If You Can Name All of These Tactics, You Might Be a Military Genius
By: Jonnathan Chadwick
Image: Lorado/E+/Getty Images
About This Quiz
You may not notice it, but you probably employ military tactics in your everyday life all the time. You've likely seen them executed in soccer matches, football games, chess matches and a host of other competitive events. If you've ever been in a snowball or water-balloon fight, you've employed high-level military strategy like ambushing, frontal assaults and infiltration. Have you ever hid behind a couch to scare one of your friends? Maybe you consider yourself the king or queen of hide and go seek or tag. Have you ever tried to recreate some of the famous booby traps seen in "Home Alone?" Believe it or not, even running away from someone who is chasing you is a military tactic.
If you're old enough to use a computer, you've used and (or) been in the middle of military strategy at some point in your life. Just clicking something on Twitter or Facebook could put you in the middle of a high-level disinformation campaign. Getting hacked might put you in the middle of a cyber attack. If you've relayed information between friends or, hopefully not, been in fight, you've employed a war strategy. So now that you know you've used plenty of military maneuvers in your life, let's see if you actually know what they were called. Take this quiz and put your military knowledge to the test.
Which of these military tactics birthed a common strategy used by NFL football teams?
The Blitzkrieg is a military tactic in which attacking forces break the opposition's defense with quick, powerful and overwhelming force. Today you can see this tactic in action in any NFL football game when the defense blitzes the quarterback.
What maneuver is used to attack the opposition's sides instead of its front?
A flank is the side of a cow between the rib cage and hip bone (flank steak). As a military tactic, a flanking maneuver attempts to distract the head of the opponent (the front lines) to attack its sides, which are usually weaker and more vulnerable. Think of a matador allowing a bull to charge him and then moving around to its side.
What military tactic consists of one group remaining still while the other group moves positions?
Fire and Movement
Fire and movement is exactly what it sounds like and is a basic military tactic when confronting an enemy in the field. All that is needed is two people to perform this tactic. One person will fire at the enemy (providing cover) while the other person moves to another position.
If you fire at the enemy and immediately change locations, it is called what?
Shoot and Scoot
The Shoot and Scoot move is exactly what it sounds like it is: you shoot and scoot to a new position. This is done so the opposition can't shoot back or plan a counterattack. It's one of the most basic tactics in every type of fighting.
If you hide behind the couch and pop up to scare your friend when they walk in the room, you've just done which of these tactics?
The ambush is one of the most long-established military tactics in the history of warfare. It consists of waiting and hiding until the opponent unknowingly walks into striking distance, and then striking.
A security guard at the mall spends most of his time ____________ the area.
Patrolling may seem like something that mall cops do, but it is one of the most important military tactics used in warfare. Patrolling an area can be used for everything from gathering intelligence or surveying the area. It's almost impossible to have a war without some type of patrolling.
Right before two opposing forces engage in hand-to-hand combat, the leader of each side might yell what?
Long gone are the days of two opposing forces running at each other full speed and engaging in hand-to-hand battle like is often seen in the movies, but forces may still have to run forward at full speed, and when they do, they are employing the charge military tactic.
Which of these tactics is used to sneak into the opposing enemy's area?
Trench raiding was developed during WWI and is the strategy of raiding an opposing army's trenches at nighttime. Soldiers would wear all black and cover their faces in black to sneak into enemy territory at night. Employing this tactic in the day time wouldn't really work.
A skirmish is a light battle that is used to harass the enemy, cause minor losses, delay advancement or weaken morale. It isn't an official battle and usually ends in an indecisive result. Almost every war is made up of many skirmishes.
A ____________ usually occurs when the enemy thinks they are victorious.
Hit and Run Attack
The counterattack is used to make up any losses undergone during an attack. An example is Muhammad Ali's rope-a-dope tactic, where he let an opponent wear themselves out and then began his attack. When the enemy believes they are victorious is the best time to counterattack.
What is it called when troops move forward in a triangular formation?
The flying wedge tactic was used by Alexander the Great and was used mostly in ancient and medieval times when a troop would make a triangle shape to smash through the opponent's defensive line. Its effectiveness is undeniable, as it is still used a lot in riot control deployment.
What type of mission is used to gather information about the enemy?
Reconnaissance is also known as scouting, and it is the practice of sneaking around enemy territory to gather information about the terrain and the enemy itself. If you need to know how many guards are guarding a certain area for example, you might sneak into the area and take pictures.
Which of these military tactics made Hannibal Barca a military legend in 215 BC?
At the Battle of Cannae in 215 BC, Hannibal's troops were outnumbered. He let Roman forces attack his intentionally weakened front lines and kept the flanks strong, which eventually formed a V-shape with the Romans stuck in the pit. Upon his command, the V closed, trapping the Romans inside and their entire army was wiped out.
Do you know the two tools that form a classic military tactic?
Drill and Plank
Ax and Rake
Hammer and Anvil
The Hammer and Anvil maneuver is a tactic that has been used for centuries, most successfully used by Alexander the Great and much more common in ancient times. It involves foot troops waging a frontal assault while cavalry forces move behind the enemy to trap them. The opening battle in "Gladiator" is an example of this.
Can you name the military strategy that shares a name with finance strategy?
Investment is a popular military tactic that is still in use today. Julius Caesar famously used it in the Siege of Alesia, and it consists of surrounding an enemy's fort (or any occupied area) to prevent escape or entry.
Do you know the strategy that relies on infantrymen and army vehicles equally?
The Armored Spearhead is a risky maneuver that first started in WWII. It consists of overloading the front lines with a formation of armored vehicles to break through enemy lines. Infantrymen follow behind and defend the flanks, but if the enemy counterattacks or ambushes the flanks, or uses a flanking maneuver, the formation is doomed.
What is known as one of the most basic military tactics in warfare?
A frontal assault is exactly what it sounds like: an assault on an enemy's front lines. It is a direct attack or charge at the enemy and is usually used as a last resort. It may also be used if the enemy's front lines are seen to be weak or thin.
Can you name the animal part that shares a name with a classic battle maneuver?
Shark Nose Attack
Eagle Wing Dip
Bull Horn Formation
The Bull Horn Formation is credited to Shaka Zulu, who was the legendary leader of the Zulu Kingdom. It consists of one division of troops conducting a frontal assault and two other divisions conducting flanking maneuvers on either side. Think of the shape of a bull's horns.
How did Leonidis and the Spartans battle a Persian army that outnumbered them 150,000 to 300?
Choke Point Formation
The Choke Point Formation consists of blocking the only passage for enemy escape by stuffing it with troops. Leonidas and the 300 Spartans famously sacrificed themselves and held back Persian troops by using this maneuver in the Battle of Thermopylae.
Which of these strategies almost took down the legendary Hannibal Barca?
The Fabian Strategy was a simple plan: Don't fight Hannibal head on. Roman leader Fabius Maximus decided since Hannibal and his troops were 1,000 miles away from supplies, he'd fight skirmishes to burn and steal supplies from Hannibal's troops. It almost worked and troops almost starved, until Fabius was fired for not fighting Hannibal. When they did fight, Hannibal won.
The legend of the Trojan Horse is an example of which of these?
Infiltration is a high-level tactic where troops bypass front lines and emerge within enemy territory. It is the result of long-term planning and any misstep can ruin everything. Greeks sneaking into Troy via the belly of the wooden Trojan Horse is, real or not, a classic example.
Raiding is a military tactic in which forces don't plan to capture or hold a specific position, but to instead steal something or someone important and then quickly retreat before the enemy can notice. Guerrilla forces might raid enemy territory to steal plans and then retreat before anyone notices.
When one army takes over an enemy's city, it is called what?
A siege is an attempt to take over enemy territory by cutting the territory off from supplies, reinforcements and escape. Once the territory is surrounded (investment) the attackers hold strong defensive positions and continuously attack.
Using smoke or fog as a defensive tactic is what kind of strategy?
Smoke screening is the simple process of deploying smoke to hide location and movement. In the Battle of Attu, Japanese snipers hid in the mountains behind the fog to pick off enemy troops as they advanced. As the fog moved, they moved and they were nearly impossible to spot.
What's it called when an army destroys specific locations instead of actual troops?
The scorched earth strategy has been in use since the beginning of warfare and will likely continue to be widely used. It consists of destroying anything that is useful to the enemy. Destroying trees to prevent hiding spots or even (illegally since 1977) bombing hospitals or public water supplies has been used.
When a military unit is in a diagonal formation, they are practicing what maneuver?
The Echelon Formation can be staggered to the left or to the right and can be used for infantrymen, airplanes, naval ships or any other vehicle. It's also an effective formation used by riot control police when they want to move crowds to a certain side of the road.
Lying on the slope of a hill, opposite of attackers, is what military tactic?
Reverse Slope Defense
The Reverse Slope Defense is an effective tactic that has been around since the beginning of warfare and has been used in recent wars. It's a perfect way to set up an ambush on advancing troops, as it offers defense and cover from attackers.
Creating army vehicles that are "invisible" is part of what modern warfare?
Billions have been spent developing the most advanced stealth technology for U.S. armed forces. Stealth vehicles--like aircraft, submarines, missiles, satellites and ground vehicles--are able to avoid radar, sonar and infrared detection. These vehicles are some of the most closely-guarded military secrets.
What military tactic shares a name with a vehicular crime?
Excessive Horn Honking Formation
Double Park Formation
Hit and Run
Hit and run tactics employ the same strategy as raids, but instead of stealing anything or kidnapping a central figure, the goal is to inflict damage and expose weaknesses of the opponent. These are common tactics of guerrilla warfare.
Which of these tactics is used to disguise the identity of the the attacker?
False flag tactics have been used since ancient times to disguise the true identity of the attacker. The trick stems from pirate ships that used to fly flags of different countries to throw off their opponents. Today's false flag tactics are far more complex and sinister.
What strategy is used when leaders want to divide the public?
Disinformation comes from the Russian word "dezinformatsiya," which stems from a KGB black propaganda department. It is defined as "false information with the intention to deceive public opinion." It's a tactic that can fall under psychological warfare and is very difficult to counterattack and control.
Can you name the maneuver that requires expert equestrian skills and dazzling archery skills?
The Parthian Shot is one of the most impressive individual military tactics in the history of war. When cavalrymen are retreating in full gallop, they turn their bodies around (so they are riding a galloping horse backward) and fire arrows at the chasing enemy. Only the most skilled soldiers could even attempt it.
What strategy can be used if stealth vehicles are easily being detected?
Radar jamming is the act of distorting an enemy's radar to avoid detection. There are several tactics, but they mostly fall under two categories: mechanical and electronic. Electronic jamming disrupts the frequency of enemy radar so it doesn't work properly. Mechanical jamming is the process of sending out decoy vehicles so enemies don't know which blip to track.
Which of the following is used to convince the enemy to quit or retreat instead of fighting back?
Demoralization is a psychological warfare strategy comprised of many different tactics. One side can use skirmishes, snipers, raids, sieges, blockades, disinformation and propaganda to demoralize troops. In WWII, for example, Nazi forces tried to demoralize U.S. black soldiers by passing out flyers that asked why they would fight for leaders who treated them as inferior back home.
"Chop off the head and the body will fall" is the reasoning behind what tactic?
A decapitation strike aims to kill or capture the leader of a hostile country or group. The strategy has been used since the beginning of warfare and is still used today. The Invasion of Iraq in 2003 began with the capture of Saddam Hussein. Capturing and killing Osama bin Laden was an essential part of fighting Al-Qaeda. And just this decade, threats to strike North Korea's leadership have been commonplace.