ANCIENT SHARP PRACTICE - INFAMY! INFAMY!

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Captain Reid
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Re: ANCIENT SHARP PRACTICE - INFAMY! INFAMY!

Post by Captain Reid » Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:10 pm

6s would fit with how cavalry were assigned quarters in camp and barracks. They also base with comparable frontage to infantry in 4s.

So I'd rather 6s.

It seems to me that, like their infantry, most Roman cavalry could operate in close or open order as required. So ideally I'd like the rules to reflect that.
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DougM
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Re: ANCIENT SHARP PRACTICE - INFAMY! INFAMY!

Post by DougM » Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:29 pm

Importantly, they also were used to dismounting, and were not the equal of other cavalry (which was why the Romans were keen to recruit Gauls, Germans or Spaniards as mounted troops) - so treating them similarly to later dragoons might be a way to approach it.
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Re: ANCIENT SHARP PRACTICE - INFAMY! INFAMY!

Post by Peter » Wed Nov 27, 2019 5:06 pm

Cavalry might not be the equal of formed infantry in a battle line, but this is a skirmish, with (hopefully) opportunities for the mounted arm.

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Re: ANCIENT SHARP PRACTICE - INFAMY! INFAMY!

Post by Captain Reid » Wed Nov 27, 2019 6:50 pm

DougM wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:29 pm
Importantly, they also were used to dismounting, and were not the equal of other cavalry (which was why the Romans were keen to recruit Gauls, Germans or Spaniards as mounted troops) - so treating them similarly to later dragoons might be a way to approach it.
I was thinking more of the early principate, so by 'Roman' really meant 'auxiliary' cavalry, which was a bit unclear, sorry.

I'm not sure if the Roman cavalry of the earlier (pre-Marian) Republic were especially unique in their readiness to dismount of required. I'd presume the decision to mount or dismount cavalry would be a pre-game one though (which may be a rash presumption, but I don't think I'm entirely comfortable with the notion of any ancient cavalry getting on and off their horses at will).

I think so long as all cavalry in the game have options to skirmish (well maybe not cataphracts when Rich gets round to them . . .) and to perform closer ordered charges I'll be happy. Obviously earlier German cavalry would be more disposed to charge against enemy cavalry and, as you say, earlier Roman cavalry was a bit mediocre, but I'd see that as being reflected in unit characteristics rather than dictated by general cavalry rules.
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Re: ANCIENT SHARP PRACTICE - INFAMY! INFAMY!

Post by Truscott Trotter » Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:07 pm

Charging all depends on who is wearing the trousers......

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Re: ANCIENT SHARP PRACTICE - INFAMY! INFAMY!

Post by Captain Reid » Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:11 pm

Tell that to Alexander . . .
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Re: ANCIENT SHARP PRACTICE - INFAMY! INFAMY!

Post by DougM » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:09 pm

Roman cavalry was noted for dismounting during battle, either to stiffen their defence or to occupy bad going. (There was a very lengthy discussion about this with Duncan Head and Nigel Tallis a few years back on the AncMed list.) Early Republican cavalry was also noted for 'bridleless charges' which were apparently extremely scary for both sides and resulted in heavy casualties (again to both sides). The best accounts are Polybios (as usual) and he's pretty scathing on the whole. In the 2nd Punic War Roman cavalry usually got the worst of clashes with Numidians.

I'm not sure where you get the impression that cavalry could both skirmish and charge in close order, it was usually an either/or proposition based on equipment up until you get the Late Classical multi-armed Persian and Roman/Byzantine copies. Spear armed cavalry didn't skirmish and javelin armed cavalry (usually) didn't charge, while mounted Bow were almost exclusively an 'Eastern' thing. The Romans certainly don't seem to have seen a need for cavalry other than as scouts and to drive off enemy scouts (up until Carrhae), even Hannibal's supposedly superior cavalry seems to have been used to close gaps, harry a retreat or block an escape, and Roman infantry seem to have been confident of driving off any numbers of cavalry.
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Re: ANCIENT SHARP PRACTICE - INFAMY! INFAMY!

Post by Truscott Trotter » Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:05 am

I would agree Doug.
Pretty hard to close with the Numidians and whack them with a sword when they gallop past at 30 yards and throw a javelin through your chest

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Re: ANCIENT SHARP PRACTICE - INFAMY! INFAMY!

Post by Captain Reid » Thu Nov 28, 2019 1:24 pm

I don't dispute that, as in any era, formed infantry in good order and in good heart could see off any cavalry.

I'm unconvinced that a dozen or even 24 cavalryman are going to be hopping on and off their horses in proximity to the enemy. I can't think of any instances where any did. I fully accept that when talking about hundreds of cavalry, things change. But that's why I'd see an option to dismount being a pre game thing, not a spur of the moment decision.

As for the classification of 'line' versus 'skirmish', I think we may be at slight cross purposes. I'd say any cavalry could be in more open or in closer order. However some would function rather better in one than the other. Weaponry and training and circumstances should determine how a player uses his cavalry (just like with infantry), and I'd see that better served by not dividing cavalry into skirmish and line (and leaving some hard cases) but just having cavalry.
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Re: ANCIENT SHARP PRACTICE - INFAMY! INFAMY!

Post by DougM » Thu Nov 28, 2019 1:39 pm

'I don't dispute that, as in any era, firmed infantry in good order and in good heart could see off any cavalry.'

Don't go there. That's been a contentious subject for as long as I can remember, with no definitive answer. It tends to be a circular argument as proponents of the 'infantry aren't vulnerable' tend to fall back on the 'No True Scotsman' fallacy when presented with examples.
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