IIRC ancient & medieval soldiers have been wielding axes in battles since Sumerian times.
My question is essentially, how were these warriors deployed in an Army? Most soldiers were in tight formation with spears (or swords in the Romans' case) on the battlefield, there doesn't seem to be any advantage to having warriors wield axes like this or like this.
Are there any examples of a formation of axemen defeating a formation of, say, spearmen or romans? What tactical advantages did soldiers with axes have over the humble spearman that convinced generals it was a good idea to have them in war?
Is there role simply exaggerated? All this is very confusing to me!