History Main / CallThatAFormation

28th Oct '17 1:31:58 PM FordPrefect
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** [[ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice Lancers]] will be used as grinder units, hiding behind the shields and trying to whittle down the opponent's HPs or enforcing some side of the lines by forcing the enemy back with a low lance or halberd swipe that's easily dodged, but still will have you take a step back.

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** [[ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice Lancers]] will be used as grinder units, hiding behind the shields and trying to whittle down the opponent's HPs HitPoints or enforcing some side of the lines by forcing the enemy back with a low lance or halberd swipe that's easily dodged, but still will have you take a step back.
19th Aug '17 12:48:41 AM jormis29
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* Thoroughly averted in ''Series/TotalWar'', which demonstrates why this is a bad idea. You see you get several units who stay true to this trope... and they tend to get massacred horribly in melee. Equally going into scatter formation and then charging is a good way of getting your soldiers killed off. Generally, units that were in formation are and units that shouldn't be in formation aren't.

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* Thoroughly averted in ''Series/TotalWar'', ''VideoGame/TotalWar'', which demonstrates why this is a bad idea. You see you get several units who stay true to this trope... and they tend to get massacred horribly in melee. Equally going into scatter formation and then charging is a good way of getting your soldiers killed off. Generally, units that were in formation are and units that shouldn't be in formation aren't.
6th Jun '17 12:55:55 PM BeerBaron
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* Played straight in every one of ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' games. At first, it appears to be simple GameplayAndStorySegregation when the greatest in-game battles are all depicted with no formations at all. However, given the power that mages can wield in the game, a tightly packed formation could be obliterated with a few area-effect spells.
** [[AllThereInTheManual Background material]] found in the games do reveal that military units such as the Imperial Legions have formations such as shield walls.

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* Played straight in every one of In ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' games. At first, it appears series, this is a major case of GameplayAndStorySegregation. In-game, no attention is paid at all to be simple GameplayAndStorySegregation when formation. [=NPCs=] will run straight at the nearest enemy with no real regard for tactics. However, tactics and formations are frequently mentioned in-universe. For example, these are one of the greatest in-game battles strengths of the [[BadassArmy Imperial Legion]]. While individually, Imperial soldiers are all depicted with no not on the level of the [[ProudWarriorRace warriors of other races]] like the [[HornyVikings Nords]] and [[MasterSwordsman Redguards]], their use of formations at all. However, given like the power that mages can wield in the game, a tightly packed formation could be obliterated with a few area-effect spells.
** [[AllThereInTheManual Background material]] found in the games do reveal that military units such as the Imperial Legions have formations such as
shield walls.wall and a focus on collective martial prowess have allowed them to forge three empires which have spanned most or all of Tamriel at different points in history.
4th Jun '17 7:26:56 AM ImpudentInfidel
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* Parodied in ''Discworld/{{Jingo}}'' where Sergeant Colon reminisces about how during his time in the army his commander would have them form up into arrows whenever they advanced, because that's how military diagrams represented units advancing.

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* Parodied in ''Discworld/{{Jingo}}'' where Sergeant Colon reminisces about how during his time in the army his commander would have them form up into arrows whenever they advanced, because that's how military diagrams represented units advancing. He then explains that it didn't actually matter because neither side actually held formation once the battle was joined.
30th May '17 1:42:41 AM Morgenthaler
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A big exception is once battle is joined. The most disciplined forces, like Roman and Greek soldiers, would try to maintain formation under all circumstances, and pike and spear walls would likewise attempt to maintain the integrity of their formation. But war is war, and at some point the formation is going to dissolve or at least weaken. So if there's heavy melee fighting going on, [[RealityIsUnrealistic it's acceptable to see soldiers duelling it out as individuals.]] Expect to see historians [[{{Facepalm}} face-palming]] if [[ThreeHundred phalangites are charging in with swords mid-melee however.]] Same goes for Roman legionaries willingly coming out of their famous shield wall.

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A big exception is once battle is joined. The most disciplined forces, like Roman and Greek soldiers, would try to maintain formation under all circumstances, and pike and spear walls would likewise attempt to maintain the integrity of their formation. But war is war, and at some point the formation is going to dissolve or at least weaken. So if there's heavy melee fighting going on, [[RealityIsUnrealistic it's acceptable to see soldiers duelling it out as individuals.]] Expect to see historians [[{{Facepalm}} face-palming]] if [[ThreeHundred [[Film/ThreeHundred phalangites are charging in with swords mid-melee however.]] Same goes for Roman legionaries willingly coming out of their famous shield wall.
27th May '17 12:20:20 PM gemmabeta2
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** Averted. Caesar's legions are shown forming a testudo (turtle, wall of shields) and rotating their troops in a disciplined way. Legionnaire Titus Pullo leaves the formation and is punished for that.

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** Averted. Caesar's legions are shown forming a testudo (turtle, wall of shields) and rotating their troops in a disciplined way.way (the rotation keeps the soldier at the front of the line fresh and it provides more incentive for the foremost soldier to fight well, as he knows that if he can hold out for thirty seconds, he will be relieved and sent to safety at the back of the formation). Legionnaire Titus Pullo leaves the formation and is punished for that.
7th May '17 6:04:24 PM MightyG
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** One of the strengths of [[UsefulNotes/TheGloryThatWasRome the Roman Army]] was their uncanny ability to break enemy formations while keeping theirs. The best examples are the use of the ''pilum'' (a shield-piercing javelin that bends after impact to prevent the enemy from taking it out of the shield during the battle, Roman soldiers carried two) and their tactic against a phalanx: the ''pila'' were thrown seconds before meeting the enemy infantry, suddenly disorganizing their formation due the rain of javelins that pierce shields and either unbalance them or kill the wielder and not giving them time to get back in formation before meelee starts, and their tactic against the phalanx was to deploy part of the troops in their own shieldwall to pin the phalanx down and have the rest (cavalry if the enemy didn't have it to guard their flanks, infantry if they had) flank the enemy and start chopping until they broke formation.

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** One of the strengths of [[UsefulNotes/TheGloryThatWasRome the Roman Army]] was their uncanny ability to break enemy formations while keeping theirs. The best examples are the use of the ''pilum'' (a shield-piercing javelin that bends after impact to prevent the enemy from taking it out of the shield during the battle, Roman soldiers carried two) and their tactic against a phalanx: the ''pila'' were thrown seconds before meeting the enemy infantry, suddenly disorganizing their formation due the rain of javelins that pierce shields and either unbalance them or kill the wielder and not giving them time to get back in formation before meelee melee starts, and their tactic against the phalanx was to deploy part of the troops in their own shieldwall shield wall to pin the phalanx down and have the rest (cavalry if the enemy didn't have it to guard their flanks, infantry if they had) flank the enemy and start chopping until they broke formation.
19th Mar '17 12:43:31 PM Tacitus
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* Averted in the ''[[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}} Warhammer Fantasy Battle]]'' tabletop game. All models in a unit must remain in base contact with each other at all times, with the exception of Skirmish units, which can be space apart while moving, but even must get into formation when making or receiving a charge. While skirmishing units have a serious mobility adventage, the ranked soldiers gain a "rank bonus" when calculating the winner of a fight, making large, ranked units very difficult to shift. Skirmishers or lonely heroes engaging a ranked unit in a frontal assault are likely to be pushed back even if they deal more damage.
** And almost every unit has soldiers equipped with the exact same weapons, except for the command groups, though that may be the player trying to cut down on bookkeeping more than anything else.
*** One notable exception to units all having the same weapon was Pirazzo's Lost Legion, a Regiment of Renown from the original [[PrivateMilitaryContractors Dogs of War]] army list. The front rank of the unit was equipped with crossbows while the rear ranks were equipped with pikes. Due to the rules of the game the crossbowmen could fire normally and if the unit was engaged in melee the pikemen behind them could still fight due to the long reach of their weapons.
* Sometimes averted and sometimes played straight in ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''. Hobgoblins in the 4th Edition, especially, stick next to each other, and defenders usually need to stay near their [[SquishyMage charges]] to protect them. On the other hand, packed formations are very vulnerable to flashy area of effect magic.

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* Averted in the ''[[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}} Warhammer Fantasy Battle]]'' tabletop game. All ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}''. Most units are fielded in blocks of models in a unit that must remain in base contact with each other at all times, one another, and which are with the exception of Skirmish units, which can be space apart while moving, but even must get into formation when making or receiving a charge. While skirmishing characters in the front rank given uniform equipment. Skirmisher units can spread their models out and have a serious mobility adventage, the ranked soldiers gain advantage compared to normal units, which have rules for wheeling about and spending turns reforming to face a new threat. But in melee combat, skirmishers never get a "rank bonus" when calculating to combat resolution based on the winner depth of a fight, making their formation, which allows large, ranked units very difficult to shift. overpower opponents even if they didn't inflict as many casualties in that round of combat. Skirmishers or lonely and lone heroes engaging a ranked unit in attempting a frontal assault against a ranked enemy are therefore likely to be pushed back even if they deal more damage.
** And almost every unit has soldiers equipped with the exact same weapons, except for the command groups, though that may be the player trying to cut
back, and perhaps run down on bookkeeping more than anything else.
*** One notable exception
in the process.
** There were some exceptions
to units the "units all having the same weapon was weapon" rule, such as the city militia units from the Dark Elf army list, or Pirazzo's Lost Legion, a Regiment of Renown from the original [[PrivateMilitaryContractors Dogs of War]] army list. The list. These units' front rank of the unit was equipped with crossbows while the rear ranks were equipped with pikes. Due to crossbows ([[AutomaticCrossbow repeaters]] in the rules of elves' case) while the game soldiers in the crossbowmen back carried spears and pikes, respectively. The soldiers in the front could fire normally shoot normally, and if the unit was engaged found itself in melee combat, the pikemen behind them soldiers in the rear could still fight due contribute thanks to the long reach of their weapons.
* Sometimes averted and sometimes played straight in ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''. Hobgoblins Any group containing a SquishyWizard is going to want to put a wall of muscle and armor between them and any threats, and in the 4th Edition, Edition especially, stick next to each other, and defenders usually need to stay near their [[SquishyMage charges]] to protect them. Hobgoblins were described as fighting in close formations. On the other hand, packed formations are the amount of area-of-effect magic available has led some rulebooks to suggest that combat in such a setting would very vulnerable to flashy area much resemble modern warfare, with soldiers spread out and hugging every scrap of effect magic.
cover, lest they get nailed by an enemy mage with a ''Wand of Fireball''.
9th Feb '17 1:32:57 AM kagantx
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* Winning or losing a real-life battle before the 20th century was almost always a matter of breaking the enemy's formation. In ancient battles around 5% of the army on both sides would typically be killed or wounded before a formation broke, while the side who broke and ran first would lose 20-30% of their troops afterwards as the victorious side pursued and cut them down from behind. Cavalry was very useful for this purpose. No matter how barbarous a group was they would always have a formation, because without a formation you would be cut to pieces.
8th Jan '17 4:45:29 PM DarthWalrus
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Added DiffLines:

** One particularly notable formation, the Beam Defense Formation, also known as the Thach Weave, was explicitly meant for it's participants to use it mid-Dogfight. By having the [[MightyGlacier F4F Wildcats]] using this formation repeatedly "weave" would allow each fighter to cover eachother, gunning down any enemy that happened to be behind them, generally the [[FragileSpeedster A6M Zero]], which, in a one-on-one dogfight, proved the Wildcat's superior, but in a battle of endurance and formation, lacked the resilience of the American plane.
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