"They were all on foot; picked men they were, enthusiastic, armed with keen axes, and other weapons, and with their shields closely locked in front of them, they formed an impenetrable phalanx …"
Medieval pike formations tended to have better success when they operated in an aggressive fashion. The Scots at the Battle of Stirling Bridge (1297), for example, utilized the momentum of their charge to overrun an English army while the Englishmen were halfway through the process of crossing a narrow bridge. And then, at the Battle of Laupen (1339),Bernese pikemen overwhelmed the infantry forces of the opposing Habsburg/Burgundian army with a massive charge before wheeling over to strike and rout the Austro-Burgundian horsemen as well. It was not uncommon for aggressive pike formations to be composed of dismounted men-at-arms, as at the Battle of Sempach (1389), where the dismounted Austrian vanguard, using their lances as pikes, had some initial success against their predominantly halberd-equipped Swiss adversaries. Dismounted Italian men-at-arms also used the same method to defeat the Swiss at the Battle of Arbedo (1422).
image: Depiction of a Macedonian phalanx: this graphic was first published in May, Elmer; Stadler, Gerald; Votaw, John; Griess, Thomas (series ed) (1984).Ancient and Medieval Warfare: The History of the Strategies, Tactics, and Leadership of Classical Warfare.
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