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The transition into modernity for European warfare was heralded by the resurgence of heavy infantry tactics. Although the concept of pikemen or "long spears" that could be used to out-range and overrun other melee units was known since ancient days, the idea of using infantry armed with long spears was soon forgotten in Europe by the days of Imperial Rome and would not resurface until the Middle Ages.

Mediaeval towns and communities that did not have the resources to field large armies of heavy cavalry discovered that pikes were cheap and could be quite effective with proper training, as evidenced by the defeat of knightly cavalry at Kortrijk in 1302. Eventually, armies of pikes and crossbows (later supplanted by firearms) would dominate Europe from the early Renaissance onwards, leading later to the famed "pike and shot" formations of the next 2 centuries. Similar tactics were also used contemporaneously in Japan, with the usage of long spears or yari which were then supplemented by archery or guns.

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