Most successful examples of psychological warfare used?

Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
Alexander's siege of Pelium in 335 BC. Peter Green writes of it in Alexander of Macedon, 356 - 323 B.C, p.132-133:

But if the young king was to blame for letting himself be cut off in this fashion, the ruse by which he extricated himself must stand as one of the most eccentrically brilliant stratagems in the whole history of warfare. Early next morning he formed up his entire army in the plain - apparently oblivious to the presence of the enemy - and proceeded to give an exhibition of close-order drill. The phalanx was paraded in files 120 men deep, with a squadron of 200 cavalry on either flank. By Alexander's express command, these drill-maneuvers were carried out in total silence. It must have been an eerie and highly disconcerting spectacle. At given signals the great forest of sarissas would rise to the vertical 'salute' position, and then dip horizontally as as for battle-order. The bristling spear-line swung now right, now left, in perfect unison. The phalanx advanced, wheeled into column and line, moved through various intricate formations as though on the parade-ground - all without a word being uttered.

The barbarians had never seen anything like it. From their positions in the surrounding hills they stared down at this weird ritual, scarcely able to believe their eyes. Then, little by little, one straggling group after another began to edge closer, half-terrified, half-enthralled. Alexander watched them, waiting for the psychological moment. Then, at last, he gave his final pre-arranged signal. The left wing of the cavalry swung into wedge formation, and charged. At the same moment, every man of the phalanx beat his spear on his shield, and from thousands of throats there went up the terrible ululating Macedonian war-cry - 'Alalalalai!' - echoing and reverberating from the mountains. This sudden, shattering explosion of sound, especially after the dead stillness which had preceded it, completely unnerved Glaucias' tribesmen, who fled back in wild confusion from the foothills to the safety of their fortress.

I believe there's also a story of Vlad the Impaler having thousands of people impaled along the road to Wallachia so that when a huge Ottoman army (outnumbering Vlad's by thousands) traveled down this road, they'd see the horrors that awaited them. Apparently this so terrified the Ottoman general that he turned his entire army around and fled back to Constantinople.

What are some examples that you can think of?
 
Feb 2016
5,049
Atlantic Ocean
From WW2 we have https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Bodyguard a series of operations to deceive and misdirect the axis high command in the lead up to D-Day. the operations were a outstanding success.

Vietnam had the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_Program A program of Targeted assasination and capture aimed at the Destruction of the Viet Cong. The program was in operation between 1965 and 1972, and similar efforts existed both before and after that period. By 1972, Phoenix operatives had neutralized 81,740 suspected NLF operatives, informants and supporters, of whom between 26,000 and 41,000 were killed(1)

And in More Recent times we have had the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shock_and_awe Military Doctrine. From what i understand Shock And awe is a modernized version of the BlitzKrieg. As we know a Blitzkrieg functions like this.



A Fast and devastating attack that blows through opposition and leaves any survivors trapped in an encirclement. Once encircled a series of Assaults should force the Pocket to surrender as like what happened during Operation Barbarossa

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_encirclements_of_Soviet_forces_during_Operation_Barbarossa

Shock and Awe, is a bit different. to see this we have to look at the Iraq invasion of 2003. With the entire world watching the opening shots had to be decisive and so the much known Baghdad bombings began



As this was happening the coalition troops smashed into Iraq after a devistating series of Cruise missile and aircraft strikes.



I am simplifying things a bit but the sheer force on display was being broadcasted across the world. everyone could see this monster of an army chewing the Iraqis like they were not even there. this helped accomplish the Psyops part of the war. with the Iraq army either on the run or surrendering in troves it was as if everything was going as planned.



This combined with the Highly successful Thunder runs created a image of a unstoppable army and was one of the finest propaganda campaigns ever waged
 
Sep 2015
1,711
Romania
I believe there's also a story of Vlad the Impaler having thousands of people impaled along the road to Wallachia so that when a huge Ottoman army (outnumbering Vlad's by thousands) traveled down this road, they'd see the horrors that awaited them. Apparently this so terrified the Ottoman general that he turned his entire army around and fled back to Constantinople.
It's an actual event, not a story.

Also, the one who turned around and ran back was the Sultan. You can imagine how his men felt.
 

Boz

Jul 2016
99
Australia
Greatful? Thats my bet on the sultans troops.

Anyway, for mine it's hannibals snake grenades used against the roman fleet while fighting for the bithynian court. Snakes on a boat. Thats brilliant. Can you imagine the battle report to the winning sides ruler? Well done Hannibal my good man, saw off that rotter Eumenes. Good show, good show. Now tell me, was it a ram to the midship? Board him with sword between your teeth and heroicly fought your way to victory? Come now, don't be shy. And theres Hannibal with a coy grin and a story to tell? Priceless.
 
May 2009
1,335
I remember hearing one story from WW2 about how the Nazis (possibly Rommel himself) tried a little psychological experiment by allow the allies to easily chase them out of a certain village. Hours later, after the allies were relaxed and convinced there would be no counter attack, the Germans sent in a unit of cooks to retake the village and they did it with ease. The defenders were not psychologically prepared for a fight.

I think the Germans would also sometimes bypass certain locations to trick the defenders into thinking they had gotten off easy, then they would circle around to attack them when they weren't expecting it.
 
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,653
I remember hearing one story from WW2 about how the Nazis (possibly Rommel himself) tried a little psychological experiment by allow the allies to easily chase them out of a certain village. Hours later, after the allies were relaxed and convinced there would be no counter attack, the Germans sent in a unit of cooks to retake the village and they did it with ease. The defenders were not psychologically prepared for a fight.

I think the Germans would also sometimes bypass certain locations to trick the defenders into thinking they had gotten off easy, then they would circle around to attack them when they weren't expecting it.
the germans nearly aways counter attack.
 

mark87

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
2,093
Santiago de Chile
The V.C. and north Vietnamese and the afghan mujaheddin (I have no idea how you write that) performed in both cases against both superpowers the ultimate psychological warfare by sacrificing themselves to the point that continuing fighting for the superpowers lost all appeal, I consider that a form of psychological warfare, to risk so much so as to make you're opponent pull out, and it did a psychological number of both the soviets and the Americans.

*It should be pointed out that this is mainly possible by using irregular troops, and all sorts of non legal combat situations to achieve the aim of fending off a military superior foe.
 

Boz

Jul 2016
99
Australia
The Romans won the battle.
It is by no means certain the snakes in jars was Hannibal's idea.
Yes he did, he won that sea battle. Eumenes was a roman ally and Hannibal was beating him til Eumenes was reenforced by rome.