"His banner is forever tied with victory;
— 9th century Arabic poem
Heavy unique infantry unit which sacrifices defence for unit speed. Clearly faster than Spearmen, but more vulnerable to missile attack.
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The heart of the Arab war machine, Spear Jund are the usual quotidian stout-hearted elite of any warrior society. Although not as mighty as European Spear Sergeants and thus more easily slain, Spear Jund are quick on the march. It would thus seem that it would be a paradox, having a melee unit that is weak yet fast, but the jundi have another advantage again: they can be upgraded once again in the same era they first became available! jundi may be weak, yes, but they can be upgraded, just as with most Muslim units.
If you do not like your jundi greatly, you can always access your military research line at your Library for Linear Tactics, and then tap into the Muslim unique technology Darul Islam, which will then allow you access to Mamluk units, which are best described as quasi-Imperial units - they have stats similar to most late-game units, but are available from the Castle Age instead. This could result in some really interesting strategies for the Saracen player: upgrades purchased in the midst of a fight can sometimes deal a potentially lethal psychological blow to your opponents, who, thinking they can easily destroy your melee infantry, suddenly discover that your heavy infantry have grown even more dangerous and bolder overnight. More knowledgeable players who actually care to read and experiment can also be fooled with this, as you can force them to fight a highly defensive game, while your jundi, unmolested, can raid and pick off victims at ease.
So, although weaker than normal Spear Sergeants, Spear Jund are nevertheless more flexible due to their ability to cover more ground per tick. These units are clearly not meant for a set-piece battle, but are instead meant for the more highly choreographed combined-armes approach which characterises Middle Eastern warfare.
- Weight Problems — Cavalry archers, siege machines, skirmishers, and polearm units are capable of causing serious damage, so screen your Spear Sergeants with cavalry or skirmishers of your own where possible.
- I Don't Like To Slay Alone — Armies of Spear Sergeants however are costly to equip and maintain, and so you may prefer to recruit light infantry, which performs well against all other units save heavy infantry and cavalry.
- The Power of God — A Spear Jund may be weak, but can be upgraded very quickly to Foot Asakir, religious research permitting. This ability can deal a potentially lethal psychological blow to your opponents, who may not expect your units to upgrade twice in a row.
Deserts are harsh environments to fight in, and the heat and relative paucity of resources meant that for centuries, the nomadic Arabs would seldom muster massive infantry armies for battle. All that changed with the coming of Islam. By uniting the Arab tribes through diplomacy and conquest, Islam eventually changed the way Arab armies fought in the field. Previously, they had relied heavily upon cavalry raids and massed archery, but with the Rashidun, there came a new reliance on massed infantry. The new religion of Islam, with its emphasis on calm and faith in the face of adversity, certainly helped to not only switch the focus of individuals on their tribe away to that of the ummah or universal brotherhood, but it also lent much towards an inclination towards discipline and esprit de corps that later on surprised the Byzantines who had hitherto looked down on the Arabs as cowardly desert raiders. It was lines of pikes supported by archers to soften the enemy which helped the Muslims in their conquest of Sham, Egypt and Africa throughout the 7th and 8th centuries.