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Pincer Movement

 

Disciplines > Warfare > Tactics > Pincer Movement

Action | Analysis | Example | Analogy | See also

 

Action

Send two columns out to the left and to the right of the enemy position. Do this covertly or quickly so they have no chance to react. Then simultaneously turn inwards to attack the enemy in the 'pocket' created.

The pincer may complete a full encirclement or it may attack from the sides, like a double flanking movement.

Analysis

The power of the pincer is the attacks from multiple directions that it enables. The enemy has to mount multiple defenses and usually has no way of retreat.

The weakness of the pincer can be that, being spread out, it is vulnerable to concentrated attack at a single point. It also is vulnerable to attack from behind by a rescue force.

Example

In the Second World War battle for Stalingrad that lasted through 1942 and into 1943. A turning point happened on 20th November when a pincer movement led to an encirclement of 250,000 Nazi troops. This led to an effective siege, in which the German army slowly starved. After tightening of the noose and fierce fighting, the 91,000 surviving troops eventually surrendered in what was a critical turning point in the overall war. Eventually, after being sent to labor camps, only 6,000 found their way home.

Analogy

Get two arguments ready then attack with both at once. If they try to wriggle out, quickly cut them off, perhaps with yet another argument. Then steadily move in, crushing any remaining opposition.

See also

Siege War, Encirclement, Military commanders: Georgy Zhukov

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