Anything you do to kill the other person.

Contents

Scenarios

Line Fighting

When 2 lines of fighters run into each other. Usually the fighters in each line are about elbow distance give or take a few inches from each other and stop slightly in range.

Toilet Bowl

When two or more groups begin to move to the left or right, following each other, while maintaining a similar distance from when they started the move. Normally, no engagement is made during this.

Few vs Many

Many vs Few

Offensive Tactics

Charging

The following was taken from Wikipedia

A charge is a maneuver in battle in which soldiers advance towards their enemy at their best speed to engage in close combat. The charge is the dominant shock attack and has been the key tactic and decisive moment of most battles in history. However, modern charges usually involve small groups against individual positions (such as a bunker) instead of large groups of combatants charging another group or a fortified line.

Flanking

The army that out-flanks its enemy wins.

The following was taken from Wikipedia

The Battle of Marathon, an example of the double-envelopment, a form of flanking maneuver

In military tactics, a flanking maneuver, also called a flank attack, is an attack on the sides of an opposing force. If a flanking maneuver succeeds, the opposing force would be surrounded from two or more directions, which significantly reduces the maneuverability of the outflanked force and its ability to defend itself. A psychological advantage may also be present, as flank forces usually do not expect to be attacked.

A larger scaled tactical flanking is called a strategic flanking, where the targets of the flanking could be as large as entire divisions.

Tactical flanking

The flanking maneuver is a basic military tactic, with several variations. Flanking an enemy often refers to staying back and not risking yourself, while at the same time gradually weakening enemy forces. Of course, it may not always work (especially if outnumbered), but for the most part can prove to be very useful as well as effective.

One type is employed in an ambush, where a friendly unit performs a surprise attack from a concealed position. Other units may be hidden to the sides of the ambush site to surround the enemy, but care must be taken in setting up fields of fire to avoid friendly fire.

Another type is used in the attack, where a unit encounters an enemy defensive position. Upon receiving fire from the enemy, the unit commander may decide to order a flank attack. A part of the attacking unit "fixes" the enemy with suppressive fire, preventing them from returning fire, retreating or changing position to meet the flank attack. The flanking force then advances to the enemy flank and attacks them at close range. Coordination to avoid friendly fire is also important in this situation.

The most effective form of flanking maneuver is the double envelopment, which involves simultaneous flank attacks on both sides of the enemy. A classic example is Hannibal's victory over the Roman armies at the Battle of Cannae. Another example of the double envelopment is Khalid ibn al-Walid's victory over the Persian Empire at the Battle of Walaja. (Reference: A.I. Akram (1970). The Sword of Allah: Khalid bin al-Waleed, His Life and Campaigns. National Publishing House. Rawalpindi. ISBN 0-7101-0104-X. )

Despite primarily being associated with land warfare, flanking maneuvers have also used to great effect in naval battles. (Reference: Naval maneuver warfare.) A famous example of this is the Battle of Salamis, where the combined naval forces of the Greek city-states managed to outflank the Persian navy and won a decisive victory.

Flanking in history

Flanking maneuvers played an important role in nearly every major battle in history, and have been used effectively by famous military leaders like Hannibal, Julius Caesar, Khalid ibn al-Walid, Napoleon and Stonewall Jackson throughout history. Sun Tzu's The Art of War strongly emphasizes the use of flanking, although it does not advocate completely surrounding the enemy force as this may induce it to fight with greater ferocity if it cannot escape (Reference: The Art of War (Sun)/Section VII|The Art of War Section VII, 36.)

A flanking maneuver is not always effective, as the flanking force may itself be ambushed while maneuvering, or the main force is unable to pin the defenders in place, allowing them to turn and face the flanking attack.

Maneuvering

Flanking on land in the pre-modern era was usually achieved with cavalry (and rarely, chariots) due to their speed and maneuverability, while heavily-armored infantry was commonly used to fix the enemy, as in the Battle of Pharsalus. Armored vehicles such as tanks replaced cavalry as the main force of flanking maneuvers in the 20th century, as seen in the Battle of France in World War II.

Defense against

The dangers of being flanked have been realised by commanders since the dawn of warfare, and for two millennia and more, part of the art of being a commander was in the choice of terrain to allow flanking attacks or prevent them.

Terrain

A commander could prevent being flanked by anchoring one or both parts of his line on terrain impassable to his enemies, such as gorges, lakes or mountains, e.g. the Spartans at Thermopylae, Hannibal at the Battle of Lake Trasimene, and the Romans at the Battle of Watling Street. Although not strictly impassable, woods, forests, rivers, broken and marshy ground could also be used to anchor a flank, e.g. Henry V of England Henry V at Battle of Agincourt|Agincourt. However in such instances it was still wise to have skirmishers covering these flanks.

Fortification

In exceptional circumstances, an army may be fortunate enough to be able to anchor a flank with a friendly castle, fortress or walled city. In such circumstances it was not necessary to fix the line to the fortress but to allow a killing space between the fortress and the battle line so that any enemy forces attempting to flank the field forces could be brought under fire from the garrison. Almost as good was if natural strongholds could be incorporated into the battle line, e.g. the Union positions of Culp's Hill, and Cemetery Hill on the right flank, and Big Round Top and Little Round Top on the left flank, at the Battle of Gettysburg. If time and circumstances allowed field fortifications could be created or expanded to protect the flanks, such as the Allied forces did with the hamlet of Papelotte and the farmhouse of Hougoumont on the left and right flanks at the Battle of Waterloo.

Formations

When the terrain favoured neither side it was down to the disposition of forces in the battle line to prevent flanking attacks. For as long as they had a place on the battlefield, it was the role of cavalry to be placed on the flanks of the infantry battle line. With speed and greater tactical flexibility, the cavalry could both make flanking attacks and guard against them. It was the marked superiority of Hannibal’s cavalry at Cannae that allowed him to chase off the Roman cavalry and complete the encirclement of the Roman legions. With equally matched cavalry, commanders have been content to allow inaction, with the cavalry of both sides preventing the other from action.

With no cavalry, inferior cavalry or in armies whose cavalry had gone off on their own (a not uncommon complaint) it was down to the disposition of the infantry to guard against flanking attacks. It was the danger of being flanked by the numerically superior Persians that led Miltiades to lengthen the Athenian line at the Battle of Marathon by decreasing the depth of the centre. The importance of the flank positions led to the practise, which became tradition of placing the best troops on the flanks. So that at the Battle of Platea the Tegeans squabbled with Athenians as to who should have the privilege of holding a flank (Reference: Herodotus The Histories, Book Nine, sections 26 to 28); both having conceded the honour of the right flank (the critical flank in the hoplite system) to the Spartans. This is the source of the tradition of giving the honour of the right to the most senior regiment present, that persisted into the modern era.

With troops confident and reliable enough to operate in separate dispersed units, the echelon formation may be adopted. This can take different forms with either equally strong “divisions” or a massively reinforced wing or centre supported by smaller formations in step behind it (forming either a staircase like, or arrow like arrangement). In this formation when the foremost unit engages with the enemy the echeloned units remain out of action. The temptation is for the enemy to attack the exposed flanks of this foremost unit, however were this to happen the units immediately echeloned behind the foremost unit would push forward taking the flankers themselves in the flank. If this echeloned unit was to be attacked in turn, the unit behind it, would move forward to again attack the flanks of the would be flankers. In theory a cascade of such engagements could occur all along the line, for as many units as there were in echelon. In practise this almost never happened, most enemy commanders seeing this for what it was, resisting the temptation of the initial easy flanking attack. This prudence was utilised, in the manifestation of the oblique order, in which one wing was massively reinforced, creating a local superiority in numbers that could obliterate that part of the enemy line that it was sent against. The weaker echeloned units being sufficient to fix the greater portion of the enemy troops into inaction. With the battle on the wing won the reinforced flank would turn and roll up the enemy battle line from the flank.

In the Roman chequerboard formation known as the quincunx, readopted by Renaissance militaries, each of the units in the front line can be thought of as having two lines of units echeloned behind it.

As warfare increased in size and scope and armies got bigger it was no longer possible for armies to hope to have a contiguous battle line. In order to be able to manoeuvre it was necessary to introduce intervals between units and these intervals could be used to flank individual units in the battle line by fast acting units such as cavalry. To guard against this the infantry subunits were trained to be able to rapidly form squares that gave the cavalry no weak flank to attack. During the age of gunpowder, intervals between units could be increased because of the greater reach of the weapons, increasing the possibility of cavalry finding a gap in the line to exploit, and it became the mark of good infantry to be able to form rapidly from line to square and back again.

Encirclement

The following was taken from Wikipedia

Encirclement is a military term for the situation when a force or target is isolated and surrounded by enemy forces.

This situation is highly dangerous for the encircled force: at the strategic level, because it cannot receive supplies or reinforcements, and on the tactical level, because the units in the force can be subject to an attack from several sides. Lastly, since the force cannot retreat, unless it is relieved or can break out, it must either fight to the death or surrender.

Encirclement has been used throughout the centuries by military leaders, including generals such as Alexander the Great, Khalid bin Waleed, Hannibal, Sun Tzu, Wallenstein, Napoleon I, Heinz Guderian, von Rundstedt, Zhukov, and Patton. Sun Tzu suggests that an army should not be completely encircled, but should be given some room for escape, in order to prevent that 'encircled' army's men lifting their morale and fighting till the death –- a more optimal situation would be them considering the possibility of a retreat. (Reference: Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Section VII: Maneuvering, line 36.)

The main form of encircling, the "double pincer," is executed by attacks on the flanks of a battle, where the mobile forces of the era, such as light infantry, cavalry, tanks, or APCs attempt to force a breakthrough to utilize their speed to join behind the back of the enemy force, and complete the "ring", while the main enemy force is stalled by probing attacks. The encirclement of the German Sixth Army in the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942 is a typical example of this.

If there is a natural obstacle, such as ocean or mountains on one side of the battlefield, only one pincer is needed ("single pincer"), because the function of the second arm is taken over by the natural obstacle. The German attack into the lowlands of France in 1940 is a typical example of this.

A third and more rare type of encirclement can ensue from a breakthrough in an area of the enemy front, and exploiting that with mobile forces, diverging in two or more directions behind the enemy line. Full encirclement rarely follows this, but the threat of it severely hampers the defender's options. This type of attack pattern is centerpiece to Blitzkrieg operations. By the extreme difficulty of this operation, it can only be executed if the offensive force has a vast superiority, either in technology, organization, or sheer numbers. The Barbarossa campaign of 1941 saw some examples of this.

A special kind of encirclement is the siege. In this case, the encircled force voluntarily allows this to happen at a stronghold location where long-lasting supplies and defensive constructions or fortifications are in place, allowing them to repel attacks. Sieges have taken place in almost all eras of warfare.

Examples of battles of encirclement:

Wolf Packing

This tactic involves small groups of soldiers, perhaps as small as even two depending on the skill levels involved, seeking out and hunting down separated or weaker/inexperienced fighters so that the enemy is weakened as a whole. The concept takes its name from the method of hunting used by wolves where numbers, skill, strength, and surprise are the primary attributes used to exploit a victory.

Intimidation

An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat an army of lions led by a sheep. - Arab proverb

Looking so good your enemy although outnumbering and possibly better than you runs away in fear of a less scary opponent.

Defensive Tactics

Shield Wall

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