Feigned retreat

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A feigned retreat is a military tactic whereby an army will pretend to withdraw or that they have been routed in order to lure an enemy into a position of vulnerability. Feigned retreats are one of the more difficult tactics for an army to undertake, and require well-disciplined soldiers. This is because if the enemy presses into it, undisciplined troops will lose coherence and the rout will become genuine.[1]

This tactic was well known in antiquity. Herodotus reports that the Spartans employed it at the Battle of Thermopylae to defeat a force of Immortals.[2]


  1. ^ Keegan, John. A History of Warfare. Vintage, 1994.
  2. ^ Herodotus VIII, 24