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History of Military Units

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The 11 Military Units one can build in Evony, 5 Infantry, 2 Cavalry, and 4 Siege Machines, are all diverse and specialized. Learning to use them together in the most effective way, is of course a skill honed constantly by top players.

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But they are not works of fiction, but rather real military developments that breathed and bleed, marching straight out of the ages. Learning more about the history of these engines of death themselves is not only fascinating but can provide useful inside information! Follow into the mists of time back to an era of iron, screams and fate on the field of battle.
 
INFANTRY
infantem(Latin.) - 'a youth'
 "You don't win a war by dying for your country.
You win a war by making the other son-of-a-bitch die for his."
                                        - General George S. Patton

                       Join the Army, see the world, meet interesting people - and kill them. ~Pacifist Badge, 1978
 
 Warrior - werran[war]('to bring into confusion')
             Foot soldiers were always the first form of soldier, and even well into advanced stages of the classical and medieval era, infantry 'armies' were little more than disciplined mobs, fighting in long ragged disorganized lines, shouted oral orders by appointed noble-ish officers over the din of battle. It was always easy to grab civilians, force them to form a rough rectangle, arm them with melee weapons, and march them off to fight. All further levels of sophistication in foot-borne warfare stem from this crude beginning. This obviously created chaos and confusion, especially if there was a nationality or language barrier. Hence the very appropriate roots of the word 'war;' bewilder, confuse, overwhelm.
 
 Scout - escouter('to listen, give heed to')
            Early on, generals realized that to know, generally was to win. Information was raw power, and did not need strong horses, training or thousands of men to use. Those who knew what others did not had a huge advantage. If you knew where the enemy was, you could attack efficiently. If they did not know that you knew, you could attack with surprise. The power of information, it was soon aware, was as much in what the enemy didn't know as it was what you did! Hence, scouts; special trained troops whos sole purpose was to gain as much information as possible while giving the enemy as little as they could. It was expensive, difficult, and ineffective to train regular troops to do this well. Scouts were often required to be more skilled, and talented than regular rank and file soldiers. But it was also a dangerous and rough job, not fit for nobility. Expertise in living off the land, stalking, discrete observation, and a guides knowledge of the geographic area were very useful skills and more often found in talented local individuals for hire. As such, from the beginning, scouts had a history of being hired outsiders rather than purpose trained 'main line' troops. When enemies found each other, the fight was on, and those that lost did not often survive to retreat. As such, scouts were most effective as light, very fast moving small units, with the capability to bring to bear a high level of force, if only briefly in order to stem an attack and escape. They were not heavily armored, nor intended to sustain a fight. As technology advanced, older, easier to make but less effective 'light' armors, especially if cheap, were an excellent enhancement to scouts so long as it did not impede speed and maneuverability. In later centuries, much was known eventually about enemy capabilites, geography, even fortifications. As such, the information sought by scouts was much more temporary and immediate. It was found useful to send out 'patrols,' probes to find out where the enemy was. It was then not easy to hide, so on first contact with the enemy, scouts would let off a ferocious 'bark' of firepower, skip the 'bite' and hightail it back to friendly lines with the information thus gained on the enemy. It was quite obvious to the foe that they had engaged a hostile, but in the chaotic age of the mideval era, it could be almost any tribe or anyone of scores of belligerents. From quiet sneaky mountain guides, to modern camoflauged scope observers, those that could discretely watch and learn have always been indispensible as the eyes and ears of armies.
 
 Pikeman - piquer('to pierce,pick,prick')
             Standard foot infantry were, really, people with hand weapons. Weapons with a set range, as harmful objects went. The pike, or 'pic,' a long pointy stake, was the first development of basic infantry, with the intent to give more range, and thus do the enemy in before his shorter weapon did him any good. This era, before guns, preceded the modern firearm adage, 'if the enemy is in range, so are you.' Back then, range was not equal ad did matter. The spear, sarissa, lance, and pike were all disseminations of this concept. The cross piece, across the 'pointy stake' was a further leap to give spearmen the ability to defend from the same attack, yank away or break the enemies spears, wield as an ax, and defend against the crush of cavalry. It was effective. Indeed, for many century, the Greek style phalanx, or shaped rectangular spear formation, reigned supreme over all battlefields. The increasing burden to mobility of ever longer spears was finally bested by the quick movement, fast fearsome strikes, and inventive tactics of the cavalry charge. The halberd, for one is also notable. Essentially a blunt axe to knock down a rider, and a long thin spear to slip between his armor plate and end him, in form it was a cheap and easy way to turn a quickly trained foot guard into a destroyer of expensive, elite armored units. And a capturer of horses! This could be considered the first cheap and easy to use anti-armor weapon for infantry, essentially the anti-tank rocket launcher of the 12th century.
 
 Swordsman - swer('to cut') sweran('to hurt')
            Oh, how to kill a man. Beating one to death seemed to work decently. If you had a club or other heavy object, all the better! However, stabbing quickly showed itself among the mobs of infantry to get the job done above and beyond. Stakes worked much better than clubs in technicality. Metal was superior to wood; and a right angular barrier above where it was grasped prevented blows and helped a wielder block stabs. Once Iron, which could be sharpened to an edge came of age and vogue, slicing became a useful attack as well. Really, the slight preparation to kill another in a manner easier than fist fighting was the inspiration for this legendary weapon. The length of time it took to develop, and grow, and the different tactics proved effective over time account for its adored and symbolic status of power for years. It was the 'gun' of the ancient era.
 
 Archers - archarius('one who arcs/arches, bows, bends')
            When you can attack someone who can't attack you, it is a distinct advantage. When you can't see what your shooting, accuracy is nonexistent. Add several thousands of projectiles, and crude ballistic algorithms... and you have the perfect recipe for 'indirect firers' or, as many an infantry called them, 'murderous dogs.' The bow appeared out of the mists of prehistory. It seems to be not so much a quickly shared idea as just common sense. The principle was obvious and simple: store up a large amount of potential energy, release it all at once. Oh, and make what you send flying count. Of course, what can kill a prey can kill an enemy. This weapon was fielded to fair effect even from the earliest days of one piece bamboo or sapling material hunting piecies. Simple geometric factors decided power; the larger the piece, the longer the pull, the more deadly the missile. A formula only limited by the height of a man and the strength of his arms. Until the Mongols. Surrounded by barren steppe devoid of the towering forests of Europe, Mongolian archers were forced to find a way. They did, creating composite bows. Strip cut lengths of specifically shaped springy wood, laminated together under tension. But the real secret was in the horn and sinew, materials far more suitable than wood.

The small Asian Mongol composite bow, borne of necessity, swept the entire continent by force, as it was small enough to be fired from horseback- finally making cavalry archers an extremely potent system, and also because their smaller cross-section meant the stored energy was released much faster and controllably.

 CAVALRY
 caval(Latin.) - 'horse'
"The graveyards are full of indispensible men."
                                        -Charles De Gaulle
 
  Cavalry - cavalrie ('horseriders')
            Horses were one of the first advancements of civilization. Its big, strong, and stupid, and if you can sit on its back and hang on, you might be able to get some things done! Military use was not far off. However, when the killing started, many a horse was found to be a quickly expended investment. After domestication came husbandry, breeding for certain qualities. Speed, endurance, intelligence, obedience, stubborness to fear. There were many awkward steps- and broken body parts- but the adoption of the horse as an animal of war was soon on its way. Such an impact their usefullness created, modern troops not remotely affiliated with any animal are still 'mounted' on large transport organized into 'cavalries.' Tribes and peoples in the steppes of central asia were the first to really train and master steeds as weapons, the rest of the orient world was soon to follow.
 
 Cataphract - kata('completely')-phraktos('covered')
            It was a winning concept. Clattering hooves, large mass, high speed, elevated fighting platform. But a horse is still a soft skinned animal. Vulnerable, anywhere it isn't protected. So, of course, eventually the idea to armor a horse everywhere was tried out. Problem, however, was the sheer massive weight was more than the poor horse could bear. Once again, advantage the horse-breeders of Persia, the steppes and Central Asia. They were the first to breed the massive, tough, energetic, fearless and resilient steeds to posses the strength and stamina required of them to become the first armoured mounts. They became the entire basis of Persian armies, with all other types in support. An advantage well enjoyed over the foot-based battalions fielded by the Romans. An effective infantry defense to the deadly hail of indirect archery fire was to spread out thinly to give the archers less man and more field to hit. The onrushing fearsome assaults of heavy armored cavalry, intending to crush, stampede, impale, beat, stab and otherwise slam a deadly hole in a formation of infantry were best countered by highly dense, compacted in, immovable walls of close ranks. The two tactics used together left countless Roman legions to lie in the sun, to feed the buzzards and flies.
  MACHINE
 μηχ(Greek.)magh - 'power'
 "If you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn't plan your mission properly."
                                        -David Hackworth
 Tranporter - portare('to carry') trans('across')
            'Grab anything you can carry.' The 20th century was not the first time these words were spoken. Hands and arms could carry so much. Clothing and equipment only added so much more. Campaigns and seiges could last an unpredictable and very long time. Add, as well, the ever increasing innovations to warfare, indispensible to victory, that increasingly encumbered men of war with more and more support equipment and required supplies for these support systems. If you ran out, you had to go home. Many the military engineer looked into bigger, easier, cheaper, faster and more efficient ways of getting the mountains of equipment and supplies from Point A to Point B.
 
 Ballista - ballein('to throw')
            The bow was a fine weapon, man to man, as was its more mechanized variant, the crossbow. But it was readily adaptable in size to tackle the ever increasing problems of armor and fortifications as well- especially when the new concept of torsion springs was added to the design. Super-size arrows and bolts made great projectiles for picking off troops at long range; large stones made excellent ammunition to pummel and abuse many a defensive structure into yielding. To reduce the cost and effort of bringing ballistas into the field, often only the metal and mechanical parts were brought, wood for the frame, and ammunition were scavenged on-site. However, by no means was this the usual standard.
 
 Battering Ram - bauttere('beat') rammr('impetuous,violent')
            It is said, if the enemy cannot get in, you cannot get out. Of course the point here is that the opposite is true. An invading force doesn't do much good peering up at deadly archer ports and scratching their heads. But no fortress is without its weak point. Sciences were  in their infancy, technology was at a minimum. 'Smash it down' was as good a plan as any of the day, and more often than not it worked. Many a deadly and nefarious defense was placed to target the area in front of the vulnerable big wooden doors, but not always to any avail....     
  "Knock, knock!"
 
 Catapult - katapeltes('hurl against')
             Of course, sometimes the special defenses near structural soft spots really did have their stuff together, or in cases, there was plenty of time but not enough invaders. Either way, a wall with more height than girth could simply be smashed to crumbling, dusty bits given the proper device. Enter the catapult, creator of gigantic round shadows. Think of a spoon mounted to a mousetrap, but several tons gigantic and more than capable of ripping an arm into the works if it slips a touch in position. It was not designed to be mobile. It was not designed to be light, nor easy to use. It was not to designed; to be pretty, accurate, admired, or subtle. It was designed for one purpose. To hurl the biggest stones to be found with the speed of the wind, and batter entire fortresses to rubble with the defenders inside. It may have been the cannon that eventually killed the use of stone walls, but it was indubiously the catapult that took them down.

`~<{@}>~'
 Original work of Eric Blue - Adolphine Agenu, Moravia 10.22.09
 
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