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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Jan, 2009 2:20 pm    Post subject: Coutilliers at the Battle of Nancy?         Reply with quote

I was reading "Dragon", issue 6, which was linked here in another thread. One of the articles talks about Confederacy (Swiss) soldiers in the years 1476 and 1477, just before the Battle of Nancy, which ended the existence of the Dutchy of Burgundy.

I found this quote in the Wiki article:

Quote:
Charles as usual deployed his troops to a precise battle plan despite the short notice he received of the approach of Rene's forces. The infantry companies and dismounted gendarmes formed up in a large square formation with some 30 field guns in front at the top of the slope, while on either flank were mounted knights and coutilliers.


Coutillers are individuals using a cutlass, making them a form of swordsman. I was under the impression that the cutlass was a weapon developed in the 16th century, and that "swordsmen" as a military unit was by large a thing of the past after the fall of Rome and their Legionaries. I assume someone here has more advanced knowledge of the armies of the Swiss Confederacy, especially those mercenaries paid by Rene, Duke of Lorainne, and would know if this is a mistake in the article, or if the Swiss did employ swordsmen in addition to their famous halberders, pikemen, and arquebusiers.

M.

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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jan, 2009 12:03 am    Post subject: Re: Coutilliers at the Battle of Nancy?         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
I was reading "Dragon", issue 6, which was linked here in another thread. One of the articles talks about Confederacy (Swiss) soldiers in the years 1476 and 1477, just before the Battle of Nancy, which ended the existence of the Dutchy of Burgundy.

I found this quote in the Wiki article:

Quote:
Charles as usual deployed his troops to a precise battle plan despite the short notice he received of the approach of Rene's forces. The infantry companies and dismounted gendarmes formed up in a large square formation with some 30 field guns in front at the top of the slope, while on either flank were mounted knights and coutilliers.


Coutillers are individuals using a cutlass, making them a form of swordsman. I was under the impression that the cutlass was a weapon developed in the 16th century, and that "swordsmen" as a military unit was by large a thing of the past after the fall of Rome and their Legionaries. I assume someone here has more advanced knowledge of the armies of the Swiss Confederacy, especially those mercenaries paid by Rene, Duke of Lorainne, and would know if this is a mistake in the article, or if the Swiss did employ swordsmen in addition to their famous halberders, pikemen, and arquebusiers.

M.

The quote describes the Burgundian deployment, not that of the Swiss so the Coutilliers/Coustilliers are Burgundians.
Each Burgundian 'lance' included a Coustillier who fought mounted together with his man-at-arms.
The equipment of the Coustilliers is described in detail in the Ordinance of St. Maximin de Tréves: October 1473

Quote:
"The coustillier must wear a brigandine or a split corselet ‘in the German manner’, a gorget (meaning standard or bevor), tassets, braies d’ acier (probably mail), vambraces, and gauntlets. He must be equipped with a light lance, that may be lowered for charging if necessary (coustilliers were routinely inter spaced with the men-at-arms). He must also have a good sword, and a long double-edged dagger. "

http://www.wolfeargent.com/ordonnances.htm

As can be seen the Coustillier is more of a light lancer than a swordsman.

The 'coutelas' of the 16th Century was for a long period nothing than falchion or messer style weapon called by another name. They were quite popular with the French cavalry well into the late 16th Century and appear in both written and pictorial sources.
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M. Eversberg II




Location: California, Maryland, USA
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jan, 2009 11:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah I see what I misinterpreted; it seemed at the time as if they switched from talking about Charles to the Swiss, speaking of his deployment in reaction to the Swiss line, which contained these guys. My fault.

M.

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James R.Fox




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PostPosted: Sat 17 Jan, 2009 3:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sirs-It is my understanding that coustellier is medieval slang for non-noble spearman. They originated around 1100 and were originally conscripted foot that carried a spear and a very heavy dagger, nearly the size of a small riding sword called a coustelle. Mr Oakshott has then in hie "Archaeology of Weapons" and if I remember right, George Cameron Stone has them in his "Glossary of the Construction, Decoration, and Use of Arms and Armour"
Ja68ms
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