Fix and Flank tactic explained Dec 20, 2016 14:32:20 GMT -5
Post by keogh on Dec 20, 2016 14:32:20 GMT -5
That kind of attack is relatively rare and would likely only come from an ambush.
keogh: The effectiveness of a flank attack depends first on establishing a main diversionary attack that occupies the enemy's attention in a different direction. Rosebud: Not when fighting Indians. The so called flank is not a military flank. It is the FRONT of those departing the battle.
When fighting an unconventional foe like Plains Indians, their flank is any considered any direction different from the initial base attack made against them. In other words, if Reno is attacking them from the south, the Indian flanks would be any or all of the remaining directions. It is indeed a military flank, just not a conventional flank. And yes, it may well be the front of those Indians departing the battle, however, we are not really concerned with them, just the warriors remaining in Reno's front. The Indians departing the battle would be left free to depart.
Rosebud: Common misconception. The Indians would ALWAYS try to prevent soldiers from attacking their village if at all possible. There was no need to hold ground, just delay soldiers long enough to be able to give the village time to get to safety.
keogh: Well, the village itself and the horse-herds may have been somewhat trapped in the valley. I think it was obvious that the warriors in the valley were certainly fixing their attention -- and thus their very presence -- on Reno's battalion for as long as it was the only threat they could perceive against their village. Yes, they could theoretically move away from him if they chose to do so. However, as long as Reno remained fighting at the southern doorstep of the village, they would not choose to do so. Rosebud: I actually agree with all of that keogh: That's what we call a military fix. Rosebud: Well it might be called a fix for a couple hundred Indians, It does nothing for Indians outside of about 400 yards.
There is no real distinction here between the warriors directly engaged in Reno's fight or the mass of warriors watching the fight from the upper bench at the Garryowen Loop. They all have their attenion (and hence their presence south of the village) fixed on Reno's fight in the valley. To the warriors, Reno's fight in the valley is the only game in town. This frees Custer's wing to cross the river at Ford B relatively unopposed over a mile and a half from Reno's engagement.
keogh: It matters not that they could ride away if they chose to do so. The fact is that they would not choose to do so if it meant the destruction of their camps, their horse-herds and their families. Thus, they were effectively fixed around Reno's threat south of the village. Rosebud: Here is where we disagree. The only fixed Indians are those in contact with Reno. They would be the only ones vulnerable to a flank attack. Custer's movements could not be considered a flank attack of any kind. He is headed to the front of the village.....The other front.
Yes, we do disagree on this point. I don't believe Custer is intending to attack an empty village, nor attempt to round up the noncombatants. I believe Custer was attempting a type of flank attack that is called an envelopment of the warrior position south of the village. All the warriors drawn to Reno's position south of the village would be susceptible to such an envelopment.
keogh: True, the Indians did not fight like conventional armies. But in many ways it is actually easier to fix an enemy's attention (and presence) to an indirect or secondary threat when the main threat against them will come from a different direction. Crook actually used an inadvertant fix and flank maneuver at the Rosebud fight which ended up dispersing the warriors and driving them from the field after several hours of stalemate. Rosebud: No, It only looks like a fix and flank movement. It can only be described as a flank movement if it is the flank.
Granted, Crook did not plan or anticipate that it would turn out to be a fix and flank maneuver, but that is how it played out when Capt. Mills' battalion returned to the battlefield. The Indians attention and presence were directed at Crook's main force along the main ridgeline when Mills' battalion showed up behind the Indian position opposite Crook. It was actually the same type of envelopment maneuver Custer (imo) was attempting at LBH. The result was the immediate scatteration and disappearance of the Indian fighting force. Their morale was broken and they fled the field.
Rosebud: Once Indians start to flee, there are actually 2 flanks. one flank is directly behind the fighting Indians and the other flank it the spot behind the Indians that are fleeing. Custer, Crook and all other Indian fighters of that day know this.
Once the Indians start to flee, there is still only one flank left to be hit, and that is the flank of the warriors still fighting against the initial fixing force. Neither Crook nor Custer would be concerned with hitting the flanks of fleeing Indians. They are no threat to anyone. Let them flee. The main objective was to capture and destroy the infastructure of the village and horse-herds if possible.
Rosebud: Thus they did their best to hit both ends of the village at the same time if they could.
That would not be possible at LBH due to the layout of the village and the fact it was a broad daylight attack. Even at the Washita, where Custer did hit the camp from multiple directions, he delayed his attack until he had positioned all of his attack squadrons around the camp before initiating the attack. He did not send in an advance guard battalion to start the battle beforehand, as he did at LBH. That would be the important and telling factor in a 'fix and flank' envelopment maneuver.
Rosebud: Custer was not using a flank attack.
Perhaps not in the conventional sense. It would actually be more of an envelopment maneuver.
Rosebud: Reno was not trying to "Fix" any Indians. They were trying to attack the village.
Yes, and in so attacking the village he would, in effect, fix the warriors in that village to his own attacking force, whether Reno intended to do so or not. That's goes to the very mission of an advance guard battalion which Reno himself admitted he commanded. Reno's attack drew the attention and presence of every warrior willing and able to fight that day once they got themselves mounted on a horse and armed to fight.
Rosebud: If unsuccessful it was hoped that Gibbon and his men might get a shot at them.
Do you really think Custer was going to let Gibbon get all the glory? What did Custer say when Gibbon asked him to save some Indians for him?