Warrior Warrior Ancient and Medieval Rules
A Four Horsemen Enterprises Rules Set
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Irregular Hoplites

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Joined: 30 Jun 2006
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 9:54 pm    Post subject: Irregular Hoplites

Let me make clear from the outset that I have no intention AT ALL of criticising the CW lists in any way. They are things of beauty and a joy forever.

I am in the middle of reading Greek Warfare; Myths and Realities by Hans van Wees (Duckworth Press, 2004). This is a wonderfully written book with a number of points I feel sure classical gamers will find interesting. In particular, Part III of his book on recruitment and training of hoplite armies presents a version of the operation of these forces which many gamers will find eye-opening in the extreme. If van Wees is to be believed, nearly all hoplite forces should not only be counted as irregular, but should hardly be able to move in any direction at all except forward and driifting to the left. He maintains that hoplite drill at a unit level was practically non-existent, that march cadence was non-existent, and that unit maneuvers were not attempted because nobody knew what they were. According to this author, hoplites NEVER drilled, during war or peace, and officers were basically powerless to enforce orders even during battle.

The sole exception to all this was, of course, Sparta. Sparta was remarkable, not so much for the precision of its drill, but for the fact that it had some drill at all. The Spartans did some practice drilling, but most of their training was in physical fitness and not in use of weapons or drill as a body. That they did some unit drill EVER was what the other Greeks found astounding.

A Greek army based on this book would make all Hoplites Irreg C/D, with Spartans the exception as Reg B. Other parts of the book argue that only the richest Hoplites ever wore armor of any sort, and that the Bronze cuirass was so flimsy that leather or linen afforded similar or better protection. The basic Athenian or Boeotian hoplite unit would be front rank Irreg C MI, LTS, Sh, rear rank Irreg D LTS, Sh. SPeaking for myself, this is very, very different from the way I have viewed hoplite warfare in the past. I doubt that everyone will find themselves convinced by this book ( I am not at all certain I am, myself) but I definitely found it worth the time to read. It's well written, well researched, and carefully thought out. I reccommend it.

I am ugly, and Mom dresses me funny.
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