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Sorry about the Procopius quotation Robert. I had a chance to search for it last March, but it just isn't there.

We should calm down about the DVD. It takes time to shoot them and edit the whole thing together. I envisage filming the rest of this year and editing it over the winter. I'm not a film maker or a director, and Comitatus is not a production company. But it was an ambition and one that is coming true. I considered the locations carefully, and have a professional cameraman who can do sound. We have over an hour of good footage already,with lots lof areas left to cover. The weather rather limited what I could get at Lunt, but Arbeia was a great weekend. Against expectations it all went to plan and we were on time to the minute. It is amusing watching Roman efficiency tackle the modern art of film making. While one scene is shot another three are being prepared to keep up the pace. I have never being so exhausted after a weekend away.

Hopefully the DVD will be for general sale. I'm already looking forward to the opening night! Some stills are available on the events pages of www.comitatus.net
Quote:
John Conyard:1f8lslcm Wrote:When you pass them forward to the front rank you can pass the bucket in one go, rather than passing one dart at a time.
I still think that throwing them from the front is possible, but that this can be done only when a) the fight is still some time away and b) when you have ample space behind you. But it's possible.
I think that it were the back files that threw plumbatae over the heads of their comrades when these had become engaged in earnest.

I'd have to agree with you there, Robert (is this a first Confusedhock: ).
Once the front ranks have closed, your own men will be poking
the enemy away with spear or sword from behind a shield wall.
But your back rankers are not only free to rain plumbatae down
on the enemy (their back ranks, at least) but they will have the
room to swing the plumbatae as much as they want, since they
don't have to worry about poking their own men in the eye. They
are in the ideal position to swing plumbatae in an arc over their
own men's heads and onto the enemy's middle and back ranks,
causing disruption to the 'push of pike' of the enemy and making
it easier for you own front rankers to push them backwards.

Ambrosius/Mike
I suspect when the front ranks have engaged the enemy, the rear ranks would close up and push, with the file closers actively ensuring the whole formation is tight, pushing the unwilling forward. Any weapon released would be useful, but there would be little room to throw a insult or swing a cat let alone find the room to swing a dart!

Any sign of the formation loosening, or rear ranks looking behind them for a route of possible escape, would be fatal for the unit as a whole. It would encourage the enemy to push all the harder. Hard to hand is a pushing match, and the push needs to be co-ordinated and involve everyone in the unit.
I'll try to read up on it tonight, but IIRC both Vegetius as well as Maurice (Arrian, even?) mention missile-throwing in support of ranks 5-8 while ranks 1-4 who are engaging the enemy.

I like your interpretation, John, of the front ranks throwing short-distance overarm, and I can imagine ranks 1-4 throw underarm in a more loose formation, with the enemy at a greater distance. But even then you'd need to ensure that the arc is high, or you would hit the man before you!

But when these ranks 1-4 (or Vegetius' first line) are engaged, the ones behind that formation are not - no need to engage all 8 ranks in pushing at once. These, as seems to be described, offer a heavy rate of missile fire in support.
Quote:I'll try to read up on it tonight, but IIRC both Vegetius as well as Maurice (Arrian, even?) mention missile-throwing in support of ranks 5-8 while ranks 1-4 who are engaging the enemy.

That's Arrians formation against the Alans. Front ranks with heavy pila
used as pikes to stop the enemy cavalry, back ranks throwing lighter
javelins over their heads. I think there were units of archers as well.

Maurice also mentions his suggested method of Roman cataphract
charges. Front ranks of lancers followed by back ranks of horse-archers
shooting over their heads into the enemy shield-wall to disrupt it just
before the lancers hit. 8) Sounds familiar, I know; probably because
he was adapting it from Alan/Sarmatian tactics used against Romans
for centuries. :lol:

Ambrosius/Mike
Quote:I suspect when the front ranks have engaged the enemy, the rear ranks would close up and push, with the file closers actively ensuring the whole formation is tight, pushing the unwilling forward. Any weapon released would be useful, but there would be little room to throw a insult or swing a cat let alone find the room to swing a dart!

That's why it would only be your back rank throwing the plumbatae,
John, as they are the ones with room to swing cats. In fact, that's a
good idea for a late-Roman missile. Throw cats over your front ranks'
heads and into the enemy. I find two underarm swings with the tail
and then letting them go at 45 degrees works best. Big Grin

Quote:Any sign of the formation loosening, or rear ranks looking behind them for a route of possible escape, would be fatal for the unit as a whole. It would encourage the enemy to push all the harder. Hard to hand is a pushing match, and the push needs to be co-ordinated and involve everyone in the unit.

Well you can throw your cats over into the enemy's back rank to
loosen them up a bit, making it easier for your own front-rankers
to push them backwards. And if your own men start to break and
run, just shake your cat (or plumbata) in their face... :wink:

Ambrosius/Mike
Quote:
Vortigern Studies:rw13jzfx Wrote:I'll try to read up on it tonight, but IIRC both Vegetius as well as Maurice (Arrian, even?) mention missile-throwing in support of ranks 5-8 while ranks 1-4 who are engaging the enemy.

That's Arrians formation against the Alans. Front ranks with heavy pila
used as pikes to stop the enemy cavalry, back ranks throwing lighter
javelins over their heads. I think there were units of archers as well.

Maurice also mentions his suggested method of Roman cataphract
charges. Front ranks of lancers followed by back ranks of horse-archers
shooting over their heads into the enemy shield-wall to disrupt it just
before the lancers hit. 8) Sounds familiar, I know; probably because
he was adapting it from Alan/Sarmatian tactics used against Romans
for centuries. :lol:

Thanks for the quote Mike, I forgot to follow up on that one (busy day :x ).
No doubt you're right about those Sarmatians! Big Grin
Your comments are interesting gentleman, and I may try doing the cat thing. However If anybody has room to swing anything it's the guys in the front before contact. You step out and throw, then close up. Vegetius may possibly probably never seen a battle line, and the tactics used against cavalry would be different than against foot.

So if ever faced by Dutch formations, closed up at just four deep, I'll look forward to ramming them back a good 100m at first contact, by which time they will find themselves in really open order! I could even reduce the depth of the files and extend my front around your flanks.

It seems European conquest could be relatively easy after all!
Quote:So if ever faced by Dutch formations, closed up at just four deep, I'll look forward to ramming them back a good 100m at first contact, by which time they will find themselves in really open order! I could even reduce the depth of the files and extend my front around your flanks.
No doubt you could do that, because even with a possible new recruit and counting my son of 6, we'd be with.. 4? Big Grin

Quote:It seems European conquest could be relatively easy after all!
We-ell, that what all you British usurpers think. But after some initial successes, it mostly goes not thát well.. :wink:
Noticed something strange when checking something about Roman missile weapons in Greece and Rome at War :?

This is (the most important part of) the text about plumbatae:
"An example from Wroxeter is complete with barbed iron head, lead weight, and part of the wooden shaft which is about one centimetre thick. Neutron radiographs show the head was split socketed. Examples have also been found with spiked tangs. Vegetius says that each soldiers carried five of these in the hollow of his shield. Reconstructions were made by the late Russell Robinson, and experiments showed that the weapon handled most efficiently with a fleched shaft 94cm long. It was also found that the range could be greatly increased by the use of a thong."

There's also an illustration of one of those reconstructions, it looks like a long arrow with a lead weight just below the point.


Wouldn't that be too long to be useable in the midst of battle?
:? Hmm all this talk on Plumbata quite good I refer to this thread.
http://www.romanarmy.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=17978
I found you need no more room to throw a Plumbata than a javilin I will have to think back and work out the various lengths I tried, but I found it a brillant weapon Big Grin with practice I managed to pepper a bail of straw .Even back then the groups that had a go ,remembering most were 1stAD loved the weapon and had many a letter asking how to make them ( no internet then ) I think they may be a few of the Plumbata left I made, will see and post pics.
Regards Brennivs Big Grin
Yes please, post some pictures of this early research! Do you remember if any testing with different weights was done as well?
No problem just need a little time to down load from brain cells :lol: ( Iam afraid my brain is not on Broadband ) and dig out the info, I used old fashioned paper work form my reasearch Big Grin
Regards Brennivs Big Grin
Somewhere, there's an illustration of a man in a white tunic throwing a plumbata by means of a sling. I've looked all over and can't find that illustration. I think Johnny Shumate did the drawing. Anybody remember that?
David I cannot see the point of using a sling to throw a Plumbata? I have throwen these for a good few years and would never think to use the sling they are very effective throwen by hand, and can be throwen a good distance Big Grin D
Regards Brennivs Big Grin
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