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Thread: Qin Pike Square vs Macedonian Phalanx

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    Qin Pike Square vs Macedonian Phalanx

    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.
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    They're the same thing. Minor differences between the two that don't give a decisive advantage one way or the other. If you want to know which is better. The side with the better general.

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    What's the point (!) of a 7m long pike?
    If you can't touch it with a 10 foot barge poll, doesn't the rest of the length just make it more difficult to use?

    Seriously, there's a point of diminishing return on pike length, and I'm very surprised that this length was popular.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    What's the point (!) of a 7m long pike?
    If you can't touch it with a 10 foot barge poll, doesn't the rest of the length just make it more difficult to use?

    Seriously, there's a point of diminishing return on pike length, and I'm very surprised that this length was popular.
    It's a spear wall that can reach you before your 10 foot spear can get to them.

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    I'm not that familiar with pikes, and was wondering - where is the center of gravity on a pike? Is it at or near where the pike is held by a pikeman?
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    It appears I have misspoken. The sarrisa was also held with both hands. The shield was hung from the neck. Maybe Qin wanted to maximise poking and minimise self-preservation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    I'm not that familiar with pikes, and was wondering - where is the center of gravity on a pike? Is it at or near where the pike is held by a pikeman?
    The centre of gravity is most likely slightly forward of the the geometric centre, which is way forward of where the pike is held.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hboGYT View Post
    It appears I have misspoken. The sarrisa was also held with both hands. The shield was hung from the neck. Maybe Qin wanted to maximise poking and minimise self-preservation?
    More to do with the scarcity of metal. Lacquer armour, however, can still take a beating. Unless you take a running charge downhill, you would have a hard time penetrating it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    More to do with the scarcity of metal. Lacquer armour, however, can still take a beating. Unless you take a running charge downhill, you would have a hard time penetrating it.
    I was more referring to the lack of shield on Qin pikemen vs phalangites.

    What do you mean by scarcity of metals?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hboGYT View Post
    I was more referring to the lack of shield on Qin pikemen vs phalangites.
    You do know that those terracota tombs were raided for all their weapons. Examples of shields were found elsewhere but I would not rely on those terracota tombs for examples of wepaonry.

    Quote Originally Posted by hboGYT View Post
    What do you mean by scarcity of metals?
    Qin iron ore production was never really high.

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    [QUOTE=WABs_OOE;1039843]You do know that those terracota tombs were raided for all their weapons. Examples of shields were found elsewhere but I would not rely on those terracota tombs for examples of wepaonry.

    Regardless of whether Qin pikemen had shields or not, there are many other pike formations that do not use shields, e.g. European pike and shot and Japanese pike formations as depicted in this video. https://youtu.be/dgao7T4Gkkw?t=23m12s It seems that the shielded variety did not stand the test of time. Surely there is some drawback in the shields?

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    Senior Contributor Monash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hboGYT View Post
    The centre of gravity is most likely slightly forward of the the geometric centre, which is way forward of where the pike is held.
    I believe that as a rule there was a counterweight placed on the butt to help move the center of gravity back towards the user. As for shields they faded from use in combat among all troop types, not just pike in the late middle ages (at least in Europe). This was primarily because developments in armor and weapons rendered them less effective. To punch through steel armor plate you needed heavy weapons that often required two hands to use. And if you had heavy armor the shield wasn't as necessary anyway.
    Last edited by Monash; 24 Apr 18, at 11:04.
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    Well I think the results at Cynoscephalae & Pydna showed that the Roman manipular legion was the superior formation to both. Of course to work well the legion was dependent on well trained troops and aggressive, flexible junior leadership.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Well I think the results at Cynoscephalae & Pydna showed that the Roman manipular legion was the superior formation to both. Of course to work well the legion was dependent on well trained troops and aggressive, flexible junior leadership.
    The Romans were NOOBS! I don't believe that a formation that only allows 1 row of infantry to engage at any time can beat frontally one that allows at least 3 rows to engage simultaneously. I also believe that well drill pikemen can match the manipular legions in manoeuvrability, based on the fact that the Swiss pikemen and ancient Chinese pikemen could charge in formation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hboGYT View Post
    The Romans were NOOBS! I don't believe that a formation that only allows 1 row of infantry to engage at any time can beat frontally one that allows at least 3 rows to engage simultaneously. I also believe that well drill pikemen can match the manipular legions in manoeuvrability, based on the fact that the Swiss pikemen and ancient Chinese pikemen could charge in formation.
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hboGYT View Post
    Regardless of whether Qin pikemen had shields or not, there are many other pike formations that do not use shields, e.g. European pike and shot and Japanese pike formations as depicted in this video. https://youtu.be/dgao7T4Gkkw?t=23m12s It seems that the shielded variety did not stand the test of time. Surely there is some drawback in the shields?
    Shields were sceince fiction technology to Japan. They never thought of it.

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