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Phalanx warfare: Closing of the ranks
(09-13-2016, 06:35 PM)Paul Bardunias Wrote: Our experiments show that after around 12 men you are not adding very much new pushing force per man- maybe 5-10% of mass.  This comes from problems coordinating moving together.  Probably after 16 ranks you are not so much adding force, but as you say, providing as wall behind the men who are pushing. Even if 50 ranks of men can't add the full force of 50 men to the push, they will add their weight as inertia when being pushed back.  Ironically, your efforts at pushing back 50 ranks forces them together to resist.  The other thing that deep ranks can do is cause random shockwaves of force to move through the file.  If force projection breaks down due to an inability to coordinate moving in unison and squishing tight as the ranks deepen, then sometimes we would expect men to achieve a moment of coordination by accident.  In crowd disasters this happens all the time- sort of how waves at the beach sometimes coincide perfectly and form a large wave.

This is why 12 ranks of Spartans could stand up to 50 ranks of Thebans without getting bowled off the field (you will find that an often used objection to othismos).  In fact, 12 ranks of men who knew how to coordinate their swaying forward, could in theory defeat 50 men who do not.

What happens when a 25 rank file begins to get pushed back in othismos? I mean they charge forward, the promachoi close shield to shield, they start getting pushed back a bit until all rear rankers are flush, shield to back, with the rank in front of them. With the promachoi get crushed if the rear ranks don't give? Will shield crack? Or do they start simply churning up dirt with their feet and not really moving anymore?

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RE: Phalanx warfare: Closing of the ranks - by Bryan - 09-13-2016, 06:40 PM

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