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Hit-and-run tactics are a tactical
doctrine Doctrine (from la, doctrina, meaning "teaching, instruction") is a codification Codification may refer to: *Codification (law), the process of preparing and enacting a legal code *Codification (linguistics), the process of selecting, developing ...

doctrine
of using short surprise attacks, withdrawing before the enemy can respond in force, and constantly maneuvering to avoid full engagement with the enemy. The purpose is not to decisively defeat the enemy or capture territory but to weaken enemy forces over time through raids, harassment, and
skirmishing Skirmishers are light infantry or light cavalry soldier A soldier is one who fights as part of a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for ...
and limiting risk to friendly forces. Such tactics can also expose enemy defensive weaknesses and achieve a psychological effect on the enemy's
morale Morale, also known as esprit de corps (), is the capacity of a group's members to maintain belief in an institution or goal, particularly in the face of opposition or hardship. Morale is often referenced by authority figures as a generic value j ...
. Hit-and-run is a favored tactic where the enemy overmatches the attacking force and any sustained combat is to be avoided, such as
guerrilla warfare Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare Irregular warfare (IW) is defined in United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States ...
, militant
resistance movement A resistance movement is an organized effort by some portion of the civil population of a country to withstand the legally established government or an occupying power and to disrupt civil order and stability. It may seek to achieve its objectives t ...
s, and
terrorism Terrorism, in its broadest sense, is the use of intentional violence to achieve political aims. The term is used in this regard primarily to refer to violence during peacetime Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the ...
. However,
regular army A regular army is the official army of a state or country (the official armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically authorized ...
forces often employ hit-and-run tactics in the short term, usually in preparation for a later full-scale engagement with the enemy when and where conditions are more favorable. Examples of the latter include
commando Royal Marines from 40 Commando on patrol in the Sangin">40_Commando.html" ;"title="Royal Marines from 40 Commando">Royal Marines from 40 Commando on patrol in the Sangin area of Afghanistan are pictured unit ''Commando Jaubert, Jaubert'' stor ...

commando
or other
special forces Special forces and special operations forces (SOF) are military units trained to conduct special operations. NATO has defined special operations as "military activities conducted by specially designated, organized, trained, and equipped forces ...

special forces
attacks, reconnaissance-in-force, or
sortie A sortie (from the French word meaning ''exit'' or from Latin root ''surgere'' meaning to "rise up") is a deployment or dispatch of one military unit, be it an aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to flight, fly by gaining supp ...

sortie
s from a fortress, castle, or other
strongpoint In military tactics, a strongpoint is a key point in a defensive fighting position which anchors the overall defense line. This may include redoubts, bunkers, Pillbox (military), pillboxes, trench (military), trenches or fortresses, alone or in c ...
. Hit-and-run tactics were also used by the lightly-armed
horse archer A horse archer is a cavalryman armed with a Bow (weapon), bow and able to shoot while riding from horseback. Archery has occasionally been used from the backs of other riding animals. In large open areas, it was a highly successful technique for ...
s, typical of the
Eurasian steppe The Eurasian Steppe, also simply called the Great Steppe or the steppes, is the vast steppe File:Steppe of western Kazakhstan in the early spring.jpg, Steppe in Kazakhstan In physical geography, a steppe () is an ecoregion characteri ...
peoples, who excelled at them. That holds especially true for such troops that were not part of a large army (such as
scouting parties
scouting parties
), but it was common to see them employed in such a way even as part of a major force.


Historical use

Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...
first encountered that tactic in the
Lusitanian War The Lusitanian War, called ''Pyrinos Polemos'' ("the Fiery War") in Greek, was a war of resistance fought by the Lusitanian tribes of Hispania Ulterior Hispania Ulterior (English: "Further Hispania", or occasionally "Thither Hispania") was a regi ...
in which
Lusitanians The Lusitanians (or la, Lusitani) were an Indo-European speaking people living in the west of the Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese language, Aragonese and Occitan language, Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** ...
used the tactic called ''concursare'' ("bustling"). It involved charging forwards against the enemy lines, only to retreat after a brief clash or without clashing, which would be followed by more attacks in a similar cadence. The Lusitanians drove the Roman armies to break formation and chase them, leading them to traps and
ambushes An ambush is a long-established military tactics, military tactic in which combatants take advantage of concealment or the element of surprise to attack unsuspecting enemy combatants from concealed positions, such as among dense underbrush or ...

ambushes
. The
SeljukSeljuk may refer to: * Seljuk (warlord) (died c. 1038), founder of the Turko-Persian Seljuk dynasty in the Middle East and central Asia * Seljuq dynasty (c. 950–1307), the dynasty founded by Seljuk * Seljuk Empire (1051–1153), a medieval empire ...
victory over the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
at the Battle of Manzikert was preceded by hit-and-run attacks of Seljuk cavalry, which threw the Byzantine army into confusion and proved fatal once it started to retreat. Similarly, the earlier
Parthian
Parthian
and
Sassanid The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, '), and also called the Neo-Persian Empire by historians, was the last before the in the mid-7th century AD. Named after the , it endured for over four centuri ...
Persian horse archers paved the way for their
cataphract A cataphract was a form of armored heavy cavalry 300px, Spanish Heavy Cavalry - Royal Armoury of Madrid, Spain ">Spain.html" ;"title="Royal Armoury of Madrid, Spain">Royal Armoury of Madrid, Spain Heavy cavalry was a class of cavalry ...
s' attack, which achieved the decisive victories at the
Battle of Carrhae The Battle of Carrhae () was fought in 53 BC between the Roman Republic and the Parthian Empire near the ancient town of Carrhae (present-day Harran, Turkey). The Parthian general Surena decisively defeated a Roman invasion force under the comma ...
and
Battle of Edessa The Battle of Edessa took place between the armies of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican per ...
. The use of hit-and-run tactics dates back even earlier to the nomadic
Scythians The Scythians (from grc, Σκύθης , ) or Scyths, also known as Saka and Sakae ( ; egy, 𓋴𓎝𓎡𓈉 The ancient Egyptian Hill-country or "Foreign land" hieroglyph (𓈉) is a member of the sky, earth, and water hieroglyphs. A ...
of
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area ...

Central Asia
, who used them against
Darius the Great Darius I ( peo, 𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁 ; New Persian New Persian ( fa, فارسی نو), also known as Modern Persian () and Dari (), is the final stage of the Persian language Persian (), also known by its endonym An endonym ( ...

Darius the Great
's
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and offi ...

Achaemenid Empire
and later against
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
's
Macedonian Empire Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. The ...
. The Turkish general
Baibars Al-Malik al-Zahir Rukn al-Din Baibars al-Bunduqdari ( ar, الملك الظاهر ركن الدين بيبرس البندقداري, ''al-Malik al-Ẓāhir Rukn al-Dīn Baybars al-Bunduqdārī'') (1223/1228 – 1 July 1277), of Turkic Turkic may ...
also successfully used hit-and-run during the
Battle of Ain Jalut The Battle of Ain Jalut (), also spelled Ayn Jalut, was fought between the Bahri dynasty, Bahri Mamluks of Mamluk Egypt, Egypt and the Mongol Empire on 3 September 1260 (25 Ramadan 658 AH) in southeastern Galilee in the Jezreel Valley near what ...
, the first defeat of the quickly expanding Mongol Empire. Vastly outnumbered in North America, the French made effective use of hit-and-run raids during the various
French and Indian Wars The French and Indian Wars were a series of conflicts that occurred in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the nor ...
. In the
Turkish War of Independence The Turkish War of Independence "War of Liberation", also known figuratively as ''İstiklâl Harbi'' "Independence War" or ''Millî Mücadele'' "National Struggle" (19 May 1919 – 24 July 1923) was a series of military and ethnic cleansing ...
, the Turks fought against the Greeks by hit-and-run tactics before a regular army was set up. Marathas under shivaji and his successors also resorted to hit and run tactics against Mughal Empire. During the
Vietnam War {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Vietnam War , partof = the Indochina Wars The Indochina Wars ( vi, Chiến tranh Đông Dương) were a series of wars fought in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled ...
,
Viet Cong The Viet Cong ( vi, Việt Cộng; ), officially known as the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam ( vi, Mặt trận Dân tộc Giải phóng Miền Nam Việt Nam), was an armed communist political revolutionary organization in South ...

Viet Cong
forces used hit-and-run tactics to great effectiveness against U.S. military forces. The tactic was also used in
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of t ...

Afghanistan
by rebel forces during the
Soviet–Afghan War The Soviet–Afghan War was a conflict wherein insurgent groups known collectively as the Mujahideen ''Mujahideen'', or ''Mujahidin'' ( ar, مُجَاهِدِين, mujāhidīn), is the plural form of ''mujahid'' ( ar, مجاهد, mujā ...
. Various Iraqi insurgent groups have also used hit-and-run tactics against
Iraqi Security Forces The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) is a term used by the United States Department of Defense The United States Department of Defense (DoD, USDOD or DOD) is an executive branch department of the federal government A federation (also known ...
and American-led coalition forces in Iraq. Improvised fighting vehicles, called " technicals", are often used in such operations.


In economics

The term "hit-and-run" is also used in
economics Economics () is a social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on the behaviour and interact ...

economics
to describe a firm that enters a market to take advantage of abnormal profits and then leave. These tactics can be seen in a
contestable market In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods an ...
.


See also

* Reconnaissance-in-force *
Parthian shot The Parthian shot is a light horse hit and run military tactic made famous by the Parthians, an ancient Iranian people. While performing a real or feigned retreat at full gallop, their horse archers would turn their bodies back to shoot at ...
*
Chevauchée A ''chevauchée'' (, "promenade" or "horse charge", depending on context) was a Raid (military), raiding method of medieval warfare for weakening the enemy, primarily by Early thermal weapons, burning and pillaging enemy territory in order to red ...
*
Shoot-and-scoot , a self-propelled gun Self-propelled artillery (also called locomotive artillery) is artillery Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch Ammunition, munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry firear ...
*
Fire and movement Fire and movement, or fire and maneuver, is the basic modern military low-level unit tactic used to maneuver on the battlefield in the presence of the enemy, especially when under fire. It involves heavy use of all available cover, and highly-c ...

Fire and movement
*
Demoralization (warfare) Demoralization is, in a context of warfare War is an intense armed conflict between states, government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In th ...
*
List of military tactics This article contains a list of military tactics. The meaning of the phrase is context sensitive, and has varied over time, like the difference between "strategy" and "tactics". General * Exploiting prevailing weather – the tactical use of ...
*
Drive-by shooting A drive-by shooting is a type of assault that usually involves the perpetrator's firing a weapon from within a motor vehicle Electric bicycles parked in Yangzhou's main street, Wenchang Lu. They are a very common way of transport in this city, ...


References


Bibliography

* *{{Warfare, State and Society in the Byzantine World, 565–1204
Hit-and-run In traffic laws, a hit and run or a hit-and-run is the act of causing a traffic collision A traffic collision, also called a motor vehicle collision, car accident, or car crash, occurs when a vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a ...
Business economics