Worst Tactics Ever Used on the Battlefield?

Jun 2015
117
Canada
In your opinion, what where the worst tactics used on the battlefield? Why were they devised, and why did they fail? Answer below and enjoy!
 

Edric Streona

Ad Honorem
Feb 2016
4,531
Japan
i think any tactics that didn't work/ were abandoned fairly quickly.

Maybe the 1881 marching slowly towards farmers with rifled hunting guns was not a wise choice ... But that is not to say marching slowly in lines is a bad tactic in itself as for over a hundred years of it working very well.

The WW2 Japanese Bansai charge was eminently stupid once the enemy had tought themselves to stand to it... But then they were usually desperate suicide runs anyway at the end.
 
May 2014
696
Budapest
Worst tactic? I don't think there is one.

What usually the problem is: try to perform a maneuver which is great in theory, only to be beaten because your forces are not suitable to perform such maneuver.

Eg. double envelopement is cool, "Hannibal did it". But if you don't have enough men, it can happen that the enemy can destroy your centre before you start the maneuver.


One could say that the heavy cavalry charge of the french knights at Nicopolis (1396) was a bad idea. However, those guys were brought up with the idea that noone can stand before their charge. They fought numerous battles, where it worked perfeclty. According to their knowledge, this was the best way to attack the ottomans. It obviously didn't work, but they (at least the french) didn't anticipate that the ottoman cavarly will evade, and later return and surround them.
 

Pyrrhos The Eagle

Ad Honorem
Apr 2011
3,075
New Jersey
i think any tactics that didn't work/ were abandoned fairly quickly.

Maybe the 1881 marching slowly towards farmers with rifled hunting guns was not a wise choice ... But that is not to say marching slowly in lines is a bad tactic in itself as for over a hundred years of it working very well.
Certainly a lot more than a hundred.
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,870
Cornwall
No plan survives contact with the enemy - Moltke.

Whilst this may not always be literally true it shows that a perfectly good tactic can fail due to the actions of the defending general and abilities of his troops.

You have to remember that before our more enlightened times, leadership could be by seniority or inheritance (kings) rather than any military ability. Therefore history is awash with poor tactics and strategies.
 
Feb 2016
10
Kiev, Ukrain
It is impossible to talk about a failed tactic. We can talk about the unusual use of a specific battle tactics. For example failures of of light cavalry tactics of attack on the center of the enemy order of battle is
The Charge of the Light Brigade under the command of lord Cardigan in 1854.
However, this example can not be concluded that the tactics of the attack on the center of of light cavalry of the enemy order of battle where the worst tactics.
 

Lawnmowerman

Ad Honorem
Mar 2010
9,842
The opening months of WWI and anytime the French nobility faced the English from 1346-1415. (Crecy, Poitiers, Agincourt)
 

Mangekyou

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
7,963
UK
The opening months of WWI and anytime the French nobility faced the English from 1346-1415. (Crecy, Poitiers, Agincourt)
I would have to agree with the bolded. It took the Armagnacs a long time to figure out a consistent plan to combat the combined English/Burgundian tactics. On the few occasions in the early years of the war that the French did outflank the English archers, they went right back to frontal assaults after. It was not just down overcoming an impossible equation, but also down to the chivalric mentality of knight warfare.
 

xander.XVII

Ad Honorem
Nov 2009
3,888
Outer world
Almost anyone in August and September 1914: Napoleonic formations marching against the firepower of XX century, a suicide.