Best Military Tactics In History.

Jan 2016
385
Ohio
#1
I wanted to make a more encompassing post than my previous.

Replies can be anything from tricks (Trojan horse) to fake retreats. Anything and everything tactically related.

I just want some good example of Military Tactics that were ingenious and really changed the outcome of the battle.

Any time period is welcome from Ancient History to Modern.
 
Feb 2019
211
Serbia
#2
Since the question is ''Military Tactics that were ingenious and really changed the outcome of the battle. '' some obvious ones are the classic pincer movement at Cannae which was copied throughout history at battles such as Fraustadt and Ocana.

Then there is the reverse slope used to great effect by Wellington in several Napoleonic battles.

In naval battles there is the ''Nelson Touch'' of breaking the line and splitting the enemy fleet used most famously at Trafalgar but it did not originate there. The British Admiralty considered it as a tactic at the start of the French Revolutionary Wars and something similar was implemented over 100 years earlier by Niels Juel.

Napoleon's deception of weakening his flank at Austerlitz as well as the rest of the battle is considered to be a tactical masterpiece.
 
May 2018
589
Michigan
#3
At Ilipa, Scipio Africanus formed up for battle the same way 3 days in a row, with his legionaries in the center and his Iberian allies at the flanks.

On the fourth day, he formed up early (after his troops at breakfast in the dark) with his legionaries at the flanks, and his Iberian allies in the center.

The Carthaginians, under Hasdrubal Gisgo, alarmed that the Romans were formed so early for battle , rushed to their formations. Assuming the Romans had formed in the same way as the previous three days, Gisgo put his elite troops in his center and his second stringers on the flanks. They rushed to form for battle so quickly, they skipped breakfast.

Scipio ordered his troops to wait, letting the effects of missed breakfast wear down his enemy's. When he finally advanced, not only were his Roman legionaries on the flanks facing second-rate Carthaginians, but he refused his center, his Iberian allies advanced at a slower pace.

As the legionaries engaged, his Iberians in his center stayed just out if range of Gisgo's center, locking down the cream of Gisgo's army: if the Carthaginians center moved to support the flanks, Scipio's center would close and attack. Without engaging the Carthaginians center, Scipio's effectively 'crowd controlled' the best Carthaginians troops without 'firing a single shot.'

This, combined with a missed breakfast and the fact that Scipio's:s strongest troops were facing Gisgo's weakest, gave Scipio his 'Vitoria', kicking the Carthaginians from Spain.

IMO, Scipio's clever ruses and method of removing the best Carthaginians from the fight surpass Cannae, Chancellorsville, Austerlitz and even Salamanca or Assaye.
 
Last edited:
Oct 2015
345
Belfast
#4
Hastings 1066. It became an uphill struggle for William the Conqueror. In fact it was stalemate after William tried to break the Saxon shield wall. He came up with the tactic of a false retreat which caught the Saxons off guard to such an extent, they broke the shield wall themselves and set off in pursuit of the Normans. Shame really, as King Harold was within thirty minutes of winning.
 
Likes: Edric Streona

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
5,882
#5
Cowpens. I can't explain the whole thing, but the key point was that half of Morgan's force was militia, and both sides knew they were unreliable. At the previous battle of Camden, the militia ran at the first shots. So Morgan put the militia in the front with orders to fire two volleys and retreat to the rear. The aggressive Tarleton was lured by the retreat into attacking into the center into sharpshooting riflemen placed behind the militia. As planned, the British advancing force was then attacked from both flanks. Almost the whole British force was captured.
 
Mar 2019
282
Kansas
#6
During the Malay campaign in WW2 both side used some interesting tactics

Japanese - equipped their infantry with push bikes which let them cover terrific distances as infantry down roads.

Australia - Units realized the Japanese preferred tactic when encountering enemy troops on a road was to split their forces. With one group advancing down the road while the other would launch a flanking attack through the jungle. The Australians countered this by also splitting their forces. One would check the advance down the road. The other would hold some 50 yards further back and wait for the Japanese to emerge.

The tactic worked extremely well, but the Australians had to keep falling back because the Indian army was badly mauled in the initial landings, and were struggling to maintain any cohesion

In the Boer War Australian troops would sneak into Boer encampments at night. When they found a sentry asleep, rather than kill him, they would leave an Ace of Spades card in the sentry's top pocket.
 
Oct 2018
116
Sweden
#7
The feint retreats of the huns, mongols and other nomadic tribes were immesly successfull countless times and was to a large extent what made them so powerful.
 
Jan 2016
385
Ohio
#8
I heard a story how the England Navy used a large amount of quicklime to blind the French Navy during attack. Ultimately leading to a win for the British. I think this was 13th century?
 
Sep 2012
1,608
London, centre of my world
#9
During the Malay campaign in WW2 both side used some interesting tactics

Japanese - equipped their infantry with push bikes which let them cover terrific distances as infantry down roads.
The Japanese rode their bikes even after the tyres had punctured or deflated. This increased the growing panic in the retreating British forces, as from a distance it sounded like tracked vehicles.
 
Likes: MG1962a
Sep 2012
1,608
London, centre of my world
#10
During the Boer war, British troops would place markers low down in the ground. When soldiers passed over or by them, they would mime climbing over a low fence.
If any Boers were watching from a distance, it would appear to them that barbed wire was there and thus prevent them from moving in that particular direction.
Simple, but effective against a constantly moving enemy.
 

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