shield wall (thing)
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| One of the classic forms of [heavy infantry]. Just like it sounds, it consists of a wall of overlapping [shields] designed to protect the soldiers behind them from the enemy. |
The most obvious advantage of being behind a shield is the protection it offers from missiles, but its value close in was also significant. While vulnerable to [heavy cavalry], it was very hard to break a shield wall with anything else save another shield wall. And combat between two shield walls was about as ugly as it ever got.
Historically, the most famous shield walls were those of the [Greeks] (whose [Hoplites] used a variation with very long [spears]), the [Roman Legions], and the [Vikings].
Shield wall tactics, although made obsolete in war by the gun, are still used today by [riot police] around the world. In fact, the standard [riot shield] is little changed from the [scutum] used by the [Roman legions], save for the fact that they're made of modern material.