Coordinating battles in the past

Discussion in 'Science & History' started by pro2A, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. pro2A

    pro2A Hell, It's about time!

    Does anyone know how commanders in the Civil War, Revolutionary War and Medieval wars communicated with and coordinated their troops and commanders on the battlefield prior to radios and computers?

    Here is an example of what I'm talking about:


    There are multiple instances where the general is giving orders in the battle, but how does that get communicated to the men on the field?

  2. Wade8813

    Wade8813 Registered Member

    Drums, trumpets/bugles, and flags/banners were the most common that I know about.
    pro2A likes this.
  3. Xeilo

    Xeilo Registered Member V.I.P. Lifetime

    Yeah I have heard about them as well, also messengers on horse back was another.
    pro2A likes this.
  4. MAgnum9987

    MAgnum9987 Do What Thou Wilt

    More often than not, they would send a messenger boy. But by the time gun powder came into play, they would get killed and so they resorted to music. When gunpowder improved, they relied on flags

    And, the final battle in The PAtriot is Cowpens. Guilford Courthouse occured later in the war. You see, Bejamin Martin is a fictional version of a real life colonel called francis marion, also called the Swamp Fox, and his tactics are EXCATLY like benjamin martin. Francis Marion did not join up with main forces until the battle at Cowpens, where he actually told his men, "two shots, then retreat" and the battle went exactly like that. just saying
    Plus, I have the DVD, and the chapter title is titled "the Battle At Cowpens"
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  5. PretzelCorps

    PretzelCorps Registered Member

    Basically what's been already said; drums/horns, flags, messengers.

    More often than not, a general was only really able to influence a battle through preparation, prior to the main engagement; once the battle was fully under way, there typically really wasn't too much an average general could do to control it's flow, aside from perhaps ordering the retreat, if such preparations were made. Battles were often won before they even started.
  6. Smelnick

    Smelnick Creeping On You V.I.P.

    It was sort of like a chess game. Each general had to anticipate what the other was going to do. Once it started, they had to hope their strategy was good. Usually they used flags and horns to signal different regiments and troops when to start their charge, or fire a volley etc, but they were limited in what all they could communicate.
  7. Bjarki

    Bjarki Registered Member

    Wish I could give you some more info than the stuff already mentioned, but alas :cool:

    I'll just contribute a passage from SunTzu's overhyped work :lol:


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