Close combat

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Combatants engaged in close combat during an assault on a town, early 17th century Sack of a Town (Sebastiaen Vrancx) - Gothenburg Museum of Art - GKM 1396.tif
Combatants engaged in close combat during an assault on a town, early 17th century

Close combat is a combat situation between two or more opponents at short range. [1] [2] Since the rise of ranged weapons and firearms, the term has been used to specifically refer to melee combat.


Armed and unarmed confrontations

Among many types of fighting encompassed by the general term close combat are the modern terms hand-to-hand combat (HTH) 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.

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, generally within a 100 meters (110 yards) or less. 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 and civilians.


See also

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  1. MCRP 3-02B: Close Combat, Washington, D.C.: Department Of The Navy, Headquarters United States Marine Corps, 12 February 1999
  2. Matthews, Phil, 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.”