He that is weakest among you shall be in my eye the strongest, until I have vindicated for him his rights.
- —Caliph Umar ibn Khattab
With the advent of the pike, it is possible for even barely trained peasants to defeat armoured knights. Although not as powerful as Pike Guards, pike levy, if well-supported, pose a menace to enemy melee cavalry. Also, a low recruitment cost makes it easy to field them in large numbers to overwhelm enemy forces, despite being semi-trained peasantry with little in the way of armour, meaning they are highly vulnerable to flanking melee infantry or ranged units. Worse still would be archers and gunpowder weapons, against which the pike as a weapon leaves a great deal to be desired.
As such, pike levy are best used as an escort force alongside the more expensive but harder-hitting ranged units, which perform well against infantry units. A better use for them would be to entrench them in the field, forming moving walls of pike from behind which ranged units can shoot unhindered. Couple them with militant clergy, and these units can easily overwhelm any offensive force any enemy throws at you. In order to obtain the Pike Levy, Republic must be researched back in the Castle Age.
- More That Meets The Eye — With their low cost and powerful anti-cavalry attack, pike levy pose a menace to enemy melee cavalry, despite their much more inferior stats.
- I Don't Like To Slay Alone — Consider training siege weapons and ranged infantry to complement your pike levy.
- Marching Orders — It is still possible to use Peasant Levy as an attack force. Just set the rally point of a Peasant Commune near an enemy, the unit stance of said building to Aggressive and then spam-build your Peasant Levy from the building.
- An Unworthy Foe —Peasant Levy can't be attacked directly, so the best units that you should use against them would be ranged cavalry.
- Poison-Pill strategy — in late Imperial games, Russians, Byzantines and Armenians can train Peasant Levy in towns that they have lost even as they get absorbed, making occupation of their cities a nasty prospect for any potential hostile takeovers.
- Dead On Arrival — Sadly, Peasant Levy are only just militia, and can be easily torn apart by cavalry and archers, and so are best only for low-intensity warfare involving skirmishes and not full-blown battles.
- Ghuzat Volunteers — Most Muslim factions can recruit Ghuzat Volunteers which replace Peasant Levy, which are among the best if not being the best themselves, in that they can be selected and commanded to either attack or withdraw.
- Fundeiros Levy — In lieu of Peasant Levy, this is a militia that serve the Portuguese crown as a slinger unit, with a propensity for damaging heavy cavalry and infant
The Middle Ages was a most dangerous time throughout many civilisations throughout the Old World, with wars breaking out frequently due to rebellion, commercial competition and political and religious upheaval. As a result, it was unsurprising that common peasant folk were often called up to perform military service to fill in a shortfall in manpower in times of war. The small republics and feudal states which made up the Low Countries and northern Italy imposed military training for all citizens, a tradition which has been continued by Switzerland, one of the nations which was descended from part of the territories that once comprised the Duchy of Burgundy. In some cases, these armies often enjoyed massive successes against opponents fielding heavy cavalry, such as at the battles of Courtrai (1302), Laupen (1339), and Stirling Bridge (1297).