Pikemen were the ‘eldest arm’ of the regiment, with pikes (long stakes used to drive off horses) having been used since Classical times.
Pikemen wear a helmet and a back and breast plate. These would provide some protection against blades but would not stop a stray musket-ball, which is why the pikeman began to go out of style towards the end of this period.
Their role on the battlefield today is much the same as it was 400 years ago - to protect the musketeers, both from cavalry and other stray pike blocks!
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