Commit August 3, 2017June 13, 2017 / markbartels When you cross the river, get rid of the boat. Spread the word:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related
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A strategy that has been employed through the ages:
Burn one’s boats.
This is a variation of “burning one’s bridges”, and alludes to certain famous incidents where a commander, having landed in a hostile country, ordered his men to destroy their ships, so that they would have to conquer the country or be killed.
One such incident was in 711 AD, when Muslim forces invaded the Iberian Peninsula. The commander, Tariq ibn Ziyad, ordered his ships to be burned.
Another such incident was in 1519 AD, during the Spanish conquest of Mexico. Hernán Cortés, the Spanish commander, scuttled his ships, so that his men would have to conquer or die.
A third such incident occurred after the Bounty mutineers reached Pitcairn Island.
Two similar stratagems were used during the Chu–Han Contention (206–202 BCE); these have led to Chinese idioms, elaborated below.
Also mentioned in the Roman myth of Aeneas, who burned his boats after conquering territory in Italy.
Similar incidence was recorded in Burmese history. In the Battle of Naungyo during the Toungoo–Hanthawaddy War in 1538, the Toungoo armies led by Gen. Kyawhtin Nawrahta (later Bayinnaung) faced a superior force of Hanthawaddy Kingdom on the other side of a river. After crossing the river on a Pontoon bridge (rafts in another version) Bayinnaung ordered the bridge to be destroyed. This action was taken to spur his troops forward in battle and provide a clear signal that there would be no retreat.