April 25, 2010

The First couple of Battlegroups

To Start off the Carthaginians i figured i needed to work on the core units of the army first.  For the Carthys this is the African Spearmen.  - "Pics Coming soon"

In Field of Glory the African spearmen choice is a compulsory one.  They are classed as Heavy Foot, Protected, Average Quality, Drilled, Offensive Spearmen and come in a unit of 6-8 bases. Im using two of these Battle Groups in my army.

Below is an piece of gathered history thats being used in a computer game mod called RTR VII (for Rome total War).  Its so good i wanted to reprint it here fully.  - This is in no way intended to steal the RTR teams hard work and the excellent information is provided here to make it avalible to others who have an intrest in ancient history and may never come across their mod site.  Anyone who is interested in the total war series of computer games would do well to check out their Mod, its really good!


The African Infantry were the most effective line infantry fielded by Carthage during the period of the Second Punic War. They were largely recruited from among the native Libyan population of Africa, but also from among the ‘Poeni’ and ‘Carthaginenses’, these being the Punic and Liby-Phoenician populations of Carthage and the Phoenician colonies in the West.




The panoply of the African Infantry included the Gallic-style large oval or oblong shield (Latin: ‘scutum’; Greek: ‘thueros’), and a coat of chainmail (lorica). More open helmet types, enabling better sight and sound, became common, such as the Montefortino helmet, derived from Gallic helmets, and found both with and without cheek-pieces. It was now important for heavy infantry to have better sight and sound on the battlefield, given the new emphasis of individual combat and more complex tactical manoeuvres on the battlefield. While the main hoplite weapon, the thrusting spear (Latin: ‘hastae’; Greek ‘dory’), continued to be found in the equipment of heavy infantry, it was slowly superseded in importance by the cut-and-thrust sword. In addition, heavy infantry were now armed with heavy throwing spears (pilum or the Iberian all-iron soliferrum) and javelins. In this way, heavy infantry came to combine the roles of classical peltasts (heavy skirmishers) and hoplites. Given that it is sometimes thought the Romans themselves adopted the pilum and gladius from the Iberian mercenaries they encountered during the First Punic War, it is no surprise that such equipment was also adopted by the Carthaginians.


Hence, in the 240s and 230s, Hamilcar Barca and his Carthaginian successors built their armies around a heavy infantry core that more closely resembled that of their Roman enemies rather than close-order spearmen.




HISTORICAL BACKGROUND


Throughout the third century BC there was a steady homogenisation of military tactics and equipment throughout the Western Mediterranean. This had led to the evolution of a ‘western military tradition’ in the Hellenistic Age, a military tradition that was distinct from the Macedonian-style phalanx warfare that predominated in Greece, Egypt and Asia following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. This 'western military tradition' was marked by a largely homogenous panoply and fighting style by the middle of the third century BC, which was the product of Italian, Spanish and Gallic influences, and which was exemplified by the Roman armies of the Republican period. The First Punic War (264-241 BC) and the Barcid conquests in Iberia (237-219 BC) consolidated Carthage as a practitioner of this ‘western military tradition’ of warfare.


Throughout the western Mediterranean the traditional classical hoplite phalanx that featured in Roman, Punic and Etruscan armies in the fifth and fourth centuries BC was steadily abandoned in favour of more flexible tactical formations, which required more flexible heavy infantry, and a fighting style that emphasised swordsmanship and heavy throwing spears.


Until c. 240 BC the Carthaginian army essentially fought as a hoplite army; to enable Carthage to field reliable heavy infantry with which to combat the hoplite armies of the Siciliot-Greeks, she relied upon several sources of military manpower; her own citizens, Libyan subjects, “barbarian” mercenaries (such as Gallic, Ligurian and Iberian) and Greek mercenaries. Carthage employed mercenary Greek hoplites to provide it with reliable heavy infantry throughout its wars in Sicily in the fifth and fourth centuries BC. This practice continued during the First Punic War with Rome; Greek mercenaries are specifically mentioned as forming a part of the Punic garrison at Lilybaeum in 250 BC (Polybius, 1.43.1), and Carthaginian recruiting agents in Greece famously recruited a company of Greek mercenaries that included the Spartan mercenary Xanthippos. However, the practice of hiring large numbers of Greek mercenaries had probably ceased by the end of the First Punic War, and had most certainly ceased completely by the end of the Mercenary War in 237 BC.


Some scholars persist in imagining that Carthaginian and Libyan heavy infantry fought in the manner of classical hoplites or even as Macedonian-style pikemen during the Second Punic War because Polybius often describes bodies of Punic infantry as a ‘phalanx’ (Polybius, 1.33.6; 15.12.7), yet this is anachronistic; Polybius clearly uses the term ‘phalanx’ to describe bodies of men fighting en masse – and he also uses the term to describe Roman hastati (15.12.7). Asclepiodotus also describes bodies of cavalry and light infantry as ‘phalanxes’, suggesting that by the second century BC the term ‘phalanx’ had become synonymous with the term ‘unit’ (Asclep. 1.4).


Unlike Hellenistic Greece and the Successor Kingdoms of Asia and Egypt, the Carthaginians did not adopt the ‘Macedonian Phalanx’. Instead, the classical hoplite heavy infantry fielded by Carthage in the fourth century BC disappeared in favour of the flexible heavy infantry, infantry armed in the increasingly homogenous panoply prevailing throughout the Western Mediterranean in this period. It should be noted that the classical hoplite panoply also disappeared at this time from the Roman (and Etruscan) armies in Italy in the fourth century BC, in large measure as a result of the Roman experience of fighting its Gallic and Oscan (especially Samnite) enemies in the Italian peninsula.


It was the native subjects of Carthage, referred to respectively by Polybius and Livy as ‘Libyans’ (Libyes) and ‘Africans’ (Afri), that supplied the heavy infantry core of Punic armies after the First Punic War. In the sixth century BC the Carthaginians had ruthlessly conquered the native Libyan chiefdoms located in modern Tunisia; these Libyans were populous, and practised a more settled form of agriculture than their pastoralist cousins, such as the Numidians, Moors and Gaetulians. Carthage was notorious for harshly treating her Libyan subjects, and Carthage had suffered major revolts among her Libyan subjects at various times – including during the Mercenary War of 241-237 BC. Carthage lacked a class of small farmers working land outside the city, and so most of the best agricultural land had been formed into large estates owned by Carthaginian aristocrats and worked by harshly treated Libyan peasants. Libyan villages were forced to pay a crushing level of taxes to Carthage; apparently a quarter of the Libyan crops were demanded in tribute in times of peace, and half in times of war (Polybius 1.72.1-2). In addition, Carthage levied her subject Libyan communities for military manpower, and these conscripts seem to have been equipped by the Carthaginian state, rather than being responsible for supplying their own gear, if the surrender of 200,000 Carthaginian cuirasses to Rome during the Third Punic War is historical (Polybius, 36.6.7; App. Pun. 80). Carthage would never have required so many cuirasses, given that its total population of men, women and children probably did not exceed 400,000. Instead, these cuirasses were likely intended for Carthage’s subject levies.


In describing the battle of Illipa, fought in 206 BC during the Second Punic War, Livy asserts that the ‘Carthaginian’ and ‘African’ heavy infantry were “fairly matched in courage and arms” with the Romans; at one critical stage Livy says “the veteran Carthaginians and Africans, the strength of the enemy army, had not even reached the point when they could throw their spears (Livy, 28.14).” This literary evidence strongly suggests that the ‘Carthaginians’ and ‘Africans’ were equipped and fought like their Roman adversaries; certainly neither hoplites nor phalangites would “throw their spears” prior to engaging. It is for this reason that Hannibal's ‘Africans’ could so readily be re-equipped with Roman spoils, the best of Roman arms, after the battles of Trebia and Lake Trasimene (Polybius, 3.87.3; 1.14.1; Livy, 22.46.4). Indeed, Livy describes a re-equipment so complete that the Carthaginians could have been mistaken for Roman troops. “One might have taken the Africans to be a Roman battle line, for they were armed with captured weapons, some taken at the Trebia, but most of them at Trasimene” (22.46.4). The accounts of Livy and Polybius of the fighting at Lake Trasimene certainly support the hypothesis that the Libyan infantry fought as swordsmen; it is difficult to believe that troops armed as either classical hoplites or Macedonian-style phalangites could have charged downhill from ambush to attack the Romans from all sides (Polybius, 3.84.1-4; Livy, 22.4).


It is hard to imagine how the African Infantry could be mistaken for Romans unless they fought with the scutum (theuros) shield. If the Africans fought as classical hoplites (with the large, round hoplon shield) or as Macedonian-style pikemen (phalangites) with the long pike (sarissa) then it is impossible that they could have been mistaken for a Roman battle line. Nor could they have been re-equipped so readily with Roman arms and armour. If Hannibal’s infantry were trained to fight as close-order phalangites in the ‘Macedonian system’, then he would hardly have embarked upon the task of re-equipping them to fight in a completely new manner in 217 BC, while in the middle of a campaign, in enemy territory!


In order for the Africans to have the same appearance as a Roman battle line required not only that they were equipped in similar panoply as the Romans, but that they also used a similar tactical deployment. Like Roman legionaries, the African Infantry were organised into small, maniple-type formations; the ancient sources refer to such formations as speirai. Such formations made extensive use of standards and officers to command and control the battle line; Livy mentions Punic standards in Carthaginian armies (i.e. Livy, 30.18) and as being taken by the Romans as trophies. The presence of standards and the ability to replace or reinforce tired infantry on the battle line with fresh troops (i.e. Livy, 27.2), in a manner similar to that of the Roman infantry, strongly suggest that the Carthaginians organised their African Infantry into a system of units and sub-units. The officers of these Libyan units and sub-units were likely citizens of Carthage. Interestingly, it must be noted that Greek armies did not use standards at all during the Classical and Hellenistic periods. Hence the very presence of standards in the Punic army suggests the absence of troops equipped and drilled as ‘Macedonian-style’ pikemen.


There are references in Livy to bodies of ‘Poeni’ and ‘Carthaginenses’ also serving in the Punic armies in the Iberian Peninsula; these were likely civic levies from the Punic-Phoenician towns of Iberia, but they may have also included heavy infantry recruited from among the citizens of Carthage itself (Livy, 28.14.4). Just as Carthaginians and Libyans were equipped and fought in the same manner at the Crimesus in 341 BC, so too is it likely that they were equipped and fought in the same manner in the Second Punic War.

Hopefully everyone reading this found this information as interesting and useful as i did - once again thanks to the RTR team for doing such great research.
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