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T. Brandt





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PostPosted: Mon 24 Aug, 2015 5:38 pm    Post subject: What would one soldier be carrying in the early 1600s?         Reply with quote

Incredibly broad question, but this has been bothering me for a while.

I often hear claims that the modern soldier is carrying a load, weight-wise, to the professional soldier of a standing army. As for how true that is, well... let it be debated, I suppose.

But my main question is--for either a professional soldier of the Holy Roman Empire, or Ottoman Empire, or any equivalents in 1600 or so-- what would they be carrying directly into battle? I don't mean on their person during a march or at camp. In mean into the fray.

My reasoning has always followed the "a sword for cutting, blunt weapon for armor, perhaps a shield, and dagger or two for backup" (assuming this wasn't a marksman or pikeman), but that's just assumption and nothing more.

So... if anyone could provide some insight, or resources to alleviate my ignorance, I would appreciate it.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Mon 24 Aug, 2015 5:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is a very interesting comparison of kits from different eras. Check it out: http://www.tickld.com/x/13-complete-soldiers-kits-from-the-armies
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Mon 24 Aug, 2015 7:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I kinda think that pikemen and musketeers (not exactly "marksmen", ha!) were pretty much what most soldiers were, at that time! Plus a couple kinds of cavalry, of course, and artillery.

So, primary weapon, being either pike or musket; sword; maybe a dagger. Seriously, you won't find any foot grunts bothering with specialized weapons to counter armor. The unlikelihood of needing it just wasn't worth the weight.

Either way, probably some armor, though the "shotte" are starting to ditch that--they'll just carry more ammo to make up the weight difference!

The rest of the marching weight is the pack, with blanket, spare clothing, FOOD, bowl and cup, and as little else as possible. Sure, it's nice if you can safely ditch the pack before battle, but the operative word is "safely". A lot of veterans learned that if you ever want to see your pack again, don't put it down in the first place!

Now, I honestly don't know Eastern Europe that well, so it's possible that you'd see more maces and hammers there. But as I understand it those are mostly going away in the West by 1600.

Matthew
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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Mon 24 Aug, 2015 8:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
Well, I kinda think that pikemen and musketeers (not exactly "marksmen", ha!) were pretty much what most soldiers were, at that time! Plus a couple kinds of cavalry, of course, and artillery.

So, primary weapon, being either pike or musket; sword; maybe a dagger. Seriously, you won't find any foot grunts bothering with specialized weapons to counter armor. The unlikelihood of needing it just wasn't worth the weight.

Either way, probably some armor, though the "shotte" are starting to ditch that--they'll just carry more ammo to make up the weight difference!

The rest of the marching weight is the pack, with blanket, spare clothing, FOOD, bowl and cup, and as little else as possible. Sure, it's nice if you can safely ditch the pack before battle, but the operative word is "safely". A lot of veterans learned that if you ever want to see your pack again, don't put it down in the first place!

Now, I honestly don't know Eastern Europe that well, so it's possible that you'd see more maces and hammers there. But as I understand it those are mostly going away in the West by 1600.

Matthew

Umm, states for that? There is nothing excluding the supply pack from battle damage so it not just a issue of weight versus no wieght, it is on bulk and encumbrance and high unlikely of battle damage. Just because you carry your ack on the field doesn't mean you will be able to make use of it once a battle is over. Unless you mean tasking the time to ditch you stuff exposes yourself to get killed.
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T. Brandt





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PostPosted: Mon 24 Aug, 2015 11:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bit of an odd question I'd like to add-- are there any historical examples of archers, crossbowmen, or gunmen wearing full maille (or something similar in terms of armor:weight ratio) into combat (presumably before pike and shot became a thing)? Or was having that much protection considered pointless if it inhibited a ranged combatant's mobility?

And, partly, too, I'm curious as to how difficult it is to manage a bow with full gauntlets.
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Tue 25 Aug, 2015 5:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Philip Dyer wrote:
Umm, states for that? There is nothing excluding the supply pack from battle damage so it not just a issue of weight versus no wieght, it is on bulk and encumbrance and high unlikely of battle damage. Just because you carry your ack on the field doesn't mean you will be able to make use of it once a battle is over. Unless you mean tasking the time to ditch you stuff exposes yourself to get killed.


To be clear, most of what I know on the subject comes from mid-17th century and later. Sure, it's weight, but it's out of the way on your back, and it's pretty much everything you own as a soldier. It might be all you have to eat for a couple days, depending on how the battle and aftermath go. Pike and musket formations don't do much running or fast agile maneuvers on the battlefield, generally. As I recall from research done way too long ago, there are period sources about soldiers not wanting to drop their packs, or losing them when they did.

Battle damage? Almost unheard of. It wasn't some wild flailing melee with everything you couldn't parry bouncing off your armor, or near-misses slashing your kit. Actually contact from an enemy weapon was pretty rare. And frankly I'd MUCH rather find a hole in my pack than one in me!

I do recall a tip for cavalrymen pursuing broken infantry, that you should not swing a saber at their backs because you'll only knock them down and maybe cut their packs or coats. Better to ride just past the target and make a backhand cut into his face as he looks up.

Daily wear and tear on equipment is always going to be worse than battle damage. I finally had to replace my favorite old haversack because I can't patch the patches fast enough to keep up with the new holes any more. And the strap is just a frazzled string. Granted, no one's actually been shooting at me, but it's had a hard life.

T. Brandt wrote:
Bit of an odd question I'd like to add-- are there any historical examples of archers, crossbowmen, or gunmen wearing full maille (or something similar in terms of armor:weight ratio) into combat (presumably before pike and shot became a thing)? Or was having that much protection considered pointless if it inhibited a ranged combatant's mobility?


There are plenty of depictions and (I believe) descriptions of armored missile troops starting in the 14th century. Padded jacks, mail, brigandines, miscellaneous pieces of plate, etc. Less on the legs since these were often foot soldiers, having to walk everywhere. Couldn't really tell you about gauntlets, though I suspect archers preferred bare hands, generally.

Matthew
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Tue 25 Aug, 2015 4:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Raimond de Fourquevaux wanted ever arquebusier and crossbower in his imagined French army to have a mail shirt, mail sleeves, and mail gloves as well as a helmet. This wasn't standard practice at the time (mid sixteenth century). Generally, at least in second half of sixteenth century, gunners rarely wore armor beyond a helmet. Many went without helmets and even without swords.

English archers often appear in considerable armor in period artwork from the fourteenth century to the sixteenth century. However, I can't think a text that assigns much armor to archers on foot. Mounted archers from France to Japan often wore considerable armor.

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Henrik Granlid




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PostPosted: Wed 26 Aug, 2015 1:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are accounts of 15th century English archers wearing strips of maille on their sleeves.


Now, as far as what a soldier would carry, frankly, it varies.

Are we talking the long March? In which case Greatswords would often be piled on carts and I'd imagine pikes would be as well for the most part. Unless the threat in the area is larger, in which case they'd likely carry their weapons. Going from camp to battlefield, you'd likely have guards still at the camp to guard people's rations, satchels, belongings etc so that soldiers would take only battlegear into the, well, battle.
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Wed 26 Aug, 2015 6:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sure, any established camp could be a safe place to leave the packs. IF there had been time to make such a camp. But even victorious armies sometimes had their camps sacked while the battle raged! And part or all of the winning army might be sent immediately in pursuit, or to seize some next objective, and not be able to get back to camp after the battle. If you're moving in the wrong direction, and won't be back tonight, even just a mile from your pack and it might as well be on the moon. Got food? Do you even trust the second-rate hired trash that are supposedly guarding the camp for you? Just considerations!

I always loved doing British Light Infantry for American Revolutionary War reenactments. Our "camp" was only a line of blanket rolls, with a little brass pot of something icky stuck in the corner of someone else's fire. We were always polite to British and American officers, and British troops, but whenever any Highlanders approached we'd have our muskets in hand and snarl insults at them. (They were great guys and we all got along excellently, we just loved putting on a proper show!)

Matthew
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Vasilly T





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PostPosted: Wed 26 Aug, 2015 9:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I remember reading that the army of Edward III during the Hundred Years War had 20 000 horses even though there was only about 14 000 of men in the army itself, that was dictated by the chevauchée tactics they used to keep the army mobile enough to avoid battles with the french army until they have an advantageous position, like in Crécy or Poitiers.

I guess I would be right if I say that at least the soldiers in Edwardian army didn't have to carry around a lot Laughing Out Loud
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T. Brandt





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PostPosted: Wed 26 Aug, 2015 12:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Speaking of packs-- by 1600, were packs basically the straps-across-chest-with-stuff-on-back devices that preceded backpacks today? Or was there a bit more technicality to it?
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Wed 26 Aug, 2015 2:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

By the 1640s the "snapsack" is the usual thing, though I'm not sure when that first appeared. Basically a tubular drawstring bag slung on a single strap across the back. Always loved mine, you can stuff a lot of stuff into it, though *finding* things in it could be a little harder! I *think* the 2-strap pack that we know today may have been in use even before that, but I may be mis-remembering.

There are also various ways to roll everything up in your blanket, and sling that around your shoulders or hang it with a strap.

Matthew
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep, 2015 2:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Whether soldiers laid down their packs or carried them into battle doesn't seem to have been a uniform matter in the 19th century, much less the 17th century! The difficulties with ensuring the safety of packs and belonging left behind must have been part of the reason why European armies gradually established procedures for leaving a small part of the unit to guard the packs/rucksacks and supplies left at the Lying-Up Point(LUP)/Objective Rally Point (ORP) -- but in some cases this didn't really happen until the 20th century.
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