Battle

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A battle is a combat in warfare between two or more armed forces. A war usually consists of multiple battles. Battles generally are well defined in duration, area, and force commitment. [1] A battle with only limited engagement between the forces and without decisive results is sometimes called a skirmish.

Combat purposeful violent conflict, typically refers to armed conflict or melee

Combat is a purposeful violent conflict meant to weaken, establish dominance over, or kill the opposition, or to drive the opposition away from a location where it is not wanted or needed.

War Organised and prolonged violent conflict between states

War is a state of armed conflict between states, governments, societies and informal paramilitary groups, such as mercenaries, insurgents and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violence, aggression, destruction, and mortality, using regular or irregular military forces. Warfare refers to the common activities and characteristics of types of war, or of wars in general. Total war is warfare that is not restricted to purely legitimate military targets, and can result in massive civilian or other non-combatant suffering and casualties.

Contents

Wars and military campaigns are guided by strategy, whereas battles take place on a level of planning and execution known as operational mobility. [2] German strategist Carl von Clausewitz stated that "the employment of battles ... to achieve the object of war" [3] was the essence of strategy.

Military strategy is a set of ideas implemented by military organizations to pursue desired strategic goals. Derived from the Greek word strategos, the term strategy, when it appeared in use during the 18th century, was seen in its narrow sense as the "art of the general", or "'the art of arrangement" of troops. Military strategy deals with the planning and conduct of campaigns, the movement and disposition of forces, and the deception of the enemy.

Carl von Clausewitz German-Prussian soldier and military theorist

Carl Philipp Gottfriedvon Clausewitz was a Prussian general and military theorist who stressed the "moral" and political aspects of war. His most notable work, Vom Kriege, was unfinished at his death. Clausewitz was a realist in many different senses and, while in some respects a romantic, also drew heavily on the rationalist ideas of the European Enlightenment.

Strategy is a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty. In the sense of the "art of the general," which included several subsets of skills including tactics, siegecraft, logistics etc., the term came into use in the 6th century C.E. in East Roman terminology, and was translated into Western vernacular languages only in the 18th century. From then until the 20th century, the word "strategy" came to denote "a comprehensive way to try to pursue political ends, including the threat or actual use of force, in a dialectic of wills" in a military conflict, in which both adversaries interact.

The Battle of Waterloo by William Sadler II Battle of Waterloo 1815.PNG
The Battle of Waterloo by William Sadler II

Etymology

Battle is a loanword from the Old French bataille, first attested in 1297, from Late Latin battualia, meaning "exercise of soldiers and gladiators in fighting and fencing", from Late Latin (taken from Germanic) battuere "beat", from which the English word battery is also derived via Middle English batri. [4]

A loanword is a word adopted from one language and incorporated into another language without translation. This is in contrast to cognates, which are words in two or more languages that are similar because they share an etymological origin, and calques, which involve translation.

Old French was the language spoken in Northern France from the 8th century to the 14th century. In the 14th century, these dialects came to be collectively known as the langue d'oïl, contrasting with the langue d'oc or Occitan language in the south of France. The mid-14th century is taken as the transitional period to Middle French, the language of the French Renaissance, specifically based on the dialect of the Île-de-France region.

Late Latin Written Latin of late antiquity

Late Latin is the scholarly name for the written Latin of late antiquity. English dictionary definitions of Late Latin date this period from the 3rd to the 6th centuries AD, and continuing into the 7th century in the Iberian Peninsula. This somewhat ambiguously defined version of Latin was used between the eras of Classical Latin and Medieval Latin. There is no scholarly consensus about exactly when Classical Latin should end or Medieval Latin should begin. However, Late Latin is characterized by an identifiable style.

Characteristics

The defining characteristic of the fight as a concept in Military science [5] has been a dynamic one through the course of military history, changing with the changes in the organisation, employment and technology of military forces.

Military science is the study of military processes, institutions, and behavior, along with the study of warfare, and the theory and application of organized coercive force. It is mainly focused on theory, method, and practice of producing military capability in a manner consistent with national defense policy. Military science serves to identify the strategic, political, economic, psychological, social, operational, technological, and tactical elements necessary to sustain relative advantage of military force; and to increase the likelihood and favorable outcomes of victory in peace or during a war. Military scientists include theorists, researchers, experimental scientists, applied scientists, designers, engineers, test technicians, and other military personnel.

While the English military historian Sir John Keegan suggested an ideal definition of battle as "something which happens between two armies leading to the moral then physical disintegration of one or the other of them", [6] the origins and outcomes of battles can rarely be summarized so neatly.

Sir John Desmond Patrick Keegan was an English military historian, lecturer, writer and journalist. He was the author of many published works on the nature of combat between the 14th and 21st centuries concerning land, air, maritime, and intelligence warfare, as well as the psychology of battle.

An army or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land-based military branch, service branch or armed service of a nation or state. It may also include aviation assets by possessing an army aviation component. In certain states, the term army refers to the entire armed forces. Within a national military force, the word army may also mean a field army.

In general a battle during the 20th century was, and continues to be, defined by the combat between opposing forces representing major components of total forces committed to a military campaign, used to achieve specific military objectives. [7] Where the duration of the battle is longer than a week, it is often for reasons of staff operational planning called an operation. Battles can be planned, encountered, or forced by one force on the other when the latter is unable to withdraw from combat.

The term military campaign applies to large scale, long duration, significant military strategy plans incorporating a series of inter-related military operations or battles forming a distinct part of a larger conflict often called a war. The term derives from the plain of Campania, a place of annual wartime operations by the armies of the Roman Republic.

Military operations is a concept and application of military science that involves planning the operations for the projected maneuvering forces' provisions, services, training, and administrative functions—to allow them to commence, insert, then egress from combat. The operations staff plays a major role in the projection of military forces in any wide spectrum of conflict; terrestrial, aerial, or naval warfare needed to achieve operational objectives in a theater of war.

In warfare, a meeting engagement, or encounter battle, is a combat action that occurs when a moving force, incompletely deployed for battle, engages an enemy at an unexpected time and place.

A battle always has as its purpose the reaching of a mission goal by use of military force. [8] A victory in the battle is achieved when one of the opposing sides forces the other to abandon its mission and surrender its forces, routs the other (i.e., forces it to retreat or renders it militarily ineffective for further combat operations), or even completely annihilates the latter resulting in their deaths or capture. However, a battle may end in a Pyrrhic victory, which ultimately favors the defeated party. If no resolution is reached in a battle, it can result in a stalemate. A conflict in which one side is unwilling to reach a decision by a direct battle using conventional warfare often becomes an insurgency.

Until the 19th century the majority of battles were of short duration, many lasting a part of a day. (The Battle of Preston (1648), the Battle of Nations (1813) and the Battle of Gettysburg (1863) were exceptional in lasting three days.) This was mainly due to the difficulty of supplying armies in the field, or conducting night operations. The means of prolonging a battle was typically by employment of siege warfare. Improvements in transportation and the sudden evolving of trench warfare, with its siege-like nature during World War I in the 20th century, lengthened the duration of battles to days and weeks. [8] This created the requirement for unit rotation to prevent combat fatigue, [9] with troops preferably not remaining in a combat area of operations for more than a month. Trench warfare had become largely obsolete in conflicts between advanced armies by the start of the Second World War.

The use of the term "battle" in military history has led to its misuse when referring to almost any scale of combat, notably by strategic forces involving hundreds of thousands of troops that may be engaged in either a single battle at one time (Battle of Leipzig) or multiple operations (Battle of Kursk). The space a battle occupies depends on the range of the weapons of the combatants. A "battle" in this broader sense may be of long duration and take place over a large area, as in the case of the Battle of Britain or the Battle of the Atlantic. Until the advent of artillery and aircraft, battles were fought with the two sides within sight, if not reach, of each other. The depth of the battlefield has also increased in modern warfare with inclusion of the supporting units in the rear areas; supply, artillery, medical personnel etc. often outnumber the front-line combat troops.

Battles are, on the whole, made up of a multitude of individual combats, skirmishes and small engagements within the context of which the combatants will usually only experience a small part of the events of the battle's entirety. To the infantryman, there may be little to distinguish between combat as part of a minor raid or as a major offensive, nor is it likely that he anticipates the future course of the battle; few of the British infantry who went over the top on the first day on the Somme, July 1, 1916, would have anticipated that they would be fighting the same battle in five months' time. Conversely, some of the Allied infantry who had just dealt a crushing defeat to the French at the Battle of Waterloo fully expected to have to fight again the next day (at the Battle of Wavre).

Battlespace

Battlespace is a unified strategy to integrate and combine armed forces for the military theatre of operations, including air, information, land, sea and space. It includes the environment, factors and conditions that must be understood to successfully apply combat power, protect the force, or complete the mission. This includes enemy and friendly armed forces; facilities; weather; terrain; and the electromagnetic spectrum within the operational areas and areas of interest.

Factors

Battles are decided by various factors. The number and quality of combatants and equipment, the skill of the commanders of each army, and the terrain advantages are among the most prominent factors. A unit may charge with high morale but less discipline and still emerge victorious. This tactic was effectively used by the early French Revolutionary Armies.

Weapons and armour can be a decisive factor. On many occasions armies have achieved victories largely owing to the employment of more advanced weapons than those of their opponents. An extreme example was in the Battle of Omdurman, in which a large army of Sudanese Mahdists armed in a traditional manner were destroyed by an Anglo-Egyptian force equipped with Maxim machine guns.

On some occasions, simple weapons employed in an unorthodox fashion have proven advantageous, as with the Swiss pikemen who gained many victories through their ability to transform a traditionally defensive weapon into an offensive one. Likewise, the Zulus in the early 19th century were victorious in battles against their rivals in part because they adopted a new kind of spear, the iklwa. Even so, forces with inferior weapons have still emerged victorious at times, for example in the Wars of Scottish Independence and in the First Italo–Ethiopian War. Discipline within the troops is often of greater importance; at the Battle of Alesia, the Romans were greatly outnumbered but won because of superior training.

Battles can also be determined by terrain. Capturing high ground, for example, has been the central strategy in innumerable battles. An army that holds the high ground forces the enemy to climb, and thus wear themselves down. Areas of dense vegetation, such as jungles and forest, act as force-multipliers, of benefit to inferior armies. Arguably, terrain is of less importance in modern warfare, due to the advent of aircraft, though terrain is still vital for camouflage, especially for guerrilla warfare.

Generals and commanders also play a decisive role during combat. Hannibal, Julius Caesar, Khalid ibn Walid, Subutai, and Napoleon Bonaparte were all skilled generals and, consequently, their armies were extremely successful. An army that can trust the commands of their leaders with conviction in its success invariably has a higher morale than an army that doubts its every move. The British in the naval Battle of Trafalgar, for example, owed its success to the reputation of celebrated admiral Lord Nelson.

Types

The Battle of Poltava between Russia and Sweden, by Denis Martens the Younger Marten's Poltava.jpg
The Battle of Poltava between Russia and Sweden, by Denis Martens the Younger

Battles can be fought on land, at sea and, in the modern age, in the air. Naval battles have occurred since before the 5th century BC. Air battles have been far less common, due to their late conception, the most prominent being the Battle of Britain in 1940. However, since the Second World War land or sea battles have come to rely on air support. Indeed, during the Battle of Midway, five aircraft carriers were sunk without either fleet coming into direct contact.

Battle Scene-Detail from Deccan miniature painting. c. 19th century. Battle Scene.jpg
Battle Scene-Detail from Deccan miniature painting. c. 19th century.

There are numerous types of battles:

Battles frequently do not fit one particular type perfectly, and are usually hybrids of different types listed above.

A decisive battle is one of particular importance; often by bringing hostilities to an end, such as the Battle of Hastings or the Battle of Hattin, or as a turning point in the fortunes of the belligerents, such as the Battle of Stalingrad. A decisive battle can have political as well as military impact, changing the balance of power or boundaries between countries. The concept of the decisive battle became popular with the publication in 1851 of Edward Creasy's The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World . British military historians J.F.C. Fuller (The Decisive Battles of the Western World) and B.H. Liddell Hart (Decisive Wars of History), among many others, have written books in the style of Creasy's work.

Land

There is an obvious difference in the way battles have been fought throughout time. Early battles were probably fought between rival hunting bands as disorganized mobs. However, during the Battle of Megiddo, the first reliably documented battle in the fifteenth century BC, actual discipline was instilled in both armies. However, during the many wars of the Roman Empire, barbarians continued using mob tactics.

As the Age of Enlightenment dawned, armies began to fight in highly disciplined lines. Each would follow the orders from their officers and fight as a single unit instead of individuals. Each army was successively divided into regiments, battalions, companies, and platoons. These armies would march, line up, and fire in divisions.

Native Americans, on the other hand, did not fight in lines, utilizing instead guerrilla tactics. American colonists and European forces continued using disciplined lines, continuing into the American Civil War.

A new style, during World War I, known as trench warfare, developed nearly half a century later. This also led to radio for communication between battalions. Chemical warfare also emerged with the use of poisonous gas during World War I.

By World War II, the use of the smaller divisions, platoons and companies became much more important as precise operations became vital. Instead of the locked trench warfare of World War I, during World War II, a dynamic network of battles developed where small groups encountered other platoons. As a result, elite squads became much more recognized and distinguishable.

Maneuver warfare also developed with an astonishing pace with the advent of the tank, replacing the archaic cannons of the Enlightenment Age. Artillery has since gradually replaced the use of frontal troops. Modern battles now continue to resemble those of World War II, though prominent innovations have been added. Indirect combat through the use of aircraft and missiles now constitutes a large portion of wars in place of battles, where battles are now mostly reserved for capturing cities.[ citation needed ]

The Battle of Scheveningen of 1653: episode from the First Anglo-Dutch War. De slag bij Terheide - The Battle of Schevening - August 10 1653 (Willem van de Velde I, 1657).jpg
The Battle of Scheveningen of 1653: episode from the First Anglo-Dutch War.

One significant difference of modern naval battles as opposed to earlier forms of combat is the use of marines, which introduced amphibious warfare. Today, a marine is actually an infantry regiment that sometimes fights solely on land and is no longer tied to the navy. A good example of an old naval battle is the Battle of Salamis.

Most ancient naval battles were fought by fast ships using the battering ram to sink opposing fleets or steer close enough for boarding in hand-to-hand combat. Troops were often used to storm enemy ships as used by Romans and pirates. This tactic was usually used by civilizations that could not beat the enemy with ranged weaponry.

Another invention in the late Middle Ages was the use of Greek fire by the Byzantines, which was used to set enemy fleets on fire. Empty demolition ships utilized the tactic to crash into opposing ships and set it afire with an explosion. After the invention of cannons, naval warfare became useful as support units for land warfare.

During the 19th century, the development of mines led to a new type of naval warfare. The ironclad, first used in the American Civil War, resistant to cannons, soon made the wooden ship obsolete. The invention of military submarines, during World War I, brought naval warfare to both above and below the surface. With the development of military aircraft during World War II, battles were fought in the sky as well as below the ocean. Aircraft carriers have since become the central unit in naval warfare, acting as a mobile base for lethal aircraft.

Aerial

Although the use of aircraft has for the most part always been used as a supplement to land or naval engagements, since their first major military use in World War I aircraft have increasingly taken on larger roles in warfare. During World War I, the primary use was for reconnaissance, and small-scale bombardment.

Aircraft began becoming much more prominent in the Spanish Civil War and especially World War II. Aircraft design began specializing, primarily into two types: bombers, which carried explosive payloads to bomb land targets or ships; and fighter-interceptors, which were used to either intercept incoming aircraft or to escort and protect bombers (engagements between fighter aircraft were known as dog fights). Some of the more notable aerial battles in this period include the Battle of Britain and the Battle of Midway.

Another important use of aircraft came with the development of the helicopter, which first became heavily used during the Vietnam War, and still continues to be widely used today to transport and augment ground forces.

Today, direct engagements between aircraft are rare – the most modern fighter-interceptors carry much more extensive bombing payloads, and are used to bomb precision land targets, rather than to fight other aircraft. Anti-aircraft batteries are used much more extensively to defend against incoming aircraft than interceptors. Despite this, aircraft today are much more extensively used as the primary tools for both army and navy, as evidenced by the prominent use of helicopters to transport and support troops, the use of aerial bombardment as the "first strike" in many engagements, and the replacement of the battleship with the aircraft carrier as the center of most modern navies.

Naming

Battle of Gibraltar of 1607 by Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom. Battle of Gibraltar 1607.jpg
Battle of Gibraltar of 1607 by Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom.

Battles are usually named after some feature of the battlefield geography, such as the name of a town, forest or river, commonly prefixed "Battle of...". Occasionally battles are named after the date on which they took place, such as The Glorious First of June.

In the Middle Ages it was considered important to settle on a suitable name for a battle which could be used by the chroniclers. For example, after Henry V of England defeated a French army on October 25, 1415, he met with the senior French herald and they agreed to name the battle after the nearby castle and so it was called the Battle of Agincourt.

In other cases, the sides adopted different names for the same battle, such as the Battle of Gallipoli which is known in Turkey as the Battle of Çanakkale. During the American Civil War, the Union tended to name the battles after the nearest watercourse, such as the Battle of Wilsons Creek and the Battle of Stones River, whereas the Confederates favoured the nearby towns, as in the Battles of Chancellorsville and Murfreesboro. Occasionally both names for the same battle entered the popular culture, such as the First and Second Battle of Bull Run, which are also referred to as the First and Second Battle of Manassas.

Sometimes in desert warfare, there is no nearby town name to use; map coordinates gave the name to the Battle of 73 Easting in the First Gulf War.

Some place names have become synonymous with the battles that took place there, such as the Passchendaele, Pearl Harbor, the Alamo, Thermopylae, or Waterloo. Military operations, many of which result in battle, are given codenames, which are not necessarily meaningful or indicative of the type or the location of the battle. Operation Market Garden and Operation Rolling Thunder are examples of battles known by their military codenames.

When a battleground is the site of more than one battle in the same conflict, the instances are distinguished by ordinal number, such as the First and Second Battles of Bull Run. An extreme case are the twelve Battles of the Isonzo First to Twelfth between Italy and Austria-Hungary during the First World War.

Some battles are named for the convenience of military historians so that periods of combat can be neatly distinguished from one another. Following the First World War, the British Battles Nomenclature Committee was formed to decide on standard names for all battles and subsidiary actions. To the soldiers who did the fighting, the distinction was usually academic; a soldier fighting at Beaumont Hamel on November 13, 1916 was probably unaware he was taking part in what the committee would call the "Battle of the Ancre".

Many combats are too small to merit a name. Terms such as "action", "skirmish", "firefight", "raid" or "offensive patrol" are used to describe small-scale battle-like encounters. These combats often take place within the time and space of a battle and while they may have an objective, they are not necessarily "decisive". Sometimes the soldiers are unable to immediately gauge the significance of the combat; in the aftermath of the Battle of Waterloo, some British officers were in doubt as to whether the day's events merited the title of "battle" or would be passed off as merely an "action".[ citation needed ]

Effects

Battles affect the individuals who take part, as well as the political actors. Personal effects of battle range from mild psychological issues to permanent and crippling injuries. Some battle-survivors have nightmares about the conditions they encountered, or abnormal reactions to certain sights or sounds. Some suffer flashbacks. Physical effects of battle can include scars, amputations, lesions, loss of bodily functions, blindness, paralysis — and death.

Battles also affect politics. A decisive battle can cause the losing side to surrender, while a Pyrrhic victory such as the Battle of Asculum can cause the winning side to reconsider its long-term goals. Battles in civil wars have often decided the fate of monarchs or political factions. Famous examples include the Wars of the Roses, as well as the Jacobite risings. Battles also affect the commitment of one side or the other to the continuance of a war, for example the Battle of Inchon and the Battle of Huế during the Tet Offensive.

See also

Related Research Articles

Infantry military service branch that specializes in combat by individuals on foot

Infantry is the branch of an army that engages in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry, artillery, and tank forces. Also known as foot soldiers, infantry traditionally relies on moving by foot between combats as well, but may also use mounts, military vehicles, or other transport. Infantry make up a large portion of all armed forces in most nations, and typically bear the largest brunt in warfare, as measured by casualties, deprivation, or physical and psychological stress.

Military aircraft Aircraft designed or utilized for use in or support of military operations

A military aircraft is any fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft that is operated by a legal or insurrectionary armed service of any type. Military aircraft can be either combat or non-combat:

Military tactics science and art of organizing a military force and techniques

Military tactics encompasses the art of organising and employing fighting forces on or near the battlefield. They involve the application of four battlefield functions which are closely related – kinetic or firepower, mobility, protection or security, and shock action. Tactics are a separate function from command and control and logistics. In contemporary military science, tactics are the lowest of three levels of warfighting, the higher levels being the strategic and operational levels. Throughout history, there has been a shifting balance between the four tactical functions, generally based on the application of military technology, which has led to one or more of the tactical functions being dominant for a period of time, usually accompanied by the dominance of an associated fighting arm deployed on the battlefield, such as infantry, artillery, cavalry or tanks.

Combined arms military operations and doctrine utilizing different branches in combination

Combined arms is an approach to warfare which seeks to integrate different combat arms of a military to achieve mutually complementary effects. According to strategist William S. Lind, combined arms can be distinguished from the concept of "supporting arms" as follows:

Combined arms hits the enemy with two or more arms simultaneously in such a manner that the actions he must take to defend himself from one make him more vulnerable to another. In contrast, supporting arms is hitting the enemy with two or more arms in sequence, or if simultaneously, then in such combination that the actions the enemy must take to defend himself from one also defends himself from the other(s).

Aerial warfare is the battlespace use of military aircraft and other flying machines in warfare. Aerial warfare includes bombers attacking enemy installations or a concentration of enemy troops or strategic targets; fighter aircraft battling for control of airspace; attack aircraft engaging in close air support against ground targets; naval aviation flying against sea and nearby land targets; gliders, helicopters and other aircraft to carry airborne forces such as paratroopers; aerial refueling tankers to extend operation time or range; and military transport aircraft to move cargo and personnel. Historically, military aircraft have included lighter-than-air balloons carrying artillery observers; lighter-than-air airships for bombing cities; various sorts of reconnaissance, surveillance and early warning aircraft carrying observers, cameras and radar equipment; torpedo bombers to attack enemy shipping; and military air-sea rescue aircraft for saving downed airmen. Modern aerial warfare includes missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. Surface forces are likely to respond to enemy air activity with anti-aircraft warfare.

Line of battle Naval tactic involving broadside artillery fire from a line of vessels

In naval warfare, the line of battle is a tactic in which a naval fleet of ships forms a line end to end. Its first use is disputed, variously claimed for dates ranging from 1502 to 1652, with line-of-battle tactics in widespread use by 1675.

Military aviation use of aircraft by armed forces in combat or other military capacity

Military aviation is the use of military aircraft and other flying machines for the purposes of conducting or enabling aerial warfare, including national airlift capacity to provide logistical supply to forces stationed in a theater or along a front. Airpower includes the national means of conducting such warfare, including the intersection of transport and war craft. Military aircraft include bombers, fighters, transports, trainer aircraft, and reconnaissance aircraft.

Maneuver warfare, or manoeuvre warfare, is a military strategy that advocates attempting to defeat the enemy by incapacitating their decision-making through shock and disruption.

Irregular military any non-standard military organization

Irregular military is any non-standard military component that is distinct from a country's national armed forces. Being defined by exclusion, there is significant variance in what comes under the term. It can refer to the type of military organization, or to the type of tactics used. An irregular military organization is one which is not part of the regular army organization. Without standard military unit organization, various more general names are often used; such organizations may be called a "troop", "group", "unit", "column", "band", or "force". Irregulars are soldiers or warriors that are members of these organizations, or are members of special military units that employ irregular military tactics. This also applies to irregular troops, irregular infantry and irregular cavalry.

Infantry tactics are the combination of military concepts and methods used by infantry to achieve tactical objectives during combat. The role of the infantry on the battlefield is, typically, to close with and engage the enemy, and hold territorial objectives; infantry tactics are the means by which this is achieved. Traditionally infantry have made up the largest proportion of an army's fighting strength, and consequently often suffer the heaviest casualties. Throughout history, infantrymen have sought to minimise their losses in both attack and defence through effective tactics.

Firepower

Firepower is the military capability to direct force at an enemy. Firepower involves the whole range of potential weapons. The concept is generally taught as one of the three key principles of modern warfare wherein the enemy forces are destroyed or have their will to fight negated by sufficient and preferably overwhelming use of force as a result of combat operations.

Force concentration is the practice of concentrating a military force so as to bring to bear such overwhelming force against a portion of an enemy force that the disparity between the two forces alone acts as a force multiplier in favour of the concentrated forces.

Flanking maneuver military tactic

In military tactics, a flanking maneuver, or flanking manoeuvre is a movement of an armed force around a flank to achieve an advantageous position over an enemy. Flanking is useful because a force's offensive power is concentrated in its front. Therefore, to circumvent a force's front and attack a flank is to concentrate offense in the area where the enemy is least able to concentrate defense.

A decisive victory is a military victory in battle that definitively resolves the objective being fought over, ending one stage of the conflict and beginning another stage. Until a decisive victory is achieved, conflict over the competing objectives will continue. Like all concepts of warfare, a decisive battle can take place from the tactical or unit level, the operational level, all the way up to the strategic level or battles that bring an end to hostilities, such as the Battle of Hastings, or the Battle of Waterloo.

Naval boarding

Naval boarding is to come up against, or alongside, an enemy ship to attack by placing combatants aboard the enemy ship. The goal of boarding is to capture, or destroy, the enemy vessel. Larger ships carried specially trained and equipped sailors, or marines, as boarders.

An offensive is a military operation that seeks through aggressive projection of armed force to occupy territory, gain an objective or achieve some larger strategic, operational, or tactical goal. Another term for an offensive often used by the media is 'invasion', or the more general 'attack'.

Military art is a field of theoretical research and training methodology in military science used in the conduct of military operations on land, in the maritime or air environments. Military art includes the study and application of the principles of warfare and laws of war that apply equally to the closely interrelated military strategy, operational art and tactics. Exercise of military art is highly dependent on the economics and logistics supporting the armed forces, their military technology and equipment, and reflects the social influences on the military organisation exercising military art. Often misunderstood due to its 19th-century perception as generally "including the entire subject of war", it is primarily, as the term implies, the expression of creative thinking on the part of the decision-makers in employing their forces, with the map of the area of operations as a veritable canvas, and the movement of forces commonly marked on the map with arrows, as brush strokes. Less imaginatively it was defined in France during the 19th century as

The art of war is the art of concentrating and employing, at the opportune moment, a superior force of troops upon the decisive point.

Night combat

Night combat is combat that occurs during the hours of darkness. It is distinguished from daytime combat by lower visibility and its reversed relation to the Circadian cycle. Typically combat at night is favorable to the attacker, with offensive tactics being focused on exploiting the advantages to maximum effect. Defensive night tactics mainly focus on negating the advantages given by the night to the attacker.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to war:

References

  1. p.65, Dupuy
  2. p.10, Glantz
  3. translation of part quote from p.77, Clausewitz
  4. p.33, Tucker
  5. pp. 63–64, Dupuy
  6. p.302, Keegan
  7. pp. 65–71, Dupuy
  8. 1 2 p.67, Dupuy
  9. pp. 62–63, Richardson
Sources