The Roman Strategy
What made the Roman Legion one of the most feared forces in the world was their ability to employ different types of fighting in a single battle and maintain a tight formation when necessary. During the height of the Roman Legion each Legion contained 4,800 men. These men were then divided into 10 cohorts of 480 men each. Each cohort contained 6 Centuries of 80 men each and each Century was commanded by a Centurion. This highly structured military was far more advanced that the loose configuration of troops used by many of Rome’s enemies.
The Roman Legion would begin their attack with long range catapults. This would bombard the enemy with boulders and iron bolts. The Legion would throw their spears or Pilum. These were specially designed to bend on impact so that the enemy would not be able to throw them back at the Romans. Then the worst part of the Roman attack would begin. They would march in formation with their swords drawn and their large shields covering from the bottom of their chin to their knees or lower. The moving wall was unstoppable to disorganized tribes and the Roman Legion became known for their destruction and their ability to completely eliminate their enemies.
The Romans even had defensive positions that were nearly impossible to overcome. If they were under projectile fire the Roman Legion would assume the Tortoise Formation. The front line of soldiers would lock their shields outward and connect with the soldiers on the sides. The soldiers in the middle would raise their shields over their heads in order to limit any death or injuries from the flying volleys. They could also employ a wedge formation by forming a triangle which would then allow them to divide up large armies.