The Internet at the Speed of Thought

History’s Most Interesting War Tactics Explained

at4:56 pm | By

That’ll get rid of any neigh-sayers.

military horses

Source: Twitter @DuJourMedia

Verteros1: “The capture of the Dutch fleet at Den Helder might be one of the most ridiculous and effective attacks of all time.

A large number of Dutch warships were docked at Den Helder during a particularly cold winter. Rather suddenly the dock froze over and the ships were trapped. A French cavalry regiment saw this and decided that they would charge the ships, they wrapped cloth around the hooves of the horses to soften their blow against the ice and charged the Dutch as they slept. They took every ship with no casualties.

This is the only instance in history of a cavalry charge against a naval fleet.”

The old switcheroo.

military Scipio Africanus

Source: Twitter @AboutHistoryMag

Spoon99: “Scipio Africanus used a great tactic against the Carthaginians at the Battle of Ilipa. The simplified version:

Both the Romans and the Carthaginians had armies composed of their well-trained, homegrown soldiers and not-so reliable Iberian allies, rough half/half for each […]

Scipio always put his legionnaires in the center and positioned his Iberians on the wings. The Carthaginians were like ‘that makes sense’ and did the same with their army. So they stared at each other like that for a couple of days.

One the day of the battle, Scipio had his men eat well before dawn, get ready and form up outside the camp, but this time he reversed his formation and put the weaker Iberians in the center and the legionnaires on the wings. Then he signaled for attack, and the surprised Carthaginians ran out of their camps and automatically formed up the way they had the last few days […]

By the time anyone saw the change in tactics, it was way too late, and the legionnaires tore through the weaker Carthaginian wings and turned on the enemy center before the Roman center had even closed with its counterpart. The Carthaginians were all routing and surrounded before their generals could do anything to save the day.

Scipio Africanus went on to be the only general to defeat Hannibal in a land battle.”

Hannibal’s great defeat.

military featured

Source: Twitter @Psypherize

mightjustbearobot: “[Scipio’s] beating Hannibal at Zama was equally brilliant imo.

So Hannibal had a habit of sending elephants charging into opposing armies, cause them to run in fear or be completely wrecked by the charging beasts.

Scipio noticed that once the elephants went into a full on charge, they went in a pretty much straight line. The Roman army up until this point, had positioned its men in a checkerboard fashion. This time, he ordered his troops to be in straight columns with skirmishers in between. When the elephants charged, the Roman cavalry blew horns to scare some of the elephants away. The skirmishers then moved out of the way as the elephants moved in, and they basically charged through to the back of Scipio’s army, where a legion of spearmen was able to deal with them.”

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