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Battle tactics at Kleidion

Printed From: History Community ~ All Empires
Category: General History
Forum Name: Military History
Forum Discription: Discussions related to military history: generals, battles, campaigns, etc.
Printed Date: 23-Apr-2018 at 16:51
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.56a -

Topic: Battle tactics at Kleidion
Posted By: Varangian
Subject: Battle tactics at Kleidion
Date Posted: 04-Dec-2017 at 21:31
My apologies if this has been broached in a previous thread, but I had a question about the battle of Kleidion in 1014. I can't find much written about the actual tactics used at this battle. Most of the emphasis is placed on the aftermath and Basil's supposed mass blinding of all those Bulgarians. I k ow he made extensive use of heavy cavalry in his tagmata. But how useful is heavy cavalry in relatively close quarters in a gorge such as where this battle was fought? And doesn't cavalry stand a distinct disadvantage against well-trained infantry equipped with spears. What sort of use would Basil use made of archers.? The Bulgarians were supposed to have made very good archers themselves. 

And I sometimes wonder whey he didn't use fire missiles such as flaming arrows against the wooden palisade that the Bulgarians had built across the valley. While Greek Fire was not used very often in inland battles, surely he would have had access to some sort of propellant?When he was repulsed, would it have been from Bulgarian archers? How useful would shock troops have been to break through infantry. Perhaps even the Varangian Guard armed with their enormous axes? That being said, obviously none of this was terribly effective given the fact that Basil finally agreed to Generla Xiphias' plan to maneuver behind the enemy flank via a secret path through the mountains.

I would be really curious to hear the opinions of those who have envisioned that smaller details of what really happened that day. I don't feel like I have a very good picture of it.

A general should never have to say 'I did not expect it.' ~ Strategikon

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