Monday, April 11, 2016

Word of the Day -- Skirmisher

Skirmishers are infantry or cavalry soldiers stationed ahead or alongside a larger body of friendly troops. They are usually placed in a skirmish line to harass the enemy.

In ancient and medieval warfare, skirmishers typically carried bows, javelins, slings, and sometimes light shields. Acting as light infantry with their light arms and minimal armour, they could run ahead of the main battle line, release a volley of arrows, slingshots or javelins, and retreat behind their main battle line before the clash of the opposing main forces. The aims of skirmishing were to disrupt enemy formations by causing casualties before the main battle, and to tempt the opposing infantry into attacking prematurely, throwing their organization into disarray. Skirmishers could also be effectively used to surround opposing soldiers in the absence of friendly cavalry.

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