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Thread: Ancient Special Forces

  1. #1
    Frtigern's Avatar Tiro
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    Default Ancient Special Forces

    So I've seen several Quora posts about this on my feed and I immediately thought of EB2, because its one of the few games that have a diverse array of units where I can build armies for specific purposes or have multi-purpose armies with different units to conduct specific tasks.
    NATO defines special forces or special operations forces as "military activities conducted by specially designated, organized, trained, and equipped forces, manned with selected personnel, using unconventional tactics, techniques, and modes of employment".
    My question is what units in EB2 do you feel fit into the modern definition of special forces that you use in battles for special operations where those particular units are well-suited for that mission?

    Looking through the Recruitment Viewer (which I wish was updated and with a search or sort function) I found these units which could qualify as special forces. In the context of EB2 these would be: skirmishers that are very skilled with javelins and can act as medium infantry in a pinch, heavy assault infantry that are perfect for assaulting contested spaces like walls or chokepoints, flanking infantry whose sole purpose is to wait for the exact moment to go around a flank and attack the enemy in the side or rear causing a rout and heavy spearman men to protect key points on a battlefield at least long enough to delay the enemy for reinforcements. Are there any that I am missing?

    Peltasts (Elite Skirmishers)
    West-Anatolian Elite Infantry
    Dacian Elite Skirmishers
    Thracian Peltasts
    Cretan Infantry

    Shock Infantry (cause fear)
    Thracian Rhomphaia bearers
    Dacian Falxmen
    Gallic Naked Fanatics (Gaesatae)

    Heavy Infantry swordsman
    Celtiberian Champions
    Leusitane Elite Swordsman
    Aquitanii Noble Infantry
    Gallic Nobles
    British Nobles
    Elite Infantry of the Italic Allies (Pedites Extraordinarii)
    West Anatolian Champions
    Hellenistic Infantry (Peltastai Makedones)
    Armorican Nobles
    Germanic Bodyguard

    Heavy Infantry spearman
    Carthaginian Sacred Band
    Spartan Hoplites
    Hellenistic Elite Heavy Spearman
    Greek Elite Hoplites
    Hellenistic Royal Guard
    Bactrian Elite Infantry
    Pontic Elite Hoplites
    Swords don't kill people, people with swords kill people.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Ancient Special Forces

    In the ancient Mediterranean, elephants, Cretan archers and Balearic slingers were considered valuable specialised contingents. However, I am not sure if they are actually effective in-game.


    The Antesignani could be added to the list too.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Ancient Special Forces

    Quote Originally Posted by Trarco View Post
    In the ancient Mediterranean, elephants, Cretan archers and Balearic slingers were considered valuable specialised contingents. However, I am not sure if they are actually effective in-game.


    The Antesignani could be added to the list too.
    Most of those are more analogous to specialized regular units like artillery battalions or attack helicopter squadrons.

    The closes would probably be some elite light infantry units like Antesignani or Peltastai Makedones that often engaged in recon and various irregular operations.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Ancient Special Forces

    interesting query though its a little odd to apply modern definitions retrospectively. if you take NATO criteria as a yardstick, most of the hoplites should be removed from the list (Spartans and all) because they do no fit the second half of the definition - 'using unconventional tactics, techniques, and modes of employment' - and are pretty standard in this regard. multi-role hypaspistai would fit the bill though.

  5. #5
    Frtigern's Avatar Tiro
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    Default Re: Ancient Special Forces

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarkiss View Post
    interesting query though its a little odd to apply modern definitions retrospectively. if you take NATO criteria as a yardstick, most of the hoplites should be removed from the list (Spartans and all) because they do no fit the second half of the definition - 'using unconventional tactics, techniques, and modes of employment' - and are pretty standard in this regard. multi-role hypaspistai would fit the bill though.
    I agree, they are hard to fit within that definition but if we accept Agema pikemen as your heavy infantry, which would be mechanized infantry today then these would be your more more mobile "light" infantry, light in the sense that they are more maneuverable but still have the armor and melee ability to hold their own against your Agema heavy infantry or be able to resist those special shock troops that try to exploit your flanks. Think of today's light infantry equipped with grenade launchers, machine guns and anti-tank rockets. These heavy spearmen would serve as your "line" special forces, or special operations capable infantry that are capable of carrying out risky direct action operations where highly trained and disciplined troops are necessary instead of smaller teams of lighter armored and equipped special forces infantry. In other words, they bring more men and weaponry to a mission, where the mission needs more brute force than surgical killing. The modern equivalent would be US Army Rangers or US Marine Corps Raiders. Yes, you could send green regular infantry to do the job but they will take more casualties and are more likely to break.
    Swords don't kill people, people with swords kill people.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Ancient Special Forces

    I have objections to the idea of comparing contemporary armies with ancient armies. Especially the pop cultural darlings that are Special Forces.

    Nonetheless...why aren't there any cavalry on the list? Cavalry seems to have seen extensive use in reconnaissance, raiding, guerrilla warfare, disruption of logistics...all sorts of yummy tasks associated with SF. In-game Cataphracts also cause fear, so they can fit as Shock units.

    I'd add a separate category for fast-moving units like Gaisatoi. This list might stick out a bit, as some units that qualify (like Sweboz skirmishers) are levies light on experience and training, but they can provide unique modes of engagement thanks to their speed.

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