Top 10 Sneaky and Genius Battlefield Tactics in War History

Posted on Apr 20, 2016

The Ruse of War, either as a smart way to win or as an act of deception, certainly gives us a very wide historical view of the battlegrounds and their commanders. From the BC era to modern times, these brilliant tactics prove that the art of war is never-ending.

1. Battle of Austerlitz, 1805

Battle of Austerlitz, 1805
Photo: anamjau.imgur.com
This is considered to be one of the most deceitful victories in Napoleon’s career. His tactic was to make the opposing Austro-Russian military forces believe that his forces were retreating and to make them attack his falsely weakened army on the right. This move made the Austro-Russian army overextend and weaken their center.

2. Battle of Panipat, 1526

Battle of Panipat, 1526
Photo: socialstudies.school
When a commander is dealing with a lack of soldiers, all he’s got left is making a wise war strategy. Babur, the ruler of Kabul, had 12 000 soldiers against 100 000 of the sultan of Delhi, Lodi. So, Babur unexpectedly chose the Panipat near Delhi to be the battleground, made a strong wagon barriers and won this almost impossible battle.

3. Gideon Against Midianites

Gideon Against Midianites
Photo: mustardseedbudget.files.wordpress.com
Gideon the Israelite, on a contrary had a greater number of soldiers than he actually needed. His army of 32 000 soldiers was first cut to 10 000, and then, all the work was done by 300 of them. This 300 soldiers surrounded the Midianite’s valley on three sides and attacked with howling: “A Sword for the Lord!”. Midianites retreated to the right side where the rest of the Gideon’s army waited.

4. Battle of Chaeronea, 338 BC

Battle of Chaeronea, 338 BC
Photo: i.ytimg.com
This battle was fought between the Macedonians and the alliance of Athens and Thebes. Philip’s II 32 000 well-trained soldiers against 50 000 of rebels could win only by making the rebels move from their secure spot. The trick was in the false retreating of Philip’s army which made the rebels move towards the ”weakened” enemy.

5. The Battle of Cowpens, 1781

The Battle of Cowpens, 1781
Photo: cdn-6.britishbattles.com
Colonel of American Revolution Army, Dan Morgan, used bad fighting reputation of this army to invert the expected outcome of the battle of Cowpens. His strategy was putting trained shooters in the front line and the rough soldiers in the second one. When shooters left their position, fight with the second line made an illusion that the British army was winning, and as they moved forward, they lost cohesion and the battle.

6. Attack on the City of Hsi, 3rd Century

Attack on the City of Hsi, 3rd Century
Photo: upload.wikimedia.org
Chu-ko Liang’s brilliant trick has led him to victory. He left all the gates of the city of Hsi open, send an army to the mountains and waited for the attack while drinking tea. Enemies expected a trap, so they actually left the city through the mountains where Chu-ko Liang’s army defeated them.

7. Sun Pin, the Savior of the Han Dynasty

Sun Pin, the Savior of the Han Dynasty
Photo: scifighting.com
The King Ch’I’s fighting units had a bad reputation. Sun Pin, the offspring of Sun-Tzu, who wrote “The Art of War,” knew how to use false expectations concerning his army. Every night his army lit less and less campfire, so the enemy thought that was the sign of its weakening and run into an ambush.

8. How Zopyrus Saved the Darrius’ Reputation of Conqueror

How Zopyrus Saved the Darrius’ Reputation of Conqueror
Photo: images.mentalfloss.com
Even for Darius, the Great Babylon was a tough target. After a long time of waiting in front of the Babylon barricades, Persian noble, Zopyrus had cut off his nose and ears saying that that was the act of punishment of Darius dissatisfied by a failure of conquering the Babylon. Afterward, the Babylon army had let Zopyrus enter the city as an ally and soon the Babylon was under Darius’ control.

9. Battle of Arsuf, 1191

Battle of Arsuf, 1191
Photo: medievalists.net
Richard the Lionheart made his army persistently march under a rain of arrows in front of the enemy which crushed enemy’s tight formation. Eventually, when the knights attacked Saladin’s archers, the Saracens lost their battle.

10. Battle of Pelusium, 525 B.C

Battle of Pelusium, 525 B.C
Photo: i0.wp.com
Cambyses II of Persia came up with an interesting and quite an effective idea to win against the Egyptians. He ordered his soldiers to paint the cats on their shields to prevent the Egyptian archers from fighting since the murder of a sacred animal is a crime in Egypt.
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Top 10 Sneaky and Genius Battlefield Tactics in War History
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