Close combat

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Assault on a town, early 17th century Plundring av en stad.jpg
Assault on a town, early 17th century

Close combat means a violent physical confrontation between two or more opponents at short range. [1] [2]

Contents

Armed and unarmed confrontations

Among many types of fighting encompassed by the general term close combat are the modern terms hand-to-hand combat and close quarters combat (CQC). Close combat occurs when opposing military forces engage in restricted areas, an environment frequently encountered in urban warfare. Military small unit tactics traditionally regarded as forms of close combat include fighting with hand-held or hand-thrown weapons such as swords, knives, axes, or tools.

Hand-to-hand combat is a physical confrontation between two or more persons at very short range that does not involve the use of ranged weapons. While the phrase "hand-to-hand" appears to refer to unarmed combat, the term is generic and may include use of melee weapons such as knives, sticks, batons, spears, or improvised weapons such as entrenching tools. While the term hand-to-hand combat originally referred principally to engagements by combatants on the battlefield, it can also refer to any personal physical engagement by two or more people, including law enforcement officers, civilians, and criminals.

Close quarters combat (CQC) is a tactical concept that involves a physical confrontation between several combatants. It can take place between military units, police/corrections and criminals, and other similar scenarios. In warfare, it usually consists of small units or teams engaging the enemy with personal weapons at very short range, up to 100 meters, from proximity hand-to-hand combat to close-quarter target negotiation with short-range firearms. In the typical close quarters combat scenario, the attackers try a very fast, violent takeover of a vehicle or structure controlled by the defenders, who usually have no easy way to withdraw. Because enemies, hostages/civilians, and fellow operators can be closely intermingled, close quarters combat demands a rapid assault and a precise application of lethal force. The operators need great proficiency with their weapons, and the ability to make split-second decisions in order to minimize accidental casualties.

Urban warfare combat conducted in urban areas such as towns and cities

Urban warfare is combat conducted in urban areas such as towns and cities. Urban combat is very different from combat in the open at both the operational and tactical level. Complicating factors in urban warfare include the presence of civilians and the complexity of the urban terrain. Urban combat operations may be conducted in order to capitalize on the strategic or tactical advantages with which possession or control of a particular urban area gives or to deny these advantages to the enemy.

In modern times, (since World War II), the term "close combat" has also come to describe unarmed hand-to-hand combat, as well as combat involving firearms and other distance weapons when used at short range. William E. Fairbairn, who organized and led the famous Shanghai Riot Squad of the Shanghai Municipal Police, devised a system of close-combat fighting for both soldiers and civilians which bears his name, "the Fairbairn System", incorporating use of the handgun, knife, and the Defendu martial art fighting technique. Since that time, the term "close combat" has also been used to describe a short-range physical confrontation between antagonists not involved in a military conflict, for example in riots and other violent conflicts between law enforcement personnel and civilians.

William Ewart Fairbairn was a British Royal Marine and police officer. He developed hand-to-hand combat methods for the Shanghai Police during the interwar period, as well as for the allied special forces during World War II. He created his own fighting system known as Defendu. Notably, this included innovative pistol shooting techniques and the development of the Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife.

Shanghai Municipal Police

The Shanghai Municipal Police was the police force of the Shanghai Municipal Council which governed the Shanghai International Settlement between 1854 and 1943, when the settlement was retroceded to Chinese control.

Close Quarters Combat System is a modern martial art developed by William E. Fairbairn and Eric A. Sykes prior to World War II. It is a hand-to-hand combat system based on practical experience mixed with jujutsu and boxing that was developed to train the Shanghai Municipal Police, and was later taught in expanded form to Office of Strategic Services and Special Operations Executive members during World War II.

See also

Charge (warfare) military maneuver in battle

A charge is a maneuver in battle in which combatants advance towards their enemy at their best speed in an attempt to engage in close combat. The charge is the dominant shock attack and has been the key tactic and decisive moment of many battles throughout history. Modern charges usually involve small groups against individual positions instead of large groups of combatants charging another group or a fortified line.

A melee weapon, or close combat weapon, is any weapon used in direct hand-to-hand combat; by contrast with ranged weapons which act at a distance. The term melee originates in the 1640s from the French word mêlée, which refers to hand-to-hand combat, a close quarters battle, a brawl, a confused fight, etc.

Combatives

Combatives is a term for hand-to-hand combat training and techniques within the American military.

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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.

Rex Applegate was an American military officer who worked for the Office of Strategic Services, where he trained Allied special forces personnel in close-quarters combat during World War II. He held the rank of colonel.

A Smatchet is a short, heavy fighting knife/sword 16.5 inches (42 cm) in overall length. It was designed by William E. Fairbairn during World War II.

World War II combatives are close quarters combat techniques, including hand-to-hand, advanced firearm point shooting methods, and weapons techniques that were taught to allied special forces in World War II by such famous instructors as Rex Applegate and William Ewart Fairbairn.

Riot control measures used by police, military, or other security forces during a riot

Riot control refers to the measures used by police, military, or other security forces to control, disperse, and arrest people who are involved in a riot, demonstration, or protest. If a riot is spontaneous and irrational, actions which cause people to stop and think for a moment can be enough to stop it. However, these methods usually fail when there is severe anger with a legitimate cause, or the riot was planned or organized. Law enforcement officers or military personnel have long used less lethal weapons such as batons and whips to disperse crowds and detain rioters. Since the 1980s, riot control officers have also used tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and electric tasers. In some cases, riot squads may also use Long Range Acoustic Devices, water cannons, armoured fighting vehicles, aerial surveillance, police dogs or mounted police on horses. Officers performing riot control typically wear protective equipment such as riot helmets, face visors, body armor, gas masks and riot shields. However, there are also cases where lethal weapons are used to violently suppress a protest or riot, as in the Boston Massacre, Haymarket Massacre, Banana Massacre, Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Kent State Massacre, Soweto Uprising, Mendiola Massacre, Bloody Sunday (1905), Ponce massacre, Bloody Sunday (1972), Venezuelan Protest(2017), Tuticorin Massacre (2018)

A combat shotgun is a shotgun that is intended for use in an offensive role, typically by a military force. The earliest shotguns specifically designed for combat were the trench guns or trench shotguns issued in World War I. While limited in range, the multiple projectiles typically used in a shotgun shell provide increased hit probability unmatched by other small arms.

Fourth-generation warfare (4GW) is conflict characterized by a blurring of the lines between war and politics, combatants and civilians.

Modern warfare is warfare using the concepts, methods, and military technology that have come into use during and after World Wars I and II. The concepts and methods have assumed more complex forms of the 19th- and early-20th-century antecedents, largely due to the widespread use of highly advanced information technology, and combatants must modernize constantly to preserve their battle worthiness. Although total war was thought to be the form of international conflicts from the experience of the French Revolutionary Wars to World War II, the term no longer describes warfare in which a belligerent use all of its resources to destroy the enemy's organized ability to engage in war. The practice of total war which had been in use for over a century, as a form of war policy, has been changed dramatically with greater awareness of tactical, operational, and strategic battle information.

Combat knife knife designed for military use for hand-to-hand combat

A combat knife is a fighting knife designed solely for military use and primarily intended for hand-to-hand or close combat fighting.

Eric Anthony Sykes, born Eric Anthony Schwabe in Barton-upon-Irwell, Eccles, Greater Manchester, England, was a soldier and firearms expert. He is most famous for his work with William E. Fairbairn in the development of the eponymous Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife and modern British Close Quarters Battle (CQB) martial arts during World War II. Originally working for an import/export company selling weapons in East Asia, he claimed he volunteered for and served in the British Army as a sharpshooter on the Western Front during World War I. Returning to China in 1917, he joined the volunteer branch of the Shanghai Municipal Police (SMP) Specials with the rank of Inspector in 1926.

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.

Knife fight

A knife fight is a violent physical confrontation between two or more combatants in which one or more participants is armed with a knife. A knife fight is defined by the presence of a knife as a weapon and the violent intent of the combatants to kill or incapacitate each other; the participants may be completely untrained, self-taught, or trained in one or more formal or informal systems of knife fighting. Knife fights may involve the use of any type of knife, though certain knives, termed fighting knives, are purposely designed for such confrontations – the dagger being just one example.

Fighting knife knife designed to inflict injury

A fighting knife is a knife with a blade designed to most effectively inflict a lethal injury in a physical confrontation between two or more individuals at very short range. The combat knife and the trench knife are examples of military fighting knives.

The concept of four "generations" in the history of modern warfare was created by a team of United States analysts, including William S. Lind, for the purpose of an argument for "the changing face of war" entering into a "fourth generation".

References

  1. MCRP 3-02B: Close Combat, Washington, D.C.: Department Of The Navy, Headquarters United States Marine Corps, 12 February 1999
  2. Matthews, Phil, W.E. Fairbairn - The Legendary Instructor , CQB Services, retrieved 29 July 2011: At his Specialist Close Combat Course, combat instructor Capt. William E. Fairbairn defined close combat as "fighting an enemy hand to hand or within 20 yards range.”