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Felix Wang

Location: Fresno, CA
Joined: 23 Aug 2003
Reading list: 17 books

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Posts: 394

PostPosted: Mon 29 Mar, 2004 1:45 pm    Post subject: The Swiss Army         Reply with quote

There is a very fine new article by George Gush, outlining the characteristics and history of the Swiss in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. The qualities that made them such formidable opponents are well discussed, and their weapons and tactics. I would like to add one more characteristic of the Swiss that contributed to their legendary spirit - they were recruited and trained in units based on the villages and cantons they lived in, so that everyone knew everyone else. Any instance of extraordinary courage or cowardice would be noticed, and would follow the soldier for the rest of his life. The ancient Teutonic tribes fought this way, and it greatly enhanced the solidity of their formations. The article is well illustrated. I am curious about the origins of the large illustration of various Swiss soldiers, though. The captions for 'B' and 'C' describe a typical Swiss soldier of the time of Biococca, and a armored soldier, but the pictures show both men in half-armor (heading to 3/4 armor). In the next row, the second figure is wearing horns on his head (?). What is the meaning of that? It may reflect the fact that he is from Uri, and the cantonal flag is of a bull's head; otherwise it is very odd. The second-to the last figure is described as having a two-handed sword; he is carrying a pike and what I would call a longsword. No one, as far as I know, carried both a zweihander and a pike.

I have one addendum, about the Swiss stubborness on the battlefield. There is one instance of when the Swiss tried to surrender: Arbedo in1422. The offer to surrender was refused by the Milanese, but fortunately for the Swiss a returning foraging party was mistaken by the Milanese as major Swiss reinforcements, ending in a drawn battle.
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Jon C. Webb

Location: Ada, OK
Joined: 14 Oct 2003

Posts: 32

PostPosted: Thu 08 Apr, 2004 11:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I appreciated how much information was condensed in the article, and was also intrigued by the horned hornblower. Any insight into this? Confused
"So I opened my door to my enemies
and I said 'Can we wipe the slate clean?'
They told me to please go @*$% myself:
You know, you just can't win."
Pink Floyd
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Paulo J

Location: Michigan
Joined: 18 Apr 2004

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed 21 Apr, 2004 11:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting article. Got me to think ...WHY did troops in Renaissance /mainly/ dressed up in a clown- looking
uniforms that were @ss backwards? Got few suggestions:
1/ human eye recognizes color,second after a movement /first/shape -third.
2/ Color with high contrast could confuse the enemy scouts as to the number of
the troops deployed at the field.
3/ Form of camouflage, like the ww1 battleships -harder to get fixed point of aim,
hard to focus on one individual rank when eyes are "playing tricks" because of
high contrast.
4/ Commander of the unit could tell if the troops were following orders of battle.
Just by looking at the column or square, one could tell if the column was TURNING
left or right: yellow right, blue left for example, yellow blue for attack or blue yellow
for withdrawal /when seen from behind/.
I am sure that color scheme was not just a pretty window dressing for the troops...
Paulo J
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