Monday, January 05, 2004

The power of breaking the line When I played out the Battle of Plymouth simulation, I commanded the Dutch fleet (in the historical situation, that commanded by Michiel Adriaanszoon de Ruyter). My tactics were to break the English line, and stay situated in that general area, sailing back and forth. I did not have the Dutch in a strict, single line, but the English started that way. The result was that the English van was separated from the action, downwind, while the English rear was crushed. This is very consistent with the results achieved at Trafalger, in 1805, except at Trafalger, the English had two lines that broke the Franco-Spanish line. The results were the same, the English fell on the Allied rear and crushed them. This reminds me of Napoleonic tactics, in land warfare, where he attacked in columns, to poke holes in the opposing lines. The same principle was used in the German tactics against France, in 1940, except the effect was more on the strategic level.

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