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Thread: Qin Pike Square vs Macedonian Phalanx

  1. #46
    Senior Contributor Triple C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    Sir Charles Oman ... commented that the Spanish sword and buckler men were highly effective against pikes in the few major battles where they were used.
    The original observation was made by Machiavelli, through correspondence with participants of the Battle of Ravenna.
    All those who are merciful with the cruel will come to be cruel to the merciful.
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  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triple C View Post
    The original observation was made by Machiavelli, through correspondence with participants of the Battle of Ravenna.
    It does not diminish pikemen's utility though. Would any sensible army dare not to have a pike formation?

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by hboGYT View Post
    It does not diminish pikemen's utility though. Would any sensible army dare not to have a pike formation?
    I am not saying that it does. However, pike formations did seem to have troubled the Romans overmuch in the Second and Third Macedonian Wars. The verdict of military history for that line-up was pretty final, IMHO.

    Late Medieval pike seemed to have been developed as a response to heavy cavalry, crossbowmen and archers, and the pike units of the Swiss, Holy Roman Empire and Spaniards possessed markedly differently set of capabilities and characteristics from pike in the classical period.
    All those who are merciful with the cruel will come to be cruel to the merciful.
    -Talmud Kohelet Rabbah, 7:16.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    That is where you are wrong. The Romans were an excellent combined arms military. The Macedonians would have been meat when meeting Roman ballista and a shiled wall is the perfect answer against a spear wall.
    1) The pre-Marian triplex acies Roman army was a combined arms military. The post Marian Roman army was a heavy-infantry army where the vast majority of soldiers were equipped as heavy infantry with a sword and pilum.

    2) The Romans would not have used ballistas or scorpions against Macedonian phalanxes because those were used as siege equipment, not field artillery. They were deployed for defense battles or during sieges, but generally could not be deployed fast enough for field battles.

    3) The Romans actually could not break the Macedonian phalangite phalanx head on during the Roman-Macedonian wars. The Romans took casualties and had to fall back when they fought the pike formation head on. They had to rely on falling back over rough terrain for the phalangite phalanx to become disorganized and break formation - which allowed the Romans to attack them in the gaps of their lines and flanks.

    Also, the Macedonian armies neglected proper mixed unit fighting by the time of the Roman-Macedonian wars, and overly relied on only pikemen without sufficent other infantry and cavalry to support them.

    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    Shields were sceince fiction technology to Japan. They never thought of it.
    The Japanese did have hand held shields. https://www.quora.com/Why-didnt-the-...se-use-shields

    By the European high middle ages, Japanese hand held shields eventually transformed into shoulder shields. Shields in Japan were most gone/on the decline by the European Renaissance era with the rise of pike and shot warfare in Eurasia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hboGYT View Post
    I would like to know your opinion of the pros and cons of Qin pikemen, who held 7m long pikes with both hands, vs Macedonian phalagites who held a sarissa on one hand and a shield in the other. If it is relevant, the picture likely depicts a pikemen donning lamellar amour and rhino leather cap. The Phalanx needs no introduction, so I will skip that part.
    There are significant differences between the ancient Chinese pikemen and Macedonian phalangite sarissa pikemen. The ancient Chinese pikemen were far more similar to Renaissance Era Swisspikes practicing pike and shot warfare (except with pike and crossbows). The Chinese pike & halberd formations were mixed unit formations with crossbows, archers, shielded infantry, and pikemen. The crossbows practiced rotating volley fire and were protected by the pikes when in defensive formation.

    On the other hand, the Macedonian pike formations were simply used to pin the enemy in place in hammer and anvil tactics while the cavalry and other infantry (the hammer) flanked the enemy and caused them to rout. The Macedonian sarissa formations were relatively cumbersome - as they were very large formations over 10 men wide and 15-17 men deep. Sometimes they would form a long continuous line - which is a nightmare to maneuver. They also may have been weighed down by the weight of their smaller shields compared to non-shielded pikemen. We don't have evidence of Macedonian pikemen engaging in full blown pike charges, but we do know that the ancient Chinese and medieval European pike formations did engage in pike charges and were much more maneuverable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Intranetusa View Post
    They also may have been weighed down by the weight of their smaller shields compared to non-shielded pikemen.
    I would like to correct my earlier statement. Apparently there is archeological evidence that some of the Qin-Warring States-Han era pikemen may have had medium sized oval-rectangular shields that were strapped on in a similar fashion to Macedonian shields for pikemen. This may still have been lighter than the Macedonian shields... And the classic notched "kite shield" used by the Warring States to Han armies at the time had notches that allowed them to use/rest polearms on them...which may have been used in conjunction with "shorter" pikes and polearms.
    The pikemen after Alexander's days eventually had longer and longer pikes (20+ feet), which caused to become more inflexible and less manuverable.

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