What does between the hammer and the anvil expression mean? The colonial wars of the 1800s saw some African armies deploy hammer and anvil tactics. The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 p 124, https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/2016/12/14/roman-armageddon-at-pharsalus/, https://www.academia.edu/19860273/48_BC_The_Battle_of_Pharsalus, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hammer_and_anvil&oldid=986849786, Articles to be expanded from October 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 3 November 2020, at 10:50. German, 4. He was able to shift this firepower to threatened sectors to stymie enemy maneuvers, defeating their hammer and anvil elements and forcing his opponents to retreat. Definition of between the hammer and the anvil in the Idioms Dictionary. Caesar countered this by ambushing Pompey's "anvil" element,[5] Pompey's infantry was to be the anvil while his cavalry 'hammer' encircled Caesar's left flank. 2001. The Victorians at war, 1815–1914: an encyclopedia of British military history. It may involve a frontal assault by one part of the force, playing a slower-moving or more static role. The "anvil" echelon here is not a mere diversionary gambit, but a substantial body that hits the enemy hard to pin him down and grind away his strength. 1878, pg 174, Nigel Hamilton, 1983. Some men are born anvils, some are born hammers. Some historians (Farwell 2001) note that this was approach was a traditional Ashanti battle strategy, and was common in some African armies as well. This was official quoted by Edwin Markham. If you are an anvil be patient; if you are a hammer strike hard. This artillery fire took a heavy toll on the Ashanti, but they left a central blocking force in place around the village, while unleashing a large flanking attack on the left, that almost enveloped the British line and successfully broke into some of the infantry squares. Entries with "between the hammer and the anvil" between a rock and a hard place: …the devil and the deep blue sea, between Scylla and Charybdis, be on the horns of a dilemma; between the hammer and the anvil (principally UK) Translations between a rock and a … [11] Pompey lost the will to fight as he watched both cavalry and legions under his command break formation and flee from battle, and he retreated to his camp, leaving the rest of his troops at the centre and right flank to their own devices. If thou art an anvil then suffer: if a hammer, then strike. [13] As one participant noted: Wolesey had studied and anticipated the Ashanti "horseshoe" formations, and had strengthened the British flanks with the best units and reinforced firepower. There was significant distance between the two armies, according to Caesar. [6] As the infantry of Caesar advanced, Pompey ordered his men not to charge, but to wait until Caesar's legions came into close quarters; Pompey's adviser Gaius Triarius believed that Caesar's infantry would be fatigued and fall into disorder if they were forced to cover twice the expected distance of a battle march. My mother, who says this proverb has a lot of significance for her as an adult, learned it from her father, who was a strict man with a tough work ethic and a Latin scholar. Ashanti weaponry however, was poor compared to the modern weapons deployed by the redcoats, and such superior arms served the British well in repulsing the dangerous Ashanti encirclements. All content on this website, including dictionary, thesaurus, literature, geography, and other reference data is for informational purposes only. These were pulled deeper and deeper against the attritional anvil on the eastern flank, slowly corroding German strength and capability. As Caesar's men neared throwing distance, without orders, they stopped to rest and regroup before continuing the charge;[8] Pompey's right and centre line held as the two armies collided. 1. This information should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. The anvil lasts longer than the hammer. [4], In 48 BC, Pompey the Great attempted to use it against Julius Caesar at the Battle of Pharsalus, in what was to be the decisive battle of the Great Roman Civil War. A 2 pound hammer on a 100 pound anvil, would be 4 pound hammer on a 200 pound anvil, and a 20 pound hammer on a 1000 pound anvil. The "hammer" or maneuver element succeeds because the anvil force materially or substantially weakens the enemy, preventing him from adjusting to the threat in his flank or rear. When you are the anvil, you have to take the blow, because that is the position you are in. Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus - The Free Dictionary, the webmaster's page for free fun content, better than a poke in the eye (with a sharp stick), better the devil you know than the devil you don't, better the devil you know than the devil you don't know, better the devil you know than the one you don't know, between (someone or something) and (someone or something else), between two stools, one falls to the ground, between you and me and the bedpost/gatepost/four walls/lamppost, between two stools one falls to the ground, between two stools you fall to the ground. In 1874 a strong British force under Sir Garnet Wolseley, armed with modern rifles and artillery, invaded the territory of the Ashanti Empire. [10], After routing Pompey's cavalry, Caesar threw in his last line of reserves. Also, stationary troops were expected to be able to defend better against pila throws. [12] At the village of Amoaful, the Ashantis succeeded in luring their opponents forward, but could not make any headway against the modern firepower of the British forces, which laid down a barrage of fire to accompany an advance of infantry in squares. in this sentence, what is the traditional meaning of the hammer and the anvil? In addition to being used in many of Alexander the Great's battles, it was also used during the Second Punic War during the Battle of Cannae and the Battle of Zama. When you are the anvil, you have to take the blow, because that is the position you are in. As General Montgomery signaled on June 25, 1944: Supreme Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower affirmed Montgomery's overall strategy in a message of 10 July, urging stronger efforts: Montgomery's overall "hammer and anvil" conception of the battle eventually bore fruit, but it took two months of bitter fighting in and around the city of Caen, as documented in such books as Alexander McKee's Caen: Anvil of Victory. The Thracians and the other auxiliaries who were left in the Pompeian camp, in total seven cohorts, defended bravely, but were not able to fend off the assault.[10]. ""I have heard you say that so often," replied Flemming, laughing, "that I begin to believe it. Definitions by the largest Idiom Dictionary. [1] The "hammer and anvil" tactic is fundamentally a single envelopment, and is to be distinguished from a simple encirclement where one group simply keeps an enemy occupied, while a flanking force delivers the coup de grace. 57–176, The Victorians at war, 1815–1914: pp. As Pompey's infantry fought, Labienus ordered the Pompeian cavalry on his left flank to attack Caesar's cavalry; as expected they successfully pushed back Caesar's cavalry. This quote comes from S&G's take on a Peruvian song called "El Condor Pasa," or "The Condor Passes." Basically, sometimes you have to pay your dues early on in order to be in a position to reap the reward later. The Germans had initially counterattacked the Normandy beachhead with powerful panzer and mobile forces hoping to drive to the sea by creating a wedge between the US and British armies. As the rest of Pompey's army were left confused, Caesar urged his men to end the day by routing the rest of Pompey's troops and capturing the Pompeian camp. In all scenarios, both the hammer and anvil elements are substantial entities that can cause significant material damage to opponents, as opposed to light diversionary, or small scale holding units. 21–37, Charles Rathbone. p 56. The bitter confrontation tied down and weakened the Wehrmacht, thus eventually paving the way for a crushing American breakthrough in the west. It is better to be the hammer than the anvil. A Memoir of Lieutenant-General Sir Garnet J. Wolseley. [2] Other variants of the concept allow for an enemy to be held fast by a substantial blocking or holding force, while a strong echelon or hammer, delivers the decisive blow. WW Norton. One must be either anvil or hammer. Master of the Battlefield pg 628-769, Hamilton, 1983. The Germans were thus forced to commit their strongest echelons in the theatre, the mobile panzer and SS units to avoid this peril. The hammer to anvil ratio should remain constant no matter the size of the anvil (I would think). https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/between+the+hammer+and+the+anvil. It may involve a frontal assault by one part of the force, playing a slower-moving or more static role. Basically, sometimes you have to pay your dues early on … Between the hammer and the anvil - Idioms by The Free Dictionary. The encyclopedia of nineteenth-century land warfare. If you see one in your dream or alternatively hear the hammer hitting an anvil, this shows you are about to embark on a great project that is bound to provide you with some great experience for a long time.This can also mean you will move towards succeeding some type of project connected to engineering or building something. Romanian, 3. And so, I thought, the anvil of God's Word, For ages, skeptics blows have beat upon; Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard, The anvil is unharmed - the hammers gone. 2014. French. Just gonna say it: being a hammer would totally be a lot better than being a nail. My mom’s family immigrated to the United States from Dominica when she was a kid and they were able to do so, because her father had saved up enough money to be deemed self-sufficient by US immigration. The strongest expression of the concept is where both echelons are sufficient in themselves to strike a decisive blow. Caesar then revealed his hidden fourth line of infantry and surprised Pompey's cavalry charge; Caesar's men were ordered to leap up and use their pila to thrust at Pompey's cavalry instead of throwing them. 21–37, Charles Rathbone Low, A Memoir of Lieutenant-General Sir Garnet J. Wolseley, R. Bentley: 1878, pp. It was actually Johann Wolfgang Goethe, and the full quote is from "Gesellige Lieder, Ein Anderes" and is "You must either conquer and rule or serve and lose, suffer or triumph, be the anvil or the hammer" ("Du mußt steigen oder sinken/Du mußt herrschen und gewinnen,/Oder dienen und verlieren,/Leiden oder triumphieren,/Amboß oder Hammer sein.") Quote: Another example is the hammer and the anvil, now always used with the implication that the anvil gets the worst of it. Caesar countered this by positioning the reserves of his 4th line to intercept the attacking cavalry. [15] One British combat post-mortem pays tribute to the slain Ashanti commander for his tactical leadership and use of terrain: When the allies landed at Normandy, the strategy used by the commander of the British land forces, general Bernard Montgomery, was to confront the feared German panzers with constantly attacking British armies on the eastern flank of the beachhead. The hammer and anvil is a military tactic involving the use of two primary forces, one to pin down an enemy, and the other to smash or defeat the opponent with an encirclement maneuver. Moving through life smartly means not striving for instant gratification.

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