Aeneas Tacticus 38.





38. Reserves

1. At times when assaults are being made on the wall either by machines or by actual storming parties, the fighting force of the city should be divided into three parts, so that there may always be one part in action, another off duty, and the third preparing for action: thus the troops will always be fresh. 2. A larger detachment of picked troops should go all round the walls with the general, relieving any part of the fighting force which is hard pressed. For the enemy are more afraid of a foe whose attack they know to be imminent than of one with whom they are actually engaged.
3. For the time being all dogs should be chained up: for at the unfamiliar sight of armed men hurrying up and down the city and making a noise, they might run at them and make themselves a nuisance.
4. During the fight you should encourage the men on the wall with tact and discrimination: give a word of praise to those who deserve it; make a special appeal to those who need it. Do not lose your temper with any of the rank and file: it will only dishearten them; if a reproof for negligence and insubordination is necessary, 5. single out the most wealthy and influential citizens; then it will serve as a warning to the others as well. The occasions on which these various offences should be passed over are mentioned in my manual on Addressing Troops.
6. Do not allow stones to be thrown indiscriminately, and take measures, too, to recover at night those which have been thrown during the day. 7. Men should be lowered over the wall in baskets to pick them up; and you should hang out boar-nets or stag-nets or rope ladders to enable the men engaged on this duty to climb up again. 8. There should be a ladder for each man, so that if any of them get into difficulties there will be no time lost in climbing up. The gates should not on any account be opened by night: use ladders of this kind, or anything you please.






created 14/02/2010 - updated 14/02/2010