Defensive fighting position
A defensive fighting position is a type of earthwork constructed in a military context large enough to accommodate anything from one soldier to a fire team. Tobruk type positions are named after the system of defensive positions constructed by the Italian Army at Tobruk, Libya. After Tobruk fell to the Allies in January 1941, the existing positions were modified and expanded by the Australian Army which, along with other Allied forces, reused them in the Siege of Tobruk. A foxhole is one type of defensive strategic position, it is a "small pit used for cover for one or two personnel, so constructed that the occupants can fire from it". It is known more within United States Army slang as a "fighting position" or as a "ranger grave", it is known as a "fighting hole" in the United States Marine Corps, a "gun-pit" in Australian Army terminology, a "fighting pit" in the New Zealand Army. In British and Canadian military argot it equates to a range of terms including slit trench, or fire trench, a sangar or shell scrape, or simply—but less accurately—as a "trench".
During the American Civil War the term "rifle pit" was recognized by both U. S. Army and Confederate Army forces. A protected emplacement or concealed post in which one or several machine guns are set up is known in U. S. English as a machine gun nest. During the fighting in North Africa, U. S. forces employed the shell scrape. This was a shallow excavation allowing one soldier to lie horizontally while shielding his body from nearby shell bursts and small arms fire; the slit trench soon proved inadequate in this role, as the few inches of dirt above the soldier's body could be penetrated by bullets or shell fragments. It exposed the user to assault by enemy tanks, which could crush a soldier inside a shallow slit trench by driving into it making a simple half-turn. After the Battle of Kasserine Pass, U. S. troops adopted the modern foxhole, a vertical, bottle-shaped hole that allowed a soldier to stand and fight with head and shoulders exposed. The foxhole widened near the bottom to allow a soldier to crouch down while under intense artillery fire or tank attack.
Foxholes could be enlarged to two-soldier fighting positions, as well as excavated with firing steps for crew-served weapons or sumps for water drainage or live enemy grenade disposal. The Germans used hardened fortifications in North Africa and in other fortifications, such as the Atlantic Wall, that were in essence foxholes made from concrete; the Germans knew them as Ringstände. The Germans put a turret from an obsolete French or German tank on the foxhole; this gave the gunner protection from shrapnel and small arms. Modern militaries publish and distribute elaborate field manuals for the proper construction of DFPs in stages. A shallow "shell scrape" is dug, much like a shallow grave, which provides limited protection; each stage develops the fighting position increasing its effectiveness, while always maintaining functionality. In this way, a soldier can improve the position over time, while being able to stop at any time and use the position in a fight. A DFP is a pit or trench dug deep enough to stand in, with only the head exposed, a small step at the bottom, called a fire step, that allows the soldier to crouch into to avoid fire and tank treads.
The fire step slopes down into a deeper narrow slit called a grenade sump at the bottom to allow for live grenades to be kicked in to minimize damage from grenade fragments. When possible, DFPs are revetted with star pickets and wire or local substitutes. Ideally, the revetting will be dug in below ground level so as to minimise damage from fire and tank tracks; the revetting helps the DFP resist cave-in from near misses from artillery or mortars and tank tracks. Time permitting, DFPs can be enlarged to allow a machine gun crew and ammunition to be protected, as well as additional overhead cover via timbers. In training, DFPs are dug by hand or in some cases by mechanical trench diggers. On operations, explosives shaped charges, may be used to increase the speed of development. Developing and maintaining DFPs is a constant and ongoing task for soldiers deployed in combat areas. For this reason, in some armies, infantry soldiers are referred to as "gravel technicians", as they spend so much time digging.
Because of the large expenditure in effort and materials required to build a DFP, it is important to ensure that the DFP is sited. In order to site the DFP, the officer in charge should view the ground from the same level that the intended user's weapons will be sighted from; the OIC will need to lie on his belly to obtain the required perspective. This ensures. Pillbox Sangar Spider hole Shell scrape Tett turret Trench warfare All-around defense/Perimeter defense Entrenching tool Westrate, Edwin V.. Forward Observer. New York City: Stratford Press. U. S. WWII Newsmap, "Foxholes are Life Savers", hosted by the UNT Libraries Digital Collections
Prehistoric warfare refers to war that occurred between societies without recorded history. The existence — and the definition — of war in humanity's hypothetical state of nature has been a controversial topic in the history of ideas at least since Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan argued a "war of all against all", a view directly challenged by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in a Discourse on Inequality and The Social Contract; the debate over human nature continues, spanning contemporary anthropology, ethnography, political science, psychology and philosophy in such divergent books as Azar Gat's War in Human Civilization and Raymond C. Kelly's Warless Societies and the Origin of War. For the purposes of this article, "prehistoric war" will be broadly defined as a state of organized lethal aggression between autonomous preliterate communities. According to cultural anthropologist and ethnographer Raymond C. Kelly, the earliest hunter-gatherer societies of Homo erectus population density was low enough to avoid armed conflict.
The development of the throwing-spear, together with ambush hunting techniques, made potential violence between hunting parties costly, dictating cooperation and maintenance of low population densities to prevent competition for resources. This behavior may have accelerated the migration out of Africa of H. erectus some 1.8 million years ago as a natural consequence of conflict avoidance. Some scholars believe that this period of "Paleolithic warlessness" persisted until well after the appearance of Homo sapiens some 315,000 years ago, ending only at the occurrence of economic and social shifts associated with sedentism, when new conditions incentivized organized raiding of settlements. Of the many cave paintings of the Upper Paleolithic, none depicts people attacking other people explicitly, but there are depictions of human beings pierced with arrows both of the Aurignacian-Périgordian and the early Magdalenian representing "spontaneous confrontations over game resources" in which hostile trespassers were killed.
Skeletal and artifactual evidence of intergroup violence between Paleolithic nomadic foragers is absent as well. The most ancient archaeological record of what could have been a prehistoric massacre is at the site of Jebel Sahaba, committed by the Natufians against a population associated with the Qadan culture of far northern Sudan; the cemetery contains a large number of skeletons that are 13,000 to 14,000 years old half of them with arrowheads embedded in their skeletons, which indicates that they may have been the casualties of warfare. It has been noted that the violence, if dated likely occurred in the wake of a local ecological crisis. At the site of Nataruk in Turkana, numerous 10,000-year-old human remains were found with possible evidence of major traumatic injuries, including obsidian bladelets embedded in the skeletons, that should have been lethal. According to the original study, published in January 2016, the region was a "fertile lakeshore landscape sustaining a substantial population of hunter-gatherers" where pottery had been found, suggesting storage of food and sedentism.
The initial report concluded that the bodies at Nataruk were not interred, but were preserved in the positions the individuals had died at the edge of a lagoon. However, evidence of blunt-force cranial trauma and lack of interment have been called into question, casting doubt upon the assertion that the site represents early intragroup violence; the oldest rock art depicting acts of violence between hunter-gatherers in Northern Australia has been tentatively dated to 10,000 years ago. The earliest, limited evidence for war in Mesolithic Europe dates to ca. 10,000 years ago, episodes of warfare appear to remain "localized and temporarily restricted" during the Late Mesolithic to Early Neolithic period in Europe. Iberian cave art of the Mesolithic shows explicit scenes of battle scenes between groups of archers. A group of three archers encircled by a group of four is found in Cova del Roure, Morella la Vella, Castellón, Valencia. A depiction of a larger battle, in which eleven archers are attacked by seventeen running archers, is found in Les Dogue, Ares del Maestrat, Castellón, Valencia.
At Val del Charco del Agua Amarga, Alcañiz, seven archers with plumes on their heads are fleeing a group of eight archers running in pursuit. Early war was influenced by the development of bows and slings; the bow seems to have been the most important weapon in early warfare, in that it enabled attacks to be launched with far less risk to the attacker when compared to the risk involved in mêlée combat. While there are no cave paintings of battles between men armed with clubs, the development of the bow is concurrent with the first known depictions of organized warfare consisting of clear illustrations of two or more groups of men attacking each other; these figures are arrayed in columns with a distinctly garbed leader at the front. Some paintings portray still-recognizable tactics like flankings and envelopments. Systemic warfare appears to have been a direct consequence of the sedentism as it developed in the wake of the Neolithic Revolution. An important example is the massacre of Talheim Death Pit, dated right on the cusp of the beginning European Neolithic, at 5500 BC.
More a similar site was discovered at Schöneck-Kilianstädten, with the remains of the victims showing "a pattern of intentional mutilation". While the presence of such massacre sites in the context
Nuclear warfare is a military conflict or political strategy in which nuclear weaponry is used to inflict damage on the enemy. Nuclear weapons are weapons of mass destruction. A major nuclear exchange would have long-term effects from the fallout released, could lead to a "nuclear winter" that could last for decades, centuries, or millennia after the initial attack; some analysts dismiss the nuclear winter hypothesis, calculate that with nuclear weapon stockpiles at Cold War highs, although there would be billions of casualties, billions more rural people would survive. However, others have argued that secondary effects of a nuclear holocaust, such as nuclear famine and societal collapse, would cause every human on Earth to starve to death. So far, two nuclear weapons have been used in the course of warfare, both by the United States near the end of World War II. On August 6, 1945, a uranium gun-type device was detonated over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days on August 9, a plutonium implosion-type device was detonated over the Japanese city of Nagasaki.
These two bombings resulted in the deaths of 120,000 people. After World War II, nuclear weapons were developed by the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the People's Republic of China, which contributed to the state of conflict and extreme tension that became known as the Cold War. In 1974, in 1998, two countries that were hostile toward each other, developed nuclear weapons. Israel and North Korea are thought to have developed stocks of nuclear weapons, though it is not known how many; the Israeli government has never admitted or denied to having nuclear weapons, although it is known to have constructed the reactor and reprocessing plant necessary for building nuclear weapons. South Africa manufactured several complete nuclear weapons in the 1980s, but subsequently became the first country to voluntarily destroy their domestically made weapons stocks and abandon further production. Nuclear weapons have been detonated on over 2,000 occasions for testing demonstrations. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the resultant end of the Cold War, the threat of a major nuclear war between the two nuclear superpowers was thought to have declined.
Since concern over nuclear weapons has shifted to the prevention of localized nuclear conflicts resulting from nuclear proliferation, the threat of nuclear terrorism. The possibility of using nuclear weapons in war is divided into two subgroups, each with different effects and fought with different types of nuclear armaments; the first, a limited nuclear war, refers to a small-scale use of nuclear weapons by two belligerents. A "limited nuclear war" could include targeting military facilities—either as an attempt to pre-emptively cripple the enemy's ability to attack as a defensive measure, or as a prelude to an invasion by conventional forces, as an offensive measure; this term could apply to any small-scale use of nuclear weapons that may involve military or civilian targets. The second, a full-scale nuclear war, could consist of large numbers of nuclear weapons used in an attack aimed at an entire country, including military and civilian targets; such an attack would certainly destroy the entire economic and military infrastructure of the target nation, would have a devastating effect on Earth's biosphere.
Some Cold War strategists such as Henry Kissinger argued that a limited nuclear war could be possible between two armed superpowers. Some predict, that a limited war could "escalate" into a full-scale nuclear war. Others have called limited nuclear war "global nuclear holocaust in slow motion", arguing that—once such a war took place—others would be sure to follow over a period of decades rendering the planet uninhabitable in the same way that a "full-scale nuclear war" between superpowers would, only taking a much longer path to the same result; the most optimistic predictions of the effects of a major nuclear exchange foresee the death of many millions of victims within a short period of time. More pessimistic predictions argue that a full-scale nuclear war could bring about the extinction of the human race, or at least its near extinction, with only a small number of survivors and a reduced quality of life and life expectancy for centuries afterward. However, such predictions, assuming total war with nuclear arsenals at Cold War highs, have not been without criticism.
Such a horrific catastrophe as global nuclear warfare would certainly cause permanent damage to most complex life on the planet, its ecosystems, the global climate. If predictions about the production of a nuclear winter are accurate, it would change the balance of global power, with countries such as Australia, New Zealand, China and Brazil predicted to become world superpowers if the Cold War led to a large-scale nuclear attack. A study presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in December 2006 asserted that a small-scale regional nuclear war could produce as many direct fatalities as all of World War II and disrupt the global climate for a decade or more. In a regional nuclear conflict scenario in w
Psychological warfare, or the basic aspects of modern psychological operations, have been known by many other names or terms, including MISO, Psy Ops, political warfare, "Hearts and Minds", propaganda. The term is used "to denote any action, practiced by psychological methods with the aim of evoking a planned psychological reaction in other people". Various techniques are used, are aimed at influencing a target audience's value system, belief system, motives, reasoning, or behavior, it is used to induce confessions or reinforce attitudes and behaviors favorable to the originator's objectives, are sometimes combined with black operations or false flag tactics. It is used to destroy the morale of enemies through tactics that aim to depress troops' psychological states. Target audiences can be governments, organizations and individuals, is not just limited to soldiers. Civilians of foreign territories can be targeted by technology and media so as to cause an effect in the government of their country.
In Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes, Jacques Ellul discusses psychological warfare as a common peace policy practice between nations as a form of indirect aggression. This type of propaganda drains the public opinion of an opposing regime by stripping away its power on public opinion; this form of aggression is hard to defend against because no international court of justice is capable of protecting against psychological aggression since it cannot be adjudicated. "Here the propagandists is dealing with a foreign adversary whose morale he seeks to destroy by psychological means so that the opponent begins to doubt the validity of his beliefs and actions." Since prehistoric times and chiefs have recognised the importance of weakening morale of opponents. In the Battle of Pelusium between the Persian Empire and ancient Egypt, the Persian forces used cats and other animals as a psychological tactic against the Egyptians, who avoided harming cats due to religious belief and spells. Currying favour with supporters was the other side of psychological warfare, an early practitioner of such this was Alexander the Great, who conquered large parts of Europe and the Middle East and held on to his territorial gains by co-opting local elites into the Greek administration and culture.
Alexander left some of his men behind in each conquered city to introduce Greek culture and oppress dissident views. His soldiers were paid dowries to marry locals in an effort to encourage assimilation. Genghis Khan, leader of the Mongolian Empire in the 13th century AD employed less subtle techniques. Defeating the will of the enemy before having to attack and reaching a consented settlement was preferable to facing his wrath; the Mongol generals demanded submission to the Khan, threatened the captured villages with complete destruction if they refused to surrender. If they had to fight to take the settlement, the Mongol generals fulfilled their threats and massacred the survivors. Tales of the encroaching horde spread to the next villages and created an aura of insecurity that undermined the possibility of future resistance; the Khan employed tactics that made his numbers seem greater than they were. During night operations he ordered each soldier to light three torches at dusk to give the illusion of an overwhelming army and deceive and intimidate enemy scouts.
He sometimes had objects tied to the tails of his horses, so that riding on open and dry fields raised a cloud of dust that gave the enemy the impression of great numbers. His soldiers used arrows specially notched to whistle as they flew through the air, creating a terrifying noise. Another tactic favoured by the Mongols was catapulting severed human heads over city walls to frighten the inhabitants and spread disease in the besieged city's closed confines; this was used by the Turko-Mongol chieftain. The Muslim caliph Omar, in his battles against the Byzantine Empire, sent small reinforcements in the form of a continuous stream, giving the impression that a large force would accumulate if not swiftly dealt with. During the early Qin dynasty and late Eastern Zhou dynasty in 1st Century AD China, the Empty Fort Strategy was used to trick the enemy into believing that an empty location is an ambush, in order to prevent them from attacking it using reverse psychology; this tactic relied on luck should the enemy believe that the location is a threat to them.
In the 6th century BCE Greek Bias of Priene resisted the Lydian king Alyattes by fattening up a pair of mules and driving them out of the besieged city. When Alyattes' envoy was sent to Priene, Bias had piles of sand covered with corn to give the impression of plentiful resources; this ruse appears to have been well known in medieval Europe: defenders in castles or towns under siege would throw food from the walls to show besiegers that provisions were plentiful. A famous example occurs in the 8th-century legend of Lady Carcas, who persuaded the Franks to abandon a five-year siege by this means and gave her name to Carcassonne as a result; the start of modern psychological operations in war is dated to the World War I. By that point, Western societies were educated and urbanized, mass media was available in the form of large circulation newspapers and posters, it was possible to transmit propaganda to the enemy via the use of airborne leaflets or through explosive delivery systems like modified artillery or mortar rounds.
At the start of the war, the belligerents the British and Germans, began distributing propaganda, both domestically and on the Western front. The British had several advantages that allowed them to succeed in the battle for wor
Jungle warfare is a term used to cover the special techniques needed for military units to survive and fight in jungle terrain. It has been the topic of extensive study by military strategists, was an important part of the planning for both sides in many conflicts, including World War II and the Vietnam War; the jungle has a variety of effects on military operations. Dense vegetation can limit lines of sight and arcs of fire, but can provide ample opportunity for camouflage and plenty of material with which to build fortifications. Jungle terrain without good roads, can be inaccessible to vehicles and so makes supply and transport difficult, which in turn places a premium on air mobility; the problems of transport make engineering resources important as they are needed to improve roads, build bridges and airfields, improve water supplies. Jungle environments can be inherently unhealthy, with various tropical diseases that have to be prevented or treated by medical services; the terrain can make it difficult to deploy armoured forces, or any other kind of forces on any large scale.
Successful jungle fighting emphasises effective small unit tactics and leadership. Throughout world history, forests have played significant roles in many of the most historic battles. For example, in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest between the Romans and the Germanic tribes in 9 CE, the Germans used the forest to ambush the Romans. In ancient China, the Chinese Empire planted forests on its strategic borderland to thwart nomadic attacks. For example, the Northern Song Dynasty constructed and maintained an extensive defensive forest in present-day Hebei. At the start of WW2 in the Far East, the Japanese Imperial Forces were able to advance on all fronts. In the Malayan Campaign and again they infiltrated through the jungle to bypass static British positions based on road blocks so that they could cut the British supply line and attack the British defences from all sides. In early 1942, the fighting in Burma at the start of the Burma Campaign took on a similar aspect and resulted in one of the longest retreats in British military history.
Most members of the British Indian Army left Burma with the belief that the Japanese were unstoppable in the jungle. The first action that began to dispel this myth of invincibility would come from the actions of the Chindits; the Chindits were a special force of 3,500 which in February 1942 launched a deep penetration raid, into Japanese occupied Burma. They went in on foot using mules to carry supplies; the operation was not a military success, but was a propaganda boost for the Allies, because it showed that Allied forces could move and fight in jungle terrain well away from roads. On the back of the propaganda success, Orde Wingate, the eccentric commander of the Chindits, was given the resources to increase his command to divisional size and the USAAF supplied the 1st Air Commando Group to support his operations; the availability of air transport revolutionized Wingate's operational choices. In February 1944 Operation Thursday was launched, air transport support supplied 1st Air to allow the Chindits to set up air supplied bases deep behind enemy lines from which aggressive combat patrols could be sent out to interdict Japanese supply lines and disrupt rear echelon forces.
This in turn forced the Japanese 18th Division to pull front-line troops from the battle against X Force, advancing through Northern Burma to protect the men building the Ledo Road. When the Japanese closed on a base and got within artillery range the base could be abandoned and set up in another remote location; the ability to sustain the bases that relied on air power in the coming decades would prove a template for many similar operations. After the first Chindits expedition, thanks to the training the regular forces were receiving and the example of the Chindits and new divisional tactics, the regular units of the Fourteenth Army started to get the measure of both the jungle and the enemy; when the Japanese launched their late 1943 Arakan offensive they infiltrated Allied lines to attack the 7th Indian Infantry Division from the rear, overrunning the divisional HQ. Unlike previous occasions on which this had happened, the Allied forces stood firm against the attack and supplies were dropped to them by parachute.
In the Battle of the Admin Box from 5 February to 23 February, the Japanese were unable to break through the defended perimeter of the box. The Japanese switched their attack to the central front but again the British fell back into defensive box of Imphal, the Kohima redoubt. In falling back to the defensive positions around Imphal the leading British formations found their retreat cut by Japanese forces, but unlike they took that attitude that if the Japanese where behind them they were just as cut off as the British; the situation maps of the fighting along the roads leading to Imphal resembled a slice of marble cake as both sides used the jungle to outflank each other. Another major change by the British was that use of air support both as an offensive weapon to replace artillery, as a logistical tool to transport men and equipment. For example, the 5th Indian Infantry Division was airlifted straight from the now quieter Arakan front up to the central front and were in action within days of arriving.
By the end of the campaigning season both Kohima and Imphal had been relieved and the Japanese were in full retreat. The lessons learnt in Burma of how to fight in the jungle and how to use air transport to move troops around would lay the foundations of how to conduct large scale jungle campaigns in future wars. After the fall of Malaya and Singapore in 1942, a few British officers, such as Freddie Spencer Chapman, eluded c
Infantry is the branch of an army that engages in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry and tank forces. Known as foot soldiers, infantry traditionally relies on moving by foot between combats as well, but may use mounts, military vehicles, or other transport. Infantry make up a large portion of all armed forces in most nations, bear the largest brunt in warfare, as measured by casualties, deprivation, or physical and psychological stress; the first military forces in history were infantry. In antiquity, infantry were armed with an early melee weapon such as a spear, axe or sword, or an early ranged weapon like a javelin, sling, or bow, with a few infantrymen having both a melee and a ranged weapon. With the development of gunpowder, infantry began converting to firearms. By the time of Napoleonic warfare, infantry and artillery formed a basic triad of ground forces, though infantry remained the most numerous. With armoured warfare, armoured fighting vehicles have replaced the horses of cavalry, airpower has added a new dimension to ground combat, but infantry remains pivotal to all modern combined arms operations.
Infantry have much greater local situational awareness than other military forces, due to their inherent intimate contact with the battlefield. Infantry can more recognise and respond to local conditions and changing enemy weapons or tactics, they can operate in a wide range of terrain inaccessible to military vehicles, can operate with a lower logistical burden. Infantry are the most delivered forces to ground combat areas, by simple and reliable marching, or by trucks, sea or air transport, they can be augmented with a variety of crew-served weapons, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles. In English, use of the term infantry began about the 1570s, describing soldiers who march and fight on foot; the word derives from Middle French infanterie, from older Italian infanteria, from Latin īnfāns, from which English gets infant. The individual-soldier term infantryman was not coined until 1837. In modern usage, foot soldiers of any era are now considered infantrymen. From the mid-18th century until 1881 the British Army named its infantry as numbered regiments "of Foot" to distinguish them from cavalry and dragoon regiments.
Infantry equipped with special weapons were named after that weapon, such as grenadiers for their grenades, or fusiliers for their fusils. These names can persist long after the weapon speciality. More in modern times, infantry with special tactics are named for their roles, such as commandos, snipers and militia. Dragoons were created. However, if light cavalry was lacking in an army, any available dragoons might be assigned their duties. Conversely, starting about the mid-19th century, regular cavalry have been forced to spend more of their time dismounted in combat due to the ever-increasing effectiveness of enemy infantry firearms, thus most cavalry transitioned to mounted infantry. As with grenadiers, the dragoon and cavalry designations can be retained long after their horses, such as in the Royal Dragoon Guards, Royal Lancers, King's Royal Hussars. Motorised infantry have trucks and other unarmed vehicles for non-combat movement, but are still infantry since they leave their vehicles for any combat.
Most modern infantry have vehicle transport, to the point where infantry being motorised is assumed, the few exceptions might be identified as modern light infantry, or "leg infantry" colloquially. Mechanised infantry go beyond motorised, having transport vehicles with combat abilities, armoured personnel carriers, providing at least some options for combat without leaving their vehicles. In modern infantry, some APCs have evolved to be infantry fighting vehicles, which are transport vehicles with more substantial combat abilities, approaching those of light tanks; some well-equipped mechanised infantry can be designated as armoured infantry. Given that infantry forces also have some tanks, given that most armoured forces have more mechanised infantry units than tank units in their organisation, the distinction between mechanised infantry and armour forces has blurred; the terms "infantry", "armour", "cavalry" used in the official names for military units like divisions, brigades, or regiments might be better understood as a description of their expected balance of defensive and mobility roles, rather than just use of vehicles.
Some modern mechanised infantry units are termed cavalry or armoured cavalry though they never had horses, to e
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 involve small groups against individual positions instead of large groups of combatants charging another group or a fortified line, it may be assumed that the charge was practiced in prehistoric warfare, but clear evidence only comes with literate societies. The tactics of the classical Greek phalanx included an ordered approach march, with a final charge to contact. In response to the introduction of firearms and Scottish troops at the end of the 16th century developed a tactic that combined a volley of musketry with a rapid close to close combat using swords. Successful, it was countered by effective discipline and the development of defensive bayonet tactics; the development of the bayonet in the late 17th century led to the bayonet charge becoming the main infantry charge tactic through the 19th century and into the 20th.
As early as the 19th century, tactical scholars were noting that most bayonet charges did not result in close combat. Instead, one side fled before actual bayonet fighting ensued; the act of fixing bayonets has been held to be connected to morale, the making of a clear signal to friend and foe of a willingness to kill at close quarters. The shock value of a charge attack has been exploited in cavalry tactics, both of armored knights and lighter mounted troops of both earlier and eras. Historians such as John Keegan have shown that when prepared against and by standing firm in face of the onslaught, cavalry charges failed against infantry, with horses refusing to gallop into the dense mass of enemies, or the charging unit itself breaking up. However, when cavalry charges succeeded, it was due to the defending formation breaking up and scattering, to be hunted down by the enemy, it must be noted, that while it was not recommended for a cavalry charge to continue against unbroken infantry, charges were still a viable danger to heavy infantry.
Parthian lancers were noted to require dense formations of Roman legionaries to stop, Frankish knights were reported to be harder to stop, if the writing of Anna Komnene is to be believed. However, only trained horses would voluntarily charge dense, unbroken enemy formations directly, in order to be effective, a strong formation would have to be kept – such strong formations being the result of efficient training. Heavy cavalry lacking a single part of this combination – composed of high morale, excellent training, quality equipment, individual prowess, collective discipline of both the warrior and the mount – would suffer in a charge against unbroken heavy infantry, only the best heavy cavalrymen throughout history would own these in regards to their era and terrain; the cavalry charge was a significant tactic in the Middle Ages. Although cavalry had charged before, a combination of the adoption of a frame saddle secured in place by a breast-band and the technique of couching the lance under the arm delivered a hitherto unachievable ability to utilise the momentum of the horse and rider.
These developments began in the 7th century but were not combined to full effect until the 11th century. The Battle of Dyrrhachium was an early instance of the familiar medieval cavalry charge. By the time of the First Crusade in the 1090s, the cavalry charge was being employed by European armies. However, from the dawn of the Hundred Years' War onward, the use of professional pikemen and longbowmen with high morale and functional tactics meant that a knight would have to be cautious in a cavalry charge. Men wielding either pike or halberd in formation, with high morale, could stave off all but the best cavalry charges, whilst English longbowmen could unleash a torrent of arrows capable of wreaking havoc, though not a massacre, upon the heads of heavy infantry and cavalry in unsuitable terrain, it became common for knights to dismount and fight as elite heavy infantry, although some continued to stay mounted throughout combat. The use of cavalry for flanking manoeuvres became more useful, although some interpretations of the knightly ideal led to reckless, undisciplined charges.
Cavalry could still charge dense heavy infantry formations head-on if the cavalrymen had a combination of certain traits. They had a high chance of success if they were in a formation, collectively disciplined skilled, equipped with the best arms and armour, as well as mounted upon horses trained to endure the physical and mental stresses of such charges. However, the majority of cavalry personnel lacked at least one of these traits discipline and horses trained for head-on charges. Thus, the use of the head-on cavalry charge declined, although Polish hussars, French Cuirassiers, Spanish and Portuguese conquistadores were still capable of succeeding in such charges due to their possession of the mentioned combination of the traits required for success in such endeavours. In the twentieth century, the cavalry charge was used, though it enjoyed sporadic and occasional success. In what was called the "last true cavalry charge", elements of the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States attacked Villista forces in the Battle of Guerrero on 29 March 1916.
The battle was a victory for the Americans, occurring in desert terrain