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Phalanx vs. Medieval army. 

Phalanx or Medieval?
Phalanx 33%  33%  [ 8 ]
Medieval 67%  67%  [ 16 ]
Total votes : 24

Phalanx vs. Medieval army. 
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Shadowdancer
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And likely translation too. What one culture calls a pike another might not.

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Thu Jun 22, 2006 1:49 pm
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Malekith's Tastetester & Physician
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Arquinsiel wrote:
Firstly the french cavelry didn't have so many problems with their plate being pierced as they did with their horses beign shot out from under them. A falling plate-armoured man moving at full tilt is a pretty good recipie for broken limbs. A horse going down in a poinard is also pretty much guarenteed to foul the rest of the charge up. It was effective simply because the knights were easy to disrupt not because the longbow could break armour.

Quite right. Even though this is before plate, the saracens would also shoot at knight's horses vs the knights themselves. There are records of knights being captured after this form of directed fire, with the large majority of the knights completely unharmed. Moreover even in the famous battles like Poitiers where the longbow is attributed by legend to be the main deciding factor 300 knights charging into the English lines actually made it into combat with the prince irregardless of the archery. My favorite line from an actual writer who was at and fought in the battle: "(at Poitiers this passage attributed to le Baker a recorder/transcriber of the battle French Records) [300] cavalry advanced hoping to protect themselves with their breastplates. The English arrows ricocheted off the French Breastplates and the archers were at a disadvantage... (until they)... directed archers to fire at the unprotected hindquarters of the horses."

Still it leaves out a lot of other factors out such as intelligent use of strategy, tactics and terrain, something the English did and the French did not during those early times in the 100 years war.

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Thirdly, phalanxes are equipped with pikes, which have larger reach than lances, are more densely packed than lances and also have the advantage of being groundable. Sure the knight has a big heavy horse and armour moving at high speed behind the point of his weapon but a pike has an entire planet. This is why I really hated the end of the Battle of Helm's Deep. Pikes are very much a no-no to charge from the front with cavelry.
Yep generally historically it has been shown to be a bad move, though knights would have done it on occasion much to the disproof of the other legend that battle trained horses will not charge pikes.

As to helms deep I agree, good old hollywood. However Gandalf blinds the pikemen with his might so I try and explain it that way. ;)

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3: Heavy cavelry in the Midieval age used stirrups and carried lances. That's a signifigant advantage over classical heavy cavelry.

That is an interesting one for sure. I have talked with people who like to reenact the use of these older saddles and many of them feel confident that the Roman saddles actually hold a man in well enough for a lance charge. I think a lot of them feel that the stirrups allow for better aim, force projection, and being able to twist your body effectively before and during impact. I think the stirrups also help in actual hand to hand combat keeping the knight on the horse, making him harder to drag off, yet allow stable movement for fighting. I'd love to learn how to joust but seriously cannot find anyone else who is crazy enough to do it. There are places in the US that re-enact this so I might have to move. :)

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On a similar note, a friend of mine debated the merits of a Marian Roman army against a Tuetonic Cavelry army in a similar style. We concluded that in that case ic comes down to simple strength of numbers to see who carries the day as both sides are very evenly matched.
Yeah that would be an interesting one, I have thought about this too. There were never a large number of Templars so I think the Romans would have it on numbers alone. Templars were used to charging massed infantry so that is not a concern.

One on one though I figure it would really come down to training and weaponry. I would probably go with the knights since I think they're training in hand to hand was pretty impressive even though many records are lost of european combat - we can look to things like German swordfighting manuals of the 15th centuries and european hand to hand combat like catch wresting (interestingly one of the contributors to early Judo). I think the roman legionaire did not train as intensely in hand to hand combat.

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Thu Jun 22, 2006 4:34 pm
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Quote:
As to helms deep I agree, good old hollywood. However Gandalf blinds the pikemen with his might so I try and explain it that way.

Jup, blinding ligth form light magic, gets WS1 for that combat round. ;)

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Thu Jun 22, 2006 5:07 pm
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langmann wrote:
Still it leaves out a lot of other factors out such as intelligent use of strategy, tactics and terrain, something the English did and the French did not during those early times in the 100 years war.

Well at the much vaunted battle of Aigencourt the French cavelry did charge through their own Genoese crossbowmen, the vast majority of which were either dead on the field or fleeing into the charge. Can anyone else see a problem with this?

langmann wrote:
As to helms deep I agree, good old hollywood. However Gandalf blinds the pikemen with his might so I try and explain it that way. ;)
Close your eyes, lower your head to block with the brow of your helm and ground your pike. It's what I'd do and what I'd have drilled my soldiers to do if I knew magic could come into play.

langmann wrote:
That is an interesting one for sure. I have talked with people who like to reenact the use of these older saddles and many of them feel confident that the Roman saddles actually hold a man in well enough for a lance charge. I think a lot of them feel that the stirrups allow for better aim, force projection, and being able to twist your body effectively before and during impact. I think the stirrups also help in actual hand to hand combat keeping the knight on the horse, making him harder to drag off, yet allow stable movement for fighting. I'd love to learn how to joust but seriously cannot find anyone else who is crazy enough to do it. There are places in the US that re-enact this so I might have to move. :)

Well, there's always the possibility for a hard backed high saddle taking a large part of the force but personalyl I think the ability to stand in the saddle and lean into the hit would swing the balance in favour of stirrups.
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langmann wrote:
Yeah that would be an interesting one, I have thought about this too. There were never a large number of Templars so I think the Romans would have it on numbers alone. Templars were used to charging massed infantry so that is not a concern.
Well it was tuetonic knights and not Templars we were talking about, another order yes but one that stuck in both our minds as being the closest real world analogue of brettonians due to them bing places in cntrol of various areas. They also lasted a bit longer.

langmann wrote:
One on one though I figure it would really come down to training and weaponry. I would probably go with the knights since I think they're training in hand to hand was pretty impressive even though many records are lost of european combat - we can look to things like German swordfighting manuals of the 15th centuries and european hand to hand combat like catch wresting (interestingly one of the contributors to early Judo). I think the roman legionaire did not train as intensely in hand to hand combat.
I'd venture that the Roman legionare under Marius did train just as much, but the issue is not one of individual training so much as group training. Sure the initial charge will be devestating but if the Romans can bog it down their large shields and short swords ombined with their very disciplined formations will allow them to slowly mince it meaning it would eventually come down to numbers. Or so we believe anyway.

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Thu Jun 22, 2006 7:27 pm
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i would consider medieval the winner by a long way, they possess greater manouverability and the advances in technology cannot be ignored, such as the longbow, crossbow and even cannons, phalanx would be desimated before the lines met

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Tue Jun 27, 2006 10:11 am
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Interesting question. As others have said, Medieval covers a bit too wide a range of time and syles (after all, the Mongol hordes could be thought of as medieval).

There were pike-armed armies in medieval times, and at certain points they did well against knights (Swiss confederation, with the Scotts at Falkirk as another possible example if you think a scotts spear is a type of Pike). What normally did for them is combined arms - Knights plus either longbow or crossbow.

On that basis I'd say your Teutonics might struggle against Macedonian pikes, but anyone with a decent number of mercenary crossbowmen, or early 100 years war english with Longbows, or even early normans with their substantial ordinary bow shooting, would win at a canter.

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Tue Jun 27, 2006 4:32 pm
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The medieval will probably win because of their better equipment. Examples are (as mentioned before) longbows, crossbows, better armour, and stronger metals. at the time of Alexander there wasn't any decent shooting either, so the medieval will always have more/better shooting. It might get a bit bad for the medieval if they only have peasants though...


Tue Jun 27, 2006 5:46 pm
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The strength of the english archery was the fact that all male peasants were required by law to practice with the bow. It meant that the nobles could be all noble and ponce about on a horse while the peasants covered them.

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