If you are a grown-up boy, sorry, I mean male adult, then you will remember playing, when younger, with toy soldiers or action figures, such as those from Schleich, of one sort or another. There is a time when a boy can have a whole army set out before him on the living room carpet, and he, and only he, is in command. He alone is responsible for the battle tactics and perhaps the outcome of the battle itself. Should he take the obvious route of a full, head-on assault, the thinking being that it would be so obvious that the enemy would not expect it, or should he employ a pincer movement? Maybe a subtle combination of both might be the ideal? Feign a frontal attack and then retreat quickly, dispersing to either side to encircle the enemy, putting them under fire from all sides.
Many different strategies can be tried and played out this way, and who knows how useful war strategies learned at this age can be when it comes to doing business as an adult?
Toys, like those from Schleich, are a great way of getting children interested in history and can stimulate their imagination. What if the tactics had been different at the Battle of Hastings for example? Harold took the high ground on 後庭塞 Caldbec Hill which gave him a natural advantage, so why did he lose the battle? There were a number of interesting factors involved. It seems that the Normans had archers but the English did not. This turned out to be an initial advantage to the English because the Normans depended on an exchange of arrows to provide ammunition. Without this they soon ran out of ammunition and were forced into hand-to-hand combat for which they were ill-prepared and poorly equipped.
The conflict was going the way of the English who had set up an efficient shield wall that protected them from flying arrows and also the spears of the charging French cavalry. The Saxons used heavy battle axes to bring down the French horses. The French on one side were ravaged and began to retreat. William saw this and realised that this left his rear vulnerable to a pincer movement. He tried to re-launch a frontal attack up the hill but was unable to gain ground.
The deciding factor in this battle is reckoned to be the “eigned retreat” The French cavalry went up the hill again, but soon turned and gave the impression that they were in retreat. The Saxons broke ranks, probably without the assent of Harold, and pursued the French down the hill, only to find themselves at a disadvantage and suffering heavy losses. The French archers had regrouped and fired over the heads of the fighters in the foreground into the ranks of the English on the hill. It is at this point, in the midst of fierce onslaught, that Harold was hit by an arrow in the eye. With the king dead, the English lost heart, began to disperse, and the battles was lost.