Pitched battle

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A pitched battle or set piece battle is a battle where both sides choose to fight at a chosen location and time and where either side has the option to disengage either before the battle starts, or shortly after the first armed exchanges.[1][2]

A pitched battle is not a chance encounter such as a skirmish, where one side is forced to fight at a time not of their choosing such as happens in a siege. For example, the first pitched battle of the English Civil War, the Battle of Edgehill, was fought when the Royalists chose to move off an escarpment to a less advantageous position so that the Parliamentarians would be willing to fight.

Pitched battles may result from meeting engagement, where — instead of disengaging — the opposing generals choose to reinforce their positions and turn what was initially a skirmish into a pitched battle, as had happened in the Battle of Gettysburg, fought during the American Civil War.

Reenactment[edit]

Recreational battle reenactment tends to focus on pitched battles partially for sake of ease of demonstration.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ p. 649, Blackwood's
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, Second edition 1989. battle, n. 1.b "With various qualifying attributes: … pitched battle, a battle which has been planned, and of which the ground has been chosen beforehand, by both sides ..."

References[edit]