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luni, 14 decembrie 2009

Double envelopment

I have spent most of my time in the last month reading about medieval warfare: battles, tactics, weapons & armor, life in military camps...

As a big fan of Hannibal Barca and some previous background in ancient and medieval warfare I expected to read about boring fights that lack innovative tactical movements, especially when referring to medieval times.

But then came: Khalid ibn al-Walid (also known as ”the sword of Allah”).

Basically the ”double envelopment movement” is considered to be a military maneuver close to perfection. The flanks of the opponent are attacked in the same time after the opponent advances towards the centre, while the army employing such tactics moves towards the flanks in oder to surround the enemy.
This tactic was brilliantly used by Hannibal at the battle of Cannae in 216 Bc, moreover it is considered by historians that Hannibal was the first ever to employ such tactics.

The ”Battle of Walaja” (633 AD) is a show of great tactical skills employed by Khalid ibn al-Walid, which makes him to be the second in history that successfully uses the ”double envelopment movement” against a numerical superior army.
His unique style for that times is even more important as the medieval period warfare is not characterized by ”smart” moves made by generals, but rather skirmishes between the confronting armies.
I guess Khalid ibn al-Walid deserves more study as he is considered to have fought over 100 battles most of them against more numerically superior forces of Byzantine or Persian Empire and never lost one. Also one of his most important victory, the battle of Yarmouk (636 AD), is considered to be one of the most decisive battles in human history. Had its outcome be different the modern world of been unrecognizable.

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