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Steven H




Location: Boston
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PostPosted: Sun 27 May, 2007 10:01 am    Post subject: Sword and Shield troop types         Reply with quote

Hello,

This recent thread on the pavise made me curious about the troops shown with pavises, (like the picture that Nathan provided).

I am more generally curious about any late Medieval or Early Renaissance sword and shield troops. The simple view is that plate armour supplanted shields and arming swords, but that is clearly only part of the story.

I am most curious about the panoply of equipment being carried, nationality, and how they were used.

Thanks.

Kunstbruder - Boston area Historical Combat Study
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Sun 27 May, 2007 1:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Spanish army employed Rodellas, or sword and buckler men, who carried a rollea, a large steel shield (I wouldn't call it a buckler) and a short sword. Their job was to get into pike formations and mess them up.

M.

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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Sun 27 May, 2007 9:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
The Spanish army employed Rodellas, or sword and buckler men, who carried a rollea, a large steel shield (I wouldn't call it a buckler) and a short sword. Their job was to get into pike formations and mess them up.


They were called rodeleros, actually. Rodela was the name of their shields. And, technically speaking, they were light infantry who seldom had more armor than a cuirass and a light helmet/morion, and often less. This was why they still saw a need for relatively large shields.

Tactically, they were not used as simple "pike-breakers" since Swiss pikemen tended to trample them underfoot in a frontal encounter. Most of the competent Spanish/Imperial commanders used them for laying ambushes or launching small-unit attacks in broken terrain, which would have forced the pike formations to break up and rendered them vulnerable to attacks by men with shorter weapons. It is also worth noting that many pike formations at this time had a "crust" of armored men protecting the lightly-armored or unarmored men in the center. The broken terrain allowed the rodeleros to get straight into the vulnerable center without having to break their way through the armored bulwark on the outside.

In many cases the Spanish used military engineering to create the broken terrain that the rodeleros needed; one good example is the field fortifications in the Battle of Cerignola.

If we're allowed to speak of the 14th and 15th centuries as well, then we also see the sword-and-buckler combination (not the rodeleros' sword-and-target) being preferred by dismounted men-at-arms when assaulting or defending fortified positions. Part of the reason for this is that a man-at-arms conducting an escalade over an exposed ladder would have been able to hold his buckler above his head to protect himself from relatively light missiles.
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Steven H




Location: Boston
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PostPosted: Mon 28 May, 2007 12:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:

If we're allowed to speak of the 14th and 15th centuries as well, then we also see the sword-and-buckler combination (not the rodeleros' sword-and-target) being preferred by dismounted men-at-arms when assaulting or defending fortified positions. Part of the reason for this is that a man-at-arms conducting an escalade over an exposed ladder would have been able to hold his buckler above his head to protect himself from relatively light missiles.


I welcome 14th and 15th century info as I'm looking for late Medieval as well as early Renaissance.

So by men-at-arms are we talking about soldiers in full plate harness?
Are we sure that bucklers were used since a buckler isn't really big enough for that purpose - for instance I'm almost 20 inches wide, and so would need a 20" shield to adequately protect me from above and not a 12 or 14" buckler.

Thanks.

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Felix Wang




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PostPosted: Mon 28 May, 2007 1:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The combination of a sword and target was not unique to Spain; such soldiers were also part of English armies in the first part of the 16th century. They were known as "whifflers" and could be deployed around the edges of a pike column as flank guards. (Gervase Phillips, The Anglo-Scots Wars)

The sword used with the large round or oval target was not a "short sword" by the modern use of the term. If you look at Marozzo where he discusses the use of sword and shield, the weapon illustrated is a standard arming sword/single-hand sword of the day. This is comparable to George Silver, who does discuss the use of sword and target, and whose idea of a short sword was upwards of 40 inches long.
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Mon 28 May, 2007 3:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette: I misspelled the name of the shield on accident, though I never did say they entered direct combat with anyone.

M.

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Mon 28 May, 2007 9:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steven H wrote:
So by men-at-arms are we talking about soldiers in full plate harness?
Are we sure that bucklers were used since a buckler isn't really big enough for that purpose - for instance I'm almost 20 inches wide, and so would need a 20" shield to adequately protect me from above and not a 12 or 14" buckler.


Well, reasonably complete harnesses of mail and plate--not necessarily full harnesses of plate. But you get the idea.

As for the size and protection afforded by the buckler, I don't think it matters all that much since the protection is more psychological than physical. No shield will protect against a big rock or boiling water. And the buckler actually has a physical advantage in that you're holding it in the center--not the edges--so you can hold it straight up towards the assailant, whereas with a forearm-strapped shield you have to hunker down a bit in order to fit yourself within the the shield's protection.
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Sean Belair
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PostPosted: Mon 28 May, 2007 9:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

armor is expensive, i would do whatever i could to avoid damage. Also just because the blow doesn’t crack through the armor doesn’t mean it wouldn’t hurt like hell. I can understand if some people would want the extra protection of a shield.
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Mon 28 May, 2007 11:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Belair wrote:
armor is expensive, i would do whatever i could to avoid damage. Also just because the blow doesn’t crack through the armor doesn’t mean it wouldn’t hurt like hell. I can understand if some people would want the extra protection of a shield.


Purpose of the Mace 101 right there.

M.

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George Hill




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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jun, 2007 12:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
[

They were called rodeleros, actually. Rodela was the name of their shields.


Does anyone have a photo or a sketch of such a shield?

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jun, 2007 11:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:
Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
[

They were called rodeleros, actually. Rodela was the name of their shields.


Does anyone have a photo or a sketch of such a shield?


There are some depictions in Marozzo we are going to be scanning pretty soon...

J

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jun, 2007 6:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Features article on shields has some, I think. You may get some more from browsing the ARMA's online collection of historical manuals and artworks.
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John Cooksey




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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jun, 2007 7:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
M. Eversberg II wrote:
The Spanish army employed Rodellas, or sword and buckler men, who carried a rollea, a large steel shield (I wouldn't call it a buckler) and a short sword. Their job was to get into pike formations and mess them up.


They were called rodeleros, actually. Rodela was the name of their shields. And, technically speaking, they were light infantry who seldom had more armor than a cuirass and a light helmet/morion, and often less. This was why they still saw a need for relatively large shields.

Tactically, they were not used as simple "pike-breakers" since Swiss pikemen tended to trample them underfoot in a frontal encounter. Most of the competent Spanish/Imperial commanders used them for laying ambushes or launching small-unit attacks in broken terrain, which would have forced the pike formations to break up and rendered them vulnerable to attacks by men with shorter weapons. It is also worth noting that many pike formations at this time had a "crust" of armored men protecting the lightly-armored or unarmored men in the center. The broken terrain allowed the rodeleros to get straight into the vulnerable center without having to break their way through the armored bulwark on the outside.

In many cases the Spanish used military engineering to create the broken terrain that the rodeleros needed; one good example is the field fortifications in the Battle of Cerignola.

If we're allowed to speak of the 14th and 15th centuries as well, then we also see the sword-and-buckler combination (not the rodeleros' sword-and-target) being preferred by dismounted men-at-arms when assaulting or defending fortified positions. Part of the reason for this is that a man-at-arms conducting an escalade over an exposed ladder would have been able to hold his buckler above his head to protect himself from relatively light missiles.


That really sounds familiar, very much like Roman tactics against the (pike-armed) Greco-Macedonian phalanx.

I didn't surrender, but they took my horse and made him surrender.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2007 3:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

They were modeled after the Roman legions--at least partially so. One of their greatest and most obvious proponents was Machiavelli, who made no secret of the Neoclassical influences in the formation of these troops.
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Hisham Gaballa





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PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2007 11:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:
Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
[

They were called rodeleros, actually. Rodela was the name of their shields.


Does anyone have a photo or a sketch of such a shield?


Found this with a Google image search:
http://www.flg.es/HTML/Obras_2/Rodeladeacero_2623.htm
http://www.flg.es/HTML/Obras_2/Rodelalisa_2613.htm
http://www.flg.es/HTML/Obras_2/Rodeladeacero_2638.htm

Unfortunately I can't read Spanish.
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