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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > A&A Dresden "Rapier" Impressions Reply to topic
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Gordon Frye




Location: Kingston, Washington
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PostPosted: Wed 02 Feb, 2005 4:25 pm    Post subject: A&A Dresden "Rapier" Impressions         Reply with quote

I just got back from playing on my horse with my new (to me) sword, the A&A Dresden "Rapier" I wrangled out of Nathan this week, so I had to post some of my impressions. And though Nathan did a great job in describing the very same sword in his "Collections" folder here: http://www.myArmoury.com/swor_aa_dres.html still, I felt that some more information was in order.

When I dropped by Nathan's on Monday to pick up my new toy, we of course did a "Cool Toys" session, as he was kind enough to lay out a nice selection of his collection for me to drool over (he provides towels for this, as it's the usual reaction from his guests). He had me start at one end and work my way "up" into the bigger stuff, and I have to say I was manfully resistant to the temptation to just grab the Dresden immediately. We worked up to it, and it's a good thing. BTW, I have to say that the new Albion swords he has there are SOOOO COOOOL as to defy description. I'm not into simple hilted swords all that much, but.... NICE isn't a proper adjective at all.

Anyway, I finally got to the Dresden, and the first reaction I had was, as Nathan had predicted, "This is a big sword!" I guess that A&A calls it a Rapier because of the beautiful complex hilt, but besides that and the similar length if blade, that's about where the similarity ends. This is a serious war sword, no question! The difference between this and a late-pattern Rapier/Small Sword is about like that of a .45 Colt Automatic to a fancy .22 Hammerli Free Style Pistol. The later is for delicate, surgical precision, the other is to kill or incapacitate folks with right now. Very straightforward, though with a certain amount of it's efficiency and brutality hidden by the very refined hilt. But it's for business, no question about it. It has the same length and width blade as the Albion Regent, though the Dresden is manifestly a single-handed sword... and it's heavier too, due to the complex hilt.

I'm not any fencer, so my impressions on that score would be pretty much useless, but as a Cavalry weapon, this sword is a serious winner. I realize that it's out of period to do so, but it was perfectly easy, even with the massive blade, to go through the complete "School of the Sword" drill from the 19th Century cavalry manuals. It isn't terribly quick of course, but it does move faster than I had any right to expect. I didn't happen to have any scaracen heads to smack around (although the sprinkler heads were in peril of their lives!) but I did have a lot of fun swinging it in the air as I cantered around the arena (I'm sure any witnesses thought I was some sort of madman), and discovered that the 37" blade was perfect for "tent-pegging", i.e poking things on the ground from the saddle. Of course I had to lean over my horse's neck still, but picking up paper plates from the ground was a dream compared with using shorter-bladed swords! NICE! (My horse is pretty tall, so a 31" blade just doesn't "cut it", as it were).

On another note, I found that the sword, for all it's weight (3.3#) rode quite well. It's in a leather scabbard with a Renaissance-style hanger, and it rides just below my bridle hand. It was quite easy to reach over my bridle hand to draw (something that isn't at ALL easy with the 19th Century style "Hussar" straps holding the sabre by it's scabbard's rings) and although the blade DOES take some getting used to in drawing, still, it drew well, and returned well to it's scabbard. I'm sure that practice shall make perfect, but it was actually easier than I thought it might be with such a long blade.

All in all, I am tickled pink with the new sword. I thank Nathan deeply, and am greatful to Craig and the boys at A&A for offering such a sword. It's not for sissies, no question, but it does the trick. It's a faithful copy of the standard armaments that late-16th Century horsemen took into battle, and for dealing with armoured horsemen, pikes, buff coats and the other flotsam and jetsam of a Renaissance era war, it's about ideal. But it's big, no question!

I think my arm and shoulder are going to be sore tomorrow, too...

Cheers,

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Rod Walker




Location: NSW, Australia.
Joined: 05 Feb 2004

Posts: 212

PostPosted: Wed 02 Feb, 2005 4:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Gordon, sounds very cool. I am hoping to add a sword like this to my collection shortly. I also need it for my 16th century presentation.

Will you be using this sword for cutting from horseback? I do love to use a large sword for cutting exercises. Set yourself up a course with the melons (cabbages etc) monted on both the near side and off sides and staggered so you have to actually move the horse around the course rather than just run in a straight line and start cutting. You will be amazed at how easily such large weapons are to use once you get going.

A well made sword like the A&A should track and reposition easily.

My Albion Duke is an absolute killer and surprisingly responsive during fast work from a horse. Of course being so sharp I did spend a lot of time getting use to it on the ground first, wouldn't want to loose a toe or lop my horses ears off Eek!

Cheers

Rod
Jouster
www.jousting.com.au

"Come! Let us lay a lance in rest,
And tilt at windmills under a wild sky!
For who would live so petty and unblessed
That dare not tilt at something, ere he die?"
--Errantry, John Galsworthy
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William Goodwin




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PostPosted: Wed 02 Feb, 2005 4:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing Gordon and may I say ......you lucky dog........at being able to see Nathans collection in person...


Bill

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"I was born for this" - Joan of Arc
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Wed 02 Feb, 2005 5:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rod;

Good to hear from you! Thanks! Yes, indeed I am planning on putting together a "course" with cabbages to decapitate soon! I've done it with blunts before, so the horse knows what's expected of him, and he isn't shy of things swinging past his head (thank God!) so we ought to do pretty well when we get it set up finally.

The Dresden DOES track nicely! One thing about a heavy, but lively sword is that little detail! It ough to take care of the rogue cabbages quite nicely... I think that you will really like this one, and it would be perfect for your Elizabethan kit. OF course with this hilt you'd have to go with a fingered gauntlet, rather than a mitten. I assume that you use a mitten now, though, right? Of course, you could have them put this blade on the "Cavalier" hilt! Big Grin

Oh, question for you then. For 19th Century Cavalry exercises they cut at the cabbages/turk's heads in a back cut as you canter by... but of course a number of modern jousters when doing a show cut on the fore-hand swing (I've done some of both). Which do you fellows generally do? I am very interested to find out!

Thanks for the advice, and I look forward to hearing more. And hopefully you'll be able to make it to Sonora again this year, I enjoyed our brief meeting last year!

Cheers!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Gordon Frye




Location: Kingston, Washington
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PostPosted: Wed 02 Feb, 2005 5:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William Goodwin wrote:
Thanks for sharing Gordon and may I say ......you lucky dog........at being able to see Nathans collection in person...


Bill


Thanks Bill! I'm sure someday you'll be sentanced to the Left Coast for a bit, over some infraction or another there in the DC area, and you'll just have to visit Nathan... but remember to keep the towels in your hands, and wipe the drool fairly frequently. Nathan is a nice housekeeper, and I suspect that he might take umbrage at puddles of drool on his floor... especially when they start to flow towards the swords. Change drool towels frequently too. Big Grin

Cheers!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Rod Walker




Location: NSW, Australia.
Joined: 05 Feb 2004

Posts: 212

PostPosted: Wed 02 Feb, 2005 5:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

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

This is my dream 16thc sword.(Nathan you lucky bugger) I do love this weapon. At this stage I cannot afford the A&A version so I am looking at the cheaper Deltin version.

I use whatever cut suits the situation at the time. I do find that people who aren't that well practised or skilled in using a sword from horseback will use the forward cut to the exclusion of all other cuts. You can tell these people straight away as they simply hold the blade out and parralel to the ground and use very little swing as they pass the target. This is very bad technique and against something more solid than a cabbage or melon will not cut effectively. We often use pumpkins (as they are cheap, but these can prove to be hard to cut unless you actually commit to putting a bit of "oomph" into it.

In a 19th c context, the back cut (my favourite) is very effective against fleeing infantry as you are attacking the bare chest and face. Infantry at this time would be carrying some form of backpack and if they are running away this can protect the back from sword slashes. The 1796 Light Cavalry Sabre is a thing of beauty and having used an original I am so in love with this sword. From horseback the '96 is probably the best cutter and slasher ever invented.

I won't be at Sonora this year, wayyyy too much on here at home.

I am looking forward to seeing pics from your Cavalry and soldier school later this year.

Cheers

Rod
Jouster
www.jousting.com.au

"Come! Let us lay a lance in rest,
And tilt at windmills under a wild sky!
For who would live so petty and unblessed
That dare not tilt at something, ere he die?"
--Errantry, John Galsworthy
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 02 Feb, 2005 6:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Gordon. Heís a very nice guy and well-versed in the stuff we all discuss here on the site. Besides looking over the various swords and other toys that I have at the house, he was kind enough to bring some of his toys for me to covet.

Iíve put up the Dresden set for sale three or four times over the last couple years. Every time somebody showed interest I decided to keep it. This was a real hard choice for me to sell it, but needing money right now, I finally pulled the trigger. Gordon was the perfect candidate, in that he is actually going to be using the sword as itís intended: as a cavalry weapon. Knowing it goes to a good home made it a bit easier for me to part with the set.

Some of the toys he brought over for me to see were some of Dale Shinnís work. We did a very impromptu photo setup with some of the items brought over and did a cavalry collage with the Dresden pieces in there. Iíll let Gordon have the fun of describing everything, but Iíll show the photos now. Let me apologize for the quality, as this was a very quick session with a single light source and no real setup.

Here you go:





Click any photo to view the high-resolution version

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William Goodwin




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PostPosted: Wed 02 Feb, 2005 6:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Talk about drooling...those wheel-lock pistols are absolutely fantastic! Wow!

Bill

Roanoke Sword Guilde

roanokeswordguilde@live.com
"I was born for this" - Joan of Arc
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 02 Feb, 2005 6:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And for anybody wondering about the historical precedence of the A&A Dresden Rapier, I submit the following examples:



Click photo for the high-resolution version

This example shows the replica created by Arms & Armor alongside the historical version from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (Cat. No. M34). This is the antique that A&A actually used as its inspiration. Note they both share a stout blade with a diamond cross-section.



Click photo for the high-resolution version

This example shows two other swords, both found in the Historisches Museum, Dresden (FD 197 019 / FD 140 380), dated circa 1580/90. Note that the hilts are nearly identical, but both are mounted on very different blades.


These are not the only examples of such swords. It's easy to think that these came out of the same shop.

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Gordon Frye




Location: Kingston, Washington
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PostPosted: Wed 02 Feb, 2005 7:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Boy oh boy, leave the computer for dinner and all hell breaks loose! Gads... where to start!

Rod, sorry that you won't be crossing halfway around the world just to see me again, but that's the way it goes sometimes! Still, sounds like you're keeping out of trouble in Oz and NZ, so Godspeed on that! Per the slashes, I agree... I've seen both, I've done a fair number of dumb cuts myself, too. I remember running at the heads in La Junta Colorado one time (Bent's Old Fort NHS) with a saddle with no stirrups (lousy leather, so MUCH safer without them!) , I was merrily slashing at the melons using front and back slashes, when the horse zigged when I thought we were zagging, and my forward slash ended up with a bit more force than intended... damned good thing that the blade wasn't sharp and the bridle leather was thick! Poor horse got smacked right upside the head by me! Darned forgiving horse, too, because we went for another run later... but without the miscues! Some of the horses I've ridden would have taught me that this was poor form indeed.

Speaking of fleeing Infantry! OH, have I got a story for YOU! Sorry to brag here, folks, this is just too cool a story not to tell here... While I was working on The Patriot running the Green Dragoons, we were supposed to run down the fleeing Continentals. We were supposed to come in a column of three's through a big gap in a hedge that the greensmen had made and then do some turns and swoop down on the American Rebels, to be followed by the Redcoats. Well, in the course of a LONG shooting day there were some serious miscues going on, and we were given the signal to begin our charge. Just before we got to this gap in the hedge, a big explosive pot blew up...it was late in going off. Since it's all peat, the stuff blew right into our eyes, and I don't know if my horse could see anything, but I sure couldn't (I was in front with a couple of stuntmen) and what with reins in one hand and a rubber sword in the other, there wasn't much to do about it. By the time I COULD see, I noticed quickly that there had been other slight errors in timing, as there was a sea of red coats in front of us. Well, at the gallop there isn't much time for anything, and I remember seeing these red flashes going past UNDER my horse... we just bowled those poor buggers over right and left! The exciting part for me was that the Infantry had STEEL bayonets, while we Cavalrymen had RUBBER swords. But they parry well enough! Jeeze... anyway, I got into the mood and started smacking guys with the sword as I went through, and finally actually managed to catch up with the Rebels even. Bloody exhilirating! I went back to find out who we'd killed, and turned out that only one guy was injured, and that was just a leg. However, I discovered a fellow standing there holding his tricorn in hand... with a LARGE (my horses, in fact) hoof print in the middle of the crown. It was pretty cool! My horse had a bit of a bloody nose from knocking a few guys down, but otherwise none the worse for wear. But I tell you what, had it been real, I can really see why Cavalrymen got so into running down flying infantry! MAN, it was GREAT! Big Grin

I think I'd best go to a new posting to get to the cool stuff that Nathan posted here...

Anyway Rod, thanks again, and indeed, I really want to play with a course like that to practice more. Thanks for the encouragement, and I'm very happy to hear that you're going with the whole Greenwich look and time period. It's the best, of course! I love your website's new look, too!

Cheers,

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Gordon Frye




Location: Kingston, Washington
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PostPosted: Wed 02 Feb, 2005 8:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:

Here you go:





Click any photo to view the high-resolution version


Okay... the toys! The first pictue on the Top Left is of my new-to-me A&A Dresden, with the Dagger and By-knife in company. Pictured with it is my Dale Shinn wheellock "puffer", with it's spanner-primer (which is a work of art in it's own right. It performs not only the office of spanning the lock, but contains a reservoir of priming powder sufficient for LOTS of shots. Makes spanning and priming a really quick action, with only a couple of quick moves needed) And a pair of nice big rowel spurs from Doug Odom of Medieval Spurs http://www.medievalspurs.com/ . What is cool is that the wheellock pistol is loosely patterned after pistols from the armoury of guess who, The Elector of Saxony, Christian I, same fellow who's guard carried the Dresden Swords.

For the second picture, the top Right we've added a second Shinn wheellock puffer, this one Dale made way back when he was starting out, and I believe that it's one of the first he made in the mid-1970's. Sweet as it is, mine, from around 1982, is much improved (and darned near perfect, I think), but he only gets better. Sadly enough, I can't claim to own this particular item, as it belongs to a good friend, but he let me bring it along to show it off to Nathan. There is also another powder flask that Dale made as well, the triangular gizmo on the upper left, and we added a "Patron" or pistol cartridge box as well, on the lower right. The Patron is the predecessor of the leather cartridge boxes, but were made of steel, with a cool little spring loaded top, and a wooden block that fits within that has been bored out for six paper cartridges for the pistols. It's made by J Henderson Artifacts http://www.jhendersonartifacts.com/ and it's pretty darned cool. VERY 16th Century!

Next picture please! Okay, the large object which has inserted itself into the picture is my Dale Shinn matchlock Bastard Musket. It's called a Bastard Musket because it's not quite a full musket, being somewhat short, but still of full musket bore. In other words, it's still a 12-bore (.72") weapon, but only with a 36" rather than the requesite 48" barrel. Short bastard, in other words. A tad handier too, I must add. All of the items in this picture, as well as the next, are products of Dale Shinn's genius, BTW. There are of course the two pistols, the flask, the plain spanner, the spanner/primer, AND a dagger to boot. Although it's probably not legible, the blade is signed "Simon el Ciego", i.e. "Simon the Blind"... his little joke. It has a bone or ivory grip (I can't recall which now) and the sheath is almost as nifty, but I forgot to throw that in on the montage.

And finally, the Lower Right shows the same batch of goodies, from a different angle. You will note that there is what appears to be a crack in the stock of the matchlock at the toe of the stock. Actually, it's just some oil that sort of hardened there after dripping out of the barrel, and I was too lazy to tidy it up before bringing it over to show off. Naughty me!

So now my secrets are out, and I hope that I have managed to entertain you all with my ramblings on them. Needless to say, I am rather into this period of stuff, especially in regards to the Cavalry end of things. Fancy that, eh?

Cheers, and thanks for the generous comments!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Rod Walker




Location: NSW, Australia.
Joined: 05 Feb 2004

Posts: 212

PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2005 4:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gordon, I don't know what to say,,,,,,,,, how about WOW Eek! That equipment is so cool.

I am picking up my repro. 17th c cavalry carbine tomorrow but I am almost embarrased to show it here after seeing your gear. Very, very Nice.

Cheers

Rod
Jouster
www.jousting.com.au

"Come! Let us lay a lance in rest,
And tilt at windmills under a wild sky!
For who would live so petty and unblessed
That dare not tilt at something, ere he die?"
--Errantry, John Galsworthy
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2005 9:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Rod, I split off the posts about the Gustav Vasa/DT2161 into Their Own Topic as they were off-topic but totally worth their own discussion. Cheers!
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2005 9:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fantastic stuff, Gordon and Nathan!

But, Gordon, you forgot to list your address and work schedule. So that, uh, people who want to visit can make sure you won't be there. I mean so they can make sure you WILL be there.

Just out of curiosity...how long does it take you to span, charge and fire your wheellocks?

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2005 10:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great firearms Gordon. That's an impressive brace of pistols!
"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2005 10:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rod, thanks! I still want to see your carbine though! Come on, please post pics of it? Besides, we need more cool early period firearms posted here, since it's an armoury, after all. Not just swords... besides, the more the merrier with all of the cool items of the period that can be shown off.

Sean, well, let me think a moment to figure out how long it DOES take to span, prime and load a wheellock. Hmm... well, I guess about a minute, maybe 45 seconds if I'm feeling in a hurry (I really try not to be!). It's pretty simple, really, and straight out of the manuals of the day. Holding the pistol in your left (bridle) hand, push the pan-cover towards the muzzle to open it until it clicks, fit the spanner to the axle-head, turn the spanner (and wheel, obviously) a full 360 degree turn. It will then engage the sear, and stop. If you have the cool handy-dandy spanner/primer, you then prime with a quick move of the right hand, and then push the little button ahead of the priming pan which automatically shuts the pan-cover (this is too cool to be described properly!) Then drop the priming flask, open the patron box at your hip (push another button and the top pops up, also very cool!), reach in, pull out a paper cartridge, tear the end with your teeth, pour in the powder, stuff the paper and ball in after it, draw the rammer, ram home, return rammer, and place the pistol then either in your right hand, or back in the pommel holster for future use. (There's also a little safety towards the back of the lock which swings to the rear and engages a small extention of the sear that pierces the lockplate. The safety even has it's own spring! Talk about a clockmaker's delight! But the only safety I really trust is keeping the Dog, which holds the pyrites, away from the wheel.) To fire, all you do is swing the Dog (the arm with the little vise on the end which hold the pyrites) down until it rests on the top of the pan-cover. Ready to go!

When you pull the trigger, Lots of things happen FAST. The secondary sear releases the primary sear (yeah, more springs) which releases the wheel. The bicycle-type chain fixed to the axle is pulled downwards by the mainspring, rotating the wheel. A cam pushes back the pan-cover, which allows the pyrites to be pushed into the now-rotating wheel. The contact between rotating wheel and pyrites causes sparks, igniting the priming, which communicates via the touch-hole to the main charge igniting THAT, then the expanding gasses push the ball down range at a rapid rate (Somewhere around 1,000 - 1200 feet per second, I would guess.) So loading takes a lot faster than unloading, LOL! Surprised

Considering the complexity of such devices, you can see why matchlocks remained popular for a long time! Big Grin And why the only folks who generally carried them were horsemen, who really couldn't manage a match, firearm AND horse all at the same time. And I would imagine that dropping the burning match on the horse's neck would lead to unpleasant consequences for all concerned. So you can see with the pistols of this period why they preferred to carry two or more, spanned, loaded and ready to go, rather than trying to actually reaload in combat, though. You might ride away to some safe spot, (say behind your Swiss pikemen!) reaload and join the fray, but reloading while being pressed wasn't considered to be a wise thing to do...

Let's see now... address and work schedule.. hmmm... darn, I just can't seem to find that stuff at the moment! I'll have to get back to you on that part! Cool

And thanks Patrick, I've been itching to show that stuff off, as you might have guessed. Hopefully in a few more months I'll have some more cool toys to show off!

Thanks for the kind responses! Take Care,

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2005 11:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fascinating!

There are some other logical applications for the wheellock and contemporary flint ignition systems over match:

ē When you don't know when your enemy will strike and thus need to be ready to fire at a moment's notice (without having to constantly tend a match)

ē When your enemy is willing and able to fight in the rain, and isn't martially impeded by the wet

Y'all know where I'm headed with this
Wink

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2005 12:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean;

Indeed, the matchlock is a poor choice for those embarking on "ambuscadoes" as they said in the day. All of those "points of light" suggested that more than just a bird was rustling in the bushes! Self-igniting firearms are a much better choice for night work. And if the light doesn't give you away, the smell will... ever note in those Japanese Samurai epics where our hero sniffs the air and says "guns!" or some other pithy remark with similar suggestiveness.

However, my own experience leads me to believe that in many ways the matchlock is superior to the wheellocks and flintlocks in actual wet weather. Although really GOOD flinters will indeed ignite the powder when damp with a serious shower of sparks (anyone who has played with original or very good modern made flintlocks knows what I mean, the production versions are but a shadow of the reality of the sparks which fly when you pull the trigger! They can literally set your clothes on fire!), when it's raining, the match (if you keep the darned thing dry, that is!) will sit in the lump of damp powder, and heat it up to the point of ignition. It's weird, but works. Now, it sure as heck isn't instantaneous by ANY means, but it does fire off.

Now, I think I DO know where you're heading with this... back full circle, to the Dresden, right? You DO need some serious back-up when you only have two shots at hand, no question! And by gum, I think that a big complex hilted sword is the way to go with that one. But then, I'm kind of prejudiced at the moment...

Anyway, thanks!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2005 12:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually, I was headed to Ol' Virginy, whose early colonial residents seem to have preferred wheel and flint. Many folks reported owning firearms, but listed no rolls of match among their possessions. An alternate theory is that they had lots of matchlock muskets (a more-or-less non-consumable import) but no match (a consumable import) due to poor supply lines and incompetent/indifferent management of the company/colony. But even those that reported having no match reported powder, shot and lead in their stores, and those are just as consumable and dependent on resupply ships.

But you're exactly right--whichever iginition type you're using, you'd better have a sidearm and, preferably, some targeteers and/or pikemen around you. Otherwise, CLUB MUSKET!

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2005 12:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean;

You are of course absolutely right! It's VERY interesting how the matchlock is so absent from most of the records from Virginia's early colonial era. And it makes perfect sense. There are plenty of referrences to the Spaniards having major problems with their matchlocks either alerting the Indians that they were trying to sneak up on, or worse yet, a quick shower extinguished all of their matches! The English had that problem a time or two as I recall as well... I doubt that it would take many such events to suggest to even the most hide-bound bureaucrat that perhaps a self-ingiting firearm might be the better choice? Surprised

I agree that with the major stores of other consumables, such as lead and powder, that match would be listed as well had it been there. I'm sure that there were SOME matchlocks in observance in Jamestown and surrounds, but just not enough to be a significant item.

I guess this sort of brings out one of my favorite modes of the period though, the Targeteer. Interesting how prevelent they seem to have been, at least in the early years! With target, broadsword and pistol, with some armour and a headpiece to boot, they would have been just what the doctor ordered in dealing with the "Salvages" as the locals were often termed. But that's for another thread entirely! Your turn... "Arms and Armour in Colonial America"... wait, that title has been taken, and is listed in the Paper Armoury! Well, something will come up for you to name it. LOL!

Cheers,

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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