A counterattack is a tactic employed in response to an attack, with the term originating in "war games".[1] The general objective is to negate or thwart the advantage gained by the enemy during attack, while the specific objectives typically seek to regain lost ground or destroy the attacking enemy (this may take the form of an opposing sports team or military units).[1][2][3]

A saying, attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte illustrate the tactical importance of the counterattack : "the greatest danger occurs at the moment of victory". In the same spirit, in his Battle Studies, Ardant du Pic noticed that "he, general or mere captain, who employs every one in the storming of a position can be sure of seeing it retaken by an organised counter-attack of four men and a corporal".[4]

A counterattack is a military tactic that occurs when one side successfully defends off the enemy’s attack and begins to push the enemy back with an attack of its own. In order to perform a successful counterattack, the defending side must quickly and decisively strike the enemy after defending, with the objective of shocking and overwhelming the enemy.[5] The main concept of the counterattack is to catch the enemy by surprise.[5] Many historical counterattacks were successful because the enemy was off guard and not expecting the counterattack.[5]

Falaise Pocket map
Closing the Falaise-Argentan Pocket and the Mortain counterattack 6–17 August 1944

Ancient roots of the counterattack

Bamboo book - edges - UCR
This is the original text of The Art of War. The text was painted onto bamboo sticks and bound together in the form of a book.

The counterattack tactic was highlighted in Sun Tzu’s, The Art of War.[6] Written in 5 B.C, The Art of War serves as a guide on warfare and has been influential to the tactics used during war even to this day. In chapter 3, the book focuses on “stratagem” and goes over how to properly conduct a counterattack.[6] Sun Tzu states, “Thus the highest form of generalship is to balk the enemy’s plans; the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy’s forces”.[6] This quote advises one to wait out the enemy and conduct a counterattack when the time is right. It states that the best strategy is to stay one step ahead of the enemy, and know the enemy’s next move. Thus keeping a general always prepared for the enemy’s move, leaving opportunity for a counterattack.[6]

Analyzing historical counterattacks

In the past, there have been many notable counterattacks which have changed the course of a war. To be specific, Operation Bagration and the Battle of Austerlitz are good examples of the proper execution of a counterattack.

Operation Bagration

Belorussia Operation Detailed
This map shows the point of attack during Operation Bagration and how the counterattack was executed.

Operation Bagration during World War II was one of the largest counterattacks in military history. In the summer of 1944 the assault by around 1.7 million Red Army soldiers successfully put the Red Army on the offensive in the Eastern Front after Nazi Germany in Operation Barbarossa had captured the territory against the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941.

The Soviet counterattack focused on Belorussia, but prior to the counterattack starting, the Soviet Union fooled Nazi military leaders into believing that the attack take place further south, near the Ukraine.[7]

To aid the deception, the Red Army established fake army camps in the Ukraine and after German reconnaissance planes reported Soviet troop concentration in the area, panzer and infantry divisions were rushed south from Belorussia, leaving it vulnerable to a major assault.

To support the attack, partisan groups in German controlled territory were instructed to destroy German railroads to hamper German efforts to transport supplies and troops throughout the occupied territories and further weakening German Army Group Centre in the Ukraine.[7]

On June 22, 1944, the attack on Belarus by 1.7 million Soviet troops began and overwhelmed the depleted Germans defenders.

On July 3, The Red Army captured Minsk and later liberated the rest of Belorussia.

Operation Bagration was a huge Soviet success and opened a direct route to Berlin after the fall of Belorussia leading to the Red Army beginning to liberate territory that was taken by the Wehrmacht three years before.[7]

Battle of Austerlitz

Battle of Austerlitz, Situation at 1800, 1 December 1805
Map depicting the famous counterattack that took place at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805.

Another military battle that utilized the counterattack tactic was the Battle of Austerlitz on December 2, 1805. While fighting the Austrian and Russian armies, Napoleon purposely made it seem as if his men were weak from the fighting in several cases.[8] Napoleon had his men retreat in an attempt to lure the Allies to battle.[8] He purposely left his right flank open and vulnerable.[8] This deceived the Allies into attacking and the Allies fell into Napoleon's trap.[8] When the Allied troops went to attack Napoleon’s right flank, Napoleon quickly filled up the right flank so the attack was not effective.[8] However, on the Allied side, a large gap was left open in the middle of the Allied front line due to troops leaving to attack the French right flank.[8] Noticing the large hole in the middle of the Allied lines, Napoleon attacked the middle and had his forces also flank around both sides, eventually surrounding the Allies.[8] With the Allies completely surrounded, the battle was over.[8] The Battle of Austerlitz was a successful counterattack because the French army defended off the Allied attack and quickly defeated the Allies.[8] Napoleon deceived the Allies.[8] He made his men seem weak and near defeat.[8]

Battle of St. Vith

The Battle of St. Vith was part of the Battle of the Bulge, which began on 16 December 1944, and represented the right flank in the advance of the German center, 5th Panzer-Armee (Armored Army), toward the ultimate objective of Antwerp. Given the task of countering the German advance, US General Bruce C. Clarke decided that a mobile defense was the best solution. Knowing that the German army was aiming for an objective far behind the battle line, he decided that they could afford to lose a few kilometers a day - the idea being that a slowing down of the advance was as good as stopping them outright, since the Germans were limited by time.

The mobile defense he used at St. Vith involved the use of M36 tank destroyers acting as a base of fire to resist the oncoming German armored thrust, slowing them down enough to then counter-attack them with a force of M4 Sherman tanks. Artillery and Infantry were involved in this process as a combined arms force. They key was not to engage the Germans in a pitched battle, but to slow their advance enough to ruin their offensive timetable. The counter-attacks ensured that the German forces could not break through the slowly retreating forces. Clarke's success was one of the first times armor had been used in a mobile defense, and was one of the turning points of the war.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b Staff. "counterdeception". DTIC Online. DEFENSE TECHNICAL INFORMATION CENTER. Retrieved 13 June 2012. year: Unknown
  2. ^ Tom Cohen (19 December 2010). "McConnell leads GOP counter-attack against START pact". Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  3. ^ Tim Vickery (27 July 2011). "Uruguay's momentum, Paraguay's bumpy road, more Copa America". Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  4. ^ Ardant du Picq, 'Battle Studies'
  5. ^ a b c Pike, John. "A View On Counterattacks In The Defensive Scheme Of Maneuver". Retrieved 2017-04-09.
  6. ^ a b c d B., Griffith, Samuel (2000-01-01). The art of war. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195014761. OCLC 868200458.
  7. ^ a b c E.,, Glantz, Mary. Battle for Belorussia : the Red Army's forgotten campaign of October 1943-April 1944. ISBN 9780700623297. OCLC 947149001.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Robert., Goetz, (2005-01-01). 1805: Austerlitz : Napoleon and the destruction of the third coalition. Stackpole Books. ISBN 1853676446. OCLC 260090494.

Further reading

  • Bruce Schneier (2003). Beyond Fear. Springer. pp. 173–175. ISBN 9780387026206.
  • Glover S. Johns (2002). The Clay Pigeons of St. Lo. Stackpole Books. pp. 174–175. ISBN 9780811726047.
Ape (1976 film)

Ape (stylised as A*P*E and released in South Korea as 킹콩의 대역습 - King Kong eui daeyeokseup (King Kong's Great Counterattack), is a 1976 monster movie. It was a South Korean-American co-production produced by Kukje Movies and the Lee Ming Film Co. (South Korea) and Worldwide Entertainment (USA) with 3-D effects. Directed by Paul Leder and featuring special effects by Park Kwang Nam, the film stars Joanna Kerns, Rod Arrants and Alex Nicol. It was released at approximately the same time as Dino De Laurentiis' 1976 remake of King Kong. The film is generally regarded by some critics as a campy Z movie. In latter years the film has gone under the titles of Attack of the Giant Horny Gorilla (for its 1982 grindhouse re-release), and Hideous Mutant (for its original home video release). It marked an early film appearance by Kerns, who later moved to TV movies and shows.

Battle of Arras (1940)

The Battle of Arras, took place on 21 May 1940, during the Battle of France in the Second World War. British and French tanks and infantry advanced south from Arras to force back German armoured forces, which were advancing westwards down the Somme river valley towards the English Channel, to trap the Allied forces in northern France and Belgium. The Anglo-French attack made early gains and panicked some German units but was repulsed after an advance of up to 6.2 mi (10 km) and forced to withdraw after dark to avoid encirclement.

Battle of West Hunan

The Battle of West Hunan, also known as the Battle of Xuefeng Mountains and the Zhijiang Campaign, was the Japanese invasion of west Hunan and the subsequent Allied counterattack that occurred between 6 April and 7 June 1945, during the last months of the Second Sino-Japanese War. Japanese strategic aims for this campaign were to seize Chinese airfields and secure railroads in West Hunan, and to achieve a decisive victory that their depleted land forces needed.

This campaign, if successful, would also allow Japan to attack Sichuan and eventually the Chinese war time capital Chongqing. Although the Japanese were able to make initial headways, Chinese forces with air support from the Americans were able to turn the tide and forced the Japanese into a rout, recovering a substantial amount of lost ground.

This was the last major Japanese offensive, and the last of 22 major battles during the war to involve more than 100,000 troops. Concurrently, the Chinese managed to repel a Japanese offensive in Henan and Hubei and launched a successful attack on Japanese forces in Guangxi, turning the course of the war sharply in China's favor even as they prepared to launch a full-scale counterattack across South China.

Battle of Yongsan

The Battle of Yongsan was an engagement between United Nations (UN) and North Korean (NK) forces early in the Korean War from September 1–5, 1950, at Yongsan in South Korea. It was part of the Battle of Pusan Perimeter and was one of several large engagements fought simultaneously. The battle ended in a victory for the United Nations after large numbers of United States (US) and South Korean troops repelled a strong North Korean attack.

During the nearby Second Battle of Naktong Bulge, the North Korean People's Army broke through the US Army's 2nd Infantry Division lines along the Naktong River. Exploiting this weakness, the NK 9th Division and NK 4th Division attacked to Yongsan, a village east of the river and the gateway to the UN lines of supply and reinforcement for the Pusan Perimeter. What followed was a fight between North Korean and US forces for Yongsan.

The North Koreans were able to briefly capture Yongsan from the 2nd Infantry Division, which had been split in half from the penetrations at Naktong Bulge. Lieutenant General Walton Walker, seeing the danger of the attack, brought in the US Marine Corps 1st Provisional Marine Brigade to counterattack. In three days of fierce fighting, the Army and Marine forces were able to push the North Koreans out of the town and destroy the two attacking divisions. The win was a key step toward victory in the fight at the Naktong Bulge.

Code Geass

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (コードギアス 反逆のルルーシュ, Kōdo Giasu: Hangyaku no Rurūshu), often referred to as simply Code Geass, is a Japanese anime series created by Sunrise, directed by Gorō Taniguchi, and written by Ichirō Ōkouchi, with original character designs by manga artist group Clamp. Set in an alternate timeline, the series focuses on how the former prince Lelouch vi Britannia obtains a power known as Geass and decides to use it to obliterate the Holy Britannian Empire, a superpower that has been conquering various countries.

Code Geass first ran in Japan on MBS from October 6, 2006, to July 29, 2007. Its sequel series, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 (コードギアス 反逆のルルーシュR2, Kōdo Giasu Hangyaku no Rurūshu Āru Tsū), ran as a simulcast on JNN stations (like MBS and TBS) from April 6, 2008 to September 28, 2008. The series has also been adapted into various manga and light novels with the former showing various alternate scenarios from the TV series. Bandai Entertainment also licensed most parts from the franchise for English release in December 2007, airing the two TV series on Adult Swim. Most manga and light novels have also been published in North America by Bandai. At the Code Geass 10th anniversary event on November 27, 2016, it was announced that the series will be receiving a new anime, along with a compilation film trilogy in 2017 that recapped the events from both seasons of the anime series. A new film, titled Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection (コードギアス 復活のルルーシュ, Kōdo Giasu: Fukkatsu no Rurūshu), taking place after the Zero Requiem, was released in theaters on February 9, 2019.The anime television series has been well received in Japan, selling over a million DVD and Blu-ray Disc volumes. Both seasons have won several awards at the Tokyo International Anime Fair, Animage Anime Grand Prix, and Animation Kobe event. Critics have praised the series for its large audience appeal as well as the cross conflicts shown among the main characters and the moral questions presented.


A counter-offensive is the term used by the military to describe large-scale, usually strategic offensive operations by forces that had successfully halted the enemy's offensive, while occupying defensive positions.

The counter-offensive is executed after exhausting the enemy's front line troops and after the enemy reserves had been committed to combat and proven incapable of breaching defences, but before the enemy has had the opportunity to assume new defensive positions. Sometimes the counter-offensive can be of a more limited operational maneuver nature, with more limited objectives rather than those seeking attainment of a strategic goal. A counter-offensive as considered by Clausewitz to be the most efficient means of forcing the attacker to abandon offensive plans.Counter-offensives can be executed not only on land, but also by the naval forces and air forces. Strategic counter-offensives have been recorded by military historians in many wars throughout military history. Although not always known as such, because they are usually described by historians in conjunction with the defensive phase, such as the Battle of Moscow.

A counterattack is the tactical and sometimes smaller operational equivalent of the counter-offensive.

Counterattack the Right-Deviationist Reversal-of-Verdicts Trend

Counterattack the Right-Deviationist Reversal-of-Verdicts Trend (反击右倾翻案风), later known as Criticize Deng, Counterattack the Right-Deviationist Reversal-of-Verdicts Trend (批邓,反击右倾翻案风), was a Chinese political campaign launched by Mao Zedong in November 1975 against Deng Xiaoping's anti-Cultural Revolution program. It was one of the last movements during the Cultural Revolution, and continued briefly under Hua Guofeng after Mao's 1976 death, before it official ended with Deng's rise to power in July 1977.

The movement was openly repudiated during the 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in December 1978.

Entrenchment (fortification)

In fortification, the term entrenchment (Italian: trincieramento, Maltese: trunċiera) can refer to either a secondary line of defence within a larger fortification (better known as a retrenchment), or an enceinte designed to provide cover for infantry, having a layout similar to a city wall but on a smaller scale. The latter usually consisted of curtain walls and bastions or redans, and was sometimes also protected by a ditch.In the 18th century, the Knights Hospitaller built a number of coastal and inland entrenchments as part of the fortifications of Malta. Further entrenchments were built in Malta by insurgents during the blockade of 1798–1800, in order to prevent the French from launching a counterattack.

Gundam Build Fighters

Gundam Build Fighters (Japanese: ガンダムビルドファイターズ, Hepburn: Gandamu Birudo Faitāzu) is a 2013 Japanese science fiction anime television series based on Sunrise's long-running Gundam franchise. The series is directed by Kenji Nagasaki of No. 6 and written by Yōsuke Kuroda of Mobile Suit Gundam 00. Character designs were done by both Kenichi Ohnuki and Suzuhito Yasuda. The series was first unveiled under the name "1/144 Gundam Mobile" project by Sunrise, before its official announcement. In contrast to other Gundam series, Gundam Build Fighters focuses on the Gundam model (Gunpla) aspect of the franchise.The series was officially unveiled by Bandai on July 2, 2013, during the series's live press conference as part of Gundam's 35th Anniversary in 2014. It premiered on TXN stations in Japan and on YouTube in limited international markets on October 7, 2013. One Manga adaptation and two photonovels were also announced by Sunrise, and currently running on Gundam Ace (Gundam Build Fighters Amazing), Hobby Japan (Gundam Build Fighters Honno), and Dengeki Hobby Magazine (Gundam Build Fighter Document) magazines.

Gundam Build Fighters is followed by the 2014 sequel Gundam Build Fighters Try. A sequel ONA titled Gundam Build Fighters: GM's Counterattack (Japanese: ガンダムビルドファイターズ GMの逆襲, Hepburn: Gandamu Birudo Faitāzu GM no Gyakushū), which takes place between Build Fighters and Build Fighters Try, was released on August 25, 2017.

Initiative (chess)

Initiative in a chess position belongs to the player who can make threats that cannot be ignored, thus putting the opponent in the position of having to spend turns responding to threats rather than creating new threats. A player with the initiative will often seek to maneuver his pieces into more and more advantageous positions as he launches successive attacks. The player who lacks the initiative may seek to regain it through counterattack.

List of Kinnikuman films

Kinnikuman, also known as Ultimate Muscle, has had one TV special and seven theatrically released movies.

Mobile Suit Gundam F91

Mobile Suit Gundam F91 (Japanese: 機動戦士ガンダムF91, Hepburn: Kidō Senshi Gandamu Fōmyura Nainti Wan) is a 1991 anime film. It was Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino's attempt to launch a new Gundam saga, set 30 years after Char's Counterattack and 27 years after the later published Gundam Unicorn. He re-teamed with character designer Yoshikazu Yasuhiko and mecha designer Kunio Okawara for the occasion. The movie was first released in Japan on March 16, 1991.

Mobile Suit SD Gundam

Mobile Suit SD Gundam (Japanese: 機動戦士SDガンダム, Hepburn: Kidō Senshi SD Gundam) is a series of animated shorts released in theaters and as original video animation between 1988 and 1993 by Sunrise. Part of the SD Gundam media franchise, the anime was based on the popular Gashapon capsule toys and model kits being released by Bandai at the time.

The shorts initially parody stories and characters from the Gundam franchise with super deformed forms of Gundam characters and mecha. Starting with 1989's Mobile Suit SD Gundam's Counterattack, the series began featuring a regularly appearing set of SD Gundam characters based on existing SD Gundam toys, Carddass trading cards and manga series, notably from the Command Gundam, Knight Gundam, and Musha Gundam sub-franchises.

SD Gundam

SD Gundam (Japanese: SDガンダム, Hepburn: Esu Dī Gandamu, short for Superior defender or super deformed, depending on the media, Gundam) is a media franchise that spawned from the Gundam franchise. SD Gundam takes the mecha (and characters) from Gundam and expresses them in super deformed and anthropomorphic style.

Tantei Opera Milky Holmes

Tantei Opera Milky Holmes (Japanese: 探偵オペラ ミルキィホームズ, Hepburn: Tantei Opera Mirukii Hōmuzu, lit. "Detective Opera Milky Holmes") is a media franchise owned by the Japanese trading card game company Bushiroad. The first release was an Internet radio drama, released in December 2009. An anime adaptation by J.C.Staff aired between October and December 2010, with a special episode aired on August 26, 2011. The second anime season aired between January and March 2012 with another special aired on August 25, 2012. A third series, titled Futari wa Milky Holmes, aired between July and September 2013. A fourth series titled Tantei Kageki Milky Holmes TD aired between January and March 2015. Other media includes a manga adaptation serialized in Comp Ace between May 2010 and January 2011; two visual novels, released for the PlayStation Portable in December 2010 and August 2012 respectively; a trading card game tie-in with Bushiroad's Weiß Schwarz; and a light novel series published by ASCII Media Works under their Dengeki Bunko label.

The series is a homage to the detective fiction genre, with the four female leads named after famous fictional detectives: Sherlock Holmes, Nero Wolfe, Hercule Poirot and Cordelia Gray. Milky Holmes is also the name of a voice acting unit consisting of the series' four main voice actresses; Suzuko Mimori, Sora Tokui, Mikoi Sasaki and Izumi Kitta.

Third Battle of Kharkov

The Third Battle of Kharkov was a series of battles on the Eastern Front of World War II, undertaken by the German Army Group South against the Red Army, around the city of Kharkov (or Kharkiv) between 19 February and 15 March 1943. Known to the German side as the Donets Campaign, and in the Soviet Union as the Donbas and Kharkov operations, the German counterstrike led to the recapture of the cities of Kharkov and Belgorod.

As the German Sixth Army was encircled in Stalingrad, the Red Army undertook a series of wider attacks against the rest of Army Group South. These culminated on 2 January 1943 when the Red Army launched Operation Star and Operation Gallop, which between January and early February broke German defenses and led to the Soviet recapture of Kharkov, Belgorod, Kursk, as well as Voroshilovgrad and Izium. The Soviet victories caused participating Soviet units to over-extend themselves. Freed on 2 February by the surrender of the German Sixth Army, the Red Army's Central Front turned its attention west and on 25 February expanded its offensive against both Army Group South and Army Group Center. Months of continuous operations had taken a heavy toll on the Soviet forces and some divisions were reduced to 1,000–2,000 combat effective soldiers. On 19 February, Field Marshal Erich von Manstein launched his Kharkov counterstrike, using the fresh II SS Panzer Corps and two panzer armies. Manstein benefited greatly from the massive air support of Field Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen's Luftflotte 4, whose 1,214 aircraft flew over 1,000 sorties per day from 20 February to 15 March to support the German Army, a level of airpower equal to that during the Case Blue strategic offensive a year earlier.The Wehrmacht flanked, encircled, and defeated the Red Army's armored spearheads south of Kharkov. This enabled Manstein to renew his offensive against the city of Kharkov proper on 7 March. Despite orders to encircle Kharkov from the north, the SS Panzer Corps instead decided to directly engage Kharkov on 11 March. This led to four days of house-to-house fighting before Kharkov was recaptured by the 1st SS Panzer Division on 15 March. The German forces recaptured Belgorod two days later, creating the salient which in July 1943 would lead to the Battle of Kursk. The German offensive cost the Red Army an estimated 90,000 casualties. The house-to-house fighting in Kharkov was also particularly bloody for the German SS Panzer Corps, which had approximately 4,300 men killed and wounded by the time operations ended in mid March.

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