Hand-to-hand combat tactics

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Hand-to-hand combat is a complex application of fire and physical force in order to destroy or capture the enemy.  The outcome of the match depends largely on the conditions in which hand-to-hand combat occurred and proceeded, as well as on the readiness and degree of determination of the participants to achieve the desired result.

  1. Zones and points of active damage

The figure below shows and describes the zones and points of active lesion, which are divided into shockogenic zones, zones (points) associated with impaired body functions, and zones (points) that cause pain.

Shock zones:

о – neck-occipital junction (base of the skull);

о – carotid artery area (left and right);

о – heart area;

о – solar plexus; 

о – groin area (perineum).


Zones (points) associated with impaired body functions:

o – about the eye;

o – temporal bone;

o – throat (Adam's Apple);

o – the back of the head (crown, cerebellum);

o – root of the nose (direction of action from the base of the nose to the bridge of the nose);

o – lower jaw;

o – clavicle;

o – jugular tenderloin;

o – seventh cervical vertebra;

o – the lower part of the abdomen;

o – tailbone;

o – the peripheral joints:  elbow, knee, and ankle (inner ankle, condyle).


Zones (points) that cause pain:

 o – bridge of the nose;

o – auricle;

o – armpit;

o – supraclavicular depressions;

o – the point of the elbow bend on the transverse fold at the outer edge of the biceps tendon of the shoulder;

o – point heart rate;

o – projection of the kidney;

o – liver;

o – spleen;

o – vertebrae between the shoulder blades (6-7);

o – outer middle third of the hip;

o – inner middle third of the thigh;

o – the Achilles tendon.

The impact on the zones and points of active damage is carried out: impact, capture, pinching.

Impact fist, fingers and weapons, hard parts of the body are applied mainly to the soft parts of the body of the enemy.

Impact on hard parts of the body (bones, joints) is applied mainly by weapons or improvised means.


  1. Recommendations for conducting hand-to-hand combat by a single fighter.

The experience of war allows you to determine the basic laws and rules of hand-to-hand combat:

  • In hand-to-hand combat, it is possible to use weapons and all available means to defeat the enemy.
  • Hand-to-hand combat is conducted in the optimal mode of their physical capabilities, using the strength of the enemy and his weapons to the detriment of himself.
  • Rejection of any stereotypes in combat: the main thing-non-standard actions in relation to the situation.
  • The main focus of actions is the implementation of the combat task. Even if you are injured, do not stop fighting and help your comrades.  Even a mortally wounded person can "cover" a friend.
  • In group hand-to-hand combat, there should be: leadership, protection, communication, interaction and mutual assistance.
  • Don't stop – even someone who shows intent to surrender is dangerous. Do not leave "unsupervised" prisoners and wounded opponents.

When conducting hand-to-hand combat alone, you need to take into account the main thing-the autonomy of your actions. This means that you can rely only on yourself, i.e. you can evaluate the situation yourself, make decisions, and take actions to destroy the enemy.

Assessing the situation, the fighter determines the position of his and the enemy, the distance to the enemy, the presence of any obstacles at the scene of the collision, the possibility of the enemy's use of weapons, as well as their ability to use their weapons.

To make a decision means, based on an assessment of the situation, to choose the optimal method and means of destroying the enemy, i.e., the option of reducing the distance, if necessary, and the procedure for using the means of destruction.

Remembers Twice Hero of the Soviet Union commander of a reconnaissance company during the great Patriotic war V. N. Leonov: "...a German boat approaches the coast in silence, drops a long narrow plank-Gangplank, which sways violently. Along it, clinging to each other, went a chain of fascists. Suddenly, from behind a stone, the foreman of the 2nd article, Andrey Pshenichnykh, jumps on the Gangplank and runs to meet the enemies. The meeting takes place about halfway down the Gangplank. Andrey worked so hard that the butt of his machine gun cracked. The sly one took everything into account! They can't surround it – the Gangplank is narrow, they can't overcome it one – on – one ... and they can't shoot from the boat – they will get into the backs of their own soldiers. The boat's commander could think of nothing else to do but back up. The boat jerked sharply, and the Gangplank fell into the water. Andrew found himself next to two burly men. When the boat opened machine-gun fire, he had already sent them to the bottom, and he ducked into the rocks…»

When conducting hand-to-hand combat, the most dangerous moment is to approach the enemy if he can open fire.  At this point, it is necessary to move with maximum speed and, at the same time, carefully and cautiously, disguise yourself and use shelters.  This will allow you to get close to the enemy, attack unexpectedly, plan your actions in advance, and choose the method of defeat. Surprise determines the success of the fight, allows you to attack an opponent who is superior not only in physical strength, but also in numbers. If the enemy is ready to fight or is ready to open fire at any moment, you must use any opportunity to distract his attention, for example, throw a piece of brick at him, some other object, or fire on the move. At this point, it is necessary to bind the actions of the enemy and suppress it psychologically.

As the distance decreases, the enemy is hit by throwing cold weapons and improvised means, then-by a combination of blows with their weapons (bayonet, automatic rifle barrel) and improvised means (stick, shovel). If the opponent dodged, defended, or knocked out a weapon, the fight continues with the hands, feet, head, and other body parts. Blows are usually applied to unprotected parts of the body, in pain points (shock zones), joints, bones, at different levels, for example, in the head and groin (or legs). Removing the opponent from balance at this moment can decide the outcome of the fight, for this purpose it is necessary to comprehensively apply blows, grabs, levers and painful effects. If the opponent missed the blow, but remained on his feet or managed to protect himself and made a girth, the fight is conducted closely with or without the girth, short punches, painful grabs and levers are used to roll over or bind the opponent.

If the opponent is defeated, it is finished off or neutralized by blows to the joints of the hands or feet. If the opponent does not stop resisting, the fight can turn into a prone fight. In this case, short punches, levers, painful grabs and, in addition, bites, pressure on pain points and strangulation are also used.  As a rule, kicks are applied to the legs and groin of the opponent; blows to the head or body are applied with weapons or improvised means (a stick, brick, rebar, etc.); blows are applied to the head-on the eyes, ears, nose, neck; blows with a bayonet, knife and other stabbing objects are mainly inflicted on the face, neck and other unprotected parts of the body.

When conducting hand-to-hand combat against an enemy group, a fighter can use the following tactics:

- choose a position so that the enemy can not approach from the back;

- use the nearest of the opponents to protect them from blows or attacks from others;

- move in the fight so that the opponents collide and interfere with each other;

- to redirect their attacks at each other.

In order to properly conduct hand-to-hand combat, you must not only be able to strike or defend against them, you must combine these actions with various movements. The choice of movements depends on a number of conditions: what distance to the enemy, what he is armed with, what position he is in, whether there are any obstacles on the way to the enemy, and more.

When conducting hand-to-hand combat, you can not move in any one way, for example, only to run over or only to somersault.  We must constantly change the way we move.

Running can reduce the distance to the enemy, but during this time, he (the enemy) can shoot at you, calculating the trajectory of your movement. Therefore, after making a run in 2-3 steps, it is advisable, for example, to go into a somersault, i.e. in the lower level, in order to continue the attack, or to hide behind an obstacle.  In addition, you can not move constantly in one direction, you need to change the direction of movement at different intervals.

It is necessary to move slightly crouching, since the leg muscles accumulate energy of elastic deformation, which helps to perform various motor actions with optimal energy consumption.  The squat level can be changed depending on the situation.

Somersaults can be performed under the feet of an incoming opponent, while at the exit of the somersault, blows are struck with their feet on the legs or groin area of the opponent.  You can also somersault down or up the stairs, avoiding the enemy's attack, or attacking him on the way out of the somersault with your feet.

In cases of disarming, somersaults can be used to select weapons or improvised means for subsequent use in hand-to-hand combat.

In addition, for the selection of weapons, strikes with weapons and improvised means at the lower level, rolls and slides are used.

Actions in hand-to-hand combat are very diverse.  There is no need to describe as many of them as possible. Here is one example taken from the experience of the great Patriotic war.
The attack one soldier with gloves on armed enemies with the goal of silent capture:

Wait for the moment when the enemy will approach, or to approach the enemy from behind to inflict a heavy blow of short heavy object on the shoulder or forearm of the opponent, immediately left hand to cover his mouth and nose with a glove with rubber label; knock out a knee and knock an opponent to the ground; the right hand grasp the head of the enemy, to take up the brush to your left hand with the other hand; both hands, pulling the opponent on itself, pressed against his chest.

Hold the opponent with his mouth and nose closed for 1.5-2 minutes and, after making sure that he has lost consciousness, tie him up and deliver him to the right place.


Memo for conducting hand-to-hand combat by one fighter.

  1. To achieve victory over the enemy, all means are good. It is necessary to use weapons, any improvised means: items of equipment, uniforms, stones, sticks, sand, etc.
  2. You must take into account the location, time of day, and environment.
  3. Any opponent should be treated with all seriousness. There are no harmless opponents.
  4. Do not overestimate the readiness of the enemy, because losing in thought leads to real defeat.
  5. Attack suddenly and unexpectedly.
  6. Defensive actions should not be too early, otherwise they will be solved.
  7. Counter an aggressive opponent with an active maneuver.  Use the force of inertia of its attacking actions, make it "fail" and counterattack decisively.
  8. Feel free to go to the rendezvous, maneuvering.
  9. When entering a melee, you need to quickly assess the situation (the number of opponents, their weapons, strengths and weaknesses, readiness for the fight, etc.) and develop an initial plan of action.
  10. The main qualities of a hand-to-hand combatant are audacity, dexterity, initiative and intelligence.
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