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William P

Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,523

PostPosted: Tue 12 Apr, 2016 9:46 am    Post subject: asking about commoner inf panoply changing between 14th-15th         Reply with quote

as the topic states, i'm trying to get an idea of how the arms and armour of commoner infantry in western europe chnaged over time between the early/mid 14th century, and the late 15th century, (i suppose for ease of pinpointing dates, how would an english billman/ sergent spearman fighting alongside edward III at crecy have looked compared to a similarly deployed infantryman fighting a the battle of bosworth or in the army of charles the bold against the swiss confederacy

by commoner infantry i'm askin this to mean essentially those without the means/ inclination to wear a full harness or ride a horse so no burghars or knights or nobles, i'm thinking town levies, militias, as well as professional mercenaries who have some pieces of plate but don't exactly have a half/-3/4 harness almost, something fairly simple, perhaps a bit out of date for the year

ut how did the armour/ weapons available change over time, did armour become more affordable etc
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Randall Moffett

Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,121

PostPosted: Thu 14 Apr, 2016 6:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd start with how soldiers are recruited at this point. You have a number of ways commoners end up in arms. As well equipment is legally tied to wealth and is incremental.

You would indeed have townsmen who were likely equipped very much as men-at-arms, mounted and such. But the next level down is equipped in basically the same arms and armour without the horse. You also have guys who show up with very little, knives and baculum being the most common weapon to show from what I can find, after that by far bows.

So you can have commoners in full suits down to basically what they woke up in.

That said in the array system the county, town or captain was required the entire period you are looking at to have them meet the Statutes set by the king and the more I look for use outside the county like war afield and other such situations this seems to be the case. So baseline is a bascinet and aketon with whatever arms they would need. If used for home defense in county they may or may not have more than what they arrived with, though a few regnal orders I have found indicate at times they would be retrofitted.

I have a few articles on this out in a small series from the Richard III Foundations journal/magazine thing.

Retinues the captain was required to ensure his men were armed and armoured up to regulation. We usually see a review at least when they arrive but at times there are two, once when they set off as a company and when they arrive.

I have found a few examples of reviews of arrays once outfitted but not as common. I suspect it is the direct pay system makes this easier whereas the commission of array can get tricky, kings try to keep the county paying as long as possible....

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