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Rodolfo Martínez




Location: Argentina
Joined: 30 Nov 2006

Posts: 347

PostPosted: Sun 01 Jun, 2008 9:55 pm    Post subject: Italian wars heavy cavalry         Reply with quote

Hello guys,
I was reading somewhere in the net, an article about the battle of Mohacs, in wich the author said that the Hungarian king had an expensive but obsolete army, like the one Francis I commanded.
I think that the guy was refering to the heavy cavalry lancers.
What do you think?
Where them obsolete?

¨Sólo me desenvainarás por honor y nunca me envainarás sin gloria¨
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jun, 2008 4:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Louis II's army was typical feudal army, heavy men at arms, some light cavalry, probably also some infantry. Czechs proposed that they should fight behind wagons, like Hussits did, but proud nobles rejected that, and they also rejected to wait for more (about 12 000) Croatian troops under the Krsto Frankopan. So the army was a little obsolete but the Turkish army wasn't really much better except the artillery, but the artillery couldn't play a decisive role on the battlefield yet, especially when the majority of Hungarian troops was cavalry. It was bad tactics and too much pride that cost them victory, much like at Nicopolis, and of course numbers weren't on their side also, they were outnumbered at least 3 to 1.
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Henrik Zoltan Toth




Location: Hungary
Joined: 18 Feb 2007

Posts: 197

PostPosted: Mon 02 Jun, 2008 8:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's not true in these form:-)

Except that thye hungarians didn't wait (not only the croatian, but either the Transylwanian troups) until they got their full strenght.
The troups came slowly together, and because they couldn't face the turks by Eszek (by the river Drava), the only other (not excellent, but not bad too) palce where they could probably be succesful was the field of Mohács.

If the hungarians (10000 infantry (all death at the end) from cc. 25-30000 men of the main army, some 5-6 000 heavy rider (most of them killed too) and cc. 10 000 husars) went back to the nodr to Buda, the osman cavalry could had easely reach and drestroy them (and the main problem, the king too) and the south hungarian lords and little nobles fought since ...ever:-) successfull with the osmans with small troups, so they tought a victory could be achieved.

The osmans arrived in cc.3 groups (Rumeli army, Anatolian army, Soliman). They had to go down a large brae and trough a bowl to reach the batllefield (mudy b. of the rain), and the hungarians (mainly Paul Tomori) wanted to drestroy them independent (mainly with the cavalry), step by step. But the turks didn't want to fight, neither the hungarian lords and the king, so the full armoured hungarians begun to go back into the camp. Tomori had a long quarell with the king's stuff and finaly the first hungarian lines begun to attack the turks (but the Anatolian army had already arrived too). The rumelians went back ("thousends of iron-jaurs attacked them, after some canon shots)":-), Tomori called for more soldiers ("We got the Victory") the king send his personal horse guards, and the infantry too. The topci couldn' use their canons succesfull against the hungarians, b. the osman altir. stood in the bowl, and couldn't shoot straight into the attacking hungarian lines.

But after that the anatolian units and the yannisaries (with guns) killed most of the heavy cavalry, the rest and the husars leaved the field, the infantry was surranded and killed.
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Rodolfo Martínez




Location: Argentina
Joined: 30 Nov 2006

Posts: 347

PostPosted: Mon 02 Jun, 2008 9:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello. Thanks for the answers!
They were outnumbered before, like during the siege of Belgrade or Nándorfehérvár, in wich János Hunyadi fought. If i´m not wrong early pikemen and gunners were bothering around, and even Mehmet had artillery.

What type of armour do you think that János Hunyadi´s men-at-arms had?

¨Sólo me desenvainarás por honor y nunca me envainarás sin gloria¨
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Fri 06 Jun, 2008 1:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Janos Hunyadi's men-at-arms--if by that term you mean the most well-trained, heavily armored warriors--would probably have been armed in similar fashion to other European men-at-arms in the mid-15th century, especially those of the neighboring German lands. This might mean that full harnesses of plate and horse barding was not as common among them as among, say, French,English, or Burgundian men-at-arms, but they would have been a formidable force nevertheless.

Leaving the 15th century to return to the original 16th-century topic of your question, as far as I know the Hungarians did employ fully-armored cavalry at Mohacs but I don't buy the idea that such troops were obsolete by that time. When did Mohacs take place? 1526? Well, the French and Imperials were still using fully-armored gendarmes in some numbers well into the 1540s, and perhaps even during the Wars of Religion, so the fully-armored lancer was definitely far from obsolete when Mohacs was fought. Moreover, heavy armor tended to be kept longer in Eastern and Central European regions that had to contend with the Ottoman threat since the Turks still placed a heavy reliance on non-gunpowder weapons to supplement their gunpowder-armed troops.
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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PostPosted: Fri 06 Jun, 2008 3:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rodolfo,

While hand guns and pikes were around I'd think it hard to give the siege of Belgrade to them. It seems from the little I have seen of it to be a rather muddled links of primary sources though there is no indication that firearms outnumbered traditional missile weapons nor pikes other melee weapons. The Sultan was almost killed by an arrow as he fled so if hitting the top dog of a battle makes it a war winning weapon the bow and arrow certainly helped the Sultan decide how to end the battle....

At least till the mid 16th heavy cavalry was a viable force on the field but I'll leave Gordon or the likes to give you the ins and outs of that period and heavy horse.

RPM
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Rodolfo Martínez




Location: Argentina
Joined: 30 Nov 2006

Posts: 347

PostPosted: Fri 06 Jun, 2008 11:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello.
Thanks for the answers.
I don´t buy that idea too. Even, if i´m not wrong, Spanish men-at-arms, once crushed a group of Reiters, and early guns weren´t able to pierce armour at certain distance (And the round bullets tended to loose speed very fast)

Anyway, do you know if arbalests were still around? i think they can pack a good punch to armour.

If i´m not wrong, longbowmen were even used during the battle of the spurs too.

About Reiters, since they were the new response of the Germanic Nobility, DO you think that it was a good idea to leave lancers?
Were Reiters as effective when charging against infantry formations as lancers? (I don´t mean that lancers were always effective, this will sound simplistic but at least they had better horses for that job, better trained, and armored)
I think a pistol has less reach than an arquebuz, so i think, even having bullet proof armour, Isn´t harder for a reiter to approach to a pike and shot formation?, and, if they charge agains pikes, aren´t their horses more vulnerable to halberds or pikes than an armored stallion?

Thanks.
P.D.
What style is the following armour?



 Attachment: 39.57 KB
Gendarme BayardFrench 1525.jpg


¨Sólo me desenvainarás por honor y nunca me envainarás sin gloria¨
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David Black Mastro




Location: Central NJ
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PostPosted: Mon 09 Jun, 2008 11:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rodolfo Martínez wrote:
Hello.
Thanks for the answers.
I don´t buy that idea too. Even, if i´m not wrong, Spanish men-at-arms, once crushed a group of Reiters, and early guns weren´t able to pierce armour at certain distance (And the round bullets tended to loose speed very fast)



It depends both on the armor, and the gun.


The armor had to be "of proof", to stop bullets.

And the heavy Hispano-Italian musket (an oversized arquebus fired from a forked rest) packed a mean punch, firing a 2-ounce lead ball (propelled by some 2 ounces of powder), at around 1,500 f.p.s.

As Sir John Smythe noted in Certain Discourses Military, "no wearable armor" could stop that.




Quote:
Anyway, do you know if arbalests were still around? i think they can pack a good punch to armour.

If i´m not wrong, longbowmen were even used during the battle of the spurs too.

About Reiters, since they were the new response of the Germanic Nobility, DO you think that it was a good idea to leave lancers?
Were Reiters as effective when charging against infantry formations as lancers? (I don´t mean that lancers were always effective, this will sound simplistic but at least they had better horses for that job, better trained, and armored)
I think a pistol has less reach than an arquebuz, so i think, even having bullet proof armour, Isn´t harder for a reiter to approach to a pike and shot formation?, and, if they charge agains pikes, aren´t their horses more vulnerable to halberds or pikes than an armored stallion?




According to Smythe, the Duke of Alva started using those heavy muskets in the field (they had previously been confined mostly to siege work), to counter the arquebus-proof armor of the reiters. That being said, I would imagine that their horses would have been vulnerable to all sorts of missiles anyway.

Reiters seem to have been a sort of "multi-purpose" soldier--i.e., they could function as cavalry or infantry, as the situation demanded, much like later dragoons.

"Why meddle with us--you are not strong enough to break us--you know that you have won the battle and slaughtered our army--be content with your honor, and leave us alone, for by God's good will only have we escaped from this business" --unknown Spanish captain to the Chevalier Bayard, at the Battle of Ravenna, 1512
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jun, 2008 11:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rodolfo Martínez wrote:
Anyway, do you know if arbalests were still around? i think they can pack a good punch to armour.


Yes, crossbows were still used, though in smaller and smaller numbers, until well into the 17th century--for the most part, they only saw use in special duties like throwing incendiary projectiles (muskets and arquebuses could do this too with specially-designed arrows) or assassinations (where a close-range shot from a crossbow could still be deadly to an unarmored man without making as much noise as a pistol).


[/quote]If i´m not wrong, longbowmen were even used during the battle of the spurs too.[/quote]

As cavalry!


Quote:
About Reiters, since they were the new response of the Germanic Nobility, DO you think that it was a good idea to leave lancers?


Gordon Frye has written at length about this subject:

http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_lancepistol.html

and I agree with his conclusion that there were several good reasons why the pistol had replaced the lance as the principal shock weapon of heavy cavalry by the end of the 16th century. At the time of Mohacs, however, pistols were still a new, untested invention, and there were none of the tactical doctrines that would allow them to be used with deadly effect in later wars (such as the French Wars of Religion and the Dutch Revolt).


Quote:
Were Reiters as effective when charging against infantry formations as lancers? (I don´t mean that lancers were always effective, this will sound simplistic but at least they had better horses for that job, better trained, and armored)
I think a pistol has less reach than an arquebuz, so i think, even having bullet proof armour, Isn´t harder for a reiter to approach to a pike and shot formation?, and, if they charge agains pikes, aren´t their horses more vulnerable to halberds or pikes than an armored stallion?


Yes, pistol-armed heavy cavalry could be every bit as effective as lancers in charging against infantry. Remember that the Renaissance cavalry doctrines called for the cavalry to hit the enemy's infantry in the flank, not from the front, and preferably when the infantry had already been pinned down by the frontal and/or flanking attacks of friendly infantry and artillery. And then the really good pistol-armed cavalry units were trained to use their pistols not as missile weapons but as shock weapons, treating them like very long lances or swords. Last but not least, there's a reason why European heavy cavalry in the 17th and late 16th centuries were called "sword-and-pistol" cavalry--they not only had pistols, they also carried swords that would have been very effective against infantry (especially lightly-armored Shot).

Oh, and I forgot to mention that by the time pistols became a really important presence on the battlefield, many lancers had begun to discard their horse armor and even the men were transitioning to the somewhat less complete coverage of demi-lancer gear, though they often compensated for the latter by making the armor plates substantially thicker on the parts that were still covered. In the end the difference between their gear and the cuirassiers' often came down to only their primary weapon--the lance in one case and the long horse pistol in the other.
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