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A front line (alternatively front-line or frontline) in
military terminology Military terminology refers to the terms and language of military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically officially authorized and main ...
is the position(s) closest to the area of conflict of an armed force's personnel and equipment, usually referring to land forces. When a
front Front may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Films * ''The Front'' (1943 film), a 1943 Soviet drama film * '' The Front'', 1976 film Music * The Front (band), an American rock band signed to Columbia Records and active in the 1980s and e ...
(an intentional or unintentional boundary) between opposing sides forms, the front line is the area where each side's forces are engaged in conflict. Leaders have often fought at the front lines either purposefully or due to a collapse in battle formation. While a calculated risk, fighting on the front has in instances reduced communication and heightened morale. All branches of the
United States Armed Forces The United States Armed Forces are the Military, military forces of the United States of America. The armed forces consists of six Military branch, service branches: the United States Army, Army, United States Marine Corps, Marine Corps, Uni ...

United States Armed Forces
use the related technical terms, Forward Line of Own Troops (FLOT) and Forward Edge of Battle Area (FEBA). These terms are used as battlespace control measures that designate the forward-most friendly maritime or land forces on the
battlefield A battlefield, battleground, or field of battle is the location of a present or historic battle A battle is an occurrence of combat in warfare between opposing military units of any number or size. A war usually consists of multiple battle ...

battlefield
at a given point in time during an
armed conflict War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or paramilitary groups such as Mercenary, mercenaries, Insurgency, insurgents, and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violence ...
. FLOT/FEBA may include covering and screening forces. The Forward Line of Enemy Troops (FLET) is the FEBA from the enemy's perspective.


Etymology

Although the term "front line" first appeared in the 1520s, it was only in 1842 that it was recorded used in the military sense. Its first use as an adjective was from 1915. The word "front" gained the military sense of "foremost part of an army" in the mid-14th century, which, in turn, led the word to take on the meaning "field of operations in contact with the enemy" in the 1660s. That sense led to the phrase
home front Home front is an English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsula on the (not to be confused with ), to the area of later n ...

home front
, which first appeared in 1919. In a non-combat situation or when a combat situation is not assumed, front can mean the direction in which the command is faced. The
attributive adjective In linguistics, an adjective (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a word that grammatical modifier, modifies a noun or noun phrase or describes its referent. Its Semantics, semantic role is to change information given by the noun. ...
version of the term front line (as in "our front-line personnel") describes materiel or personnel intended for or actively in forward use: at sea, on land or in the air: ''at'' the front line.


Evolution of the concept

In the land campaigns of
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
, FEBAs, FLOTs and FLETs could often be identified by eye. For example, in France and Belgium they were defined by opposing defensive trench systems. Typical modern conflicts are vastly different, characterised by "war amongst the people", the concept of a "
Three Block WarThe Three Block War is a concept described by United States Marine Corps, U.S. Marine Charles C. Krulak, General Charles Krulak in the late 1990s to illustrate the complex spectrum of challenges likely to be faced by Marines on the modern battlefield ...
", and the presence of an asymmetric threat from irregular or terrorist combatants. In those cases, the concepts of front line, FEBA, FLOT and FLET may be of little relevance. The term "front line" has come to refer more to any place where bullets and bombs are flying or are likely to fly.


Military leaders who fought on the front line

* On September 10, 1941,
Marshal Marshal is a term used in several official titles in various branches of society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. T ...

Marshal
Kliment VoroshilovKliment (Климент) is a male name, a Slavic form of the Late Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome ...

Kliment Voroshilov
personally led an attack on German tanks while armed with only a pistol; however, the attack was repelled and he was dismissed from his post. * During the
Battle of Stalingrad In the Battle of Stalingrad (23 August 19422 February 1943), Nazi Germany, Germany and Axis powers, its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Volgograd#Stalingrad, Stalingrad (now Volgograd) in Southern Russia. Marked ...

Battle of Stalingrad
, general
Viktor Zholudev Viktor Grigoryevich Zholudev (Russian language, Russian: Виктор Григорьевич Жолудев; 22 March 1905 – 21 July 1944) was a Red Army major general and posthumous Hero of the Soviet Union. Zholudev fought in the 1929 Sino ...
fought with a submachine-gun beside his troops. * ''
Generalfeldmarschall ''Generalfeldmarschall'' (from Old High German ''marahscalc'', "marshal, stable master, groom") ( en, general field marshal, field marshal general, or field marshal; ; often abbreviated to ''Feldmarschall'') was a rank in the armies of several ...
''
Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen Wolfram Karl Ludwig Moritz Hermann Freiherr von Richthofen (10 October 1895 – 12 July 1945) was a German fighter pilot during World War I and rose to the rank of field marshal in the Luftwaffe during World War II. Born in 1895 into a fami ...
frequently flew his unarmed
Fieseler Fi 156 Storch The Fieseler Fi 156 ''Storch'' (English: '' Stork'') was a small German liaison aircraft A liaison aircraft (also called an army cooperation aircraft) is a small, usually unarmed aircraft primarily used by military forces for artillery observ ...

Fieseler Fi 156 Storch
plane over the front lines, sometimes directly over enemy positions to guide bomber strikes. On many occasions he was almost killed by enemy anti-aircraft fire. On rare occasions when he couldn't fly, he was personally in the front of advancing German tanks, guiding bomber strikes at enemy positions. * After the
Empire of Japan The was a historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 until the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of Japan, 1947 constitution and subsequent formation of modern Japan. It encomp ...

Empire of Japan
's official defeat in the
Pacific War The Pacific War, sometimes called the Asia–Pacific War, was the theater Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or i ...
,
Admiral Admiral is one of the highest ranks in some navy, navies, and in many navies is the highest rank. In the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth nations and the United States, a "full" admiral is equivalent to a "full" general officer, general in ...

Admiral
Matome Ugaki was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN; Kyūjitai are the traditional forms of kanji are the adopted logographic Chinese characters that are used in the Japanese writing system. They are used a ...

Matome Ugaki
participated in a
kamikaze , officially , were a part of the Japanese Special Attack Units of military aviation, military aviators who flew suicide attacks for the Empire of Japan against Allies of World War II, Allied naval vessels in the closing stages of the Pacific ...

kamikaze
mission and was killed when his plane was shot down by anti-aircraft fire. *
General A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate on Littoral Zone, littoral zone in suppo ...
Roy Urquhart Major-General Robert Elliott "Roy" Urquhart CB DSO (28 November 1901 – 13 December 1988) was a British Army The British Army is the principal Army, land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of the British Armed Forces. , the Brit ...
of the
British Army The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' us ...
1st Airborne Division fought on the front lines in two engagements.


See also


References


External links


Which way to the FEBA?
Maj John M. Fawcett, Jr., USAF, '' Airpower Journal'' {{DEFAULTSORT:Front Line Land warfare