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War and Military History War and Military History Forum - Warfare, Tactics, and Military Technology over the centuries


View Poll Results: Best Infantry of History
Spartan Hoplites 20 8.97%
Theban Hoplites 0 0%
Macedonian/Hellenistic Phalanx 16 7.17%
Roman Legion/Auxilia/Comiatenses 73 32.74%
Libyan-Phoenecian Mercenaries 1 0.45%
Celtic/Gallic warriors 1 0.45%
Dacian Falxmen 2 0.90%
Germanic tribe warriors 2 0.90%
Viking Warriors 8 3.59%
English Men-of-Arms 4 1.79%
French Men-of-Arms 24 10.76%
Italian Men-of-Arms 1 0.45%
German Landsknecht 10 4.48%
Swiss Pikemen 22 9.87%
Spanish Terico troops 14 6.28%
Scottish Highlanders 7 3.14%
Ottoman Jannisaries 13 5.83%
Indian Rajput warriors 7 3.14%
Medieval Chinese Heavy infantry 12 5.38%
Aztec Warriors 0 0%
Mayan Warriors 0 0%
Incan warriors 0 0%
Appache Warriors 3 1.35%
Russian Streltsy 4 1.79%
Ming Dynasty Infantry 5 2.24%
Qing Dynasty Infantry 5 2.24%
British Line Infantry 21 9.42%
French Line Infantry 40 17.94%
Prussian Line infantry 16 7.17%
Russian Line Infantry 3 1.35%
Swedish Line Infantry 7 3.14%
American Line Infantry 3 1.35%
Zulu warriors 4 1.79%
Sioux Warriors 1 0.45%
US Infantry(modern) 34 15.25%
British Infantry(modern) 11 4.93%
French Infantry(modern) 11 4.93%
German Infantry(modern) 15 6.73%
Russian Infantry(modern) 7 3.14%
other 17 7.62%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 223. You may not vote on this poll

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Old April 18th, 2015, 07:59 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by M9Powell View Post
Not claiming to have won any spelling bees. My father & several uncles fought them. I served with many other Americans that fought them. Attitudes about them vary, from hatred to grudging admiration, but no one rates them as incompetent. We have studied and adopted most of their weapons and tactics. Poorly commanded at times and vastly outnumbered, their skill in defense on the eastern front is amazing.
How is it possible for you to have served with WWII vets? When did you enlist? You mention in previous threads that you served 25 years and retired in 2012. Only general officers and select E9s enlisted can do more than 30 years, so most of them would have been gone by the mid 70s at the latest.

BTW, US Army and Marine Corps infantry have done little in adapting German infantry tactics of WWII, other than adopting a GPMG, which we employ much differently that the Germans did.
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Old April 18th, 2015, 08:15 AM   #22

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This is a French knight in the 100 Year War time period:

Click the image to open in full size.

This is a Swiss Pike formation:

Click the image to open in full size.

One of these is better prepared to withstand an arrow storm than the other. In a good position, protected by either men-at-arms or by defensive positions such as height, ditches, or stakes, then it would be difficult to dislodge a large force of archers using a pike charge. Meanwhile, the men of the pike square, largely unarmored and shieldless, would take significant casualties from those same archers.

Problems arise as it takes much more time to create an archer than it does a pike-bearing infantryman. And that pike bearing infantry are also capable defeating heavily armored infantry and cavalry, when joined by halberd-men and musketeers.
With respect the archers in the victories over the French had the luxiory of some sort of formality observed by both sides on the battle field. The Swiss however,were not afforded the compliments of war as they were regarded as low born and therefore not worthy of quarter,thus they observed the same idea and spared nobody.This fierce reputation often pre-emted a psychological effect on their enemies.This combined with advancing at "storm pace" which was equated similar to the advance of close order knights,often from concealed or sheltered givinthem an advantage of surprise.They also were not often slowed by field obstacles,they bypassed a palisade with artillery emplacements at the Battle of Murten and at Dornatch scaled a pallisaded ditch to defeat an Imperial army.
Nevertheless,their bravado was their undoing and led to heavy defeats to combined arms in the Italian wars.
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Old April 18th, 2015, 08:40 AM   #23
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There has never been a better infantryman than the American during the Vietnam War.
Based on?
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Old April 18th, 2015, 08:40 AM   #24
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With respect the archers in the victories over the French had the luxiory of some sort of formality observed by both sides on the battle field. The Swiss however,were not afforded the compliments of war as they were regarded as low born and therefore not worthy of quarter,thus they observed the same idea and spared nobody.This fierce reputation often pre-emted a psychological effect on their enemies.This combined with advancing at "storm pace" which was equated similar to the advance of close order knights,often from concealed or sheltered givinthem an advantage of surprise.They also were not often slowed by field obstacles,they bypassed a palisade with artillery emplacements at the Battle of Murten and at Dornatch scaled a pallisaded ditch to defeat an Imperial army.
Nevertheless,their bravado was their undoing and led to heavy defeats to combined arms in the Italian wars.
Murten is hardly a proper battle to use as an example, as there were about 900 total archers present (against 25,000), they weren't even utilized in the main part of the battle, were thrown together in a hasty last stand line, and then were overrun before they even loosed a volley. Hardly a battle where they were utilized properly. You're basically taking the worst case scenario for archers and the best case scenario for attacking pikemen/halberdmen.

From a prepared defensive position, and supported by men-at-arms or other heavy infantry, bowmen could decimate an attacking pike unit with their arrows. There are many examples of this, such as Falkirk, where casualties in the Scottish pike units, the schiltrons, caused by bowmen, created gaps capable of being exploited by cavalry.

The only effective pike formations against bowmen are those fully (or nearly completely) encased in plate armor (which was common in the 15th and early 16th century). But many later pike and shot units lacked armor, other than helmets and maybe a cuirass, making them exceedingly vulnerable to missile fire. But by that time frame, the age of the bow had mostly ended, replaced by musketry.
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Old April 18th, 2015, 09:35 AM   #25

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Originally Posted by Haardrada View Post
The Swiss Pikemen/Halberdiers were the best in their day,their command was a combined comittee of experienced officers with hardy,wild but well trained professional soldiers that defeated mounted knights on an open battlefield.Even the Landschnechts that were created to oppose them never had anywhere near the same elan in battle.After their demise in the Italian wars they were prominent in most European armies and in the French wars of religion.Even defending the Toulieries to the last man in the French revolution.Swiss regiments served in several armies during the Napoleonic wars,even today the Pope still has a Swiss guard.
The Swiss were eventually surpassed by the Landsknechts in the 1520s and the latter failed to adapt to new warfare techniques: they strongly opposed to increase the numbers of arquebusiers in their ranks and their longer pikes prevented them from rapidly change formation.
The hubris of the Swiss was also another problem, as shown by the Battle of Bicocca.
Still, the Swiss sported the best European heavy infantry for at least 50 years.
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Old April 18th, 2015, 09:38 AM   #26
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How is it possible for you to have served with WWII vets? When did you enlist? You mention in previous threads that you served 25 years and retired in 2012. Only general officers and select E9s enlisted can do more than 30 years, so most of them would have been gone by the mid 70s at the latest.

BTW, US Army and Marine Corps infantry have done little in adapting German infantry tactics of WWII, other than adopting a GPMG, which we employ much differently that the Germans did.
Yep, big difference between the WWII German infantry and American. The Germans used their GPMG as the primary weapon and supporting infantry largely equipped with K98 bolt actions. Fast firing MG.

The American forces used semiautomatic rifles supported by machine guns.
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Old April 18th, 2015, 09:58 AM   #27
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Yep, big difference between the WWII German infantry and American. The Germans used their GPMG as the primary weapon and supporting infantry largely equipped with K98 bolt actions. Fast firing MG.

The American forces used semiautomatic rifles supported by machine guns.
Yeah, we never put the emphasis on the machine gun like the Germans did. Back then and now, we have a more of a riflemen emphasis, where the machine guns support the riflemen, not the other way.

The US military infantry tactics of the squad level actually resemble the Chinese Communist fireteam tactics, borrowed from the 1st Raider Battalion of the USMC, who then spread it to the rest of the Corps, who then spread it to the rest of the military. Each team would have some sort of automatic weapon, like a BAR, then a modified M14, later a M249 SAW and M27 IAR, in addition to a rifleman, grenadier, and team leader. Depending on the branch, either two or three teams made up a squad, with three to four squads making a platoon. Machine guns were usually either in their own squads or sections controlled by the platoon commander, or in a separate platoon altogether, with gun teams attached to each platoon.
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Old April 18th, 2015, 10:03 AM   #28
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Yeah, we never put the emphasis on the machine gun like the Germans did. Back then and now, we have a more of a riflemen emphasis, where the machine guns support the riflemen, not the other way.
Which way do you think is more effective/superior?
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Old April 18th, 2015, 10:49 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by attila006 View Post
How is it possible for you to have served with WWII vets? When did you enlist? You mention in previous threads that you served 25 years and retired in 2012. Only general officers and select E9s enlisted can do more than 30 years, so most of them would have been gone by the mid 70s at the latest.

BTW, US Army and Marine Corps infantry have done little in adapting German infantry tactics of WWII, other than adopting a GPMG, which we employ much differently that the Germans did.
Mandantory retirement is at age 60 & some serve longer with a waiver. So if a vet was age 20 in 1945, he could serve until1985 without a waiver. But lots of them lied and enlisted early & got waivers. So let's say a SGM I know enlisted in 1945 at the ripe old age of 15. He then served untill age 62 with a waiver. That puts him serving untill the 90s. In the 1st fracus in Iraq lots of guys in their 60s were recalled to active duty. I know of 1 that had the staples from open heart surgery removed in Saudi .

Last edited by M9Powell; April 18th, 2015 at 10:52 AM.
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Old April 18th, 2015, 10:49 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Haardrada View Post
...there are instances of the English archers being ineffective against French cavalry charges...
Would that be when French armorers were able to manufacture hardened steel armor that arrows couldn't penetrate?

Quote:
...the Swiss encountered English archers on a few occasions and came off best.The Gugglerkrieg 1375 saw forces from Lucern and Berne successively defeat an English chevacher...
Battle of Gugglerkrieg ?

Quote:
...the Burgundian army of Charles the Bold routed at the battle of Granson and later at Murten 1476 had substantial English contingents.
I looked this 1476 battle up - yes there were about 900 English archers present but they weren't defeated by a frontal assault by the pikemen

Let's see how Swiss pikemen would do advancing into Edward III
s army
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