Questions tagged [tactics]

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

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28
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4answers
5k views

How difficult was to escape from a naval battle after engaging into one during the Age of Sail?

So, I am designing a board game which includes pirates/imperial battles during the age of sail. While I have found a lot of information on the internet as well as books, papers and of course other ...
4
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1answer
320 views

How deep would a Roman Marian cohort's battle line be, in a melee?

Are there any estimates for how deep a Roman battle line was, under Marius, at the level of a cohort? Whether the line was 3, 6, or another number of ranks deep? I'd suppose 3 would be a minimum, and ...
2
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0answers
62 views

Where can tactical maps for battles of the Mexican Revolution be accessed?

There are a bunch of resources on the Mexican revolution, but I've never seen an academical text that narrates the major battles in the struggle along with tactical maps. Thus, I'm looking for a ...
4
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0answers
50 views

When exactly did General von Kluck learn of the French Sixth Army?

The French Sixth Army had been forming in Paris for some time before they positioned themselves to attack the German First Army under von Kluck. According to von Kluck's wikipedia: On 31 August ...
4
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1answer
385 views

Did any “tanks in front” tactic exist during WW2?

I am searching for a tactic that would be in service in the British and/or French army during WW2. It would consist in placing the tank on forward position of other elements, especially in front of ...
2
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3answers
439 views

Which factors led to the different casualty ratio betwen British and German forces during the Battle of Normandy?

I take for example the VIIIth corps of the British Army, which was part of multiple operations in Normandy in 1944. If you go through the different operations listed in the article, there are very ...
1
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2answers
290 views

How did an advancing force walk during WW1?

I am searching for any noticeable orders, doctrine or any piece of information about how an advancing force should be organized. I am interested in the scope 1914-1918, on European and Middle-East ...
4
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3answers
381 views

Was it possible to “aim for the epaulette boys” during the Middle Ages?

During the American Revolution, American troops were often told to "aim for the epaulette boys,"* that is, to first shoot at officers wearing epaulettes, on the theory that killing an officer would ...
-4
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1answer
165 views

Why didn't the Byzantines develop anti-cavalary tactics?

I noticed that Rome has always fought against equestrian nations and they weren't always successful. Gauls, Parthians, Huns and Turks had many battles with the Romans. I heard that the Romans before ...
-2
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3answers
302 views

How is it possible to be ambushed twice at the same place?

How is it possible for an army to: go to some place be ambushed repel or see the attackers falling back Go to a place and fight retreat and be ambushed at the first place It is the battle of ...
2
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0answers
113 views

Medieval infantry deployed in ranks of #(?) men (formation depth)?

We know quite a lot about Greek phalanx, its deployment and depth and, I believe, about Roman legions as well. But do we know anything about Western European infantry formations of high/late middle ...
2
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4answers
441 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 ...
19
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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
461 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 ...
5
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3answers
885 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 ...
39
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5answers
8k 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
290 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
352 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
347 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
437 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 ...
1
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4answers
1k 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 ...
12
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2answers
7k 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
160 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
303 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
2k 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,...
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4answers
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Why were the losses in the Battle of Norfolk 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
1k 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
406 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 ...
25
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8answers
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 ...
15
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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, ...
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1answer
582 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
1k 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 ...
10
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2answers
2k 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 ...
15
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6answers
10k 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 ...
-1
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1answer
187 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 ...
13
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5answers
2k 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 ...
20
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3answers
4k 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
9k 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 ...
51
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6answers
15k 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, ...
23
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6answers
9k 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
3k 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
193 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: ...
29
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10answers
14k 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
602 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
273 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 ...
108
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16answers
28k 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
609 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 ...
15
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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
868 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 ...