Strengths & Weaknesses
- Very good defensive unit
- Low damage but average armour penetration
- Average attack
- Good morale
- Very vulnerable when not in phalanx
Historically, the Macedonian phalanx innovated the use of the fearsome sarissa: a pike of up to 21 feet in length. First introduced to the army by Alexander the Great’s father, Phillip II, the sarissa was cumbersome but created an almost impregnable phalanx formation. Presenting a wall of pikes from five files of men, it protected more of the front ranks and created a much bigger killing zone than the traditional hoplite phalanx. Defensively, the Macedonian phalanx could not only withstand and repel any cavalry or infantry charge to the front, it could also deflect incoming arrows, as the back rows kept their pikes vertical until needed. Arrows were caught up in the raised pikes and fell harmlessly to the ground, where they could be repurposed by the deadly Cretan archers fielded to support the pikes. Thusly, the Macedonian attack, whilst slow-moving, could also be unstoppable: if coordinated and disciplined, it simply steamrollered its enemies from the field. Following his untimely death, the 'Diadochi' - Alexander's 'Successors' - continued to use and further refine pike phalanx combat.