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A tactical formation (or order) is the arrangement or deployment of moving military forces such as infantry, cavalry, AFVs, military aircraft, or naval vessels. Formations were found in tribal societies such as the "pua rere" of the Māori, and ancient or medieval formations which include shield walls (skjaldborg in Old Norse), phalanxes (lines of battle in close order), Testudo formation and skirmishers. Tactical formations include:
A vanguard is the forward element of a column formation, and the rear-guard is the rear-most element of the column formation. In naval use only "van" and "rear" are applied to a formation of ships sailing in column.
- 20:32; 27:57, Journal of the Polynesian Society