Advantages of Using Shield and Full Plate Armor

Aug 2015
2,359
uk
#21
I've seen the armoured combat at Ludlow castle and it is truly a sight to behold! There were no instances of broken bones, but then again the fighters don't go out to seriously injure, the weapons are blunted and there can't be the same ferocity and determination that would have been there in a life-or-death fight.

Most two-handed weapons could be used to parry a blow in much the same fashion as a shield would have done.

Of course the other thing about having a shield was that others could more easily and quickly recognise you. Of course on a battlefield this could be a good or a bad thing!
 
Apr 2018
279
USA
#22
Getting back to the subject of differently armed troop types working together, it seems to have been done sometimes much earlier as well, for instance this Scottish depiction of a man with a two-handed spear behind a man using only sword and shield.


It does raise the question though of why infantry in antiquity were typically so uniform. Why didn't the Greek phalanx ever get formed out of a mix of hoplites and two-handed pikemen instead of one or the other? Why didn't Roman cohorts include a mix of legionaries and men with pikes or polearms instead of just legionaries?
 
Oct 2013
6,209
Planet Nine, Oregon
#23
Getting back to the subject of differently armed troop types working together, it seems to have been done sometimes much earlier as well, for instance this Scottish depiction of a man with a two-handed spear behind a man using only sword and shield.


It does raise the question though of why infantry in antiquity were typically so uniform. Why didn't the Greek phalanx ever get formed out of a mix of hoplites and two-handed pikemen instead of one or the other? Why didn't Roman cohorts include a mix of legionaries and men with pikes or polearms instead of just legionaries?
Don't the pikemen need to work in concert, as a unit to be effective? Same with the hoplite phalanx? Didn't later Hellenistic armies in addition to adding different kinds of units and even elephants dealt with different kinds of enemies and adjudted troop types and tactics?
 
Aug 2014
4,357
Australia
#24
Don't the pikemen need to work in concert, as a unit to be effective? Same with the hoplite phalanx? Didn't later Hellenistic armies in addition to adding different kinds of units and even elephants dealt with different kinds of enemies and adjudted troop types and tactics?
Yep. "Mixed unit tactics" didn't mean that the formations contained mixed units. Each formation contained a uniform troop type. It was the only way to maintain cohesion and a contiguous front.
 
Likes: Todd Feinman
Mar 2018
724
UK
#25
Yep. "Mixed unit tactics" didn't mean that the formations contained mixed units. Each formation contained a uniform troop type. It was the only way to maintain cohesion and a contiguous front.
But it isn't the only way to maintain cohesion. Later groups were able to maintain cohesion with mixed weapons in a single formation: the examples given above are one, I believe the Persians had mixed spear/archer formations, and the swiss pike/crossbow square another.

I suspect the reason why there were no pikes-only and shield-and-sword-only hoplites is more to do with social structure. You were a hoplite because you could afford the kit and had the social status. A shield is more expensive than a pike, and if you're in the front row you need the heaviest armour too. Ergo, the shield-bearers would be drawn from the higher social class, and there's no way they'd accept such an unheroic and passive role.
 
Aug 2014
4,357
Australia
#28
An exception doesn't prove a rule. In any case, does any of this have any relevance to the original question? Do we have any other examples of shields being used in conjunction with full plate?
 

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