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How to defeat pikemen

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  Quote Darius of Parsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: How to defeat pikemen
    Posted: 19-Sep-2008 at 00:59
Originally posted by Count Belisarius

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
 
Animals never loose animal behaviors and instincts, no matter how well you train them.
What is the officer problem?
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  Quote Mercury_Dawn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Sep-2008 at 01:25
Calvary can easily defeat pikeman who are not operating as part of a coherent group, as they are ment to be.  A far better use for calvary instead of a head on attack would be shadowing a pike army, observing and denying them communications, doing harassing raids, especially if they had missile cav or lancers.... which were in use well into the 19th century in some theaters by western powers like England.

Of course, the best use of calvary outside of harassing hits against a WELL formed pike formation would be a blitz though a weaker type of unit or oblique attack against the oppositions' hopefully weaker tail or it's logistical support..... be it a wagon train or supply base, or denying the pikemen, be it before or after a battle that was won or lost, pikemen who existed in a era prior to MREs, the ability to forage....... in which the calvary would of seemed most formidable against the dispersed pikemen and could most seriously hurt the oppositions ability to carry on operations.

This all assumes the calvary are not shooting with either Javelin, Missiles or rocks or arrows, or gunpowder weapons of some sort. A tactical synthesis is capable of varying very much on this point..... given the Chinese and India had similar units in their long history, and it wasn't unknown to have these combinations in the Americas after the Indians got a hold of horses. As to Africa, in the Sudanic regions I do not know much about other than they have spear and calvary, both horse and camel.... contradictions to western held beliefs may very well be found in these theaters.

However, all in all, unless the army immediately infront of you has suffered from crushing morale, or is unsuspecting a sudden hit in a night battle, I would avoid hitting a pike formation from ANY angle, cause they can hold their own on any front.... and if they are hollow in the center, can do internal reinforcements from any interior and or file the commander so chooses. Having said all this, I doubt the Mongols would of blinked a eye at a prospect of facing off against a pike unit.




Edited by Mercury_Dawn - 19-Sep-2008 at 01:33
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  Quote TheARRGH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Sep-2008 at 04:14
Originally posted by Mercury_Dawn

Having said all this, I doubt the Mongols would of blinked a eye at a prospect of facing off against a pike unit.


Partially because missile weapons were extremely prevalent among the mongols, and despite their barbaric reputation, they were quite militarily astute; historical proof that just becuase your culture is more militaristic and your technology is simpler than your competition, you are not necessarily an undisciplined thug who wins his battles using sheer fury.
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: 20-Sep-2008 at 08:45
Count, you have no need to worry, no one has appeared to have gone off topic.
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: 20-Sep-2008 at 17:19
Originally posted by Penelope

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

 
LOLI think that counts as off topic, hwo does a vidoe game even remotely contribute anyhting useful to this thread?


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  Quote Count Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Sep-2008 at 17:21
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!
 
The same goes for that, how does a post on a video game help? 


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  Quote Carpathian Wolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Sep-2008 at 18:08
Count Bel just let it go. No harm no foul.
 
"Having said all this, I doubt the Mongols would of blinked a eye at a prospect of facing off against a pike unit."
 
I'm sure they'd do more then blink of it was pikemen AND foot archers which would have better accuracy and range. Then they'd be screwed because you had archers that can shoot further and you couldn't charge in at them either.
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  Quote Count Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Sep-2008 at 18:25

That and the mongols had briagandine armor which an arrow or crossbow bolt could punch right throughLOL 



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  Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Sep-2008 at 21:30
Originally posted by Carpathian Wolf

Then they'd be screwed because you had archers that can shoot further and you couldn't charge in at them either.


doesn't matter, even if there were archers they could through speed come fast enough to disable this advantage. densely packed formations are still an easy prey, foot archers shoot in volley but Horse Archers wheel around individually, so the same number of horse archers can concentrate their fire on one spot while the foot archers need to shoot at all directions at fast moving targets.
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  Quote Carpathian Wolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Sep-2008 at 17:55
"That and the mongols had briagandine armor which an arrow or crossbow bolt could punch right throughLOL "
 
The effectiveness of the armor in that sense is false.
 
"doesn't matter, even if there were archers they could through speed come fast enough to disable this advantage. densely packed formations are still an easy prey, foot archers shoot in volley but Horse Archers wheel around individually, so the same number of horse archers can concentrate their fire on one spot while the foot archers need to shoot at all directions at fast moving targets."
 
It's very mathematical. In the space of one horse and a rider, can fit 3 archers. Not to mention that the horses wouldn't ride right next to each other. So over a smaller area you have more arrows coming from it. You simply have more arrows, that can go further and be more accuratly shot.
 
Archers don't have to fire in volleys. Where is the rule of this? They can shoot straight across in which case running in a circle just posses a big target when shooting straight.
 
As for the pikemen unless armored well yes they would fall to pieces being so packed, but by the time they got through all the pikemen the foot archers would just kill all the archers.
 
Here as an experiment try this. If you have Medieval 2, have one side take pikemen of any sort. Unarmored if you want the mongols to even have an advantage, and then take foot archers/crossbowmen and set them up just infront or behind the pikemen. Then take some horse archers for the mongols and have them run circles infront trading shots. I KNOW it's a game but it's fairly accurate in the mechanics for what limits it has and probably the closest to anything we can use to test.
 
Even Tacticus writes that when fighting steppe nomads (Turks) what you have to do is set up archers infront of spearmen and outrange the horse archers while using your own light cavalry or horse archers to harrass the enemy if you could.
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  Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Sep-2008 at 19:51
Originally posted by Carpathian Wolf

It's very mathematical. In the space of one horse and a rider, can fit 3 archers.


whats that got to do with anything? the space of one tank can be occupied by 10 men, so what? we're talking about equal numbers and that means for example 100 Horse Archers vs 50 foot archers and 50 pikemen. which way do you want?


Not to mention that the horses wouldn't ride right next to each other. So over a smaller area you have more arrows coming from it.


again, point being? it doesn't matter anything at all from where the arrows come from, the target si that matters, Horse archers that wheel around a dense formation will pretty much always hit even without much aiming while the foot archers need to aim at individual moving targets and horses can definately take an arrow without going down immediately.


You simply have more arrows, that can go further and be more accuratly shot.


how did you come to such an conclusion. foot archers don't have a higher range by default and they don't have more arrows by default. are you talkign about a video game or something?
 
Archers don't have to fire in volleys. Where is the rule of this?


they don't ahve to but it was commonplace.

They can shoot straight across in which case running in a circle just posses a big target when shooting straight.


they don't shoot straight, crossbows and composite reflex bows shoot straight, english longbows for example shoot at an angle.
 
As for the pikemen unless armored well yes they would fall to pieces being so packed, but by the time they got through all the pikemen the foot archers would just kill all the archers.


also armoured they can be killed easily, if the pikemen are armorued, then let the Horse Archers be armoured as well.
 
Here as an experiment try this. If you have Medieval 2,


Sleepy that's a game and it toally does NOT work in a realistic way.
 

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  Quote Carpathian Wolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Sep-2008 at 20:28
"whats that got to do with anything? the space of one tank can be occupied by 10 men, so what? we're talking about equal numbers and that means for example 100 Horse Archers vs 50 foot archers and 50 pikemen. which way do you want?"
 
A tank and 10 men isn't a good example for medieval combat.
 
Where would 100 horsemen and 50 pikmen as well as 50 archers ever fight? And wouldn't the horse count as a living thing too?
 
"again, point being? it doesn't matter anything at all from where the arrows come from, the target si that matters, Horse archers that wheel around a dense formation will pretty much always hit even without much aiming while the foot archers need to aim at individual moving targets and horses can definately take an arrow without going down immediately."
 
Ok let me explain again more simply.
 
If you have more arrows being shot from a more concentrated arrows, the arrows themselves will be more concentrated by default. I know that the source can be spread out and fire can be concentrated too but the distance between archers would also be greater lessening the number/accuracy.
 
The problem with "wheeling about" is that the rate of fire is much lower even if it is constant.
 
Also foot archer doesn't have to aim at the individual. Imagine 50 mongols wheeling about infront of you. From your perspective you don't see a circle, you see mongols appearing and disapearing. You can just shoot into the centre of the formation. It'll hit someone either at the first edge or the second. You don't have to aim at the specific mongol. What are you waiting your turn "no that's not the mongol i wanted to shoot at. I wanted THAT one!" LOL
 
"how did you come to such an conclusion. foot archers don't have a higher range by default and they don't have more arrows by default. are you talkign about a video game or something?"
 
More times then not a foot archer will have a greater range. When you are on foot you can also carry more arrows or simply have it on the ground by you.

Video game? Confused
 

"they don't ahve to but it was commonplace."
 
My point stands, you don't have to.
 
"they don't shoot straight, crossbows and composite reflex bows shoot straight, english longbows for example shoot at an angle."
 
You can shoot longbows straight as well. Try it. My point is that it doesn't have to be shot at a 45 degree angle.
 

"also armoured they can be killed easily, if the pikemen are armorued, then let the Horse Archers be armoured as well. "
 
The type of armor a pikeman and foot archer can wear is quite different then what a horse archer can wear. Archers can also use pavsives.
 
"Sleepy that's a game and it toally does NOT work in a realistic way."
 
It's basic economic sense. And what is the flaw in the game with this specific example. I'm not basing my statements on the game, I simply provided you with a way to understand it. Please don't change the tone of the conversation into suggesting anything other then that.
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  Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Sep-2008 at 20:47
Originally posted by Carpathian Wolf

 
A tank and 10 men isn't a good example for medieval combat.
 
Where would 100 horsemen and 50 pikmen as well as 50 archers ever fight? And wouldn't the horse count as a living thing too?


you brought up 3 men per 1 horse archer for no reason otehr than "space occupied". of course horses are a living thing but they are not individual fighters but belong to the warrior. horses are available in abundance on the steppe so price is no factor here.
 

 
Ok let me explain again more simply.
 
If you have more arrows being shot from a more concentrated arrows, the arrows themselves will be more concentrated by default. I know that the source can be spread out and fire can be concentrated too but the distance between archers would also be greater lessening the number/accuracy.


thats got nothign to do with each other, how do you come to such a conclusion??
 
The problem with "wheeling about" is that the rate of fire is much lower even if it is constant.


Steppe Nomads have a technique where they can fire 3 arrows in close sucession, there is no such technique in any urban culture that had foot archers. taht means horse archers actually have a higher rate of fire than foot soldiers.
 
Also foot archer doesn't have to aim at the individual. Imagine 50 mongols wheeling about infront of you. From your perspective you don't see a circle, you see mongols appearing and disapearing. You can just shoot into the centre of the formation. It'll hit someone either at the first edge or the second. You don't have to aim at the specific mongol. What are you waiting your turn "no that's not the mongol i wanted to shoot at. I wanted THAT one!" LOL


no thats actually my argument for the closely packed infantry formation, the Steppe Nomads will not wheel in front of the infantry like in a video game, they will wheel AROUND the infantry! think along the lines of wild west movies where the Indians wheel around the settlers or liek Little Big Horn... Wink
 

More times then not a foot archer will have a greater range. When you are on foot you can also carry more arrows or simply have it on the ground by you.


first, there's no reason why foot archers will have a greater range, that depends entirely on the bow and the arrows used. second, Steppe Nomads usually carry with them at least two quivers or mroe and from Carrhae we know the Parthians were supplied with arrows from baggage camels. on the otehr hand foot archers usually have only one quiver and their arrows are in a bagge train behind the formation that can easily be cut off by Steppe Nomads.


You can shoot longbows straight as well. Try it. My point is that it doesn't have to be shot at a 45 degree angle.


longbows have almost no penetration power when shoot straight, the power of the Bodkin arrow comes from falling from the air. because Longbows are of simple construction and not composite reflex like the bows of the Nomad.
 


The type of armor a pikeman and foot archer can wear is quite different then what a horse archer can wear. Archers can also use pavsives.


lamellar is as good as plate vs missiles. foot archers can NOT use pavises, only crossbowen can due to the nature of the weapon. please don't invent stuff
 

It's basic economic sense. And what is the flaw in the game with this specific example. I'm not basing my statements on the game, I simply provided you with a way to understand it. Please don't change the tone of the conversation into suggesting anything other then that.


sorry but you make it clear with almost everythign you claim that you base your knowledge for most part on Total War games.
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  Quote Carpathian Wolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Sep-2008 at 21:13
Originally posted by Temujin



you brought up 3 men per 1 horse archer for no reason otehr than "space occupied". of course horses are a living thing but they are not individual fighters but belong to the warrior. horses are available in abundance on the steppe so price is no factor here.
 
My point was that the concentration of arrows would be thicker from the foot archers. I can not explain it in any more simpler terms for you.
 
You can not simply ignore the horse in the balancing factor of this example.
 
 
Originally posted by Temujin

 

thats got nothign to do with each other, how do you come to such a conclusion??
 
Would you prefer to have 10 arrows shot at you or 1? Get it now?
 
 
 
 
Originally posted by Temujin

 

Steppe Nomads have a technique where they can fire 3 arrows in close sucession, there is no such technique in any urban culture that had foot archers. taht means horse archers actually have a higher rate of fire than foot soldiers.
 
Actually more then 3 can be done but 3 is an average I suppose. Interestingly enough it is a European that holds the world record for this. In any case the rate of fire is still based on the wheeling about effect which for about 1/4th the time just has you riding about and not shooting.
 
 
 
 
Originally posted by Temujin

 

no thats actually my argument for the closely packed infantry formation, the Steppe Nomads will not wheel in front of the infantry like in a video game, they will wheel AROUND the infantry! think along the lines of wild west movies where the Indians wheel around the settlers or liek Little Big Horn... Wink
 
It depends on the size of the army. If the army is too large then the horse archers would be too far and few inbetween. Are you sure you aren't the one talking about video games here? Wink
 
 
Originally posted by Temujin

 

first, there's no reason why foot archers will have a greater range, that depends entirely on the bow and the arrows used. second, Steppe Nomads usually carry with them at least two quivers or mroe and from Carrhae we know the Parthians were supplied with arrows from baggage camels. on the otehr hand foot archers usually have only one quiver and their arrows are in a bagge train behind the formation that can easily be cut off by Steppe Nomads.

 
For the most part usually a foot archer will have more range even if they use the same bow simply because of the platform from which they are shooting from. Foot archers can actually wear a quiver or two on their back, one on each leg, and one on the chest as well as having them on the ground as well if you want to get technical.
 
 
Originally posted by Temujin

 

longbows have almost no penetration power when shoot straight, the power of the Bodkin arrow comes from falling from the air. because Longbows are of simple construction and not composite reflex like the bows of the Nomad.
 
Who says the foot archers would be using a longbow?
 
 
Originally posted by Temujin

 

lamellar is as good as plate vs missiles. foot archers can NOT use pavises, only crossbowen can due to the nature of the weapon. please don't invent stuff
 
Please inform yourself better before accusing me of inventing "stuff"
 
 
 
Originally posted by Temujin



sorry but you make it clear with almost everythign you claim that you base your knowledge for most part on Total War games.
 
It is obvious you have no interest in a respectful conversation but would rather make strawmen and accuse me of basing my information on a video game. You have an obvious mongol/steppe centric mentality and a fan-ism of the sort too often encountered blinding you from anything else other then the "absolute superiority of the steppe warrior" notion which you seem to hold dearly.
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  Quote TheARRGH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Sep-2008 at 23:33
Temujin:

Archers can use pevesie. And believe me, it would be VERY hard for horse archers to be able to truly defeat an organized, disciplined, coherent formation of pikes and archers.

Horse archers can do impressive damage, but they rely on several things.
First is terrain. cavalry-ANY cavalry--is at it's best on an open field. Throw swamps into the mix, or rough ground that horses can break their legs on, and they're much more vulnerable.

Second--a lack of enemy ranged troops. This is important. The fact that horse archers can move fast is a pretty good defense against arrows, but it's not by any means a certain defense. And, in case you were wondering, longbow archers mainly shot up to avoid the front line defenses of their enemies and hit the less-guarded rear. Think the battle of Hastings. A longbow is quite capable of firing straight on, and a bodkin is unlikely to gain much, if any, more force falling down from an arc than it does fired from a bow with a two-hundred pound draw. Besides which, the archers don't need to hit the horse archers. Mostly, what they need to do is hit the horses themselves, which make a much, MUCH better target. Not only can you kill or injure some of the enemy when their horses fall out from under them (or on top of them), but all of a sudden, your enemy becomes a lightly armored, lightly armed man with a bow that carries a shorter distance than yours, who is dazed and shocked in the middle of a battlefield.

I admit they might not be using longbows, but why wouldn't a foot archer use them? A "longbow" doesn't mean the english longbow, although that's one of the best, roughly on par with the african elephant bow (mentioned here). Best, defined as topping with a roughly 200-pound draw, and made of extremely effective materials. The BEST mongol composite bows probably reached about 160 pounds of draw, and assuming that both sides are armed with the "standard" type of weaponry, that would place most of the horse archers at a significant range disadvantage.

Also, one 200-pound propelled arrow is quite enough to pierce through horse archer armor.

Assuming standard defense/offense tactics, one can assume the infantry would have pevesies set up, and a forest of pikes above is quite capable of interfering with arrows.

I'm not saying that, necessarily, the infantry would automatically win (as a matter of fact, I feel it could go either way, depending on circumstances and leadership). But you seem to be out-of-hand writing off the infantry side as doomed to failure, and I just wanted to illustrate the various difficulties with attacking a hypothetical formation like the one mentioned.


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  Quote Carpathian Wolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Sep-2008 at 01:20
Expressed my opinion perfectly. Agreed completely. I also wish to add that this populairty concerning horse archery often murkies up the waters of what is truth and history and what is just "fanboydom". Another example would also be the almost cult following of the "katana". I see both "katana fans" and "horse archery fans" use similar arguements and with similar zealotry concerning their opinion.
 
I will however say that I do like horse archery and if i were back in history 9 out of 10 times i'd want a horse and i'd want a bow. But the Mongols/horse archery aren't the end all be all.
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  Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Sep-2008 at 18:42
contrary to popular believe cavalry is NOT limited by terrain like mountains or swamps. the Soviets in ww2 had a type of cavalry called "Mountain-Cavalry" and used their cavalry for partizan operations in swamps, likewise German cavalry was used in swamps for counter-partizan warfare. and that's just a recent example.

other than that, Longbows and Reflex Composite Bows used by Steppe Nomads had pretty much the same range.

also targets standing still is a better target, particularly in a closely packed formation. also Steppe horsemen would ALWAYs try to envelop their enemies, also Cossacks did that even if they were outnumbered by the enemy. also as we are talkign about medieval infantry but also infantry in general they would have a much lower morale and route.
and then, even if the Steppe Nomads withdraw, what is the infantry supposed to do? they can go nowhere, their every step will be tracked and harassed by the Mongols. in such a hypothetical scenario the infantry doesn't stand a chance.
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  Quote Yiannis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Sep-2008 at 18:58
How about the limiting factor of how many arrows could a horse archer carry? I suppose it was not so easy to go back to the camp and re-stock.
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  Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Sep-2008 at 19:05
i mentioned above the Parthian archers at Carrhae were supplied by baggage camels that carried arrows for re-stocking.


and btw, how did this topic devolved into a battle foot archer vs horse archer? if the pikes can have missile troops, then why can't the horse archers have, say assault pioneers with flamethrowers? THAT's a good idea, or wait, why not close air support? i justc ame to think how silly this thread became and it's really funny that it's ME who's being called a fanboy while the pikemen faction introduced all those ridiculous advantages not previously part of the initial question... Clown
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  Quote Carpathian Wolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Sep-2008 at 21:24
Temujin: contrary to popular believe cavalry is NOT limited by terrain like mountains or swamps. the Soviets in ww2 had a type of cavalry called "Mountain-Cavalry" and used their cavalry for partizan operations in swamps, likewise German cavalry was used in swamps for counter-partizan warfare. and that's just a recent example.

other than that, Longbows and Reflex Composite Bows used by Steppe Nomads had pretty much the same range.

also targets standing still is a better target, particularly in a closely packed formation. also Steppe horsemen would ALWAYs try to envelop their enemies, also Cossacks did that even if they were outnumbered by the enemy. also as we are talkign about medieval infantry but also infantry in general they would have a much lower morale and route.
and then, even if the Steppe Nomads withdraw, what is the infantry supposed to do? they can go nowhere, their every step will be tracked and harassed by the Mongols. in such a hypothetical scenario the infantry doesn't stand a chance.
===========================================
 
 
Cavalry is limted in effectiveness to terrain and anyone who ignores the terrain does not know military logistics and tactics. Also no one is denying the fact that tightly packed people standing still is an easier target to hit by the horse archers. The point however is that given a pavise and the typical armor which can be worn by pikemen, they would have a relatively good defense. And while the Horse archers may be harder to hit by comparisant, they wouldn't be impossible. That is to say that the ratio of damage taken by the horse archers would be greater then the damage sustained by the pike/footarchers.
 
If the steppe nomad withdraws what can the infantry do? Are you talking about the battle? They don't need to do anything. Enemy retreats, victory. Or are you talking about a highly bias variable you are picking that favors the horse archer again such as the battle happening in the middle of an open grass field for as far as the eye can see?
 
 
Temujin:
 
i mentioned above the Parthian archers at Carrhae were supplied by baggage camels that carried arrows for re-stocking.


and btw, how did this topic devolved into a battle foot archer vs horse archer? if the pikes can have missile troops, then why can't the horse archers have, say assault pioneers with flamethrowers? THAT's a good idea, or wait, why not close air support? i justc ame to think how silly this thread became and it's really funny that it's ME who's being called a fanboy while the pikemen faction introduced all those ridiculous advantages not previously part of the initial question... Clown
 
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If the pikes have missile troops why can't the horse archers have silly examples that are irrelevant to the topic of conversation? :p Because this isn't a tit for tat balancing act. It was simply said that pikemen with archer support if organized could beat a force of horse archers. That's all.
 
The original question itself is a half question because I don't think there ever existed a time when one encountered an army solely made of pikemen. That is why I mentioned archers and I have no problem discussing the tactics surrounding pikes or any form of archery, but please can we stop with this notion that horse archery is the answer to all medieval tactics and is the end all be all tactic.
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