Attack Formation

G. Upton Prior
1891 Royal United Services Institution Journal  
View related articles ATTACK FORMATIOX. By Colonel G. U P T O s PIXOR, latc Commanding 2nd httalion Thc lioyal scots. PART I. 1s discussing tlic qucstion of an attack formation, it is not possiblc to (10 so without intreducing into tlic arguniciit tlic formations in voguc at the prcscnt time, :ind this I venturc to Lopc will bc considered :i good cnougli rcasoii for tlic prominent way in which thc attack forlliations laid d o~~ in tho prcscnt Ficld l~scrciso aro rncutioned. Tlioiigli it will bo
more » ... seen that tho criticisms aro not favourablc to thc formations tlienisclvcs, they are to tlic csccllcnt maxims laid clown in thc Field Excrcisc, on which thoso formations arc Lnscd. Tlicso niosims will IIC found in tlic chapter on Tactics of tlic Field Escrcise, Part G. Tlio formations arc only iiitroduccd as bcing the latest extant, and as the most coxivenicnt r a y of npproncliing a subject which, though looking simplc, is rcnlly difficult, justifying tho remark of Clnuwwitz that "cvcrythiiig in w a r is simple, but what is, simple is diliicult." As tlic Field Excrcisc is, I bclic~c, having n fow nltcrntions mndo, in it, nnd thc attack formation may, I presnmc, Lo looked upon as virtually dead, it will bc for tlic public good if v e use thcm as lesson for any fnturc formation, and thc prcscnt sccms a fnvournblc opportunity for any discussion on tlic subjcct. I would desirc to say how much I an1 indebted to thc " Letters" on Infantry, Artillcry, aud C:ivalry, Ly H.S.H. I'rinco Krnft zu IIolie:llohc-In,ncl[in,ncn, translatcd by Lied.-Coloncl Walford, ltoyal htillci=y. With these introductory remarks I will proeced with tLc nrgumcnt. Tho question of tlic forinntion most suitablc for infantry to adopt \vhen attacking lias always been of Tital importancc to tlic success of an arm>-. This formation has cvcr been a varjiiig one, depending chicfly on thc great factor of tho " arrns of tlic day " ; tlicrc wcrc dcnso masses in Continental armies and rigid lines in the English with un-rifIed :inns, and a gradual shaking out of such formations into firicr ones wlien. thesc arms improved. As tho Field Escrcisc of 1890 justly remarks, "Normal tactical formations liavc a real absolute x-:iluc, nnil wlien adapted to tlic configuration of tlic ground, and to the nature and condition of thc troops, seldom fail to iiinucnco
doi:10.1080/03071849109417295 fatcat:2pkefa6dl5dllpdjgg7ixhca4y