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Old 04-11-2014, 08:53 PM
 
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I have some questions about medievel warfare and tactics.

Did medievel forces still employ the greco roman style hoplite kind of infantry combat? Mainly, well equipped infantry, all lined up in shield wall and just push your enemy back stabbing and stumping your way.

And it seems they abandoned the short sword. Why is this?

I am told that axes, and war hammers were much more common weapons. If so, how did they do live sparring with these weapons. Swords you can render blunt, projectiles too. But an ax and hammer need their weight in order to be effective. If you use light weight hammers and axes, your training will not translate well in a real situation.

Also, the nomads used curved swords, but what good would that do against armored opponents?
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Old 04-12-2014, 12:35 AM
Status: "happy again, no longer catless! t...." (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: Cushing OK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
I have some questions about medievel warfare and tactics.

Did medievel forces still employ the greco roman style hoplite kind of infantry combat? Mainly, well equipped infantry, all lined up in shield wall and just push your enemy back stabbing and stumping your way.

And it seems they abandoned the short sword. Why is this?

I am told that axes, and war hammers were much more common weapons. If so, how did they do live sparring with these weapons. Swords you can render blunt, projectiles too. But an ax and hammer need their weight in order to be effective. If you use light weight hammers and axes, your training will not translate well in a real situation.

Also, the nomads used curved swords, but what good would that do against armored opponents?
There is a wonderful tv show I've seen shown a couple of times called 'going medieval'. It looks at the medieval period, and shows how a castle could be built with huge stones, and how it ceased to be a safeguard in time. It does show the actual methodology of medieval warfare as well.

It may be available elsewhere, but it would be worth 1.99.

Amazon.com: History Specials: Season 1, Episode 146 "Going Medieval": Amazon Instant Video
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Old 04-12-2014, 04:40 AM
 
Location: NW Indiana
1,233 posts, read 1,100,731 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
I have some questions about medievel warfare and tactics.

Did medievel forces still employ the greco roman style hoplite kind of infantry combat? Mainly, well equipped infantry, all lined up in shield wall and just push your enemy back stabbing and stumping your way.

And it seems they abandoned the short sword. Why is this?

I am told that axes, and war hammers were much more common weapons. If so, how did they do live sparring with these weapons. Swords you can render blunt, projectiles too. But an ax and hammer need their weight in order to be effective. If you use light weight hammers and axes, your training will not translate well in a real situation.

Also, the nomads used curved swords, but what good would that do against armored opponents?
The hoplite style of fighting fell out of favor after the rise of the Roman Empire. The Roman army defeated the Greek hoplites in several battles, demonstrating the value of a more flexible, mobile force.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Europe was dominated by smaller, less organized nations and city states that generally lacked the resources to field large standing armies. This resulted in less uniform armor and weaponry. The short sword was never abandoned, it just became on of a great many weapons available. In general, weapons with a longer reach were preferred in a fight, as it is considered a good idea to be able to hit your enemy before he hits you (makes sense). So long swords and even spears became more popular.

I do not have an answer to how warriors trained with axes and war hammers.

The curved scimitars of the desert tribes were developed for combat areas where armor was much more rare (hot, arid environments). In cases where heavily armored warriors engaged in close combat with the scimitar wielding tribesmen, the more heavily armored side usually won. However, the desert tribesmen quickly realized this and just avoided close combat.
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Old 04-12-2014, 05:25 AM
 
Location: Miami, FL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
I have some questions about medievel warfare and tactics.

Did medievel forces still employ the greco roman style hoplite kind of infantry combat? NO Mainly, well equipped infantry, all lined up in shield wall and just push your enemy back stabbing and stumping your way. Well, there is mention of a Shield Wall in use at Hastings and visible at the Bayeux Tapestry.

And it seems they abandoned the short sword. Why is this? Romans carried more than the short sword and had support forces but in the more poorer Medieval era the need to reach out to horsemen necessitated using a longer edge weapons.

I am told that axes, and war hammers were much more common weapons. If so, how did they do live sparring with these weapons. Swords you can render blunt, projectiles too. But an ax and hammer need their weight in order to be effective. If you use light weight hammers and axes, your training will not translate well in a real situation. Check your sources. Useful as melee and battering weapons useful to crack bones beneath armor. But as a primary.

Also, the nomads used curved swords, but what good would that do against armored opponents? They would use mountd archery or lances as well which would be effective
Depends on what period and what location as weapons use varied throughout Europe which also affected tactics.
Some answers above in bold. Rich period in weapons transition.

Attila is quoted commenting and ridiculing Roman troops formed in the Old Style before Chalons while the Franks used a different approach. Perhaps not Medieval enough for some folks.

Last edited by Felix C; 04-12-2014 at 05:43 AM..
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Old 04-12-2014, 08:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MyTarge13 View Post
The hoplite style of fighting fell out of favor after the rise of the Roman Empire. The Roman army defeated the Greek hoplites in several battles, demonstrating the value of a more flexible, mobile force.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Europe was dominated by smaller, less organized nations and city states that generally lacked the resources to field large standing armies. This resulted in less uniform armor and weaponry. The short sword was never abandoned, it just became on of a great many weapons available. In general, weapons with a longer reach were preferred in a fight, as it is considered a good idea to be able to hit your enemy before he hits you (makes sense). So long swords and even spears became more popular.

I do not have an answer to how warriors trained with axes and war hammers.

The curved scimitars of the desert tribes were developed for combat areas where armor was much more rare (hot, arid environments). In cases where heavily armored warriors engaged in close combat with the scimitar wielding tribesmen, the more heavily armored side usually won. However, the desert tribesmen quickly realized this and just avoided close combat.
Actually, could you not consider the Roman soldier as a hoplite? Both the greeks and romans, had armor, shield, short sword, and a kind of spear, and initiated the shield wall. The only difference is the romans had a rectangular shield, the greeks had a round one, and the greeks used a pike, where as the romans like the javelin for throwing. The romans could form up there formations, and make them as long as they wanted. The greeks I guess, like to keep their formations smaller. I presume that is because their landscape was more craggy, and rugged than the rolling hills and plains of Italy.

But if medievel armies still used the shield, would it not be better to just have only a short sword. If you wanted reach, just use a spear. The shield kinda negates any reach a long sword or spear would have though.
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Old 04-12-2014, 08:18 AM
 
5,395 posts, read 5,642,038 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Felix C View Post
Depends on what period and what location as weapons use varied throughout Europe which also affected tactics.
Some answers above in bold. Rich period in weapons transition.

Attila is quoted commenting and ridiculing Roman troops formed in the Old Style before Chalons while the Franks used a different approach. Perhaps not Medieval enough for some folks.
If the armies of the medievel era were poorer, how they get the horses? Arent those much more expensive than weapons? Also, the spear is just mostly wood, and metal tips, and would be most useful for dismounted cavalry, but why the longsword? Or was the longsword meant for use by cavalry warrior and not the foot soldier?
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Old 04-12-2014, 08:26 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
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Medieval infantry lacked the discipline, training and organization to use antique Roman weapons and tactics. When, in late Medieval times, organized and disciplined infantry were again seen in Europe they usually used pole arms and pikes (weapons which could fight both other infantry AND armored cavalry) though the Spanish rodelero can be seen as a new form of the legionary. Anyway, it wasn't long before the musket came into play and mixed musket and pike formations became standard.
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Old 04-12-2014, 09:12 AM
 
Location: On the Great South Bay
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Default Questions about Medievel warfare and tactics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
I have some questions about medievel warfare and tactics.

Did medievel forces still employ the greco roman style hoplite kind of infantry combat? Mainly, well equipped infantry, all lined up in shield wall and just push your enemy back stabbing and stumping your way.

And it seems they abandoned the short sword. Why is this?

I am told that axes, and war hammers were much more common weapons. If so, how did they do live sparring with these weapons. Swords you can render blunt, projectiles too. But an ax and hammer need their weight in order to be effective. If you use light weight hammers and axes, your training will not translate well in a real situation.

Also, the nomads used curved swords, but what good would that do against armored opponents?
Somebody might know more details but I think the Spanish Tercio formations and the Landsknechts of the German states were similar to the ancient Hoplites. One of the differences was the Tercio and the Landsknechts also used more "missile troops"; archers and musketeers, as part of their formation. This was useful to help counter one of the old weakness of the Hoplites, they were vulnerable to missile attacks by fast moving light forces.


Tercio - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Landsknecht - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Early muskets were of short range and accuracy. They also took time to load for another shot. So they were very vulnerable to cavalry charges. The Tercio units were designed to protect the musketeers by surrounding them with infantry such as pikemen who could protect them from the enemy cavalry.
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Old 04-12-2014, 09:35 AM
 
Location: Miami, FL
8,088 posts, read 7,316,417 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
If the armies of the medievel era were poorer, how they get the horses? Arent those much more expensive than weapons? Also, the spear is just mostly wood, and metal tips, and would be most useful for dismounted cavalry, but why the longsword? Or was the longsword meant for use by cavalry warrior and not the foot soldier?
Are these questions related to a school project?
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Old 04-12-2014, 10:18 AM
 
Location: On the Great South Bay
6,810 posts, read 9,374,338 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
Actually, could you not consider the Roman soldier as a hoplite? Both the greeks and romans, had armor, shield, short sword, and a kind of spear, and initiated the shield wall. The only difference is the romans had a rectangular shield, the greeks had a round one, and the greeks used a pike, where as the romans like the javelin for throwing. The romans could form up there formations, and make them as long as they wanted. The greeks I guess, like to keep their formations smaller. I presume that is because their landscape was more craggy, and rugged than the rolling hills and plains of Italy.

But if medievel armies still used the shield, would it not be better to just have only a short sword. If you wanted reach, just use a spear. The shield kinda negates any reach a long sword or spear would have though.
In the classic middle ages, much of the fighting took place between nobles, Counts, Barons, Earls, Dukes and such. In some cases, these barons had more power then their own king. The barons often went into battle on horseback along with their best trained fighters, called knights. The infantry in contrast was usually made up of less trained boys and youths (note the word infant in infantry) who were often in a supporting role.

I am really not sure about your shield question. My guess is that the classic sword and shield combo was used by anyone who might have to face close combat situations such as during the siege of a castle or someone who might come under archer attack. Archers themselves sometimes carried a small shield that they would wear on their backs.

Knights carried swords in addition to say a lance. Knights often had shields. Pikemen also often carried swords, although their main weapon was of course the pike.
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