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Thread: Wedge formation

  1. #1
    Member Member Skomatth's Avatar
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    A lot of computer games and some fiction books seem to talk about using troops in a wedge, however it seems highly unlikely to me. You'd have to have pretty good training to get into one on the battles field and the troops would be less comfortable. Did it ever actually get used?
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  2. #2
    probably bored Member BDC's Avatar
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    I know that some parts of the Roman armies used it - the non-citizen auxilery bits (I think).

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    Swarthylicious Member Spino's Avatar
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    I believe Alexander the Great's elite and Thessalian cavalry may have deployed in wedge formations for charges although I am certain they used a diamond formation more often than not.
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    Senior Member Senior Member BlackWatch McKenna's Avatar
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    Yahr - wedge was used by Phalanx.
    // Black

    // "Did we win?"

  5. #5
    Member Member Michael the Great's Avatar
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    Alright alright but what was it used for??
    Io,Mihai-Voda,din mila lui Dumnezeu,domn al Tarii Romanesti,Tarii Ardealului si a toata tara Moldovei.

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    Senior Member Senior Member Ithaskar FŽarindel's Avatar
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    For charges, mainly against thinly spread lines formations. That way you can puncture the line, then eat it from the inside...

    That's how I see it anyway.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Senior Member Hakonarson's Avatar
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    It depends on what you mean by "wedge".

    Eg phalanxes could apparently use a "wedge" of 256 man units, rather than each unit being in a wedge. Ie each unit formed in it's normal square block, but flanking units were held back to give the whole army a wedge shape. I don't know of any case where it was actually used in battle.

    Army-sized "wedges" were quite common - eg Vikings had a similar formation called a "pigs snout" with axemen in front, javelinmen behind and archers in the rear.

    Individual units in wedge are well attested in a number of eras, and modern re-enactors have found they can indeed be very effective at bursting through lines, but they require some skill and considerable intestinal fortitude.

    Cavalry wedges such as the Greeks used were NOT intended to aid combat - rather they were intended to aid manouvering - the soldier at each corner of the wedge or Rhomboid was an officer, and it was a simple matter to turn the whole unit so that a new officer was at the tip and leading the way. Traditional squares/oblongs had to shift officers around to get the same effect.

    There is a lot of confusion about wedges in classical times because the latin term for wedge is "cuneus", which also means column, so most of the time when you read of a phalanx or other "wedge" it's probably a mis-translation and should read column.

  8. #8
    Member Member Kalle's Avatar
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    Hehe, im in i writing mood today and topics that i like seem to pop up everywhere.

    As in another post i will talk of Charles XII of Sweden. King 1697 to 1718 (born 1682)

    His army referred to as the karoliner after Charles XII:s father Charles XI (Charles in swedish is Karl) who founded this new army. It was a totally new kind of army in the means of recruitment and practise making it the finest in Europe after some lowpoints in the 1670ies.

    Anyway the wedge was used by the cavalry in this army. The riders formed up in a very dense formation knee behind knee thus forming a wedge. It was used to charge home at the enemy (in that formation) with swords. The offense was greatly emphasised by Charles and long drawn out shooting was avoided. Basically the Swedish inf fired one volley when they could see the whites in their enemys eyes and then charged with pikes, bayonets and swords. (of course i dont talk of big twohanded swords but i dont know in english the correct phrase)

    The cavalry even less depended on firearms, they were used as wedgeformation chargetroops.

    I return later with reason for the offensiveness of the Swedish tactics. Now i must work.

    Kalle
    Playing computer strategy games of course, history, got a masters degree, outdoor living and nature, reading, movies wining and dining and much much more.

  9. #9
    Member Member Kalle's Avatar
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    Yes, one possible reason for the offensive tactic being used by Charles XII was the shortage of manpower in Sweden (according to the latest swedish biography of Charles XII). The swedes could not afford long drawn out shootingduels as they could not easily replace their losses and most often fought against armies bigger then the swedish one. Instead the gole was to, in mtw-terms, start a massrout for the enemy which in most cases was possible due to the swedish armys superior training and discipline. An advantage that later in the war (after Poltava 1709) was not so great as the best swedish soldiers were prisoners or dead.

    Kalle
    Playing computer strategy games of course, history, got a masters degree, outdoor living and nature, reading, movies wining and dining and much much more.

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