Tactics of War in the Movie the Patriot

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Alejandra Garcia-Lopez
Professor Stone
History 1301-11774
28 June 2011
Tactics of War
In “The Patriot”, the tactics of war used by the British Army differ significantly from those used by the American rebels. The British based war and victory on honor. If a battle is not won properly, it might as well have not been won at all. Benjamin Martin, the leader of the rebels, identifies the pride of the British as their weakness. The American rebels based war on victory itself and concentrated their efforts in simply defeating the British. Their sole objective is to win; they did not have the luxury of being “civil” in their war tactics. This contrast is shown very well in several scenes from the movie.

The first real display of guerrilla war tactics was used by Martin after the death of his son. He and his two sons ambushed a group of British soldiers. The soldiers were trapped inside a small road while Martin and his sons hid in the tree lines. They also had the advantage of having high ground and looking down on the enemy which was tremendously helpful when it came to targeting and shooting the soldiers. Another tactic that was considered “uncivilized” by the British is that during the attack, Martin ordered his sons to target the soldiers by rank, and kill them off one by one beginning with the officers. For the British, officers are to be respected and not shot. Probably the most significant proof of “uncivilized” warfare for the British would be Martin’s use of a Cherokee tomahawk. In doing this, he brought savage tools of war into their battle scene. All of these battle tactics used in this attack proved to be successful, taught to joining American troops and were used throughout the war.

According to the British Army, these tactics were considered “uncivilized” because they brought disgrace rather than honor. Fighting this way “takes the honor out of victory”. It is not about winning the battle, but how they were fought that counts. In one of the...
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