A battle is a combat in warfare between two or more armed forces. A war consists of multiple battles. Battles are well defined in duration and force commitment. A battle with only limited engagement between the forces and without decisive results is sometimes called a skirmish. Wars and military campaigns are guided by strategy, whereas battles take place on a level of planning and execution known as operational mobility. German strategist Carl von Clausewitz stated that "the employment of battles... to achieve the object of war" was the essence of strategy. 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 battuere "beat", from which the English word battery is derived via Middle English batri; the defining characteristic of the fight as a concept in Military science has been a dynamic one through the course of military history, changing with the changes in the organisation and technology of military forces.
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 physical disintegration of one or the other of them", the origins and outcomes of battles can be summarized so neatly. In general a battle during the 20th century was, 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. Where the duration of the battle is longer than a week, it is 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. A battle always has as its purpose the reaching of a mission goal by use of military force. 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, or completely annihilates the latter resulting in their deaths or capture.
However, a battle may end in a Pyrrhic victory, which 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 becomes an insurgency; until the 19th century the majority of battles were of short duration. This was due to the difficulty of supplying armies in the field, or conducting night operations; the means of prolonging a battle was 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; this created the requirement for unit rotation to prevent combat fatigue, with troops preferably not remaining in a combat area of operations for more than a month. Trench warfare had become 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 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 or multiple operations.
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 increased in modern warfare with inclusion of the supporting units in the rear areas. Battles are, on the whole, made up of a multitude of individual combats and small engagements within the context of which the combatants will 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 that he anticipates the future course of the battle. Conversely, some of the Allied infantry who had just dealt a crushing defeat to the French at the Battle of Waterloo expected to have to fight again the next day.
Battlespace is a unified strategy to integrate and combine armed forces for the military theatre of operations, including air, land and space. It includes the environment and conditions that must be understood to apply combat power, protect the force, or complete the mission; this includes friendly armed forces. Battles are decided by various factors; the number and quality of combatants and equipment, the skill of the commanders of each army, 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 wa
A javelin is a light spear designed to be thrown as a ranged weapon, but today predominantly for sport. The javelin is always thrown by hand, unlike the bow and arrow and slingshot, which shoot projectiles from a mechanism. However, devices do exist to assist the javelin thrower in achieving greater distance called spear-throwers. A warrior or soldier armed with one or more javelins is a javelineer; the word javelin comes from Middle English and it derives from Old French javelin, a diminutive of javelot, which meant spear. The word javelot originated from one of the Celtic languages. There is archaeological evidence that javelins and throwing sticks were in use by the last phase of the lower Paleolithic. Seven spear-like objects were found in a coal mine in the city of Germany. Stratigraphic dating indicates; the excavated items were between 1.83 and 2.25 metres long. They were manufactured with the maximum thickness and weight situated at the front end of the wooden shaft; the frontal centre of gravity suggests.
A fossilized horse shoulder blade with a projectile wound, dated to 500,000 years ago, was revealed in a gravel quarry in the village of Boxgrove, England. Studies suggested that the wound was caused by a javelin. In History of Ancient Egypt: Volume 1, George Rawlinson depicts the javelin as an offensive weapon used by the Ancient Egyptian military, it was lighter in weight than that used by other nations. He describes the Ancient Egyptian javelin's features: “It consisted of a long thin shaft, sometimes pointed, but armed with a head, either leaf-shaped, or like the head of a spear, or else four-sided, attached to the shaft by projections at the angles.”A strap or tasseled head was situated at the lower end of the javelin: it allowed the javelin thrower to recover his javelin after throwing it. Egyptian military trained from a young age in special military schools. Focusing on gymnastics to gain strength and endurance in childhood, they learned to throw the javelin – along with practicing archery and the battle-axe – when they grew older, before entering a specific regiment.
Javelins were carried by Egyptian light infantry, as a main weapon, as an alternative to a spear or a bow and arrow along with a shield. They carried a curved sword, a club or a hatchet as a side-arm. An important part in battles is assigned to javelin-men, “whose weapons seem to inflict death at every blow”. One or multiple javelins were sometimes carried by Egyptian war-chariots, in the quiver and/or the bow case. Beyond its military purpose, the javelin was also a hunting instrument, both to seek food and as a sport; the peltasts serving as skirmishers, were armed with several javelins with throwing straps to increase stand-off power. The peltasts hurled their javelins at the enemy's heavier troops, the hoplite phalanx, in order to break their lines so that their own army's hoplites could destroy the weakened enemy formation. In the battle of Lechaeum, the Athenian general Iphicrates took advantage of the fact that a Spartan hoplite phalanx operating near Corinth was moving in the open field without the protection of any missile-throwing troops.
He decided to ambush it with his force of peltasts. By launching repeated hit-and-run attacks against the Spartan formation and his men were able to wear the Spartans down routing them and killing just under half; this marked the first recorded occasion in ancient Greek military history in which a force made up of peltasts had defeated a force of hoplites. The thureophoroi and thorakitai, who replaced the peltasts, carried javelins in addition to a long thrusting spear and a short sword. Javelins were used as an effective hunting weapon, the strap adding enough power to take down large game. Javelins were used in the Ancient Olympics and other Panhellenic games, they were hurled in a certain direction and whoever hurled it the farthest, as long as it hit tip-first, won that game. In the ancient world javelins were thrown with the aid of a throwing string, or Amentum. In 387 BC, the Gauls invaded Italy, inflicted a crushing defeat on the Roman Republican army, sacked Rome. After this defeat, the Romans undertook a comprehensive reform of their army and changed the basic tactical formation from the Greek-style phalanx armed with the hasta spear and the clipeus round shield to a more flexible three-line formation.
The Hastati stood in the first line, the Principes in the second line and the Triarii at the third line. While the Triarii were still armed with the hasta, the Hastati and the Principes were rearmed with short swords and heavy javelins; each soldier from the Hastati and Principes lines carried two javelins. This heavy javelin, known as a Pilum, was about two metres long overall, consisting of an iron shank, about 7 mm in diameter and 60 cm long, with pyramidal head, secured to a wooden shaft; the iron shank was either socketed or, more widened to a flat tang. A pilum weighed between 2 and 5 pounds, with the versions produced during the Empire being somewhat lighter. Pictorial evidence suggests that some versions of the weapon were weighted with a lead ball at the base of the shank in order to increase penetrative power, but no archaeological specimens have been found. Recent experiments have shown pila to have a range of about 30 metres, although the effective range is only about 15 to 20 metres.
Pila were sometimes referred to as javelins. From the third century BC, the Roman le
Battle of Aljubarrota
The Battle of Aljubarrota was a battle fought between the Kingdom of Portugal and the Crown of Castile on 14 August 1385. Forces commanded by King John I of Portugal and his general Nuno Álvares Pereira, with the support of English allies, opposed the army of King John I of Castile with its Aragonese and French allies at São Jorge, between the towns of Leiria and Alcobaça, in central Portugal; the result was a decisive victory for the Portuguese, ruling out Castilian ambitions to the Portuguese throne, ending the 1383–85 Crisis and assuring John as King of Portugal. Portuguese independence was confirmed and a new dynasty, the House of Aviz, was established. Scattered border confrontations with Castilian troops would persist until the death of John I of Castile in 1390, but these posed no real threat to the new dynasty. To celebrate his victory and acknowledge divine help, John I of Portugal ordered the construction of the monastery of Santa Maria da Vitória na Batalha and the founding of the town of Batalha, close to the site where the battle was fought.
The king, his wife Philippa of Lancaster, several of his sons are buried in this monastery, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The end of the 14th century in Europe was a time of revolution and crisis, with the Hundred Years' War between the English and the French for Western France, the Black Death devastating the continent, famine afflicting the poor. Portugal was no exception. In October 1383, King Ferdinand I of Portugal died with no son to inherit the crown; the only child of his marriage with Leonor Telles de Meneses was a girl, Princess Beatrice of Portugal. In April of that same year the King had signed the Treaty of Salvaterra de Magos with King Juan I of Castile; the treaty determined that Princess Beatrice was to marry Juan I, king of Castile, the Crown of Portugal would belong to the descendants of this union. This situation left the majority of the Portuguese discontent, the Portuguese nobility was unwilling to support the claim of the princess because that could mean the incorporation of Portugal into Castile.
The powerful merchants of the capital, were enraged at being excluded from the negotiations. Without an undisputed option, Portugal remained without a king from 1383–85, in an interregnum known as the 1383–85 Crisis; the first clear act of hostility was carried out in December 1383 by the faction of John, the Grand Master of the Aviz Order, with the murder of Count Andeiro. This prompted the Lisbon merchants to name him "rector and defender of the realm". However, the Castilian king would not relinquish his wife's claims to the throne. In an effort to normalize the situation and secure the crown for himself or Beatrice, he forced Leonor to abdicate from the regency. In April 1384, in Alentejo, a punitive expedition was promptly defeated by Nuno Álvares Pereira, leading a much smaller Portuguese army at the Battle of Atoleiros; this was an example of the use of the defensive tactic of forming an infantry square to repel cavalry without any casualties to the Portuguese. A larger second expedition led by the Castilian king himself reached and besieged Lisbon for four months in the summer of 1384, before being forced to retreat by a shortage of food supplies due to harassment from Nuno Álvares Pereira, the bubonic plague.
In order to secure his claim, John of Aviz engaged in politics and intense diplomatic negotiations with both the Holy See and England. In October 1384, Richard II wrote to John, regent of Portugal, reporting on negotiations, conducted in England, with John's envoys - Dom Fernando, master of the order of Santiago, Laurence Fogaça, chancellor of Portugal saying that an agreement had been reached under which a small English contingent was to be sent to Portugal, to help defend the kingdom against its Castilian neighbor. On 6 April 1385, the Council of the kingdom assembled in Coimbra and declared him King John I of Portugal. After his accession to the throne, John I of Portugal proceeded to annex the cities whose military commanders supported Princess Beatrice and her husband's claims, namely Caminha and Guimarães among others. Enraged by this "rebellion", Juan I ordered a host of 31,000 men to engage in a two-pronged invasion in May; the smaller Northern force sacked and burnt towns along the border, a common practice at the time and similar to what the English were doing in Scotland, before being defeated by local Portuguese nobles in the battle of Trancoso, in the first week of June.
On the news of the invasion by the Castilians, John I of Portugal's army met with Nuno Álvares Pereira, the Constable of Portugal, in the town of Tomar. There they decided to face the Castilians before they could get close to Lisbon and lay siege to it again. English allies arrived at Easter of 1385, consisting of a company of about 100 English longbowmen, veterans from the Hundred Years' War, sent to honor the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of 1373; the Portuguese set out to intercept the invading army near the town of Leiria. Nuno Álvares Pereira took on the task of choosing the ground for the battle. Russell notes that the two Portuguese leaders had shown themselves masters of the new developments in methods of warfare, i.e. the use of archers and dismounted men-at-arms. The chosen location was São Jorge near Aljubarrota suitable for the chosen military tactic, being a small flattened hill surrounded by creeks, with the small settlement of Chão da Feira (Fair's
A rifle is a portable, long-barrelled firearm designed for long-range precision shooting, to be held with both hands and braced against the shoulder for stability during firing, with a barrel that has a helical pattern of grooves cut into the bore walls. The term was rifled gun, with the word "rifle" referring to the machining process of creating grooving with cutting tools, is now used for any long handheld device designed for aimed discharge activated by a trigger, such as air rifles and the personnel halting and stimulation response rifle. Rifles are used in warfare, law enforcement and shooting sports. Like all typical firearms, a rifle's projectile is propelled by the contained deflagration of a combustible propellant compound, although other means such as compressed air are used in air rifles, which are popular for vermin control, hunting small game, formal target shooting and casual shooting; the raised areas of the rifling are called "lands," which make contact with the projectile, imparting a spin around the longitudinal axis of the barrel.
When the projectile leaves the barrel, this spin lends gyroscopic stability to the projectile and prevents tumbling, in the same way that a properly spirally thrown American football or rugby ball behaves. This thus improves range and accuracy. Rifles only fired a single projectile with each squeeze of the trigger. Modern rifles are classified as single shot, bolt action, semi-automatic, or automatic. Single shot, bolt action, semi-automatic rifles are limited by their designs to fire a single shot for each trigger pull. Only automatic rifles are capable of firing more than one round per trigger squeeze. Modern automatic rifles overlap to some extent in function with machine guns. In fact, many light machine guns are adaptations of existing automatic rifle designs. A military's light machine guns are chambered for the same caliber ammunition as its service rifles; the difference between an automatic rifle and a machine gun comes down to weight, cooling system, ammunition feed system. Rifles, with their lighter components and smaller capacity magazines, are incapable of sustained automatic fire in the way that machine guns are.
Modern military rifles are fed by magazines, while machine guns are belt-fed. Many machine guns allow the operator to exchange barrels in order to prevent overheating, whereas rifles do not. Most machine guns fire from an open bolt in order to reduce the danger of "cook-off", while all rifles fire from a closed bolt for accuracy. Machine guns are crewed by more than one soldier; the term "rifle" is sometimes used to describe larger rifled crew-served weapons firing explosive shells, for example, recoilless rifles and naval rifles. In many works of fiction a rifle refers to any weapon that has a stock and is shouldered before firing if the weapon is not rifled or does not fire solid projectiles; the origins of rifling are difficult to trace, but some of the earliest practical experiments seem to have occurred in Europe during the 15th century. Archers had long realized that a twist added to the tail feathers of their arrows gave them greater accuracy. Early muskets produced large quantities of smoke and soot, which had to be cleaned from the action and bore of the musket either through the action of repeated bore scrubbing, or a deliberate attempt to create "soot grooves" that would allow for more shots to be fired from the firearm.
This might have led to a perceived increase in accuracy, although no one knows for sure. True rifling dates from the mid-15th century, although military commanders preferred smooth bore weapons for infantry use because rifles were much more prone to problems due to powder fouling the barrel and because they took longer to reload and fire than muskets. Rifles were created as an improvement in the accuracy of smooth bore muskets. In the early 18th century, Benjamin Robins, an English mathematician, realized that an elongated bullet would retain the momentum and kinetic energy of a musket ball, but would slice through the air with greater ease; the black powder used in early muzzle-loading rifles fouled the barrel, making loading slower and more difficult. Their greater range was considered to be of little practical use, since the smoke from black powder obscured the battlefield and made it impossible to target the enemy from a distance. Since musketeers could not afford to take the time to stop and clean their barrels in the middle of a battle, rifles were limited to use by sharpshooters and non-military uses like hunting.
Muskets were smoothbore, large caliber weapons using ball-shaped ammunition fired at low velocity. Due to the high cost and great difficulty of precision manufacturing, the need to load from the muzzle, the musket ball was a loose fit in the barrel. On firing the ball bounced off the sides of the barrel when fired and the final direction on leaving the muzzle was unpredictable; the performance of early muskets defined the style of warfare at the time. Due to the lack of accuracy, soldiers were deployed in long lines to fire at the opposing forces. Precise aim was thus not necessary to hit an opponent. Muskets were used for comparatively rapid, imprecise
Xenophon of Athens was an ancient Greek philosopher, soldier and student of Socrates. As a soldier, Xenophon became commander of the Ten Thousand at about 30, with noted military historian Theodore Ayrault Dodge saying of him, “the centuries since have devised nothing to surpass the genius of this warrior.” He established the precedent for many logistical operations and was among the first to use flanking maneuvers and attacks in depth. He was among the greatest commanders of antiquity; as a historian, Xenophon is known for recording the history of his time, the late-5th and early-4th centuries BC, in such works as the Hellenica, which covered the final seven years and the aftermath of the Peloponnesian War, thus representing a thematic continuation of Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War. As one of the Ten Thousand, Xenophon participated in Cyrus the Younger's failed campaign to claim the Persian throne from his brother Artaxerxes II of Persia and recounted the events in Anabasis, his most notable history.
Like Plato, Xenophon is an authority on Socrates, about whom he wrote several books of dialogues and an Apology of Socrates to the Jury, which recounts the philosopher's trial in 399 BC. Despite being born an Athenian citizen, Xenophon was associated with Sparta, the traditional enemy of Athens, his pro-oligarchic politics, military service under Spartan generals, in the Persian campaign and elsewhere, his friendship with King Agesilaus II endeared Xenophon to the Spartans. Some of his works have a pro–Spartan bias the royal biography Agesilaus and the Constitution of the Spartans. Xenophon's works span several genres and are written in plain-language Attic Greek, for which reason they serve as translation exercises for contemporary students of the Ancient Greek language. In the Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, Diogenes Laërtius observed that, as a writer, Xenophon of Athens was known as the “Attic Muse”, for the sweetness of his diction. Xenophon was born around 431 BC, near the city of Athens, of the deme Erchia of Athens.
His father's family were a wealthy equestrian family. The history of his youth is little attested before 401 BC, when he was convinced by his Boeotian friend Proxenus to participate in the military expedition led by Cyrus the Younger against his elder brother, King Artaxerxes II of Persia. Written years after these events, Xenophon's book Anabasis is his record of the entire expedition of Cyrus against the Persians and the Greek mercenaries’ journey home. Xenophon writes that he had asked the veteran Socrates for advice on whether to go with Cyrus, that Socrates referred him to the divinely inspired Pythia. Xenophon's query to the oracle, was not whether or not to accept Cyrus' invitation, but "to which of the gods he must pray and do sacrifice, so that he might best accomplish his intended journey and return in safety, with good fortune"; the oracle told him to which gods to pray and sacrifice. When Xenophon returned to Athens and told Socrates of the oracle's advice, Socrates chastised him for asking so disingenuous a question.
Under the pretext of fighting Tissaphernes, the Persian satrap of Ionia, Cyrus assembled a massive army composed of native Persian soldiers, but a large number of Greeks. Prior to waging war against Artaxerxes, Cyrus proposed that the enemy was the Pisidians, so the Greeks were unaware that they were to battle against the larger army of King Artaxerxes II. At Tarsus the soldiers became aware of Cyrus's plans to depose the king, as a result, refused to continue. However, Clearchus, a Spartan general, convinced the Greeks to continue with the expedition; the army of Cyrus met the army of Artaxerxes II in the Battle of Cunaxa. Despite effective fighting by the Greeks, Cyrus was killed in the battle. Shortly thereafter, Clearchus was invited to a peace conference, alongside four other generals and many captains, he was betrayed and executed; the mercenaries, known as the Ten Thousand, found themselves without leadership far from the sea, deep in hostile territory near the heart of Mesopotamia, with a hostile population and armies to deal with.
They elected new leaders, including Xenophon himself. Dodge says of Xenophon's generalship, "Xenophon is the father of the system of retreat, the originator of all that appertains to the science of rear-guard fighting, he reduced its management to a perfect method. More originality in tactics has come from the Anabasis than from any dozen other books; every system of war looks to this as to the fountain-head when it comes to rearward movements, as it looks to Alexander for a pattern of resistless and intelligent advance. Necessity to Xenophon was the mother of invention, but the centuries since have devised nothing to surpass the genius of this warrior. No general possessed a grander moral ascendant over his men. None worked for the safety of his soldiers with greater ardor or to better effect." Xenophon and his men had to deal with volleys by a minor force of harassing Persian missile cavalry. Every day, these cavalry, finding no opposition from the Ten Thousand, moved cautiously closer and closer.
One night, Xenophon formed a body of archers and light cavalry. When the Persian cavalry arrived the next day, now firing within several yards, Xenophon unleashed his new cavalry in a shock charge, smashing into the stunned and confused enemy, killing many and routing the rest. Tissaphernes pursued Xenophon with a vast force
A ranged weapon is any weapon that can engage targets beyond hand-to-hand distance, i.e. at distances greater than the physical reach of the weapon itself. It is sometimes called projectile weapon or missile weapon because it works by launching projectiles, though technically a directed-energy weapon is a ranged weapon. In contrast, a weapon intended to be used in hand-to-hand combat is called a melee weapon. Ranged weapons give the attacker an advantage in combat, since the target is getting hit from beyond immediate visual range, therefore has less time to react and more difficulty defending and hitting back effectively, it puts distance between the attacker and the opponent, a safer combat option since the close physical contact during melee combat puts the attacker within the immediate striking range of enemy counterattack, thus at an equal risk of getting hurt or killed. The line between ranged and melee weapons is not definite. Early ranged weapons included designed hand-thrown weapons such as javelins and darts, as well as more complex elastic weapons such as slingshots and bows.
These ranged weapons were effective in combat when used en masse, as they gave the wielder opportunity to launch multiple rounds of attack before an enemy armed with melee weapons or shorter-ranged missile weapons could get close enough to pose a threat. After the invention of gunpowder and the development of firearms, gun-type ranged weapons became the dominant weapon of choice in armed conflicts in close combat. In modern warfare, ranged weaponry is used both tactically and strategically in the form of long-range artilleries and guided missiles. Maximum effective range of a weapon is the greatest distance from which the weapon can be fired while still inflicting casualties or damage. Most modern projectile weapons fall into the broader category of either direct fire or indirect fire, with the former being regarded as guns and the latter as artilleries. While some are small and light enough to be operated by individuals, most require a team to aim, move or fire. Projectile Trajectory of a projectile Siege engine List of artillery List of missiles List of missiles by nation Gray, David Bows of the World.
The Lyons Press. ISBN 1-58574-478-6 The Traditional Bowyers Bible Volume 1; the Lyons Press. ISBN 1-58574-085-3; the Traditional Bowyers Bible Volume 2. The Lyons Press. ISBN 1-58574-086-1; the Traditional Bowyers Bible Volume 3. The Lyons Press. ISBN 1-58574-087-X; the ballistics of the sling, Thom Richardson, Royal Armouries Yearbook, Volume 3 1998. Short Bows and Long Bows: Scaling effects in archery Sling Weapons The Evolution of Sling Weapons The Sling – Ancient Weapon Secrets of Lost Empires: Medieval Siege, from the NOVA website Modern and Civil War Era Cannon Information
In military operations, reconnaissance or scouting is the exploration outside an area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about natural features and other activities in the area. Examples of reconnaissance include patrolling by troops, ships or submarines, manned/unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, satellites, or by setting up covert observation posts. Espionage is not reconnaissance, because reconnaissance is a military's special forces operating ahead of its main forces. Called "recce" or "recon", the associated verb is reconnoitre. Traditionally, reconnaissance was a role, adopted by the cavalry. Speed was key in these maneuvers, thus infantry was ill-suited to the task. From horses to vehicles, for warriors throughout history, commanders procured their ability to have speed and mobility, to mount and dismount, during maneuver warfare. Military commanders favored specialized small units for speed and mobility, to gain valuable information about the terrain and enemy before sending the main troops into the area, covering force and exploitation roles.
Skirmishing is a traditional skill of reconnaissance, as well as harassment of the enemy. Reconnaissance conducted by ground forces includes special reconnaissance, armored reconnaissance, amphibious reconnaissance and civil reconnaissance. Aerial reconnaissance is reconnaissance carried out by aircraft; the purpose is to survey weather conditions, map terrain, may include military purposes such as observing tangible structures, particular areas, movement of enemy forces. Naval forces use aerial and satellite reconnaissance to observe enemy forces. Navies undertake hydrographic surveys and intelligence gathering. Reconnaissance satellites provide military commanders with photographs of enemy forces and other intelligence. Military forces use geographical and meteorological information from Earth observation satellites. A tracker needs to pay close attention to the psychology of his enemy. Knowledge of human psychology and cultural backgrounds is necessary to know the actions of the enemy and where the enemy is heading.
The celebrated Chief of Scouts Frederick Russell Burnham had this to say: It is imperative that a scout should know the history, religion, social customs, superstitions of whatever country or people he is called on to work in or among. This is as necessary as to know the physical character of the country, its climate and products. Certain people will do certain things without fail. Certain other things feasible, they will not do. There is no danger of knowing too much of the mental habits of an enemy. One should neither underestimate the credit him with superhuman powers. Fear and courage are latent in every human being, though roused into activity by diverse means. Types of reconnaissance: Terrain-oriented reconnaissance is a survey of the terrain. Force-oriented reconnaissance may include target acquisition. Civil-oriented reconnaissance focuses on the civil dimension of the battlespace; the techniques and objectives are not mutually exclusive. Units tasked with reconnaissance are armed only for self-defense, rely on stealth to gather information.
Others are well-enough armed to deny information to the enemy by destroying their reconnaissance elements. Reconnaissance-in-force is a type of military operation or military tactics used to probe an enemy's disposition. By mounting an offensive with considerable force, the commander hopes to elicit a strong reaction by the enemy that reveals its own strength and other tactical data; the RIF commander retains the option to fall back with the data or expand the conflict into a full engagement. Other methods consist of hit-and-run tactics using rapid mobility, in some cases light-armored vehicles for added fire superiority, as the need arises. Nazi Germany's reconnaissance during world war II is described in the following way: The purpose of reconnaissance and the types of units employed to obtain information are similar in the U. S. and the German Armies. German tactical principles of reconnaissance, diverge somewhat from those of the U. S; the Germans stress aggressiveness, attempt to obtain superiority in the area to be reconnoitered, strive for continuous observation of the enemy.
They believe in employing reconnaissance units in force as a rule. They are prepared to fight to obtain the desired information, they assign supplementary tasks to their reconnaissance units, such as sabotage behind enemy lines, harassment, or counter-reconnaissance. Only enough reconnaissance troops are sent on a mission to assure superiority in the area to be reconnoitred. Reserves are kept on hand to be committed when the reconnaissance must be intensified, when the original force meets strong enemy opposition, or when the direction and area to be reconnoitred are changed; the Germans encourage aggressive action against enemy security forces. When their reconnaissance units meet superior enemy forces, they fight a delaying action while other units attempt to flank the enemy. Reconnaissance by fire is the act of firing