1. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Living in my own little world Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2017
    Messages:
    886
    Likes Received:
    1,224
    Location:
    Texas

    Another way of saying "engage the enemy"

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Stormsong07, Jun 19, 2019.

    Writing a scene where the general of a fantasy medieval-style army is talking to the troops about the upcoming battle and I've used the phrase "engage the enemy" several times. What's another way to speak of the clash of the two sides?
    Specific example:

    “Junior and Senior Riders, go ahead and report to your company. Initiates, stay here out of the way until the main body has engaged the enemy. Then rescue the wounded when you can. Do not directly engage with the enemy.”

    The general is telling the noobs to stay put until the main body first clashes with the bad guy army. Then to dart in and rescue the wounded without getting into any fights with the bad guy army. Ideas on a way to say this without recycling the same phrase, but while still sounding all formal and military-ish?
     
  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    12,238
    Likes Received:
    13,994
    Location:
    East devon/somerset border
    I think i'd keep the second engage and change the first one. until the main body has charged, until our lines meet, until the main body is embroiled with theirs...

    Incidentally i don't think that is sound cavalry tactics - generally the wounded were left until the battle was over because a horseman stopping to collect an unhorsed rider is very very vulnerable... the more so if they aren't experienced.

    also a lot of forces put their inexperienced men at the front to soak up arrow fire, spears etc because the noobs are the ones you can most afford to lose - the ones that survive by luck or ability thus gain experience which makes them more valuable next time
     
  3. SethLoki

    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Messages:
    1,263
    Likes Received:
    1,224
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    Stay low, avoid contact and rescue the wounded when you can.
     
    Maggie May and Stormsong07 like this.
  4. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Living in my own little world Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2017
    Messages:
    886
    Likes Received:
    1,224
    Location:
    Texas
    Sound advice, Moose, but these noobs are on flying mounts so they can swoop in, scoop up the injured and swoop out. The bad guys are nasty, 'leave no survivors' types, so if the injured aren't rescued they're likely to be finished off.
    And my noobs happen to be MC and friends, so not terribly expendable.
    I do appreciate the suggestions re: the phrasing though.
     
    Cave Troll likes this.
  5. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Loved by a Sweet lady. :) Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    14,640
    Likes Received:
    19,332
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    :superidea:They have a group that does that.
     
    SethLoki likes this.
  6. GrahamLewis

    GrahamLewis Let me chew on your criticism a bit. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2017
    Messages:
    699
    Likes Received:
    1,337
    Location:
    77 sq. miles of American PC surrounded by reality
    You're right to want to lose at least one of the engages. In fact I suggest you see if you can rewrite some of the other places where you use it, unless it is absolutely necessary. It will annoy the reader if you often repeat a phrase like that.

    With regard to the piece you present, I'd keep the first engaged, but lose the second one. I'd have him be more specific with the second part, something like;

    "Then rescue the wounded when you can so without being seen. If the enemy draws near, withdraw immediately, without confrontation. Yours is a rescue mission, not an attack."

    Especially since they are "noobs" it would be important for him to be as detailed as possible. IMHO
     
  7. Andrew Alvarez

    Andrew Alvarez Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2018
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    240
    Location:
    South America
    Maybe it's not a great suggestion, compared with what has been posted here, but I would like to add that instructions should vary according to the hierarchy of transmitter and receiver. In that sense, the most hierarchical divide in between officer and troops, the more different 'flavor' of the command given. By example, If a general talks to a captain, the most probable approach would be a "do A or B, but do not C" sort of message, with practicality in mind.

    But when a General talks to a trooper, his intent is different... the General is an inspiring(or dreaded) figure into a battlefield, which is not expected to instruct 'too mundane' field commands (which could be interpreted as a lack of confidence and hit into the army's morale: it's like to see Napoleon teaching a Hussar how to use a lance: odd and annoying). In this case, the kind of order a kind, verbose general would make for the initate troops could be something like:

    "Soldiers, you will perform bravely, I'm sure of that! I'll let the old geezers to make a show for the new talent here to remember, but don't worry, you'll have your share, I swear! But also, care about the ones you see falling and can be saved! You'll do our kingdom a good in the back line, rather than an ill into the grave!"

    A mean spirited general could say, by the contrary:

    "Listen you all, bunch of filthy maggots! I haven't fed you all this way along for you to die me in front like puppies in a sack, so you'll let your fathers here to do all the swippin' and beatin', while you'll pick up the ones who crap themselves in middle of my battlefield! And if I see any sort of you taking a fight outside my command and will, you will die THRICE IN A STAKE, if the enemy doesn't take the pleasure from my grasp! Now do your darned job!

    Sorry for the length but, in resume, don't overlook the importance of hierarchy when dealing with soldiers and troopers: by instinct, each ladder knows what to do, and what must be said or listened.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
    jannert likes this.
  8. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    13,448
    Likes Received:
    15,008
    Location:
    Scotland
    And halfway through the fight, stab, pillage, hack, swipe, boomboom, etc, the soldiers are still asking each other—"WHAT in hell was he going on about, back there???"
     
    Andrew Alvarez likes this.
  9. Andrew Alvarez

    Andrew Alvarez Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2018
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    240
    Location:
    South America
    Or, probably, both of them were notified about their tax returns just before the battle.
     
    jannert likes this.

Share This Page