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toyomotor
03-05-13, 04:35
When watching movies of battles, anywhere from the medieval to the 19th Century, I'm amazed at the senseless tactics used. Both sides line up a certain distance apart facing each other, and shoot arrows at each other, then they charge into a headlong melee. Sometimes, as in ancient Roman times there are moves and counter moves, but the end result is the same. It seems to me that this type of tactic runs counter to mans basic instinct, that is to survive. In these set battle plans, there is no thought of heavy concealment and then ambush, and little evidence of "hit and run" tactics, these seem to remain in the realm of the outlaw or the partisan bands. It's all to honourable, face to face, man to man. Yes, there are exceptions to this but look at the famous examples of historic battles, The Charge of the Light Brigade, the English and European wars. All of the so-called "civilised" armies employed these tactics at some time with resulting loss of many hundreds or thousands of lives. Why?

adamo
03-05-13, 11:54
So what about the 17-18th centuries, when men would line up in a line from east to west, look at their enemy 50 feet away close enough to slap them, yell FIRE! And then they'd all fire away killing hundreds of each other, without even moving a foot. Those where the battle arctics at the time; that's where they believed they where at with modern warfare at the time.

LeBrok
03-05-13, 17:50
Hollywood is the worst education tool if it comes to the battles. Battles are shown the way it looks best for the audience. They show mostly duels with swords, one on one. The truth is that most of battles were fought holding strong lines, shield to shield, and poking enemy from behind shield, pushing them backwards till they couldn't move and fight. The best armies were the best trained killing machines. But how good will it look on screen in movie theatre?


In these set battle plans, there is no thought of heavy concealment and then ambush, and little evidence of "hit and run" tactics, these seem to remain in the realm of the outlaw or the partisan bands
Mongols/Tatars were masters in it. Galop to the enemy, shoot thousands of arrows, and withdraw. Do it again and again, till enemy is exhausted, bled and fled. No European army had any idea how to fight them at the time.

Whatever the century we are talking about, the main goal of battles is to win the battle with least own losses. If it means killing all of enemy, and in any way possible, so be it. (of course it is not my favourite philosophy, but I know how it works)

LeBrok
10-11-13, 19:42
Here is the look at roman killing machine efficiency, a far cry from Hollywood romantic sword battles.
Watch from 51st minute.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qiT3rIGq5k
Squeeze, stub and crash.

Jackson
11-11-13, 00:30
Yeah Hollywood is a terrible source for historical/military accuracy.

Although it is true that this sort of combat was normal for a long time in many places. In ancient Greece for example. And also in the dark ages in northern European, people would start first with throwing ranged weapons and then engaging. Although there are some good examples of guerrilla warfare.

Also have to remember that in warrior societies, prowess in combat was extremely important. In many cases it was more a situation where each side would hold off until one broke and ran and then most of the causalities would take place.

In regards to the 17th-20th century, a lot of that was convenience as well. I don't doubt masses of longbowmen shooting from a long distance away and annihilating the opposing army before they got into range would have worked spectacularly well, but to use a longbow effectively takes years and years of training from a young age, whereas most people can be trained to use a gun fairly effectively in a short time.

Also there were a lot of raids in the past, short sharp hit and run tactics on poorly defended sites. This often led to people building defenses around their homes and livestock. Cattle raiding was very common in Scotland and northern England up until fairly recently, probably had been for hundreds or maybe thousands of years.

But yeah the sooner the enemy breaks and runs, or the less damage they do to your own army the better. In some cases it was a matter of striking hard and fast and causing the enemy to break quickly, in others wearing them down. Fear is also a very important factor as well, if your enemy is afraid of you, or they have doubts as to whether they can win, half the battle is won already. And loyalty is very important. To have people who would stand and fight for their leader or employer until the end was important, in some cases they were so loyal that if their leader fell, they would continue fighting until they fell as well. They would probably be (rightly - in a warrior society) ostracized by their own if they ran, as well. Cowards were treated very harshly in northern Europe, for example. Some of them ended up in bogs.

Having tactics that are little known to your opponent is a big advantage. The tactics of the Romans were fundamentally different from the Greeks for example, even though they were heavily inspired by them.

toyomotor
12-11-13, 20:23
Jackson: My point was, as described by adamo, there were no steps taken to mitigate the loss of allied lives, human life was of secondary importance, or so it seems. All of the major battles seems to have been set pieces, one side facing the other on the battle fields, and then "Charge". While they were doing this, on a much smaller scale, outlaws were ambushing from cover, using hit and run raids or, like the Mongols, attacking when the enemy least expected it, during the depths of winter. Anyway, makes no sense to me, but there you are!

Sile
12-11-13, 22:59
Estimated time of efficient sword play in armour was 10 minutes , then exhaustion set it, .............usually the next line would push forward and the first line would regroup.

Romans, just pushed all together shield to shield , stabbing and hacking anything that appeared, second line pushed between them and took over .................a machine of swords stabbing

Nobody1
12-11-13, 23:24
I think Hollywood did a good job with Conan the Barbarian

always liked that movie
http://media.heavy.com/media/2012/08/horse.gif

Jackson
13-11-13, 03:52
Jackson: My point was, as described by adamo, there were no steps taken to mitigate the loss of allied lives, human life was of secondary importance, or so it seems. All of the major battles seems to have been set pieces, one side facing the other on the battle fields, and then "Charge". While they were doing this, on a much smaller scale, outlaws were ambushing from cover, using hit and run raids or, like the Mongols, attacking when the enemy least expected it, during the depths of winter. Anyway, makes no sense to me, but there you are!

Yeah, well i think in the medieval period a lot of it comes from the whole chivalry notion - war with rules. Although if two factions have large armies roaming over an area of terrain and one wants to stop the other doing damage to the country, or the other wants to actively move towards taking control. A quick decisive battle might ultimately be more effective. Although in siege warfare, it was often anything but quick and decisive. Well logically you could have two sets of roaming warbands destabilizing a region for many years, or you could have a set battle that may go some way to resolving the conflict in a shorter time, with a much clearer outcome. But in general it's part of the culture of warfare. We human beings are very ritualized creatures, and that extends to the battlefield as well. The concept of honour may be utterly illogical in some contexts but yet many cultures stuck to it.

American Idiot
18-11-13, 12:04
I am just glad we have Nuclear bombs now.(LOL) I mean, honestly......why waste the manpower?

American Idiot
18-11-13, 12:10
but throughout history, organized armies usually have the odds against them when facing an enemy who employs guerrilla tactics, from the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest to the Vietnam War.

IMO, the climate and geography of a region had to do with the type of battle tactics they used. Rome, Greece, etc.. all were used to fighting peoples from the Mediterranean in their early history. Even though there are instances of guerrilla tactics being used sometimes, they, for the most part, were used to living in a place that is not heavily wooded and ,in the case of peoples from the Middle East and North Africa, is largely covered by desert and wide open spaces. Not well suited to guerrilla warfare as their is not much cover, and no where to run where your enemy cant see you.

In the case of Central and Northern Europe, I think the environment was more well suited for hit n run tactics and small-scale fighting as well as guerrilla warfare, much like Native AMericans in colonial AMerica. In the Vietnam war, the environment in Vietnam was well suited for guerrilla style fighting with it's dense jungles, swamps, and rice fields emerged in water.

The reason why nations in Central and Northern Europe were employing the large-scale, open field, organized army type of tactics in the middle ages, is simply because they had been taught that by the Romans who conquered those areas earlier in history and romanized them.