Tactics of the Hungarian raiders (9th-10th centuries)

Tactics of the Hungarian raiders (9th-10th centuries)

The tactics of the Hungarian light cavalry included pretending to retreat, tempting their opponents into breaking their ranks, after which the Hungarians turned back to encircle them.

History

Keywords

stratagem, trick, retreat, army, battle, armed forces, tactics, Hungarian, cavalryman, light cavalryman, barrage of arrow fire, nomad

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Scenes

Narration

Stage 1

One of the important elements of the Hungarian raiders' tactics was the choice of location for the battle. The army consisted of a left and right wing, as well as a main force all lined up opposite the enemy, while two further groups hid to the left and right of the battleground. The Hungarian light cavalry kept the enemy under a barrage of arrow fire from a distance, and then engaged in close combat. After a short time, the left and right wings pretended to retreat.

Stage 2

Soon after, the main force of the Hungarian army joined the feigned retreat initiated by the left and right wings. Typical of light cavalry tactics, they shot arrows backwards at the pursuing enemy while riding forwards. The fast-moving wings then carried out a semicircular maneuver and outflanked the enemy.

Stage 3

Suddenly, the ´fleeing´ Hungarian main forces turned back and attacked the enemy with the left and right wings having just completed the encircling maneuver. They were joined by the reserve forces who had been hiding so far, thus the enemy became trapped and was attacked from all sides. The Hungarians then slowly destroyed the encircled enemy.

Stage 4

The enemy attempted to break out, but even those who succeeded could not escape, as nomads' tactics included pursuing their fleeing foe. With their fast horses, Hungarians enjoyed great success with such tactics.

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