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After watching the movies again & reading the books, I had several questions about the strategy used in the Battle of Hogwarts:

  • Why didn't they blow up both bridges to Hogwarts? Why did they destroy only the wooden bridge?
  • Why didn't they bring up the shield again after Voldemort destroys it? This presumably would slow his forces, because it apparently takes a lot of power to destroy this shield (and destroys Voldemort's wand).
  • Why didn't they use wizard explosives (e.g. the kind you can concoct in potions class) to lay mines onto the bridge and in the castle? This would be a quite good approach in my opinion, defending the castle using a 'scorched earth' strategy...

I appreciate there are three questions here but they're all part of the same meta-question; why did they choose the tactics they chose?

  • Part of this question is answered here; scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/2611/… – Valorum Feb 16 '14 at 13:13
  • If you mean the "muggle"-part: I meant special explosives everyone can create in potion class (I mean, you can even throw something which can explode (like Molotov-Coctails in RL), and there won't be any restrictions because of "this is muggle-stuff and will not work in here..." – arc_lupus Feb 16 '14 at 13:19
  • I've edited to reflect that you're asking about non-muggle technology – Valorum Feb 16 '14 at 13:23
  • @Richard: Thanks! – arc_lupus Feb 16 '14 at 13:23
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    @arc_lupus - From what brief things I know about DH2 movie (didn't see it yet) the battle was pretty different from the book. So you need to pick one or the other. Also, you need to ask 1 question in 1 post. The answer to "why did they choose the tactics" was "because they had not really chosent tactics at all. None of them were real tacticians, they were reacting to an attack". – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 16 '14 at 16:36
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It would never occur to wizards to use muggle inspired warfare tactics. It's all a matter of reference frame, think about the cargo cult.For instance even though wizards are vaguely aware muggle weapons now consist or repeating "firelegs" rockets and explosive devices of all kind they possess only a very limited and summary understading for muggle warfare. The very notion of a mine field eludes them. Aurors for instance, are at best a paramiltary force, but mostly they are crime solvers and hit wizard land a hand when an extremely gifted and/ or dangerous high profile criminal/dark wizard is to be arrested Sirius Black for instance.

It's all about Wizarding culture and demographics. Unfortunately JK Rowling gave us no clear numbers, but I'd say GB wizarding population isn't over 50 000 individual and this is not a conservative figure.Think of the terrible consequences a modernday total war approach would have on the magical population, their number would plummet and the survivors better have ten kids per witch.

Wizards don't fight, they duel, resorting to artifacts other than the Elder wand or the "staff of Merlin" is unthinkable to them. There are muggle experts but they would not be consulted on such matters and muggleborns are seldom and their "polluting" ideas are seldom thought of as potentially useful. In brief all thinkgs non magic are considered useless or even dangerous. Think cultural identiy loss speech by pureblood supremacists.

The fact is they had a stategy, enchanted armors, gargoyles, Mandragoras and so on but they think the wizarding way. If they put their mind to it there a re endless possibilites the potential for destruction is trully astounding and dare I say it Awe- inspiring.Plus althought it is not specified in canon it's obvious Hogwarts iself was built by the 4 founders as a Fotress to harbour wizarding population in case of emergency.

Imagine Dragon dung fertilizer bombs, Erumpment horn rockets,spell controlled streams of garroting gas, blade ended broomsticks charmes to recognize their target with a picture like Prof Flitwick did in PoA so Sirius Black could open the Gates of Hogwarts.Or Scythe charmed to "clean" the battlefield... I can think or a thound other horrific ways magic could divert modern warfare ...

And I i'm not even metionning the terrible thing some clevely used spell could toimagine a vaccum dome or magic used to focus sun light and create a solar deathray.

And finally the whole purpose of defending Hogwarts was to Buy Harry some time until he could find and destroy te last Horcruxes, ultimately they were relying on Harry to end the war.

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Why didn't they blow up both bridges to Hogwarts? Why did they destroy only the wooden bridge?

Why didn't they use wizard explosives (e.g. the kind you can concoct in potions class) to lay mines onto the bridge and in the castle? This would be a quite good approach in my opinion, defending the castle using a 'scorched earth' strategy...

First of all, destroying a wooden bridge is much easier to do that destroying a stone bridge. Second of all, the castle for many of the people in the defence of Hogwarts was their only home, a scorched earth policy would run counter to their best interests.

Why didn't they bring up the shield again after Voldemort destroys it? This presumably would slow his forces, because it apparently takes a lot of power to destroy this shield (and destroys Voldemort's wand).

I don't have the books on hand, however many teachers were required, with quite a bit of prep time, to prepare the shield in the first place. Once the shield was up they were able to get to other business, securing the students and preparing other defences - such as animating the stone soldiers and such. The shield was a delaying tactic at best.

Once the shield was does Voldemorts forces began on the castle quite quickly, which gave the teachers two options, either attempt to reraise the shield, with the added pressure that tVoldemorts army was closing on them, or get into a better position to fight.

  • "many teachers were required, with quite a bit of prep time, to prepare the shield in the first place." - I don't think that was in the books at all – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 17 '14 at 1:55
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    @Dvk from memory in the book several teachers had to split into 3 or 4 groups to launch the spells from the towers well ahead of Voldemorts arrival. Even if it was a quick spell they'd still need to get into position to reset the shield. – user20155 Feb 17 '14 at 8:41
  • @LegoStormtroopr: Reason for scorched earth: They have nothing to loose, they will either die defending the castle or get killed by Voldemort. Thus why not denying the attackers their triumph and weaken them? – arc_lupus Oct 10 '15 at 21:01

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