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which warfare style/ period was 'more bloody'
medieval
19%
 19%  [ 8 ]
renaissance/ early modern warfare.
80%
 80%  [ 34 ]
Total Votes : 42

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William P




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jul, 2012 4:08 am    Post subject: was renaissance warfare more bloody than medieval warfare?         Reply with quote

Iím guessing the renaissance and early modern warfare was just as, if not more bloody.

the point of me asking this is Iím going to make a video in addendum/ response to this one
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vufba_ZcoR0&am...2FB1EF80C9
its a video on the renaissance as part of a larger series by an amateur blogger and author, he video essentially looks at the renaissance, why it likely happened, etc, essentially arguing it wasnít the big THING that everyone thinks. so far the video series has been pretty good BTW especially for the 'crash course' it is (he also makes a point of looking at a lot of non European areas of history like the silk road, in fact most of the video on the 'dark ages/ medieval period' talked about what everyone else was doing aside from Europeans.
(Although Iím personally annoyed that the Vikings got no mention whatsoever except that the Swedes were the ones who founded the kingdom of the kievan Rus.)
and while he didnít hurt his argument by not mentioning this subject ,he didnít try and dispel on one of the 'misconceptions' about the renaissance, i.e. the idea that it was a period of relative peace and an end to the bloody and dark medieval period, and hat things only got better. (My old 7th grade high school history book notes one reason for the renaissance as being princes doing less fighting and thus having to spend less on warriors and more on art and stuff)

Iím going to present a video essentially saying that not only was this not true, that in fact, for western Europe the renaissance was even MORE brutal and bloody than the previous 'medieval warfare' era


my main point is that in general armies got larger and a lot more fighting was groups of pike vs.. Pike, plus musketry, and there being less prisoners taken etc, add to that he advent of cannons/ gunpowder. And also new siege tactics.

That in general casualties was a lot higher, if nothing else because the scale of battles increased.
the other point will be o highlight the fact that contrary o here being less wars here were even more wars hen before, noting the fighting between the French and Spanish and Germans, constant battles against he ottomans, the wars between protestant and catholic factions , like the Huguenots and Catholics who were mentioned in the feature article lance vs. pistol.

not to mention he European ravaging of the Americas either though disease or direct warfare (alhoughthe guy who made the video on the renaissance made the next video in the series about the changes in the world that took place as a result of European discovery of the Americas, noting the transfer of crops, diseases, etc.

Iím also mentioning that the rise of the pike army was due o two things, 1 he revived interest in the ancient literature like Caesar and Alexanderís campaigns etc inspired people of the value of having armies organized like theirs, the second reason being the increasing prominence of the Swiss pikemen/ halberdiers.

hat and the fact that, Leonardo might be famous for flying machines, the Mona Lisa and assassins creed, he, and a lot of the other famous renaissance people like Michelangelo spent a lot of time doing military stuff like designing fortifications and such.

in the same vein a lot of the ancient Greek philosophers/ playwrights fought in small town vs. town hoplite battles. And a good few were at big battles like marathon.



but to talk about renaissance warfare I want to show how and why warfare of the previous centuries aka 11th-15th C but MOSTLY using warfare of the 13th-15h as an example of 'medieval warfare'

I want to get an idea of how warfare was in terms of troops composition in the early, high and late medieval
just to say quickly, 'at first we had armies like this, that became more like this.

but most certainly

Iím also going to throughout mention battles like Crecy, Courtrai, and the Swiss pikes,
like, when mentioning the rise of the common soldier, and less prisoners ill mention Agincourt, saying Henry executed a lot of prisoners to stop them overpowering the English.




for those who didnít wan to read the whole thing
essentially my video response will be,

renaissance wasn't the veritable 'hippie era' some might think it was
in fact it go even MORE bloody than before
that the renaissance actually contributed directly to making warfare worse
battles got more bloody because of
bigger scale of warfare
much larger armies numerically, and higher casualty rates plus less prisoners taken
warfare mostly between pike formations along with musketeers
(but for the record, medieval infantry never really consisted of a bunch of peasants with pitchforks and such, just standing there waiting to get steamrolled/ sitting here watching while the knights had their own private scrap.

oh and by the way, gunpowder didnít doom the knight, just got rid of people having lots of Armor,
it was really because knights got too expensive,/ other troop types much better value for money.
there was also a lot of wars,
Valois vs. Hapsburgs conflicts with ottomans, Catholics vs. protestants,

the Americas being discovered and the subsequent slave trade that resulted from this and the massive disease wipeouts of native peoples.

= renaissance and onwards really wasnít the super happy time people think it was.

is there anything more you would maybe add?


Last edited by William P on Mon 02 Jul, 2012 10:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jul, 2012 7:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Can you really make a case for casualty *rates* being higher? Obviously with more troops involved your overall losses will be more numerous, but I'm wondering if there is good evidence that the percentage of troops involved being killed and wounded was actually higher in the Renaissance than before. Certainly there were exceptions, but there were exceptions all through history. From what I've read, casualty rates in the 18th century or even the 20th were very similar to those in the middle ages or ancient eras. Generally!

Matthew


PS: Also, are you typing a little fast, maybe? It's a little hard to read your post with all the typos! Just sayin'...
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Eric Meulemans
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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jul, 2012 7:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think you might have more success arguing against the perception that the Renaissance was the bloodless "hippie era" than proving that it was more or less bloody than any particular time before or after. Bloody how? By what measure? Total number of deaths? Type of injuries? Duration of agony before dying? In some ways I think trying to argue an era being "bloodier" than another is like trying to argue which war is worse than another. It's not a specific enough argument and is disrespectful to the seriousness of the subject.

Perhaps you underepresent the importance of gunpowder in the "bloody" factor. This would be the simplest angle to take since it is not only a major game changer tactically and strategically, but it greatly changes the nature of wounds received. When a .60+ calibre musket ball careens through a body it does very bad things - shattered long bones and loss of extremities become more common and more difficult to treat. A similar leap occurred between the American Civil War and WWI with the introduction of high explosives.

William P wrote:

renaissance and onwards really wasnt the super happy time people think it was.


Be careful of such blanket (and plainly euro-centric) statements. Which people? I'm sure many of the descendents of your aforementioned native peoples and slaves do not think upon it as a "super happy time."
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William P




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jul, 2012 9:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

its against the western perception, and it pertains almost exclusively to warfare on western Europe aka everything from germany westward so it doesnt matter what people on he other side of the world were doing (except fo the americas since the spanish were there. )

as to more bloody and what definition id use, in general. im mostly looking a casualty rates and just general numbers, both in the course battle and maybe a possibly greater tendency for surrendering troops to be killed to the last man.

and the main angle i was going to use and indeed it is half the reason that i think of renaissance warfare as more brutish than medieval warfare
its the the concept of 'bad war' a term that ( i dont have a definite source for this,) was apparently was used to describe the reaction by military authorities to the display of the 'push of pike' phenomenon like at ravenna and pavia. (which was APPARENTLY one partly of horror)

(although im not sure if that's actually true and maybe the bad war concept with the 'story ' behind it is simply a modern sentiment and term)
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jul, 2012 10:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Certainly there were exceptions, but there were exceptions all through history. From what I've read, casualty rates in the 18th century or even the 20th were very similar to those in the middle ages or ancient eras. Generally!


I thinbk one important thing - formations only take so many casulaties before they break in most cases (the 300 spartans were a clear exception).

The rest of the casualties occur during the route. Being routed on enemy soil is usually worse than routing on "home" soil.

So I guess it does not matter a huge amount which weapons inflict more casualties, but perhaps if the units take longer to break or suffer more casualties in the route. Taking longer to break would make battles more bloody, as the unit is also capable of inflicting casualties until it routs.

As far as armies being larger, this depends upon scale as to the total population. I guess ask yourself this - if 1% of the male population is killed in two battles, is one of the battles more bloody because the army is larger, also due to the fact the population is larger?

If this is the case, ancient battles could be considered more bloody, as the armies were larger.
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Daniel Wallace




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jul, 2012 11:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

hmm, interesting.

i'd say that warfare in the middle ages was more frequent than renaissance and early modern war. but there is a huge jump in the size of armys between these time. middle age armies may only number 6,000 fighting men, by early modern times it jumps into the 10,000s if not more.

i actually look at early modern warfare as a time when armies were still attempting to find out how to fight with fire arms. its almost sicking to think that thousands of people line up a few hundred yards apart and just shot at each other hoping not to get hit or hit something themselves. and it's odd to think that war didn't change that much until WWI when WWI broke out, leaders still though it was going be fought like the american civil war. the maxim machine gun changed that idea after a few months of fighting. not to mention gas, artillery that had a range beyond line of sight.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jul, 2012 5:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Are we talking about Medieval warfare versus Renaissance warfare, or Medieval battles versus Renaissance battles?

Considering that a lot of Medieval warfare was raids, aiming to kill/enslave/starve noncombatants, it was pretty bloody to be on the receiving end. War by atrocity. As far as style of warfare goes, Medieval wins the prize for "bloody". Yes, there was a tradition of ransoming (noble) captives, but there are many cases where prisoners were killed.

Further, even the battles in Medieval warfare could be bloody. Many examples of one side being, essentially, destroyed. There are good reasons why so many commanders avoided battles, with some great warlike kings fighting perhaps two in their lifetime.

Renaissance/EM warfare was much more battle-oriented in comparison to atrocity-oriented Medieval warfare. And the loser was less often destroyed. Following a Renaissance/EM battle, the winner was not always able to effectively pursue. Captured soldiers could be conscripted into your own service (when both armies are largely mercenaries, why not?).

The bloody Renaissance/EM incidents are sacks of cities. Same thing was standard practice in Medieval warfare, too.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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William P




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jul, 2012 6:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

these qestions are preciselyy why i put the question here first, rather than just making the video

am mostly alertng people that the perception is wrong, at the same tme giving people a history lesson and helping dispel rumour and myth about eurpean warfare.
since as we know, mthe lay persons perception of themiddle ages is one of darkness in the sense of science etc so
but crucially one thing im trying to figure out was the order of battle for the 'medieval' paradigm (for simplicity lets assume armies of what is now rance italy germany switzerland scandinavia aka what one might i guess call 'frankish' armies. even though i know its a very much blanket term.

thepoint of this wheher i include it directly in the video dialogue or not, is to say that well im saying the renaissance warfare was like such and such
but people might ask 'compared to what' s

its the role of foot soldiers in the medieval period that doesnt get nealy as much attention.. this is especially beause in centring this around the rise of the pike block and the era of massed infantry warfare,

in paricularill make a note of the fact that this pike and shot warfare eventually evolved into the massed musketry' warfare f the 18th and mid 19th centuries(ill probably say ''kindof like the battle scenes in the movie 'the patriot'
while ill mention what happened to the knights and cavalry its not AS big a concern


as for casualties during battle vs during the rout, it is a good question, but i
ill also be noting the fact that guys like da vinci and raphael spent as much time designing city walls and cannons as they did make fancy paintings buildings or sculptures.

also regarding the poor natives the next episode in the crash course series that comes out friday is on the atlantic slave trade im hopint to make and upload the video by then so that it stays relevent to the topics at hand

p.s matt, the keyboard i was using is starting to screw up for some reason 'T''s get omitted more often than usual but tthen agiain be because of my typing. but who knows.
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William P




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jul, 2012 11:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

timo, regarding the medieval practice of ravaging he countryside, that reminds me actually of the situation the English were in in France under the command of Henry V, since the french apparently refused to face the English in he open field, and the English were apparently too exhausted to take and hold he castles, which resulted in Henry letting his soldiers loose on the countryside both to 'A' get food and just as importantly, 'B' try and provoke the french into a pitched battle, whether it worked or not, we know that soon after that we had the battle of agincourt in 1415.

conversely when putting down the dutch rebellion in the renaissance, i understand that the Spanish had an etapas system
i.e merchants and officials would ride ahead of the army in advance and buy up food for them
although there was sill problems of mercenaries and other troops at the end of campaigns becoming 'like maggots' ravaging friend and foe alike to get food even during the renaissance

one thing about renaissance warfare Ive heard is that it, like the rest of he world became a bit more mathematically logical, for example the mathematically proportioned bastion forts carefully engineered to allow no blind spots making direct assault by infantry even more futile than before. requiring sieges to drag on and on (not saying medieval sieges didnt drag on for ages as well. )

i would argue that applying this 'mathematical approach' to warfare might make it more bloody on the battlefield, since, as noted pike formations were intensely drilled to keep formation meaning the two sides will spend more time grinding against each other. add to that the use of artillery on he field, and the development of he musket/ arquebus plus arms like the grenade.
one also might make a case that pike clashes were more horrific due to a lack of shields like those used by sergeant spear-men of the crusader era. (a wall of shields will keep spears from simply skewering you upon contact although his was compensated for with the presence of front ranks having Armour.)

its been noted by a few people online in casual discussion, that part of the reason for the American civil war being more casualty heavy was partly because, not only due o large armies and lots of relatively inexperienced troops. instead of a tendency of a line to fire a volley or two, then fix bayonets and charge, the shock of the charge causing one side to rout quicker, in the ACW there instead being a greater tendency for the lines to spend a lot more time standing firm and exchanging volleys for extended periods, this of course meaning hat both sides will naturally take a lot more casualties, the second reason being that despite the upgrades in artillery, when approaching defensive emplacements, union infantry would insist on advancing in a measured marching pace. meaning the artillery could have more opportunity to rip the union infantry to shreds. due to better artillery both in terms of increased accuracy due to rifling, and having more advanced shot types like shrapnel shot.

also the book 'was of the ancient greeks' noted that the casualty rates on average reached record highs during the battles of hellenistic kingdoms against the romans.

it mentioned that casualty's would be for archaic era phalanx vs phalanx was roughly 10%, during the classical era/ pelleponesian war, around 10-30%, for the wars of the successors, 20-40% and around 30-50% when the macedonians faced the romans.

ive also heard it suggested that the battles of the war of the roses like towton and wakefield etc were exceedingly violent even for the period.

im starting to see a pattern in this

the 'mathematical' nature might also contribute to a feeling that on the flip-side war was now much more of a numbers game and being much more precise.

that being said i wasn't going to say the medieval period was exactly harmless, either, pointing out the increasing trend for nobles to be killed instead of ransomed, like at agincourt and courtrai (battle of golden spurs)
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2012 1:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
timo, regarding the medieval practice of ravaging he countryside, that reminds me actually of the situation the English were in in France under the command of Henry V, since the french apparently refused to face the English in he open field, and the English were apparently too exhausted to take and hold he castles, which resulted in Henry letting his soldiers loose on the countryside both to 'A' get food and just as importantly, 'B' try and provoke the french into a pitched battle, whether it worked or not, we know that soon after that we had the battle of agincourt in 1415.


Henry was trying to avoid battle at Agincourt. But the French caught him. Thus Henry added another battle to his roster. I only know Shrewsbury and Agincourt. Any other battles of Henry V? Plenty of sieges, plenty of raids, few battles.

Raiding works to devastate the enemy economy, not to bring them to battle. Bring them to the negotiating table through deciding that your demands are cheaper to meet than the war. Standard practice in Spain, the Ottoman border, the Northern Crusades, the Holy Land, the Scottish-English border, and more.

William P wrote:

one thing about renaissance warfare Ive heard is that it, like the rest of he world became a bit more mathematically logical, for example the mathematically proportioned bastion forts carefully engineered to allow no blind spots making direct assault by infantry even more futile than before. requiring sieges to drag on and on (not saying medieval sieges didnt drag on for ages as well. )


Fortress design is simpler when all you have to do is stop escalade. When you're going to be pounded by artillery, design starts to matter more. The principle of leaving no blind spots was known earlier (it's a pre-Medieval feature), but it became more important. (I walked around the star fort at Quebec City. No blind spots. Wherever you stand, there are multiple cannon ports facing you. Unless you were in the ditch, in which case there'd be only one huge cannon port facing you, ready to clean out the ditch at need.)

Other than improved artillery, the other big change to siege warfare was that the (bulk of the) army didn't go home once the term of feudal service was up. Sometimes, 40 days just isn't enough to starve out a castle!

Going from Medieval to Renaissance/EM, the armies grew, and stayed in the field for much longer. They also sought battle more often, and fought battles more often. More deaths, I expect. Just from the growth in scale.

Also, I expect, fewer deaths per soldier involved. Don't forget to add in all the civilian deaths, either directly killed by soldiers, or killed by starvation. Battle-oriented war kills soldiers. Raid-oriented war kills civilians. Of course, battle-oriented war brings foraging and consequent starvation, also has sieges with consequent starvation and atrocity, and spreads plague as the armies travel.

Condottieri warfare has the reputation of being non-bloody, but the casualty numbers at some of the battles shows that it could be a pretty bloody "non-bloody". Other than that, have wars such as the wars against the Ottomans, the Dutch revolt, and the Thirty Years War every had a reputation for being non-bloody?

Medieval warfare is sometimes described as rather ritualistic and non-bloody: chivalric display, capturing for ransom, and all that. But this isn't a description of Medieval warfare, but rather of Medieval battle, a minor component of Medieval warfare. Without even worrying about whether that non-bloody description is accurate, it doesn't tell the true story of warfare.

As far as Medieval battle being like tournaments, and tournaments being like Medieval battle, note that some tournaments managed 50% death rates (deaths, not casualties). "Tournament-like" can't be assumed to automatically mean "non-bloody".

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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William P




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2012 4:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

oh, i was under the impession a one point that the french refused more or less to face the english in the open especially after Crecy and Poitiers
and now that i read my book 'knight noble warrior of england 1200-1600' in the section on he 14th C, i now see where i got the wrong impression, the book says that after Poitiers the french refused to face the English in the open, preferring instead to shut themselves up in castles.
chrisopher (the author) also notes chevauchee (mounted raids) having another effect of insulting the castle lord this was a more minor side effect though.

he same book notes hat,during the 13th century, due to the expense of being knighted and he additional duties required of the rank, many people refused to become knights instead remaining as squires, to ensure that they had enough manpower, henry III and edward I introuced the law of distraint, and made it mandatory for men to become knights if they owned a required amoun of land or property.

secondarily it seems that, in england anyway, the idea of troops being instead a more professional paid army and not just being there for a 40 day fuedal summons, seems to originate with attempts by edward I and III which had mixed results.

but i think that by the 15th centuy, troops being raised by indenture/ pay instead of feudal summons was quite common
he also mentions a (in my mind) hilarious incident during the war of the roses when both sides tried to call up the same militia force.

these new considerations really make my initial video idea a lot less certain..
Although its still easy to attack the pop culture perception of 'the dark ages' a term that is used interchangeably to describe the period between he Romans and the renaissance being essentially seen as a time of rampant superstitio over scientific thought
but it was mostly supposed to be about the transition form he medieval model army to the pike and shot model of EM warfare in particular the particularly bloody situation of 'push of pike'

i honestly was mostly thinking purely in terms of battles and sieges.
also noting that the renaissance era also coincided with no so enlightened things like a reintroduction of European slavery, the ravaging of the Americas etc, that and the wars which bankrupted several kingdoms (the Spanish were bankrupted as a result of getting bogged down in seiges trying to crush the dutch rebellion.

but even if i focus more on things like the french wars of religion, the italian wars, the americas, slavery etc, plus noting the changes in warfare and the new push of pike/ musket volley usage, which would lead to the gunpowder warfare like that seen in the movie ''he patriot' (ill mention it because most have seen that movie and it illustrates an example of line battles composed of ranks of soldiers firing withering musket volleys at each other at close range. even if the details of the overall battles are wrong)

the last piece of the puzzle i need is to try and showcase how armies changed, whether its his first video i make on the renaissance, or as a seperate one on the medieval period in general.
how medieval battles were fought, and how infantry was used prior to the pike era (with the exception of the English longbows and swiss pikes and the Scottish schiltons.)
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Ken Speed





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PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2012 4:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Generalities are always dangerous, which is, of course, a generality. I read an estimate somewhere that 160 million people died directly or indirectly from warfare in the Twentieth century, seems pretty bloody to me.
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2012 7:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If pike blocks were such suicidal formations, they would not have been so widely adopted. Clearly, being in one was not considered a death sentence, rather it was more like being on board a heavily armed bulldozer! Even when pikes fought pikes, I don't think there is any indication that the men simply advanced to stick themselves on the enemies' points! So it looks like we have a misconception about the nuts and bolts mechanics of pike combat, here. Obviously, the best way to deal with a pike formation was to flank it with artillery, but the rest of the army's formation was designed to prevent that (cavalry, your own artillery, etc.). People knew the strengths and weaknesses of the troops they had and were dealing with, and adjusted their tactics accordingly.

Likewise, even if musket balls *could* do horrific damage, they did not always do so. Getting a matchlock to go off is hard enough, and getting it to go off while actually aimed at something is even harder! Powder quality could be very bad. If you spill a lot while loading, the bullet won't have enough force to kill or wound badly. Even in the 18th century, with firearms much more effective and efficient than those used in the Renaissance, a soldier knew he had to fire his body weight in lead to *hit* an enemy soldier. During the British retreat to Boston after Lexington and Concord, with swarms of American militia firing from cover at very close range, it is estimated that only one in every 300 shots actually hit a Redcoat. In regular line battles, musketry was no more effective--in one battle, a British officer in the Seven Years' War was hit *7 times* by "spent balls", bullets without enough energy to penetrate. (One hit him inside his elbow and really hurt!) These were either fired from too far away, or with too little powder, or may have ricocheted from the ground. But he was *not* hit by any penetrating rounds in that battle.

Personally, if I had to choose between standing 50 yards from the enemy and blazing away with muskets, or watching them close in with spears, halberds, and swords to gut me like a fish from arm's length, I'll take the gun! It's a great equalizer--you don't need to be really good or really brave to use it. And maybe just the noise of our volleys will make the enemy crack or retreat. Just fixing bayonets and levelling them could make the enemy break--there was plenty of *killing* with bayonets in the Revolution, but very little *fighting* with them!

On the topic of "good war/bad war", I was under the impression that this referred simply to atrocities against civilians and savagery on the battlefield, and had nothing to do with how the troops were armed.

Matthew
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William P




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2012 7:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ken Speed wrote:
Generalities are always dangerous, which is, of course, a generality. I read an estimate somewhere that 160 million people died directly or indirectly from warfare in the Twentieth century, seems pretty bloody to me.


considering that 20 million russions died as a result of ww2.. that dosnt seem ureasonable. add to that the casualties of WWI, the 10 million holocaust vicims...

i hear that viet cong casualies in vietnam was acually quite high, something in the order of hundreds of thousands i even saw one guy on youube i was chatting with put a figure of ~2 million.
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William P




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2012 9:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
If pike blocks were such suicidal formations, they would not have been so widely adopted. Clearly, being in one was not considered a death sentence, rather it was more like being on board a heavily armed bulldozer! Even when pikes fought pikes, I don't think there is any indication that the men simply advanced to stick themselves on the enemies' points! So it looks like we have a misconception about the nuts and bolts mechanics of pike combat, here. Obviously, the best way to deal with a pike formation was to flank it with artillery, but the rest of the army's formation was designed to prevent that (cavalry, your own artillery, etc.). People knew the strengths and weaknesses of the troops they had and were dealing with, and adjusted their tactics accordingly.

Likewise, even if musket balls *could* do horrific damage, they did not always do so. Getting a matchlock to go off is hard enough, and getting it to go off while actually aimed at something is even harder! Powder quality could be very bad. If you spill a lot while loading, the bullet won't have enough force to kill or wound badly. Even in the 18th century, with firearms much more effective and efficient than those used in the Renaissance, a soldier knew he had to fire his body weight in lead to *hit* an enemy soldier. During the British retreat to Boston after Lexington and Concord, with swarms of American militia firing from cover at very close range, it is estimated that only one in every 300 shots actually hit a Redcoat. In regular line battles, musketry was no more effective--in one battle, a British officer in the Seven Years' War was hit *7 times* by "spent balls", bullets without enough energy to penetrate. (One hit him inside his elbow and really hurt!) These were either fired from too far away, or with too little powder, or may have ricocheted from the ground. But he was *not* hit by any penetrating rounds in that battle.

Personally, if I had to choose between standing 50 yards from the enemy and blazing away with muskets, or watching them close in with spears, halberds, and swords to gut me like a fish from arm's length, I'll take the gun! It's a great equalizer--you don't need to be really good or really brave to use it. And maybe just the noise of our volleys will make the enemy crack or retreat. Just fixing bayonets and levelling them could make the enemy break--there was plenty of *killing* with bayonets in the Revolution, but very little *fighting* with them!

On the topic of "good war/bad war", I was under the impression that this referred simply to atrocities against civilians and savagery on the battlefield, and had nothing to do with how the troops were armed.

Matthew


Quote:
Although the Swiss generally had a significant edge in a simple "push of pike", the resulting combat was nonetheless quite savage, and known to Italian onlookers as "bad war". Period artists such as Hans Holbein attest to the fact that two such huge pike columns crashing into each other could result in a maelstrom of battle, and ghastly casualties on both sides.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bad-war.jpg

while your right the armament doesnt matter as much, a more important thing being their formation deployment. i.e 2 big blocks of men ramming against each other in such a way it takes a while for one side to break up.
and i think one can agree that the longer 2 boxers in a ring stay fighting toe to toe, the more beaten up they both will be before the knockout comes.

the aggressiveness of the swiss is what made them effective, they'd drive straight into their opponents and through sheer impetus cause the enemy to more easily be overwhelmed

http://www.marquisofwinchesters.co.uk/Ecwr-Gu...hting.html although we seem to have a contrary opinion here saying the shock of the pikes clashing wasn't as deadly as one thought due to the armour the front men had and its worth noting that earlier renaissance pikemen also had arm harness as well as he back/breastplate and tassets whereas in the ECW they dropped the use of arm defenses


those accounts about the accuacy of the musket doesnt seem to match up all that well with the fact that, a Brown Bess has been shown to stand a good chance of hitting a man sized target at 100m when actually trying to aim, t though when you started going for rapid volley fire, accuracy would suffer. but they still seemed to have a good chance of hitting a guy at 100 yards. and considering most battles were more like 50 yards
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trgZmM9fNS0

though your probably right about bayonet charges, indeed its speculated by a few guys ive talked to that this is why line battallions fought so close together, that and to make the ammo count for more, was maybe that the musket volley before the bayonet charge was maybe treated in a way thats analogous to the use of he roman pilum or the frankish francisca. i.e a pre-charge softening up tool

by the way, what info do you have about he hellenistic phalangite battles, is there any indication how they compared to the hoplite vs hoplite clashes of the archaic period. like i mentioned the wars of the ancient Greeks suggests casualty rates for infantry go higher as things transitioned from archaic to Hellenistic era phalanxes. although it might be due to OTHER things and not the phalangites hacking each other up.
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
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PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2012 7:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
those accounts about the accuacy of the musket doesnt seem to match up all that well with the fact that, a Brown Bess has been shown to stand a good chance of hitting a man sized target at 100m when actually trying to aim, t though when you started going for rapid volley fire, accuracy would suffer. but they still seemed to have a good chance of hitting a guy at 100 yards. and considering most battles were more like 50 yards


Oh, the gun *can* be pretty accurate in trained and capable hands! Mind you, not all trained soldiers (or reenactors!) are good shots. But with the emphasis on speed of loading, the tendency of troops to turn their heads away to avoid the pan flash from the man to their left, and the fact that British troops in peacetime only fired THREE live rounds per YEAR means there is almost no way a soldier in battle is going to use his musket to its full potential! As I understand it, most infantry didn't bother firing until the range was around 100 yards, and sometimes they were still volleying at 30 yards. Note that in that video, the first target they shoot at is at least twice the width of a man, and most of their shots miss it. That's without anyone shooting back!

Quote:
though your probably right about bayonet charges, indeed its speculated by a few guys ive talked to that this is why line battallions fought so close together, that and to make the ammo count for more, was maybe that the musket volley before the bayonet charge was maybe treated in a way thats analogous to the use of he roman pilum or the frankish francisca. i.e a pre-charge softening up tool


Well, I always compare a musket line to a machine gun: the idea is to get as much lead in the air as quickly as possible. What happens to MOST machine gun bullets? They miss! But is it considered a very desirable weapon? Yup. Tight ranks also give you an edge in a bayonet charge, as in any close combat with bladed weapons. Being spread out means you get to face several enemy soldiers, right?

But back to the original discussion, remember that early firearms and ammunition were less developed than the Brown Bess, AND they lacked bayonets. Less effective overall, in other words. On the other hand, the noise of firearms is an effective psychological weapon in itself! Not likely to cause casualties, of course, but if you can scare the enemy into cracking, you can mop up and slaughter them the old-fashioned way.

Quote:
by the way, what info do you have about he hellenistic phalangite battles, is there any indication how they compared to the hoplite vs hoplite clashes of the archaic period. like i mentioned the wars of the ancient Greeks suggests casualty rates for infantry go higher as things transitioned from archaic to Hellenistic era phalanxes. although it might be due to OTHER things and not the phalangites hacking each other up.


Hoo, sorry, got nothing solid. I have *heard* (long ago) that Hellenistic warfare was more savage overall. Not that Archaic and Classical hoplites were nice guys on the battlefield! Things certainly got nasty sometimes. But again, changes in the later era I'd be inclined to ascribe to a greater proportion of professional/mercenary troops, rather than the old citizen hoplite forces. Especially with foreign troops involved, things are bound to get ugly, on the field or off.

Matthew
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

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PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2012 8:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
William P wrote:
those accounts about the accuacy of the musket doesnt seem to match up all that well with the fact that, a Brown Bess has been shown to stand a good chance of hitting a man sized target at 100m when actually trying to aim, t though when you started going for rapid volley fire, accuracy would suffer. but they still seemed to have a good chance of hitting a guy at 100 yards. and considering most battles were more like 50 yards


Oh, the gun *can* be pretty accurate in trained and capable hands! Mind you, not all trained soldiers (or reenactors!) are good shots. But with the emphasis on speed of loading, the tendency of troops to turn their heads away to avoid the pan flash from the man to their left, and the fact that British troops in peacetime only fired THREE live rounds per YEAR means there is almost no way a soldier in battle is going to use his musket to its full potential! As I understand it, most infantry didn't bother firing until the range was around 100 yards, and sometimes they were still volleying at 30 yards. Note that in that video, the first target they shoot at is at least twice the width of a man, and most of their shots miss it. That's without anyone shooting back!

Quote:
though your probably right about bayonet charges, indeed its speculated by a few guys ive talked to that this is why line battallions fought so close together, that and to make the ammo count for more, was maybe that the musket volley before the bayonet charge was maybe treated in a way thats analogous to the use of he roman pilum or the frankish francisca. i.e a pre-charge softening up tool


Well, I always compare a musket line to a machine gun: the idea is to get as much lead in the air as quickly as possible. What happens to MOST machine gun bullets? They miss! But is it considered a very desirable weapon? Yup. Tight ranks also give you an edge in a bayonet charge, as in any close combat with bladed weapons. Being spread out means you get to face several enemy soldiers, right?

But back to the original discussion, remember that early firearms and ammunition were less developed than the Brown Bess, AND they lacked bayonets. Less effective overall, in other words. On the other hand, the noise of firearms is an effective psychological weapon in itself! Not likely to cause casualties, of course, but if you can scare the enemy into cracking, you can mop up and slaughter them the old-fashioned way.

Quote:
by the way, what info do you have about he hellenistic phalangite battles, is there any indication how they compared to the hoplite vs hoplite clashes of the archaic period. like i mentioned the wars of the ancient Greeks suggests casualty rates for infantry go higher as things transitioned from archaic to Hellenistic era phalanxes. although it might be due to OTHER things and not the phalangites hacking each other up.


Hoo, sorry, got nothing solid. I have *heard* (long ago) that Hellenistic warfare was more savage overall. Not that Archaic and Classical hoplites were nice guys on the battlefield! Things certainly got nasty sometimes. But again, changes in the later era I'd be inclined to ascribe to a greater proportion of professional/mercenary troops, rather than the old citizen hoplite forces. Especially with foreign troops involved, things are bound to get ugly, on the field or off.

Matthew
\
oh i was under the impression british infantry trained with live rounds all the time...

anyways,
one thing that came about as a result of he development of pike and shot armies, partly inspired by reading he campaigns of Caesar and Alexander sought to create the 'new legions' of sorts,
and as is of course necessary for a pike square to not tangle up, high discipline is needed,
not saying they didnt run when things got tough, but unit cohesion was maybe higher you need i o face off gun fire cavalry, and he shock of charging/ being charged by OTHER pikemen.
as the book on the renaissance at war puts it 'officers ducking and dodging sets a bad example makes soldiers jittery and might encourage Them to try and duck and dodge bullets which would mess up the unit cohesion.

which is why like in 'the patriot' we see the british infantry marching in a stoic fashion to close to volley range with the American infantry.
my understanding is that a HUGE part of training then and to a lesser but sill significant part of training today was keeping formation, and training the ability to not flinch in the face of danger or, say, a cannonball bowling over a bunch of guys next to you.
which is another thing, we now have tightly packed pike ranks. and add to that the use of field artillery, a falconet cannonball will kill several men before it halts.
im going to be that the push of pike phenomenon played out to a degree between successor kingdoms.
one thing about the successors was they saw how cost effective the phalangites were and said stuff it, lets go pike crazy.
that and more mercenaries
notably he pike length also became ridiculously big , reaching 5 meters or more sometimes.

which if im not mistaken he Macedonians didnt usually have to worry about.
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Ryan S.





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PostPosted: Wed 04 Jul, 2012 2:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the hippie era idea comes from two things.

People think the Dark Ages were dark and violent, so its end must be enlightened and peaceful.

The Renaissance refers to the cultural aspect of the era, but there was (as I am sure you know) more than just painting going on.

How do you measure bloodiness?
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Jul, 2012 4:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you look only at the accuracy of the weapon then the design Land Pattern musket/Brown Bess is not superior to a 17th Century Matchlock musket. Indeed as the matchlock is fired with a musket rest it is a bit easier to aim.

What makes the flintlock musket superior is that it allows a tighter formation since musketeers no longer have to handle a burning match without setting fire to their own or their comrades black powder. When used together with a steel ramrod and paper cartridges the flint lock also allows a higher rate of fire though this is not necissarily more effective. (Troops fired a lot of cartridges to cause a single casulty if you look at the total amount of ammunition used in a single battle)

"There is nothing more hazardous than to venture a battle. One can lose it
by a thousand unforseen circumstances, even when one has thorougly taken all
precautions that the most perfect military skill allows for."
-Fieldmarshal Lennart Torstensson.
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

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PostPosted: Wed 04 Jul, 2012 9:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ryan S. wrote:
I think the hippie era idea comes from two things.

People think the Dark Ages were dark and violent, so its end must be enlightened and peaceful.

The Renaissance refers to the cultural aspect of the era, but there was (as I am sure you know) more than just painting going on.

How do you measure bloodiness?


well another thing in public mind is that leonardo da vinci designed a LOT of ideas for gadgets thanks to the da vinvci code we have that public mind, i notice alot of people dislike the da vinci code on academic grounds plus others, but if nothing else it repopularised interest in da vinci and such even if the opinion of da vinci is now completely

i personally have started reading Charles nicholl's book 'leonardo da vinci the flights of the mind.'

but most dont know about the renaissance way of warfare most just know that we got our hands on gunpowder, made guns andstarted fighting differently. and tha we came o the americas with them and then the ublic mind becomes abit more clear that muskets and old cannons were the common weapon, and then we got rifles and then ww1 happened,
thats weapons development accorrding to the mnd if the 'average joes of the world.'
i apologise if im being offensive here.

but as for 'more bloody,
it was MOSTLY referring to how battles were fought, specifically the grinding brutal naure of the 'push of pike.
like this although instarting to find that this is more of a semi myth/ misconception than anything.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26C758K4Fc0 shows pikemen first fighting pistoliers, and then clashing with other pikes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMEnBHef96c this shows the larger battle.
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