Wistric’s Weekly Warfare 6: Running the Flank

Picture, for a moment, a five man team facing another five man team on the melee field.  Let’s say your team is named 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.  You, my good reader, are always number 1.  Your opponents are A, B, C, D, and E.

You approach each other in line:

1              2              3              4              5

 

A             B             C             D             E

 

You decide that, rather than standing at long range trying to snipe hands, you have more important things to do.  Things like, say, crushing team ABCDE.  But how to do this?

This is a great time to Run the Right.  Instead of closing to sniping range, your line runs quickly in a spiraling route into the backfield of ABCDE and proceeds to lay waste.  The ideal goal is that you’ll end up roughly like this:

ABCDE
54321

And everybody will be looking at the perforated backsides of ABCDE.

Notice that 1 is not targeting A1 is running all the way to the other end of the line of ABCDE.  If 1 stops and engages A, the entire rest of his line backs up behind him and the action stops, giving ABCDE a chance to wheel and hit 12345’s flank.

Of course, it almost never happens that way.  A will fall back and get pushed in by the spiraling action of 1, and end up backing into his own team somewhere around C or D.  The entire ABCDE team will be wrapped in upon itself and unable to self-reinforce.   While E and D are still trying to turn to face the attack, 12345 will be able to bring all weapons to bear on the disordered ABC, deal with them, and then annihilate D and E.

 

The Importance of the Word Run

Running the Flank means exactly that: RUN!  Do not saunter, amble, trot, jog, mosey, walk, or in any other way go anything other than all out.  Your entire unit must move as quickly as possible into the enemy backfield.

A quick-moving enemy will cause the defenders to fall back, trying to buy themselves reaction time, and that is exactly what you want as you spiral in on them.

Any slower, and you give your opponent time to counter your action (discussed below).

If some go fast and some go slow, you arrive not as a unit, but as a scattering of fighters ripe for picking.

 

The Proper Range

If 1 runs too closely to A, A will be able to entangle 1’s blades, or in a number of other ways disrupt 1’s action.  This will bring the whole thing to a stop and mean instant death for 12345.  If 1 runs too far away from A, it will take too long to get into ABCDE’s backfield, and they will have turned and prepared.  The path should go just outside of long range of the enemy, where blades can’t be bound, but a quick move inward will close the distance for an attack.

 

Right vs. Left

Running the Flank is usually distinguished as Run the Right or Run the Left.  It is a bit easier to run the right, as most people are righties.  They’re used to fighting right-shoulder forward, with their defense handled by the left hand.  When running the right, defense against any enemy attacks will again be handled primarily by the left hand.  When running the left, the right hand takes over defense and the left hand takes on the duty of launching attacks.

 

How to Disrupt the Run

There are two ways to disrupt the run: The running team can screw it up, or the defending team can thwart it.

If the attackers don’t run quickly, or don’t all keep pace, or basically violate any of the advice above, they will defeat themselves.

But really, what do you do if you’re about to receive a flanking attack?  Taking our ABCDE vs. 12345 diagram above, fighter A can slide left and block the path of 12345.  This puts him directly in the way of 12345, and will give him a brief one-on-one fight with 1 before the rest of the attacking team envelopes him.  He’s almost guaranteed to die, but he will stop the run long enough to give the rest of his team the chance to hit 12345 from the flank by wheeling left.

 

Practice

While it’s nice to have ten people who can run this over and over again, you only need two, A and 1A takes an object, any object, and puts it five shoulder-widths away from him.  This object is now E.  1 then proceeds to run around A‘s flank, aiming for EA practices sliding out left to intercept 1, while 1 practices moving quickly and just out of range of A‘s blades.  Then switch roles.

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