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Rome vs Medieval armies

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  • Bolt-ThrowerBolt-Thrower Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 266
    edited October 2013
    wut if the roman legions had been eating gallic levy freemen bread for the last 20 years and used big giant mauls ?
  • SpartiateSpartiate Banned Banned Users Posts: 386
    edited October 2013
    sccrboi01 wrote: »
    Ok but would a standard medieval army be composed of all those units? No each army would be different which is why the romans would still triumph

    Bizantine army for the win
  • FinnishVikingFinnishViking Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 713
    edited October 2013
    hildor wrote: »
    The Red army would have winter on its side, despite the Stark motto

    Unless you are talking about Iron Man?

    OBJECTION!

    Red army failed miserably in Winter war because of their poor tactics and lack of WINTER equibment wich it inself is quite bad.

    My bet is on the starks because they seemingly never die off completely and know when to bend the knee
  • StormspiritStormspirit Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 101
    edited October 2013
    On the subject of knights and their horses, a few things to keep in mind...

    These horses are bred for war. The training they underwent was as rigorous as any professional soldier, if not moreso because it began almost as soon as they could stand.

    Much like professional soldiers, these horses drilled and drilled until they possessed an entirely new set of instincts. They ignored the chaos of warfare and charged headlong into anything, despite personal danger. They would crash into a shield wall without hesitation, they would trample bodies underhoof, something untrained horses will not do.

    In short, you had to do more then wound a warhorse to stop its charge. Nothing less then a broken leg or an injury severe enough to kill, then and there, could stop a charge.

    Particularly when armored, those horses were as dangerous as the men who rode them, and it's important to keep that in mind. I don't mean to overplay them, but when making a comparison it should be factored in how scary these animals were on the battlefield.

    Were they flesh and blood? Of course! They weren't invincible. Doesn't change the fact that a good warhorse would still be charging through circumstances that would have an elephant turning to run and trampling its own allies.
  • domino25domino25 Junior Member Registered Users Posts: 14
    edited October 2013
    On a rainy day in France: the Romans. Agincort was all about how Horses and Metal shoes don't do well in deep mud. So it goes to show that there's a lot of other random factors.

    That said stirrups make a big difference. Essentially a group of Knights using lances was like a wall of pikes with how many hundreds of pounds of momentum? They can be countered with pikes longer than lances, which was not standard issue to the Romans. Man for man a Knight was better trained and better equipped. Plate mail is a significant advantage though not invincibility. Knights started training from childhood.

    However, it does depend on the army a lot. medieveal armies weren't all knights. I suspect as the proportion of Knights decreased the odds moved towards the Romans who would stand well against peasant levies. However a lot of things favor the medieval army over the Romans in a single battle. (A war is a different question).
  • sccrboi01sccrboi01 Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 339
    edited October 2013
    An imperial legion under augustus would beat an equally sized medieval force from the 11-13th century see my previous post as too why
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  • OpulchenetsBGOpulchenetsBG Member Registered Users Posts: 46
    edited October 2013
    What armor and weapons would the medieval warriors be using if it plate then medieval hands down the gladiuses and pilum would completely fail to penetrate while the medieval knights would just smash the roman shield wall with bills, poleaxes, halberds, etc.
  • MrZanyGamingMrZanyGaming Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 657
    edited October 2013
    I feel like people are missing the whole "morale" aspect behind battles. The Romans would have had much more morale than 90% of the Medieval army, simply due to a large portion of the Medieval army being comprised of levies. Is the gladius ineffective against most types of armor during the medieval times? Yes. The thing is that most of the Medieval army would have **** their pants at the sight of a professional, larger army and many would immediately turn tail and run. That's what would carry the day for the Romans in my opinion.
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  • MrZanyGamingMrZanyGaming Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 657
    edited October 2013
    What armor and weapons would the medieval warriors be using if it plate then medieval hands down the gladiuses and pilum would completely fail to penetrate while the medieval knights would just smash the roman shield wall with bills, poleaxes, halberds, etc.
    Your "standard" mid-late medieval era army.
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  • PlanetMarsupialPlanetMarsupial Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 1,601
    edited October 2013
    Willster wrote: »
    There is quite a widsespread belief that the medieval knight was the ultimate power, but hasn't history disproved this?

    the late medieval period shows that the medieval knight is actually being phased out by infantry: Examples include the many English victories over the French knights, the Flemish victories against French knights, the Scots at Bannockburn and the Italian states pike infantry. these cases in history demonstrated that the knight was not the ultimate battlefield weapon that most people believe in.

    While the Shock value of a charge is not to be underestimated the fact that should a knight be bogged down by a heavy infantry formation, he is extremely vulnerable to being dragged off his horse and killed. (don't forget that that that helmet restricts his vision, cant kill what you cant see)

    If used correctly and lead properly then the battlefield knight was the best weapon in the medieval period. In the examples you gave (Agincourt, Crecy, Bannockburn etc) not only were the conditions massively favourable to the infantry but above all else, ill-discipline cost the cavalry victory. Also, you'll note that in all of those battles the winner was the defender. Attacking without heavy cavalry in the medieval period was particularly difficult. Nobody here said that the medieval knight on horse back was invincible - of course they were not - but they were vastly superior generally speaking if the period is considered as a whole.

    Indeed, the reason that most people know of those battles which you mentioned is precisely because they were out of the norm. They reflected inferior forces winning improbable victories over much larger and supposedly more powerful forces. That's why people have heard of them. More often than not, such circumstances did not happen. I suggest you read about the First Crusade for information on the effectiveness of heavy latin cavalry, especially against cultures which were not used to dealing with it.

    The reason that heavy cavalry became obsolete (in terms of the full plate armour) was because gunpowder massively negated its effectivness. With the armour gone, it was no longer necessary for the infantry to carry massive polearms to smash the aforementioned armour to pieces, so they reverted back to using pikes for stopping the now less-well protected cavalry.
  • Woody01Woody01 Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 658
    edited October 2013
    I love these threads.

    I'll add my two cents:

    I will assume that this will be the Romans and a medieval army at their apex.

    Quality of arms and armor:

    Metallurgy made some large advances in purity, uniformity, and quality since the Roman era. Even fielding a medieval army with bronze and iron instead of steel I would give them the edge in this department.

    Bows had made a large amount of progress in reliability and penetration power over what could be fielded during the Roman era.

    Professional soldiers:

    A typical Roman army would field more professional soldiers and have greater rank structure than the average medieval army. The advantage for discipline and training would go to the Romans.

    Cavalry:

    Distinct advantage goes to the medieval army. With the introduction of stirrups, rigorous breeding and training program for mounts, the medieval army would bring a better quality and effective cavalry to the battle.

    Artillery and ranged:

    The Romans would field artillery in most situations while a medieval army would only do so during sieges. The romans would have onagers throwing stones, ballista and scorpions firing bolts. Advantage for range goes to the Romans.

    The medieval army would bring more bows to the field than the Romans. They would have greater range, accuracy, reliability and penetrating power than any missile unit the Romans could field. So the advantage goes to the medieval army.

    Tactics:

    Not a whole lot of change here. Romans would probably use three lines and fight in rotation to try to keep fresh troops forward or use the three lines to allow retreat of the forward line if things did not go well for them. The medieval army depending on the commander would have the frontline and a certain amount of reserves behind.

    Both would use hammer and anvil. A tactic still effective today but is modified because of the weapons used.

    Romans would use a pilum and try to make the enemies shield unmanageable and useless. I would assume they would find it not as an effective tactic because of the increased quality and penetration resistance a medieval shield would have compared to the shields Romans could produce.

    I would put my money on the Romans just for the fact they would field a more professional army that is well drilled and trained and more likely to continue to fight with heavy losses. The medieval army would have only a small percentage of their army who were professional soldiers and not just a farmer called into service and given very minimal training. The technology advantage would cause more casualties than the Romans would normally face from a similar sized and trained opponent from their era.

    I would change that bet if the medieval army would be composed of the best units available for the time period. If that were the case the medieval army would win hands down even after taken the loses from Roman artillery as they approached. The advantage of better armor and penetration power of weapons would beat the Romans. I say this because the Romans would be facing better equipped professional soldiers.

    Overall it is hard to argue not knowing who is fielding the medieval army and what they are bringing to face the Romans, who is commanding either side and their abilities, I will go ahead and assume it is on open flat ground with no advantage to be had by either side.
  • ZoeZoe Member Registered Users Posts: 48
    edited October 2013
    This like kind of like saying, How would Napoleon do against Rommel.....apples to lettuce.
  • SnapperaSnappera Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 1,271
    edited October 2013
    Zoe wrote: »
    This like kind of like saying, How would Napoleon do against Rommel.....apples to lettuce.

    I agree as far as commanders are concerned. Roman Legates were probably no better suited to the role than a Medieval leader.
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  • aduro95aduro95 Junior Member Registered Users Posts: 42
    edited October 2013
    why would a Roman army win against a medieval army win? and why is is every body using European army's as example, lets take an army form the far east, a horde from the steps of Mongolia.
    light cav armed with compasit bows would rip apart the Roman army, it would be just like the battle of Carrhae all over again!
  • SaithiaSaithia Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 113
    edited October 2013
    The fact that medieval armies would have forged steel as opposed to bronze, technologically superior ranged weapons and siege engines, and battle strategies evolved past the Roman era I would say they would have a clear advantage.

    Bronze compared to steel is brittle and no where near as durable. Medieval weaponry would cut right through what they had back then.
    Romans didn't use bronze...
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  • MrZanyGamingMrZanyGaming Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 657
    edited October 2013
    Zoe wrote: »
    This like kind of like saying, How would Napoleon do against Rommel.....apples to lettuce.
    There were not many strides in any department between the time Rome fell and when the age of gunpowder began. From Napoleon to Rommel, MANY things were changed in the military department, it isn't even worth comparing the two. Rommel had tanks, infantry/movable machine guns, planes, etc. over Napoleon. All the medieval had over the Romans were superior armor (though not many could afford it), superior weapons (yet again not many could afford), and small inventions, such as the stirrups. It would be a fair fight due to Rome's larger armies, more discipline, and better tactics (though the tactics being better is negotiable).
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  • AstalanoAstalano Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 994
    edited October 2013
    'Metallurgy made some large advances in purity, uniformity, and quality since the Roman era. Even fielding a medieval army with bronze and iron instead of steel I would give them the edge in this department.'

    Most medieval infantry by the middle medieval period would have mail or at least padded armour, all would have helmets and heavy infantry would either have a shield or wear it on them as really tough armour. An obvious example would be huscarls. You have to take into account the fact that the gladius is ineffective versus such infantry and in a fight the medieval infantry would break the roman lines quite quickly. If you go forward to the late medieval ages you might as well throw the gladius away.



    'A typical Roman army would field more professional soldiers and have greater rank structure than the average medieval army. The advantage for discipline and training would go to the Romans.'

    Agreed, but it isn't such a massive advantage, as there are also many professional soldiers on the medieval side. It's just that there are fewer of them and they form the core of the army.




    'The Romans would field artillery in most situations while a medieval army would only do so during sieges. The romans would have onagers throwing stones, ballista and scorpions firing bolts. Advantage for range goes to the Romans.'

    The medieval army would just close with conventional ranged and rout the artillery with cavalry. Also, a medieval army would have access to small artillery as well.




    'Not a whole lot of change here. Romans would probably use three lines and fight in rotation to try to keep fresh troops forward or use the three lines to allow retreat of the forward line if things did not go well for them. The medieval army depending on the commander would have the frontline and a certain amount of reserves behind.'

    The medieval army has much clearer distinctions between cavalry, infantry and ranged so it would be much more flexible and would be able to exploit the Roman's weaknesses to the nth degree.

    'Both would use hammer and anvil. A tactic still effective today but is modified because of the weapons used.'

    Except it would be far more effective on the medieval side by a dozen times due to heavy cavalry.

    'Romans would use a pilum and try to make the enemies shield unmanageable and useless. I would assume they would find it not as an effective tactic because of the increased quality and penetration resistance a medieval shield would have compared to the shields Romans could produce.'

    ...if the medieval troops use shields at all. Javelins would be completely ineffective versus a medieval force for obvious reasons.

    'I would put my money on the Romans just for the fact they would field a more professional army that is well drilled and trained and more likely to continue to fight with heavy losses. The medieval army would have only a small percentage of their army who were professional soldiers and not just a farmer called into service and given very minimal training.'

    That's not how most medieval armies function. Levies are not peasants. Most of the medieval army would have excellent morale, just as much as the Romans, if not more due to their knowledge of their superiority.

    'I would change that bet if the medieval army would be composed of the best units available for the time period.'

    The Romans would be completely annihilated if that was the case.
  • MrZanyGamingMrZanyGaming Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 657
    edited October 2013
    Once again, people seem to be overlooking morale of the armies. Considering the Medieval army would be outnumbered, the troops would be ****ting themselves and some may even choose to flee before the battle started. There isn't that much loyalty in the Medieval times, the only thing keeping the troops in order was threat of torture and execution for running. Not to mention a majority of the Medieval army was composed of farmers with almost no training. The typical legion had years of discipline and was constantly kept in shape through building roads, construction, etc and felt a tighter bond because they had shared the experiences with the rest of the legion. This would be the deciding factor that swayed the battle to Rome's favor in my opinion.
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  • SnapperaSnappera Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 1,271
    edited October 2013
    Noobcraft wrote: »
    Romans didn't use bronze...

    Depends which era of Roman history you are talking about. Romans did use bronze. Even in the game era too.
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  • AstalanoAstalano Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 994
    edited October 2013
    in the Medieval times, the only thing keeping the troops in order was threat of torture and execution for running. Not to mention a majority of the Medieval army was composed of farmers with almost no training.

    Thanks for confirming you know absolutely NOTHING about medieval warfare.
  • MrZanyGamingMrZanyGaming Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 657
    edited October 2013
    Astalano wrote: »
    Thanks for confirming you know absolutely NOTHING about medieval warfare.



    COUNTY (25 in realm)
    10.6% of land territory
    1 million population
    Knights: 10-20 (250 - 500)
    Men-at-Arms: 20-40 (500 - 1,000)
    Archers: 50 (1,250)
    Militia: 2,000 (50,000)
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  • DefengarDefengar Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 219
    edited October 2013
    It would really depend on the circumstances. However, if are talking about a fully equipped 50,000 men (10 legions) led by Julius Caesar I would say they would probably be able to stand toe to toe with any regular European army up to 1400, even with the tech differences.
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  • WillsterWillster Junior Member Registered Users Posts: 17
    edited October 2013
    Leving wrote: »
    If used correctly and lead properly then the battlefield knight was the best weapon in the medieval period. In the examples you gave (Agincourt, Crecy, Bannockburn etc) not only were the conditions massively favourable to the infantry but above all else, ill-discipline cost the cavalry victory. Also, you'll note that in all of those battles the winner was the defender. Attacking without heavy cavalry in the medieval period was particularly difficult. Nobody here said that the medieval knight on horse back was invincible - of course they were not - but they were vastly superior generally speaking if the period is considered as a whole.

    Indeed, the reason that most people know of those battles which you mentioned is precisely because they were out of the norm. They reflected inferior forces winning improbable victories over much larger and supposedly more powerful forces. That's why people have heard of them. More often than not, such circumstances did not happen. I suggest you read about the First Crusade for information on the effectiveness of heavy latin cavalry, especially against cultures which were not used to dealing with it.

    The reason that heavy cavalry became obsolete (in terms of the full plate armour) was because gunpowder massively negated its effectivness. With the armour gone, it was no longer necessary for the infantry to carry massive polearms to smash the aforementioned armour to pieces, so they reverted back to using pikes for stopping the now less-well protected cavalry.

    Your reference to the Crusades is a double edged sword: having studied the period there was both success and failure of the heavy cavalry, I only have to mention the Battle of Hattin which resulted in catastrophic defeat for the heavy cavalry.
  • DefengarDefengar Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 219
    edited October 2013
    Willster wrote: »
    Your reference to the Crusades is a double edged sword: having studied the period there was both success and failure of the heavy cavalry, I only have to mention the Battle of Hattin which resulted in catastrophic defeat for the heavy cavalry.

    You have to also remember at Hattin the Crusaders were fighting more to get to the water than for actual victory. Saladin led them on a wild goose chase through the desert which they were not prepared for, and the crusaders were all half dead from dehydration by that point.
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  • PlanetMarsupialPlanetMarsupial Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 1,601
    edited October 2013
    Willster wrote: »
    Your reference to the Crusades is a double edged sword: having studied the period there was both success and failure of the heavy cavalry, I only have to mention the Battle of Hattin which resulted in catastrophic defeat for the heavy cavalry.

    I said First Crusade, not the 'crusades' in general. That would be where the Christian knights destroyed everything before them and capture Jerusalem. Granted, they were dismounted for large periods of the campaign, but there are accounts of several hundred knights routing thousands of moslem troops. What's more a knight is a knight be in on foot or on horseback or not; and they were devastatingly effective soldiers. Don't forget that fighting was their profession (bellatores) and for many it was the only way of being traverse the rather static framework of the medieval societal hierarchy.

    There is a lot of literature on the professionalism of the average Roman soldier; his discipline and so on. Most knights were also professionals, but with a twist. They were sort of military entrepreneurs who got paid on commission. The more you win, the more money you get. Victory on the field could bring a knight wealth status and power which gave him extra cause to learn to fight. The medieval battlefield in Europe was a giant competition of soldiery and it made men into killing machines.

    For the common Roman soldier, the best he could hope for was to avoid death and perhaps take some loot along the way. He was a good soldier but was not as well equipped or as well experienced as the medieval knight. In a 1v1 fight, the knight would probably crush the Roman soldier. You might argue that as a collectiveRoman infantry was superior to a collective of knights, though as cavarly tactics developed throughout the period I think you would find that they were not.
  • PlanetMarsupialPlanetMarsupial Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 1,601
    edited October 2013
    Astalano wrote: »
    Thanks for confirming you know absolutely NOTHING about medieval warfare.

    Too be fair to him, a few things he said there aren't that far off the truth. Vast swathes of feudal armies were comprised of peasant levies who were forced to fight by their lords who owned the land which they worked. They were often poorly equipped and badly trained. If they refused to fight they would be thrown off the land or executed. The English longbowman was an exception to this rule since he was ordered by law to learn to use a bow from a young age and to practice with it so he became excellent with it. For the most part, it was not until standing armies were reintroduced that the common infantry man became a potent force as he had been during the Roman era.

    Don't forget that medieval society was divided into three distinct categories; warriors (aristocrats, nobles and knights), men of religion (priests) and workers (farmers and other laborers). The 'warriors' were the heavy cavalry. Rich enough to afford a horse (or many horses) and the best equipment. Indeed, their mounts became a symbol of their status. They were well versed in fighting, since conquest was one of the most viable ways a man could make money and raise himself. I would read about the 'feudal revolution' in France during the 10th century for more information on this. Anyway, for the most part the infantry were just there to make up the numbers on both sides.
  • MrZanyGamingMrZanyGaming Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 657
    edited October 2013
    Leving wrote: »
    Too be fair to him, a few things he said there aren't that far off the truth. Vast swathes of feudal armies were comprised of peasant levies who were forced to fight by their lords who owned the land which they worked. They were often poorly equipped and badly trained. If they refused to fight they would be thrown off the land or executed. The English longbowman was an exception to this rule since he was ordered by law to learn to use a bow from a young age and to practice with it so he became excellent with it. For the most part, it was not until standing armies were reintroduced that the common infantry man became a potent force as he had been during the Roman era.

    Don't forget that medieval society was divided into three distinct categories; warriors (aristocrats, nobles and knights), men of religion (priests) and workers (farmers and other laborers). The 'warriors' were the heavy cavalry. Rich enough to afford a horse (or many horses) and the best equipment. Indeed, their mounts became a symbol of their status. They were well versed in fighting, since conquest was one of the most viable ways a man could make money and raise himself. I would read about the 'feudal revolution' in France during the 10th century for more information on this. Anyway, for the most part the infantry were just there to make up the numbers on both sides.
    Summed up a Medieval army perfectly.
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  • AstalanoAstalano Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 994
    edited October 2013
    Leving wrote: »
    Too be fair to him, a few things he said there aren't that far off the truth. Vast swathes of feudal armies were comprised of peasant levies who were forced to fight by their lords who owned the land which they worked. They were often poorly equipped and badly trained. If they refused to fight they would be thrown off the land or executed. The English longbowman was an exception to this rule since he was ordered by law to learn to use a bow from a young age and to practice with it so he became excellent with it. For the most part, it was not until standing armies were reintroduced that the common infantry man became a potent force as he had been during the Roman era.

    Don't forget that medieval society was divided into three distinct categories; warriors (aristocrats, nobles and knights), men of religion (priests) and workers (farmers and other laborers). The 'warriors' were the heavy cavalry. Rich enough to afford a horse (or many horses) and the best equipment. Indeed, their mounts became a symbol of their status. They were well versed in fighting, since conquest was one of the most viable ways a man could make money and raise himself. I would read about the 'feudal revolution' in France during the 10th century for more information on this. Anyway, for the most part the infantry were just there to make up the numbers on both sides.

    I don't like the stereotype of medieval armies as mountains of peasants as cannon fodder with knights earning glory while the poor die.

    Very romantic and completely untrue.

    If you have farmers you will not send them to war unless:

    A) You're defending against invasion
    B) They can afford their own armour and weapons or you can outfit them with such equipment
    C) You can offer them money or the spoils from campaign

    What's the bloody point of sending untrained and ill-equipped men to die? You're going to assume that your enemy will muster a well-equipped army, so why wouldn't you do the same?

    Plus, if all your farmers are killed, who's going to work the land?

    Medieval armies were based on a FEUDAL SYSTEM, with a king and regions split between lords that had their own private armies. It was your duty as a lord to make sure you had a trained retinue of mounted and unmounted soldiers as well as levies that were able and willing to go to war, and that you can equip to do so.

    If you can't bring well-equipped soldiers to campaign, you leave them behind. That's how the feudal system worked when at war. A lord wouldn't want to waste his own people in a campaign that would be suicidal for them.

    Over time there was more centralization of power, countries and regions got wealthier and soldiers got better equipped as a result. Over time the idea of a national army re-emerged in public consciousness and you started getting true standing armies again, but the medieval armies that had preceded them were deadly and devastating, with a large use of mercenaries selling themselves out to the highest bidder.

    It certainly was not knights followed by canon fodder and if anyone claims this then they obviously haven't the first clue about medieval warfare.
  • JaigenJaigen Junior Member Registered Users Posts: 28
    edited October 2013
    Some people have really little knowledge how medieval warfare worked it seems. of course the knight is the professional in the medieval army but he also brought retinue of man at arms who where also professional soldiers. peasant levies varied greatly. England for example had large amount of freeholders called yeomen which formed the bulk of their archers. they where semi-professional soldiers. Belgium and the Netherlands had the Burgher militia and Italy also had well equipped "peasant" soldiers .

    To say that a medieval army consisted out of untrained peasants and knights is very ignorant. While these medieval armies could beat and perhaps easily a beat a roman legion it could not sustain itself. Concerns at home meant that medieval army could rarely campaign for 10 years straight.
  • SaintDSaintD Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 138
    edited October 2013
    Leving wrote: »
    Too be fair to him, a few things he said there aren't that far off the truth.

    No, they're total bull feces.
    Vast swathes of feudal armies were comprised of peasant levies who were forced to fight by their lords who owned the land which they worked.

    No they weren't. Our ancestors were not a bunch of idiotic chumps. Even when levies were a thing, it was not of peasants. Only freemen would be called to fight, and only in defense of their own land, which they have a vested interest in protecting. These men would still be a militia with some degree of training, and are formed from the more landed and monied class because they would be able to afford appropriate equipment.

    Levies are early medieval only, and even then, still rare. The Normans were not fighting with levies as they gleefully stamped their way into France, across the Med, into Byzantium, all along the First Crusade, and later into England. Neither did Harold Godwinson crush the 'viking' army of Hadraada and meet William in battle soon after with a rabble of amateurs. Charlemagne did not, even earlier, conquer a vast realm from the very peoples who had torn down the oh so precious Roman Empire, and it's Legions, with a bunch of levied idiots, and then use that force to hold off the Caliphate in southern France.

    You spout the usual ignorant 'dark ages' nonsense.
    They were often poorly equipped and badly trained. If they refused to fight they would be thrown off the land or executed.

    Seriously, people like you don't even make sense. Do you bother even thinking about this foolishness? Do you seriously think that your ancestors, raised for war in a time where that entails careful strategic and tactical sense before a terrifying clash of close combat, were as daft as you are?

    No-one would take such a force to the field unless desperate or stupid. Sometimes they may have been the former, but not the latter. Such a force would be routed almost immediately and be irrelevant when there are heavily armed and armoured, professional huscarls also on the field.
    The English longbowman was an exception to this rule since he was ordered by law to learn to use a bow from a young age and to practice with it so he became excellent with it. For the most part, it was not until standing armies were reintroduced that the common infantry man became a potent force as he had been during the Roman era.

    The English longbowman was not an exception to this, he was an exception only to traditional European archery. In actual fact, if you knew anything in the slightest, the Hundred Years War was carried on the back of English men-at-arms, who were often far more disciplined than their French counterparts. In fact, bringing up Longbowmen is beyond stupid, since by the 15th century France and England were throwing professional armies of heavy cavalry, infantry and crossbowmen/longbowmen at each other that would chew up and spit out a Roman Legion even at a significant numbers disadvantage.
    "You there, poster, what is your profession?"
    "TO CRUSH YOUR ENEMIES, DRIVE THEM BEFORE YOU, AND HEAR THE LAMENTATION OF THE WOMEN!"

    SaintD was subsequently ordered to return to Sparta.

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