In the combat that ensued, Roman discipline, heavy shield, armour and training were to give them important advantages in combat. When the enemy closed, the hastati would charge. Polybius (ca. Most military commanders of the day simply had their troops rush wildly at the enemy, relying on superior numbers, better soldiers, or luck to carry the day. The Romans themselves had retained some aspects of the classical phalanx (not to be confused with the Macedonian phalanx) in their early legions, most notably the final line of fighters in the classic "triple line", the spearmen of the triarii. The near-defeat of Caesar in his Gallic campaign confirms this latter pattern but also shows the strengths of Roman tactical organization and discipline. When the Romans faced phalangite armies, the legions often deployed the velites in front of the enemy with the command to contendite vestra sponte (attack), presumably with their javelins, to cause confusion and panic in the solid blocks of phalanxes. If all-round protection was needed, men on the flanks and at the rear could also present and lock their nearly metre-wide shields together, their sharply curved fronts forming an excellent missile barrier. The Roman army was the ancient world’s master of formation movement, with a menu of pre-drilled movements at the general’s fingertips. This approach included a tendency towards standardization and systematization, practical borrowing, copying and adapting from outsiders, flexibility in tactics and meth… Census data from the Roman Kingdom shows that the soldiers were Hoplites in a Phalanx. Without such long-term cohesion and leadership, however, their performance was uneven. Modern scholars such as Michael J Taylor state that the gaps between the maniples were 10–20 meters. Often this rapid sequence of deadly attacks proved the key to victory. Shield and sword at close quarters on such terrain neutralized the long pike, and supplementary Macedonian weapons (lighter armour and a dagger-like short sword) made an indifferent showing against the skilful and aggressive assault of the heavy Roman infantrymen. Meanwhile, auxilia archers were deployed on the wings of the legion in front of the cavalry, in order to defend their withdrawal. , A general three-line deployment was to remain over the centuries, although the Marian reforms phased out most divisions based on age and class, standardized weapons and reorganized the legions into bigger manoeuvre units like cohorts. The camp would then be burned to the ground to prevent its later occupation and use by the enemy. Traders, hucksters, prostitutes, and other miscellaneous service providers would also follow the marching legion. The Roman polity's structuring, however, produced a steady supply of men willing and able to lead troops in battle- men that were held accountable for defeat or malfeasance.  Eventually one side began to break down, and it is then that the greatest slaughter began. Such triumphs secured Roman hegemony in Greece and adjoining lands. If Polybius meant this, then each Roman soldier would have nine feet between them and the other soldiers. The advantage of the Roman system is that it allowed the continual funnelling or metering of combat power forward over a longer period—massive, steadily renewed pressure to the front—until the enemy broke. Roman military tactics are still studied at military schools and staff colleges like Sandhurst to this day. The Roman commander, however, mobilized his 10th Legion as a blocking force to cover his withdrawal and after some fighting, the tribesmen themselves withdrew back to Gergovia, taking several captured legion standards. The maniples in the army could act totally independently, allowing commanders to use the element of surprise to its maximum. Surprisingly, the least-seasoned men, hastati, made up the front rank. The same procedure was followed when the triarii was phased out - intervals for manoeuvre, reforming and recovery- solid line to engage. Rome's War in Parthia_ Blood in the Sand-Vallentine Mitchell p 60, Hugh Elton, 2012, Frontiers of the Roman Empire, pg 36-131, Michael Fronda (2010) Between Rome and Carthage.. p. 38, Military establishment of the Roman kingdom, Military establishment of the Roman Republic, Military establishment of the Roman Empire, The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World, From Sumer to Rome: The Military Capabilities of Ancient Armies, Visual Evidence for Roman Infantry Tactics, http://www.roman-empire.net/army/training.html, http://www.therthdimension.org/AncientRome/Roman_Army/Training/training.htm.  Roman sources reflect on the prejudices of their times, but nevertheless testify to the Gauls' fierceness and bravery. Vegetius talked about Roman soldiers having three feet between them. A century might be supported by wagons in the rear, each drawn by six mules, and carrying tools, nails, water barrels, extra food and the tent and possessions of the centurion- commanding officer of the unit. The affair was decided in less than two hours, with a comprehensive defeat for the Macedonians. A rallying of about 10,000 disenchanted Aeudan tribesmen (engineered by Vercingetorix's agents) created a threat in Caesar's rear, including a threat to a supply convoy promised by the allied Aeudans, and he diverted four legions to meet this danger. Because falling back on the triarii was an act of desperation, to mention "returning to the triarii" ("ad triarios rediisse") became a common Roman phrase indicating one to be in a desperate situation. However, they were no longer used in an offensive role but primarily for the pre-battle show - riding back and forth and hurling insults. Some equipment was moved by pack animals and carts. Entrenchment equipment included a shallow wicker basket for moving earth, a spade and/or pick-axe like dolabra or turf cutter, and two wooden staves to construct the next camp palisade. At Pydna the contenders deployed on a relatively flat plain, and the Macedonians had augmented the infantry with a sizeable cavalry contingent. On June 22, 363 a large-scale clash occurred near the town of Maranga. , Roman discipline, organization and logistical systemization sustained combat effectiveness over a longer period. The reasons why the army was particularly effective in bringing foreign lands under the Roman yoke are elucidated below: Discipline. The Emperor would have his own personal Comitatenses army to help fight rebellions. A tribune or other officer often accompanied the vanguard to survey the terrain for possible camp locations.  From a larger standpoint, as the battle waxed and waned, fresh units might be deployed through the intervals to relieve the men of the first line, allowing continual pressure to be brought forward. Local peasants or farmers might have their supplies taken from them in order to supply the Roman legion. This maneuver would result in soldiers having a checkerboard formation. Such practices as permitting the settlement of massive, armed barbarian populations on Roman territory, the watering down of the privilege of citizenship, increasing use of alien contingents, and relaxation or removal of traditionally thorough and severe Roman discipline, organization and control, contributed to the decline of the heavy infantry. At the town of Gergovia, resource denial was combined with a concentration of superior force and multiple threats from more than one direction. Behind the vanguard came the main body of heavy infantry. The Roman Army: Strategy, Tactics, and Innovation The Roman Army is widely regarded as one of the most effective fighting forces in human history, influencing the development of military tactics for generations afterwards. However, there were several alterations to this formation to adapt to different attack styles from the enemy. 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