Pike Phalanx

Field of Glory II is a turn-based tactical game set during the Rise of Rome from 280 BC to 25 BC.
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JaM2013
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Pike Phalanx

Post by JaM2013 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:07 am

One thing i noticed with pikemen is the fact they are quite resistant to flank or rear charges.. I think they need to be quite penalized for any such charge a lot more than ordinary units as their main weapons were only presented to the front, while pikemen themselves were only carrying daggers or shortswords, which was their doom in battles against Romans when Legionaries finally managed to outflank the pikemen. Pike syntagma was nowhere as flexible as maniple or cohort. it couldnt adjust on threat to the sides, which was main reason why these units were deployed in single line, with specialized troops (hipaspists or thorakitai) to protect their vulnerable flanks. On its own, pike phalanx was completely defenseless.

If this is not the issue in the game, some Greek units practically lose their main tactical purpose.. why i'm mentioning this? Because in youtube battles some player are using phalanx unit as part of quincunx formation which is something that would just never work... pike phalanx was not renaissance pike square..

Pike phalanx has its advantages over pike square - where pike square had only 2-3 lines of pikemen presenting their pikes, pike phalanx had 5 ranks, which made it extremely hard to defeat frontally.. but sides or rear, that was exactly the opposite, and pike phalanx couldnt defend themselves with 5m long pike in their hands.. once enemy is close, all they could do, is to throw the pike away and fight with their shortswords..
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Re: Pike Phalanx

Post by devoncop » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:03 am

Now on this one....if you are correct on your assessment of how Phalanx is performing in game then I 100% agree with you. I have also seen a You tuber using individual blocks of Pikemen rather than joining as a Phalanx (though the battle in which they were deployed like this is just starting so have nothing to judge the performance on). Worth keeping an eye on.

JaM2013
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Re: Pike Phalanx

Post by JaM2013 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:09 am

at this point, its hard to assess as i can only say what i saw so far on youtube. It seemed to me like all units get same penalty for being flanked, yet that should not be the case, as some units were quite versatile - for example Roman Legionaries could be ordered to fight enemy to the side or even rear, as they fought in more dynamic formation that could adapt to situations.. On the other side, Pike phalanx was synonym for rigidity, it was irresistible from front, but easily destroyed from flanks or rear.. while it should be defeat-able frontally in rough terrain, where it just cannot present its pikes (Battle of Pydna is good example on that one)
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Re: Pike Phalanx

Post by Latro » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:59 am

I too would agree, with two caveats.
The Roman unit, represented in the game, is a cohort, which would also be deployed in line formation. Not a block that can turn on its heel.
Rome's superiority against a flank attacks would come from the tripple acies deployment.

Secondly, while an attack in the side of a syntagma would indeed be deadly, the direct rear would, in theory, be less vulnerable. This because it was 16 men deep and only the first 8 present their pike. So the rear 8 should be able to turn about easily. Morale would of course be a different matter for a unit in such a situation.

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Re: Pike Phalanx

Post by devoncop » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:33 am

Good points..

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Re: Pike Phalanx

Post by JaM2013 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:36 am

actually, Romans deployed cohorts in various deployments, which depends on actual situation on battlefield. Cohort was not rigid formation, each centurion could deploy its centuria as he seen fit, so in case cohort was threatened on flank, several centurias could just turn and face enemy (if those were not engaged already of course). Actual initiative of lower commanders was what made Roman Legion so effective. It was that initiative that decided battle of Pydna, as small unit commanders took initiative and exploited every gap Macedonian line had, to break through. Paulus didnt had to send orders to his centurions, they acted on themselves - so organization wise, Romans were very flexible.


very good source on flanking attacks can be found here:

http://romanarmy.info/flanks/flanks.html
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Re: Pike Phalanx

Post by Latro » Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:37 am

Well, if not engaged, a couple of syntagmas could also easily change front, they are square blocks too, after all.
As the diagrams on that page show, threats to the flanks of the army were solved from the in depth deployment.

The main difference is on the individual level, when the unit is already engaged. A single legionary in the 3rd row can turn to the left while a phalangist can't.

That's also why I agree on your other point, that there should be penalties for not being in line or bonusses for being in line.
I guess, however, that it would be quite difficult to programm the AI to move his units so that they keep formation.

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Re: Pike Phalanx

Post by JaM2013 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:06 pm

it would be a lot harder to move syntagma (500men) than centuria 60-80 men tactically.. besides, Pikemen were usually deployed in long line, there were no "backup" syntagma behind the main line.
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Re: Pike Phalanx

Post by Latro » Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:35 pm

256 men.
So for two syntagmas it would just take an 'about face' for the second one, march about 20 paces, 'turn right', march 20 paces. 'turn left' for the first and both have now changed position 45 degrees. Same as a centuria would have to do. Although, now the best armoured front troops are now not in the front line.
Of course it would get more difficult with an increase in line length. Then it would be easier to just 'turn left' for the force needed and march the whole lot into a new position.

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Re: Pike Phalanx

Post by JaM2013 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:39 pm

yeah 256men my bad.
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Latro
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Re: Pike Phalanx

Post by Latro » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:32 pm

JaM2013 wrote:yeah 256men my bad.
90 degrees being my bad :?

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Re: Pike Phalanx

Post by JaM2013 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:38 pm

which brings me to another thing - seems like phalanx has 16 men within unit but Legionaries only 8.. yet Cohort was 2x bigger than Syntagma was.. :)
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Re: Pike Phalanx

Post by SnuggleBunnies » Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:05 pm

The scale of the units is that 1 figure = 60 men

JaM2013
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Re: Pike Phalanx

Post by JaM2013 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:38 pm

yes, but some units are bigger than the others for some reason - my example stands - cohort as the base tactical unit of Late Republic was 320-480 men (not always full strength) while pike syntagma was 256 men.. so if Cohort is represented by 8 men, Syntagma should be just 4 men big, but instead, pike phalanx has a formation of 16 men..

Also, Triarii, who were usually in 40men large maniples (Hastati and Principes had 60men) are 2x smaller than Hastati/Principes units - technically, each maniple was 80men strong, but where Hastati and Principes had 60 heavy infantry and 20 Velites per maniple, Triarii had 40 heavy infantry and 40 Velites in every maniple.

There is no simple solution here, anyway i think it would be better to have Triarii concentrated into few full strength units, so you would get 8x Hastati/Principes cohorts(300men) and 2x Triarii Cohorts (400men) per legion + 4 large Velites (300men) units. this would give you 2400 Hastati/Principes; 1200 Velites and 800 Triarii = 4400 men in total

With late Legion, things would be even simpler as this time, all maniples are with 80 heavy infantry, so each cohort has 480men. (6 maniples) so full legion would be 5200 men in total in 10 Cohorts (with double strength First Cohort)
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Re: Pike Phalanx

Post by HudsonGame » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:04 pm

I fought a battle as the Macedonians vs the Gauls. I was shocked as a Gaul Infantry unit attacked one of my Pike Phalanx units on open ground from the front and drove it back with heavy casualties. This happened several times during the game, every time from the front and on open ground. If the attacks had been on the flank or even the rear I would not have been shocked. The Phalanx formation held a huge advantage. On broken ground or from the flank, this advantage dropped away to become a liability. I hope this issue can be addressed. Overall I love the game. Much better than it's predecessor, which I found very clunky.

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Re: Pike Phalanx

Post by GiveWarAchance » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:38 am

Phalanx are tough and can make squares to sit and dominate areas. Trying to attack phalanxs with Roman Hastati or Triarii is pure futility unless you can somehow get a ring of attacks going but that is hard cause they also have heavy cavalry and elephants and stuff.

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Re: Pike Phalanx

Post by rbodleyscott » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:42 am

GiveWarAchance wrote:Phalanx are tough and can make squares to sit and dominate areas.
They can't dominate areas when in square, because units in square have no ZOC.
Richard Bodley Scott

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Re: Pike Phalanx

Post by GiveWarAchance » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:28 am

rbodleyscott wrote:
GiveWarAchance wrote:Phalanx are tough and can make squares to sit and dominate areas.
They can't dominate areas when in square, because units in square have no ZOC.
Oh ya I remember reading that in the manual. The squares are still useful especially cause the massive unit of 900+ troops can sit there as a major threat and they don't mind soaking up ranged fire too much.

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Re: Pike Phalanx

Post by devoncop » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:42 am

I just squeaked a win v an Indian army with massed bowmen using a Seleucid force.Believe me a Phalanx does not want to be sat in a square taking massed bow fire :-)
I had two elements fractured before even making contact with the main Indian line and one was only saved by my C in Ci being put in it which enabled it to rally in the nick of time before it was hit by indian Cav.

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Re: Pike Phalanx

Post by JC_von_Preussen » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:23 am

My MP experience with Phalanx so far :

When I play them : they suck, they get disrupted on impact whatever the odds in my favor and then lose follwing turns.
When I play against them : they are buldozers : they win impact and rout my own units in two-three turns.

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