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Thread: Javelin foot skirmishers

  1. #21
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Most of the medium ones aren't even skirmishers. They're regular cavalry with javelins. Again, the proper javelineers - like Hippakontistai - have 5 or 6 javelins. The problem here is not the units, it's the strange expectation people seem to have that medium units which aren't dedicated skirmishers aren't able to perform just as well as the dedicated units.

    We've already given them an almost unrealistically-long range. The animation is as "efficient" as it can be without becoming unrealistic.

    No infantry unit should have very_hardy, it's effectively "never tires". Which removes that element of balance altogether. Foot skirmishers (again, real skirmishers, not javelin-armed line infantry) are already faster than line infantry and have better stamina and lower stat_heat as well.

  2. #22

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by QuintusSertorius View Post
    Most of the medium ones aren't even skirmishers. They're regular cavalry with javelins. Again, the proper javelineers - like Hippakontistai - have 5 or 6 javelins. The problem here is not the units, it's the strange expectation people seem to have that medium units which aren't dedicated skirmishers aren't able to perform just as well as the dedicated units.
    My issue is that it seems like it costs a decent bit to have javelins, even just two, when even a well-placed volley rarely cause any casualties (maybe 1-2 per volley).

    And, unless I misread it, the costing formula you use doesn't differentiate between units having 2 or 6 javelins.

  3. #23
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by Krampus View Post
    My issue is that it seems like it costs a decent bit to have javelins, even just two, when even a well-placed volley rarely cause any casualties (maybe 1-2 per volley).

    And, unless I misread it, the costing formula you use doesn't differentiate between units having 2 or 6 javelins.
    Javelins aren't all that expensive, even when they're not the fire-hardened kind. Many of those levy units are bringing their hunting implements with them, and unlike arrows you're quite likely to be able to recover them.

    Well-placed volley against what? Are you trying to kill line infantry with them?

    No, the cost formula doesn't differentiate the number of javelins. But all the proper skirmisher cavalry are much cheaper than the better-armed and better-armoured medium cavalry.

  4. #24

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    More than a year later, found myself recruiting a few units of akontistai to cheaply beef up a remote garisson, then using them to defend. I gotta say, using them as y’all have described is actually really helpful and they fill lots of holes that I’ve been struggling to find a solution for:
    - deployed in front of battle line to soak archer/slinger fire while my own slingers hit the battle line
    - drawing their battle line where I want it until mine reforms (noticed the AI likes to form up far left of mine before charging, very hard to move phalanx into positio to catch them in the middle
    - fast enough to take high ground with cavalry units and provide a cheap yet effective screen for my own cav. Even without spears, they make decent enough account of themselves to not immediately rout while providing a decent bonus.

    I immediately thought of this post after these battles lol, credit where credit is due

  5. #25

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    I see AI does this with their skirmishers.... these little posers act all tough until my screening cavalry runs down on them...

  6. #26

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by QuintusSertorius View Post
    We've already given them an almost unrealistically-long range.
    That is my main gripe with the javelin skirmishers. To me the range feels utterly unrealistic. It is really hard to throw a spear a long way unless you use some kind of leverage mechanism. Such is almost never mentioned in the context of modern discussion on warfare in classical antiquity, but, then again, it is hard to understand how they could have done without.

    One thing you can do with skirmishers is to lure enemy cavalry to charge, then retreat behind the infantry at the last moment and hope that the charging cavalry will attempt to follow through or at least fail to stop, hitting your spear wall.

  7. #27
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by Septentrionalis View Post
    That is my main gripe with the javelin skirmishers. To me the range feels utterly unrealistic. It is really hard to throw a spear a long way unless you use some kind of leverage mechanism. Such is almost never mentioned in the context of modern discussion on warfare in classical antiquity, but, then again, it is hard to understand how they could have done without.

    One thing you can do with skirmishers is to lure enemy cavalry to charge, then retreat behind the infantry at the last moment and hope that the charging cavalry will attempt to follow through or at least fail to stop, hitting your spear wall.
    Hang on, many of them do use a leverage mechanism, the ankyle/amentum or equivalent, which is a length of cord wrapped around the bottom of the shaft and the first two fingers of the throwing hand to impart spin.

    Even then, throwing a javelin 70m every time is somewhat unrealistic.

  8. #28

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by QuintusSertorius View Post
    Hang on, many of them do use a leverage mechanism, the ankyle/amentum or equivalent, which is a length of cord wrapped around the bottom of the shaft and the first two fingers of the throwing hand to impart spin.

    Even then, throwing a javelin 70m every time is somewhat unrealistic.
    Thank you for pointing that out. I am aware of the term amentum and the fact that actual leather straps would be unlikely to survive in the archaelogical record, but what has fascinated me for a long time is that they are not really mentioned much in literature and discussions in despite of their obvious practicality. I would expect some mention of them being a standard piece of equipment. Or were they so standard that the fact did not need to be discussed in sources?

    The difference that leverage makes is quite remarkable. I visited a center for experimental archaeology a long time ago and remember throwing a light javelin around 80 yards using a solid staff (atlatl) and I was not particulary strong at that age.

    Edit: corrected a typo. Hooray, the forum functionalities are all back as it seems after the post-upgrade bugs!
    Last edited by Septentrionalis; April 08, 2019 at 02:11 PM.

  9. #29

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by QuintusSertorius View Post
    Even then, throwing a javelin 70m every time is somewhat unrealistic.
    Just to be sure, I do not disagree with you about your estimate although I mentioned throwing that distance as a very young adult. The solid staff is more effective but probably much more inconvenient for a field army than a cord or a leather strap. In addition, something like a pilum with its heavy metal head and probably much thicker shaft ought to be considerably harder to propel at a distance than a simple overgrown bolt.

  10. #30
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by Septentrionalis View Post
    Just to be sure, I do not disagree with you about your estimate although I mentioned throwing that distance as a very young adult. The solid staff is more effective but probably much more inconvenient for a field army than a cord or a leather strap. In addition, something like a pilum with its heavy metal head and probably much thicker shaft ought to be considerably harder to propel at a distance than a simple overgrown bolt.
    70m is the range of a light javelin like an akontio, in EBII. A pilum only has a range of 60m (any shorter and it will struggle to be thrown at all before it's intended target closes), a soliferrum 55m.

  11. #31

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by QuintusSertorius View Post
    70m is the range of a light javelin like an akontio, in EBII. A pilum only has a range of 60m (any shorter and it will struggle to be thrown at all before it's intended target closes), a soliferrum 55m.
    Yet another thing I had not realized through observation during battles; thank you so much for bringing up the differences in between projectiles. But yes, all of those are definitely the kinds of distances that require a tool and associated training to be anywhere near realistic.

    As for the usefulness of the skirmisher troops, I think that they can be useful in many ways and that reminding players about the effectiveness of ranged weapons from the flank or the rear is in place. Bringing skirmishers behind enemy troops is really effective as long as there are no enemy cavalry or heavy infantry troops around to engage them. They also seem to do well charging the enemy once they run out of javelins provided there is an anvil situation.

    I am not sure if carrying six javelins is realistic though.

  12. #32
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    I don't think any foot skirmisher has more than 5. Check the EDU, you can see for yourself.

  13. #33

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Velites have 6 javelins
    I recommend a pugio rather than a spear, because in close quarters combat, a dagger will serve you better than a spear.

    Rad, 2016.

  14. #34

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by Rad View Post
    Velites have 6 javelins
    As for realism, I withdraw my suspicion that six would be unrealistic.

    Whereas throwing a javelin with all your might (and perhaps operating a mechanical device to do so) while juggling five more in your off hand sounds like a circus trick and a half, it does not have to go that way. They may well be either carrying a bunch in a wrapping of some sort that they can drop at their feet, or the number represents getting resupplied behind the line after a couple of volleys.

    For example the Romans had 1 in every 5 soldier working support roles, tending to the needs of the primary fighters. Who knows if they even had guys running with a bunch of javelins to hand out to their comrades in skirmisher units. Speaking of personal experience, that sort of role is not unheard of in modern armies either.
    Last edited by Septentrionalis; April 09, 2019 at 11:41 AM.

  15. #35

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by Septentrionalis View Post
    As for realism, I withdraw my suspicion that six would be unrealistic.
    As someone out of shape and lacks exercise, I can carry 5 javelins on my back easily, is this not what ancient people do when they need to carry javelins....

  16. #36

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by Septentrionalis View Post
    As for realism, I withdraw my suspicion that six would be unrealistic.
    Whether a soldier can or cannot carry 6 javelins is a non-issue for me atm. I have reviewed the EDU - it would appear that the Velites are the only foot skirmishers that carry 6 javelins. All the other foot skirmishers carry 4 or 5. Even the Thrakian Peltasts carry 5 javelins. Given the Velites' other stats and the fact that they're dirt cheap, an extra javelin seems over the top.
    Last edited by Rad; April 09, 2019 at 01:30 PM.
    I recommend a pugio rather than a spear, because in close quarters combat, a dagger will serve you better than a spear.

    Rad, 2016.

  17. #37

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by tentaku View Post
    As someone out of shape and lacks exercise, I can carry 5 javelins on my back easily, is this not what ancient people do when they need to carry javelins....
    Quite possibly. I just cannot imagine how it would look. In computer games one can carry a huge two-handed sword or two on one's back and they magically jump into one's hand when needed. I do not know how to carry a bunch of javelins on my back and actually keep getting them from there without hassle or preventing the sharp javelins poking my alllies in formation. Please share if you can think of a practical way how that can be done!

    Just having one assault rifle on your back in full combat gear can be a hassle with all the things it can get stuck on when you really need to get it out quickly. On a lighter note, I remember tripping on a tent rope once in the twilight, falling flat on my face and having the damn thing hit me in the back of my head right below the helmet. Perhaps it is one of those experiences that made me so critical towards carrying weapons on my back.

  18. #38
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by Rad View Post
    Whether a soldier can or cannot carry 6 javelins is a non-issue for me atm. I have reviewed the EDU - it would appear that the Velites are the only foot skirmishers that carry 6 javelins. All the other foot skirmishers carry 4 or 5. Even the Thrakian Peltasts carry 5 javelins. Given the Velites' other stats and the fact that they're dirt cheap, an extra javelin seems over the top.
    Yep, there's no reason for Velites alone to have 6 when everyone else caps at 5.

  19. #39

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    I just want to throw in my 2 cents here and say that javelin foot skirmishers universally have the best possible score when it comes to my stat of choice for skirmishers - cost.

    Other people in this thread have elaborated on the many uses of lighter, non-line infantry. Javelin skirmishers do all that and they do it for pennies. They always have a place in my armies - mostly I use them for screening and flanking purposes and they really cut down on the attrition my heavy infantry and medium/heavy cavalry suffer.

  20. #40
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    And of couse, screening and flanking is exactly what you're supposed to do with them.

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