When this book arrived, I thought, well who is going to read a big book on battle formations, surely it will just be a bunch of diagrams. And to be honest, it is full of diagrams, but and it’s a big but, it is actually a fascinating read.
The author goes into not only the formations themselves, but why they worked, the equipment and men that made them so effective, and how they broke down.
The book covers the Greek, Macedonian and Roman formations. It covers Infantry, Cavalry, Elephant and Chariot formation.
The chapter on the Macedonian Phalanx is particularly interesting, and suggest that the first 5 ranks of Sarissa (Pikemen) could reach the enemy at the same time. Which is interesting when you look at the diagrams of how that was achieved.
This would be a great read for both military history enthusiasts as well as Wargammers (The author is the editor of Slingshot, the magazine of the Society of Ancients). There is also some interesting research that would be useful for re-enactors of the period.
This is an excellent book focussed on one specific aspect of warfare, and while it sounds pretty mundane, this is an excellent look at formations.
There are also lots of copies of statues and drawings form the period to help reinforce the author’s views.
Please note I was not paid to write this review but was sent a review copy of the book. All comments are my own, and the publishers have not amended the review in any way.