Flanking Maneuver

The purpose of the Flanking Maneuver lesson is to learn how to use a Flanking tactic to defeat an enemy line on an open field.

For Teachers

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Flanking Maneuver

The goal of a Flanking Maneuver is to break the enemy’s line by “bending” it. This will be done by wrapping your line around their’s and creating a weak spot. 

You can then take advantage of the weak spot to eliminate members of the opposing and create a Gap. That gap will separate the line into smaller groups which you can then overpower.

Initiating a Flank

The Flankers (the first one or two fighter on the end of the line) break off and run around the side of the opposing line. Those who remain should spread out slightly to make up for the departing Flankers. In response, the opposing team bends to stop the Flankers from getting behind their line. This “bend” creates a weak spot which is incredibly difficult to defend against a strong attack.

Breaking the Enemy Line

After the Flankers have forced the opposing team to bend and create a weak spot, the goal turns to breaking the line. If you are able to kill the fighters near the weak spot, you will make a gap in their line. Now they’re not one solid line. They’ve been broken into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Performing a Flanking Maneuver

A true Flanking Maneuver is not about getting behind the enemy’s line. It’s about breaking the line into smaller bits so that it can be overpowered.

This starts by having a strong Flank. A Flank is the fencer on either end of the Line. When the command is called to Flank Left or Flank Right, the appropriate Flanker moves out and around the enemy’s line while still remaining close enough to be a threat. This should cause the enemy Flank to retreat with the Flanker. At the same time, the person next to your Flanker should move out and around while the rest of the line spreads out to compensate. At this point, the second flanker should move in to attack the weak point and create the Gap. If the attack is successful, the second flanker should continue down the line with the rest of the team collapsing in on the weakened enemy line.

Defending Against a Flanking Maneuver

The best way to defend against a flanking maneuver is to not bend the line. As the Flanking Maneuver is called, the entire line should hinge back away from the enemy line. This ensures that no one is left fighting multiple opponent’s and no weak spot is created.

Teacher Resources

Explain

Explain the following parts of performing a Flanking Maneuver. Emphasize that the Flanking Maneuver tactic requires teamwork and coordination to be successful.

  • How to Initiate a Flanking Maneuver
  • How to Break the Enemy Line
  • How to Perform a Flanking Maneuver
  • How to Defend against a Flanking Maneuver

Demonstrate

Demonstrate the basic setup of a Flanking Maneuver. Point out who should perform the maneuver and how to command a Flanking Maneuver. Demonstrate what a proper Flanking Maneuver looks like with the help of several Swordsmen.

Guide

After demonstrating, form into two basic lines with the assistance from several Swordsmen, depending on the number of students. Utilize the following drill to practice:

Flanking Maneuver Drill

Working as a line, each group should progress through performing a Flanking Maneuver slowly while the other team defends without trying to prevent the maneuver. Switch out the student playing the part of the Flank each time. Repeat as necessary.

Enable

At this stage, each Novice should be able to recognize and participate in a Flanking Maneuver on their own. Run through the following challenge before finishing:

Flanking Maneuver Challenge (Bend Them Until They Break )

Working as a group, the students should face a line of Swordsmen. The students will attempt to break the line with a Flanking Maneuver while the Swordsmen attempt to defend. After the students are successful, switch roles and have the students attempt to defend their line, while the Swordsmen attempt a Flanking Maneuver.

Journal Prompt

How effective do you feel during a Flanking Maneuver? What helps you coordinate with your teammates while performing a Flanking Maneuver?

Ready to move on?

You’ve completed the Flanking Maneuver lesson! Let’s continue with the final melee tactic, which is an Order of the Rose original: the Wall of Swords.