Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Scottish Special Forces in 1600? Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
James Fortune




Location: Tadworth, Surrey, UK
Joined: 04 Apr 2016

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2016 6:42 am    Post subject: Scottish Special Forces in 1600?         Reply with quote

Hi,

I'm writing a novel based in the Scottish lowlands in 1600 and I have a character who is a paramilitary, highly trained, irregular warrior (special forces) similar to the Black Riders in Europe.

I want him to be equipped with the best and latest weaponery of the time. Years ago, when first researching this, I spoke (I think) to a chap at the Royal Armoury in Edinburgh Castle and he said that he would have a small but powerful "assasin's" crossbow, snaphaunce pistols and a dudgeon dagger with a small by-knife in the sheath.

Does this make sense to you?

What is the difference between a dudgeon dagger and a dirk?

Had dirks come in by 1600 in Scotland?

Any other advice you can give me would be very welcome.

Warmest regards
James
View user's profile Send private message
JG Elmslie
Industry Professional



Location: Scotland
Joined: 18 Jun 2009
Reading list: 28 books

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2016 8:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dudgeon dagger's about right.

A dudgeon is simply the predecessor to the dirk, sort of halfway between dirk and bollock dagger.

http://myArmoury.com/feature_spot_dirks.html

should give a few indications of the sort of thing.

That said, most of the dudgeons that survive are fairly rich, high-status weapons that were worn by higher-class figures. the ones I've had my hands on are all gilded, damascened blades with etching and similar workmanship. So make of that what you will.

Pistols, 1600 is a bit early. you get some spectacular ones by the 1620's, particularly from Dundee, but earlier than that isnt so clear-cut. The Hammermen of Canongate were making some guns, but its not certain of the lock mechanism at that time.
Those 1620's ones are exceptionally high-class pieces, probably nobility, too.

Its more likely to be a pair of older wheel-lock pistols imported from Augsburg, than domestic gunsmithing unless the person were seriously rich.

The Assasin's crossbow I'm more than a little bit iffy about. And by iffy, I mean dodgy as hell. But then I'm even more wary of the idea of special forces in 1600....
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
Joined: 24 Nov 2006

Posts: 737

PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2016 8:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have two words that would pretty much fit the bill: Border Reivers. Irregular forces that did some crazy stuff. Plus usw all of the weapons mentioned. Skilled horseman, cattle rustlers, sneaky.

I agree with JG on the word Special Forces at this date though.

Chris Landwehr 10/10/49-1/1/09 My Mom
View user's profile Send private message
Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Joined: 21 Aug 2003
Likes: 10 pages
Reading list: 13 books

Spotlight topics: 7
Posts: 5,886

PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2016 10:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's your bow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tW4lYh8Yg38
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
James Fortune




Location: Tadworth, Surrey, UK
Joined: 04 Apr 2016

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2016 10:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
Here's your bow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tW4lYh8Yg38


Thanks Sean. Excellent.

Now, the only issue was that I was told that they reset small crossbows like this by crouching down and placing the weapon on the ground, putting his foot in the iron stirrup at the head of the stock, clipping the string to a hook attached to his belt and standing up.

Warmest regards
James
View user's profile Send private message
James Fortune




Location: Tadworth, Surrey, UK
Joined: 04 Apr 2016

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2016 10:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Kowalski wrote:
I agree with JG on the word Special Forces at this date though.


Thanks guys. I'm using the words "special forces" on here to simply illustrate what I'm getting at. My advice is that both Elizabeth I and, to a much lesser extent, James VI of Scotland would have had highly trained, well-equipped 'secret' soldiers, skirmishers (often mercenaries) to do their dirty work.

In my novel, Gentle King Jamie has three. :-)

Warmest regards
James
View user's profile Send private message
T. Kew




Location: Cambridge, UK
Joined: 21 Apr 2012

Posts: 168

PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2016 11:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James Fortune wrote:
Sean Flynt wrote:
Here's your bow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tW4lYh8Yg38


Thanks Sean. Excellent.

Now, the only issue was that I was told that they reset small crossbows like this by crouching down and placing the weapon on the ground, putting his foot in the iron stirrup at the head of the stock, clipping the string to a hook attached to his belt and standing up.


Watch the full demonstration.

This crossbow design has a cocking lever inbuilt. It's ideal for operating on horseback, and has doesn't need anything like that.

Instructor and scholar, Cambridge HEMA
View user's profile Send private message
James Fortune




Location: Tadworth, Surrey, UK
Joined: 04 Apr 2016

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2016 11:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

T. Kew wrote:
Watch the full demonstration


I did, hence my question.

The one on YouTube has a cocking mechanism built in - cool - but I was told about the standing up procedure.

Which is likely to be more accurate in 1600?

Warmest regards
James
View user's profile Send private message
Leo Todeschini
Industry Professional



Location: Oxford, UK
Joined: 12 Nov 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,522

PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2016 12:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

HI James,

Spanning belts would have been out for regular soldiery and especially so for fancy soldiers like you are alluding to. For hitting power combined with compactness, your guy would have had a cranequin bow I think. More popular on the continent, but still over here. For being 'handy' but less powerful the bow type Sean referred you to would be the choice. As regards the classic 'assassins bow', I believe this was basically a rich mans toy and not for doing ill with at all.

Have a look here for a spanning belt (doubler) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_ovVTHpgLg

here for a cranequin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjYQEyC4m10

here for an assassins bow https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=se_N8CrooPY

Tod

www.todsworkshop.com
www.todcutler.com
www.instagram.com/todsworkshop
www.facebook.com/TodTodeschini
www.youtube.com/user/todsstuff1
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
James Fortune




Location: Tadworth, Surrey, UK
Joined: 04 Apr 2016

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon 04 Apr, 2016 5:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Leo Todeschini wrote:
Spanning belts would have been out for regular soldiery and especially so for fancy soldiers like you are alluding to


OK, that's very interesting.

Leo Todeschini wrote:
For hitting power combined with compactness, your guy would have had a cranequin bow I think.


While I bow to your superb knowledge, I think the time taken by the use of the cranequin would not work dramatically for me. So, I think I'll go with your latchet bow (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tW4lYh8Yg38). It seems the best in terms of fast, convenient loading.

Thank you so much, Leo, for answering my questions so well.

Warmest regards
James
View user's profile Send private message
Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,200

PostPosted: Tue 05 Apr, 2016 5:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

JG Elmslie wrote:



Pistols, 1600 is a bit early. you get some spectacular ones by the 1620's, particularly from Dundee, but earlier than that isnt so clear-cut. The Hammermen of Canongate were making some guns, but its not certain of the lock mechanism at that time.
Those 1620's ones are exceptionally high-class pieces, probably nobility, too.

Its more likely to be a pair of older wheel-lock pistols imported from Augsburg, than domestic gunsmithing unless the person were seriously rich.


I would disagree regarding pistols. There are surviving pistols dating from the late 16th c. which were made in Scotland. Snaphaunce ignition was in place before that time period, 1560 - 1580 and used in Scotland until quite late. Wheel-locks were in use in the Lowlands and elsewhere and there is no reason to doubt that they continued to be used as late as the early 17th c but were gradually replaced by the snaphaunce gun. There are ample surviving Scottish-made pieces that can be (reasonably) dated to the early 17th c., which show a sophistication of construction and style which clearly indicates a number of years of development.

Certainly the survival rate for the late 16th c. Scottish-made firearm is lower than later production but there are more than enough examples around to indicate that there was a thriving Scottish firearms industry from about the mid-16th century onward, with emphasis on pistols. The manufacture of Scottish long guns is another matter entirely.

Were they expensive? Certainly they were but that did not deter Highlanders, Lowlanders and Border Reviers from obtaining the tools they needed.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
View user's profile Send private message
James Fortune




Location: Tadworth, Surrey, UK
Joined: 04 Apr 2016

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue 05 Apr, 2016 6:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What an excellent and informative answer Lin. Thank you. :-)
Warmest regards
James
View user's profile Send private message
JG Elmslie
Industry Professional



Location: Scotland
Joined: 18 Jun 2009
Reading list: 28 books

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Tue 05 Apr, 2016 8:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lin Robinson wrote:


I would disagree regarding pistols.


Much appreciated - I've not seen many that early in museums, so stand well and truly corrected.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Scottish Special Forces in 1600?
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum