From: Roderick and Ellen Robertson <rjremr_at_sierratel.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2001 17:49:45 -0800

> > Should I take this to mean that "mythic tactics" are possible in
> >Glorantha? If so, how commmon are they? Would they be secret or known to
> >most War cults? (I assume that they would only work on a fairly large
> >scale. I also assume they are a Theist thing.)
> My apologies, but I need you to start from scratch for me to understand
> what you mean by "mythic tactics."

I'll field this one -

Yes, the Orlanthi & everyone else have various formations, rituals, weapons, rituals, spells/feats, etc. that will augment their fighter's efforts in full-blown battle. Forming "Kadone's Knot" will drop any fliers in the immediate vicinity from the sky, while The Sacred Circles of Dara Happa will have perfect Discipline (names and effects subject to change by locale).

Knowing what formation the enemy is in is important, as you then have a clue as to their chosen tactics, capabilities and vulnerabilities. Being able to disrupt the enemies rituals befor the battle is a great tactical advantage, as they then have to fight without their "magical support" at the Unit level. Some units perform their rituals before the campaign season begins, giving them less "set up" time at the beginning of the battle, but "locking in" their tactical options before the ground is known.

Yes, there will be a wargame/book that addresses this. Not this year, though.

> Do Orlanthi use Shield Walls? Without it they have NO solid defensive
> field formation......and as all this debate points out the use of 1h Spear
> is pretty dubious without the Wall. Shield Walls are a pretty damn natural
> thing if you ask me......it just kind of happens in the press of
> battle....and if you train into it well its effective. It also leads to
> other more advanced formations...like the BoarSnout V charge....something
> that will break a lot of formations. We all know that Orlanthi will be
> skirmishers....but what about their line of battle?
> Orlanthi are regularly fighting against formations and troop types that
> their Celtic/Saxon/Viking RW equivs never did......and of course Magic has
> major impact also...how do they cope?

I posted a fragment of Thunder Rebels on the HW list (one of them, anyway) a while back that addresed this issue. Yes, the fyrd forms a shieldwall before battle, and the Warriors fall back on it when they lose the Warrior's Battle (There are four phases to a Heortling battle, the Hero's, Warrior's, and Fyrd's Battles and flee/pursue. Not all battles go all the way through the list, some battles stop afetr the Hero's battle, or the Warriors - kind of depends on Morale, what the battle is for, etc.).

> You know, that cost of weapon line is overused, in my opinion. I've read
> that alot, but how much more did an axe cost as opposed to a spear? The
> amount of metal used in an axehead isn't loads more than what is used in a
> spear, after all. And Mike's right, in a scrum, an axe is much more wieldy
> and deadly. But the spear was pervasive, so it must have had its uses.

You might not get a chance to swing a sword/axe/mace in a full-on press, while a spear only requires a forward/back motion of the arm (yes, there's a lot of other stuff going on as well, but a stab is generally more effective and easier than a swing).

> Besides the Greek hoplites, were there any other "shock" infantry types
> using just spear and shield? I can't think of any. And I like to think of
> the Greeks as just being enlightened about fighting. Loads of armor and an
> inefficient close quarters side arm combine to equal not very many
> casualties when hoplites fight hoplites.

Spears were used by the vast majority of armies, and the soldiers in those armies, even up until the last century. (oops, wait, the century before that). Spear armed mahdists managed to break a British sqaure... Often not by "shock" units (that's what chariots/cavalry are for!), but they stop horses better than a skirmish line, and can soak up casualties like no-one's business!

> In every other case I can think of, the spear is either a secondary arm
> meant to be thrown, or used by light troops, probably to skirmish/fence
> with.

Egypt, Sumeria, Assyria, Mycenos, Persia, Greece, Macedon (Hydaspists & others, not Sarrisa-armed Phalangites), pre-Marian reform Rome, Celtic tribes, Germanic tribes, Aztecs, Incas, the list goes on... All used spears as their primary offensive weapon. Swords, axes and maces are usually for the rich/commanders (often the same thing...). Short sidearms (short swords, long knives, hatchets) are more likely to be found on the "soldier in the field).

> All of which means squat in Glorantha where the spear is an effective
> weapon because Yelm was a great warrior.

The spear *is* an effective melee weapon, even without Yelm.


End of The Glorantha Digest V8 #223

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