Assuming they were very well trained, how they deal with a pike square? The bears are unarmed and they don't have riders, also the pikemen are in full plate.

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    $\begingroup$ Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking. $\endgroup$
    – Community Bot
    Aug 17, 2022 at 14:38
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    $\begingroup$ What do the war bears have? Are there any riders? If so, how are they equipped? How’s the pike square equipped? How many war bears? How many pikemen in the pike square? Etc, etc, $\endgroup$ Aug 17, 2022 at 14:42
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    $\begingroup$ You have to give more meat to chew on for any answer to be valid : What equipment have your bears? What kind of equipment have your spear soldiers (besides spears, obviously :p)? How much bears and spear soldiers do you throw at each other? Can we assume they fight on a flat plain-like land, since we talk about a pike square formation? $\endgroup$ Aug 17, 2022 at 14:44
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    $\begingroup$ Fights are highly dependent upon context. Who is fighting, how are they equipped, how are they trained, what are the tactical, operational, and strategic goals of the combatants. If you're attempting to force a fight with a pike square against an opponent who doesn't want a fight the result is going to be different than if you're using a pike square to defend a hill containing artillery. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Aug 17, 2022 at 15:02
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    $\begingroup$ Hello GoblinScribe, welcome to Worldbuilding. When you have a moment, please take our tour and read the following two Help Center pages to understand how to ask a well-formed question on this Stack (help center and help center). This question lacks details to help us give you a good answer. Please note that we answer questions about your world (e.g., "they're thick skinned, so better than horses") but we do ..not.. answer questions about your story ("your generals could form then into..."). $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Aug 17, 2022 at 15:30

2 Answers 2


Not very

Your trained bears would presumably lack ranged weapons. Perhaps they have the reach of a saber-armed rider, perhaps less. Certainly less reach than a lancer on horseback. So the pikes would outrange the bears by several meters or yards.

The bears would have to be suicidal, which tends to go beyond 'well trained' in most animals. But assume they are willing to impale themselves on a pike to take it out of action. That would mean one bear neutralizes one pikeman. The pike square might have some problems if pikemen are disarmed without being killed, and mill around in the first line, but the second or third line would lower their pikes and cover the reorganization. The bears might inflict losses, but they won't win.

Even worse if the pike square is from the pike-and-shot era.


More effective than cavalry

Why cavalry charge is getting stopped by pikes? Warhorse with a knight sitting on top of it weight more than an average bear and should plow trough the infantry line by its sheer momentum. What happens? When struck by pikes, warhorse goes down, and potential breach becomes impassable for the other horses. Other riders are tumbling down, and infantry has enough time to close its ranks and present a wall of pikes for the other incoming horses.

How bears are different? Unlike horses, they can run and jump over very uneven terrain (like bodies of their fallen comrades). Thus, a wedge of bears can be more effective than a wedge of cavalry to break a pike formation.


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