''Flying Column''

  • General History
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

While most often thought of as a ''Modern'' Military term, in actuality – The ''Flying Column'' is a practice of Small Unit Warfare that can be traced back as far as the 6th Century BC (per Chinese Strategist Sun Tzu). In application, a Flying Column is a small, mixed Force of mostly ''irregular'' Infantry that specializes in fast movement or response. Conversely, such a Unit is also well versed in the act of quickly leaving an area once targeted. In this, Flying Columns practice the very principle of ''Cut and Run'' or ''Hit and Run'' Tactics. Throughout the Centuries, such tactics and Units have existed in organized warfare. It was perhaps the early 20th Century and thereafter – that such Small Unit Tactics became more known. Some early examples were seen among The Boer (Dutch-African) ''Kommandos'' of The Boer War against Great Britain, in South Africa in the late 19th Century.

 

Using Horse (and later Motorcycle, Bicycle or other suitable ''fast'' conveyance), Flying Columns represented a somewhat effective unorthodox fighting tactic. The uses of such Units were a primary component to in The Irish Civil War of 1919-1926 – when such Units composed the bulk of The Irish Republican Army (or IRA). Examples lasted well into World War II, when such Units were deployed early in The War by Great Britain against German position in North Africa. Such examples can still be seen in use by Islamic Extremist Forces in The Middle East – today. The primary deployment (regardless of speed), was a mix of small arms. No heavy weapons were taken. Often, Machine Guns were the order – with rocket propelled weapons replacing these in terms of delivering a more devastating effect on an Enemy.