The pike blocks were the ?Queen of the battlefield? in the 17th century, a solid block of the tallest and stoutest of the infantry and the basis for offensive or defensive actions. It was assumed to be a more ancient and hence more noble weapon than the modern caliver or matchlock muskets that were appearing in greater numbers on the field of battle in the 1600s. The pike itself started with a 16' ash wooden shaft with a secured sharp metal spear head giving the pikeman a lethal reach and when massed together, the ability to fend off either enemy pikemen or as often massed cavalry. A well-equipped pikeman would also have a short but sturdy sword to use at the closest quarters, when the ?push of pike? as it was termed had become a tangled mass. Pikemen were expected to wear a quality headpiece or helmet. Ideally each man would be issued with back and breastplates, which were pistol and sword proof. Front ranks were also often issued flexible thigh plates, or tassets, making them formidable opponents. As the wars dragged on soldiers tended to shed their heavy and expensive defensive armour, however the sight of a well-drilled pike block bristling with long pike staves clad in grim looking armour was a view that most soldiers would not forget in a hurry. Box contains 12 metal pikemen and 12 metal pikes.