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Old 11-30-2018, 06:55 AM
 
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Many armies had units that would one hand a spear and carry a shield.






https://thumbs.worthpoint.com/zoom/i...4464146c54.jpg
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Old 11-30-2018, 04:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
Nope. The shield wall varied through history but one concept was the front rank would hold the shield and the rear rank would yield a long spear and try to poke through the enemies shield. Or the front rank would manage both a shield and shorter spear or sword and swing at openings, the person to your left would protect your unprotected left side with his shield.
In both cases, once the front rank collapsed the entire section of the line collapsed and the line would be "rolled up" as those adjacent would still be at the front and not the reformed line.
Spear were used of course, but if you are the people holding the shield wall together. it is not practical to carry a spear, even a short one. What advantage does a short spear give you over a sword? If the guys behind the lines want to hold spear with both hands while slinging the shield to their backs, sure, but when it comes time for a line change-up and they have to move to front of shields they probably have the pass the spears back and go with sword.

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Originally Posted by SWFL_Native View Post
Many armies had units that would one hand a spear and carry a shield.

https://thumbs.worthpoint.com/zoom/i...4464146c54.jpg
In the Roman infantry everyone equipped with the shields. They would actually shuffle people in and out of front of shield wall. And that spear in the picture is a javelin, and is thrown. Once they throw it, the Romans went to the short sword.
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Old Yesterday, 02:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
Spear were used of course, but if you are the people holding the shield wall together. it is not practical to carry a spear, even a short one. What advantage does a short spear give you over a sword? If the guys behind the lines want to hold spear with both hands while slinging the shield to their backs, sure, but when it comes time for a line change-up and they have to move to front of shields they probably have the pass the spears back and go with sword.
A sword needs a wide unobstructed path to "swing" it at the enemy, a spear only needs to poke, and it has reach.
Actually the counter to shield walls were longer spears. Spears, or pikes actually became the primary warfare weapon during the renaissance where pike armies would clash together and poke at each other. Ironically some armies countered pikes with, once again swords and shields to move in close and cut down the pikemen. The final counter of course was muskets combined with bayonets.
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Old Yesterday, 08:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
A sword needs a wide unobstructed path to "swing" it at the enemy, a spear only needs to poke, and it has reach.
Actually the counter to shield walls were longer spears. Spears, or pikes actually became the primary warfare weapon during the renaissance where pike armies would clash together and poke at each other. Ironically some armies countered pikes with, once again swords and shields to move in close and cut down the pikemen. The final counter of course was muskets combined with bayonets.
Not necessary. The Romans used the Gladius primarily because it didnt need to be swung.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladius
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Old Yesterday, 09:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hawk55732 View Post
Not necessary. The Romans used the Gladius primarily because it didnt need to be swung.
The Gladius was a spear essentially, a very short spear - as the most effective use was in the thrust. It could also slash as well, just an added benefit.

But the Romans use of the gladius sword as well as huge shields is an example of an overall counter strategy to the shield wall. How did Romans fight the formidable Macedonian phalanx (the Greek version of the shield wall)? The Phalanx weakness was lack of flexibility and manauverability. The Romans combined training, extreme flexibility, and looser formations to defeat this. Checkerboard formations allowed for Romans to maneuver in close where each soldier could manuver, the use of pilums/javelins before charging allowed a certain shock factor, the use of a large shield protected the soldier and allowed him to essentially be his own single shield wall, the use of the short sword once in close and thrust would defeat a long spear.
Another bonus - these huge spears allowed the romans to use a testudo formation against missle attacks, protecting not only the sides but the top of a soldier.
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Old Today, 12:12 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
A sword needs a wide unobstructed path to "swing" it at the enemy, a spear only needs to poke, and it has reach.
Actually the counter to shield walls were longer spears. Spears, or pikes actually became the primary warfare weapon during the renaissance where pike armies would clash together and poke at each other. Ironically some armies countered pikes with, once again swords and shields to move in close and cut down the pikemen. The final counter of course was muskets combined with bayonets.
I am talking about when enemy shield walls come into contact, and are in the pushing/shoving phase. The people doing the shoving will have at least one hand on shield at all times. This person cannot really hold a spear or use its reach anyways. A spear is unwieldy in one hand. And he can only reach back so far to get the point in position to poke through any holes.

What if he needs two hands to push on shield? He has to drop his spear. A sword can be sheathed at least. Pikes were mainly to stop cavalry charges. A spear cannot stop a shield from advancing unless spear can break shield. I can jam my shield up against your spear, grab, hold off to side, step in closer, let my teammate behind me grab a piece of shaft, and repeat process. At some point, my team will have more control over spear than the person it belongs too. My team can probably yank spear away from you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
The Gladius was a spear essentially, a very short spear - as the most effective use was in the thrust. It could also slash as well, just an added benefit.

But the Romans use of the gladius sword as well as huge shields is an example of an overall counter strategy to the shield wall. How did Romans fight the formidable Macedonian phalanx (the Greek version of the shield wall)? The Phalanx weakness was lack of flexibility and manauverability. The Romans combined training, extreme flexibility, and looser formations to defeat this. Checkerboard formations allowed for Romans to maneuver in close where each soldier could manuver, the use of pilums/javelins before charging allowed a certain shock factor, the use of a large shield protected the soldier and allowed him to essentially be his own single shield wall, the use of the short sword once in close and thrust would defeat a long spear.
Another bonus - these huge spears allowed the romans to use a testudo formation against missle attacks, protecting not only the sides but the top of a soldier.
So you agree with me?
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Old Today, 12:14 AM
 
5,576 posts, read 5,773,437 times
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Originally Posted by hawk55732 View Post
Not necessary. The Romans used the Gladius primarily because it didnt need to be swung.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladius
Only sabres and Kopis style swords need to be swung. Straight swords are all about the thrust
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Old Today, 11:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
I am talking about when enemy shield walls come into contact, and are in the pushing/shoving phase. The people doing the shoving will have at least one hand on shield at all times. This person cannot really hold a spear or use its reach anyways. A spear is unwieldy in one hand. And he can only reach back so far to get the point in position to poke through any holes.

What if he needs two hands to push on shield? He has to drop his spear. A sword can be sheathed at least. Pikes were mainly to stop cavalry charges. A spear cannot stop a shield from advancing unless spear can break shield. I can jam my shield up against your spear, grab, hold off to side, step in closer, let my teammate behind me grab a piece of shaft, and repeat process. At some point, my team will have more control over spear than the person it belongs too. My team can probably yank spear away from you.



So you agree with me?
I don't disagree, but the Romans use of a short sword was part of an overall strategy in dealing with shield walls. Missing one of the other components - the disciplined training of the legionary soldier, the massive shield, the loose formations, would make the use of the short sword useless. What's the first thing most soldiers would do when they see a massed enemy approaching with sharp long pointy sticks pointing at your head? Most would flee. The Roman soldier did not, even when fighting alone.

It also brings up one of the main benefits and weaknesses of the shield wall: Your fellow soldiers were right there with you to the right and left, touching elbows in many cases. There is a huge psychological benefit in that particularly to untrained soldiers. You will feel safe, one of many, invulnerable...except that, if a part of the wall collapsed you would revert back into flight mode. Romans were trained to overcome this dependence.
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