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Ancient armies face-off


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#81 Durandal

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 0400 AM

Originally posted by Sardaukar:
Could be Posted Image

But I up the ante and say that Alexander the Greats army would have been very tough nut for Romans to crack, since it was combined arms in nature...and not so dependant on single (albeit in Roman case excellent) arm. In Roman warfare, infantry and spade ruled...I doubt there were ever in Europe as good siege engineers as they were. Chinese might have given their some competition, though. Well, even Alexander the Great would have found Chinese lot tougher opponents than folks in India (and those were not pushover either) if he had ventured forward.

Cheers,

M.S.



I am a great fan of the Macedonians, i played an Macedonian army (miniature wargame)for a long time, so this time i can only be agree. Macedonians are cool, much more than the robotized romans.
you have a lot of different troops with a lot of different uniforms, not always well equiped, but always well used.
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#82 Argus

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 0517 AM

Napoleon the II who came to be called Napoleon III suposedly 'cos of a mix up of an !, thus 'Napoleon !!!'

Anyway Sarge I take it that you agree that Napolonic cavalry didn't fight dismounted because it wasn't their job? Posted Image

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#83 Guest_Sargent_*

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 0621 AM

Originally posted by Argus:
Napoleon the II who came to be called Napoleon III suposedly 'cos of a mix up of an !, thus 'Napoleon !!!'

Anyway Sarge I take it that you agree that Napolonic cavalry didn't fight dismounted because it wasn't their job? Posted Image

shane



Yeah, pretty much. "Dragoon" had become a title, not a designation; IOW, they weren't Dragoons in the mounted infantry sense, they were cavalry with "Dragoon" in the unit name.

I am by no means an expert on Napoleonics, but I can't recall any major dismounted fights by cavalry units. For one thing, they weren't equipped for it. American cavalry was always more into the dismounted tactics from the time of the first formations. The first two regiments were called "Dragoons," the third was "Mounted Rifles." It wasn't until 1855(?) that the first regiments with cavalry in the title formed.
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#84 Guest_aevans_*

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 0651 AM

Originally posted by Sargent:
Yeah, pretty much. "Dragoon" had become a title, not a designation; IOW, they weren't Dragoons in the mounted infantry sense, they were cavalry with "Dragoon" in the unit name.

I am by no means an expert on Napoleonics, but I can't recall any major dismounted fights by cavalry units. For one thing, they weren't equipped for it. American cavalry was always more into the dismounted tactics from the time of the first formations. The first two regiments were called "Dragoons," the third was "Mounted Rifles." It wasn't until 1855(?) that the first regiments with cavalry in the title formed.


I think there are some significant cultural reasons behind this. The first is that the riding horse was not an aristocratic animal in America. The second is that the firearm was not a tool in the hands of Da Man's minions, but a common everyday appliance. Taken together, these factors would lead to a mounted force that didn't have hangups about getting off of the horse, and one which would be much more expert with and reliant on firearms.
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#85 larrikin

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 0722 AM

Originally posted by aevans:
I think there are some significant cultural reasons behind this. The first is that the riding horse was not an aristocratic animal in America. The second is that the firearm was not a tool in the hands of Da Man's minions, but a common everyday appliance. Taken together, these factors would lead to a mounted force that didn't have hangups about getting off of the horse, and one which would be much more expert with and reliant on firearms.


You're probably spot on, Tony. I've seen similar reasoning for only 1 cavalry unit everbeing raised in Oz (NSW Lancers) with the rest of our mounted units being light horse/mounted infantry.
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#86 vardulli

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 0822 AM

Originally posted by Sargent:
Yeah, pretty much. "Dragoon" had become a title, not a designation; IOW, they weren't Dragoons in the mounted infantry sense, they were cavalry with "Dragoon" in the unit name.

I am by no means an expert on Napoleonics, but I can't recall any major dismounted fights by cavalry units. For one thing, they weren't equipped for it. American cavalry was always more into the dismounted tactics from the time of the first formations. The first two regiments were called "Dragoons," the third was "Mounted Rifles." It wasn't until 1855(?) that the first regiments with cavalry in the title formed.

on a couple of occasions French dragoons were designated as foot dragoons- although this ended in 1806.
French dragoons also saw extensive service in the spanish peninsula operating in both mounted and dismounted roles, although skirmishing.
also IIRC Napoleon also said of his dragoons (following their performance in a particular battle- which name i forget) that they could neither fight mounted nor dismounted.

but French dragoons were IIRC more about the only ones that fought dismounted on a reasonably regular basis.
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#87 Sardaukar

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 0708 AM

Originally posted by Durandal:
I am a great fan of the Macedonians, i played an Macedonian army (miniature wargame)for a long time, so this time i can only be agree. Macedonians are cool, much more than the robotized romans.
you have a lot of different troops with a lot of different uniforms, not always well equiped, but always well used.



Robotized !! I'm all for "Evil Empire" Posted Image Even Darth Vader and stormtroopers did struck me more than Luke Skywalker and 3CPO Posted Image. Those sure looked as valid military thread Posted Image.

Thus, I have been fan of Roman Army Posted Image

Cheers,

M.S.
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#88 Dan Robertson

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 0915 AM

Originally posted by Durandal:
In Europe horse archers are almost always hmm maybe even always dismounted during battles, they are not real Horse archers.


The Horse Archers were used for the purposes most horse archers were used for, harassment and recon.

The early part of the campaign used the horse archers to raid villages and set fire to buildings.

Before Crecy a contingent of mounted archers saved the English Army by securing a river crossing that was being defended by the French.

They stormed across the river on their horses firing from the saddle. This and other small actions the archers fought mounted.

When it came to a full pitched battle the archers dismounted and fought on foot. The reason for this is concentration of fire.

Horse archers are best used against infantry without a strong support of archers. They can ride up until they are quite close to the infantry fire and then retreat. The infantry cannot catch them and even if they are attacked by cavalry they are faster than anything but the lightest (who are then vulnerable to attack from supporting heavy cavalry)

Foot archers on the other hand need infantry support to protect them from cavalry or infantry who would otherwise catch and kill them as they are relatively lightly armed and armoured.

However horse archers are less than brilliant against foot archers. The reason is three fold:

1. Density - because of the size of the horse and the requirement that they must be able to freely move they cannot cluster as densely as foot archers, for every horse archer you are looking at 10 foot mounted archer, as a result the foot archers will put out a far greater volume of fire.

2. Distance - Though you can train to pull a bow on a horse you can fire from a far greater distance and fire much more quickly when standing on the ground.

3. Vulnerable horse - The horses are impossible to armour as well as a person, a horse archer is in a way more vulnerable than charging knight in this respect as they expose the horse's entire flanks as they turn away.

The English army at Crecy was facing several thousand cavalry and several thousand crossbow men. For these reasons the mounted archers fought on foot in that and all the major battles, not because they didn't know how to fire their bow when riding.
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#89 Tomexe

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 0945 AM

They stormed across the river on their horses firing from the saddle. This and other small actions the archers fought mounted.


Not possible with the English Longbow. Asian bows were either just generally smaller, or were asymmetrical like the Mongolian and Japanese bows. It was not possible to shoot straight ahead over the head of a horse with the symmetrical English bow. Perhaps you could shoot from horseback if you were parallel and shot to the side, but I think probably the lower part of the string would come into contact with your leg or saddle before you reached full pull.

Mounted archers were common with English forces, since they were the primary means of patrolling both the Scottish Frontier and the borders of the Pale. There were still mounted archers in Ireland at the begining of Elizabeths reign, but everything I have seen says they were "dragoons" to adapt a later word.
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#90 Gregory

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 0959 AM

Originally posted by Sardaukar:
Could be Posted Image

But I up the ante and say that Alexander the Greats army would have been very tough nut for Romans to crack, since it was combined arms in nature...and not so dependant on single (albeit in Roman case excellent) arm. In Roman warfare, infantry and spade ruled...I doubt there were ever in Europe as good siege engineers as they were. Chinese might have given their some competition, though. Well, even Alexander the Great would have found Chinese lot tougher opponents than folks in India (and those were not pushover either) if he had ventured forward.

Cheers,

M.S.



Doesn't sound very likely to me - Romans have defeated many Macedonian-pattern armies, which were utilized by the Successor states. The latter ones were more infantry oriented, but Romans have defeated cavalry based armies before and after.
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#91 DaveDash

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 1011 AM

I agree with the poster below me. Going by Phyruss's performance in Italy in Romes infant days (I have mentioned this earlier in this thread), any legion after Scipio would have a good margin of success against Alexander style army with anyone but Alexander himself at the helm.
Terrain would be a big factor, on uneven terrain Alexander army is likely to be crushed by a half competent Roman general.

The later legions would probably not have too much difficultly, particulary once they bought some of their conquered/allied cavalry to the fight.

Alexander's Macedonian armys bought a degree of flexability that Prince Phillip's armies lacked later on, but the Romans still had some serious advantages once they realised how to utilize them (after Scipio and beyond).
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#92 hojutsuka

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 1012 AM

Originally posted by Sargent:
Yeah, pretty much. "Dragoon" had become a title, not a designation; IOW, they weren't Dragoons in the mounted infantry sense, they were cavalry with "Dragoon" in the unit name.

I am by no means an expert on Napoleonics, but I can't recall any major dismounted fights by cavalry units. For one thing, they weren't equipped for it. American cavalry was always more into the dismounted tactics from the time of the first formations. The first two regiments were called "Dragoons," the third was "Mounted Rifles." It wasn't until 1855(?) that the first regiments with cavalry in the title formed.


For an example of dismounted action by Napoleonic dragoons, I suggest looking at Hohenreichen-Wertingen, October 8, 1805. The 5th, 8th, 9th, and 12th French Dragoon Regiments of Beaumont's Dragoon Division dismounted and took Hohenreichen. While not large scale as battles go in Napoleonic wars, the four regiments numbered 1500 men on September 23, 1805, so probably about 1000 dismounted dragoons were engaged at Hohenreichen, a major action by cavalry standards. The French dragoons were equipped with dragoon muskets, which were only about 6 inches shorter than the regular infantry musket (54" overall instead of 60") and equally effective (or ineffective, depending on your point of view). Dragoon muskets were also carried by some infantry units (the velites, and some voltgeur companies of light regiments, IIRC). The French dragoons also were issued with bayonets (by all accounts they hated carrying bayonets, especially as they had swords anyway). So I can't see that the French dragoons were unequipped for dismounted fights, they even had drums like the infantry regiments! Posted Image

Even the French light cavalry (chasseurs and hussars) were capable of dismounted skirmishing, and resorted to it more often than cavalry of other nations. See Philip J. Haythornthwaite, "Napoleonic Cavalry" and "Weapons and Equipment of Napoleonic Wars". In "Napoleonic Cavalry", page 65, Haythornthwaite says that French light cavalry was as adept at fighting on foot as skirmishing on horse, and there is a quote from Jonathan Leach: '... the French dragoons often dismounted ... and shot at our dragoons at a distance which rendered our short carbines almost useless.'

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#93 gewing

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 2059 PM

I've always wondered what a volley of Roman Pilum would do to an onrushing Medieval group of knights. While I would guess it would mess up the mounts at least, the range would probably be to short for the later ranks to properly brace for the impact of the survivors.

BTW, does anyone have any good data on ranges of Javelins, Pilum, javelin/pilum with thong, and spear thrower?

I've been wondering about this for a couple weeks. HOw much effective increase in range did a spear thrower give? WOuld it, for example, Double the range of the pilum?

Originally posted by DaveDash:
To be fair Durandal, it was the combination of 10,000 horse archers and Cataphracts that gave the Romans the biggest problem in Carrhae rather than the Cataphracts themselves.

I have read texts that the Romans were extremely disciplined in the face of a cavalry charge, causing it to lose its main advantage. Of course wether that discipline would hold up against a charge of medieval knights is a different matter, but as long as Roman officers remained they could probably hold morale.

Even a charge of Knights is going to have difficulty against 8 rank deep highly disciplined infantry formations, but it would be absolutely devistating hitting them in the sides/rears, and because of crappy Roman Cavalry, they could not really prevent this from happening (terrain non-withstanding).


<font size=1>[Edited by DaveDash (23 Nov 2004).]


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#94 Durandal

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 2328 PM

Originally posted by Gregory Deych:
Doesn't sound very likely to me - Romans have defeated many Macedonian-pattern armies, which were utilized by the Successor states.  The latter ones were more infantry oriented, but Romans have defeated cavalry based armies before and after. 


This is no longer the same army, the homogenity is gone.
Their is nothing better than phalanx to hold a center.
with Alexender's cavalry to protect their flanks, expect a tough fight for the Romans. my bet on the Macedonians.
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#95 Durandal

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 2330 PM

Originally posted by Sardaukar:
Robotized !! I'm all for "Evil Empire" Posted Image Even Darth Vader and stormtroopers did struck me more than Luke Skywalker and 3CPO Posted Image. Those sure looked as valid military thread Posted Image.

Thus, I have been fan of Roman Army Posted Image

Cheers,

M.S.


Rebel all the way Posted Image Posted Image
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#96 DougRichards

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 0152 AM

Originally posted by gewing:
BTW, does anyone have any good data on ranges of Javelins, Pilum, javelin/pilum with thong, and spear thrower?

I've been wondering about this for a couple weeks.  HOw much effective increase in range did a spear thrower give?  WOuld it, for example, Double the range of the pilum?


Sling 30-40 yards (some authorities state up to 100 yards)
Amentum (Sling arrow) 65-70 yards
Sling-staff 200 yards
Longbow 230-250 yards
Comp Bow 360-400 yards


Light pila - thrown at about 35 yards, at the run,
Heavy pila - thrown at much closerrange - just before impact of formations.

Roman artillery:
Scorpio - up to 400 yards with a bolt.
Ballista - up to 500 yards with a 6 pound round stone.
Onager - 50 pound ball out to 500 yards.

Roman field artillery may have been quite useful firing from semi-prepared postions against medieval cavalry.
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#97 Durandal

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 0405 AM

Originally posted by DougRichards:
Roman field artillery may have been quite useful firing from semi-prepared postions against medieval cavalry.


Yes like a neandertalian club on anyone head, even today...
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#98 vardulli

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 1105 AM

Originally posted by Durandal:
Yes like a neandertalian club on anyone head, even today...


with each legion having 50 or more artillery pieces---
"...realising taht the king had just moved into range, a nimble 'gunner' 'fired' his balista and hit his son...the bolt transfixed the princes armour and chest"
ammainus marcellinus

missed- but pentrated armour at long range (whatever that was)

" a soldier standing on the rampart near to Joseph was hit by one of these stones, which ripped off his head and threw it, as if by a sling, 3 stades distance (530m)"

Josephus

" A gaul in front of a gate.... a bolt from a scorpio hit him on his right side, he fell....One of his comapnions replaced him in his task, he too fell,..by a shot from the scorpio, a 3rd followed and a 4th and the post continued to be manned.........."

Julius Caesar

Roman artillery came in a variety of types and sizes-- some shot bolts - others threw stones and some could use either projectile

(and Im sure if a film crew are about- theyll happily throw pots of burning oil about- coz it looks better :-) )
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#99 gewing

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 1345 PM

Was the Scorpio the one that was like a light ballista, or a very heavy arbalest? IIRC those could pin 3 armored men together. Good way to break up a charge...

If the stones thrown by ballistae would bounce like later cannonballs...


Originally posted by vardulli:
with each legion having 50 or more artillery pieces---
"...realising taht the king had just moved into range, a nimble 'gunner' 'fired' his balista and hit his son...the bolt transfixed the princes armour and chest"
ammainus marcellinus

missed- but pentrated armour at long range (whatever that was)

" a soldier standing on the rampart near to Joseph was hit by one of these stones, which ripped off his head and threw it, as if by a sling, 3 stades distance (530m)"

Josephus

" A gaul in front of a gate.... a bolt from a scorpio hit him on his right side, he fell....One of his comapnions replaced him in his task, he too fell,..by a shot from the scorpio, a 3rd followed and a 4th and the post continued to be manned.........."

Julius Caesar

Roman artillery came in a variety of types and sizes-- some shot bolts - others threw stones and some could use either projectile

(and Im sure if a film crew are about- theyll happily throw pots of burning oil about- coz it looks better :-) )


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#100 DougRichards

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 1410 PM

Josephus was prone to exaggeration.

But the Scorio was a the smallest of the artiller pieces, manned by three or four gunners, fired at a a similar rate to a heavy crossbow, but at much longer range. It could be compared with a later light field piece, say a Napoleonic six pounder or a modern light mortar in terms of scale of issue and use in combat. Or, lets say, one of those little German 75mm infantry supporting guns of WW2.

The other artillery were more in the nature of field pieces. A carroballista probably had a crew of ten, and would be considered to be comparable to a modern heavy support weapon, say like the SiG 150mm Gernman infantry howitzer.

On onager was, by and large, a seige weapon that required a large crew to transport, assembe and operate.

Caesar used his legionary artillery against the Belgaric forces to anchor the ends of his line of entrenchments in 57BC. Germanicus used his in AD 14 to cover his crossing of the Adrana river.

Against medieval forces, the scorio and carroballista would have forced the cavalry to form up at even further away from their objective than even the longbow would have dictated. The rate of fire of the scorios, whist not high, would have meant that the cavalry, and even more so the infantry, coming forward would have been subject to harassing fire until they reached the range where more massed missile fire would have been employed against them.

Obviously in the attack, Roman artillery would have been useful against command groups and could be focused against points in the enemy line to weaken it. I am thinking that Romans againt a phalanx, the Romans could approach within scorpio range, set up a shield wall after establishing some obstacles - even a series of shallow trenches would do - and use misile fire to harass and weaken points in the phalanx. If the phalanx advanced its cohesion would be broken up by the obstacles and by thrown pila, if the Hellenic commander sent his light forces to harass the Romans, then these would have been roughly dealt with by the legionairy infantry.



[Edited by DougRichards (26 Nov 2004).]
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