Pincer movements (double envelopment) seem to be a ubiquitous and effective theme throughout (what I know of) military history.

Since the idea is far from new, it seems to me like you'd find both sides of a conflict always trying to use this tactic on one another. If so, I would expect that sometimes one side would begin earlier and execute it effectively on the other side - but are there also cases of 2 roughly equal forces both attempting a Pincer movement on each other roughly simultaneously?

If so, what are some examples and how does it usually play out?

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    I rather suspect the answer is that most military engagements are an attempt by both forces to achieve tactical superiority over each other; pincer movement is one of those tactics. – Mark C. Wallace Jun 22 '20 at 17:30
  • Thanks Mark. Downvoter: if you kindly tell me why you downvoted I will edit the question or delete it as necessary, but as of now I am clueless as to what the problem may be. @MarkC.Wallace I was expecting to see a body of literature or thought where tacticians have made theory and/or strategy on how to win out when both sides attempt Pincer, but I didn't find it so that's what leads me to look for examples. – Hack-R Jun 22 '20 at 18:07
  • I suspect it is there, but not evident. Nearly every military narrative I've read describes attempts to flank the adversary, and usually both sides are flanking. A pincer movement is simply a double flanking. It is difficult. – Mark C. Wallace Jun 22 '20 at 18:17
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    This is not a definitive answer as I am writing from memory of things read years ago, but if I recall correctly the First World War Battle of Tannenburg in August 1914 between the Russians and Germans could be an example, if you count pincer movements to surround enemy corps rather than the whole army. – Timothy Jun 22 '20 at 23:21
  • @Timothy That's very useful! Yes, I would count it. – Hack-R Jun 23 '20 at 15:19

The classic example was the Battle of Chancellorsville, during the Civil War.

The Union general 'Fighting" Joe Hooker had better than a two to one advantage over Confederate Robert E. Lee. Logically enough, he attempted to use his numerical superiority to pincer Lee. The main attack would be made by 75,000 on Hooker's right, Lee's left, with a holding or secondary force of 45,000 led by General John Sedgewick on Lee's right.

Lee resisted this with a counterpincer on Hooker's main force. Leaving only 12,000 men to face Sedgewick, Lee used the Wilderness to bluff that his remaining force of 45,000 was facing Hooker's left. Actually, there were only 20,000, because 25,000 "foot cavalry" under General Stonewall Jackson made an all-day "flank march round Hooker's force to its far right, arriving just before dusk. The resulting attack was a "hammer and anvil" operation that shattered the Union line.

The outnumbered Confederates won, but the daring maneuver cost them the life of their star general, Stonewall Jackson, who was mortally wounded by "friendly fire" in the darkness. This may have cost the Confederates the war.

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