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Ancient armies face-off


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#101 vardulli

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 1429 PM

Originally posted by DougRichards:
Josephus was prone to exaggeration.


Against medieval forces, the scorio and carroballista would have forced the cavalry to form up at even further away from their .

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.

<font size=1>[Edited by DougRichards (26 Nov 2004).]


plant a few lillies thatll break up an attack-- but not very practical for a battle probably Posted Image
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#102 DougRichards

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 1437 PM

Originally posted by vardulli:
plant a few lillies thatll break up an attack-- but not very practical for a battle probably    Posted Image


But the scorpios, together with other missile weapons, may be able to goad the phallanx into attacking, in effect, putting the phallanx under a type of seige - the Romans would have had much more opportunity for movement, but the phallanx just had to stand and suffer.

Unless of course the phallanx retired in good order, which in itself may open opportunities for an attack by the Romans.

Against mediveal armies - well, men on horseback are not particulary useful in static defence - they have to be used offensively, so whereas Roman infantry, with supporting artillery could be used bith in defence and attack, medieval horse - as opposed to horse archers, which could fire and retire as well as attack the flanks of an advancing force, would have to attack, or lose effectiveness.

[Edited by DougRichards (26 Nov 2004).]
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#103 Durandal

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 1529 PM

If the romans can use artillery the xxxxx medieval army will have its own artillery too...
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#104 gewing

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 1632 PM

and what artillery did they take into the field?
range?
rate of fire?

iirc catapults, ballistae, and trebuchets were pretty much exclusively seige weapons in med. period.
springall might be somewhat useful


Originally posted by Durandal:
If the romans can use artillery the xxxxx medieval army will have its own artillery too...


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#105 DougRichards

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 1822 PM

Originally posted by Durandal:
If the romans can use artillery the xxxxx medieval army will have its own artillery too...


In general terms, the use of torsion artillery ended with the Roman empire and its successors (ie, there are indications that the Anglo-Romano armies used scirpios.

There are, however, no indications that, except specifically for seiges, that medieval armies used any field artillery heavier than crossbows - some of which only had a rate of fire of perhaps one shot every couple of minutes - until the use of early gunpowder artillery in the 100 Years War. These early gunpowder weapons were set up before the battle, fired maybe once or twice and then the battle either moved over them, or away from them.

The Scorpio was much more mobile, able to be moved by its crew to points of advantage, or in retreat.

It may even be considered that in a med army a charging knight was a piece of artillery, the idea being that he and his horse would hit a designated spot hard, and at longer range than an infantryman could cover in the same time.

[Edited by DougRichards (26 Nov 2004).]
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#106 Guest_Sargent_*

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Posted 27 November 2004 - 1050 AM

Originally posted by DougRichards:
There are, however, no indications that, except specifically for seiges, that medieval armies used any field artillery heavier than crossbows - some of which only had a rate of fire of perhaps one shot every couple of minutes - until the use of early gunpowder artillery in the 100 Years War.


Roman torsion artillery was quite an engineering feat. The Medieval trebuchet was quite crude in comparison, relying on weights and a lever, but had the advantage that you only had to transport the metal parts and build the wooden portions locally.

On crossbows, contemporary illustrations show what might be considered 'heavy weapons teams', with one man with a windlass-spanned heavy crossbow, and one with a lighter faster-firing crossbow to protect him, accompanied by a couple of pavisse-bearers armed with polearms and swords.
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#107 DougRichards

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Posted 27 November 2004 - 1840 PM

Originally posted by Sargent:
Roman torsion artillery was quite an engineering feat. The Medieval trebuchet was quite crude in comparison, relying on weights and a lever, but had the advantage that you only had to transport the metal parts and build the wooden portions locally.

On crossbows, contemporary illustrations show what might be considered 'heavy weapons teams', with one man with a windlass-spanned heavy crossbow, and one with a lighter faster-firing crossbow to protect him, accompanied by a couple of pavisse-bearers armed with polearms and swords.


Med armies had some other artillery - some catapults and onager type weapons, but thses were nearly all operated by spring steel or using springy wood as the energy storing device. Hence they were more used for seiges.

There was a TV documentary about trebuchets on TV - keeps on getting repeated here - that had a few groups building reconstructions of these devices. They were capable of delivering an very heavy rock - at good range - but were time consuming to build, and once built very difficult to aim.

I remember reading about King Richard, for one of his expeditions in the Holy land, receiving a shipload of wood which he used tro build seige engines, and my understanding is that his engineers also cannabalised the ship for its wood as well.

Nothing in the medieval world compared with the Helepolis (city taker) used at Rhodes by Demetrius, 43 metre high, base 22 metres square, weighed 150 tonnes, with 11 floors carrying multiple catapults and dart throwers, covered in iron plates. Crewed, in shifts, by about 4000 men.
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#108 Corinthian

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Posted 01 December 2004 - 2008 PM

All posts interesting reading.

If Caesar met Alexander the Great in battle, who would've won, with both forces at their apex at their life times (i.e. Caesar's army during his height, vs. Alexander's army during his height)?

Was the Roman Army a purely infantry force, with cavalry from the mercenaries? Or did they also have their own Roman Roman cavalry - only that having mercenary cavalry was a better use of denarii?

And how about Mongols vs Crusading knights? Who slaughters who?
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#109 DougRichards

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Posted 01 December 2004 - 2144 PM

Originally posted by TomasCTT:
All posts interesting reading.

If Caesar met Alexander the Great in battle, who would've won, with both forces at their apex at their life times (i.e. Caesar's army during his height, vs. Alexander's army during his height)?

Was the Roman Army a purely infantry force, with cavalry from the mercenaries?  Or did they also have their own Roman Roman cavalry - only that having mercenary cavalry was a better use of denarii?

And how about Mongols vs Crusading knights?  Who slaughters who?


We actually know who wins in Mongols vs Knights:

The relatively small armies of Gengis Khan (never more than 150,000 men in total) cut a swathe through the armies of Russian, Eastern Europe and Central Europe. They leant seigecraft, and employed captured / hired sappers and engineers to capture European (and Chinese) fortifications.

In the battle of Sajo River where 100,000 Hungarian fighters were defeated by a smaller number of Mongols.

from
[url="http://"http://home-4.worldonline.nl/~t543201/web-mongol/mongol-subudai.htm"]http://home-4.worldonline.nl/~t543201/web-...gol-subudai.htm[/url]


Subadai launched the battle of Mohi during the night of 10-11 Apri11241, only one day after his compatriots had won the great battle of Leignitz. One division crossed the river in secret to advance on the Hungarian camp from the south-east. The main body began to cross the Sajo by the bridge at Mohi. This met with some resistance, so catapults were used to clear the opposite bank. When the crossing was completed the other contingent attacked at the same time. The result was panic, and to ensure that the Hungarians did not fight desperately to the last man the Mongols left an obvious gap in their encirclement. As they had planned, the fleeing Hungarians poured through this opened trap which led to a swampy area. When the Hungarian knights split up, the light Mongol archers picked them off at will and it was later noted that corpses littered the countryside for the space of a two days' journey. Two archbishops and three bishops were killed at the Sajo. By late 1241 Subadai was discussing plans to invade Austria, Italy and Germany, when the news came of the death of Ogodei Khan, and the Mongols withdrew.
With his return to Mongolia Subadai's name disappears from history. Perhaps he retired from active service, because we know he was dead by 1248. He remains one of Genghis Khan's most celebrated generals, and there is a statue of him in Ulan Bator, honouring a fine soldier and a loyal and honourable follower of the Mongol Khans.
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#110 Manu

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Posted 01 December 2004 - 2152 PM

And how about Mongols vs Crusading knights?  Who slaughters who?[/i]



Depends on the setting, but I'd rather bet on the mongols - unless surprised (difficult as they had very good screening capacity), they'll only have to dance around the knights and turn them into pincushions, with the knights unable to catch up and get into melee. If the mongols are dumb enough to stand still, the knights would smash them hard, but that's their only winning case.
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#111 Durandal

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Posted 01 December 2004 - 2301 PM

Originally posted by Manu:
Depends on the setting, but I'd rather bet on the mongols - unless surprised (difficult as they had very good screening capacity), they'll only have to dance around the knights and turn them into pincushions, with the knights unable to catch up and get into melee. If the mongols are dumb enough to stand still, the knights would smash them hard, but that's their only winning case.



Agree with Manu, i have a lot of admiration for nomadic armies, and Mongols are the first on my list followed by 9th Tibetans.
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#112 Durandal

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Posted 01 December 2004 - 2320 PM

Originally posted by DougRichards:
  In general terms, the use of torsion artillery ended with the Roman empire and its successors (ie, there are indications that the Anglo-Romano armies used scirpios.

There are, however, no indications that, except specifically for seiges, that medieval armies used any field artillery heavier than crossbows - some of which only had a rate of fire of perhaps one shot every couple of minutes - until the use of early gunpowder artillery in the 100 Years War. These early gunpowder weapons were set up before the battle, fired maybe once or twice and then the battle either moved over them, or away from them.

The Scorpio was much more mobile, able to be moved by its crew to points of advantage, or in retreat.

It may even be considered that in a med army a charging knight was a piece of artillery, the idea being that he and his horse would hit a designated spot hard, and at longer range than an infantryman could cover in the same time.

<font size=1>[Edited by DougRichards (26 Nov 2004).]


WHAT? All roman artillery were widely used by medieval armies, even scorpio.

if you mean in battle i agree but imho even romans were not using a lot of artillery other than scorpio.



[Edited by Durandal (02 Dec 2004).]
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#113 Durandal

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Posted 01 December 2004 - 2327 PM

Originally posted by TomasCTT:
All posts interesting reading.

If Caesar met Alexander the Great



My bet on Alexender, gallics were a perfect opponent for a roman army. And i really like the ballance of infantry and cavalry of Alexander's army.
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#114 Guest_Sargent_*

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Posted 01 December 2004 - 2339 PM

Originally posted by Manu:
Depends on the setting, but I'd rather bet on the mongols - unless surprised (difficult as they had very good screening capacity), they'll only have to dance around the knights and turn them into pincushions, with the knights unable to catch up and get into melee. If the mongols are dumb enough to stand still, the knights would smash them hard, but that's their only winning case.



Considering what happened at Moti Heath, I think it is a fair bet to say thet the Mongols would have massacred a Crusading Army.
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#115 DougRichards

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 0045 AM

Originally posted by Durandal:
  WHAT? All roman artillery were widely used by medieval armies, even scorpio.

if you mean in battle i agree but imho even romans were not using a lot of artillery other than scorpio.

<font size=1>[Edited by Durandal (02 Dec 2004).]


Actually, the technology that underpinned Roman and Greek artillery - that is torsion - went out of use except in Bystantium after about 600AD.

The Romans used ballista in similar ways as modern armies used support weapons - for contested river crossings, in teh assault and the like. Whilst 'Gladiator' was not accurate in many ways, the idea of the use of artillery wasn't too far off.
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#116 DougRichards

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 0047 AM

Originally posted by Manu:
Depends on the setting, but I'd rather bet on the mongols - unless surprised (difficult as they had very good screening capacity), they'll only have to dance around the knights and turn them into pincushions, with the knights unable to catch up and get into melee. If the mongols are dumb enough to stand still, the knights would smash them hard, but that's their only winning case.


Actually, the Mongols did have heavy armoured cavalry too - with armour made from split horses hooves, and also used captured armour and equipment.

After the enemy was shot up these cavalry were quite capable of delivering a final blow.
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#117 JohnB

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 0148 AM

Originally posted by Manu:
Depends on the setting, but I'd rather bet on the mongols - unless surprised (difficult as they had very good screening capacity), they'll only have to dance around the knights and turn them into pincushions, with the knights unable to catch up and get into melee. If the mongols are dumb enough to stand still, the knights would smash them hard, but that's their only winning case.


A typical Crusader army would have upto half and not usually less than a third of its force in Crossbowmen. Protected by mail and leather and entwined with spearmen carrying big shields the missile battle would be far from all one-way.
As in most battles it would come down to the quality of the Generalship.
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#118 Durandal

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 0337 AM

Originally posted by DougRichards:
Actually, the technology that underpinned Roman and Greek artillery - that is torsion - went out of use except in Bystantium after about 600AD.

The Romans used ballista in similar ways as modern armies used support weapons - for contested river crossings, in teh assault and the like.  Whilst 'Gladiator' was not accurate in many ways, the idea of the use of artillery wasn't too far off.


You are an Aussie i can't blame you for not remembering Castillon. Posted Image
This is still medieval age, end of it but still medieval.
BRING YOUR SCORPIONS ROMANS I HAVE 300 GUNS WAITING FOR YOU! Posted Image
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#119 Durandal

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 0353 AM

Originally posted by JohnB:
A typical Crusader army would have upto half and not usually less than a third of its force in Crossbowmen. Protected by mail and leather and entwined with spearmen carrying big shields the missile battle would be far from all one-way.
As in most battles it would come down to the quality of the Generalship.


You need a lot of crowsbowmen or archers to have a chance.
and above all you need to teach your Knights to not charge in the wind. Posted Image
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#120 Lev

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 0515 AM

Originally posted by Durandal:
You are an Aussie i can't blame you for not remembering Castillon. Posted Image
This is still medieval age, end of it but still medieval.
BRING YOUR SCORPIONS ROMANS I HAVE 300 GUNS WAITING FOR YOU! Posted Image


It's a matter of contention whether there were 300 cannon at Castillon, ie part of the 300 guns might be handguns. But either way you're wedded to static defensive positions in order to use them effectively. This can easily become a major drawback, especially if the romans have more than one army available.
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