O famous race unconquered through the ages, why do you, who used to conquer knights, flee from mere footmen?
— Vita Edwardi Secundi
Unlike the politically stable and self-containing communes of Europe, a general lack of resources, poor governance and the weaknesses in the feudal system have not bode well for the Welsh, Scottish and English. And so, instead of spear sergeants, these factions have access to Sciltron Infantry, an infantry unit which sacrifices hitpoints and speed for punching power, lower cost and a ranged attack, making for a highly lethal anti-cavalry unit.
Sciltrons feature predominantly in the armies of England, Scotland and Wales, and their presence will easily shape how these factions' units interact. For Scotland and Wales, these are the only heavy infantry units available after the Castle Age — yet, the anti-archer Ceithernn will have to be recruited to bolster these units in the face of enemy infantry. Fortunately, Scotland and Wales have two units that they can use — Border Raiders and Teulu Skirmishers, whose ability to remain stealthy will certainly work well if supported by these aggressive but weak armies. The English, on the other hand, benefit greatly from simply researching better units, most notably the Billman. Although Bill Infantry have a powerful attack but poor staying power, the English knights-sergeants should work well to save the day for them.
Although the Sciltron is dangerous if attacked head-on, it can easily collapse if hit with sufficient missile fire, or flanked by any melee units. This is because of its lower hitpoints, which are only a marginal improvement over simple spearmen as well as its poor mobility. To add insult to injury, Sciltron Infantry require one red tech more than normal Spear Sergeants — thus ensuring that the English, Scots and Welsh will have issues facing Continental infantry head-on. Nevertheless, its powerful attack against cavalry makes it a very useful tool for denying enemy cavalry of victory only so long as it is kept away from archers. Thus if you are engaging factions which deploy Sciltrons, always send in infantry to deal with them.
- Anti-Cavalry Bonus — The added attack of Sciltron Infantry ensures that it will win most melee engagements with cavalry.
- Weight Problems — Cavalry archers, siege machines and skirmishers, and polearm units are capable of causing serious damage, so screen your Sciltron Infantry with cavalry or skirmishers of your own where possible.
- I Don't Like To Slay Alone — For Scotland and Wales, Sciltron Infantry should be backed up with Ceithernn and Border Raiders which are very useful against enemy archers.
- The English, on the other hand, benefit greatly from simply researching better units, most notably the Billman. Although Bill Infantry have a powerful attack but poor staying power, the English knights-sergeants should work well to save the day for them.
The first few centuries of the post-Roman era were highly turbulent times for many communities throughout Europe, which often found themselves at the mercy of several different enemies, and it was thus natural that sooner or later a body of chosen men would be required to supply the strong arms which was needed to ensure survival. A man armed with a spear could defeat many attacking warriors without getting hurt himself.
Mediaeval communities (especially the larger towns and free cities of the High Middle Ages) learned to employ large formations of spearmen, usually clad in some semblance of armour, as a counter to heavy cavalry attacks because horses would not charge home against a bristling wall of spear points. Spearmen were originally deployed in a defensive posture, but the best of the spearman armies, such as the Swiss, Scots, and Flemish, learned to maneuver and take the offensive. From the spear, the pike was developed. The pike was a longer spear with different iron tips for different situations.
The Sciltron or "shield-troop" was a throwback to massed formations for spear warfare of earlier eras, relying on cohesion and discipline to maintain solidarity and critical mass in the heat of combat. Although long pikes begain to take prominence on European fields in the 14th century, the buckler and spear continued to be the weapon of choice for Scottish and Welsh warriors accustomed to fighting in the broken terrain of their homeland. In resource-poor Britain, flexibility and experience took precedence over arms and armour, leading to the breaking of the Norse at Stamford Bridge and that of the English at Bannockburn. Nevertheless, the Sciltron should not be seen as unique to the British Isles, but a harbinger of formations similar in nature throughout Europe, such as that at Kortrijk by the Flemish in 1302, but in which case long pikes were used as opposed to spears and bucklers.