The pincer movement typically occurs when opposing forces advance towards the center of an army that responds by moving its outside forces to the enemy's flanks to surround it. At the same time, a second layer of pincers may attack on the more distant flanks to keep reinforcements from the target units.
A full pincer movement leads to the attacking army facing the enemy in front, on both flanks, and in the rear. If attacking pincers link up in the enemy's rear, the enemy is encircled. Such battles often end in surrender or destruction of the enemy force, but the encircled force can try to break out. They can attack the encirclement from the inside to escape, or a friendly external force can attack from the outside to open an escape route.
Sun Tzu, in The Art of War (traditionally dated to the 6th century BC), speculated on the maneuver but advised against trying it for fear that an army would likely run first before the move could be completed. He argued that it was best to allow the enemy a path to escape (or at least the appearance of one), as the target army would fight with more ferocity when completely surrounded, but it would lose formation and be more vulnerable to destruction if shown an avenue of escape.
The maneuver may have first been used at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. The historian Herodotus describes how the Athenian general Miltiades deployed 900 Plataean and 10,000 Athenian hoplites in a U-formation, with the wings manned much more deeply than the centre. His enemy outnumbered him heavily, and Miltiades chose to match the breadth of the Persian battle line by thinning out the center of his forces while reinforcing the wings. In the course of the battle, the weaker central formations retreated, allowing the wings to converge behind the Persian battle line and drive the more numerous but lightly armed Persians to retreat in panic.
The tactic was used by Alexander the Great at the Battle of the Hydaspes in 326 BC. Launching his attack at the Indian left flank, the Indian king Porus reacted by sending the cavalry on the right of his formation around in support. Alexander had positioned two cavalry units on the left of his formation, hidden from view, under the command of Coenus and Demitrius. The units were then able to follow Porus's cavalry around, trapping them in a classic pincer movement. That tactically-astute move from Alexander was key in ensuring what many regard as his last great victory.
The most famous example of its use was at the Battle of Cannae in 216 BC, when Hannibal executed the maneuver against the Romans. Military historians view it as one of the greatest battlefield maneuvers in history and cite it as the first successful use of the pincer movement that was recorded in detail, by the Greek historian Polybius.
It was also later used effectively by Khalid ibn al-Walid at the Battle of Walaja in 633, by Alp Arslan at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 (under the name crescent tactic), at Battle of Mohács by Süleyman the Magnificent in 1526 and by Field Marshal Carl Gustav Rehnskiöld at the Battle of Fraustadt in 1706.
Genghis Khan used a rudimentary form known colloquially as the horns tactic. Two enveloping flanks of horsemen surrounded the enemy, but they usually remained unjoined, leaving the enemy an escape route to the rear, as described above. It was key to many of Genghis's early victories over other Mongolian tribes.
Even in the horse-and-musket era, the maneuver was used across many military cultures. A classic double envelopment was deployed by the Asiatic conqueror Nader Shah at the Battle of Kirkuk (1733) against the Ottomans; the Persian army, under Nader, flanked the Ottomans on both ends of their line and encircled their centre despite being numerically at a disadvantage. In another battle at Kars in 1745, Nader routed the Ottoman army and subsequently encircled their encampment. The Ottoman army soon after collapsed under the pressure of the encirclement. Also during the famous Battle of Karnal in 1739, Nader drew out the Mughal army which outnumbered his own force by over six to one, and managed to encircle and utterly decimate a significant contingent of the Mughals in an ambush around Kunjpura village.
The manoeuvre was used in the blitzkrieg of the armed forces of Nazi Germany during World War II. Then, rather than a mere infantry maneuver, it developed into a complex, multidisciplinary endeavor that involved fast movement by mechanized armor, artillery barrages, air force bombardment, and effective radio communications, with the primary objective of destroying enemy command and control chains, undermining enemy troop morale and disrupting supply lines. During the Battle of Kiev (1941) the Axis forces managed to encircle the largest number of soldiers in the history of warfare. Well over half-a-million Soviet soldiers were taken prisoner by the end of the operation.
Anterior interosseous syndrome or Kiloh-Nevin syndrome I is a medical condition in which damage to the anterior interosseous nerve (AIN), a motor branch of the median nerve, causes pain in the forearm and a characteristic weakness of the pincer movement of the thumb and index finger.
Most cases of AIN syndrome are due to a transient neuritis, although compression of the AIN can happen. Trauma to the median nerve have also been reported as a cause of AIN syndrome.
Although there is still controversy among upper extremity surgeons, AIN syndrome is now regarded as a neuritis (inflammation of the nerve) in most cases; this is similar to Parsonage–Turner syndrome. Although the exact etiology is unknown, there is evidence that it is caused by an immune mediated response.
Studies are limited, and no randomized controlled trials have been performed regarding the treatment of AIN syndrome. While the natural history of AIN syndrome is not fully understood, studies following patients who have been treated without surgery show that symptoms can resolve starting as late as one year after onset. Other retrospective studies have shown that there is no difference in outcome in surgically versus nonsurgically treated patients. Surgical decompression is rarely indicated in AIN syndrome. Indications for considering surgery include a known space-occupying lesion that is compressing the nerve (a mass) and persistent symptoms beyond 1 year of conservative treatment.Battle of Castellón
The Battle of Castellón was an ambush delivered against a French Imperial detachment under General Reille near Girona during the Peninsular War (1807–14).
Having crept his force up along the right bank of the Fluvià River and set up headquarters at La Armentera, a village near the river's mouth on the Mediterranean Sea, General Lazán prepared a coup de main against the French battalion installed atop Castelló d'Empúries. Since bad roads precluded a night attack, Lazán moved in the early morning, and brusquely forced the French off the ridge. While Reille's troops effected a disciplined fighting withdrawal toward Rosas, the Chasseurs of Juan Clarós, acting as the vanguard for General Castro's division, circled across their path of retreat and set up a position in a grove next to the main road, preparing to block the French passage. Caught in a pincer movement, the French were cut down. Only 80 escaped unwounded and 90 surrendered.Battle of Dabul
The Battle of Dabul was an retaliatory attack by the forces of the Viceroy of Portuguese India, Francisco de Almeida, upon the port city of Dabul (now Dabhol) in the Kingdom of Bijapur December 29, 1508, for attacking the Portuguese armada en-route to the Battle of Diu. Despite the presence of a double wooden wall and a ditch, the Portuguese using both an artillery bombardment and a pincer movement of armed soldiers, "slammed into the town. What followed was a black day in the history of European conquest that would leave the Portuguese cursed on Indian soil." The conquerors were merciless--all living creatures (male, female, old, young, human or animal) were slaughtered then the city set on fire to burn alive those who had managed to hide in secret. The Portuguese departed on January 5, 1509. "This massacre stood beside [Vasco de] Gama's destruction of the [Hajj pilgrim ship] the Miri as an unforgiven act that lingered long in the memory.The battle was fought when the Portuguese were on their way to Diu, where they would defeat an alliance between the Mamluk Sultanate, the Ottoman Empire, the Gujarat Sultanate and others.Battle of Fraustadt
The Battle of Fraustadt was fought on 2 February 1706 (O.S.) / 3 February 1706 (Swedish calendar) / 13 February 1706 (N.S.) between Sweden and Saxony-Poland and their Russian allies near Fraustadt (now Wschowa) in Poland. During the Battle of Fraustadt on February 3, August II was only 120 km away, with a cavalry force about 8,000 men strong. That was one of the main reasons that Swedish General Rehnskiöld hurried to engage Schulenburg. The battle is an example of a successful pincer movement and was one of Sweden's greatest victories in the Great Northern War.Battle of Guanzhong (1946–47)
The Battle of Guanzhong (关中战斗) was a battle fought between the nationalists and the communists during the Chinese Civil War in the post-World War II era and resulted in communist victory.
In the southern front of the nationalist dominated region bordering the communist base in Shaanxi – Gansu – Ningxia, the communist controlled region in Guanzhong had formed a bulge that the nationalists had long planned to eliminate. The communist base in Guanzhong posed a serious threat to both Guanzhong and eastern Gansu, and also threatened the flank of the nationalist force in their planned attack on the communist capital, Yan'an. Nationalists had a total of two divisions, totaling six brigades in the region and decided to eliminate the communist base in Guanzhong first.
Order of battle
Nationalist (8,100 total)
48th Brigade of the Reorganized 17th Division
123rd Brigade of the Reorganized 36th Division
135th Brigade of the Reorganized 15th Division
Two security regiments
Communist (3,700 total)
Newly Organized 4th Brigade
3rd Regiment of the 1st Garrison Brigade
7th Regiment of the 3rd Garrison BrigadeOn December 31, 1946, nationalist forces consisting of the 48th Brigade of the Reorganized 17th Division, the 123rd Brigade of the Reorganized 36th Division, the 135th Brigade of the Reorganized 15th Division and two security regiments launched their offensive against the communist base in Guanzhong, succeeding in taking regions including Western Slop Hotel (Xipodian, 西坡店), Gong Family’s Tilt (Gongjiaxie, 巩家斜), Long Tone, (Changshetou, 长舌头), and King Wu’s Mountain (Wuwangshan, 武王山). The communists, in response, decided to counterattack with their Newly Organized 4th Brigade, the 3rd Regiment of the 1st Garrison Brigade and the 7th Regiment of the 3rd Garrison Brigade.
On January 17, 1947, the 3rd Regiment of the communist1st Garrison Brigade took the town of Yunyi (旬邑), badly mauling the nationalist defenders in the process. The 143rd Regiment of the 48th Brigade of the nationalist Reorganized 17th Division was immediately dispatched to retake the town, but the communists had already abandoned the town and retreated with the captured supplies. Replenished with the newly captured supplies from the nationalists, the 3rd Regiment of the communist 1st Garrison Brigade and the communist Newly Organized 4th Brigade launched another round of assaults on nationalist positions aimed to neutralize the nationalist blockade line. On January 26, 1947, nationalist forts including Liang’s Family (Liangzhuang, 梁庄), Huangpu (黄甫), Baizitou (白子头), (Jinchi, 金池), and Longao (龙高) fell into enemy hands and over 35 km of nationalist blockade line on the enemy were neutralized by their communist enemy.
The nationalists planned a counterattack in order to restore the blockade. The 368th Regiment of the 123rd Brigade of the nationalist Reorganized 36th Division at Chunhua (淳化) and the 143rd Regiment of the 48th Brigade of the nationalist Reorganized 17th Division retook Yunyi (旬邑) were order to attack the enemy in a pincer movement. On January 29, 1947, the 368th Regiment of the 123rd Brigade of the nationalist Reorganized 36th Division reached the region of Tongrun (通润), while the 143rd Regiment of the 48th Brigade of the nationalist Reorganized 17th Division reached the regions of Golden Pound (Jinchi, 金池), and Longao (龙高).
The communists decided to concentrate their force to annihilate the 368th Regiment of the 123rd Brigade of the nationalist Reorganized 36th Division near the region of Liang’s Family (Liangzhuang, 梁庄), and the 7th Regiment of the communist 3rd Garrison Brigade was tasked to lure the intended nationalist victim into the trap from the region of Wei’s Family (Weijia, 魏家). The 771st Regiment of the communist Newly Organized 4th Brigade was asked to outflank the intended nationalist victim and to seal off the escaping route of the nationalists. The 16th Regiment of the communist Newly Organized 4th Brigade would fight a blocking action at Huangpu (黄甫), and Yaoli (腰里) regions to prevent the 143rd Regiment of the 48th Brigade of the nationalist Reorganized 17th Division from reinforcing the intended nationalist victim.
On January 30, 1947, the nationalists renewed their attack on their communist enemy, but the advanced of the 143rd Regiment of the 48th Brigade of the nationalist Reorganized 17th Division were checked by the enemy at Huangpu (黄甫), and Yaoli (腰里) regions just as the communists had planned. After successfully taking the region of Wei’s family (Weijia, 魏家) in a pincer movement, the 368th Regiment of the 123rd Brigade of the nationalist Reorganized 36th Division continued their push toward the Liang’s Village (Liangzhuang, 梁庄). The 7th Regiment of the communist 3rd Garrison Brigade lured the 368 Regiment of the 123rd Brigade of the nationalist Reorganized 36th Division near Liang’s Village (Liangzhuang, 梁庄), with the 771st Regiment of the communist Newly Organized 4th Brigade outflanking the nationalist regiment, which was consequently besieged in the communist trap between the region of Ning’s Family (Ningjia 宁家) Liang’s Village (Liangzhuang, 梁庄). After a fierce battle, the besieged nationalist force was completely annihilated, suffering over 930 fatalities, and this nationalist defeat marked the end of the battle of Guanzhong.
Although the communists had managed to score a victory over their nationalist adversaries and managed to keep their base in Guanzhong for the time being, it would not be long before they were forced to give it up once the nationalists were able to muster enough strength later on. The communists simply did not have the numbers necessary to defend the area. The nationalist defeat was only a temporary setback which caused the delay of their original plan to take the communist capital.Battle of Kilosa
The Battle of Kilosa was fought during the East African Campaign of World War I. It was an example of a successful pincer movement which encircled the isolated British column.Battle of Mocopulli
The Battle of Mocopulli (Spanish: Batalla de Mocopulli) was fought on April 1 of 1824 as the culmination of a Chilean patriots invasion plan against royalist Chiloé. The battle concluded in a royalist victory that delayed the incorporation of Chiloé into Chile to 1826 when a new invasion was launched.
During all off the Chilean Independence War Chiloé Archipelago had remained under control of the royalist which enjoyed a wide support in the archipelago. In 1820 Lord Cochrane, with the newly created Chilean Navy, had disembarked William Miller in Chiloé to capture the island for Chile. Cochrane's hoped to repeat the success at Valdivia where he with only 350 men had captured the largest Spanish defensive complex in Chile. William Miller's 60-men strong expedition suffered heavy casualties in the Battle of Agüi and had to retreat back to the ships. When Ramón Freire came to power as supreme director of Chile in 1823, one of his first actions was to plan the capture of Chiloé. Freire's invasion army crossed Chacao Channel in March 1824. The troops occupied without resistance the village of San Carlos de Chiloé and then continued south and disembarked in the town of Dalcahue. The Chilean plan was to perform a pincer movement and head north to attack Ancud from Dalcahue while troops disembarked in the north of the island. The Chiloé royalists ambushed the Chileans in a glade and only after some hours could the Chileans retreat to Dalcahue and sail back to Chile.Battle of Xuge
The Battle of Xuge (Chinese: 繻葛之战) was a battle which took place in 707 BC, between the State of Zheng and the Zhou Dynasty. The defeat of the Zhou forces, representing the Son of Heaven, destroyed any residual prestige that the Zhou court had since establishing itself in Luoyang, and allowed for the rise of the feudal states that would characterise the Spring and Autumn period.
This battle is an early example of a pincer movement being employed against an enemy.Burning of Dungannon
The Burning of Dungannon took place in June 1602 when Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone abandoned and set fire to Dungannon, the traditional capital of the O'Neills. It marked the beginning of the final stage of Tyrone's Rebellion when the Earl became a fugitive, before his sudden reprieve the following year.
Following the defeat of his army at the 1601 Battle of Kinsale, Tyrone retreated into his heartland in County Tyrone, Ulster. Courted by the Crown, many of his allied Gaelic lords now changed sides, which turned much of the local population against him. Tyrone was faced with a three-pronged pincer movement with separate forces under Henry Docwra, Arthur Chichester and Lord Mountjoy advancing on him from Derry, Carrickfergus and Dundalk respectively. A major tactic of Tyrone's had been to avoid fighting stand-up battles, preferring to retreat and ambush. He therefore decided to abandon the town and gave orders to torch it.
Soon after his cousin and enemy, Conn MacShane O'Neill, the son of Shane O'Neill, seized the castle and held it against the Earl. Mountjoy then occupied the ruins of Dungannon. Tyrone and what remained of his followers retreated into the Glenconkeyne Woods where he continued to evade capture. Despite his military defeat, Tyrone was restored to royal favour following political developments in London. The resulting Treaty of Mellifont gave Tyrone a full pardon and restored his territories to him. Tyrone then travelled to London to submit to the new King James I. Following the Treaty, the Earl repossessed his lands and began the rebuilding of Dungannon.Cannae (disambiguation)
Cannae is a village in Italy
Cannae may also refer to:
Cannae Tactic, a military maneouvre, a type of pincer movement
Battle of Cannae (216 BC) a battle in the Punic Wars of Rome and Carthage famed for the Cannae Tactic of Hannibal
Battle of Cannae (1018) a battle of the Byzantine Empire
Cannae (band) U.S. metalcore band
Cannae drive, a type of reactionless spacecraft driveOperation Fischreiher
Operation Fischreiher (German for heron) was an extension to Operation Blue II during the German invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II. General Friedrich Paulus' 6th Army, and part of the 4th Panzer Army under General Hermann Hoth, was to advance across the Don river towards the city of Stalingrad on the Western bend of the Volga river.The original operational plans had called for a defensive line on the Don river by Army Group B, while Army Group A under General List was to advance south towards the oil fields in the Caucasus. The diversion of Operation Fischreiher became an offensive in its own right, to the detriment of the drive south by Army Group A.
The 6th Army came up against the first Soviet defensive lines on August 17, and were then locked in street fighting for the next months until they reached their offensive limit on November 18. After this date, the 6th Army and the 4th Panzer Army were on the defensive after their lines of communication with Army Group B were cut by a Soviet pincer movement from General Nikolai Vatutin's Southwestern Front and General Andrey Yeryomenko's Stalingrad Front, whose forces met in the German rear on between Kalach and Sovetskiy on November 23, 1942.Operation Strength II
Operation Strength II (6–31 March 1972) was a Royalist military offensive of the Laotian Civil War. It was devised as another diversion in the mode of the original Operation Strength. Planned as a pincer movement on the Plain of Jars, Operation Strength II's beginning was grossly hampered by combat refusals and desertions from one of its two task forces. Loss of tactical air support as the Easter Offensive began in South Vietnam also weakened the Laotian effort. In any event, neither pincer did much toward its goal of distracting the People's Army of Vietnam from its attempts to overrun the strategic guerrilla base at Long Tieng and end the war.Operation Veritable
Operation Veritable (also known as the Battle of the Reichswald) was the northern part of an Allied pincer movement that took place between 8 February and 11 March 1945 during the final stages of the Second World War. The operation was conducted by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery's Anglo-Canadian 21st Army Group, primarily consisting of the First Canadian Army under Lieutenant-General Harry Crerar and the British XXX Corps under Lieutenant-General Brian Horrocks.
Veritable was a Northern pincer movement and started with XXX Corps advancing through the forest while the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, in amphibious vehicles, cleared German positions in the flooded Rhine plain. The Allied advance proceeded more slowly than expected and at greater cost. This delayed the US offensive Operation Grenade, the southern pincer and at the same time allowed German forces under local German commander, Alfred Schlemm to be concentrated against the Anglo-Canadian advance.
The fighting was hard, but the Allied advance continued. On 22 February, once clear of the Reichswald (German: Imperial Forest), and with the towns of Kleve and Goch in their control, the offensive was renewed as Operation Blockbuster and linked up with the U.S. Ninth Army near Geldern on 4 March after the execution of Operation Grenade. Fighting continued as the Germans sought to retain a bridgehead on the west bank of the Rhine at Wesel and evacuate as many men and as much equipment as possible. Finally, on 10 March, the German withdrawal ended and the last bridges were destroyed.Operation Zahnarzt
Operation Zahnarzt (literally "Dentist") was a plan by the Germans to eliminate the Third Army during World War II. The plan of Operation Zahnarzt was to immediately come after Operation Nordwind. The plan was to initiate a pincer movement to encircle and destroy the 3rd US Army.Penetration (warfare)
In ground warfare, penetration is the breaching of, and moving past, a defensive military line.
Penetration is a strategic military maneuver much like the pincer movement with a few differences. The penetration attack goes straight through the enemy's lines and, once through, each flank turns and attacks the opponent's rear, similar to the blitzkrieg strategy.
The penetration is carried out as part of a frontal attack when there is no assailable flank available. It takes the form of assaulting the enemy positions, creating a rupture, widening of the gap and finally breakthrough. Separate forces are earmarked for the assault and break-out stages of penetration. Penetration has the stages of break in, dog fight and break-out. There are no clear-cut demarcations between these stages and these tend to overlap.
Flank attack and other forms of maneuver are preferred to the penetration or frontal attack.Telets of Bulgaria
Telets (Bulgarian: Телец), a member of the Ugain clan, was the ruler of Bulgaria from 762 to 765. Byzantine sources indicate that Telets replaced the legitimate rulers of Bulgaria. The same sources describe Telets as a brave and energetic man in his prime (about 30 years old). Scholars have conjectured that Telets may have belonged to an anti-Slavic faction of the Bulgarian nobility.
After his accession, Telets led a well-trained and well-armed army against the Byzantine Empire and devastated the Empire's frontier zone, inviting the emperor to a contest of strength. Emperor Constantine V Kopronymos marched north on June 16, 763, while another army was carried by a fleet of 800 ships (each carrying infantry and 12 horsemen) with the intent to create a pincer movement from the north.
Telets at first fortified the mountain passes with his troops and some twenty thousand Slavic auxiliaries. Later he changed his mind and led out his troops to the plain of Anchialos (Pomorie) on June 30. The bloody battle of Anchialus then began at mid-morning, and lasted until dusk. At the end, Telets' Slavic auxiliaries deserted him for the emperor, who won the field but chose to return home in triumph. According to the Byzantine sources, Constantine V brought home a throng of Bulgarian prisoners in wooden restraints, for the entertainment of Constantinople's populace.
The military defeat sealed the fate of Telets, who was lynched together with his supporters by his rebellious subjects.The A-Team
The A-Team is an American action-adventure television series that ran on NBC from 1983 to 1987 about former members of a fictitious United States Army Special Forces unit. The members, after being court-martialed "for a crime they didn't commit", escaped from military prison and, while still on the run, worked as soldiers of fortune. The series was created by Stephen J. Cannell and Frank Lupo. A feature film based on the series was released by 20th Century Fox in 2010.Voronezh–Kastornoye operation
The 1943 battle of Voronezh or Voronezh–Kastornoye operation (often credited in Russian as the liberation of Voronezh (освобождение Воронежа)) was a Soviet counter-offensive on the Eastern Front of World War II on recapturing the city of Voronezh during January 1943.
It took place between 24 January and 17 February 1943, as 4th phase of the general Soviet Winter-offensive of 1942-1943, immediately following the Ostrogozhsk-Rossoshansk operation.
The Axis had captured Voronezh in a 1942 battle, and the 2nd German Army occupied this important bridgehead over the Don, together with Hungarian troops that had escaped the destruction of the Hungarian 2nd Army during the Ostrogozhsk-Rossoshansk operation.
The Red Army executed a new pincer movement in difficult winter conditions. From the south, the troops of the Voronezh Front under command of General Golikov attacked, in collaboration with the left flank of the Bryansk Front under General Max Reyter, which attacked from the north.The Germans, attacked on both flanks, were forced into a retreat in the middle of the Russian winter. Their losses were considerable and the 2nd German Army only narrowly escaped destruction, leaving a big gap in the Axis frontline. It opened for the Soviets the way to Kursk, which would be liberated during Operation Star, and also threatened the important bastion of Orel.Åndalsnes landings
The Åndalsnes landings took place in Åndalsnes in Romsdal, Norway in 1940 during the Norwegian Campaign of World War II when, after the German invasion of Norway in April 1940, British troops landed in Åndalsnes as part of a pincer movement to take mid-Norwegian city Trondheim. The northern arm of the attack was based in Namsos.