“We learned right off that our regular hoplite spears are much too long for forested combat. The eight- to ten-foot reach gives us a massive advantage against warriors in the field, but in the woods all they do is get tangled in the branches and foliage. Our regular hoplite shields have proved less effective than we’d like as well. The three-foot diameter is useful in phalanx because it offers cover for the man next to you, but when the only thing next to you is a tree, that width becomes an encumbrance. To offset these problems, we’ve begun training and equipping part of our infantry with shorter spears and taller, narrower, oblong shields when scrumming in the woods.”
—General Ware, excerpted from First Empress
Medium hoplite designs for First Empress. Female and Male armors. As always, any feedback is most appreciated.
In effort to combat the barbarian tribes in the forests and highlands to the north of their hegemony, Queen Viarra’s generals have altered the standard hoplite gear and training for select medium infantry soldiers. Rather than heavy bronze, these hoplites wear a composite linen cuirass covered in stamped bronze scales for improved deflection. Spears are shorter as well, as the long hoplite spears are cumbersome in wooded areas. Lastly, they’ve exchanged their circular shields for an oblong shield that grips behind the boss, rather than strapping to the arm, for better range of movement while defending. Though not as steadfast in open field as a traditional hoplite, the medium hoplites are more flexible and can adjust better to broken or cluttered terrain.
For over a hundred years, the reality of the Hegemony of Andivel’s stalemate with the raiding Gannic tribes (based on the ancient Celts) has been that the barbarians can’t best the hoplite phalanxes in open field, but are able to successfully repel the Tollesian expeditions into the forested lowlands and highlands. Upon usurping the Hegemony of Andivel, Queen Viarra hopes to offset this stalemate by adjusting and reevaluating her soldiers’ gear and tactics to better counter the barbarians’ guerrilla tactics.
The oval shields and shorter spears are Tollesian versions of the Gannic shield and spear types. Her majesty and her generals’ strategy is to combine barbarian forestry tactics with Tollesian martial training, military discipline, and superior weapons and armor.