War tactics: Defensive offence

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Srinivas_K, Jun 21, 2014.

  1. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    War tactics: Defensive offence

    There are various offensive techniques in warfare which are being taught all around the world in Military academies.
    I am browsing some videos on youtube and came across the below video. I thought of discussing the warfare technique called “Defensive Offensive” which Romans mastered and used very effectively against their enemies successfully.

    Defensive offensive: This tactic of war is employed to achieve victory by inflicting maximum damage to the enemy while keeping the friendly causalities as minimum as possible.
    This tactic works well when the commander is outnumbered by the enemy forces.
    Requirements:
    1) A military machine consisting of heavily armored soldiers, Cavalry to protect both the right and left flanks or a commander can use the terrain to his advantage to protect his flanks like in the battle of Thermopylae.
    2) A good communication mechanism (signals) in the battle field.
    3) A very good discipline throughout the ranks of the soldiers.

    [​IMG]

    The war strategy involves a strong center consisting of Roman legions who are trained to hold the ground and push the enemy back. A highly mobile cavalry which are trained to decimate the enemy cavalry and out flank the enemy.

    The center consisting Legions employ the 'Defensive offence' strategy. The soldiers of the legions as shown in the below fig. Carry heavy shields and a sword called "Gladius" which is used as a hacking and piercing weapon.

    [​IMG]

    Soldiers employ a defensive posture and try to cover themselves as much as possible. When the enemy tries to attack the formations the unit gives a defensive push inflicting damage to the enemy soldiers who are in their reach and are off balance.
    The legion is arranged in a formation of rows and when the front row is tired, that is when the commander gives a signal to shuffle the rows and the front row soldiers are switched back and the next row soldiers takes the positions of the earlier soldiers as shown in the video.



    Mean while the enemy who have numbers tries to break the formations and try to bombard the heavily armored center gradually loosing the much needed energy as the battle day progresses, the units in the Roman legion conserve their energy by holding their ground and wait until the their cavalry breaches either left or right flank of the enemy(completely decimating the enemy cavalry or routing them).

    [​IMG]

    Once the enemy is out flanked by the Roman Cavalry the center acts as an anvil holding the positions and allowing the highly mobile cavalry to assault the infantry of the enemy.

    The enemy is out flanked and surrounded by infantry on one side, cavalry on flanks and behind, Then it is a matter if time before the enemy casualties rise thus making them surrender.

    Note: Roman Legions employed this technique when their armies used to control vast regions in Europe and Mediterranean , most of the cases the legions are outnumbered and are against barbarians who used to follow all out attacks with weak cavalry of their own.

    written by
    -- Srinivas

    Mr @Ray , @Kunal Biswas and other members ( I have limited knowledge of professionals here no offense for not mentioning their names) any inputs of your experience and knowledge are appreciated.
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Nowadays it is called 'Proactive Defence'.
     
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  4. abhi_the _gr8_maratha

    abhi_the _gr8_maratha Senior Member Senior Member

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    I have more interest in guerilla warfare and the way marathas defeated mongols and other muslims kings as well as ho chi minh took inspiration of marathas and fought against america.
    .
    this tactic can be used in mountain and jungles
     
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  5. Alpha1

    Alpha1 Regular Member

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  6. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

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    Very good article @Srinivas_K.
    If you have ever played any war game simulator like Rome Total war etc, you will learn about this tactics.

    I have no knowledge on military tactics but I like reading about them so here`s my 2 cents.

    It seems the tactic that the Romans used(the tactic was originally popularized by Alexander the Great) was the hammer and anvil tactic.
    Here a central body of troops would act as the anvil while the cavalry would attack from behind and act as the hammer. It was a supposedly very deadly tactic.

    Hammer and anvil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Also as per wiki the Romans were indeed one of the best military force during their times. They were defeated sometimes though. The most famous of which was by the Persians/Iranians(the Parthian Empire) in the Carrhae. The Persians used hit and run tactics of horse archers.

    Battle of Carrhae - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
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  7. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    You are correct Peter, Hammer (cavalry or highly mobile troops) and Anvil (a strong defensive center) is a tactic used by Alexander also mastered by him.

    In the battle of Gaugamela he just tweaked this technique against Darius and won the battle of wits and there by winning one of the decisive Battles in the history.

    In the Battle of Gaugamela Alexander appeared for going all out attack with his cavalry on the right flank of Darius But in fact he diverted the cavalry of the Persians far away and then attacked the center, there by surprising Darius and making him run away there by reducing the morale of the Persian troops.

    Regarding Romans following Alexanders Technique, Yes your are correct the roman legion and the defensive tactics evolved from Greek Phalanx. But Phalanx is not maneuverable reason why Romans adopted the Testudo formations.

    Actually Greeks and Romans fought each other in "Battle of Heraclea" where Romans exploited the rigid formation of Phalanx and won the Battle.

     
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  8. Simple_Guy

    Simple_Guy Regular Member

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    Something similar was seen in India. But it was a formation of cavalry, called "Gol" in Rajasthan. "When the gol is formed and the lances are couched, the signal of onset is the shout of ' Jai Brajnathji ! ' ' Victory to Brajnath ! ' and many a glorious victory and many a glorious death has he witnessed." It was used in a battle against the British:

    Battle of Fatehpur, Jaipur vs British, 1799:

     
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