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Thread: Was the sarissa/pike really so ineffective in inflicting casualties on the foe?

  1. #21

    Default Re: Was the sarissa/pike really so ineffective in inflicting casualties on the foe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ampe211 View Post
    No. The reason people believe sarissas were under the right conditions capable of inflicting heavy casualties is that they were indeed terrifying weapons to face on the battlefield. You cannot seriously assume that anyone playing this mod is drawing conclusions in regards to the capabilities of historical arms based on Rome:Total War. That is just ridiculous. The sarissa is by the virtue of being a heavy two handed thrusting weapon more capable of dealing with armored opponents than any other melee weapon in the game. We have tests available that clearly show that someone wielding such a weapon was able to generate enough KE to pierce most types of armor of the period, no to mention shields. How exactly would a formation of densely packed warriors using these weapons be less efficient in inflicting casulties than lets say hoplites, and why does units with weapons such as one handed axes get the ap attribute when phalangites dont? The problem with the phalanx in this game or most if not all other games is that the way it operated is impossible to implement. The inherent flaws of the formation, its inflexibility and thus inability to win battles on its own cannot really be rwflected in a format that allows the player to have much more thorough control over an army than a historical commander had. Without these weaknesses the phalanx indeed is and would have been a nearly invincible formation and this necessitates its real capabilites in frontal engagement to be reduced not to make it OP. IMO the OP doesnt necessarily want the formation to be much more powerful than it is now, he just doeant like the way it operates. That being sad, balance comes first, and i agree that the phalanx units are powerful enough as they are now.
    A pike phalanx, especially a dense one, is undirected. Most of the men in the ranks can't see the enemy, they're effectively running through a drill to keep the threat level up.

    That's completely different to a hoplite phalanx, where every man is choosing a target and attacking an individual.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Was the sarissa/pike really so ineffective in inflicting casualties on the foe?

    And? That doesn't matter as long as there is something in front of the pike,if there is it will get it and probably skewered.
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  3. #23
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    Default Re: Was the sarissa/pike really so ineffective in inflicting casualties on the foe?

    That may be true, but this kind of precision is needed for a hoplite if he wants to injure or kill his opponent. Even unarmored warriors could protect themselves adequately with their shields, especially if they were aware of who targeted them. Although it is clear that even an aspis could be pierced by a remarkably strong thrust with a dory, the significantly more powerful attacks the sarissa made possible were most probably effective enough to make precision mostly unnecessary. That is not to say that pikes simply blasted through any kind of protection, but if we take a look at the numbers i brought up earlier in this thread, we can say with certainty that no matter how inaccurate these thrusts might be, even a heavily armored hoplite couldnt feel safe going up against these weapons. It doesnt matter if all the phalangites do is to wildy stab around when a lot of those stabs ( or at least significantly higher percentage of them than any other muscle driven weapon impact ) would take an opponent out of the fight regardless of where the weapon contacts his body. Humfrey Barwick considered even mail and brigandine to be completely inadequate defenses against pikes of the 16th century.

  4. #24

    Default Re: Was the sarissa/pike really so ineffective in inflicting casualties on the foe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sint View Post
    And? That doesn't matter as long as there is something in front of the pike,if there is it will get it and probably skewered.
    Pikes threaten an area, they do not threaten individuals. Which is why the Gauls facing Ptolemy Keravnos were able to circumvent his phalanx by rolling under the pikes and getting inside their reach.

    A tactic that probably wouldn't have worked against Philip/Alexander's phalanx, which was less deep and had shorter pikes.
    Last edited by QuintusSertorius; July 20, 2021 at 01:17 PM.

  5. #25

    Default Re: Was the sarissa/pike really so ineffective in inflicting casualties on the foe?

    Quote Originally Posted by QuintusSertorius View Post
    Pikes threaten an area, they do not threaten individuals. Which is why the Gauls facing Ptolemy Keravnos were able to circumvent his phalanx by rolling under the pikes and getting inside their reach.
    Off-topic, but this is hilarious. I don't know who I'd rather be - the confused phalangite witnessing a complete violation of accepted warfare or the Celt spinning like a Beyblade smack into the phalanx. Just to be sure, was this historically attested to by multiple sources? I would imagine that this tactic and thus the recruitment of Celts would spread if they were successful

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Was the sarissa/pike really so ineffective in inflicting casualties on the foe?

    I'm not really sure where that's from but there was an entertaining discussion about the idea here. It seems like an elite phalanx could counter anything including rough terrain but levies could not.


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