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a type of combat action of troops in which both sides try to fulfill their prescribed missions through an offensive. A meeting engagement may occur at the beginning of a war as a result of the clash of troops that simultaneously passed to the offensive, in the course of the development of an offensive to repel enemy counterattacks and counterthrusts, and in defense during the advance of second echelon and reserve troops to fight an enemy who has broken through. A meeting engagement is usually characterized by the rapid approach of two sides, a frequently changing and confused situation, the fluidity of combat action, an extreme lack of time for organization, the engagement of troops from the march column, the presence of ex-posed flanks, and the freedom to maneuver.
The most characteristic methods of troop action in a meeting engagement are anticipatory fire strikes at the enemy, the use of advanced detachments and airborne troops, the speedy commitment of the main forces to combat, and strikes by the main force at the flanks and rear of the main enemy grouping in order to split it up and route it in a short time. If, because of prevaiing conditions, one side decides to discontinue the offensive, the meeting engagement turns into other types of combat action—either defensive-offensive action or retreat and pursuit. A meeting engagement may also grow into an encounter battle (on a larger scale), which is conducted by operational commands and has the same characteristics as a meeting engagement.
A. O. KHACHATRIAN