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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Tue 14 Sep, 2010 11:11 pm    Post subject: 16th - 17th Century Targes         Reply with quote

Hey everyone

I have a few questions about Scottish / Irish targes in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Does anyone know if the type of sheilds being used by Irish kern and hobilars, were the same as the targes used by later Scottish highlanders?

I know there are a couple of such targes found in Ireland dating from the mid 16th century, but I have no clue how common these were, or even if they were used in battle (they could have been gifts from Scottish relatives) any ideas?

Does anyone have any evidence of targes being used by Alastair McColla's troops in the 1640's. Alastair is credited with inventing the famous highland charge, but were targes employed in the charge at this time, or did they come in later?

I'm also a little confused about how the Scottish highlanders (espesially McColla's men) were armed during the Wars of Three Kingdoms. I know that the Irish troops of this period had abandoned their old style of combat and had adopted the standard pike and shot tactics of the continent, but while reading the article on the Scots in the features, I came across the Roll of Atholl, dated 1638 (contemporary with the above mentioned wars). It states that 523 men, had 110 guns, 2 hagbuts, 149 bows, 11 pistols, 11 long axes and halberds, 11 helmets and mail shirts, 125 targes, 448 swords and 3 two-handed swords.

If you add up these figures It doesn't quite make sense to me. 451 men of 523 have swords of one type or another, so thats pretty much everyone (the remainder probably had dirks that weren't counted anyway).

My problem the fact that 261of the 523 men were armed with either a gun or a bow as a primary weapon, plus the above mentioned swords and dirks as secondary weapons, take away the 11 men who are well equipped with helmets, mail shirts, axes, halderds, swords and pistols this leaves 251 men, only half of whom are defended by targes.

So does this mean that the above mentioned 251 men used the sword as their primary weapon, or did they use something else, such as a pike, as their primary weapon but may be these weren't listed because they were supplied to the men?

(BTW I know that the arms in the above numbers could have been distributed very differently, but this is how I interpret it)

This Roll also shows that there was still some mail, helmets, axes, and two handed swords in use, These pieces are very similar to the equipment of a gallowglass type soldier, does anyone know of any other evidence to show that these pieces were still in use at this time? and if not, does anyone know when these stopped being used?

And one final question, In the same article about the Scots, there is a highland light infantryman wearing an iron skullcap, I would like to know if there is any period evidence for this?

I know there are a lot of tricky questions here but any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance.

Éirinn go Brách
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Henrik Bjoern Boegh




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PostPosted: Wed 15 Sep, 2010 5:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Atholl men considered themselves Highlanders and were equipped accordingly. My guess is that the armour was worn by officers who dressed and used their equipment in the standard way of Britain of the time. So comparing them to Galloglasses of the Western Highlands probably ain't that far fetched.

The Highland equipment used by MacCollas Irish troops seem to me to have been different to those used by his Western Highland troops. I've understood it that the Irish troops were equipped in the standard fashion of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms where as his Highland troops were... Well; Highlanders.

What would have been interesting is to ken where the targes in Ireland have been found and how many.

Does anyone have a clue when the first mention of Scottish targes is?

Cheers,
Henrik

Constant and true.
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A. Spanjer




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PostPosted: Wed 15 Sep, 2010 6:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Henrik Bjoern Boegh wrote:
Does anyone have a clue when the first mention of Scottish targes is?

Cheers,
Henrik


According to the shield article here on myArmoury, the Targe was in use by the 12th century.

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

Na sir 's na seachain an cath.
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Henrik Bjoern Boegh




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PostPosted: Wed 15 Sep, 2010 8:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A. Spanjer wrote:
Henrik Bjoern Boegh wrote:
Does anyone have a clue when the first mention of Scottish targes is?

Cheers,
Henrik


According to the shield article here on myArmoury, the Targe was in use by the 12th century.

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

I'm thinking spesifically the two arm straps, leather covered, tacked type... Not just a smallish wooden shield.

Cheers,
Henrik

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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Wed 15 Sep, 2010 10:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In Ireland the earliest written reference I have for a targe is 1559 in a duel between two men outside of Blarney Castle. exactly what form it was is unknown. tr
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A. Spanjer




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PostPosted: Wed 15 Sep, 2010 11:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I seem to remember an image where some Targes had arrows through them, that could take them back at least to the mid 17th century.

Unfortunately, I can't remember where I saw this, so for all I know, it may have been a Victorian painting or even something more recent.

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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Wed 15 Sep, 2010 11:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thom R. wrote:
In Ireland the earliest written reference I have for a targe is 1559 in a duel between two men outside of Blarney Castle. exactly what form it was is unknown. tr


well I've seen a reference for Irish soldiers who fought at the siege of Rouen in 1418, They were described as having little or no armour and being armed with spears, swords, knives and "targets" but I have no idea if these looked like later targes

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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Fri 17 Sep, 2010 10:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was doing some more research into the idea iron skullcaps being worn by kern / cateran, and apart from the article in the features section, I was able to dig up two other places where I've seen this in the past. The first of these was on the site of a group called gaddgedlar (site no longer up), who are involved in scottish living history, and the second was in an Osprey title called Scottish Renaissence Armies 1513 - 1550, both of these had pictures of cateran wearing iron skullcaps, and as it turns out they were both drawn by the same guy, a man called Alan Gault. I also found out that Mr. Gault based these drawings on an illustration from a charter granted to Carlisle by Edward II of England in 1316. My question now is, has anyone seen said charter, and if yes, does anyone know where I might see this image online. Thanks in advance.
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James Cunniffe




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PostPosted: Sat 18 Sep, 2010 11:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You might find some info you are after In a book by James Drummond call Ancient Scottish weapons .I have not read it but its worth a look.From what i think Irish shield did not change much from the dark ages i.e. round with a boss and covered in hide .The Targe was used perhaps brought there by the Scotts .Good luck with your research Stephen,I look forward to what you find out.


James

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the sword speaks louder and stronger at any given moment.
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David Evans




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PostPosted: Sun 19 Sep, 2010 1:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alastair McColla commanded the "Irish" Brigade that landed in Scotland during JUly1644. By Irish the reference is not to the origin of the men but where the Brigade had come from. The men themselves were a mixture of Scots, old English and Irish Catholics with experience in Europe from the ongoing 30 Years War

The units themselves would have been equiped in the normal way for any regiment serving across Europe, with possibly more musket than pike. The "Highland Charge" was born out of a supply problem. All the black powder the Irish Brigade used had to taken from Covenanter sources, either looted towns or the regiments Montrose defeated in battle. As such the Irisg Brigade would get as close as possible to their enemy, fire a volley and fall on fast before the enemy could recover and fire back. In this, Montrose was very lucky, as the bulk of the Covenanter regeiments he faced in Scotland were raw and poorly trained. They couldn't reload as fast or carry out the drill movements as fast. When confronted with an enemy who closed to point blank range, fired and fell on them, they panicked and ran.

Targes would have been carried by the Highlanders in Montrose's army. Which tends to mean that the Lowland Scots and the Irish Brigade won't touch them as Highlanders were barbarous savages and beneath contempt.

Targes/Targets are very European, the sword and shield man was being levied in England for service in Ireland and in the Low Countries from the 1580's onwards. His task was to dart in and break the ranks of pike. Normally the target was of steel, although leather covered wood does appear. It's possible that the Red Shanks scots from the West Coast of Scotland who served under the Irish and occasionally the English took the concept home with them to add to their own ideas on warfare.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Sun 19 Sep, 2010 5:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi David and thanks for the informative reply. I would like to raise one point though. Although I agree that the lowland Scots would have viewed their highland neighbours as barbarians, I doubt that the gaelic Irish would have seen them that way, do you have any references for this opinion?

If I understood you right, in your opinion, the troops under McColla were not armed with targes, if this is correct do you think that when these troops executed the highland charge they did so armed with sword alone (and of course musket stocks).

On further thought about the roll of Atholl, I think that, perhaps it was the men armed with guns who had the targes. This would mean that these were the more well to do better equipped soldiers (with musket, sword and targe), while everyone else (excluding those armed with mail, helmets, axes and pistols) were simply armed with some bows and sword (probably of 'munitions grade'). What do the rest of you think of this theory?

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David Evans




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PostPosted: Sun 19 Sep, 2010 10:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The West Coast Scots and the Gaelic Irish were interrelated in many ways It's very difficult to work out who made up the Irish Brigade so it's possible/probable that Gaelic Irish served. BUT it's very probable that they were "modernised" in the process.

It's more than probable that the charg, as excuted by the Irish Brigade, was done with musket butt and sword
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Karl Schlesien





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PostPosted: Sun 19 Sep, 2010 11:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A few references from various sources to add to the discussion.

Quote:
The West Coast Scots and the Gaelic Irish were interrelated in many ways It's very difficult to work out who made up the Irish Brigade so it's possible/probable that Gaelic Irish served. BUT it's very probable that they were "modernised" in the process.


"In 1594, when Red Hugh O'Donnell, Lord of Tirconall in Ulster, was in rebellion against Queen Elizabeth, he was assisted for some time by a body of auxiliaries from the Hebrides. These warriors are described in the following terms, in the Life of Hugh O'Donnell, originally written in Irish by Peregrine O'Clery, and since translated by the late Edward O'Reilly, Esq. The curious extract from Mr O'Reilly's translation which follows was communicated to the editor by John D'Alton, Esq., barrister-at-law, Dublin :-

These (the auxiliaries from the Isles) were afterwards mixed with the Irish militia, with the diversity of their arms, their armour, their mode, manners, and speech. The outward clothing they wore was a mottled garment with numerous colours hanging in folds to the calf of the leg, with a girdle round the loins over the garment. Some of them with horn-hafted swords, large and military, over their shoulders. A man when he had to strike with them was obliged to apply both his hands to the haft. Others with bows, well polished, strong, and serviceable, with long twanging hempen strings, and sharp pointed arrows that whizzed in their flight."

"John Taylor, "the King's Majestic's Water Poet," made an excursion to Scotland in the year 1618, of which he published an amusing narrative under the title of "The Pennylesse Pilgrimage." He describes the dress of the Highlanders in the following account he gives of his visit to Braemar for the purpose of paying his respects to the Earl of Mar and Sir William Moray of Abercaimey (Taylor's Works, London, 1633, folio) :-

Thus, with extreme travell, ascending and descending, mounting and alighting, I came at night to the place where I would be, in the Brae of Marr, which is a large country, all composed of such mountaines, that Shooter's lull, or Malvernes Hills, are but mole-hills in comparison, or like a liver or a gizzard under a capon's wing, in respect to the altitude of their tops or perpendicularitie of their bottomes. There I saw Mount Benawue with a furrd'd mist upon his snowy head instead of a night-cap; for you must understand that the oldest man alive never saw but the snow was on the top of divers of those hills (both in summer as well as in winter.) There did I find the trudy noble and Rigbt Honourable Lords John Erskine, Earle of Marr, James Stuart, Earle of Murray, George Gordon, Earle of Engye, sonne and heire to the Marquise of Huntley, James Erskin, Earle of Bughan, and John Lord Erakin, sonne and heire to the Earle of Marr, with their Countesses, with my much honoured, and my best assured and approved friend, Sir William Murray, Knight, of Aberca.rny, and hundred of others, knights, esquires, and their followers; all and every man in general in one habit, as if Licurgus had been there and made lawes of equality. For once in the yeere, which is the whole moneth of August, and sometimes part of September, many of the nobility and gentry of the kingdome (for their pleasure) doe come into these Highland countries to hunt, where they doe conforme themselves to the habite of the Highland men, who, for the rnoste part, speake nothing but Irish; and in former time were those people which were called red-shanks. Their habite is shooes with but one sole apiece; stockings (which they call short hose) made of a warme stuff of divers colours, which they call tartane. As for breeches, many of them, nor their forefathers, never wore any, but a jerkin of the same stuffe that their hose is of, their garters being bands or wreathes of hay or straw, with a plaed about their shoulders, which is a mantle of divers colours, much finer and lighter stuffe than their hose, with blue fiat caps on their heads, a handkerchiefe knit with two knots about their uecks; and thus are they attyred. Now, their weapons are long bowes and forked arrowes, swords and targets, harquebusses, muskets, durks, and Loquhabor-ases. With these arms I found many of them armed for the hunting. As for their attire, any man of what degree soever that comes amongst them must not disdaine to weare it; for if they doe, then they will disdaine to hunt, or willingly bring in their dogges; but if men be kind unto them, and be in their habite, then are they conquered with kindnesses and sport will be plentifull. This was the reason that I found so many noblemen and gentlemen in those shapes."


"Defoe, in his "Memoirs of a Cavalier," written about 1721, and obviously composed from authentic material, thus describes the Highland part of the Scottish army which invaded England in 1639, at the commencement of the great civil war. The Cavalier having paid a visit to the Scottish camp to satisfy his curiosity, proceeds (Edit. 1809, P. 201):-

I confess the soldiers made a very uncouth figure, especially the Highlanders; the oddness and barbarity of their garb and arms seemed to have something in it remarkable. They were generally tall, swinging fellows; their swords were extravagantly and I think insignificantly broad, and they carried great wooden targets, large enough to cover the upper part of their bodies. Their dress was as antique as the rest; a cap on their heads, called by them a bonnet, long hanging sleeves behind, and their doublet, breeches, and stockings of a stuff they call plaid, stripped across red and yellow, with short cloaks of the same. These flows looked, when drawn out, like a regiment of Merry-Andrews ready for Bartholomew fair. There were three or four thousand of these in the Scots army, armed only with swords and targets; and in their belts some of them had a pistol, but no musquets at that time among them."
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Karl Schlesien





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PostPosted: Sun 19 Sep, 2010 12:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just a few more as time permits...

"IN the beginning of 1678, a body of Highlanders, "the Highland Host," as it was called, amounting to about io,00o men, were brought from their native mountains and quartered upon the western counties, for the purpose of suppressing the field meetings and conventicles of the Presbyterians. But their irregular and disorderly conduct soon made it necessary for Government to disband them; and therefore we need the less wonder that they should on this occasion be represented in satirical colours. The following is an extract from a letter (Wodrow MSS., Advocates' Library, 4to, vol. xcix., No. 29), dated February 1st, 1678, and evidently written by an eye-witness. The entire letter will be found in Blackwood's Magazine, April 1817, p. 68 :-

We are now quartered in and about this town (Ayr?), the Highlanders only in free quarters. It would be truly a pleasant sight, were it at an ordinary weaponshaw, to ice this Highland crew. You know the fashion of their wild apparel; not one of them bath breeches, yet hose and shoes are their greatest need and most clever prey, and they spare not to take them everywhere. In so much that the committee here and the Counsel with you (as it is said) have ordered some thousand pairs of shoes to be made to stand this great spoil. As for their armes and other militarie accoutrements, it is not possible for me to describe them in writing; here you may see bead-pieces and steel- bonnets raised like pyramids, and such as a man would affirme they had only found in chamber-boxes; targets and shields of the most odde and antique forme, and powder- horns, hung in strings, garnished with beaten nails and burnished brass. And truely I doubt not but a man curious in our antiquities might in this host linde explications of the strange pieces of armour mentioned in our old lawes, such as bosnet, iron hat, gorget, pesane, wambrassers and reerbrassers, panns, leg-splents, and the like, above what any occasion in the Lowlands would have afforded for several hundreds of yeers. Among the ensigns also, besides other singularities, the Glencow men were very remarkable, who had for their ensigne a faire bush of heath, wel.spred and displayed on the head of a staff, such as might have affrighted a Roman eagle."


"William Sacheverell, Governor of the Isle of Man, who was employed in 1688 in the attempt to recover the stores of the Florida, one of the great vessels of the Spanish Armada (which was blown up and sunk in the harbour of Tobermory, in Mull, exactly a hundred years before), made in that year an excursion through the Isle of Mull, and thence to Icolmkill. In 1702 he published, at London, an account of this excursion, along with an account of the Isle of Man. At page 129 of this volume, he thus describes the dress, armour, and general appearance of the Highlanders as he saw them in the Isle of Mull in 1688.

During my stay, I generally observed the men to be large-bodied, stout, subtle, active, patient of cold and hunger. There appeared in all their actions a certain generous air of freedom, and contempt of those trifles, luxury and ambition, which we so servilely creep after. They bound their appetites by their necessities, and their happiness consists, not in having much, but in coveting little. The women seem to have the same sentiments with the men; though their habits were mean, and they had not our sort of breeding, yet in many of them there was a natural beauty and graceful modesty, which never fails of attracting. The usual outward habit of both sexes is the pladd; the women's much finer, the colours more lively, and the squares larger than the men's, and put me in mind of the ancient Picts. This serves them for a veil, and covers both head and body. The men wear theirs after another fashion, especially when designed for ornament; it is loose and flowing, like the mantles our painters give their heroes. Their thighs are bare, with brawny muscles. Nature has drawn all her stroakes bold and masterly; what is covered is only adapted to necessity. A thin brogue on the foot, a short buskin of vanous colours on the legg, tied above the calf with a striped pair of garters. What should be concealed is hid with a large shot-pouch, on each side of which bangs a pistol and a dagger, as if they found it necessary to keep those parts well guarded. A round target on their backs, a blew bonnet on their heads, in one hand a broadsword and a musquet in the other. Perhaps no nation goes better armed; and I assure you they will handle them with bravery and dexterity, especially the sword and target, as our veterane regiments found to their cost at Gillecrankee."

"The Rev. James Brome, in his travels over England, Scotland, and Wales, published at London, in 1700, 8vo, gives (p. 183) the following description of the Highland dress and armour, which, although partly translated from Buchanan, has yet in it something original :-

The Highlanders who inhabit the west part of the country, in their language, habit, and manners, agree much with the customs of the wild Irish, and their chief city is Elgin, in the county of Murray, seated upon the water of Lossy, formerly the Bishop of Murray's seat, with a church sumptuously built, but now gone into decay. They go habited in mantles striped or streaked with divers colours about their shoulders, which they call pladden, with a coat girt close to their bodies, and commonly are naked upon their legs, but wear sandals upon the soles of their feet, and their women go clad much after the same fashion. They get their living mostly by hunting, fishing, and fowling; and when they go to war, the armour wherewith they cover their bodies is a morion or bonnet of iron, and an hatergeon which comes down almost to their very heels; their weapons against their enemies are bows and arrows, and they are generally reputed good marksmen upon all occasions. Their arrows for the most part are barbed and crooked, which once entered within the body, cannot well be drawn out again unless the wound be made wider. Some of them fight with broadswords and axes"
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Sep, 2010 11:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James Cunniffe wrote:
You might find some info you are after In a book by James Drummond call Ancient Scottish weapons .I have not read it but its worth a look.From what i think Irish shield did not change much from the dark ages i.e. round with a boss and covered in hide .The Targe was used perhaps brought there by the Scotts .Good luck with your research Stephen,I look forward to what you find out.


James


I was doing some more research into this area, and I found a thread here on myArmoury about early Scottish shields. It stated that Ancient Scottish Weapons by Drummond illustrated the development of the shield from the 'viking' shield to the targe. I cannot afford to buy any books at the moment, so I would like to know if anyone here has read this book, and could maybe offer a little information on the subject, or perhaps even post an illustration or a quote.

In regard to the O'Donovan targe, by chance I was looking at this family's history and I found out that they were based in munster. I was once told (by a usually reliable source) that the targe was probably not used to a great extent by the Irish and may have been only used by people in the north with family ties with Scotland i.e. the MacDonnald's and the O Donnell's. I now think that the targe was probably used, at least in the 16th, century by the Irish, but whether they were used by hobilars or kern, I have yet to find out.

After doing some more searching, I found that most people agree that Alastair McColla's men used targes while executing the highland charge, so I an now satisfied with that. I would still love to know what type of troop used this type of shield before McColla? We know that it was in use by at least mid 16th century (possible earlier), and at this time there were two types of infantry, heavy (Gallowglass) and light (Kern) and in Ireland there were also the cavalry (Hobilar). But which of these used the targe, probably not the gallowglass as they used two handed weapons such as axes, swords and spears. We do know that kern and hobilar are described as using 'wooden targets' but whether or not these looked liked later targes I do not know. While on the subject does anyone know when the Scots started using brass tacks and tooling the leather on their shields.

And last but not least, thanks Karl for those quotes, some of them I had seen before, but I could not find them when I went looking for them.

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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Tue 26 Apr, 2011 2:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi guys, time to revive this topic.

While looking at another thread here http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?p=88038 I came across something referred to as a Welsh buckler from the Royal Ontario Museum, which seems to be a round shield made of layers of leather, held together by hundreds of nails. This gave me the idea that maybe the Scots and Irish used a similar type of shield, and if they did, then its possible that this is where they got the idea to cover there targes with nails. Well, what do the rest of you think of this?

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Karl Schlesien





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PostPosted: Tue 26 Apr, 2011 4:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Why do we not ask member EdMcV to post some of his over 300 examples from his studies?

This is from posts I read over on SwordforumInternational.

http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t=103911

Quote:
E Mc Vey (Offline)
Settled in Comfortably Posts: 3
Join Date: Jan 2011

01-30-2011, 05:41 PM

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

With access to at least 300 targe designs I can deduct from them the approx. period a targe is from. Having also viewed many targes at source in Scotland and England it gives me a considerable library for research. Photographs are not real proof of a targe's authenticity as they can be altered..Photoshop etc. My contact with targe research has covered the period from 1972.


I am curious to see so many designs, it will be helpful to view them and other members will think so to, I feel.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Tue 17 May, 2011 7:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi guys a quick update on my research into the use of iron skull caps in Scotland. I have now seen the depiction of Isles men on the Carlisle charter (unfortuately I can't attach a picture as I don't have access to a scanner) and I can confirm that one of the three figures is wearing a skull cap also depicted are an axe, a spear, two heater type shields and a short bow. I also ran into the reference to skull caps though it is from a later period so I'm not sure about it's relevance http://www.oocities.org/~sconemac/queenv.html you might also spot a reference in here to a "Glasgow buckler" I wonder if this is actually a reference to a buckler or perhaps a targe is what was intended.
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PostPosted: Fri 24 Jun, 2011 10:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ok so I think my understanding of the questions asked in this topic has advanced a bit since last I posted here so I think it's time for an update.

First off I think that I've figured out the distribution of arms of the Atholmen. I think that the troops were deployed in a line four men deep. The front line occupied by the wealthy men armed with, musket, sword, and targe. The second and third lines occupied by less wealthy men, armed with swords. The rear line occupied by the poorest troops, armed with bows, and some swords. The 11 gallowglass type troops were probably the chiefs personal bodyguards.

The troops were arranged in this way for the famous highland charge. The bowmen in the rear ranks would send a volly of arrows over head, then at close range the front rank would fire their muskets, and all would charge the enemy to engage in close quarters combat. As was mentioned earlier in this thread this tactic was developed to deal with poor supplies of muskets and black powder, so highlanders not wanting to stand back and trade shots where they were at a disadvantage, but to charge at the enemy to where they had the advantage.

Around the year 1600 wealthy highlanders switch (except perhaps for some bodyguards) from arming themselves with helmets, mail, and two handed axes and swords, to muskets, baskethilts, and targes. I think that the abandonment of armour can be explained by the increased use of firearms, but why did they adopt targes? I think that the answer is that because highlanders prefered to fight up close and personal, a targe would be quite useful. Also it's possible that they came in handy while charging a block of pikes/bayonets.

I now think that targes weren't as common in Ireland as I previously imagined. By about 1600 Irish armies had switched from gallowglass and kern to pike and shot. The same conditions which made targes popular in the 17th century highlands, just didn't exists in Ireland. That is not to say that they weren't used in Ireland, just that they weren't very popular.

After some consideration, I think targes were not very suitable for Irish hobilars or kern. To me they just seem too small to be practical from horse back, so perhaps a larger version was used, as in the painting of sir Niall O'Neill, or a steel target, like as in John Derricke's Image of Irelande. As for kern, I can think of two reasons why they would need a shield, the first is to protect against missile weapons thrown by other kerns, and the second is to engage in close quarters combat. A larger shield would far more effective for the first scenario, and there is literal evidence for large wicker shields which would fit this role much better. As for the second scenario, I think a buckler would be more effective, and I think that this is possible that this was the case as the terms buckler and target were often used interchangibly by historians both in the past and the present.

Éirinn go Brách
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Jun, 2011 4:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:


I was doing some more research into this area, and I found a thread here on myArmoury about early Scottish shields. It stated that Ancient Scottish Weapons by Drummond illustrated the development of the shield from the 'viking' shield to the targe. I cannot afford to buy any books at the moment, so I would like to know if anyone here has read this book, and could maybe offer a little information on the subject, or perhaps even post an illustration or a quote.



Stephen...

Ancient Scottish Weapons is long out of print. However, you can obtain a copy on CD Rom from www.scotpress.com for a very reasonable price. The disc includes a copy of Highland Targets and Shields, also by James Drummond. I was able to examine an original copy of Ancient Scottish Weapons at the Tartans Museum in Franklin, NC last summer. They received it as a gift from a very nice person. Not many of these books were printed and only 50 copies of the work on shields.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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