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Sventex t1_jc5zce5 wrote

What does it mean for the age old Phalanx vs Legion debate when the armies of Italy eventually adopted the pike? Whenever I bring up this topic during a Phalanx vs Legion debate, I rarely get a response, probably because I'm not debating historians.

"Following its 1506 military reforms, Florence had an army armed 70% with pikes, 10% with muskets, and the remaining 20% with halberds. In Venice the proportions were first fixed in 1548, at 10% halberds, 30% arquebuses, and 60% pikes."


TheGreatOneSea t1_jc9lz73 wrote

Pike and Shot isn't really comparable to the Phalanx: if a Roman Legion had guns and cannons, the merit of sword and shield against pike would probably be the least of a Phalanx's problems, as it's forced to either attack an entrenched enemy, or retreat.

Even in Pike and Shot warfare though, sword and shield were still being used to great effect by the Rodeleros, who were used in conjunction with pikes and guns, but were also eventually dropped for the same reason that halbreds and pikes mostly were as well: by the start of the 17th century, increases in gunpowder quality and quantity had decisively made powder the weapon of choice. As such, fending off pike squares in melee didn't require special consideration, given the losses that the pikes would take trying to advance in a formation without fire superiority backing them.

Practically all Musketeers had swords as backup weapons though, and the Highland Charge famously made good use of them, so even sword infantry didn't totally die out until bayonets became common.


Sventex t1_jcbaxpb wrote

Weren't Greek Phalanx pikeman also armed with swords? A xiphos or kopis sword as backup? And was the army being made up of 10% muskets enough to make Pike formations dominant again? Why wouldn't archers of the ancient world not be able to perform the same function as a pike and shot formation?