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65

There are two assumptions that need to be clarified. What is the attacker's strategic intent? What time are you talking about? If the attacker wants to possess the territory defended by the castle, then "going around" isn't an option. "Going around" only makes sense if the attacker wants to control territory beyond the castle. This also assumes that the ...


49

Armies go around castles all the time, but what usually happens is that the castle is placed under siege. This is done at least with the intention of keeping the defenders in, and hopefully taking the castle via attrition, bombardment, sapping or treachery. The need to siege the castle is important; if you ignore the castle and march on, this leaves the ...


30

Actually, the Romans used the same phalanx everyone else did for a very long time. Past Hannibal. The essence of winning a phalanx battle is to attack the flank of the phalanx. One may achieve that many ways, hence the many ways phalanxes were formed in particular battles - adapted to the width of the battlefield usually, though if one's enemy overdid that, ...


28

Yet another concurring (tanks were important, but not the only reason), but different, answer. Already at the end of WWI, the tactics for trench assault had improved. Instead of just swarming enemy trenches with infantry, weak points were exploited and strongholds bypassed. The role and nature of artillery support also changed. The barrages that lasted ...


27

There are at least two reasons. The first is that a castle is usually located on the most strategic ground in the area, a hill, river, etc. Basically, it is, or controls, the most valuable "real estate' in the region. If an attacking army controls the "rest of the region" without controlling the castle, it probably hasn't achieved much. The second reason ...


20

What you are referring to is commonly known as the "French Column". I suppose it shouldn't be surprising that English movies and the English version of Wikipedia are pretty dismissive of it. After all, that was the opinion of everyone's favorite English General, Wellington. And he was certainly able to back it up. The first thing you have to realize is that ...


17

The infantry sets their spears, meaning bracing them against the ground, to present a barrier to the charging horsemen. The long spears, also known as pikes, when held in a tight formation provided a spiked wall that would challenge mounted opponents. Some horses would balk when encountering the pikes while others would be impaled. The goal was to unhorse ...


17

Flamethrowers can be useful for the assault on field fortifications: Burning fuel can splash through the firing slits of a bunker and reach inside. Smoke and oxygen depletion can kill troops in bunkers even if there is no direct hit on the individual. Flamethrowers can be fired over obstacles like trench sides. Flamethrowers are less effective as a ...


16

Napoleon loved forward momentum - and he got it with the heavy column. The formation forced his infantry forward, the front ranks constantly pushed to the fore by the ranks behind them, and made opponents break formation to get the hell out of the way. This worked, because Napoleon was an artilleryman - he would disrupt opposing line formations with ...


16

Interesting question. Firstly, it's impossible to know for certain how the traditional round shield was used, but we can make a number of assumptions based on evidence from literature (the sagas), the archaeology of construction and wounds suffered in battle and by looking at later fight books such as MS I.33, Talhoffer's duelling shields etc. Taking the ...


14

Using Aubrey/Maturin, beefed up with "Naval life in the time of Aubrey and Maturin" type texts: Shock and Awe. Few men died in most naval battles in the age of sail. Morale failure was a key structure in battle. Broadsides significantly reduced the numbers of boarders in a single wave. Three fast broadsides and board was an ideal to secure a prize by ...


13

Spraff, you aren't considering why the castle is placed where it is. Does it control a ford or landing point? Does it guard the best passage through a hill/mountain range? The placement of the castle is why it exists in the first place; they're built at strategic locations which forces the enemy into either attacking or besieging them.


12

It was more accidental than anything else, but the first "shooting" battle treated as such by history was the battle of Crecy, in 1346, during the 100 Years' War. This was waged mainly between 6,000-7,000 longbowmen on the English side, and 6,000 (Genovese) crossbowmen on the French side. The English had perhaps 3,000-6,000 non-bow infantry and cavalry, ...


11

WWI was a pivotal time in military tactics due to the number of technological advances in warfare that had been relatively unused until that point in time. Machine guns had developed to a point that isn't much different from modern designs; field artillery had gotten a lot bigger, was capable of indirect fire, and had many different munition options; ...


11

No, tanks are not, evolving strategy for using new technology was. A quick look at the Principles of War as espoused in many military doctrines over time and across the globe (and usually posited as timeless) shows a focus on how to achieve a goal. A few key points among these lists are maneuver and initiative. In other words, warfare is about getting ...


10

The first thing to remember is that Napoleon prized speed over everything else. Most of his campaigns he faced much larger armies led by different nations and leaders. When Napoleon arrived the opposing armies would be near one another but not yet (His apposing armies were separated due to forage and supply needs, or were traveling to meet one another at a ...


10

One of the first and most obvious examples to me would be the Achaemenid Persian empire, their whole army composition was based on archery. They did use light spearmen, and the famous Anusya, but the first would only play a secondary role in the battle while the second was while an elite infantry unit also extremely skilled at archery. I can't seem to find ...


9

One theory from Delbrueck: Hannibal wanted to win the battle with his infantry, which was superior to the Romans, and distract the Roman cavalry. Therefore, he wanted the cavalry clash to happen first, the idea being that his cavalry would be routed, the Roman cavalry would pursue them and be out of the battle, and he could start the infantry battle. ...


9

As I remember, the biggest problems of phalanx were slow pace and inability to operate on a rough terrain (consider the length of their spears). In the battle of Pydna the macedonians had early success yet the romans were able to regroup and won the battle in the later counter-attack. So the phalanx was pretty good for one-time onslaught but in an advanced ...


9

The Romans were very good in copying tactics and equipment from other peoples. They learned the Phalanx from the Etruscans. The phalanx works like a wall: difficult to get through, but also almost impossible to maneuver. When the Romans met their new enemies the Samnites, a people from the mountains, they saw that the Samnites were armed with long shields ...


8

Because they're the goal Go around castles to where exactly? Military campaigns usually have some goal in mind - typical goals include (a) conquering territory; (b) robbing wealth; (c) long-term damage to an enemy. Achieving these goals requires taking the castles - in earlier times, most of important people, wealth and military force would be moved ...


8

The reason for the re-emergence of the ram in the mid-1800s is essentially a technological one. The introduction of the nautical steam engine gave ships a reliable source of power and the ability to move in any direction, and the introduction of armor-plating gave them greater weight (and therefore momentum), structural strength and protection. During the ...


7

The battle of Zama was a seesaw fight for much of the battle. The result of a Roman victory resulted largely from the "fortunes of war." The Carthaginians had more infantry, the Romans more cavalry, but the Carthaginians hoped to turn their elephants to their advantage. This didn't work, because the Roman Scipio, suspecting that the elephants could only ...


7

I would disagree with Tom Au's answer. The first examples of "modern warfare" engagements where both sides expected to prevail in battle with ranged weapons took place a few months into the US Civil War. The key is the development of the rifle versus the musket. Prior to that, firearms didn't have an effective range sufficient to counter an infantry ...


7

Columns are an aggressive formation, that work best against "inferior" (slower-firing, -marching) opponents. That's because at the point of contact, the column is very deep, which means that it has a good chance of breaking the enemy line. It's weakness is that against a well-drilled opponent, the defender will pull back the line on either side, let the ...


7

Tanks were an important factor but not the only one. Among other factors are: Increased mobility (automobile transport, self-propelled artillery). This made possible large encirclement operations which were so common in WWII. The front can be broken in weak points and entrenched troops can be cut off. Second. Aviation is not just "another kind of ...


6

This is basically oblique order. The idea is to crush one flank of the enemy with the strong force, turn it 90° and defeat the enemy in detail. The remainder of your troops keep the enemy busy on the other flank. You put your heavy troops on the strong flank because they need the most strength (they need to break the line). The light troops are more ...


6

Because nobody said about naval battles, here's some nice (I hope) examples, sorry for citing Wikipedia only. In 1178 BC or 1175 BC during the Battle of Delta distance attack was performed by Egyptian archers. According to the Medinet Habu inscriprions, (...). Ramesses lined the shores of the Nile Delta with ranks of archers who were ready to release ...


6

I agree with Alex, I would add up a big point, I wanted to comment it, but it became bigger. Appearance of mass parachute also made trech warfare useless. In the time when the enemy could cross only through the sea and trenches they didn't expect double front battle from trenches, but when it was possible to parachute troops beyond the trenches there were ...



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