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Classic Historical Battle Templates(with Examples)

Discussion in 'Military History' started by Austerlitz, Oct 23, 2016.

  1. Austerlitz

    Austerlitz Extraordinary Historian THINKER

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    THE SEVEN CLASSIC BATTLE TEMPLATES:

    I wanted in this thread to explore what has been called The Seven Classic Maneuvres of war - a term coined by historian D.Chandler.This refers to the general common broad maneuvre types used in warfare from antiquity to modernity.Battles have often consisted of a combination of more than one of these moves.I hope that this thread will serve as a prelude to my battle report threads -where all the battles described will more or less fall under the category of 1 or more of these broad templates.The animations i took from this wonderful site called 'Art of Battle' which i endorse to all lovers of military history and strategy.

    1.Penetration of the centre
    2.Single flank envelopment
    3.Double Envelopment
    4.Oblique order attack
    5.Feigned Retreat
    6.Defensive Position Offense

    7.Indirect approach

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    1. PENETRATION OF THE CENTRE -

    Flanks pin enemy forces in place and draw enemy reserves.Then once enemy reserves from centre are sufficiently denuded,main assault comes.Followed by mobile exploitation reserves which then wheel and hit the enemy flanks in the rear after rupturing the centre.This is a very compact and solid manuevre as until the moment of the main attack,all your reserves are in the centre and in case of any mishaps can quickly reinforce either flank.
    Timing of the main attack in the centre is critical,if too early enemy reserves will have time to reinforce centre..if too late your own flanks might be overrun.Also the main assault is essentially a frontal attritional assault..which generally requires a substantial qualitative or numerical superiority to enforce a breakthrough before the enemy is able to disengage flanks and withdraw in order if possible- this raises the possibilities of high casualities.

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    2. SINGLE FLANK ENVELOPMENT -

    Pinning attacks along the front line to attract enemy reserves,then mobile assault reserve swings rounds and rolls up the enemy flank.Advantage is simplicity,disadvantage-if faced with a capable general who will not answer by depleting his reserves to the pinning attack but rather launch a counterattack of his own against your weakened center or use those reserves to assault ur flanking force head on.

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    3. DOUBLE ENVELOPMENT -
    Also known as the pincer movement,The most difficult and sought after manuevre,and the most rewarding.Most risky unless one has large numerical advantage.Basically pin the enemy army in place[Either in defense or offense] and surround and crush it with reserves.Advantage is total annhilation,disadvantage is requires superb timing and coordination and enemy can defeat strung out pinning forces before manuevre can be completed.Hannibal's trademark.In ww2 this was perfected by the german wehrmacht through its blitzkrieg style.(keil und kessel technique)

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    4.OBLIQUE ORDER ATTACK -


    Basically refuse the weaker flank and launch diversionary attacks with it,to divert enemy reserves -then launch primary assault on one wing.By the time enemy dispatches rest of his reserves too late.Flank destroyed,swing round and roll up the rest of his line.Difficult to pull off.Requires terrain cover or obstruction,so enemy can't see the main attack coming.Invented by Epaminondas at Leuctra,a favourite of Alexander and later Frederick the Great.

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    5.DEFENSIVE OFFENSE -


    Involves making the enemy to attack a strong defensive position,then attacking the exhausted enemy forces with a sudden sharp counterattck with reserves.Weakness is it can lead to passive mentality with overdependence on walls or terrain.Also if position is too strong enemy might avoid attacking it altogether and bypass it.Advantage is conservation of forces,can take on larger forces with numerically smaller ones.However its quite a defensive strategy.This was a favourite tactic of the Duke of Wellington,Jan zizka as well as the Roman commanders.

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    6.FEIGNED WITHDRAWAL -


    Staging a retreat to entice the enemy into false confidence and lure him to abandon his position and then suddenly turn and ambush the shocked enemy.Main advantage is tactical surprise achieved as the enemy is attacked unexpectedly and out of position.Disadvanatge is unless troops are disciplined and know what they are doing-feigned withdrawal could easily degenerate into a real rout.The trademark of the Mongols who brought to it a level of sublime perfection,and also the turks.

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    7.THE INDIRECT APPROACH -


    This maneuver involves distracting the enemy with secondary forces while using the main force to strategically envelop the enemy in rear and flank. This maneuver seeks to force the enemy to react and give battle on unfavourable terms for fear of being cut off from supplies or communications. This maneuver is usually attempted if an aggressive mobile force is available or if enemy supply and communication lines are vulnerable. Advantages of this maneuver include the total victory if the enemy loses a battle while cut off from his base and the prospect of alternative objectives once in the enemy’s rear and flank. The disadvantages of this maneuver are few because the maneuver has so much diversity although mobility and timing are vital to its success.In place of a natural obstacle,a cavalry screen or light forces can be used as screens for the turning movement.This is the most recent of the seven and constantly used in modern warfare.Perfected by Napoleon.Also frequently employed by the German general staff.

    NEXT : HISTORICAL EXAMPLES
     
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  2. Austerlitz

    Austerlitz Extraordinary Historian THINKER

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    HISTORICAL EXAMPLES :​


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    1.BLENHEIM 1704 : PENETRATION OF THE CENTRE

    Duke of Marlborough & Eugene vs Marshal Tallard & Elector of Bavaria( 52,000 allies vs 56,000 franco-bavarians)

    On the allied right Eugene over 21,000 bavarians and french with 16,000 men through repeated attacks.This was the economy of force pinning attack on the french left centre.The french right anchored at the village of Blenheim was attacked and pinned down.Repeated attacks here led to the french prematurely drawing in their infantry reserves in the rear into the village overpacking it in comparison to the force attacking it.This led the french centre weakened,especially in infantry.The french commander Tallard further failed to contest the allied crossing.Once marlborough deployed his main breakthrough mass of cavalry in the centre behind his infantry the french were decisively routed.

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    2.LEUCTRA 371 BC : OBLIQUE ORDER ATTACK


    Epaminondas vs King Cleombrotus (7500 Theban/allies vs 11,000 spartan/allies)

    The first ever use of the oblique order.Outnumbered and facing the invincible spartans epaminondas employed this tactic for the first time.Thebans win light cavalry skirmish,retreat of spartan cavalry through their infantry disorganizes their lines and cavalry skirmish creates dust storm that prevents spartans from noticing the approach of overloaded theban left wing ,which breaking convention puts their best troops directly opposite the spartan best and at a huge depth.Taken by surprise spartan right is broken by sheer weight,the defeat of sparta's finest leads to its allies retreat.The refused theban right barely engaged at all.Epaminondas won another victory against the spartans at Mantinea with this tactic(ending spartan hegemony in Greece forever) and it was a great influence on Philip and his son Alexander.Tactics trumped spartan valour.

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    3.STALINGRAD 1942 : DEFENSIVE OFFENSE + DOUBLE ENVELOPMENT


    Zhukov & Vasiliyevski/STAVKA vs Von Paulus/OKW (USSR vs Nazi Germany)


    The campaign began with the 1942 german summer offensive,which after the failure of barbarossa in 1941 aimed to defeat russia with a southward drive on its oil reserves in the caucasus.First map denotes the great initial success of the german drive -fresh from the crushing defeat of the attempted soviet summer offensive at the Second battle of kharkov Fall Blau is launched.Spearheaded by the 6th army they drive the mauled soviet forces before them.German plan calls for establishment of a defensive line along the volga river while a southward drive secures the oil fields.However the city of Stalingrad stands as the last great soviet outpost west of the volga.Here Hitler and German high command makes its first error.The plan is modified to accomodate 2 simultaneous drives -one to secure stalingrad,the other which was previously the primary objective to secure oil fields.This diverts forces from the caucasian attack force which is eventually unable to complete its task fully.Soviets conduct a desperate months long defensive on the city of stalingrad itself,the fighting degenerates into brutal urban firefights with huge losses on both sides.More and more german reserves are pulled in from the rear and flanks to finally achieve the objective of taking the city.STAVKA(soviet high command) feeds in JUST enough forces to keep the germans bogged down at stalingrad itself.It masses its reserves and newly formed divisions( equipment coming from factories) and launches its winter offensive on the 2 weakened flanks of the german 6th army ,pincers break through these flanks held by inferior allied troops and meet to the rear trapping the 6th army in a double envelopment masterpiece.
    Final phase Soviets beat back german relief attempt for stalingrad pocket,the german forces in caucasus make a desperate retreat being in fear of totally cut off now and make it only thanks to some stellar mobile defense by von manstein near rostov,leaving behidn all their heavy equipment.The soviets liquidate the 6tharmy in stalingrad pocket then launch a counteroffensive which retakes all the lost territory from german army group south until finally halted by Von manstein's brilliant counterstroke at the 3rd battle of Kharkov in early 1943.

    NEXT :
    Conde at Rocroi,Rommel at Gazala,Alexander at Gaugamela and Issus,Hannibal at Cannae and Trebbia,Napoleon at Austerlitz,Rivoli,Freidland and Waterloo,Caesar at Pharsalus and Alesia,Subutai at Mohi,Subutai at kalka river,france 1940,kiev 1941,kursk 1943 etc.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2016
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  3. Austerlitz

    Austerlitz Extraordinary Historian THINKER

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    4. GAUGAMELA 331 BC :OBLIQUE ORDER + PENETRATION OF THE CENTER

    Alexander the Great vs Darius III (47,000 Macedonian vs 100,000+ Persian)

    This battle also represents a failure of an attempted double envelopment.Darius wanted to use the huge size of his army with its outstretched flanks to envelop the wings of the macedonians,while the macedonian centre was disrupted by scythed chariots.Alexander countered by advancing his army in Oblique order towards the persians with his right flank leading.Concerned that alexander was trying to outflank him on his left,Darius moved cavalry from the centre to follow alexander towards the persian left.The scythed chariot attack was unable to disrupt the macedonian advance,as they opened ranks and let them pass.As the Persians launched heavy attacks on both the macedonian flanks in their attempted double envelopment,alexander shifted his main attack on the weakened persian centre breaking through with his elite companion cavalry while the phlanx pinned it from the front.Persian centre collapsed after darius fled.Alexander's cavalry returned to rescue his embattled left wing after dealing with persian centre.He even had a reserve phalanx behind his centre to counter any penetration of his own centre during the angled oblique march,this succeeded in driving off a small penetration and an attack on the macedonian camp.

    Here Alexander's wings in defensive sense played the pinning economy of effort role.The oblique order movement precipitated movement of persian reserves from centre towards the persian left,weakening the centre where the main blow fell.

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    5. FALL GELB 1940 :INDIRECT APPROACH + PENETRATION OF THE CENTER

    OKW(Manstein Plan) vs French high command(Gamelin)

    Probably the classic maneuvre campaign of modern military history .The french plan relied on a Defensive offense template which failed.Exhaust the enemy on he impenetrable Maginot line and a series of river line defensive fronts stretching from france into Belgium,build up resources and eventually go on the offensive -in a repeat of what had worked in world war one.The french expected a repeat of 1914 german schliffen plan,which envisaged a huge hook maneuver invading through the low countries and sweeping into france from the coast and behind Paris which almost succeeded.As the first map shows the deployment of forces,this time the main effort was to be in the centre led by Rundstedt's Army group A and spearheaded by Kleist's Panzer Group (containing 7 out of 10 of germany's panzer divisions).The Northern army group B under Von bock would invade the low countries(Belgium and Netherlands) serving as bait -this would entice the bulk of the french reserves to be shifted northward to meet this attack -an apparent repeatation of 1914.Meanwhile the main weight of the german assault would fall on the denuded french centre through the ardennes forest-held as impassable for tanks.

    Map 2 shows the advance of Army group B in Belgium and Netherlands prompting a premature deployment of his main reserves towards this front by Gamelin in order to link up with the retreating belgian and dutch armies .Then suddenly on May 14 with the german panzer breakthrough at Sedan in the lightly held ardennes sector the main weight of german forces is revealed.French High command gives a desperate
    order recalling its reserves(see french reverse arrow) but its too late as the allies are now about to be caught between the advancing germans of Army group B in the north and Guderian's panzers racing to the french coast about to cut them off from all communications and supplies with france itself.The retreat order causes large chaos on top.

    Map 3 shows German panzers reach the coast cutting of the best part of the french army and british expeditionary force in what is called the Flanders pocket.This is a superb execution of the Indirect appraoch maneuvre.The secondary force (Army group B) attracted the attention of the main enemy army while using the terrain cover of the Ardennes forest Army group B of Rundstedt severed the enemy's main Line of Communications.

    Map 4 shows the liquidation of the Flanders pocket culminating at Dunkirk.Holding forces meanwhile fend off allied attempts to resestablish links with the pocket.After the destruction of the best part of the allied forces,german forces reorganized and redeployed.Map 5 and 6 shows the last phase of the campaign,a conventional broad front attack against the remnant of the french army .The french in this phase fought stubbornly but were faced with impossible odds having lost the bulk of their men and material in the flanders pocket.

    This campaign was also a stellar example of the general penetration of the centre template.Army group C kept french forces behind the maginot line in place,Army group B drove back the allied left (belgians and dutch) and served as bait for the main french reserves.The weakened french centre then penetrated and the entire allied defnsive system split in 2 by the main german attack by Army group A.
     
  4. Inactive

    Inactive Guest

    @Austerlitz

    Sir. Having interacted with you only once in the other place a few years back, can I just repeat myself again? It is pleasure to read your detailed analysis of the battles as have been posted here too.

    Outstanding.

    Thanks for taking the trouble
     
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  5. PARIKRAMA

    PARIKRAMA Captain IDF NewBie

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  6. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog IDF NewBie

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    Why don't we make a series. battle strategies by @Austerlitz and counter insurgency by @Hellfire ?
    Analysis based on indian context will be invaluable.
     
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  7. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog IDF NewBie

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    I love this youtube channel.

    Roman Battle Tactics


    The Battle of Alesia (52 B.C.E.)


    The Battle of Agincourt


    The Roman legion
     
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  8. Austerlitz

    Austerlitz Extraordinary Historian THINKER

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    I'll add panipat,Assaye,Asal Uttar.
     
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  9. Levina

    Levina Guest

    Hey buddy
    good to see your articles.
    Panipat is something that brings in the fear of history exams in me. I hope its presented in the least complicated way so that i remember the sequence of events once and for all.
    Austyy is no sir. Hes a cute college going kid. Lolzz Hard to believe- I know.
     
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  10. Austerlitz

    Austerlitz Extraordinary Historian THINKER

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    6.BATTLE OF KERCH PENINSULA 1942 :SINGLE FLANK ENVELOPMENT

    Von manstein vs Kozlov (Nazi germany vs USSR)

    A classic but often forgotten single envelopment battle on the eastern front.Manstein outnumbered 2 to 1 destroyed a russian relief force against the siege of sevastopol in 1942.The main blow fell on the soviet left flank but it was supported by pinning attacks on the soviet right and centre,masterly deception,as well as excellent close air support to hinder movement of enemy reserves.With a single panzer division as the core of his schwerpunkt Manstein was able to annihilate a force twice his size with with a disparity in casualty count of 17 to 1.All the details are given very well in the video commentary.And the 2 maps are there for further detail.

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    7.BATTLE OF ROCROI 1643 :SINGLE FLANK ENVELOPMENT

    Marshal Conde vs Melo (France vs Spanish Empire)

    A young Conde in his first independent command ended the myth of the invincible spanish tercios and signalled the beginning of french ascendancy in europe.Conde leading the french right wing horse routed the spanish horse opposite him.The spanish right wing horse did the same to the french left wing cavalry.The french contained exploitation by the spanish horse into their rear by refusing the flank and employing the last of their second line reserves.Conde rode his cavalry behind the spanish lines and attacked them from the rear.After driving the spanish horse from the field,the french infantry pinned down the tercios from the front,while french artillery tore gaps in the spanish tercio infantry formations which were exploited by conde's cavalry.Despite heavy resistance to these multi directional attacks,the veteran tercios eventually began to disintegrate.

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    8. BATTLE OF NICOPOLIS 1396 :FEIGNED RETREAT + DEFENSIVE OFFENSE

    Sultan Bayezid I vs Emperor Sigismund/Crusader nobles.(Ottomans vs Crusaders)

    A classic ottoman battle,the ottomans deployed in their traditional formation with light horse archer screen masking their main central strongpoint manned by infantry behind stakes and a ravine which acted as a central pivot with the siphai cavalry on both flanks and the heavy armoured serbian knights and kapikulu household cavalry to the rear as a final reserve.French crusader knights brimming with pride take up the vanguard role and launch their trademark reckless massed cavalry charge scattering the akinci screen who disperse and their retreat draws the crusader heavy horse into the ottoman strongpoint where they are forced to dismount due to stakes and terrain,and also take heavy casualities from jannissary archers.Their heavy armour allows them to break through even this defense,but then are taken in the flanks by the sipahis whom they repulse with only the greatest difficulty.Exhausted and scattered they finally are routed and surrender when bayezid's kapikulu reserve launches its attack.The transylvanian and wallachian allies seeing empty crusader horses turn back while the hungarians in the centre breach the mauled ottoman centre once again,but are counterattacked from both flanks by the sipahis and then attacked in the rear by the reformed ottoman light cavalry being ultimately wholly routed.

    Nicopolis showed the importance of a defence in depth with mobile reserves,and a powerful defensive using terrain features while reatining its mobile assets for counterattack at the oppurtune moment.

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    9. BATTLE OF WATLING STREET 61 AD : DEFENSIVE OFFENSE

    Suetonius Paulinius vs Queen Boudicca (10,000 Romans vs 50,000 -100,000 Britons)

    After burning Camulodunum and London(londonium) to the ground,Boudicca's vengeful horde seeks to wipe out the last roman presence in britain.Suetonius with barely 1.5 legions and some auxillaries chose the perfect reason.Unlike the 9th legion which had been caught in the open by boudicca's horde and overwhlemed he picks a perfect defensive position.He selected a narrow gorge with a forest behind him, opening out into a wide plain. The gorge protected the Roman flanks from attack, whilst the forest would impede approach from the rear. This would have prevented Boudicca from bringing considerable forces to bear on the Roman position, and the open plain in front made ambushes impossible. Suetonius placed his legionaries in close order, with lightly armed auxiliaries on the flanks and cavalry on the wings.Boudicca's army in unable to make use of its huge numbers advantage and channelled into the cramped approach zone where their charges are broken up by the devastating showers of Pilum heavy javelins and then met with the immoveable shieldwall of heavily armoured roman legionaries.Unable to properly wield their weapons due to lack of space and overcrowding and forced to play the roman game of close quarter infantry combat ,the momentum of the briton advance comes to a halt.Suetonius ordered the his reserve line to advance in the deadly wedge formation which trapped the britons and mowed them down like a buzzsaw.As they tried to retreat their path was blocked by their own wagons which the families of the warriors had placed in the rear of the battleline to watch the fighting.Unable to escape there was huge slaughter as suetonius launched his cavalry into the collapsing flanks even as the roman wedges ripped through the british centre.
    The assumption of a superb defensive position removing the enemy's advantages and then absorbing the initial momentum of his attacks allowed suetonius to launch a devastating counterblow.The battle secured Britain for the Roman empire for 350 years.
     
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  11. Austerlitz

    Austerlitz Extraordinary Historian THINKER

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    Thanks,you brought me here.:tup:

    I knew it was mistake to post that photo.:(
     
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  12. Levina

    Levina Guest

    Oh! why do you think so?
    Do you think no one takes you seriously anymore?
    I thought that was cute.
     
  13. Austerlitz

    Austerlitz Extraordinary Historian THINKER

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    I was joking lol.:D
     
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  14. Levina

    Levina Guest

    You joke?
    What a joke! :haha:

    Okay wont deviate such a brilliant thread.
    This is going on our social media.
     
  15. Joe Shearer

    Joe Shearer VETERAN MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    WHICH Panipat?
     

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