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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Wed 30 Jul, 2008 6:41 am    Post subject: When did dragoons drop their pikes?         Reply with quote

What's the last known instance of dragoons lugging their pikes around? I'm under the impression that dragoons discarded their pikes a lot earlier than proper Foot did, but I'm not sure about how much earlier (or even if my idea is correct).
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Glen A Cleeton




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PostPosted: Wed 30 Jul, 2008 8:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lances were still in use amongst various cavalry regiments of several European countries into the 20th century. Did you have a more specific timeline and context in mind?

You are probably familiar with Gordon's feature article here but I link it just in case
http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_lancepistol.html

That might be more useful for an earlier context.

Cheers

GC
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Wed 30 Jul, 2008 9:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not lances--I really meant pikes. Infantry pikes. The specific context is the 17th century, since as far as I remember the Dragoons at the beginning of the century sometimes had pikes (or at least were still supposed to have pikes) in their formation, literally reflecting the practice in the Foot at the time, while I'd be hard-pressed to name any Dragoon unit that still carried pikes in 1700. What I don't know exactly is when the Dragoons ceased carrying pikes, and whether this was a gradual process or an abrupt one.
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Glen A Cleeton




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PostPosted: Wed 30 Jul, 2008 9:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So when you say "lugging around" you are refering to an attached unit of infantry with pikes?

Cheers

GC
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Russ Thomas
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PostPosted: Wed 30 Jul, 2008 9:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have never heard of any cavalry that used pikes ! There were some demi-lancers in use during the English Civil War, 1642-51, but I don't think that there were many, though I have to admit that my knowledge of such is extremely limited!
The standard infantry pike of the mid 17th century was some 16 or 17 feet long, quite clumsy and unweildly too, certainly of no use on horse back. Are you sure that you are not thinking of infantry that were supposed to accompany and support the dragoons?

Regards,

Russ

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Daniel Michaelsson




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PostPosted: Wed 30 Jul, 2008 10:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've never heard of pike-cavalry either. Do you mean like a unit of mounted pikeman? I.e they rode to their position and then dismounted to fight on foot (not that I've heard of this either but it seems more feasible)?
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Glen A Cleeton




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PostPosted: Wed 30 Jul, 2008 10:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, the use of the word dragoon has been used differently over history as well but they are ostensibly all mounted infantry.

I thought that in the English Civil War context, it was more a matter of pikes being supplanted by musketry. I did just see an abstract today (*for shame not dragging it back) that the dragoon/pikemen (ECW) were mounted for transport only but were indeed carrying pikes. A leather loop attached some halfway down the haft to aid in this. I don't see the logistic sense in that except that even so encumbrenced, still a bit more mobile than a single carriage for everyone's pike. That abstract was a 17th century text, The musket bearing dragoons being used as mounted musketeers. Still, being deployed as infantry. This seems pretty standard for the British on their own island as men at arms and knights had been dismounting for some centuries.

Was continental circumstance different? I really don't know but the pike does seem to fade as musket use increases and bayonets become more a standard thought. The half pikes/spontoons becoming mostly an indicator by the mid 18th century but still a useful tool beyond that(Lewis&Clark). Shorter "pikes" and boarding knives for naval use even after that. All that though a bit adrift from what Lafayette seems to be looking for here and in the other somewhat related thread.

Cheers

GC

* http://www.ecwsa.org/mildragoons.html
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sat 02 Aug, 2008 10:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since there still seems to be some confusion with regards towhat I'm talking about, then let me clarify: I'm asking about "Dragoons" when the term still referred to a troop type that fought largely as mounted infantry--i.e. people who mostly fought dismounted in tactical situations. So yes, I'm referring to the kind of armament that these dragoons would have used on foot, though of course they would have transported it on horseback like what they did with their own persons.

In any case, that ECWSA article is definitely interesting. It's pretty good information for narrowing down the field of my search by a considerable margin--since the quotes in the article make it clear that pike-armed dragoons were gone by the 1670s and already rare even in the 1640s, I suppose I can restrict my inquiry to the first half of the century. Of course, since the information provided there was about England, I can't help wondering about what's the case in the Continent. Did the Continental dragoons discard their pikes sooner than their English counterparts, or did they keep the tradition going for a bit longer instead?
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Aug, 2008 10:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette;

As far as I can tell, although the major writers all discussed the use of Dragoons with pikes, they were never fielded as such. All I can find reference to in the field is of Dragoons (or Mounted Foote) with firearms, be they arquebuses or muskets.

There certainly were plenty of "Arquebusiers Horsed"/ "Arquebusiers á Cheval" over the years, as the first noted in my research is an Italian company from 1494. And as true "Mounted Infantry" AKA Dragoons, plenty were in use by the French Wars of Religion, with Admiral Coligny's mounting up of several hundred arquebusiers to accompany his equestrian march through France in 1569 being just one case. Henri of Navarre made a virtual specialty of keeping a good number of mounted arquebusiers with him to supplement his Gendarmes and Cheveaux Legérs. But there is never any discussion of mounting up pikemen, as far as I can see. DIS-mounting some Cheveaux Legér and arming them with pole-arms, yes (at Arques). But they never carried said pole-arms on horseback.

Walhausen in 1616 certainly waxes on and on about Dragoon-Pikers, and his pupil Cruso makes mention of it as well a decade and a half later. But I have yet to find ANY references as to their actual USE in the field, anywhere. Lots of talk as to how to employ them, little as to how they were actually employed.

Now I may well be missing something here, and I would love to have that pointed out to me, but from the best of my research, there just weren't any Dragoon Pikes. I guess it was figured that if (quite literally) "push came to shove" then the mounted shotte would simply mount up and leave, rather than trying to actually hold against infantry armed with pikes. At least that's my take on it.

Cheers!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
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http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Aug, 2008 11:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting. I originally thought that dragoons had always been entirely armed with firearms, but then I read Cruso and his mention of pike-armed dragoons so I thought I might have been wrong. Now it seems that I was wrong to have changed my mind, since the pike-armed dragoons are just a theoretical peculiarity of the Wallhausen "school"!

Anyway, it's a warning to me that I shouldn't be too quick to make assumptions from reading a primary source, even though that source seems pretty reliable in most other respects.

(And it struck me that I forgot to mention Cruso at all in my original question!)
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Sat 09 Aug, 2008 10:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette;

I think that the theoretics of Walhausen (and his being echoed by Cruso) have caused a lot of misunderstandings in the minds of historians ever since. I know that the French, during the Wars of Religion, don't mention the idea of mounting up Pikemen, but are very enthusiastic in the idea of mounting arquebusiers to follow their Horse about on campaign. And I've yet to run across any accounts from the 30-Years War or English Civil War concerning the actual fielding of such a type of Dragoon either. So I believe that you are indeed correct in reversing yourself on this. Strange how go the ways of the researchers! Big Grin

Cheers!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Mon 11 Aug, 2008 3:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I fully agree with Gordon's conclusion. The pike armed dragoon seems to have existed only on paper, i have yet to find any solid evidence that such troops were actually raised and used in the field. All of my sources from the 30 Years War and Swedish-Polish wars only mention musket armed dragoons as do the 16th Century sources I have.

One problem with many published military writers of the late 16th and 17th century is that they mixed actual drills, formations and troop types with their favorite personal theories on the subject. Wallhausen did this in most of his works, Kriegskunst zu Pferd is actually not too bad in this regard but his work on infantry (Kriegskunst zu fuss) is a bit of a mess.

Quote:
"Wallhausen has made a large book of the drills of a regiment which do not occur among us and were also not used by the Prince of Orange...which are nothing more than fantasies that one put on paper and which cannot be applied by any officer or soldier, indeed not by the authoer himself, who, like Icarus, wants to fly so high that he must fall down from above, who thinks that by putting figures on paper they must be heard by many people"

Le Hon (Hondius) as quote by Delbrück

You'll find the same things to a lesser degree in for example Montecuccoli whose works also contains formations and orders of battle which were never used, not even by the author.

That is why I personally value the down to earth texts written by Sir Roger Williams and Count Johann von Nassau-Siegen so highly. You don't have to spend time separating what's real and what's fantasy.

Cheers
Daniel
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D Critchley




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PostPosted: Mon 11 Aug, 2008 6:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Since there still seems to be some confusion with regards towhat I'm talking about, then let me clarify: I'm asking about "Dragoons" when the term still referred to a troop type that fought largely as mounted infantry--i.e. people who mostly fought dismounted in tactical situations. So yes, I'm referring to the kind of armament that these dragoons would have used on foot, though of course they would have transported it on horseback like what they did with their own persons.

In any case, that ECWSA article is definitely interesting. It's pretty good information for narrowing down the field of my search by a considerable margin--since the quotes in the article make it clear that pike-armed dragoons were gone by the 1670s and already rare even in the 1640s, I suppose I can restrict my inquiry to the first half of the century. Of course, since the information provided there was about England, I can't help wondering about what's the case in the Continent. Did the Continental dragoons discard their pikes sooner than their English counterparts, or did they keep the tradition going for a bit longer instead?


Dragoons were mounted infantry, but they carried muskets /arquebuses known as "Dragons" - hence the name Dragoon
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Mon 11 Aug, 2008 8:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Staberg wrote:
That is why I personally value the down to earth texts written by Sir Roger Williams


Damn! Is this the Sir Roger Williams whom I remembered because I came across a very expensive original edition of his book?

Anyway, the discussion about real and theoretical formations got me thinking about an unrelated tangent: it might be fun to experiment with using some of these theoretical ideas in a fantasy world where they do get put into practice. As usual, this kind of research has proved to be an extremely fertile breeding ground for plot bunnies....


Last edited by Lafayette C Curtis on Fri 15 Aug, 2008 5:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Mon 11 Aug, 2008 11:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interestingly in regards to Sir Roger Williams, in his "Briefe Discours on Warre" he makes note of the ineffectiveness of "Border Prickers" of either Scottish or English nationality in the Wars in the Netherlands, while strongly affirming their increased efficiency when converted to arquebusiers á cheval. He notes that their usefulness in either holding or taking unfortified towns or villages was vastly increased by their having firearms:

If the village be such, either in entering a village or straight, that horseman cannot find place to enter & to charge, these hargulatiers light on foote & do no lesse dutie than foote hargbushers.

He never once mentions the idea that "spearmen" (i.e. Border Prickers) might dismount and use their spears as pikes, nor the idea that one might mix the weaponry of a company. Williams is an all-or-nothing sort of fellow, and had little time for theoretics. He was definitely of the bantam rooster school, and was well respected by both sides in the Dutch Revolt. Interesting fellow he was, indeed! Cool

Cheers!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Aug, 2008 5:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

BTW, what edition(s) would you recommend if I'm looking to add Sir Roger Williams's works (and perhaps the critical appraisals thereof) to my library? It seems that with every primary source I read, the more aware I become of the multitude that I haven't read.
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Sat 16 Aug, 2008 12:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Daniel Staberg wrote:
That is why I personally value the down to earth texts written by Sir Roger Williams


Damn! Is this the Sir Roger Williams whom I remembered because I came across a very expensive original edition of his book?

Anyway, the discussion about real and theoretical formations got me thinking about an unrelated tangent: it might be fun to experiment with using some of these theoretical ideas in a fantasy world where they do get put into practice. As usual, this kind of research has proved to be an extremely fertile breeding ground for plot bunnies....


That is indeed the same Sir Roger Williams although I was refering to his short text A brief discourse of war
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Williams_(soldier)

Quote:
BTW, what edition(s) would you recommend if I'm looking to add Sir Roger Williams's works (and perhaps the critical appraisals thereof) to my library? It seems that with every primary source I read, the more aware I become of the multitude that I haven't read.

The best and cheapest edition of his works is
The works of Sir Roger Williams / Ed. by John X. Evans
Oxford 1972
ISBN:0-19-812428-7

Not only do you get both "A brief discourse of war" and "Actions in the Low Countries", you also get a military biography of the man and the editors footnotes for both texts. A very good investment if you are interested in the period. There are a few problems with the 'modern', i.e 1972 texts. The interpretations of 16th C warafre is old fashioned and the editor has relied almost exclusively on English language texts. There are a few embarrasing errors in the footnotes. For example "Landsknechts" have become "Launce-Knights" when Sir Roger describes the armies in "Actions in the Low Countries" which the editor continues to describe as "men-at-arms" (q.v), armed with the lance"!
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Ann R.




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PostPosted: Sat 16 Aug, 2008 9:35 pm    Post subject: Learning Upside Down         Reply with quote

I read the entire thread about pike and dragoons. I hope you'll see some humor when I tell you I had to go to wikipedia and look up "pike". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pike_(weapon) I know that wikipedia is not a citable source, but it works as a starting point for me. This sort of thing is what I refer to as upside down learning. Very interesting. Happy

Ann R.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Aug, 2008 12:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Staberg wrote:
The best and cheapest edition of his works is
The works of Sir Roger Williams / Ed. by John X. Evans
Oxford 1972
ISBN:0-19-812428-7

Not only do you get both "A brief discourse of war" and "Actions in the Low Countries", you also get a military biography of the man and the editors footnotes for both texts. A very good investment if you are interested in the period. There are a few problems with the 'modern', i.e 1972 texts. The interpretations of 16th C warafre is old fashioned and the editor has relied almost exclusively on English language texts. There are a few embarrasing errors in the footnotes. For example "Landsknechts" have become "Launce-Knights" when Sir Roger describes the armies in "Actions in the Low Countries" which the editor continues to describe as "men-at-arms" (q.v), armed with the lance"!


All right. Thanks for the recommendation--I'm putting it in my wish list even as I write.
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James R.Fox




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PostPosted: Thu 04 Sep, 2008 11:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sirs- The Scottish armies used mounted spearmen during Robert Bruce's War of Independance. They rode to the battlefield, and dismounted to form the schiltron. They were gradually phased out be the use of gunpowder
Ja68ms
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