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On cavalry formations


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Aelian Tactica §18–19, Arrain Tactica §16–17, and Asclepiodotus Tactica §7 describe cavalry formation in detail. After rereading those a few times, I made a drawing of the various formations actually used by ancient cavalry:

cavalry_formations.png.431021d948190b2bae2aad4b6c264a86.png

Colour scheme: red is the squadron leader, blue the rear commander; magenta the flank guards; green the leader of the second line; yellow the standard-bearer; black the front line; grey the other horsemen.

From left to right:

  • first row: square formations, used by Persians, Greeks, and Sicilians. They're simplest to form and hold together, but also the most rigid and hardest to turn around.
    • square with twice as many horsemen in a row as in a column; because horses are longer then they're wide, this one best approaches a square
    • square with three times as many horsemen in a row as in a column; this one is thus a bit wider, and useful if you want to outflank the enemy, fear being outflanked, or want to suggest you have more cavalry you actually have
    • square with the same number of horsemen, thus significantly deeper than it's wide; as such it's useful for hiding your numbers, misleading your opponents, making them believe your cavalry force is much smaller than in reality
  • second row: rhombus formations, pioneered by the Thessalians (northern Greece); it's very flexible, and great for defending against incoming attacks, regardless the direction they come from.
    • a rhombus with neither rows nor columns
    • a rhombus with both rows and columns
    • a rhombus with only columns, not rows
    • a rhombus with only rows, not columns
  • third row: wedge formations, favoured by Scythians, Thracians, and Macedonians. Great for fast charges.
    • a wedge with both rows and columns
    • a wedge with only columns, not rows
    • a wedge with only rows, not columns

The wedge formation in 0 A.D. is number ten; by removing the <ShiftRows> line you get number eight. Numbers one, two, three can be easily produced by setting <FormationShape> to square and <WidthDepthRatio> to 2, 3, and 1, respectively.

However, I have no idea how to produce number nine, nor any of the rhombus formations. I suppose it could be achieved by editing simulation/components/Formation.js, though I don't know how. I could really use someone to help me out.

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