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How to defeat pikemen

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Count Belisarius View Drop Down
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  Quote Count Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: How to defeat pikemen
    Posted: 28-Jul-2008 at 22:32
Can anyone tell me about any battles where cavalry defeated pikemen? I know of one battle where the french defeated flemish pikemen by shooting them (I'm pretty sure this was after agincourtWink) since a pike requires both hands to hold you can't use a shield, until the pikeman charged (something pikemen were'nt good at) and when their formation came apart, which happened a lot when pikes charged, appearently. the french Knights swept in and slaughtered themLOL.   

Edited by Count Belisarius - 28-Sep-2008 at 16:18


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  Quote deadkenny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Jul-2008 at 22:43
Are you specifically referring to later era pikemen?  For example, are you excluding the Macedonian phalanx of Philip / Alexander?
 
Some basic ways that the pike formation could be defeated were by firepower, by 'forcing' the formation to move over 'rough' terrain or simply by 'breaking' the morale of the troops.  Of course, situations were the pikemen themselves break formation (for instance the example you gave of the pikemen 'charging' to the attack) were also opportunities, although difficult to arrange by the other side. 
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  Quote Roberts Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Jul-2008 at 22:48
Originally posted by Count Belisarius

Can anyone tell me about any battles where cavalry defeated pikemen?

Battle of Kircholm 1605

until the pikeman charged (something pikemen were'nt good at) and when their formation came apart, which happened a lot when pikes charged

Actually pikemen are really good at charging if they are drilled accordingly. Swiss are good example. Look up battles with Swiss participation in Italians wars.
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  Quote Count Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Jul-2008 at 22:59
Thanks Roberts, and yes DeadKenny I'm talking about pikemen from all eras, and how you would defeat them with troop choices from said era. And pikemen are slow and they've got flanks (evil laughter), and they don't have shields, and if you cut the head off a pike it becomes nothing more than a long stick, (more evil laughter) I wonder what a ballista would do to a pike formation, Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoo Ha Ha Ha Ha Ah Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!!!!!!


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  Quote Turenne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Sep-2008 at 14:04
Historically, Pikemans formations such as the greek and mecedonian phalanx or the spanish Tercio all became obselete when their opponents developt an other armored force with more flexibility (such as the Roman legions or the Sweedish and French regiment formations).  They became officially obselete when artillery became too effective to keep such large masses of soldiers in a compact formation.


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  Quote Vorian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Sep-2008 at 14:32
One word.....horsearchers.
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  Quote Turenne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Sep-2008 at 14:39
True, horsearchers are very effective, but this was usually countered at the time with light cavalry.  The spanish army's core at the time was undeniably the Tercios, but they were always supported by other units, such as light cavalry.
 
Horse archers proved their effectiveness when they were used by the Parthians to crush the Romans at the battle of Carrhae, but I doubt that it would have proven effective if the Romans had the time had a reliable cavalry, which was not the case in that battle.


"Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I attack."

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  Quote Vorian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Sep-2008 at 14:47
Well the thread was about pikemen. Not an amry with many different regiments.

It's all about combining arms. Horsearchers fire on the pikemen, light cavalry runs after them and if the general is clever falls in an ambush of heavy cavalry and is eliminated. then horsearchers repeat.
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  Quote Turenne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Sep-2008 at 15:27
Point taken


"Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I attack."

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  Quote Penelope Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Sep-2008 at 07:22

For some odd reason, Rome Total War came to mind when i saw this thread.

The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.
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  Quote Count Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Sep-2008 at 03:16
No offense Penelope but thats not much help


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  Quote C.C.Benjamin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Sep-2008 at 19:04
Originally posted by Penelope

For some odd reason, Rome Total War came to mind when i saw this thread.



As any sensible person should. Wink

I'm currently hooked on Medieval 2 - there are some amazing mods for it knocking about.

Go my longbowmen, go!
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  Quote TheARRGH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Sep-2008 at 05:40
If you're assuming cavalry from the time before gunpowder and armed with close-range weapons rather than bows, against a well-trained and disciplined mass of pikemen...

well, it'd be very, VERY hard. On the other hand, pikemen are fairly easy to outmaneuver, and bows have been known to work.
Who is the great dragon whom the spirit will no longer call lord and god? "Thou shalt" is the name of the great dragon. But the spirit of the lion says, "I will." - Nietzsche

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  Quote Penelope Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Sep-2008 at 01:08
Originally posted by C.C.Benjamin

Originally posted by Penelope

For some odd reason, Rome Total War came to mind when i saw this thread.



As any sensible person should. Wink

I'm currently hooked on Medieval 2 - there are some amazing mods for it knocking about.

Go my longbowmen, go!
 
LOL
The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.
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  Quote Count Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Sep-2008 at 01:49
Could we please stay on topic? there is a whole other forum for gaming and information technology


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  Quote Roberts Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Sep-2008 at 09:02
One can defeat pikemen with combined arms approach. For example episode from Italian wars in 16th century. French used their heavy gendarmes cavalry to halt advance of enemy pikemen squares. Once they were halted and gendarmes retreated - the artillery opened fire against stationary pikemen squares.
Another way to defeat pikemen was to have opposing force made up from mixed pikemen, musketeer (earlier in 16th century - swordsmen and halbardiers were included too). Musketeers fire at advancing pikemen block and when the two blocks colide in melee, the musketeers with daggers or swords attack enemy pikemen formation's vulnerable gaps.

Her is video clip from movie "Alatriste", which can give you an idea how these combined arms approaches worked.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_ZhoenHqP4
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  Quote Turenne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Sep-2008 at 13:42
It is true that the end of the mighty spanish Tercio is probably the most factually demonstrated way to break a pikeman formation.  The battle of Rocroi is one of the first moment where firepower has taken more importance than shock.


"Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I attack."

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  Quote Count Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Sep-2008 at 15:57
Originally posted by TheARRGH

If you're assuming cavalry from the time before gunpowder and armed with close-range weapons rather than bows, against a well-trained and disciplined mass of pikemen...

well, it'd be very, VERY hard. On the other hand, pikemen are fairly easy to outmaneuver, and bows have been known to work.
 
Hey the early romans did it... wiht great ease I might addLOL


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  Quote TheARRGH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Sep-2008 at 19:49
Originally posted by Count Belisarius

 Hey the early romans did it... wiht great ease I might addLOL


That's probably because of better maneuvering, training, leadership and  weaponry, rather than some sort of magical roman-cavalry powers. But in general, never charge your horses at a wall of pikes. You can ride around them, but go straight and you're toast. And contrary to popular belief, horses will NOT run straight into long sharp point sticks just because their rider tells them to. At least, they won't usually.
Who is the great dragon whom the spirit will no longer call lord and god? "Thou shalt" is the name of the great dragon. But the spirit of the lion says, "I will." - Nietzsche

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  Quote Count Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Sep-2008 at 21:54
I never said anything about the roman cavalryLOL there was a battle that a member mentioned where heavy cavlary charged pikes, what about a klibanophoros? and if you train a horse properly they will go where you want them to go


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