You must be logged in to post messages.
Please login or register

Total War History
Moderated by Pitt

Hop to:    
Welcome! You are not logged in. Please Login or Register.7 replies
Total War Heaven » Forums » Total War History » Turtles
Bottom
Topic Subject:Turtles
Scenter102
Legionary
posted 27 October 2012 09:13 EDT (US)         
I was reading a bit in a book I got year back about different forms of warfare from the Eqyptians to the American Civil War. In the section about the Romans there was a picture showing legionares in testudo formation with cavarly on top of their shields. But, in RTW the fromation is useless exept to defend against skirmishers. Also, in The Eagle the legionares form testudo, and hold thier formation until they meet chariots.

Which account is more accurate?
AuthorReplies:
Agrippa 271
Legionary
posted 27 October 2012 11:27 EDT (US)     1 / 7       
I would think that it would be ineffective against heavy cavalry, but other than that, I'm not sure. I could be completely wrong though, because I haven't really spent any time learning about the testudo formation particularly. What was the name of the book btw?

Death is a (vastly) preferable alternative to communism.
"Idiocy knows no national or cultural borders. Stupidity can strike anyone, anywhere." -- Terikel
Scenter102
Legionary
posted 27 October 2012 15:04 EDT (US)     2 / 7       
History of Warfare or something, it is contained in one of 30 boxes of books in my basement so i won't bother looking for it for a while.
Thompsoncs
Legionary
posted 28 October 2012 08:31 EDT (US)     3 / 7       
The problem of the testudo formation is that the soldiers are very close together, making them ineffective in fighting.

There are multiple accounts of roman battles where romans were being pressed together and in which that was considered bad. For example the battle of the river Sambre between caesar and the belgae. Men need space to wield their weapons, even romans with their sticking swords.

I can also imagine that you have a less clear view of the situation when in testudo formation, making it harder to fight.

As far as I know, the testudo was mostly used in advancing on fortified positions, and not really in battles (perhaps with exception of battles against horse arches such as carrhae).
theresa mays toe
Legionary
(id: GREEK SCAVENGER)
posted 11 May 2013 07:02 EDT (US)     4 / 7       
Testudo was pretty pointless I would imagine.

Even against any force of mobile infantry or cavalry, men can just surround them and they are effectively out of the picture.

The great part is that Scab is apparently among such people. Yes. Greek Scab. My minion. -Stormraider

"Please don't grind on my wench and herr" - Bleedteals sister, asking me and herr not to grind her but mispelling

If he's not trolling I'll strip myself naked, paint myself green, and cheer for Ireland. -Coldviper. I'm still waiting for the proof....
ShieldWall
Legionary
posted 12 May 2013 03:46 EDT (US)     5 / 7       
The best example I can think of is Carrhae, where Crassus put his infantry into the testudo formation due to the efforts of the Parthian horse archers, only to make them a good target for the cataphracts. You'd need spears to repel cavalry, a dense formation of short swords is just going to be ridden down. The formation is designed to make the most of those big shields and protect everyone from missiles, but it's very hard to move about when in testudo and you surely can't fight effectively when in one.
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 12 May 2013 11:06 EDT (US)     6 / 7       
It was meant as a means of getting soldiers unscathed to walls and breaches, not as a fighting formation in and of itself.

In that vein- as a means of safe transportation, it was quite effective. Used in battle, it was more of a hindrance than a help.

|||||||||||||||| A transplanted Viking, born a millennium too late. |||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Too many Awards to list in Signature, sorry lords...|||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Listed on my page for your convenience and envy.|||||||||||||||||
Somewhere over the EXCO Rainbow
Master Skald, Order of the Silver Quill, Guild of the Skalds
Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 12 May 2013 15:17 EDT (US)     7 / 7       
As previously stated above, the testudo was mainly used by the legionnaires to protect themselves from arrows, slingstones, javelins and other missiles were thrown their way by enemy soldiers when the legionnaires were assaulting a city or similarly fortified position. It was very rarely used on the open battlefield against a mobiles opponent, the aforementioned Battle of Carrhae being the only example I can recall off the top of my head.

As for its speed, well-disciplined legionnaires could actually form up swiftly and move at a decent pace but if speed was a priority they could alter the formation to only protect the front and top so that it wouldn't be slowed down by men having to "crab walk" to protect the flanks.

Here's a short video showing a group of reenactors deploying and marching in testudo formation (around the 1:16 mark).


"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
You must be logged in to post messages.
Please login or register

Hop to:    

Total War Heaven | HeavenGames