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M. Eversberg II

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PostPosted: Sun 27 May, 2012 9:09 pm    Post subject: Question on using a lance mounted         Reply with quote

I know the lance survived as a viable weapon well into Napoleon's time, and was at least issued as late as WWI, so I think there may be some hard data out there on this.

My question regards the nitty gritty detail of actually deploying the thing. While I understand you couch it (after the development of the high backed saddle) and try to strike someone with the sharp end, what exactly happens after you strike the guy? I know around the 12th century we start to see something that guards against the weapon sliding up the hand, which would allow extra energy transfer. It also implies you want to retain your grip on the weapon, and not travel up the lance towards the recipient. Also, it's not going to break (by design) if this grip is a thing. So I've come at a guy at the charge, something like 32kmh or more. I hit him with my lance point. It pierces him - now what? Do I drop the thing right away and acquire my backup arm? Is the guy prone to sliding or flying off my lance point? Am I supposed to yank it out of him on the pass?

I assume someone out there's seen manuals from the later lance era, and thus might have some idea. My "common sense" is that I drop the lance the moment I feel it "tug" in my hand, and acquire a backup weapon. I've heard of squires and whatnot retaining additional lances - this implies to me that I'm only getting one charge out of the thing before It's time to drop.

I'm guessing the lance charge does it's butcher's work best against other incoming cavalry units, which are bound to be of the same size, roughly, and not (inevitably larger) bands of infantry. If they're only useful for one blow (with my above assumption), then a given charge of, say, 100 knights can only achieve 100 hits with their lances. Fine if there's 100 or so oncoming horsemen, but not so good against a 300 or more strong band of infantry - after that first guy I've lost half my advantage. I know there's the matter of that first struck man being sent back and knocking down others, my horse's impact, etc but the issue stands.



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Ralph Grinly

Joined: 19 Jan 2011

Posts: 330

PostPosted: Mon 28 May, 2012 12:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Don't confuse medieval jousting lances with lances designed for actual mounted combat. Jousting lances were very different things. A bit like comparing F1 racing cars with old Volkswagen. Combat lances were basicly longish spears/pikes..usually with ash, or ( in later periods) bamboo shafts. I'm not sure about the actual handling of the medieval lance, but I suspect it'd have been much the same as in napoleonic times, or later in the British colonial periods. I'm pretty sure there should be some existing british cavalry lance handling manuals around.
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Brian Robson

Joined: 19 Feb 2007

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PostPosted: Mon 28 May, 2012 2:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've often wondered if there's a correlation between the kind of tournament joust on the list and battlefield use - in that the lance is angled to the left side of the horse (same side as the shield for maximum protection). Now it makes a lot of sense to me to have the shield between you and the enemy you're attacking - so it makes me kind of wonder if one tactic against a solid infantry defence was instead of hitting head-on, to kind of scythe in at sharp angle towards the right, keeping them on the left, striking with he lance and then circling back to get another lance ready to repeat until they were weakened enough to try to punch through with a direct charge..

The thing is, using the lance to strike a target on the left-side of the horse will mean that the lance hits at an angle rather than straight on - if you follow. So there must be a lot of lateral force on the lance, which I'd guess would cause it to snap if the strike was solid enough to lodge the point.
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Scott Woodruff

Joined: 30 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Mon 28 May, 2012 2:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

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