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Test Your Knowledge: Defensive Military Tactics
by Staff
In an armed conflict, sometimes your best course of action is to defend a stronghold instead of going on the offensive. How much do you know about defensive military tactics?

If you use a so-called elastic defense, you try to slow down the enemy while giving up what?

  • space
  • weapons
  • prisoners of war

What's one reason that an elastic defense often works well as a defensive tactic?

  • It gives attackers too much momentum.
  • It stretches the attacker's supply lines.
  • It makes it harder for attackers to pick a target.

What is the name for a unit that gives up its defensive position in an attempt to push through enemy lines?

  • flanking
  • breakout
  • retreat

If you want to eventually attack from a defensive position, what do you need to do first?

  • Stockpile extra weapons.
  • Make sure you have a very strong and defensible position.
  • Be prepared for annihilation.

How are most modern land mines triggered?

  • magnetic trigger
  • a trip wire
  • pressure

If you are defending a high position, you have to be wary of what?

  • making sure the slope is steep enough to slow attackers
  • making sure you have enough supplies and water
  • make sure your weapons can reach the bottom of the hill

What is a hedgehog defense?

  • a straight line of hardened defenses
  • an uneven line of defenders with numerous strong points
  • when defenders throw spiky hedgehogs at attackers

The hedgehog has historically been used many times against what kind of forces?

  • armored vehicles
  • infantry
  • naval columns

Which tactic involves defending a second, higher slope as an attacker ascends a lower first slope?

  • echelon defense
  • flanking
  • reverse slope defense

Revetments were commonly used in what kind of defensive tactic?

  • defense against cavalry
  • trench warfare
  • defense against tanks

What's one major advantage of the V-shaped formation called the Flying Wedge?

  • It lets defenders easily "leapfrog" each other to protect a large area.
  • It makes it difficult for an enemy to attack your flanks.
  • It makes the best use of hills.

Why would infantry soldiers construct a sangar?

  • They have a very limited field of fire.
  • They need protection from air attacks.
  • The ground is too rocky or hard for trenches.

If you deploy your defenders in a line that's diagonal to the attacker's forces, you're using which defense?

  • pakfront
  • echelon
  • breakout

Why do some armies resort to "scorched earth" tactics during a withdrawal?

  • It's fun to set things on fire.
  • It helps to defeat the enemy psychologically.
  • It prevents useful materials, buildings or people from falling into enemy hands.

Compared to forested areas, how much more effort does it take to camouflage units in a desert environment?

  • three times as much effort
  • five times as much effort
  • 10 times as much effort

How many miles of railroad did Maj. Gen. William Sherman destroy as part of the scorched earth policy in the American Civil War?

  • more than 30 miles
  • more than 300 miles
  • more than 3,000 miles

Which defensive cover was the precursor to the fox hole?

  • grenade sump
  • slit trench
  • shell scrape

The first land mines didn't explode. What did they do?

  • caused soldiers to fall into huge trenches where they could be fired upon
  • collapsed the land on which the enemy was standing
  • caused fortifications to sink, making counterattacks easier

World War I was the first to see the widespread use of which defensive tactic?

  • sangars
  • counterbattery fire
  • trench warfare

The Pakfront defense was used in World War II to interrupt what kind of attack?

  • warplane attack
  • infantry attack
  • tank attack

Roman soldiers took which defensive position only if they were surrounded by enemy forces?

  • Vegetius
  • the wedge
  • the orb

Which defensive position protects forces from having exposed flanks?

  • echelon defense
  • all round defense
  • phalanx defense

How do you minimize casualties in an all round defense?

  • Use more artillery from afar.
  • Provide long range weapons.
  • Spread out your defenders.

Why was trench warfare so effective in the World War I era?

  • Better digging technologies meant much more secure and livable trenches.
  • Mines were suddenly much more powerful.
  • Firepower had evolved but mobile tactics had not.

Which technology finally helped attackers develop ways to break through trenches?

  • larger artillery shells with improved accuracy
  • tanks
  • guided bombs

Why are land mines a controversial form of defense?

  • They have become far more powerful in recent years.
  • They maim too many soldiers.
  • They hurt people indiscriminately.

Why did Roman armies always try to fight with a strong wind at their backs?

  • to make it harder for enemies to advance large weapons like catapults
  • to help projectiles fly farther
  • to overwhelm the enemy with the stench of their unwashed bodies

What does counterbattery fire accomplish?

  • It attacks your enemy's indirect fire elements.
  • It cuts down charging infantry.
  • It slows tanks as they approach your defensive positions.

Which tactic did the Romans use to prevent an enemy from breaking through their lines?

  • the wedge
  • the orb
  • the saw

Counterbattery fire is also often called what?

  • counterbombardment
  • counterattack
  • aggressive defense