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Questions tagged [tactics]

The deployment, martialing and maneuver of low-level units to achieve military advantage.

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4answers
248 views

Has there ever been an encirclement without superior numbers or mobility

I can't find any examples. It seems like encirclement is always just a result of some other advantage, and doesn't affect the battle in itself. For example the classic case is Cannae. The ...
18
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4answers
7k views

WW1 tunneling - bypassing the front line?

During the first world war both sides engaged in tunnel warfare, the primary purpose of which (as far as I can tell) was to place large amounts of explosives under enemy lines and then detonate them ...
2
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4answers
411 views

Battles where baits are overlooked by the enemy in expense of the baiter

In battles, often military deception is used to bait the enemy into thinking that a certain move will be made, forcing them to act accordingly and attack from an unexpected angle. Intuitively, I would ...
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3answers
598 views

How can a skilled battle commander like Napoleon Bonaparte lose to Prussians at Waterloo (Belgium) as such?

According to this website Napoleon Bonaparte lost the battle at Waterloo to Prussians because(Chronologically): 1. The failure of Grouchy keeping the Prussians away from the Battlefield. 2. The ...
37
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5answers
7k views

Why didn't line infantry tactics try to keep up a constant volley of fire?

Often in movies on the American revolution and back when muskets were common place the opposing armies would line up facing each other and take turns firing. One side, then the other. Kind of like a ...
4
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1answer
260 views

What would be a textbook example of Germans attacking a small defending force in the rubble of a village?

While reading this The Saving Private Ryan Online Encyclopedia I ran into: One of the most heavily criticized scenes in the film, the Battle of Ramelle is not a textbook example of how a German ...
2
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2answers
254 views

How “old” is mechanized infantry in terms of usage in warfare and what should be called as such?

This topic often fascinated me as a kid. I often questioned myself if there was an equivalent of the use of machinery to protect ground soldiers during a siege or an attack at some city or whatever ...
2
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2answers
283 views

Did Song troops spread black beans on the ground as a means to defeat the superior Jin cavalry? If so, in which battle?

According to this page on the website Changing Minds, When the superior Jin cavalry were attacking, the inferior Song troops scattered black beans on the ground which the cavalry horses stopped ...
6
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2answers
357 views

Was the flexibility of German army a big contributor to their success?

While in a conversation, my friend claimed that German soldiers were given greater flexibility at defying the orders given by the superiors than other armies around the world in both World War, hence ...
3
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1answer
553 views

How (and why) did Hitler create “the world's largest traffic jam?”

This is not a reference to "current events" but to Fall Blau the 1942 attack on the southern Soviet Union by Army Group South. The campaign started smoothly enough, with the approach to (and capture ...
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4answers
819 views

What were German submarine tactics?

I watch a show about WWII submarines. After Pearl Harbor they send 4-5 submarines of a new class with large dimension so can have bigger autonomy range. This was related to the first German waves to ...
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2answers
3k views

Physics of a heavy cavalry charge?

Can someone explain a heavy cavalry charge? A bunch of 500kg animals smashes into a dense crowd of men at speed of 40km/h. This simply cannot end good for neither side. Let's say the charge fails. The ...
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1answer
155 views

Is this movie tactic realistic? [closed]

In the movie "Children of Glory", there's the tank scene, (I wouldn't ask about the validity of war films in normal cases, but this isn't from Hollywood) which plays out in the following way: Someone ...
1
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2answers
274 views

Were fake anti-tank mines A Thing?

In the movie Children of Glory (Szabadság, Szerelem), there's a scene in which one of the female protagonists took a few pans, broke off their handle, and placed them on the ground to fool a tank into ...
2
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3answers
1k views

Did ramming tank battle tactics occur in WW2? [closed]

In one of his War thunder (a realistic tank battle simulator) videos, Oxide used a small, quick tank with a high armor penetration weaponry, and proceeded to ambush and flank German tanks from alleys,...
26
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4answers
5k views

Battle of Norfolk (1991 Gulf War): How could the losses be so lopsided?

During the 1991 Gulf War there were a lot of lopsided tank battles where such a large number of Iraqi vehicles got destroyed for very little Coalition losses. For example in the Battle of Norfolk ...
7
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3answers
745 views

Did ancient or medieval warriors “substitute” in and out of combat?

This question arose in the role-playing games SE Some claim that in archery, horse archery, or hand-to-hand combat, a warrior could function effectively for at most 2-3 minutes. Therefore, frontline ...
2
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1answer
334 views

How did a travelling Roman army decide where to temporarily camp for the night?

I seem to remember that Sun Tzu says to avoid mountains and valley entrances, and be close to a river with grass, but how did a Roman army decide where to camp off the beaten track, such as through a ...
24
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7answers
6k views

What tactical situations made the use of traditional horse cavalry effective in World War II?

In another question When was the last cavalry charge?, answers discussed several occasions where horses were still used in combat, including in cavalry charges. I thought that the invention of the ...
16
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2answers
3k views

Why didn't the Roman maniple make a comeback in the Renaissance?

In the late Medieval/Renaissance period, the concept of the Greek phalanx reappeared in the shape of the pike square. But, while the maniple system was by no means a straight counter of the phalanx, ...
1
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1answer
450 views

Why are gliders not used anymore in military operation? [closed]

I do not think there was any operation involving gliders after WWII, and I'd like to know why.
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1answer
896 views

Why didn't the Allies attack Germany from the South? [closed]

I was thinking about how and when Italy was captured and converted into a Pro-Allies country. Once the Germans were pushed out of Italy and it was completely under Allied control, why did the Invasion ...
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2answers
1k views

When was the testudo / tortoise formation first used by the Romans?

When was the earliest known use of the testudo formation by the Romans? Wikipedia's article on the testudo formation includes a quote from Cassius Dio which mentions the use of a testudo formation at ...
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4answers
4k views

How tight were shield walls in Saxon England?

After watching the BBC show The Last Kingdom, depicting conflicts between Saxons and Danes in the 800s AD, I was surprised by the multi-layered shield walls depicted. For example: or even: I had ...
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1answer
178 views

Which Union General identified the defensive value of Cemetery Hill?

Who was the first Union general to realize the significance of Cemetery Hill during the battle of Gettysburg (1863) as a defensive position: Buford, Reynolds, Howard, or Hancock? They each claim to be ...
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5answers
1k views

Why did ramming reappear then disappear in 1800s shipborn warfare?

This question is twofold. First, why the resurgence of naval ramming and return of rams to naval designs in the second half of the 1800s? Second, why the end to ramming in the 1900s? Can one ...
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3answers
3k views

What was the tactical benefit of using flamethrowers as weapons?

I often hear stories of flamethrower troops storming the beaches of Iwo Jima and burning bunkers full of troops. But isn't it more risky to carry a tank of flammable liquid with limited fuel and ...
8
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1answer
6k views

What equipment and formations did the Muslim armies employ against the Crusades?

One can easily find articles on Wikipedia about typical tactical formations of Romans, but I haven't found such information on the Muslim world, specifically during the crusades. Did the Muslim armies ...
48
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6answers
13k views

Why did the Roman military start to favour swords over the spear phalanx?

Up until the rise of the Roman Republic, the Greek phalanx was considered the dominant form of military tactics. Evolution had simply favoured longer and longer spears: by the time of Alexander, ...
22
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6answers
8k views

Why did Sun Tzu believe you shouldn't wait beside a river when eager to fight?

In Sun Tzu's Art of War, Chapter 9 (The Army on the March), Verse 5, Tzu says If you are anxious to fight, you should not go to meet the invader near a river which he has to cross. My thinking is ...
7
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5answers
2k views

Why didn't Romans fight in a single line formation?

I read that historically, Romans fought in checker board formation, composed of 3 lines. But I play Rome Total War and in the game, that deployment means a nice recipe for high casualties. In the game,...
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0answers
178 views

Why didn't Germans use chemical warfare during WW2? [duplicate]

(I have read this discussion but I feel it does not answer completely) Why haven't Germans massively use chemical warfare during WW2? The Wikipedia has a text, but for me the reasons are weak: ...
26
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10answers
11k views

Are tanks the only reason for the abandonment of trench warfare?

The First World War in the West was for 4 years restricted to trench warfare. Gaining enemy territory cost many human lives for both sides. The main (or maybe most spectacular) battles were Verdun and ...
3
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4answers
500 views

How did Farragut know he could get his fleet through the Confederate line of “torpedos” at Mobile Bay?

At the Battle of Mobile Bay, Adm. David G. Farragut commanded an 18-vessel fleet that included two monitors and his own wooden-hulled flagship, USS Hartford. The entrance to Mobile Bay was guarded by ...
3
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1answer
205 views

Would Wright's attack on Cemetery Ridge have succeeded if Posey had covered Wright's Left Flank?

On the Second Day of the Battle of Gettysburg, the Third Confederate Brigade under Brig. Gen. Ambrose Wright (serving under Anderson's Division) charged from Seminary Ridge into Union forces holding ...
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16answers
23k views

Why bother attacking castles at all? Why not go around?

Castles were designed to hold people, weapons, and supplies to survive a siege. They were well-defended. Taking one could easily be a long, bloody struggle. Why attack at all? Most castles I've seen ...
4
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1answer
577 views

Underwater U-boat battles [duplicate]

In the movie U-571 (IMDB) there's a scene where two U-boats fire torpedoes at each other, at close range, while both submerged. I always imagined U-boats would fight one another while on the surface, ...
8
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3answers
2k views

How were mounted infantry (like dragoons) used in battle?

During the Napoleonic Wars, Some troops performed as "mounted infantry", i.e. they rode horses to move, but dismounted and fought like infantry. Dragoons are usually given as examples. How was this ...
14
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2answers
3k views

In Viking combat, how much damage was done using the shield?

A while back I was watching some show on cable that was centered on recreating ancient combat (sorry, don't recall which of the many clones it was). One thing they stressed was that Vikings did NOT ...
1
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6answers
739 views

Did it make sense to bring along infantry to reinforce attacking cavalry before the introduction of firearms?

At the Civil War battle of Brandy Station, the attacking Union cavalry general Alfred Pleasanton brought along some 3,000 infantry to even the odds, because his cavalry was outnumbered 9,500 to 8,000 ...
6
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2answers
8k views

Military tactics specifically aimed against cavalry horses

Were tactics specifically aimed against horses common in past cavalry warfare and what forms did they take? For instance, did opponents try to harm (poison or shoot-them-first), distract (loud ...
6
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1answer
2k views

Why was the massive Human Wave attack used in WWI? [closed]

If the Human Wave Attack wave tactic is in all the lights, a invitation to a carnage, why was it so largely used in battles in WWI? Weren't other tactical options available at the time that could have ...
7
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1answer
3k views

How were war elephants used against cavalry?

In this question: How do war elephants fight? it was mentioned that horses tend to dislike elephants, so they are effective against cavalry. How does this work in practice? I don't imagine it would be ...
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2answers
1k views

Changing troops in first line during battle?

I remember Caesar in De Bello Gallico mentioning Romans changing fighting/resting troops in some siege defense while Celtic attackers didn't do this and lost the battle because of it. This is just one ...
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3answers
1k views

What is the motivation of having heavy infantry to the right and light infantry to the left flank?

In Napoleonic wars era, a line contains mostly regular troops except for two kind of elite units, the heavy one, e.g. grenadiers, they normally are the bravest, strongest troops with the best stamina, ...
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2answers
1k views

In which situation is the broadside more preferable than every gun firing on their own time?

Mathematically, a ship should be able to fire more shots if each of the cannons fire at their fastest speed, instead of waiting for everyone to be ready, but it seems that a broadside is sometimes ...
27
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10answers
14k views

What's the advantage of the infantry column formation in the Napoleonic Wars?

In movies/books set in the Napoleonic Wars, the British are normally deployed into lines and the French into columns. The columns are usually the advancing ones, charging into the line as the line ...
18
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2answers
4k views

When people use spears to fight cavalry do infantry stab the horse or the rider?

I am just curious. In most games spear infantry is a "counter" against cavalry. How does that really work anyway? Any clips on actual cavalry fighting infantry that's historically accurate would be ...
5
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0answers
914 views

What weapons did Yue Fei used against the Jin Cavalry

One of my Chinese friends said that the Jin troops rode 5 horse at once and charged as a very heavy cathaprac. Yue Fei used a special halberd and cut off the horses legs. The riders fell off their ...
25
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6answers
2k views

What was the first battle in history fought by vast-majority-% “distance-shooting” non-mechanized force?

Historically, armies usually had a balance between warriors with projectile weapons (bows/guns) and close combat edged weapons (sword/pike/axe etc...). This was necessary because ranged weapons of ...