Questions tagged [tactics]

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

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107
votes
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 ...
27
votes
10answers
16k 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 ...
51
votes
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, ...
8
votes
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 ...
25
votes
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 ...
12
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
10k 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 ...
25
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

How do war elephants fight?

Do they just run into a phalanx, breaking it up? Do they lift their front foot and then crush enemies below? What do elephants do? Or do the fighters on top of it just shoot arrows?
8
votes
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...