Military tactics are the science and art of organizing a military force, and the techniques for combining and using weapons and military units to engage and defeat an enemy in battle. Changes in philosophy and technology have been reflected in changes to military tactics. In contemporary military science, tactics are the lowest of three planning levels: (i) strategic, (ii) operational, and (iii) tactical. The highest level of planning is strategy: how force is translated into political objectives by bridging the means and ends of war. The intermediate level, operational, the conversion of strategy into tactics, deals with formations of units. In the vernacular, tactical decisions are those made to achieve the greatest immediate value; strategic decisions are those made to achieve the greatest overall value, irrespective of the immediate results of a tactical decision
1. Penetration of the Center
This involves the creation of a gap in the enemy line and its exploitation. Two ways of accomplishing this Separating Enemy Forces and
a. using a reserve to exploit the gap that forms between them or
b. having fast, elite forces smash at a specific point in the enemy line (an enemy weak spot or an area where your elites are at their best in striking power) and,
While reserves and holding forces hold your opponent, drive quickly and immediately for the enemy's command or base (i.e., blitzkrieg).
Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC), the first recorded use of the penetration of the center
2. Attack from a defensive position:
Establishing a strong defensive position from which to defend and attack your opponent. However, the defensive can become too passive and result in ultimate defeat
e.g., Siege of Alesia and the Battle of the Granicus.
3. Single Envelopment
A strong flank beating its opponent opposite and, with the aid of holding attacks, attack an opponent in the rear. Sometimes, the establishment of a strong, hidden force behind a weak flank will prevent your opponent from carrying out their own single envelopment.
4. Double envelopment
Both flanks defeat their opponent opposite and launch a rear attack on the enemy center.
Its most noted use was Hannibal's tactical masterpiece, the Battle of Cannae and was frequently used by the Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front of World War II.
5. Attack in oblique order
This involves placing your flanks in a slanted fashion (refusing one's flank) or giving a vast part of your force to a single flank . The latter can be disastrous, however, due to the imbalance of force.
6. Feigned Retreat
Having a frontal force fake a retreat, drawing the opponent in pursuit and then launching an assault with strong force held in reserve. However, a feigned retreat may devolve into a real one, such as in the Battle of Grunwald.
e.g. Battle of Maling and the Battle of Hastings
7. Indirect Approach
Having a minority of your force demonstrate in front of your opponent while the majority of your force advance from a hidden area and attack the enemy in the rear or flank.
e.g., Battle of Chancellorsville
8. Crossing the "T"
A classic naval maneuver which maximizes one side's offensive firepower while minimizing that of the opposing force.