FEINT | Military Tactics
Feint: a pretend blow or attack intended to take the opponent off his gaurd; as in fencing, boxing, or warfare [
Feint is a French term that entered English from the discipline of fencing. Feints are maneuvers designed to distract or mislead, done by giving the impression that a certain maneuver will take place, while in fact another, or even none will. In military tactics (and most types of combat), there are two types of feints: feint attacks and feint retreats.
There are many different forms of the "
feint", one of the most common is a diversionary attack with a small force, followed by a right or left hook attack by your main force
A feint attack is designed to draw defensive forces towards the point under attack. It is usually used as a diversion to force the enemy to concentrate more manpower in a given area, so that the opposing force in another area is weaker. Unlike a related diversionary maneuver, a feint attack involves actual contact with the enemy.
A feint retreat is performed by briefly engaging the enemy, then retreating. It is intended to draw the enemy pursuit into a prepared ambush, or to cause disarray. [ 11]
Uses in History HOW THIS TACTIC HAS BEEN USED • 1942 - Operation Bertram - First Battle of El Alamein
During the build up to the final battle of El Alamein (October 1942) the deception plan required engineers to build and place fake trucks that actually concealed tanks and guns. The deception went further with dummy pipelines being laid leading to dummy pumping stations and reservoirs, this work was also conducted in such a way that it led the Axis intelligence to believe that it would be completed long after the actual planned date of the start of the battle (23 October 1942).
[ 11¼] [ 11¾] • 1944 - D-Day Deception
While planning for the invasion the allies also undertook a program of deception to confuse and deceive the Nazis. The most obvious area for the D-Day invasion was clearly the Pas de Calais and the allies did everything they could to convince the Nazis that it was in Calais that the real invasion would strike. The allies developed a series of deception operations aimed at obscuring the true place and time of D-Day.
It involved the creation of fake armies, the sending of fictional radio traffic, the delivery of false spy reports and the mounting of elaborate but fabricated security plans. Tanks, trucks and armour were constructed of inflatable rubber and plywood supplied by a movie studio in order to deceive German reconnaissance planes. Prior to D-Day, Allied bombing raids were twice as heavy at Calais than at the real landing target. Mine sweepers cleared shipping lanes that would never be used. On the day of the invasion, allied planes dropped tons of aluminium foil strips called "
chaff" to fool German radar into thinking that an invasion air force was heading in that direction. Rubber dummy paratroopers also floated to the earth further confusing the German troops on the ground and causing German commanders to think twice before reacting to reported landings. These tactics ensured that even as the Germans saw the armada at Normandy, they didnít believe it was the real invasion, thinking instead it was simply a diversionary raid designed to take German attention away from Calais. [ 10½] • 1991 - The First Gulf War
The Flanking Maneuver, Feint, and Encirclement have been around almost as long as war itself. Proving these tactics can still hold true in the modern day, you can find a textbook example of all three during the First Gulf War (1991). The US led coalition forces had been massing forces just south of the Kuwaiti border for some time. As the much anticipated ground war began, a mostly arab contingent made their presence known outside Kuwait; but this maneuver was only a Feint.. Due to overwhelming air superiority, the main attack force of 1500 tanks and 300,000 men was able to shift 300 miles to the west undetected; and then performed a looping left-hook deep through Iraq. In less than 100 hours time, the coalition had encircled the entire southern Iraqi army, which led to a quick cease-fire agreement and the end of the war. [ 11½] "We're going around, over, through, on top, underneath."
Norman Schwarzkopf: tactics for attacking the Iraqi army during "Desert Storm"
Counter Tactics HOW TO COUNTER THIS TACTIC •
Retreating At times the temptation to press a fleeing enemy can be hard to resist, just keep in mind an ambush may be waiting. Maintaining a high level of operational awareness through reconnaissance and communication with your allies is key. If you are unsure what lies ahead, use discretion when making tactical decisions.
"Do not pursue an enemy who simulates flight; do not attack soldiers whose temper is keen." Sun Tzu -
The Art of War: Maneuvering •
Flanking Maneuver The feint relies on a secondary force to attack/ambush the enemy from an unknown and/or unexpected direction. If you know when and where such attack will occur, set an ambush of your own; and if they try to "pinch", "pinch" them back!!
• Reconnaissance It's a good idea to use some form of reconnaissance at all times, so that you have a reasonable degree of intel regarding the size and location of enemy forces. A variety of special ops, a spare supply truck, or a stray regiment can all accomplish this task. If you are informed of battlefield conditions you won't fall for tactics such as the Feint.
Leapfrogging Leapfrogging is when two or more groups make a slow advance forward; with each taking taking turns advancing and securing a defensive position, before the other advances. It is nearly impossible to flank an opponent that is slowly advancing by leapfrogging; as they always have a defensive force protecting their flank, and ready to aid in their retreat.
Zone of Supply Whenever possible fight within your zone of supply, which not only offers the chance to heal the instant you retreat, but also offers a better view of the battlefield; greatly reducing the chance of being
• Operational Coordination Proper communication regarding enemy troop movements and tactics can help to counter just about any threat.
Terrain Impassable terrain such as mountains and water can make for excellent cover for your flanks.
Breakthru The breakthru is a concentrated attack at one point in the enemy lines, and in that regard is similar to
Blitzkrieg. But intead of continuing forward, the flanks turn outward to widen the gap, and cut off the enemy flanks. The feint usually relies on the diversionary force being able to hold their ground, to keep enemy forces in the desired location. If you can accomplish a breakthru you have essentially eliminated to danger of encirclement, and only need to take action to protect your supply lines. •
Blitzkrieg The blitzkrieg is similar to the breakthru, but instead of the flanks hooking outward to widen the gap in the enemy lines; the entire force continues forward to strike into the heart of enemy territory. The blitzkrieg requires a high speed coordinated attack, and basically disregards protecting it's flanks to attempt what can be a risky "all-or-nothing" maneuver. If your force fails to breakthru versus the feint they will likely be
In Axis and Allies RTS USING THIS TACTIC IN THE FIELD
• Use the "Fog of War" to your advantage The best way to execute any type of ambush or flanking maneuver is if your opponent(s) don't see you coming. Use any area that has not been supplied by enemy forces, and catch them by surprise!!
Feint Retreat Lure the enemy into a trap with a false retreat or some other type of
Feint. Most commonly seen when the center of your force retreats as one or both flanks either hold their ground or press forward. "By holding out baits, he keeps him on the march; then with a body of picked men he lies in wait for him." Sun Tzu -
The Art of War: Energy •
Feint Attack Diversionary attacks or some sort of
Infiltration can create havoc for your enemies. They can also pave the way for a successful assault by your main attack force. "Appear at points which the enemy must hasten to defend; march swiftly to places where you are not expected. Sun Tzu -
The Art of War: Weak Points and Strong
• Operational Coordination Operational Tactics are tactics and maneuvers coordinated with your allies, and when executed successfully, are usually more decisive in terms of victory; than tactics that occur in head-to-head isolation play. Once again communication is key, but play your cards right and you may be able to achieve an operational pincer movement, and destroy an entire enemy division; instead of just a couple regiments.
Terrain Just as terrain can help to protect your forces when used correctly, it can also leave you vulnerable if you aren't aware of your surroundings. Use impassable terrain such as mountains and water to your advantage; which can enable you to complete the encirclement of your enemies with a much smaller force than in open
terrain. "Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline, simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness postulates strength."
Sun Tzu, the Art of War [energy]
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REFERENCES | Military Tactics
"All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved."
Sun Tzu, the Art of War
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