In the fourth stage the real point menaced by the attack being made clearly apparent, the commander re-enforces it to meet the assail ants with a superior fire, and the artillery of the defense is directed at the opposing infantry; which now has become the principal arm in the attack. Should a counter-attack be pro jected it takes place during this stage, unless it is to be delayed until after the assault. Re sistance to a flank movement of the attacking troops would also now have to be made. In the case of a counter-stroke being delivered by the defense, part of the cavalry and horse artillery might be employed in support of it. Cavalry also should generally move forward on the flanks at this part of the action to seek for opportunities of throwing the flanks of the attacking infantry into disorder, or of tak ing guns too rashly advanced.
The fifth or last stage comprises the final repulse of the attack upon the position or the defenders' enforced retreat therefrom. In either case pursuit by the victors may ensue. Immediately before and during the final ad vance or assault every gun of the defense should concentrate its fire upon the attacking infantry, in order to check their advance, and should the assailants retire, the guns must con tinue to fire upon them, until masked by inter posing troops sent forward in pursuit. Should the defenders, on the other hand, be forced to fall back, guns must cover the movement and enable the infantry to disengage itself.
The underlying idea of all infantry tactics is to close with the enemy as soon as possible and with all the units well in hand. The ideal conditions would be those making possible a quiet, quick and orderly advance without halt ing to open fire, but this is impossible with the highly developed weapons of to-day, and even though some of the attacking infantry managed to close with the enemy, there would be too few left for a bayonet fight. Therefore in order
to make a successful assault, the infantry must move up under covering fire. To provide this protecting fire, it has equipped itself with the pistol, bayonet, and high-powered rifle, the one pounder, trench mortars, the effective hand and rifle grenades, and has called to its assistance its supporting arm — the artillery. The enemy, attempting to protect himself from the terrific fire he knows will precede the infantry attack, has prepared deep dugouts and bombproofs, in which he often hides until the last possible minute.
Despite the fact that all of the above prepara tions are simply to give the bayonet man a chance to use his weapon (and to kill as many of the enemy as possible while doing it), it follows that fire action is more important than shock action, for without the fire the shock would be impossible. Therefore, the bayonet men must know how to shoot their rifles and to co-operate with the machine gun, the grenade, and the artillery, and must be so formed that during the assault they can deliver an effective fire, present a solid front to the enemy in the bayonet charge, and be close enough to furnish mutual moral and physical support.
The wave attack that has been used so much in France was produced in order to furnish the greatest amount of mutual support among automatic riflemen, grenadiers, the one-pounders and riflemen, and at the same time to allow the greatest number of riflemen (bayonet men) to close with the enemy in the best formation pos sible. All of the conditions so far discussed make it imperative that the assaulting troops be perfectly organized and that they follow their covering fire (barrage) as closely as pos sible. EDWARD S. FARROW, Consulting Military and Civil Engineer. TACTICS, Naval. See NAVAL Tacrics.