Armenia is a cavalry focused faction but unlike similar factions like Parthia or Scythia they have a solid selection of infantry such as the phalanx unit Heavy Spearmen and the strong Armenian Legionaries although these units comes very late and are usually inferior compared to the heavy infantry of the West. However, when used alongside its powerful heavy cavalry and fast horse archers it can be quite powerful.
Armenia in the Imperial Campaign early on usually gets swallowed up either by Parthia or Pontus, mostly due to the poor starting position but if they survive, they will be the most menacing threat in the East.
Peasants are reluctant warriors, but numbers are useful in all armies. Forcing peasants to fight is one way of getting lots of men in the field quickly and cheaply. They have little tactical sense, and even less willingness to fight - they would rather be defending their own homes rather than be dragged to a battle they neither care about nor understand. But if nothing else, they are useful when there's digging to be done! They are, however, experts at reading the land and hiding whenever there is cover.
Eastern peltasts rush forward to pepper an enemy with javelins, and then withdraw in good order before a counter-attack can be organised. They are skirmishers and not intended to hold a position in a battle line. Instead, their job is to harass and disrupt enemy units as well as screen the main force of the army. They are also adept - as their abilities would suggest - at staging tactical ambushes.
Peltasts are equipped with a clutch of javelins, a sword and a light shield, the pelte, which gives them their name as 'pelte-bearers'. They wear no other armour, and rely on speed as the best form of protection.
To outsiders, the hillmen are a wild savage people, but they are also skilled hunters, making them superb ambushers. Although only armed with spears and shields, they are a valuable addition to many forces. Their skills at reading ground allow them to hide where others cannot, and this makes them valuable to commanders with a penchant for tactical ambushes.
They are expert raiders and thieves (often taking sheep and goats from their lowland neighbours) and this is, unfortunately, something that makes them occasionally difficult to control. They do not see any need for military formalities!
Eastern infantry are easily recruited militia-spearmen, who are good for defence against less able opponents. They are drawn from among the peasantry and urban poor, given minimal training and sent into battle. They are, however, given large shields.
Individually, they are not outstanding warriors, but as a group they have their uses in holding off light cavalry; even medium and heavier troops will be unwilling to charge into a forest of spear points.
Heavy spearmen can be the backbone of an Eastern army and are well able to take on many opponents. Their war gear includes long spears, chainmail and round shields.They can withstand attacks by most cavalry, and the training they have received allows them to form phalanx and carry an attack to an enemy infantry line. Against skirmishers and other missile troops, however, they require some support.
These men are recruited from the native population, not from among the Greek stratum of society that exists in all the Successor states, so they do not have the discipline of the 'hoplite ethos' in their training. They are still, however, worthwhile troops.
Archers are rightly feared for the casualties they can inflict, but they are vulnerable in hand-to-hand combat.
They are drawn from the peasant classes of all societies, as these are the people who need to be skilled hunters in order to survive. Learning to use a bow well is something that takes a lifetime and constant practice, and putting food on the table provides good practice.
They are best used to weaken enemy formations, or placed in a spot where they can retreat and find protection from other troops.
Armenian legionaries are an attempt to copy the fighting style and skills of the Roman Legions, and give other commanders the war-winning troops of Rome. Although armed and equipped in the manner of Roman legionaries, with iron-shafted throwing spears (pila), short swords, chainmail and large shields, these men are not of quite the same quality as the originals. Armenians are hardy folk and do not tire easily. It is true, and they have accepted the iron discipline that legionary training requires, but the quality of that training is not quite up to Roman standards. They are good heavy infantry once seasoned, but poor training means they cannot use the famous tortoise (testudo) formation. That said, they can still give a nasty shock to any enemy - their fighting style of bombarding an enemy with pila and then closing for the kill is just as effective when performed by Armenians as it is when Romans do the job!
Horse archers are a speciality of the East: swift horses and expert marksmen make a deadly combination. They are armed with a powerful bow and a dagger for defence, but they are not armoured and should not be expected to fight other than to escape. Horse archers rely on the maxim that 'speed is armour' to keep them out of trouble. Infantry have no hope of catching them, but other cavalry may be able to chase them down. Wise eastern commanders know this, and deploy horse archers with other cavalry to act as a deterrent to over-ambitious pursuit by an enemy.
If horse archers have a weakness it is that of all soldiers armed with composite bows: these weapons do not take well to damp or wet weather, as the glues used to construct them become weakened. While this is seldom a problem in their home provinces, it can be in wetter climes.
Cataphracts are extremely heavily-armoured cavalry who can turn a battle with one thunderous charge. They are the ultimate in shock cavalry, an armoured battering ram to crash into an enemy position and sweep aside all who stand against them. They are armed with heavy lances for the initial charge and maces for use in close combat. They wear armour that is almost unmatched for weight and protection, and their horses are similarly armoured. On the move they are a wall of metal bearing down on enemies, tipped with razor-sharp spear points.
Their armour is their main strength, but it also means that these troops can be quite ponderous and slow moving. That said, sheer weight means that they can often break through (or ride over) an enemy line without too much trouble.
Cataphract archers are very heavily armoured, but slow, horse-archers that are almost impervious to attacks and can fight in close combat. They are not as armoured as cataphract lancers, yet most enemy missiles are turned aside quite easily. Mobility and speed have been sacrificed to provide protection. Their composite bows allow them to attack enemies at long range, but they also carry swords so that - if needs be - they can close up and fight hand-to-hand.
The weight of cataphract archers means that they are 'heavier' than most shock cavalry but this is not their primary purpose. Being able to fight in close combat should be seen as a bonus to their primary abilities.
This general has a bodyguard of loyal and mail-armoured cavalry to accompany him onto the field. Armed with javelins, they can stand off from enemies and pepper them with missiles but, thanks to their chainmail armour, shields, and swords, can also charge home and fight effectively in hand-to-hand combat. Like all general's guards, this unit is best committed to the fight at the point of crisis, when the general's inspirational leadership and the combat power of his men can tip the balance.
This general has a bodyguard of loyal and heavily armoured cavalry to accompany him onto the field. Armed with lances, these men are superb shock cavalry, able to deliver a devastating and almost unstoppable charge; they are then equipped with maces so that they can fight effectively in continued hand-to-hand combat.
Like all general's guards, this unit is best committed to the fight at the point of crisis, when the general's inspirational leadership and the combat power of his men can tip the balance.
The onager is a catapult jokingly named for the tremendous kick it has when fired at the enemy (an "onager" is a wild ass). This war machine is powered by a twisted spring of animal sinew ropes, the most elastic substance available.
The throwing arm is held in tension by the sinews. When pulled back and held by a catch it can fling a boulder with considerable speed and range. This version can be used for reducing stone fortifications, but it can also be used on the battlefield for destroying enemy artillery and harassing troops (although admittedly by killing some of them outright).
The onager can also be used to launch incendiary missiles such as fire pots, making it a versatile piece of artillery to any commander.