Imagine Country A's fighting force is based on the Roman Legions. Standard soldier carry a javelin and a melee weapon. (These can vary but are one-handed.) They also carry a large shield. As part of state-required law, citizens practice battle skills at least one day a week. (Similar to England's long bow practice.)

Country B styles its army off the tercio. Pikemen keep enemies at bay and short bow archers behind the pikemen shoot at enemy soldiers. There is no required civilian training like Country A, but of course the soldiers are trained.

So how would these armies fare when fighting each other in different conditions? (Examples: Open plains. B defends against A in mountains and vice versa.) These countries are also supposed to have been fighting each other on and off for a long time so adjustments to strategy are realistic.


closed as primarily opinion-based by L.Dutch, MichaelK, Rekesoft, Vylix, Ash Oct 25 '17 at 10:22

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding. As it is now this question is too broad, here we don't put effort in endless discussion, but rather try to give answers to well defined and specific question. Can you try to narrow down your question to a specific problem? $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Oct 25 '17 at 4:43
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    $\begingroup$ A "classic" tercio would have crossbowmen with the power to penetrate armor, not shortbowmen, and they maneuver around the pike block, not hide behind it. Is that a deliberate change? $\endgroup$ – o.m. Oct 25 '17 at 5:14
  • $\begingroup$ The tercio, the legion, the phalanx, the line... every military formation emerges from the technology of its time (and civilization). Pike-and-shot formations, of which the tercio is the most known and successful were only developed after the invention of the arquebus, and specially after the musket. Without them, tercios have no reason to exist. Military formations came out from military technology, and all the genius of Alexander the Great or Julius Cesar could have been defeated by a single M60. $\endgroup$ – Rekesoft Oct 25 '17 at 7:44
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    $\begingroup$ It's like asking about "can club A win against club B?". The answers will be primarily opinion based. And it's not about worldbuilding. $\endgroup$ – Vylix Oct 25 '17 at 9:34
  • $\begingroup$ tercio formations were designed to counter heavy calvary. Roman to kill infantry. Romana lost to calvary, but smashed Greek phalanx due to their flexibility. Tercio were countered by specially designed infantry formations, rodeolaros, doppelsoldiers, etc... the lesson probably fals under this category wants thus defeats the tercio. But there is no way to know $\endgroup$ – Garret Gang Oct 25 '17 at 14:53

I think the short answer is that Romans win. The short bows don't have the penetrating power to pierce the Roman shield. When tercio sends a volley, Romans put the shields up, so the formation looks like a turtle. Romans can approach in this formation with minimal losses.

When Romans get close, it's a few lines of pikemen against theirs. Pikes would typically slide off the shields, and pikemen will try to impale the Romans before getting to close. It could keep romans at bay, depending on how many rows of pikes are, but, in the end, pikes get stuck and Romans still have the short sword. I assume they threw their javelin at pikemen already.

If tercio fights in phalanx formation, with archers behind, Romans can flank tercio. That ends badly for tercio, with pikemen killed and archers fleeing.

But, if the bows can penetrate the Roman shield, the fight is similar to that between Persians and Romans. Persians have a good chance to win.


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