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Hoplite spacing and formation
#76
Paul B. wrote
Quote:Don't add details that are not neccesary. My Othismos works just fine if shields are not overlapped.
......O.K. - but in your article and elsewhere you have the files with shields overlapping, right-over-left, which is a formation tighter than 'close' formation.....and if each file is not laterally tight up against the next then the file will 'buckle' concertina fashion, or individuals will be 'squeezed out'.

Quote:When I say gaps I do not mean 50 yard gaps!
...Fair enough, but my understanding was that your 'model' of 'Othismos' required the tightest possible formations both laterally and depth-wise, which is why I discussed the tightest formation. Nevertheless, you do say that the formation tightens up at some stage, and that gaps are created....even a gap of a few metres is fatal to the whole 'phalanx/shieldwall' concept of fighting.
Let us do the exercise with a minimal overlap, say 6". The gaps between Lochoi then become 17.5 yards(16 metres)...11 of them, each one more than wide enough to be fatal to your phalanx... Sad (
My objection is perfectly sound, unless you have your formation form up well outside 'battle distance' and then shuffle forward into combat..which you can't have, because of the frequency we are told of Hoplite lines 'running' or 'charging'....and battlefield frontages simply do not support such tight formations......

Quote: I think you are mistaken in applying your hellenistic distances to Hoplites- hoplites probably began closer and ended looser than what you call "close order" and "overlapped shields".
....The distance I gave for close order is Xenophon's, not from a Hellenistic manual ( see, for example, the detailed description at Hellenicavii.4.22 "...But the Arcadians(Hoplites) stood firm.They formed up in close order and stood there quietly.......(Archidamus) led his men up in double file, just as they were on the march, and so as the troops came to close quarters, the troops....were in column and the Arcadians were in close order, shield to shield." (interestingly, the Spartans come off second best in this fight! ). .....any tighter formation is your idea of Hoplite fighting, not mine. ( I hasten to add we are speaking generally...I don't doubt that in the ebb and flow of battle, formations grew tighter or loosened somewhat)

Quote:The linearity of the phalanx made it difficult to exploit such smaller gaps without breaking up your own formation.
...since the whole point of 'Othismos' was to create such gaps, your argument is self-evidently mistaken.....anyone can give numerous examples of gaps leading to defeats.
Quote:My scheme only allows this right over left since nothing can come between a man's chest and his shield rim.
...eer..rr.m, don't you mean left-over-right ?? I thought it was Giannis who was arguing for the 'natural' grip, with the left rim slightly trailing,hence right-over-left....? :? ?

Quote:Giannis, your "vast majority" simply do not show right over left.
.....In any event, you seem to be both agreed that pot depictions and reliefs cannot be conclusive, though the vast majority do indeed show right-over-left .... :wink: :wink:
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
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#77
Quote:...Fair enough, but my understanding was that your 'model' of 'Othismos' required the tightest possible formations both laterally and depth-wise,

The model only requires tightness in depth, but I do believe that they overlapped shields. The only way this can occur consistant with the model in right over left (you have confused r-l and l-r in your description of "natural", which is l-r)

Quote:....even a gap of a few metres is fatal to the whole 'phalanx/shieldwall' concept of fighting.
Let us do the exercise with a minimal overlap, say 6". The gaps between Lochoi then become 17.5 yards(16 metres)...11 of them, each one more than wide enough to be fatal to your phalanx..

You forget that lateral drift of the entire line occurred as well, and was probably asymetrical along the front, though not the 50 yard dash you ascribed to the men on the left. The combined effect would perhaps reduce this to 15'- 30' gaps. Hoplites could not effectively exploit gaps such as this without breaking their own battle-line and exposing their unshielded flanks. This is the weakness of such linear tactics. Xenophon tells of this a bit of this effect on light troops when he describes that odd formation of a battle line of spaced Lochoi, Orthioi lochoi.

Quote:...since the whole point of 'Othismos' was to create such gaps, your argument is self-evidently mistaken.....anyone can give numerous examples of gaps leading to defeats.

The point was not to create a gap, but to beat back a section of the line causing a buckling effect. This is a matter of scale, but bending your battle line into your foes and pushing him back is different than fragmenting your battle line to exploit a gap. I seriously doubt that hoplites had the tactical flexibility to exploit a gap that would require breaking their units front line into fragments to fit in it- ending with them being flanked on both sides!
Paul M. Bardunias
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A Spartan, being asked a question, answered "No." And when the questioner said, "You lie," the Spartan said, "You see, then, that it is stupid of you to ask questions to which you already know the answer!"
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#78
I have a book "warfare in the classical world" 2001 by John Warry were they illustrate the closing of the ranks with the following picture: http://imgur.com/darrnBB - but in the same book they also tell about the rear half of the enomotia filling up the space in between the next enomotia - which is the correct one and how would that look? I'm guessing that in a enomotia of 4x8, the rear half of 16 men would divide into 2 lines of 8 in each and fill upp the space in between the next enomotia. But then they would have to position themselves differently from the front half of the enomotia, or am I thinking wrong?
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