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Greatest Historic Change In Tactics

Subdeacon Joe

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I have a bachelor's degree in history; one of my professors taught medieval warfare.  He claimed the same thing as the OP.


He also claimed the invention of the pike (aka "halberd") led to the concept of representative government.  His chain of logic actually makes sense to me.


In medieval Europe, the feudal system was all they had ever known since the fall of the Roman empire.  It was deeply ingrained that some families were destined to rule others, and they had a right to do so.  These ideas were proven on every battlefield when the nobles, who were the only ones who could afford armor and weapons as well as having the ability  to devote their lives to studying how to use them, were invincible to regular infantry.  The infantry was composed of peasants with no training.  Knights obliterated infantry repeatedly, and it solidified the idea that they were above others.


When the pike was invented, the most common tactic employed by them was "hedgehog" formations.  These were ovular formations of pikemen.  The outer ring and sometimes second ring of pikemen held their weapons level, creating an impenetrable shield.  Even armored knights couldn't get through.  The inner rings held their pikes pointed straight up.  When the armored knights charged the hedgehog and got trapped by the outer rows, the inner rows would drop their pike axe heads onto them.  The pikes were long and heavy enough that it cut through the knights' armor.


Suddenly, peasants could defeat nobles.  My former professor claimed that this development put the idea in peoples' heads that no one is above another person, that all men are created equal, and that nobles attained their positions of privilege by force -- but that force could be overcome.  These initial ideas eventually led to philosophers like Locke and Rousseau, who influenced our Founding Fathers.  

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