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Phalanx warfare: Closing of the ranks
(09-12-2016, 04:38 PM)JaM Wrote: but my point is - if we assume you use spear overhand to get over shield, then you have a means to attack approaching men.. so its quite natural for them want to be outside of your lethal reach..  truth to be told, i dont really care what some ancient greek historian wrote, if it actually doesnt have sense from military perspective, as these men could not even have any military experience.

Look at it from battle perspective - two lines, both equipped same way, with the same weapons and tactics. Why would it end up with the pushing match exactly? what would be the tactical gain from getting so close to the enemy, practically through the effective reach of his spears?  I would understand this, if it gave some advantage, like for example opening a hole so men could pour in and and attack enemy from back, or similar.. but  pushing shield to shield, just to gain few meters of ground? Why would that resolve anything? Lets not forget that even Hoplite battles usually ended up with one side routed and running away from battlefield. So how exactly would that occur with the pushing match?

And let me explain - i'm looking for answers, not attacking your theory. I just want to find clear military purpose behind this..

Remember, I have dismantled the notion that men charged into battle like horseless knights and slammed into each other to begin othismos right away in my writing.  Men stopped at spear length and fought, and often one side broke at this point.  But if you look at a 4th century hoplite, he has an spear of about 8' and a sword with a blade that can be not much more than one foot.  Armed like this, what would you do if a) your spear broke (and was balanced exactly wrong to bring the sauroter to bear by the way), or b) you were hoplessly out classed as a spear-fencer?  Since I can't reach him with my foot long sword, I would close within his reach, making his spear useless and stab him to death if he did not also drop his spear and go to the sword.  You could say, "but how do I get past his spear?"  The question is irrelevant because we know that they did find themselves fighting shield on shield.  This cannot be done with an 8' spear.  So, this is why I advocate a late othismos, that did not have to occur in all battles, but was a threat in any battle.

Also: "like for example opening a hole so men could pour in and and attack enemy from back" Hoplites for some reason did not do this. Imagine, in almost every battle, there is a unit that has won next to a unit of their own line that has lost. You never read of them turning in support at taking them in the rear. There are reasons for this, but the point is that whatever we may think now would be a great tactic, they did not, or could not do it. I am not convinced that the Thebans even did this at Leuktra, more likely the Spartan line broke simply because the Spartan unit opposite the Thebans gave way.

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RE: Phalanx warfare: Closing of the ranks - by Paul Bardunias - 09-12-2016, 05:06 PM

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