Legion versus Phalanx by Myke ColeFrom the time of ancient Sumeria, the heavy infantry Phalanx dominated the battlefield. Armed with spears or pikes, standing shoulder-to-shoulder and with overlapping shields, they presented an impenetrable wall of metal to the enemy until the Roman legion eclipsed the phalanx as the masters of infantry battle.
Covering the period in which the legion and phalanx clashed (280-168 BC), this book looks at each formation in detail - delving into their tactics, arms and equipment, organization and deployment. It then examines six documented battles in which the legion fought the phalanx: Heraclea (280 BC), Asculum (279 BC), Beneventum (275 BC), Cynoscephalae (197 BC), Magnesia (190 BC), and Pydna (168 BC).
The Greek Phalanx
Help Forgot Password? Remember Me? Home Articles What's New? Page 1 of 2 1 2 Last Jump to page: Results 1 to 20 of Thread: How the hell did a phalanx work? How the hell did a phalanx work? I mean, I know the basics, they had the really long spear, strapped a small shield to their arm, stood together and made a pincushion, held the enemy up while the cavalry came around and attacked.
One of the most effective and enduring military formations in ancient warfare was that of the Greek Phalanx. The phalanx formation was a close-rank, dense grouping of warriors armed with long spears and interlocking shields. The strength of the Greek phalanx lay in the endurance and discipline of the soldiers who made up the closely-packed rectangular formation of shields and spears. Once the phalanx was formed the soldiers would advance slowly toward the opposing army, fending off missle blows with their shields and holding the formation tightly in order to break through the ranks of the other side. Since the use of reserve forces in battle was not conceived of before the 5th century BCE, a battle was decided by the formations initially placed in the field and, consequently, the men who made up the phalanx formations had to be prepared to outlast, as well as out-fight, their opponents.
Sometime in the middle of the 7th century bc, a new style of warfare appeared in ancient Greece, requiring a foot soldier to forsake acts of individual valor in favor of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with his comrades in a battle square. This square, called a phalanx, distinguished itself from other heavy infantry formations in the Near East in that it would evolve into a well-articulated tactical system capable of decisive offensive tactical mobility. How and when the change in emphasis from individual to collective action on the Greek battlefield took place is still a matter of debate. During the Bronze Age and before the invention of the phalanx, Greek fighting had been dominated by aristocratic warriors who reveled in individual duels with their adversaries, in a manner immortalized by Homer in The Iliad. Even as Homer was conceiving his epic, a shift in warfare was taking place. The revival of trade routes and the beginning of colonization in the 8th and 7th centuries bc led to economic prosperity in Greek mother-cities such as Corinth, Thebes and Athens.
What did the Macedonian phalanx look like and how did it work?
Phalanx , in military science, tactical formation consisting of a block of heavily armed infantry standing shoulder to shoulder in files several ranks deep. Fully developed by the ancient Greeks, it survived in modified form into the gunpowder era and is viewed today as the beginning of European military development. The ancient Sumerian army fielded a standard six-man-deep phalanx; the first line went into battle carrying large, rectangular shields, and the troops bore heavy pikes and battle axes. During the 7th century bc the Greek city-states adopted a phalanx eight men deep. The Greek hoplite , the heavy-armed infantryman who manned the phalanx, was equipped with a round shield, a heavy corselet of leather and metal, greaves shin armour , an 8-foot pike for thrusting, and a 2-foot double-edged sword. Since the phalanx held in solid ranks and was divided only into the centre and wings, there was generally little need for an officer corps; the whole line advanced in step to the sound of the flute.