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Melee (// or //, French: mêlée [mɛle]; the French spelling is also quite frequent in English writing), generally refers to disorganized close combat in battles fought at abnormally close range with little central control once it starts. Also historically a tournament involving two groups of combatants.
In military aviation, a melee is described as "[a]n air battle in which several aircraft, both friend and foe, are confusingly intermingled".
Lord Nelson described his tactics for the Battle of Trafalgar as inducing a "pell mell battle", or a melee between the fleets, which he was sure given the superiority of the Royal Navy would lead to a decisive victory.
|Look up melee in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Fremont-Barnes, Gregory (2005), Trafalgar 1805: Nelson's Crowning Victory, Osprey Publishing, p. 3838, ISBN 978-1-84176-892-2
- Kumar, Bharat; DeRemer, Dale; Marshall, Douglas (2004), An Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation, McGraw Hill Professional, p. 462, ISBN 978-0-07-178260-9
- OED staff (March 2015), "mêlée n.", Oxford English Dictionary (online ed.), Oxford University Press