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Dashiell Harrison




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Jun, 2014 9:41 am    Post subject: non-pike pole arms vs cavalry         Reply with quote

I recall reading in a number of places (including the Osprey book on the subject) that Scandinavians kept using shield walls up until the Late Middle Ages, and that part of the reason that heavily armored knights were never as important there is that the shield wall was an effective counter to cavalry. This strikes me as a little surprising given that the general consensus from other battles in Europe seems to be that infantry need to have weapons that have a greater reach than those of their opponents if they are going defend against cavalry (i. e. pikes that can out reach lances). Does anyone know of instances of shield walls surviving charges by high medieval armored cavalry with couched lances (so not the lighter Norman horsemen at Hastings).

On another note, what about formations of other shorter polearms like halberds and bills? Are there any accounts of halberdiers and billmen standing up to lancers?

Thanks,
Dashiell
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Jun, 2014 12:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How do you define "shield wall" and where do you draw the line between that one and a pike formation? Many medieval formations were somewhere in an indeterminate ground between the two, especially the Scottish schiltron and (probably) the "Brabantine" infantry that repeatedly repulsed French charges at the end of the Battle of Bouvines (1214). Another issue is where you're going to draw the line between the Norman milites and "high medieval armored cavalry with couched lances" -- there is no clear cutoff point between the two except for arbitrary ones set for the sake of simplicity (usually for wargames and computer strategic/tactical games).

So, taking a liberal interpretation for the kind of examples you might accept, try this older thread for some Late Republican and Imperial Roman examples. Then there's the Franks who stood "like a wall of ice" against the charges of Muslim cavalry -- possibly including Arabs who charged harder than Berber cavalry -- at Tours-Poitiers in the 6th century; we don't exactly know what troops this passage refers to, but it probably indicated the infantry (since most of the Frankish army fought on foot in that era) and possibly sword-and-shield infantry (if we believe the theory that proposed the adoption and perpetuation -- or the resurrection/recreation -- of late Roman infantry tactics and techniques by the more organised of the "barbarian" successor kingdoms).

Moving on to later centuries, most of the English men-at-arms at the battle of Bremule dismounted and withstood the charge of their mounted French counterparts so that the English mounted reserve could take the French in the flank. Then, at the battle of Northallerton, dismounted English men-at-arms held fast against the charges of Scottish chivalry. Both battles took place in the early 12th century, so you might argue that these were still "lighter Norman horsemen," though not everyone is going to agree.

And then there's Bouvines. The only clear hint we have of the "Brabantine" infantry's armament is that they had spears longer than the swords of the French men-at-arms who attacked them. However, we can extrapolate from other sources that they probably had decent armour (quilted or even mail) and shields.

We also have Catalan almughavars, who had spears/heavy javelins and swords (and sometimes shields); they might not give a fair comparison, though, since their principal anti-cavalry method was to lure the cavalry into an ambush or rugged terrain where light infantry could counterattack effectively.


Most importantly, I wouldn't say that there's a "general consensus" where "infantry need to have weapons that have a greater reach than those of their opponents if they are going defend against cavalry." There were many ways to defend against cavalry depending on terrain, troop composition (both friendly and enemy), and a host of other factors. For example, at Bourg-theroulde (1124), a cavalry advance was defeated by an ambush made up of archers supported by dismounted men-at-arms and other infantry. During the Crusading era, crossbowmen were seen as an important component of any defence against Saracen or Turkish cavalry; they were most useful against horse archers, of course, but they could also be effective against charging cavalry in some circumstances. Rough terrain could allow competent light infantry (such as the almughavars or Swiss halberdiers) to attack and rip apart hostile cavalry. And if we may go back to ancient examples, let's not forget Lucullus at Tigranocerta; he outflanked and attacked Tigranes' Armenian cataphracts, which is entirely the opposite of what one would expect from the simplistic idea that infantry could or should only defend against a cavalry attack.


As for halberds and bills, I think they''ve been misunderstood. European polearms that combined cutting and thrusting functions had been around since the 12th century at the latest (if not earlier), and for the most part they seem to have been used to intimidate and kill opposing infantry. The German infantry at Bouvines were noted for using their polearms to good effect in their charge against the French infantry before they were stopped by the counter-charges of the French men-at-arms. The Swiss at Morgarten won largely because they chose the perfect terrain for an ambush; they used halberds as it were, but the outcome wouldn't have been very different if they had attacked with swords or axes or ordinary spears instead. At Laupen, the Swiss halberdiers on the left wing were hard pressed by the enemy's cavalry charges before their Bernese allies (who had won the fight on the other wing -- note that Bern wasn't yet part of the confederation) wheeled around and turned their pikes against the flanks of the hitherto-victorious enemy cavalry. And the conventional narrative established since the late 19th century says that the Swiss might have turned to pikes themselves after one of their halberdier detachments was defeated by Italian men-at-arms who dismounted and used their lances as ersatz pikes in the battle of Arbedo (1422), although I haven't checked the primary sources on this battle and thus can't be sure about whether the interpretation is solid.


And then, to bring everything back to the main hypothesis behind your questions: I'm not really that keen on the idea that mounted chivalry was less important in Scandinavia since shield-walls could see them off. That kind of explanation is far too simplistic and ignores the issue of how a single tactical factor (and one that would only have mattered in open battles) could have such far-reaching consequences. What about sieges? Logistics? Social, legal, and economic factors? As far as I'm concerned, the most significant difference between medieval Scandinavia and contemporary Western Europe lay in the smaller social and economic gap between the nobles and the commoners, which meant that it was easier to call up larger numbers of relatively well-equipped infantry. With such relatively good infantry there would have been less pressure to concentrate resources on the chivalry, so the gap didn't get wider and the status quo stood (sorry for the pun). Of course, this conservativeness (or stagnation, depending on how you see it) wasn't always all good, since the levy infantry -- good as it was -- still couldn't be as good as the professional infantry that flourished from the late 15th century onwards, as shown by the defeat of Swedish peasant levies (which were rather better equipped than most peasant levies elsewhere in Europe) by even better-equipped and far better-trained Landsknechts in Danish employ in the early 16th century. It wasn't all bad either since apparently the medieval infantry levy helped provide the organisational basis for early-modern conscription systems in Sweden, which in turn provided the Swedes with excellent infantry soldiers that dominated Northern European warfare well into the opening decades of the 18th century.


I'd better stop rambling before this gets too long. To make a long story short, there are basically no cut-and-dried answers to either of your questions, although that is to be expected for any question about wars and battles that took place so many centuries ago. I suggest that you get used to having no clear answers (and maybe even learn to enjoy it Big Grin ).
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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Sat 14 Jun, 2014 4:00 pm    Post subject: Re: non-pike pole arms vs cavalry         Reply with quote

Dashiell Harrison wrote:
I recall reading in a number of places (including the Osprey book on the subject) that Scandinavians kept using shield walls up until the Late Middle Ages, and that part of the reason that heavily armored knights were never as important there is that the shield wall was an effective counter to cavalry. This strikes me as a little surprising given that the general consensus from other battles in Europe seems to be that infantry need to have weapons that have a greater reach than those of their opponents if they are going defend against cavalry (i. e. pikes that can out reach lances). Does anyone know of instances of shield walls surviving charges by high medieval armored cavalry with couched lances (so not the lighter Norman horsemen at Hastings).

On another note, what about formations of other shorter polearms like halberds and bills? Are there any accounts of halberdiers and billmen standing up to lancers?

Thanks,
Dashiell

The first replier covered this better than I did but a simple answer to this question would be to have a formation so deep that the energy is caught by the first rank, which probably breaks from impact, and the successive ranks catches the charging calvary man and stop all of his momentum, because a man armed with a long heavy spear, build momentum in romanticized style and turned himself into a human battering ramn, if that momentum is stopped completely and he is able to maneuver his horse, he has a high chance of being a dead man.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Jun, 2014 3:26 am    Post subject: Re: non-pike pole arms vs cavalry         Reply with quote

Philip Dyer wrote:
a simple answer to this question would be to have a formation so deep that the energy is caught by the first rank, which probably breaks from impact, and the successive ranks catches the charging calvary man and stop all of his momentum, because a man armed with a long heavy spear, build momentum in romanticized style and turned himself into a human battering ramn, if that momentum is stopped completely and he is able to maneuver his horse, he has a high chance of being a dead man.


Not quite either. Formation depth wasn't always considered necessary for repelling cavalry; in fact, there were many instances in medieval Europe where infantry was deployed shallow and wide (only three or four ranks deep at most) to discourage flanking attempts by enemy cavalry. Similarly, 18th-century infantry doctrine held that a shallow line only three men deep was quite adequate for repelling a cavalry charge from the front, although it was vulnerable to flanking if friendly cavalry failed to do their job. And the Napoleonic infantry square was more of a shallow line bent into a rectangular shape rather than a deep massive formation in the manner of Renaissance pike formations.

Depth and weapon length were far more closely correlated to an offensive movement against enemy infantry. Iphicrates reformed the equipment of the Greek infantryman (or, more likely, formalised changes that had accumulated in the past few decades) by lightening the armour, replacing the massive aspis with a smaller shield, and dropping the traditional spear in favour of a longer pike. These changes turned the hoplite into a prototype for the Macedonian phalangite, at least according to Luke Ueda-Sarson's theory. And then, in the 16th century, it's often said that the main motivation for the increasing length of pikes was a competition between the Landsknechts and the Swiss over who had the bigger stick, not between pikemen and cavalry lancers (Italian men-at-arms were known for occasionally using longer lances than what was the norm according to their French counterparts, but this didn't make them dramatically more successful than other cavalry against contemporary pikemen).
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Jun, 2014 3:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And, returning to the original topic, I can't believe I forgot to mention Wisby. It's another classic example where Scandinavian peasants turned out an unusually well-equipped militia that was nevertheless still not good enough to defeat even better-equipped and better-trained German mercenaries.
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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Fri 20 Jun, 2014 7:52 am    Post subject: Re: non-pike pole arms vs cavalry         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Philip Dyer wrote:
a simple answer to this question would be to have a formation so deep that the energy is caught by the first rank, which probably breaks from impact, and the successive ranks catches the charging calvary man and stop all of his momentum, because a man armed with a long heavy spear, build momentum in romanticized style and turned himself into a human battering ramn, if that momentum is stopped completely and he is able to maneuver his horse, he has a high chance of being a dead man.


Not quite either. Formation depth wasn't always considered necessary for repelling cavalry; in fact, there were many instances in medieval Europe where infantry was deployed shallow and wide (only three or four ranks deep at most) to discourage flanking attempts by enemy cavalry. Similarly, 18th-century infantry doctrine held that a shallow line only three men deep was quite adequate for repelling a cavalry charge from the front, although it was vulnerable to flanking if friendly cavalry failed to do their job. And the Napoleonic infantry square was more of a shallow line bent into a rectangular shape rather than a deep massive formation in the manner of Renaissance pike formations.

Depth and weapon length were far more closely correlated to an offensive movement against enemy infantry. Iphicrates reformed the equipment of the Greek infantryman (or, more likely, formalised changes that had accumulated in the past few decades) by lightening the armour, replacing the massive aspis with a smaller shield, and dropping the traditional spear in favour of a longer pike. These changes turned the hoplite into a prototype for the Macedonian phalangite, at least according to Luke Ueda-Sarson's theory. And then, in the 16th century, it's often said that the main motivation for the increasing length of pikes was a competition between the Landsknechts and the Swiss over who had the bigger stick, not between pikemen and cavalry lancers (Italian men-at-arms were known for occasionally using longer lances than what was the norm according to their French counterparts, but this didn't make them dramatically more successful than other cavalry against contemporary pikemen).

If probably need to rephrase my post. I read the OP excerpt that he was referring to way in which non pike wielding infranty could repel a heavy lancer calvary charge, not a flanking manuever, obviously reducing the width and increasing the depth would make a formation more vulnerable to flanking. Also, refering to 18th century sources are implicably to this dicussion, since the long heavy lance he is refering to had gone out of fashion and infrantry had their bullets to repel calvary width and becuase, if the opposing calvary regiment where lancers, their lance would quite a bit shorter, as shown in the 19th warfare dicussion, and can repelled by bayonets.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Jun, 2014 10:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm most familiar with later sources. Sixteenth-century Western European military writers addressed questions of cavalry against infantry in some detail, and they stress the importance of pikes for resisting cavalry. Tellingly, I can't think of a single one who strayed from the conventional wisdom of having at least the front four or five ranks armed with pikes. Even Machiavelli, who derided the pike and promoted the shield, wanted pikers to form the front ranks of his ideal army. Matthew Sutcliffe wrote that "[n]o number of ſhort weapons can reſiſt the carriere of horſe in a plaine ground," though he also noted that well-order pikers or even halberdiers back by shot would prove too much for a cavalry charge. Like Machiavelli, he wanted the number of targetiers increased, but he simultaneously acknowledged that they did poor service against cavalry in the open. In a single sentence, Sutcliffe suggested the possibility of targetiers carrying half-pikes both throw at infantry and have a chance a resisting cavalry.

Length of the pike versus the lance did matter; Humphrey Barwick rejected François de la Noue's recommendation that pikers hold their pikes in the middle against cavalry on the basis that this could enable lancers to strike first, thus making the pikers nearly useless as they would be killed or overthrown by the lance blow and their pikes knocked offline.

According to Sutcliffe's logic, targetiers with spears had some ability to stand against horse but pikers had much better odds. That's from the sixteenth century and comes in the context of armored lancers on potentially barded horses.

Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

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Jaroslav Kravcak




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Jul, 2014 7:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe its really helpfull to understand the semantics first and define terms. In this setting - big cluster of infantry with close combat weapons against cavalry armed for close combat as well, repulsing cavalry charge means horsemen break off charge without any contact, or losses for the most part, so they can live and charge at another instance, while infantry formation breaking up into chaos in face of cavalry charge would generally end up in slaughter. So given both formations are of some quality, especially infantry, their motivation to preserve order is more urgent, than that of a body of horsemen - they on average have much more to loose.

Second, defending side is allways at the advantage, especially if left to get known with terrain features and prepare defensive countermeasures. Attacking side needs to preserve order, in case of cavalry charge, many might fail simply because they fall apart far away from their intended target. They are also allways at risk of falling into trap/ambush etc.

Horsemen would generally be outnumbered and at the attacking side of the equation, so there is a good chance their charge may fail even against infantry of modest quality and seemingly unequipped to deal with them. I also doubt that knights would be any more reluctant to break off charge out of fear, than ordinary soldiers, if confronted with resolute opposition. If in battle X infantry formation repulsed Y number of cavalry charges, I wouldnt picture it as masses of dead horses and men infront of unyielding mass of infantry, but simply as cavalry breaking off before any contact repeatedly. If horsemen do press into infantry, it mostly results in good losses on both sides, if infantry manages to preserve order, which is the better result from their perspective. (There are only few explicit examples of horsemen breaking into infantry formation, either panicking them completely to be destroyed- like battles of Khushab, Aliwal, mamlukes at Austerlitz, or suffering considerable losses - like Dreux, Grandson, Ceresole, Omdurman, french lancers at Quartre Bras but Id say many more could be there, though it cant be explicitly stated from their description, or there were other circumstances, that influenced the outcome, than one, or few horsemen managing to push into the mass of infantry - potentially sacrificing his life alone, or that of his horse, sometimes not even that to ruin whole formation and let it be slaughtered, or at least cause chaos and disproportionate casualties.)

At Bouvines, spearmen were propably supported by their own cavalry, so I dont see it as singular sucess of 2 lines of spearmen against huge hordes of horsemen throwing themselves at them in vain. Also, given it was at the late stage of a battle, when it was de facto won elsewhere and given difficulties of recalling even profesional cavalry after sucesfull charge to do it again in organized manner, is there anything that would hint, that there was any concerted effort to defeat them? Wouldnt they rather be able to beat back several small uncoordinated assaults of small groups before finally being ridden down in greater, more coordinated attack?

At Tigranocerta, given the story itself is accurate (why would army commander charge at head of few hundred men, seemingly separated from the rest of the army, through the territory, where he would still run risk of being ambushed in hugely disadvantageous position?), roman infantry wasnt simply charging formation of armenian cataphracts several times their size, they were supporting their own cavalry already engaged in melee with the enemy and it speaks something about quality of cataphract training and overall leadeship, that they panicked and ran at the sight of few hundred infantrymen and more so, that they were not supported by some unengaged body of horsemen, that could countercharge and destroy this threat in few moments.

Also the concept of difficult terrain - why would it be so much less difficult for infantry, than it would be for horses? - even lightly armoured, when I imagine fighting in narrow rocky pass, I dont feel like I would be sprinting effortlessly around barely moving horses - would be something different being almoghavar, throwing javelins into horses stuck in mud. In the example of Mortgarten, given it was so difficult to advance on horse, with enemies maybe throwing logs and stones from afar, why should the contribution of close combat troops and halberd be so decisive? Why especially against mounted knights? Would they even be armoured and armed, if it was an ambush? Wouldnt they mostly dismount in such a difficult terrain, in an effort to storm enemy positions, or to bundle together to fend off enemies? How exactly would several hundred halberdiers defeat 2000 armoured fully equipped knights in any serious close and most propably chaotic individual combat without suffering greatly themselves?

Considering battle of Arbedo, there was a discussion a while back, where it was stated Swiss already had pikes at this stage, forming a sleeve around halberdiers in this particular battle and even without it, they already were there at mentioned battle of Laupen, so why would they be such a novelty, adopted after single experienced battle? (As a sidenote, there are some serious numbers of horses mentioned as slain - generally several hundreds, in battles involving several hundred swiss supposedly holding their own against whole armies numbering 10000s and stories, that are positively falsifiable, like Arnold Winkelried and his feat of throwing himself on austrian lances in battle of Sempach, allowing other to make a break and defeat enemy - in reality inspired by similar feats performed by mounted knights against swiss formation - much of this is confabulation and product of 19th century romantic nationalistic tendencies running through europe, so the question remains, how much of it has any base in reality.)

Considering battle of Tours, there are 10000s of moors mentioned as being mounted, yet, where does it stem from? Is it perfectly established, they couldnt be heavy in light infantry and cavalry, with only few heavy cavalry worth their name present? (its quite a distance in space and time, maybe even cultural and military background, but considering arab army at the battle of Yarmuk, they arent described as particularly cavalry heavy and even cavalry they had was light and mobile.) Concerning franks: why would they be fighting with sword and shield only? Even given roman influence, if they were influenced by roman military in the contemporary state they were able to perceive, when they came into direct contact with it, if Im not mistaken, late roman infantry would be quite heavy in using spears and utilizing effective tactics and equipment, like captrops to better neutralize cavalry.

So in the end, my own view its not that much about weapons used, or if its cavalry , or infantry, resolve and circumtances decide the outcome, so that best infantry holding its ground can be panicked and destroyed and best armoured, armed and mounted cavalry can fail in charge without doing any damage. So its perfectly possible, that even sword and shield armed infantry in shieldwall, or halberd armed infantry in thin line can beat off cavalry charge, but its allways good to look at charging cavalry and causes of its failure, much like people often look at circumstances, that led to the defeat of infantry by cavalry at some patricular occasions, while they many times dismiss examples of cavalry failures as clear evidence of infantry superiority.
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John Hardy




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Jul, 2014 7:08 pm    Post subject: Re: non-pike pole arms vs cavalry         Reply with quote

Philip Dyer wrote:

If probably need to rephrase my post. I read the OP excerpt that he was referring to way in which non pike wielding infranty could repel a heavy lancer calvary charge, not a flanking manuever, obviously reducing the width and increasing the depth would make a formation more vulnerable to flanking. Also, refering to 18th century sources are implicably to this dicussion, since the long heavy lance he is refering to had gone out of fashion and infrantry had their bullets to repel calvary width and becuase, if the opposing calvary regiment where lancers, their lance would quite a bit shorter, as shown in the 19th warfare dicussion, and can repelled by bayonets.


Actually, in my view, the 18th and early 19th century sources are perfectly appropriate for this discussion. Napoleon was quite fond of the Polish lancers and had a number of regiments of them in his armies. Their standard weapon was a light lance that was approximately 16 feet long - more than long enough to outreach a bayonetted musket by several feet.

So why could a British infantry square stand off a charge of French Polish lancers, even though their bayonets were outreached by the lances by several feet? Bluntly: because horses aren't stupid.

People often refer to the heavily armoured knights or heavy cavalry as the 'battle tanks' of their day. The problem is, I think, that this analogy too often leads us to think of them in that way - as a man riding an invulnerable vehicle into battle. They weren't. They were men riding into battle atop 1000+ pound animals that had minds of their own and were often, so far as I can tell, far more intelligent than their riders.

A horse has very little concept of honour or glory or chivalry but does have very very definite opinions about riding face-first into a forest of spiky points: it thinks that hurts and it ain't going to do it.

And THAT is why an infantry square could stop a full-on lancer charge dead in its tracks even though the lances outreached the bayonets by several feet: because the bayonet hedge didn't stop the LANCERS, it stopped the HORSES.

Thus, the British infantry doctrine for receiving cavalry during the Peninsular Campaign and at Waterloo was that the first rank knelt and grounded their musket butts against their feet, presenting the bayonets pointing upward at about a 45 degree angle (much like a hunter grounding a boar spear against a wild boar's charge). The second rank then stood behind and either presented the muskets from the shoulder (if firing a volley) or held against the hip. The third rank could then thrust their levelled muskets at shoulder height through the gaps between the second rankers. The result was that the horses faced a hedge of shiny sharp points at three levels from chest to face - too solid to ram through without getting spiked and too high to jump over. So the horses would 'refuse' just before the point of impact, and the cavalry would end up wheeling and riding off after making stationary jabs at a few infantrymen in passing.

I expect the same thing was true for any infantry facing any cavalry in the ancient or medieval world too. The true key to success for the infantry is NOT the length of their weapons but the unit cohesion that allows them to present those weapons to the faces of the horses as bristling hedge of steel points several ranks thick, which causes the horses to overrule their riders. Of course, by that point, when the cavalrymen themselves see that the infantry are holding firm, not much 'overruling' is really involved. Because most professional soldiers aren't any more inclined than their mounts to commit suicide.

Suppose a knight has a 20-foot long lance and is charging home against infantry armed with 16-foot pikes (or a Polish lancer with a 16-foot lance [giving about 10 feet of reach] is charging home against infantry with a 7-foot reach with their bayonets. In either case, the cavalry weapon has an advantage over that of the massed infantry of 3 or 4 feet. So what? So the rider succeeds in spiking the front soldier in the first rank (if the infantryman doesn't manage to duck or parry the thrust). And then what happens? The lance is stuck, depriving the cavalryman momentarily of his weapon, and the two infantry front-rankers on either side of his victim, and the four guys in the two ranks behind all turn him (and his horse) into cavalry shish-kebab. And the dead horse now serves as an additional bulwark for the infantry against the next wave of attackers.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Jul, 2014 8:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The thing is that fifteenth- and sixteenth-century sources don't support the idea that shorter staff weapons sufficed to resist cavalry. As I wrote above, Sutcliffe briefly mentioned the possibility of targetiers with half-pikes managing it, but on the whole military manuals, artwork, and battle accounts indicate that standing up to men-at-arms and even lighter lancers required pikes and lots of them. The pike was the preeminent infantry weapon for the entire sixteenth century in Western Europe. Given how Machiavelli, Fourquevaux, Sutcliffe, and Smythe all noted the disadvantage pikers had against targetiers or halberdiers in the press of battle, I doubt this was primarily to fight against other infantry. The period doesn't make a whole lot sense without the imperative to resist lancers. Even against pikes, men-at-arms and lancers could charge deep into and sometimes entirely through formations! Against disordered pikers, a charge from men-at-arms and/or lancers frequently resulted in a rout. Smythe thought it worthwhile to describe how his ideal formation of five ranks of pikers back by halberdiers would handle horsemen who got through the first five ranks of pikers ready to resist them, and he wrote after the men-at-arms on fully barded horses had left the field. So apparently Smythe considered it plausible for a charge from lancers on unarmored or partially armored mounts to push through five ranks of pikers with pikes leveled against them. He thought his halberdiers would take care of the problem, but this example still illustrates how potent sixteenth-century lancers could be.

Louis de Chatel-Guyon's charge against a Swiss pike block at the Battle of Grandson in 1476 provides a specific example of what could happen. Chatel-Guyon and a handful of other men-at-arms managed to drive into the Swiss formation all the way to one of the banners before being dispatched by soldiers with shorter staff weapons such as halberds and half-pikes. These few - no more than six - men-at-arms killed thirty Swiss before they fell.

I've limited familiarity with the eighteenth century and early nineteenth century when it comes to military matters, but I suspect firepower played an important role in British infantry's ability to hold off Polish-style lancers.

Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

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To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
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John Hardy




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Jul, 2014 10:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
The thing is that fifteenth- and sixteenth-century sources don't support the idea that shorter staff weapons sufficed to resist cavalry. As I wrote above, Sutcliffe briefly mentioned the possibility of targetiers with half-pikes managing it, but on the whole military manuals, artwork, and battle accounts indicate that standing up to men-at-arms and even lighter lancers required pikes and lots of them. The pike was the preeminent infantry weapon for the entire sixteenth century in Western Europe. Given how Machiavelli, Fourquevaux, Sutcliffe, and Smythe all noted the disadvantage pikers had against targetiers or halberdiers in the press of battle, I doubt this was primarily to fight against other infantry. The period doesn't make a whole lot sense without the imperative to resist lancers. Even against pikes, men-at-arms and lancers could charge deep into and sometimes entirely through formations! Against disordered pikers, a charge from men-at-arms and/or lancers frequently resulted in a rout. Smythe thought it worthwhile to describe how his ideal formation of five ranks of pikers back by halberdiers would handle horsemen who got through the first five ranks of pikers ready to resist them, and he wrote after the men-at-arms on fully barded horses had left the field. So apparently Smythe considered it plausible for a charge from lancers on unarmored or partially armored mounts to push through five ranks of pikers with pikes leveled against them. He thought his halberdiers would take care of the problem, but this example still illustrates how potent sixteenth-century lancers could be.

Louis de Chatel-Guyon's charge against a Swiss pike block at the Battle of Grandson in 1476 provides a specific example of what could happen. Chatel-Guyon and a handful of other men-at-arms managed to drive into the Swiss formation all the way to one of the banners before being dispatched by soldiers with shorter staff weapons such as halberds and half-pikes. These few - no more than six - men-at-arms killed thirty Swiss before they fell.

I've limited familiarity with the eighteenth century and early nineteenth century when it comes to military matters, but I suspect firepower played an important role in British infantry's ability to hold off Polish-style lancers.


And I just read the description of that attack of Louis de Chatel-Guyon at the Battle of Grandson, and IMHO it pretty much proves my original point: Chatel-Guyon was described as the premier young knight of his generation and the horse he was riding was described as exceptional. So out of an entire charging Burgundian squadron, ONE GUY (an absolutely exceptional horseman on an absolutely exceptional mount) manages to convince his horse to leap over the first ranks of pikes and into the middle of the formation. A literal handful of others then try to exploit the break he has created by this nearly suicidal act. The rest of the squadron do not charge home. (Presumably their horses 'refused', and since the riders probably didn't expect a break to be made in an otherwise unshaken infantry formation anyway - because it was so unusual - they just followed normal practice and turned away.) That then left Chatel-Guyon to be butchered in the middle of the pike formation, and his five followers with him.

Result: 30 Swiss infantrymen dead; infantry formation otherwise entirely unshaken. Six high-status cavalrymen - including a princely commander - dead. Burgundians ultimately defeated.
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Jaroslav Kravcak




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Jul, 2014 5:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

John Hardy wrote:
Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
The thing is that fifteenth- and sixteenth-century sources don't support the idea that shorter staff weapons sufficed to resist cavalry. As I wrote above, Sutcliffe briefly mentioned the possibility of targetiers with half-pikes managing it, but on the whole military manuals, artwork, and battle accounts indicate that standing up to men-at-arms and even lighter lancers required pikes and lots of them. The pike was the preeminent infantry weapon for the entire sixteenth century in Western Europe. Given how Machiavelli, Fourquevaux, Sutcliffe, and Smythe all noted the disadvantage pikers had against targetiers or halberdiers in the press of battle, I doubt this was primarily to fight against other infantry. The period doesn't make a whole lot sense without the imperative to resist lancers. Even against pikes, men-at-arms and lancers could charge deep into and sometimes entirely through formations! Against disordered pikers, a charge from men-at-arms and/or lancers frequently resulted in a rout. Smythe thought it worthwhile to describe how his ideal formation of five ranks of pikers back by halberdiers would handle horsemen who got through the first five ranks of pikers ready to resist them, and he wrote after the men-at-arms on fully barded horses had left the field. So apparently Smythe considered it plausible for a charge from lancers on unarmored or partially armored mounts to push through five ranks of pikers with pikes leveled against them. He thought his halberdiers would take care of the problem, but this example still illustrates how potent sixteenth-century lancers could be.

Louis de Chatel-Guyon's charge against a Swiss pike block at the Battle of Grandson in 1476 provides a specific example of what could happen. Chatel-Guyon and a handful of other men-at-arms managed to drive into the Swiss formation all the way to one of the banners before being dispatched by soldiers with shorter staff weapons such as halberds and half-pikes. These few - no more than six - men-at-arms killed thirty Swiss before they fell.

I've limited familiarity with the eighteenth century and early nineteenth century when it comes to military matters, but I suspect firepower played an important role in British infantry's ability to hold off Polish-style lancers.


And I just read the description of that attack of Louis de Chatel-Guyon at the Battle of Grandson, and IMHO it pretty much proves my original point: Chatel-Guyon was described as the premier young knight of his generation and the horse he was riding was described as exceptional. So out of an entire charging Burgundian squadron, ONE GUY (an absolutely exceptional horseman on an absolutely exceptional mount) manages to convince his horse to leap over the first ranks of pikes and into the middle of the formation. A literal handful of others then try to exploit the break he has created by this nearly suicidal act. The rest of the squadron do not charge home. (Presumably their horses 'refused', and since the riders probably didn't expect a break to be made in an otherwise unshaken infantry formation anyway - because it was so unusual - they just followed normal practice and turned away.) That then left Chatel-Guyon to be butchered in the middle of the pike formation, and his five followers with him.

Result: 30 Swiss infantrymen dead; infantry formation otherwise entirely unshaken. Six high-status cavalrymen - including a princely commander - dead. Burgundians ultimately defeated.


I wouldnt say it was entirely unshaken, there was a good chance it could break apart and be obliterated afterwards. He was also seemingly killed after pressing his luck too far in an attempt to wrestle one of the Swiss flags from them, the battle itself being only won by Swiss by change after incidental appearence of other units caused chaos among burgundian infantry and general rout followed, othewise, they were more, or less at the edge of defeat, having suffered several times the casualties and being slowly maneuver into disadvantageous position - though not defeated by exclusive actions of cavalry of course. There are propably much more examples, though not as explicitly mentioned in sources of such an exploit from cavalrymen - ironically, there is this one and then there are three good ones from 19th century, where single horsemen was enough to make a break in enemy formation and unlike in case of swiss, formations did broke and were massacred, or wholly captured. There is also an example of unfinished square of 74th Highlanders (hope I got number right from my head) and french lancers pressing in, with square resisting and eventually expelling them, but losing many men in process in a matter of few moments.

While it is true and quite obvious these few horsemen shined apart from the rest of charging cavalrymen, that would never press into such a close contact, that says nothing about horses. Its also strange how horses are labelled as not stupid enough to charge into a group of men, but stupid enough to not be able to understand, through experience and training, that a mass of men is no unbreakable wall, but consists of smaller creatures, that he is able to push around, there also is no reasonal explanation, why a horse should be trainable to do all kinds of things, like get used to gunfire, but never ever be made to push agressively into groups of people. Its also rather irrelevant, as such a brave horseman can easily be replaced by cannonball, or missile barrage. Its about making exploitable break in enemy formation, not about showing off and dying glorious death. There is also a threat of enemy cavalry countercharge in most circumstances.

The key element is rider not a horse, he is not stupid enough to throw himself straight into continuous wall of points, if he hesitates, horse hesitates as well, if he is resolute to do it, so can a horse. All modern books contain description of horses refusing to charge and riders urging them to do so and these are basically copypasted and pure confabulations as far as I have seen, for the most part. There certainly are stunt horses trained to charge through what they would perceive as solid object, had they not been trained to understand it isnt, or hadnt they been trained to trust their rider to decide, if its safe to go through it. Many well described failed charges fell apart before they ever reached their target and many of these are from musket era of 19th century, it was allways firepower, that was crutial in defeating cavalry charge, not bayonets. Without firepower, it was a stalemate and eventual resignation of infantry squares to almost unmolested cavalry, good exmaple of this would be the battle of Dresden, while there were no heroes jumping into squares, even withtout them, several thousand soldiers, basically whole wing surrendered to french cavalry for minimal losses in bad weather, that prohibited the use of muskets.

The argument of cavalry being inferior to infantry solely because no horse ever will charge into group of men is autistic by nature, its impossible to solve this problem by one simplistic argument of dubious validity. Cavalry allways had charging unengaged and unwavering infantry in the middle of the battle well down on their target prioroty list, but that doesnt mean they couldnt do it sucesfully if needed at occasion and their (in)ability to bowl though enemy formation like in bowling isnt the only deciding factor.
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Fri 11 Jul, 2014 7:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd like to jump into this discussion because it interests me and I think I can provide a few snippets of information here and there.

First off the whole "horses are not stupid and won't charge into a solid formation" seems to stem from a lindybeige video which has been endlessly parroted. Matt Easton another guy who also makes youtube videos and has a lot more knowledge on the subject has stated before that it is rubbish. In a few of his videos he reads eye witness reports from the 18th and 19th century where British cavalry in colonial India charged musket formations head on. One of the accounts is from Churchill himself I believe.

Now coming back to the whole "horses aren't stupid" thing. I asked around and talked to a horse owner on natural horse behavior and such. What she was able to tell me was that charging into a group of persons is indeed not NATURAL horse behavior but something you have to train. We all know horses frequently do unnatural stuff, just look a dressage competition once and tell me that's what wild mustangs do all the time Wink

This training could very well be the influencing factor that makes up the enormous difference in the cost of a riding horse and a war horse. Now I can't cite the exact paragraph where it is mentioned but I do know that a German (experimental) archaeologist attempted to train a horse to charge a roman formation. I believe it took him 6 months to train a horse to do that which is a long time. This of course was in perfect conditions so not battlefield sounds to startle the horse, no arrows whizzing around and hitting the animal. For folks who can read German and happen to have the book from Marcus Junkelmann; Die Reiter Roms you can probably find it in the book.

(some additional info)
http://www.plekos.uni-muenchen.de/2006/f-kavallerie1.html

The final thing I would like to add is that there are a lot of accounts from Both the Italian Wars and the later wars between Sweden and Poland where lancers are described as charging into and routing an enemy pike formation. But with enormous losses in horses even when successful. When the charge failed a lot of riders also died. basically it's almost never economical to charge an unharmed formation for pikes. Even you managed to rout the enemy and win the battle the unit might not see service again in the war due to a loss of horses.

PS, where can I find the account of Louis de Chatel-Guyon at Grandson?
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PostPosted: Fri 11 Jul, 2014 8:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The account of Louis de Chatel-Guyon (or Chalon-Chateugueyon) comes from a member over at The Armour Archive. It apparently comes from a Swiss source or sources, but chef de chambre unfortunately doesn't cite the specific source.

By Winston Churchill's firsthand account, the 21st Lancers at the Battle of Omdurman 1898 charged right into opposing infantry armed with swords, spears, shields, and rifles. If British cavalry could manage this in the age of the Maxim gun, when cavalry meant next to nothing in any rational military calculus, I feel confident most earlier shock cavalry units would have done much better. The 21st Lancers certainly had courage and possibly good horses, but they were essentially irrelevant relics on the late nineteenth-century battlefield and had limited experience with close combat.

Fifteenth- and sixteenth-century men-at-arms would have overthrown as many enemy soldiers as Churchill's band by sheer momentum, but been nearly impervious to non-gunpowder weapons.

I want to be clear that no sixteenth-century military author I know of considered charging well-ordered pikers a wise move. It was done in the field at times, but often ended with defeat or at least high losses for the cavalry.

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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Jul, 2014 8:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pieter B. wrote:

(...)The final thing I would like to add is that there are a lot of accounts from Both the Italian Wars and the later wars between Sweden and Poland where lancers are described as charging into and routing an enemy pike formation. But with enormous losses in horses even when successful. (...)

There are actually very few, if any, such examples from the Swedish-Polish wars for the simple reason that the Swedish army was not armed with pikes in the battles during which successfull charges that actually routed the infantry are recorded.
Once the Swedes began to issue pikes the ability of the Polish-Lithuanian lancers to charge and rout Swedish infantry without support, positional advantage or help by other factors was reduced. Even the raw and unarmoured Swedish pikemen at Kricholm were able to withstand the charge of the Lithuanian Hetmans own regiment of hussars even though the later did break into the battalion squares.

Skillfull use of their superior cavalry allowed the Polish-Lithuanian troops exploit the generally low level of training and cohesion among Swedish troops to gain positional advantages and/or employ combined arms tactics to inflict defeats on the Swedish infantry. But as the training and cohesion of the Swedish infantry improved success became more and more elusive. For example, during the 1st day of the battle of Tver (1609) the excellent Polish cavalry routed the Swedish and Russian cavalry of Jacob De la Gardie's army but without lances or effective infantry support the Poles proved unable to break the 3 battalions of Swedish infantry who were able to make a fighting retreat back to the Swedish camp even though they had been surrounded by Polish cavalry.

And once Gustavus Adolphus reformed the Swedish army the Polish-Lithuanian cavalry began to avoid charging pike & shot infantry altogether. After 1622 there is not a single charge against Swedish pikemen recorded since professional and skillfull Polish & Lithuanian commanders recognised that such charges would simply be a waste of good horses and men. (In order to get at the pikemen the lancers would have had to confront improved Swedish musketry, a combination of field works and portable obstacles (Swinesfeathers) and the fact that when the cavalry got within 30-40 meters of the infantry they would be hit by cannister shot from the 24-pound "sturmstück" assigned to each unit. )

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William P




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Jul, 2014 10:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

in much earlier time periods, there are hints that in the 10th and 11th century byzantine and saracen armies we had reference to the idea that cavalry will bowl straight into a formation, although these were the elite cataphract like cavalry...

my source comes from a byzantine military manual I think the praecepta militqaria, but it could be another from another rulers era, but essentially the byzantines developed a specialist spear unit to deal with heavy cavalry charges, in this case, the byzantine menavlion.

its dimensions should give you an idea of its purpose, 2.4 m long shaft that was *as thick as can be gripped* so roughly 5-6cm thick of oak or cornell wood, usually a sapling ('a single piece' is the exact terms in the manuals ) according to the manuals, the head was big, a good 30cm long. possibly a winged hewing spear

such a monster of a spear was usually employed in anticipation of attack by the saracen heavy cavalry,. the men wielding them wold run to the front of the formation of infantry and brace the butt of the spear against the ground, leveling the point at the horses chest.

this by the way was reinforcing an army whose main infantry seemed to be mainly armed with [pikes, or great kontaria, roughly 5m long, and were supposed to be long enough that their heads would line up with the heads of the leveled menavlions in the rank in front presumably to provide extra spearpoints covering the front, and also partly to shield the menavlion bearers from infantry and the like..

and even more tellingly, the menavlion was praised as being capable of resiting a charge where the kontaria were broken

this was probably due to the presence of the horses having some sort of barding, at least at the front.

for my money it seems that the byzantines would not have needed such a heavy spear like the menavlion if the cavalry were not a fairly significant threat. now the menavlion bearers did other duties like plugging the gaps between formations that were left for cavalry to sally to and from, as well as assisting the skirmishers in flattacking the flanks of evemy infantry.
but their main usage was waiting in the rear of the pike andbow formation, and when the cavalry loomed, rushing forward to reinforce the troops front line.

how often that actually happened is another story but as i said before, the mere presence of such a weapon in byzantine hands seems to indicate that the arab cavalry were a force to be reckoned with despite the length of he troopers kontaria..

although i consider it fairly likely that theyse infantry charged by cavalry might have been ones softed up a tad by horse or foot archery./


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John Hardy




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Jul, 2014 3:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
The account of Louis de Chatel-Guyon (or Chalon-Chateugueyon) comes from a member over at The Armour Archive. It apparently comes from a Swiss source or sources, but chef de chambre unfortunately doesn't cite the specific source.

By Winston Churchill's firsthand account, the 21st Lancers at the Battle of Omdurman 1898 charged right into opposing infantry armed with swords, spears, shields, and rifles. If British cavalry could manage this in the age of the Maxim gun, when cavalry meant next to nothing in any rational military calculus, I feel confident most earlier shock cavalry units would have done much better. The 21st Lancers certainly had courage and possibly good horses, but they were essentially irrelevant relics on the late nineteenth-century battlefield and had limited experience with close combat.

Fifteenth- and sixteenth-century men-at-arms would have overthrown as many enemy soldiers as Churchill's band by sheer momentum, but been nearly impervious to non-gunpowder weapons.

I want to be clear that no sixteenth-century military author I know of considered charging well-ordered pikers a wise move. It was done in the field at times, but often ended with defeat or at least high losses for the cavalry
.


This is totally irrelevant to the present discussion, but I just wanted to make a couple comments about that famous charge of the 21 Lancers at Omdurman:

1. They didn't charge opposing INFANTRY armed with swords, spears, shields and rifles; they charged into anywhere from 10 to 100 times their own number of opposing CAVALRY armed that way; and

2. Like a great many famous British army cavalry charges, it was due to a screw-up.

Apparently, towards the end of the battle, their commander saw a SMALL group of Mahdi cavalry nearby apparently trying to flank the British force and decided to try to scatter and/or capture it. After the Lancers had worked their way up to a gallop and were too close to retreat, they discovered to their horror that an unsuspected dip in the ground right behind the SMALL group of a couple dozen cavalrymen had concealed the rest of the very very LARGE group of at least a couple thousand cavalrymen... So they did the only thing they could and pressed on in a full-out charge hoping to cut their way through and survive. And they got lucky, frankly. Their attack was unexpected and ferocious enough (and the Mahdi cavalry were probably already badly shaken enough by seeing what had happened to the rest of their army as it attacked the British line of Lee Enfield rifles backed by Maxims) that the enemy cavalry broke and fled the field.

And second, I think you and I are in full agreement on the second bolded statement: although full-out cavalry charges at the front of fully-formed and unshaken infantry units have been performed at various times and places, most professional military writers in most eras (and not just the 16th century with Swiss pike formations) have considered it an unwise move due to high-risk of failure and the almost certainty of heavy losses (and generally losses that would be high status in terms of the cavalrymen killed and expensive in terms of the horses).

The best use of cavalry against infantry almost invariably was:

1. For surprise attacks on the flanks and rear of infantry formations unprepared for attacks in that direction;
2. For violent charges to break and scatter infantry formations that were disordered, shaken or not-yet fully formed up to repel cavalry; and
3. To limit the mobility of the infantry on the field of battle by forcing it always to move slowly in fully-formed (and frequently therefore unwieldy) formations due to the constant threat of a cavalry attack if the unit lost cohesion for any reason (such as to change formation to facilitate a rapid movement in a different direction).
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Fri 11 Jul, 2014 3:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Stubborn and unshaken infantry hardly ever meet stubborn and unshaken
cavalry. Either the infantry run away and are cut down in flight, or they
keep their heads and destroy nearly all the horsemen by their musketry.
On this occasion two living walls had actually crashed together.


Seems like infantry to me.
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Jul, 2014 5:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jaroslav Kravcak wrote:

(...)
Also the concept of difficult terrain - why would it be so much less difficult for infantry, than it would be for horses? - even lightly armoured, when I imagine fighting in narrow rocky pass, I dont feel like I would be sprinting effortlessly around barely moving horses - would be something different being almoghavar, throwing javelins into horses stuck in mud. In the example of Mortgarten, given it was so difficult to advance on horse, with enemies maybe throwing logs and stones from afar, why should the contribution of close combat troops and halberd be so decisive? Why especially against mounted knights? Would they even be armoured and armed, if it was an ambush? Wouldnt they mostly dismount in such a difficult terrain, in an effort to storm enemy positions, or to bundle together to fend off enemies? How exactly would several hundred halberdiers defeat 2000 armoured fully equipped knights in any serious close and most propably chaotic individual combat without suffering greatly themselves?
(...)


There is indeed terrain which is equaly difficult for both cavalry and infantry but in other cases horses have a lot more trouble because of their weight combined with having four legs and the way their hooves handle certain types of terrain. Particularly when acting as a unit that depends on momentum (ii.e the cavalry charge) to be effective in combat. 16th &17th military writers such as Basta, Monteccucoli and Melzo all recognised that lancers needed flat and firm ground to deliver their charge effectivly. Pistol armed cuirassiers could be effectiv on more diffcult ground but still got into the same problem as the lancers when encountering trees and ditches.

The battle of Pavia is a good example of how terrain could be very difficult for cavalry while not impeding the ability of the infantry to fight against the cavalry. (Rather the opposit) The French Gendarmes found themselves with serious problems among the ditches, hedges and trees of the park while the Spanish and Landsknecht arquebusiers and pikemen were able to fully exploit the terrain to their advantage.

Another example is snow, during the battle of Uppsala (1520) an army of Swedish yeomen and peasants attacked a Danish force (including a large number of mercenaries as well as some pro-danish Swedes). The snow that fell during the battle gave the Swedes an advantage since the wet and heavy snow not only made firearms and artillery ineffective but it also cause sever problems for the Danish cavalry. The snow gathered in large clumps under the hooves of the horses "and soon both horse and man lay on the ground" to quote an eyewitness. The Swedes who fought on foot and relied on crossbows rather than firearms had no such problems and inflicted severe losses on the Danes.

At Morgarten the key terrain features was the slopes covered with woods on one side of the path and the marshy area around the stream and along the sea shore which restricted the ducal army to the path.


shows a small part of the middle of the battlefield around the so called Letziturm. Despite later day alterations you can still get an idea of the shape of slopes as well as of how dense the woods can get. Not cavalry terrain at all.



http://www.morgarten.ch/bilder/Karte%20schlachtweg.jpg

The difficult terrain meant that the Leopold's troops could not use their superior numbers to outflank the roadblock that the Swiss had established at Schafstetten. Instead the army was forced to halt while attempts were made to storm the Swiss position. At the same time poor tactical discipline caused the ducal troops to bunch together on the path which limited their ability to move and fight if attacked even more. When the Swiss charged down the slopes they achived almost complete surprise which was followed up with a hail of stone that injured men and horses as well as causing even more disorder in the ducal ranks. And from disorder it is only a small step to panic, particularly when there is no space to move or fight properly while your enemy has cut of your reinforcements and only line of retreat by dropping logs over the path. The Swiss had effectivly used terrain and suprise to render all the advantages of the ducal army useless, the collapse and rout of the ducal troops ensure the Swiss victory.

Now the terrain at Morgarten was far from easy for infantry, one of the first accounts of the battle describe how the Swiss wore special "irons" to gain a sure footing on the slopes. Like the peasants of Ditmarschen they had the skills and equipment to use their native terrain to full advantage. Without it the battle may well have been much harder for the Swiss.

"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."
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Tjarand Matre




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Jul, 2014 12:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Slight generalisation and simplification, but in medieval Norway at least, cavalry never was a real power factor on the battlefield. The terrain is unforgiving in most parts and not suited for large scale cavalry formations. Norway also never really employed a proper feudal system so there was limited means to support a continental style knight. So Norway and partially Sweden (from what limited knowledge I have of medieval Sweden) had peasant militia armies that were implementing guerilla tactics.
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