defensive circle

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de·fen·sive cir·cle

obsolete term for the addition of a secondary affection that limits or arrests the progress of the primary affection, as is thought to occur when pneumothorax supervenes on pulmonary tuberculosis, the former having a therapeutic effect on the latter.
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They break their own lines and try to reform in small defensive circles.
Israeli Army Intelligence chief General Amos Gil'ad said he expects the Iraqis to form defensive circles around Baghdad with 15,000 elite Republican Guard in the city centre.