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maad erllin

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  1. maad erllin

    Line relief system

    I seriously don't think a rehearsed chorus line of actors represents adequate proof of something that isn't documented in Roman sources. This is not a proof I'm talking about here, but a mere indicator of "Could it be possible to train average people to do that kind of system. I notice that Brady, like any good officer of the 40's, stresses parade ground precision. I do have objections to this. Firstly, by what mechanism did the front rank realise they were all sufficiently tired and weakened? They were facing the enemy. They were busy in a sword fight. As for the centurion, he was likely in the front rank along with them, and there's no guarantee he was able to observe and command objectively. Secondly, Brady may well be assuming a pyramid commnd structure as he was used to. There is no direct evidence I know of that the Romans used such a system, and the structure of the legion suggests otherwise. Although the Romans stressed individual initiative, it's clear from the sources that there was little of it in practice, and indeed, Roman soldiers who did take the initiative were as likely to be laughed at by their mates. Thirdly, Brady was trained in a different methodology of fighting and his assumptions about how the battle line begaves is a little fanciful. He does not metion how this line relief system dealt with dead and injured legionaries obstructing the process, nor how it coped with rough ground. Fourthly, if, as Brady hints at himself, the relief of the fighting line was done ad hoc, and not by general order, this does not represent a practised drill but simply common sense if you want to present a durable front against the enemy. If Brady was studying battlefield tactics from Caesars time, does he quote where he got this information? Why is Brady regarded as such an informed source? I'm not regarding Brady as "Such an informed source. I precised clearly that it was one of the reachable source I could find and I that wanted to go see HIS references. (Tracking down primary source through second and third who used it) I'm just exposing you my overall process in a kind of "Live" way. Unfortunately, I'm in a bag end here: The person who put the text online didn't put the bibliography. I'll either have to give up that hint track, or try to find the book in real itself so I'll get the bibliography and the end of page notes.
  2. maad erllin

    Line relief system

    Possily they could IF they could get enough men together to try but it took years to be able to get enough Roman re-enactors together in sufficient numbers in one place to even make up a full century and that only happened a few years back. You also have to remember that most Roman re-enactment groups are effectively drill groups rather than combat reenactors. It's the sharp swords you see - 'they don't like it up them' as Corporal Jones would say On this basis trying to reenact an ancient battle with thousands of participants in which such an evolution could be attempted seems a forlorn hope. But still, they were able to do it perfectly in the HBO series "Rome". If you can take mere figurants and actors of a movie to do it perfectly, that shows that in good conditions, against a less organised enemy on foot, it was perfectly possible.
  3. maad erllin

    Line relief system

    Again that all sounds good in theory, but as mentioned before, carrying it out in the heat of battle is another matter altogether: changing conditions, being assailed from different directions, inadvertent compression of the of the units, resulting in an inability of the relief force to make it to the front line. I can easily see the retreating troops crashing into the relieving troops, resulting in chaos. I will be interested in seeing what you are able to glean from that book. I don't question IF they were able to do it. It's pretty obvious that the tactic weren't able to do it every time but I want to see if at least they practiced it in "good conditions" and when they're talking about first line, are they talking about the first rank of soldiers, or the second century in the cohort. We might discuss very long about that subject, but unless I have found ancient autor or illustration telling about this system, I won't discuss if they could do it, since we can't quote a direct source who tells us that they at least tried to do it. (And since De Re Militari of Vegetius couldn't give me an answer.)Further more, Vegetius talked about the space to let to the soldiers.6 feet from rank 1 to rank 2, and 3 feet between each man. That sounds good to me, since when you fight, you're not totally standing on front, but the left side in front, the right side to the back. That lets still some place to filter between men. Again, in good condition where those measures are respected. Did somebody here studied Trajan column, Comentarii de bello gaulico or anything else that could give a hint? P.S. Unfortunately, I'm in a bag end right now, cause the guy who put down the Lt.Col's book on internet didn't put the references of it.
  4. maad erllin

    Line relief system

    I am currently searching primary sources through listing of those ones. I started by reading wikipedia article, find a place where they are talking about that relief system, and see if it's quoted/linked to a source. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_infantry_tactics#cite_note-25 I found that the part I'm interested in: "When the first line as a whole had done its best and become weakened and exhausted by losses, it gave way to the relief of fresh men from the second line who, passing through it gradually, pressed forward one by one, or in single file, and worked their way into the fight in the same way. Meanwhile the tired men of the original first line, when sufficiently rested, reformed and re-entered the fight. This continued until all men of the first and second lines had been engaged. This does not presuppose an actual withdrawal of the first line, but rather a merging, a blending or a coalescing of both lines. Thus the enemy was given no rest and was continually opposed by fresh troops until, exhausted and demoralized, he yielded to repeated attacks." Is from a book "Lt. Col. S.G. Brady, The Military Affairs of Ancient Rome and Roman Art of War in Caesar's Time, The Military Service Publishing Company: 1947" And I'm glad to see they put it on the internet. I'll read his book, and try to pass my way through quotes of autors and sources until they give me an ANCIENT autor in their sources I'll keep you informed of my searchings.
  5. maad erllin

    Legionaries fighting "expediti"

    Let's resume Legionaries fighting "Expediti" Pre-Marian Reform: Poorer soldiers who couldn't afford armours, posted in the Velites. Post-Marian Reform: Light infantry And later, Vegetius says (in De Re Militari, Book 1:19 "The arms of the ancient") "But negligence and sloth having by degrees introduced total relaxation of discipline, the soldiers began to think their armour too heavy, as they seldom put it on. They first requested leave from the Emperor to lay aside the cuirass, and afterward, the helmet. In consequence of this, our troops in their engagement with the Goths were often overwelmed with their shower of arrows. "
  6. maad erllin

    Line relief system

    I already own an english version of De Re Militari, and even found a translation in french, my mother tongue. But I couldn't find it in. This is why I'm asking. I'm searching for primary sources, ancient writer talking about it. Vegetius does talk about the ancient way of placing the troup before the Marian reform, with Hastati, Principes and Triarii(Pilanii). He talks about allowing three square foot to each man and count the exact number of pass a total legion takes, and that terrain doesn't often allow to deploy in large, and that in those case and even in general it's better to keep a very deep front but not large. No line relief system, unless I interpretated the english writing wrong. I shall re-read it but in my mother tongue more deeply.
  7. maad erllin

    Line relief system

    Hello, I would like to know what are the sources that indicate the existence of that line relief system. Could you help me please? Thank you