Battles and wars are similar to the game of chess. Leaders and commanders must develop plans, strategies and tactics. Some of these tactics are copies of past strategies that have been successful, and others are completely new ideas.
In today’s post, I am going back in time and looking at some of the greatest military tactics ever used. Many of these strategies could be used in formats that coincide with more technologically advanced military units.
Here are 7 great military tactics and strategies that worked.
1: The Battle of Kiev
Approximately 1,000,000 Russian soldiers were ordered by Stalin to defend and hold the Ukranian city of Kiev. The Germans used a tactic that was amazing. Panzer units moved in groupings all around the city. Using circular rings, they encircled the Russian forces, and one Panzer group attacked from the front. The circles tightened on the city, and in the end, over 600,000 Russian soldiers surrendered, and 50 Russian divisions were destroyed.
2: Wei and Ch’i
In ancient China, the Han Dynasty was under siege from the Wei. The King of Ch’i sent his forces, but they were considered incompetent warriors by the Wei. Over the years, many of the Ch’i were known to desert their duties. But, what the Wei did not know was Sun Pin who was a descendant of Sun Tzu who wrote the book: The Art of War, was leading the Ch’i warriors.
Knowing the terrible reputation of desertion of the Ch’i, Sun Pin had fewer fires lit as they marched toward the enemy. This gave the Wei a belief that the Ch’i were losing men. When it seemed the Ch’i had lost over ½ the warriors, the Wei decided to attack only to discover they were outnumbered.
The leader of the Wei, P’ang Chuan, committed suicide knowing they were going to lose.
3: Using Religious Observances
The ancient Egyptians worshiped cats. The Persians used this against them. They rounded up all their shields and painted cats on them. They also brought Persian cats to the battle. Seeing all those cats, the Egyptians would not fire upon them, because it was ruled that an Egyptian would be put to death if they harmed a cat.
They died anyway because the Persians destroyed them.
Has this tactic been used recently? I have heard of soldiers dipping their ammo in pork blood and telling Islamic terrorist organizations they did so. The Muslims believe the pig to be quite unclean, and just touching 1 will send them to eternal damnation.
4: Camel on Fire
In the 1300’s, Timur who was a direct descendant of Ghengis Khan was invading India. The Sultan sent his armies with warrior elephants who were adorned with chain mail and tusks with poisoned tips. The armies of Timur were overwhelmed and as they started to retreat, Timur ordered that their camels be loaded with hay and set on fire. They drove the blazing camels toward the enemy which frightened the elephants. The elephants destroyed a large part of the Indian Army, and Timur now had elephants instead of camels.
5: Q-Ship Deception
Deceiving the enemy is a tactic that has been used successfully many times. In one circumstance during World War I, German U-Boats were attacking ferociously in the Atlantic Ocean. They did have a penchant to surface and fire their main guns at the enemy.
The system used to respond was deception. Q-ships were used. These were civilian ships that were armed with hidden guns. They would sail into waters known to be inhabited with the U-Boats. When the U-Boat surfaced, the Q-ship would drop fire the hidden guns destroying the German U-Boat.
6: Gideon’s Deception
Straight from the Bible is another act of deception. Gideon had an army of 10,000 Israelite warriors. Going against the strong Midianites who were encamped, he sent 9,700 of his soldiers to the rear of their camp. The other 300, in the dead of night, surrounded the camp. They pulled out torches, horns and began yelling as if there were many more than 300. The Midianite army ran through the only escape to the rear right into the barrage of 9,700 Israelite soldiers.
7: Cannae Flank
Hannibal was one of the greatest military strategists of all time. Up against the mighty Roman forces who were bent on destroying Hannibal and his army, The battle was set at Cannae, and the Romans stacked their forces in the center with a plan of attacking head-on. Hannibal, in anticipation of this Roman move, put his light infantry in the center, just forward of his heavy African infantry. His much more superior cavalry was sent to the left to be able to roll into the Roman right flank.
Hannibal sent the light infantry forward in battle before all. Totally outnumbered, Hannibal’s infantry acted as if they were retreating. The Roman’s surged forward, and the large African infantry moved in on their flanks. The light infantry turned from the “fake retreat,” and entered battle.
The Romans being in the heat of battle did not realize the superior cavalry was moving in for the kill on their right flank. Hannibal’s forces created a bloodbath of Romans that day.
Can you think of any other cool military tactics and strategies that worked? How can we use any of these in today’s Army?
Please share your comments, questions or suggestions below.