Sunday, April 29, 2012

Characteres et Politicas Various Populis

This post is in for an upgrade, and will be out soon

In the Sixth Century, The Byzantine Emperor codified doctrine in a  manual called the “Strategikon” . of twelve books of which Book XI was entitled "Characteristics and Tactics of Various Peoples. His descriptions included such things as:

"the Western light-haired peoples are "bold and undaunted in battle. Daring and impetuous as they are, they consider any timidity and even a short retreat as a disgrace." These are qualities, as Luttwak points out, that give strength, but also tactical limitations".

The Strategikon describes the Persians as a people who obey their rulers out of fear. Its comments on the hardiness of Russian warriors sound like a description of 20th-century Russian soldiers. The book goes on to prescribe the strategies and tactics that worked or did not work against each of these potential enemies.  

He warned against chasing Germans into the woods where the ground favored German individual skill sets.


Drawn from Transactional Analysis (TA) and the Drama Triangle.
This drama template can be played solo, or internationally

The cry of an infant for help is the penultimate hot button
regardless of species

These Sea Turtles, like many species. produce hundreds of younglings
with instructions coded to get them into the water and safety.

These are ARM AND HAND signals for the infantry to remember what to look for
in somebody else's back yard

"It's da' bizness, Lenny, I always kind of liked you" - Kapow!

The lion on the left is suffocating his prey by clamping down on his nose & mouth,
the one in the middle is going for the spinal cords, while
the two on the right are going for a mobility kill

Mother, the most powerful being in the Universe

The lion on the right has deftly hooked the deer's back left leg at full speed ahead.

From Arn, Templar Knigjt, a Swedish film based on the life of a Swedish knight
who fought in the Crusades.

Templar Knight knighting ceremonies in the Grand Priory of St Joan of Arc,
conducted in Argentina and Mexico.

Arn's charge, Al Pacino fleeing as Richard III, and an Argentine equestrian competiton

The story of too many lives written in drama heroes and villains.

The TA Drama Triangle portrays three roles, by which Lucy and Charlie play,
each getting an emotional payoff

Hic desinit lectio

Optimo Loco ad Pugnam

Optimo Loco ad Pugnam
(Finding the Cookie Jar)

By Gordon S Fowkes, KCTJ
Grand Historian of the Grand Priory of St Joan of Arc of Mexico and Latin America
April 23, 2012

  St Joan of Arc Disclaimer:  The opinions herein are those of the author and not endorsed by the Grand Priory of of Mexico and Latin America.
Author’s Disclaimer: This is a military analysis of the Crusader Era “operating environment’ and includes conclusions and theories.  The conclusions are only when validated with different theories. and the theories are only if validated with different facts.

What’s Important?
 Definitional Interruptus:  There is no longer any use in using the terms “tactical, operational, strategic and/or grand strategic” in the discussion of “levels” of war.  It depends on the size of the frogs and the size of the ponds.  The city-states of Genoa and Venice of the period were very small places with a huge appetite and a long reach.  Their landward sides were vulnerable to infantry, and their fleets were not.  The strategic importance of Jerusalem had operational considerations that told Richard I that it was not worth taking, although he had the tactical capabilities to do so.

Tactics: What’s in range?
Operations: Getting there.
Strategy: What’s it worth?

Tactics: What’s in range?  Tactical considerations include consideration of giving and receiving the bullet, buffet or blade of over the four tactical imperatives: Duel, Defense, Attack and Contra Attack.   Tactical considerations are in part physical as in range, ranging, devastation, and speed. 

 Tactical considerations replicate the equivalent functions of the human body: brain, eyes, arm, fist,  feet and vital organs.  The eyes are the sensory array as in visual or by extension:  electronic.  The arm is that which delivers the fist to the target, it has speed, range, and flexibility. The fist is the terminal effect of the weapon system; it is the warhead, the tip of the spear, and the arrow head.  Feet are the mobility of the weapon platform.
Operations: Getting there, getting resupply, and getting on or getting out (See Jomini Below)

A Byzantine dromon (cruiser) had tactical considerations in its’ design and armament, that had an operational reach from Gibraltar to the Crimea, and was a way of projecting force to enforce the will of the Byzantine Emperor (also used by Venice and Genoa).  If a new device (ship rigged with broadside guns on a deck) came along, the tactical value of the dromon disappeared from dominance of the sea lanes in the Mediterranean.

Handy Terrain Analysis
Handy Terrain Analysis uses your own hands to illustrate common terrain features formed by erosion and their effect on fire and movement from a tactical and operational point of view. 
COCOA: This is an old US Army acronym for  terrain analysis to see how the ground helps or hinders either side.   There is an old acronym “COCOA” which is easier to remember the new and improved one on analyzing terrain.   COCOA has a sensory component to aid in remembering, just think of a cup of Cocoa, smell and remember:
Critical Terrain,
Cover and Concealment,
Observation and Fields of Fire, and
Avenues of Approach .

The current system replaced Critical Terrain with Key Terrain.  They don’t quite mean the same (IMHO).  Critical terrain is that which must be taken, held, and/or denied to the enemy. Key terrain dominates critical terrain.  The road junction in the valley may be critical, but it can only be controlled from a hill just in range (Key).
1. Geography.  The effect of relative relief, of rivers and ridges that make movement easier or harder create choke points to restrain or enhance movement.  The erosion of tilted block  create rivers and ridges which channel movement with the grain, and the passes, fords, and forks that cross the grain.

Water cuts through rock which makes it easier to rock

Over time, water smoothes  the craggy rocky convex outcroppings by erosion and by depositing the earth into alluvial fans which form concave patterns.  The combination of the two creates complex terrain features with convex slopes combining with the concave  The importance of slope is on ease of travel, observation and fields of fire. 

2. Geometry.  The geometric pattern of objects on the ground one to another create opportunities and challenges for the commander.  This includes the concepts of lines of communication,  of fronts, flanks, and rear,  and of interior vs. exterior lines each with tactical and operational mandates.  These concepts are the work of General Antoine-Henry Jomini. Of all the writers on the art of war, his book “Art of War” is the primer for all others.  This is one to commit to memory.

[Wikipedia} Antoine-Henri, baron Jomini (March 6, 1779 – March 24, 1869) was a general in the French and later in the Russian service, and one of the most celebrated writers on the Napoleonic art of war. According to the historian John Shy, Jomini "deserves the dubious title of founder of modern strategy."[1] Jomini's ideas were a staple at military academies. The senior generals of the American Civil War--those that had attended West Point--were well versed in Jomini's theories.[End Wiki]

From his pen to here;

Extracts from the Art of War by Antoine Jomini, available on line at Project Gutenberg (

Jomini, Art of War, page 13
To recapitulate, the art of war consists of six distinct parts:—
1. Statesmanship in its relation to war.
2. Strategy, or the art of properly directing masses upon the theater of war, either for defense or for invasion.
3. Grand Tactics.
4. Logistics, or the art of moving armies.
5. Engineering,—the attack and defense of fortifications.
6. Minor Tactics.
[Pg 14]It is proposed to analyze the principal combinations of the first four branches, omitting the consideration of tactics and of the art of engineering.
Familiarity with all these parts is not essential in order to be a good infantry, cavalry, or artillery officer; but for a general, or for a staff officer, this knowledge is indispensable.

Jomini, Art of War, page 75
Independently of its topographical features, each theater upon which one or more armies operate is composed, for both parties, as follows:—
1. Of a fixed base of operations.
2. Of a principal objective point.
3. Of fronts of operations, strategic fronts, and lines of defense.
4. Of zones and lines of operations.
5. Of temporary strategic lines and lines of communications.
6. Of natural or artificial obstacles to be overcome or to oppose to the enemy.
7. Of geographical strategic points, whose occupation is important, either for the offensive or defensive.
8. Of accidental intermediate bases of operations between the objective point and the primary base.
9. Of points of refuge in case of reverse.

Characters portrayed in "Kingdom of Heaven" by Ridley Scott

Jomini, Art of War, Page 89
The decisive point of a battle-field will be determined by,—
1. The features of the ground.
2. The relation of the local features to the ultimate strategic aim.
3. The positions occupied by the respective forces.

Jomini, Art of War, pages 101-104
It is somewhat different with lines of operations, as they are divided into different classes, according to their relations to the different positions of the enemy, to the communications upon the strategic field, and to the enterprises projected by the commander.
Simple lines of operations are those of an army acting from a frontier when it is not subdivided into large independent bodies.
Double lines of operations are those of two independent armies proceeding from the same frontier, or those of two nearly equal armies which are commanded by the same general but are widely separated in distance and for long intervals of time.[11]
Interior lines of operations are those adopted by one or two armies to oppose several hostile bodies, and having such a direction that the general can concentrate the masses and maneuver with his whole force in a shorter period of time than it would require for the enemy to oppose to them a greater force.[12] Exterior lines lead to the opposite result, and are those formed by an army which operates at the same time on both flanks of the enemy, or against several of his masses.
Concentric lines of operations are those which depart from [Pg 103]widely-separated points and meet at the same point, either in advance of or behind the base.
Divergent lines are those by which an army would leave a given point to move upon several distinct points. These lines, of course, necessitate a subdivision of the army.
There are also deep lines, which are simply long lines.
The term maneuver-lines I apply to momentary strategic lines, often adopted for a single temporary maneuver, and which are by no means to be confounded with the real lines of operations.
Secondary lines are those of two armies acting so as to afford each other mutual support,—as, in 1796, the army of the Sambre and Meuse was secondary to the army of the Rhine, and, in 1812, the army of Bagration was secondary to that of Barclay.
Accidental lines are those brought about by events which change the original plan and give a new direction to operations. These are of the highest importance. The proper occasions for their use are fully recognized only by a great and active mind.
There may be, in addition, provisional and definitive lines of operations. The first designate the line adopted by an army in a preliminary, decisive enterprise, after which it is at liberty to select a more advantageous or direct line. They seem to belong as much to the class of temporary or eventual strategic lines as to the class of lines of operations.

3. Psychology.  
Battle as Braggadocio

Being culturally sensitive doesn’t necessarily mean being nice, or considerate, or exceptionally nasty.  Of the letters in the acronym METT-TC that is the all-purpose checklist for planning and adjusting operations from the Oval office to a foxhole in some far off unpronounceable place. 
Culture, as defined above, affects each of the other considerations including time, terrain, troops, enemy, and ultimately the Mission. That includes battle:
The purposes of battle as in actual engagements with fire and/or movement, is three fold:

We use battle as a method of persuasion by grabbing or smashing something of value to either or both sides, and then brag about it.  Sometimes, the bragging is the most important part of it.  Bragging raises your sides morale, and saps the others.  Better yet, it gets the other side to do something stupid. 

The movie “Kingdom of Heaven” featuring the most telling of Templar Knights of the age takes us from the Siege of Kerak to the disastrous defeat of the Crusades at the Horns of Hattin.

Characters from Kingdom of Heaven

Such was too the case in the Battle at the Horns of Hattin in July 1187 by Grandmaster Girard de Ridefort, our Grandmaster.  His recent accession to the post from outside the Order, an event always rife with contention over whose sword is bigger.  In his case, he countermanded, contradicted, and confused the orders to the Army marching into a desert and without water. All this likely to save face in his own eyes.

Guy de Lusignan, also newly crowned King of Jerusalem (as portrayed in the movie) was an arrogant “jock” with more body than brains.  He was captured at Hattin and released by Saladin, and broke his word not to fight, but wound up with Cypress as a consolation prize his family ruled for another three hundred years.  Considering that he had married his way onto the throne, maybe he had a proper gene pool after all.  His strength was in family values as in competitive survival.

To this potent mix, add Raynaud de Chatillon who also rose to prominence by his prominence in expertise dans les affaires d'amour and married his way into prominence into positions of marital prominence in the Latin Empire of Byzantium.  He was prominently involved in considerable raiding and pillaging those who got in his way until he pillaged himself into Muslim prison for seventeen (17) years in Aleppo.  The Emperor Manuel bailed Raynaud out of jail for 500 kg (1,100 lbs) of Gold in 1176.

Reynaud aided King Baldwin IV (the leper king) to defeat Saladin at Montgisard. Later he built raiding ships and raided the Red Sea to the gates of Medina.  He escaped, but his crews were beheaded.
This is a man with enormous energy, innovative, reckless to fault, and utterly devoted to catch up with compensation for wrongs done to him and mete out vengeance to those he could catch.  His cultural center of gravity  Reynaud de Chatilliion is an ideal example of a vicious cycle of the victim becoming the victimizer

The cultural template and drama diagrams of any given culture may assign a high emotional content to certain geographic locations (Jerusalem, Mecca, Damascus, Rome) which may or may not have much to do with military or economic considerations.  That they have social significance makes them important to the Cultural Center of Gravity.

There is also a good chance that the “Cookie Jar” is also a Center of Gravity” in the Clauswitzean sense around which important outcomes are sought.   The ports of the Levant were the last to fall to Islam and the mainstay of the defense of Crusade territory. 

The Cultural Center of Gravity (CCOG)
Given these disparate persons and a tool to analyze their individual and collective cultural strategies, it is possible to make estimates (SWAG) on the Cultural Center of Gravity based on how each of the rules weigh against each other and which dominate the survival strategies.

This is a CCOG analysis diagram for a notional Knight Templar. 
The Order was a military organization under the religious Rule of Bernard

We show here that the Social Status of fealty to the Cross and the Order is the single strongest rule in accordance with the Rule of St Bernard de Clairvaux.   The travails of the physical world as well as the pleasure is subordinate to the Rule.  We find a similar emphasis with a notional Saracen warrior of faith.

By way of contrast, we can take a notional member of a crime family (Mafia, Corse, Soprano, Yakuza, or Corleone) whose focus on “Da Business” as a set of obligations in the acquisition of wealth and firepower.  The issue of “face” is important in this culture, insults to face can only be washed with blood and/or cash.  The Cultural Center of Gravity shifts to the right compared with the religious orders.
Based on a cultural analysis of the Corleone-Soprano Family
The relation between face, fortune, body and ground in this world is often quite literal.


Descent from Mohammed the Prophet is an inherent legitimacy in Arab succession.  That the Arab keeps very close tabs on heredity issues is a direct carry over from breeding the best horses in the world.  The comprehensive integration of Islamic law into political life grants the interpreter of the will of Allah an edge in political affairs that can supersede civil and political obligations.  
The roles of hero and villain are reversed depending on being a hero or a villain
The written works of Islam have provided a template for governance, economics, and social life that has  had a long shelf life.  The impact of the Crusader presence in the Holy Land has made social and political evolution more hesitant lest “crusader” influence will jeopardize Islam.  This concern took a highly sophisticated in science, the arts, and governance into eventually a more conservative and controlling attitude towards innovation. The Ottoman presence reinforced that to keep Turkish control over non-Turkish peoples.

That we have Sunni, Shi’a and Salafist competing factions today after 1400 years, is a clue as to what counts as authority in Islam.  The post WW1 departure of the Ottoman authority  which had assumed the religious and political mantle of the Arab caliphates for over five hundred years plus another two hundred under Seljuk Turkish rule left a vacuum for that dual source of authority that combines both secular and religious.

The time of the Crusades marked the transition of Arab caliphates from Arab control to various factions of Turkish control.
El Cid and Saladin

The Turks who had defeated and taken over the former Arab kingdoms and empires legitimized In part by conversion to Islam, created “slave” armies with no previous connections of blood or obligations that might rival the Sultans.  The most famous of these were the Mameluks, followed after the Crusades with the Janissaries.  .

 Saladin led a slave army to conquer Egypt.  These slave armies had an undesirable habit of going independent as soon as the conquest was complete.  Saladin established his own dynasty on such a slave army. We know them as Mameluks, who Napoleon integrated into the French Army.  He used them to restore order when order needed to be restored,

Temujin, the Genghis Khan

The succession of the tribal or clan CEO in migrating or nomadic peoples was the survival of the survival of the most dangerous.  The China, India, the Middle East, and Europe had little to fear from the Mongols unless an able warrior climbed to the top of a pile of murdered relative and rivals.  Such was Temujin, later called Genghis Khan whose father was murdered. His mother and he were expelled from the tribe, and left to fend for themselves in the wild.  

From cast out, sold as a slave, double crossed to the emperor of history's largest empire
(that's a lot of brown stamps)
The extensive grasslands of the Steppes provided the fodder to fuel the life style and war across an entire continent.  The terrain was relatively flat so enormous wagons drawn by oxen carried huge Yurts filled with supplies.  This rich and flat land promoted factionalism in tribes and families.

Genghis Khan replaced the tribal basis of organization into multiples of ten, with collective responsibility of the whole for the successes and failures of one. He added a courier and reconnaissance capability, likely as a result of contract with the advanced state of the military art in China.  Promotion in the Mongol Hordes was based on merit.  Consequently, the quality of the top leadership and the chain of command were world class above and beyond anyone else’s.
Do it before it is done to you, and ride like the wind

Later the  Ottomans solved the problem of the loose slave army problem by kidnapping Christian children into the Janissaries, an elite and ferocious fighting force whose atrocities would make the SS turn green with envy.

Hic desinit lectio

Optima Ratio, elit, et arte bellum

Optima Ratio, elit, et arte bellum
(tactics techniques and procedures)
Templarii militiae

By Gordon S Fowkes, KCTJ
Grand Historian of the Grand Priory of St Joan of Arc of Mexico and Latin America
April 20, 2012
  St Joan of Arc Disclaimer:  The opinions herein are those of the author and not endorsed by the Grand Priory of of Mexico and Latin America.
Author’s Disclaimer: This is a military analysis of the Crusader Era “operating environment’ and includes conclusions and theories.  The conclusions are only when validated with different theories. and the theories are only if validated with different facts.

What is medieval history without castles, sieges, drama and heroism?  The Crusader Era part of the Medieval Ages begins shortly after the beginning of the Feudal system of military and political obligation in exchange for ownership of the land and the people on it.   It ends shortly before gunpowder blows things apart.
Rolling Plunder

Settling Down. The transitional period between the fall of Roman control and feudalism was a process of migrating tribal peoples settling down instead of rolling plunder.   This period was that of Charles Martel who stopped the Muslim Arab invasion of Europe north of Spain. This was the time of the Merovingian and Carolingian Empires.    It was the period of Charlemagne who put Western Europe together again long enough to claim the Roman Imperial Eagle, which still flies on pennons, flags, and national insignia from Moscow to Portugal.

More Rolling Plunder Behind. The problem with settling down is that there were a lot more plundering hordes to follow such as the Vikings from the north, Magyars from the East, and Saracens from the South.  The rolling plunder mode works only so long as there some plunder to roll over.  Absent somewhere else to plunder, the plundering becomes planting, reaping, selling and trading tied to specific pieces of dirt.  The old-fashioned tribal warrior structure didn’t work as it was tied to hearth and hamlet instead of the plundering hordes that could come out of Hell in a blink of an eye.
The fast and the heavy. The transition from rolling plunder and the defense of the realm marked by a succession of collisions between Norman, Viking, Byzantine, and Turk in battles England, North Africa, Sicily, Greece, Turkey and the Levant.   These were victories of the highly mobile and heavily armored and armed on horse and in powerful warships (the Long Ship and the Dromon).   This surge took western forces to Jerusalem, but from then on the fates of forces depended on fortifications more than horses.  

The First Crusade (1096-1099) fought twelve open battles to reach Jerusalem. After that there were   barely twelve major pitched battles until after the Crusades when gunpowder (1340) made medieval fortifications more a liability than an asset.  That meant that combat was a choice between pitched battle and sieges of fortifications.

The Failed Crusades of 1101

In between the First and Second Crusades, two crusades never got numbers for they had been defeated in Turkey in 1101 at the battles of Mersivan and Heraclea.  Between the dead and those sold into slavery, there weren’t enough Christians to colonize the Levant.  Had they survived, it was possible that Christians from Europe could have colonized the Levant.  After the First Crusade veterans left for home station, there were not enough Christians to dominate the Levant. That made fortifications a force multiplier of absolute necessity. And it was made clear that going to the Holy Land is best done by sea instead of by land through Turkey.  

Fortunately for the Crusaders, the Muslims were more divided than they were..  There was a four-sided competition on the Turkish peninsula between the Byzantine Empire, two Muslim kingdoms [1](Danishmend in the North East and the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum holding western Turkey), plus the Armenian kingdom in the South East. 

In the Levant itself[2], Damascus and Aleppo, which dominate Lebanon and western Syria, were ruled by two brothers (Ridwan of Aleppo and Duqaq of Damascus) that hated each other to the point of working with Christians.  

In addition, ethnic and religious factors (Sunni vs Shi’a; Arab vs Turk) complicated an already complicated Muslim cohesion. 

Both Divided Neither Conquered

That the Crusade Kingdoms had their backs to the sea and hostile Muslims on the other three sides made losing battle a losing proposition.  The Muslims could fall back, recover, and return.    By 1102, it was also clear that after the First Crusaders went home, the protection of the Holy Land would depend upon The Few and The Fortified.

The Few and the Fortified

The previously barbarian hordes were principally infantry of the wild charge variety who charged on foot, but often who rode to the battlefield on horses.  Their principle defense on the battlefield was the “shield wall” that could stand up to multiple cavalry charges.  
Steady Infantry with a shield wall and nerves stopped Cavalry

Once the conquests became more stable and the barbarians settled in, domesticity of the warrior ethic resulted in more  family values on the family farms.   Those less stabilized and responsibility free joined the infantry like it or not.  The quality of the infantry declined. 

The Age of the Mercenary and the Horse. The horse gave the force more mobility to move to counter the rolling plunder of successive hordes.  Horses are expensive which led to the default feudal force of expensively mounted cavalry of the affluent, plus a draftee peasant militia, who were bolstered by the best specialists money could buy such as Welsh longbow men, Genoese cross bow men,  Varangian axe men, Cuman cavalry, Normans, Venetian and Genoese ships, and a host of other colorful warriors.   The ethnic continuity and cohesion of feudal forces was no longer a matter of kith and kin, but of cash, lash and command.

Of special interest were the Engineers for building fortifications and siege equipment.  The engineers of a losing side of a battle were spared the blade in favor of the handle.  The Order was known as being exceptionally excellent engineers.

The cost of outfitting the mounted horse men proved to be difficult to raise in the old manner of volunteered militia (like the Saxon Fyrd) and it became necessary for feudal powers to grant titles of ownership of people and property in exchange for military service.   There were both obligations and penalties for breaking the conditions of the title including loss of rank, property and life. Thus was born a class of privileged, propertied, politically powerful and armed aristocracy all based on the horse.  Hence the titles of the Order were drawn from this equestrian military necessity, such as Chevalier, Caballero, and Ritter (rider).  These were the Few.

Order of Battle Planning and Task Organization

No Maps or GPS. There were few maps in existence, and the skill sets needed by large forces in reconnaissance, intelligence and communications were rare to nonexistent.  Often the dust clouds of an enemy force were the first clue that the enemy was even on the march.  Only the Mongols retained that ability and turned the Muslim and Christian worlds upside down.

Three Battles up. The order of battle (OB) or task organization of the feudal force consisted with the formation of a few large task forces, three being the most favorite of three “battles” (Left,  Right, and Center).  Often detachments of cavalry covered the flanks.  Within each  “battle” very different types of troops  that were echeloned and mixed from front to rear based on the estimate of the sequence and power of the enemy’s echelons.   

Knights may lead or follow and the various infantry complement each other

Reconnaissance and Security. The additional professionalism of the Templar and other orders allowed a more complex order of battle with the Orders taking advance, rear and flank guard security missions. The best example of this is the movement to the Battle of Arsuf under Richard I with Saladin as opponent.

Reconnaissance and Security forces focus on different forces.  Security forces focus on the main body of troops to be protected  from surprise and ambush. Reconnaissance focuses on the enemy and the terrain in between.

Forces Posted From Front to Rear (Echelonment) The composition of an echelon may be an infantry mix of spearmen, archers, and axe men to keep the enemy at bay and shoot them down with arrows.   Sometimes the lead echelon was the heavy cavalry with lance, battle axe, sword, and mace that charged the enemy at full tilt in order to break the cohesion of the opposing force, panic and break for the rear.  This was western specialty. 

Mounted Archers to harass and entice the Western Foe

The Eastern and Asian approach was to use the mounted archer, sometimes heavily armored, sometimes light and fast, to attrite the enemy host or goad him into a charge from which they would not return.  This was the Eastern specialty.  The Ottoman Turks later developed specialty cavalry units trained in the bait and switch that drew out Western knights out of supporting range of their infantry, and turn the tables. 

This was how the Seljuk Turks defeated the Byzantine Empire at Manzikert in 1071  The problem that the combatants tried to solve was the proper mix of horse mounted and foot mounted forces in the din and confusion of battle.  Panic, however, was the tipping point in what might have been a minor glitch in execution.  Panic is natures’ way to getting you out of the way of danger, even when staying was a better proposition. 

Tactic, Technique and Procedures
This era is often called the era of the horse, of mounted cavalry with the infantry providing the casualties as the infantry too often broke and were ridden down by cavalry.  The thunder of cavalry and the awesome appearance of the charge coming at you in particular is problematic with keeping a cool head. 

The intent of the charge was to induce panic, and a rout.

This perception created the opportunities to exploit the weaknesses of the cavalry principally that they were headstrong and were it not for the fact that horses won’t attack a line of sharp shiny things like pikes and spears.  Horses are considered the best of athletes but likely one of natures’ dumber animals, but not too dumb to impale themselves.

The thunder of cavalry and the awesome appearance of the charge coming at you in particular is problematic with keeping a cool head.  But, infantry that stood their ground and fought back were consistently successful.  The Old Roman legions had the training, as did some of the Saxons, Vikings and Normans who stood behind a “shield wall” armed with spears, axes, and swords.  Well trained infantry was the exception more than the rule during this time.

The other weakness of the cavalry was that once launched into a charge, there was hell to pay to get them to return to the battlefield.   The light cavalries of the Steppes and the Middle East going back to the Parthians deliberately baited their enemies into a charge, and then when out of range of supports, they turned and wiped out those who had charged.

 This maneuver was what the Seljuk Turk Alp Arslan did at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. The Byzantine Emperor was killed and the Turks took permanent possession of Anatolia, and the Byzantine Emperor asked the Pope of Rome for the loan of a few good knights.  So started the First Crusade.

The Crusades started at a time when the infantry was more rabble than mob.  The speed differential between cavalry in a charge compared with the infantry creates gaps as the foot mobile is considerably slower than hoof, wheel and/or track mobile. One separated, rapidly moving enemy forces would attack the rear and flanks of the exposed force.   That is still true today. 

The solutions have been to make the infantry faster or slow the cavalry down to allow mutual support.   The technological innovations over the centuries alters the range, speed and accuracy of weapons systems which call for adjustments in firepower, mobility, and protection.  At any one point of time, certain solutions will create “tactical imperatives” that give or take an edge away.
These “tactical imperatives” are a matrix in time and space between the means by which a weapon systems engages, and the mode of combat from fast draw to counter-strike.

A snapshot in time when which imperative wins!

In addition to the tactical imperatives, the force with a better cohesion and leadership can overcome serious shortcomings in material or circumstance.  And the core of that cohesion is that which also prevents panic. 

To Panic and Not to Panic
There were far more casualties in retreat than attack or defense.  A well-trained outfit can successfully fight a retrograde operation under pressure or without pressure, and cause the enemy to lose precious time and equipment.  The actions of a rear guard such as at Arsuf, are inherently a retrograde under pressure.  The important point is DON’T PANIC

Panic is Nature's Way of Getting You the Hell Out of There!

Murphy’s Law is the First Law of WarMurphy says the what can go wrong, will go wrong at the worst possible time, at the worst place, and in the worst possible manner.  When war was fought elbow to elbow, so did mood swings between euphoria and panic so easily spread!  The tactics for the attack in open battle, faces to faces and feet to feet, was to panic the enemy just a little bit up front, and count on the rest running after. 

This is also known as the fight, flight or freeze response.  Any sudden change of fortune or of any change in expectations produces stress that messes with the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems that readies the body for fight or flight transmitted by neurochemical responses.
Fight, flight or freeze occurs with little or no conscious awareness.  It is as automatic stress response.  The decision of which has inherited roots, but the basic behavior is subject to additions in training or bitter experience that you managed to survive.  The survival algorithm, is easily understood with fight or flight, but some predators hunt by detecting motion, no movement, no hunt.

Good leadership and unit cohesion defeat dysfunctional or destructive reaction.   The confident and cohesive unit knows what to do and has the confidence that his (her) comrades do too.  Even the death of their leader and betrayal in battle deters them not. Think of the Spartans at Thermopylae,  the 10,000 with Clearchus in Anabasis,  and the legendary dedication of the Templar Knights, and the other military orders.  Crusader commanders gave the most difficult tactical missions to the Knights of the Temple, the Hospital and the Teutonic, as they had the cohesion and collective ability to handle the difficult without difficulty.

Battle Drill. Action in combat should be as instinctual just as in your daily to work in which angle of deflection, march interval, rate of march, and battle position in the shifting field of commuters is done automatically, without conscious thought save for the idiot here and there.  Like a Fire Drill and Life Boat Drill, a panic drill is a tactic. In the US Army, I taught my units how to handle the unexpected through unscheduled “panic drills” using one or two soldiers plus an accomplice to panic whole companies.

Battle Drill, good leadership, and the confidence and cohesion of the primary group carries through the sequence of essential tactical and operational sequences of the “Four F’s of Fighting”.

Find, Fix, Fight and Follow Through.
(Sequence or Steps of Actions)

These are the four F’s of FIGHTING. These are the rules of tactical operations that have not changed since the days of the rock, stick, and torch.  Victory goes to the side that does it faster and more effectively. Defeat can be snatched from the Jaws of Victory for skipping a step. 

FIND: This is primarily an intelligence effort to determine the where the enemy is, what does him have, and what, where and when can he do it (strength, composition, disposition to determine possible courses of action). 
Determining capabilities outranks intentions ten to one, as the enemy does not know what he is going to do until he guesses what you are going to do.   This is called “dealing with intentions” as is considered in the classical approach to war as presumptuous.
When we talk about the “composition” of forces we are talking about what kind of troops, what do they do, how well, and how do they contribute to the war effort (or not).  In this weighty tome, for reasons of brevity we can lump these as Fighters, Supporters, Leaders, and Logistics.  There are more details breakdowns but this is in a state of flux in the ageless struggle between Courtier and Combatant. 

COCOA: The first information requirement is that of terrain analysis to see how the ground helps or hinders either side.   There is an old acronym “COCOA” which is easier to remember the new and improved one on analyzing terrain.   COCOA has a sensory component to aid in remembering, just think of a cup of Cocoa, smell and remember:
Critical Terrain, Obstacles, Cover and Concealment, Observation and Fields of Fire, and Avenues of Approach have stood the test of time.

FIX: Force the enemy to deploy from the march, and restrict his tactical maneuvering.  Placing obstacles and fires on likely avenues of approach forces the enemy to take the time to deploy and prepare counter fires.  In the offense, this is placing fires or close combat on key parts of the enemy to restrict his range of options of fires and movement available to the enemy, as in pinning them down.  This is called covering and suppressive fires.

Oh, dear deer!

FIGHT:  Once fixed, close with and open fire directly on the enemy to destroy their capabilities to move and shoot.  This is called Fire and Movement and it works moving forward, moving back, or standing still.  The enemy fires on your movement and your weaponry while you do the same to him/her and/or them. 

The last one standing is usually the winner so long as the loser is moving in the direction you wanted.  That includes forcing the enemy to sit still while you move the direction you wanted, that is victory.  If you want the enemy to follow you into a trap, his movement is a victory for you.   The reverse is his victory.  If his attack costs him dearly, even though he has pushed you back is a victory for you.  It boils down to whose will is triumphant.

FOLLOW THROUGH:  Following though means reconstitution and recovery of resources such as resupply, repair, and reordering one’s forces to first, defend what you took, and then be prepared to continue the fight or leave on one’s own option.  This means resupply, repair and maintenance, replacement of personnel and equipment, and repositioning for the next move.  Often this means preparing to move onto the next High Ground either front, rear, or flank that affords observation and/or protection from enemy fires and observation.

Hic desinit lectio

[1] Point 3 1101 Crusades Destroyed
[2] Point 2 Muslims divided