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F-16 Strafing Maneuver.ogv
A strafing maneuver performed by an F-16 aircraft at the Smoky Hill ANG Range open house on Saturday, August 1, 2009.

Strafing is the practice of attacking ground targets from low-flying aircraft. The term is usually applied to attacks with aircraft-mounted automatic weapons,[1] but may be applied to attacks with bombs, though not high-level bomb delivery. By extension the term is sometimes applied to the firing of ground-based automatic weapons while moving.

Strafing is frequently referred to as "Ground attack". Although the earliest use of military aircraft was for observation and directing of artillery strafing was frequently practiced in World War I. The trenches and supply columns were routinely attacked from the air using both small bombs and machine guns in the latter stages of the war, as mentioned in accounts left by numerous Royal Flying Corps pilots. One version of the Sopwith Camel scout plane was adapted for ground attack, being frequently employed in this way during 1918, as were other types of aircraft. Eddie Rickenbacker attacked a German artillery train at the Battle of St. Mihiel.[2]

World War II saw the advent of the ground-attack aircraft specifically designed for the task of strafing. Many such aircraft also utilised non-strafing attack methods such as bombs or rockets.

Less commonly, the term can be used to describe high-speed firing runs by fast boats or other high-speed naval craft using smaller-caliber weapons and targeting other craft or the shoreline, or to describe high-speed firing runs by land vehicles.



The word is an adaptation of German strafen, to punish, specifically from the World War I humorous adaptation of the German catchphrase "Gott strafe England".[3]


This term has been adopted by certain gamers to mean "sidestepping", primarily in first-person shooters (FPS); in this context, it refers to the movement alone, even when no weapon is being fired. Sidestepping is an integral part of any first-person shooter as it allows the player to dodge incoming fire while keeping their view aimed at their target.

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Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

Strafing is the process of moving your character to the left or right without actually turning, so that you still face the same direction when you move to the sides. You can also move forward or backward at the same time, so that you move in a diagonal direction.

It is common in First person shooter games to bind the A and D keyboard keys in order to strafe either left or right (See WASD).

Circle-strafing is a variation of strafing important in many shooting games that use the WASD + Mouselook control set up. It is when the player constantly strafes in a circle around the target, utilizing both the A or D key to constantly strafe in one direction, but also constantly adjusting the mouse cursor to aim towards the center of the circle. Some games like Infantry Online have much more complicated ways of circle-strafing due to lack of traditional Mouselook & WASD controls, and because it is not a First person shooter.

Games using lock-on or Z-Targeting lock the players in a circle-strafe for easier combat.

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This article uses material from the "Strafing" article on the Gaming wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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