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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Tue 10 May, 2016 3:06 pm    Post subject: Swiss Pikemen's Social Standing         Reply with quote

I've been reading about the swiss in some Ian Heath's books and a detail that caught enough attention was that the Swiss pikemen often came from the poorest classes of the Alps. Apparently, people with more financial conditions would choose to be halberdiers. The argument that would base it would do with the fact that a common pikeman just needed the pike and some training to be able to fight in the formations, while wealthier halberdiers needed more training and spent more money on equipment (halberds would be more expensive and most of theirs would had an mail hauberk, between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries).

Of course among the pikemen they had veteran officers and the avant-garde with more armor and maybe even longswords. But if new formed pikemen used to be poorly armed and have a more basic training, a newbie whom eventually became an veteran could aspire to the front lines? Or was it more common that they became halberdiers? Pikemen and Halberdiers receive the same amount of payment?
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Andrew Gill





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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 2:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think they were all exceptionally poor. Consider that the Swiss pikemen were started as a citizen militia force to defend the Swiss Cantons, and continued to have this function even when they were contracted out to foreign powers as mercenaries. Apparently they could be called back to fight against invaders at disturbingly short notice. Now if you're recruiting a defensive militia, you want the best soldiers you can get, not the dregs of society. A pike block of strapping young shepherds and apprentices is much more formidable than a corresponding one full of malnourished, half-crippled beggars and serfs. Compare with the English archers of the Hundred years war (who also sometimes hired out as mercenaries later on): the recruiters would find the best people that they could for the army to fight the French.

For what its worth, I think that the German city-states (and the swiss even more so) were more egalitarian societies than we tend to think: Machiavelli certainly thought so, and commented on this and their related effectiveness at military defense in "The Prince". I think things like fencing guilds were also open to the middle classes - craftsmen and other non-nobles of reasonable means. The Swiss commoners apparently often rebelled when they felt that their government was overstepping the mark. While a society like that will probably still have poverty (all do), the poorest of the poor would probably not be as numerous or relatively as badly off as in more autocratic and stratified societies (otherwise their society would have disintegrated into civil war - the people had the arms and the military training to make things very unpleasant).

Then, regarding choice of equipment, I know that in the German Landsknecht groups, the officers were often armed with halberds or other polearms. It may well have been similar in the Swiss pike formations, though I'm not certain of this. But the Doppelsoldners were mostly pike-armed, and they were heavily armoured and received double-pay. Also, remember that the polearms fulfill a different tactical role in the pike formation: they could be deployed on the flanks of the formation, or could be inside the formation, ready to jump in and try to stop local enemy breakthroughs with their shorter handier weapons. Versatile weapons for more highly skilled soldiers.

Others can correct me if I've speculated too wildly (or I'm just plain wrong)
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Thu 12 May, 2016 5:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Andrew Gill wrote:
I don't think they were all exceptionally poor. Consider that the Swiss pikemen were started as a citizen militia force to defend the Swiss Cantons, and continued to have this function even when they were contracted out to foreign powers as mercenaries. Apparently they could be called back to fight against invaders at disturbingly short notice. Now if you're recruiting a defensive militia, you want the best soldiers you can get, not the dregs of society. A pike block of strapping young shepherds and apprentices is much more formidable than a corresponding one full of malnourished, half-crippled beggars and serfs. Compare with the English archers of the Hundred years war (who also sometimes hired out as mercenaries later on): the recruiters would find the best people that they could for the army to fight the French.


I don't think the military quality of the mercenaries who ventured out of the Alps was the same urban militias used in the Canton's defence. Do not get me wrong, the militias were efficient, but in general they weren't as active as the full-time soldiers and mercenaries that made the swiss famous. If I'm not mistaken, the Confederation had levels of recruitment where the preference was always given to mercenaries, and then followed by the militias. They always chose smaller, but professional armies than large ones with more non professional material.

Andrew Gill wrote:
Then, regarding choice of equipment, I know that in the German Landsknecht groups, the officers were often armed with halberds or other polearms. It may well have been similar in the Swiss pike formations, though I'm not certain of this. But the Doppelsoldners were mostly pike-armed, and they were heavily armoured and received double-pay.


I read something about it, that pike blocks's officers had polearms instead of pikes. If I'm not mistaken But I'm 99% sure that Doppelsoldner didn't had any pikemen among theirs. In fact, anyone who wasn't a pikemen (a halberdier, a two-handed swordmen or a arquebusier) was necessarily Doppelsoldner. At some time of Charles V's wars, almost 50% of the Doppelsoldner were arquebusiers (50 in an 100 Fähnlein's doppelsoldner squad), but earlier they had just 25%.

From what I learned about it, Landsknecht formations had at least 25% percentage of Doppelsoldner among all their numbers, although I found as nearly as 37% of them in the numbers of the Black Band soldiers.
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Sun 15 May, 2016 1:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In which of his books does Ian Heath write this? I had a look at the Swiss sections of his Armies of the middle ages vol. 1 but could not find it at first glance. It also does not match the actual pricing of the weapons (1 to 1.5 guilders for a pike compared to 40-45 kreuzer for a common halberd (1 guilder=60 kreuzer)) nor the fact that the demands on pikemen to be armoured were more sever as they formed the outer layer of the swiss gewalthaufen and the pikemen in the front ranks in particular had to bear the brunt of the fighting.

There was a lot more to the Swiss military system than it being an ”urban militia”, in effect that the Swiss had universal military service for all men between 16 and 60 and used as system of conscription by selection to raise the ”Auszug” which made up the armies that catapulted the the Swiss to fame by way of the victories in the Burgundian (1474-1477) and Swabian (1499) wars.

The Auszug also made up the bulk of the forces that the Swiss Confedrates used in the campaigns of the Italian wars of the early 16th Century. The so called ”freie knechte” (”free soldiers”) who volunteered to serve without official pay or supplies also added to the Swiss numbers but were held in low regard compared to the official Auszug due to their poor equipment and comparative lack of dicscipline and cohesion.

Swiss mercenaries were not a separate group but drew their recruits from the same pool of trained manpower as the Swiss confedrates used to raise their armies. Indeed the official mercenary contingents that were contracted out by the Swiss Confedracy as a whole or by individual cantons were raised by the same officials that oversaw the conscription of the Auszug. The main diffrence was that the recruits volunteered to serve rather than being conscripted. Men frequently alternated between civilian work and stints in mercenary service or conscription. A well documented example is the famous artist Urs Graf who was a goldsmith by occupation yet served as a mercenary in 1510 and 1521 and took part in the official Swiss armies of 1513&1515 (either as a part of the auszug or as a freiknecht).

"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."
-Fieldmarshal Lennart Torstensson.
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Sun 15 May, 2016 8:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Staberg wrote:
In which of his books does Ian Heath write this? I had a look at the Swiss sections of his Armies of the middle ages vol. 1 but could not find it at first glance.
It also does not match the actual pricing of the weapons (1 to 1.5 guilders for a pike compared to 40-45 kreuzer for a common halberd (1 guilder=60 kreuzer)) nor the fact that the demands on pikemen to be armoured were more sever as they formed the outer layer of the swiss gewalthaufen and the pikemen in the front ranks in particular had to bear the brunt of the fighting.


It is in volume 1, I have a extract here:
http://www.warfare.altervista.org/WRG/Middle_...en-15C.htm

I can maybe get you confused leading you to believe that it was Ian who said that the reason for the pikemen are mostly formed by the lower classes had to do with the low cost of pike and the less complex training, but in fact this was the explanation given to me in a Facebook's group called "European Medieval History", and I ended up putting it here because it is an explanation that made a lot of sense.

About the price of the pike, I'm shocked to know that it was more expensive than a halberd. To be fair, I'm skeptical about it. Technically speaking, a pike is no more than a long pole with a spear point (which probably shouldn't be better made than a common spear). A Halberd, on the other hand, needs more material and more labor to make the metal takes the desired shape. As it is a larger piece and suffer more physical clash with armor than other weapons, the materials should also be of better quality (of course not as good as a sword, but still better than a spear).

If we think that the pikemen, after Arbedo (1422), had a more substantial role in the army's cohesion, so we are led to think that they should be better armoured: but this shouldn't be valid only for the front line, which was composed of veterans and officers? Moreover, how to explain Ian's mention that "in 1476 an entire Confederate army of 6,000 men was apparently entirely unarmoured"? Switzerland had an active armourial industry like Italy had back then?


Quote:
There was a lot more to the Swiss military system than it being an ”urban militia”, in effect that the Swiss had universal military service for all men between 16 and 60 and used as system of conscription by selection to raise the ”Auszug” which made up the armies that catapulted the the Swiss to fame by way of the victories in the Burgundian (1474-1477) and Swabian (1499) wars.

The Auszug also made up the bulk of the forces that the Swiss Confedrates used in the campaigns of the Italian wars of the early 16th Century. The so called ”freie knechte” (”free soldiers”) who volunteered to serve without official pay or supplies also added to the Swiss numbers but were held in low regard compared to the official Auszug due to their poor equipment and comparative lack of dicscipline and cohesion.

Swiss mercenaries were not a separate group but drew their recruits from the same pool of trained manpower as the Swiss confedrates used to raise their armies. Indeed the official mercenary contingents that were contracted out by the Swiss Confedracy as a whole or by individual cantons were raised by the same officials that oversaw the conscription of the Auszug. The main diffrence was that the recruits volunteered to serve rather than being conscripted. Men frequently alternated between civilian work and stints in mercenary service or conscription. A well documented example is the famous artist Urs Graf who was a goldsmith by occupation yet served as a mercenary in 1510 and 1521 and took part in the official Swiss armies of 1513&1515 (either as a part of the auszug or as a freiknecht).


Then there was a general conscription system to all men, but Auszug would be selected from best ones (based on discipline and equipment)? Those that weren't selected in this case could serve as free soldiers?
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Sun 15 May, 2016 5:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The double-pay system and the doppelsölder are probably one of the more missunderstod parts of the Landsknecht system and it varied quite a bit over time.

The first and most important thing to keep in mind is that double pay was determined by the contract (aka capitulation or bestallung) not by a particular piece of equipment.

If we look at the (in)famous ”Black Guard” (”Schwarze Garde”aka magna guardia/ /Grosser Garde/Sächsiche Garde) created by Maximilian in 1488 only paid double-pay to the men holding offices i.e the ensign, drummers, fouriers, the webels and so on. The fighting men all got the standard pay of 4 guilders regardless of wether they carried pike, halberd or arquebus. Nor did the possesion of armour allow for greater pay. (Source: Walter Lammers ”Die Schlacht bei Hemmingstedt ”, Lammers used the Garde's muster rolls which includes details for all of the fähnleins.)

The French used a highly standardised contract for the Landsknechts in their service at least from the late 1520's onward. Regardless of wether a fählein was to be 400 or 500 strong it was to have 50 doppelsöldner and 50 arquebusiers. The arquebusiers were not paid double-pay but enjoyed a slight increase compared to the ordinary landsknechts, 6 livre tournois an 15 sols compared to 6 livre tournois for the pikemen and halberdiers. (David Potter, ”Renaissance France at War” and Ferdinand Lot ”Recherches sur les effectifs des armées françaises. Des guerres d'Italie aux guerres de religion, 1494-1562”)

The 1569 & 1570 regulations for the Holy Roman Empire aslo provide interesting if not 100% complete information of the pay of the later Landsknechts. For the 200 men with firearms we get a complete list of the pay, one hundred were to be paid 5 guilders, fifty were paid 6 guilders, forty had a pay of 7 or 8 guilders and the final ten got a pay of 10 guilders as they were armed with the heavy ”doppel-haken”.
The men armed with pike and polearms are a bit more complicated, there were 100 armoured pikemen, it was noted that of these men 50 were to be paid a sold of more than 8 guilders as they were to have complete armour for the arms (either plate or mail) with the implication being that the other 5 were doppelsöldner paid a standard 4 guilders. There were also 50 men who were to have twohanded swords (schlachtschwerter) or other good polearms such as halberds. These men were to be chosen from the oldest and most experienced men who were to have good armour and their task was to ”cover” i.e protect the flag. No pay is mentioned for the but it is likely that these men too got the double pay. The last 50 landsknechts were to be unarmoured pikemen paid the standard 4 guilders.

(Source: Eugen von Frauenholz, ”Das Heerwesen in der Zeit des freien Söldnertums. T. 2, Das Heerwesen des Reiches in der Landsknechtszeit” which has the complete text of the 1570 regulations. A slightly modernised form can be found in Wilhelm, Edlen von Janko ”Lazarus Freiherr von Schwendi, oberster Feldhauptmann und Rath Kaiser Maximilian's II ”. Additional information taken from Johann Heilmann's ”Kriegsgeschichte von Bayern, Franken, Pfalz und Schwaben 1506–1651 ”.)

The Bavarian archives have a number of documents which show the pay issued to Landsknechts in Bavarian service. In 1525 two fählein were enlisted with a total of 61 doppelsöldner and 652 ordinary landsknechts. In 1529 the four fähnleins sent to fight against the Ottoman invasion had a total of 124 doppelsöldner and 1008 ordinary landsknechts.
Another example is the Bavarian kreisregiment led by Marquard, Freiherr zu Königsegg in 1595, it was made up of 5 fähnlein, each of 400 men, 200 doppelsöldner, 100 arquebusiers and 100 musketeers. Of the doppelsöldner 12 had twohanded swords, 9 halberds and the rest pikes. The actual pay had now become quite the complicated affair as men were paid anything from 5 to 24 guilders, The Doppelsöldner were the only ones paid 11 guilders or more (up to 24) though a larg part of them were paid 8 to 10. The musketeers had to make do with 8 to 10 guilders while the poor arquebusiers only got 5 or 6 guilders.
(Source: Johann Heilmann's ”Kriegsgeschichte von Bayern, Franken, Pfalz und Schwaben 1506–1651 ”)

As can be seen by all of these examples there was a great variety as far as the number of doppelsöldner present, indeed among the early Landsknechts they didn't exist at all except as a way of counting pay for the officers, nco's and staff. There was also no absolute connection between their weaponry and their status as doppelsöldner.

"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."
-Fieldmarshal Lennart Torstensson.
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Tue 17 May, 2016 2:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Staberg wrote:
The double-pay system and the doppelsölder are probably one of the more missunderstod parts of the Landsknecht system and it varied quite a bit over time.

The first and most important thing to keep in mind is that double pay was determined by the contract (aka capitulation or bestallung) not by a particular piece of equipment.

If we look at the (in)famous ”Black Guard” (”Schwarze Garde”aka magna guardia/ /Grosser Garde/Sächsiche Garde) created by Maximilian in 1488 only paid double-pay to the men holding offices i.e the ensign, drummers, fouriers, the webels and so on. The fighting men all got the standard pay of 4 guilders regardless of wether they carried pike, halberd or arquebus. Nor did the possesion of armour allow for greater pay. (Source: Walter Lammers ”Die Schlacht bei Hemmingstedt ”, Lammers used the Garde's muster rolls which includes details for all of the fähnleins.)


Maximillian's Black Guard was an army? I thought it was something like a imperial bodyguard (I had read somewhere that those bodyguards had corseques, for example).

Anyway, this means that the concept of doppelsöldner was something developed only later, most likely in the government of Charles V?

Quote:
The French used a highly standardised contract for the Landsknechts in their service at least from the late 1520's onward. Regardless of wether a fählein was to be 400 or 500 strong it was to have 50 doppelsöldner and 50 arquebusiers. The arquebusiers were not paid double-pay but enjoyed a slight increase compared to the ordinary landsknechts, 6 livre tournois an 15 sols compared to 6 livre tournois for the pikemen and halberdiers. (David Potter, ”Renaissance France at War” and Ferdinand Lot ”Recherches sur les effectifs des armées françaises. Des guerres d'Italie aux guerres de religion, 1494-1562”)


Wait a minute, if arquebusiers weren't Doppelsoldner, why they would enjoyed better payment than halberdiers? These were all doppelsoldner, like two-handed swordsmen. And since you mentioned it, at least 25% of the total quota of landsknechts should be doppelsöldner, but according to something I read in Wikipedia, the Black Band of Francis I of France had only 2,000 two-handed swordsmen and 1,000 halberdiers, among an army of 17,000 strong, far below than 25% (the army also had 2.000 arquebusiers).

But crossbowmen weren't employed too? In this case, they entered the category of "arquebusiers" during the counts? I also read that weapons like glaives, voulges, boar spears, bec de corbin and bills were also used, in which case they entered into the category of the halberdiers in such counts?

Quote:
The Bavarian archives have a number of documents which show the pay issued to Landsknechts in Bavarian service. In 1525 two fählein were enlisted with a total of 61 doppelsöldner and 652 ordinary landsknechts. In 1529 the four fähnleins sent to fight against the Ottoman invasion had a total of 124 doppelsöldner and 1008 ordinary landsknechts.
[...]
As can be seen by all of these examples there was a great variety as far as the number of doppelsöldner present, indeed among the early Landsknechts they didn't exist at all except as a way of counting pay for the officers, nco's and staff. There was also no absolute connection between their weaponry and their status as doppelsöldner.


Interesting. Well, I have not much to contest the later periods of the sixteenth century, but I found it very inconvenient to see companies with far less than 25% of doppelsöldner among his men in 1525 and 1529. Is there any plausible explanation for this breach of regulation time to recruitment?

By the way, I noticed that you speak very little of the two-handed swordsmen, but they did not play a significant role in the formations? I mean, the Blood Flag's swordsmen were those who would open holes in the enemy formation, as well as other swordsmen into the formation (I don't know if this was the origin of the 'forlorn hope"). A big sword wouldn't be more practical in opening holes through pike forests than a halberd?

It is true that most of pikemen didn't wear armor (during the period of 1480-1515)? it was common for them to use bishop's mantles, helmets or even breastplates? I had read that landsknecht disliked wearing armor unless they were in battle, that would explain why the woodcuts usually show them most of the time without armor?
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Wed 18 May, 2016 5:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Schwarze Garde was not an army as such, rather it was one of the first, perhaps even the first Landsknechts regiments though it predated the more formal organisation troduced by the Reichstag of Worms in 1507.

The Schwarze Garde had it's origin in the Landsknechts brought by Albrech of Saxony to Flanders in 1488 as part of the army that freed Maximilian from his imprisonment in Bruges. After Maximilian was freed Albrecht used the Garde to subdue the various rebels in the Netherlands and it is the connection to Albrecht which gave the Garde one of it's names (Sächsiche Garde/”Saxon Guard”). During the campaigns in the Netherlands it absorbed other mercenary units which had been in Maximilan's service inlcuding the remnants of the 2000 strong ”Magna Guardia” that Maximilian had employed in 1486. Hence the name ”Grosser Garde” which was also used when refering to the Garde. Rather than disbanding when the contract with Maximilian and Albrecht of Saxony ended the Garde soldiered on now led by Nithardt Fux and Thomas Schlentz in the pay of other rulers, notably Edzard of Ostfriesland and King Johann of Denmark. The later used the Garde to reclaim the Swedish throne lost by his father in 1471. Returning to mainland Europe in 1498 it saw further campaigns in the Netherlands and northern Germany before once more entering the service of King Johann of Denmark for his planned campaign to subdue Ditmarschen. However this proved fatal for the Garde as it was defeated and in part destroyed in the battle of Hemmingstedt 1500.

In it's final campaign the Garde fielded a total of 16 companies with a recorded strenght of 3983 men so it was similar in size to other known large Landsknecht regiments though the companies were weak compared to later companies of 400-500 men. (As a comparison Frundsberg had a regiment of 18 companies, Marx Sittich von Embs one with 11 and Schertlin von Burtenbach raised a regiment of 15 companies.)

"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."
-Fieldmarshal Lennart Torstensson.
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Wed 18 May, 2016 12:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Staberg wrote:
The Schwarze Garde was not an army as such, rather it was one of the first, perhaps even the first Landsknechts regiments though it predated the more formal organisation troduced by the Reichstag of Worms in 1507.

The Schwarze Garde had it's origin in the Landsknechts brought by Albrech of Saxony to Flanders in 1488 as part of the army that freed Maximilian from his imprisonment in Bruges. After Maximilian was freed Albrecht used the Garde to subdue the various rebels in the Netherlands and it is the connection to Albrecht which gave the Garde one of it's names (Sächsiche Garde/”Saxon Guard”). During the campaigns in the Netherlands it absorbed other mercenary units which had been in Maximilan's service inlcuding the remnants of the 2000 strong ”Magna Guardia” that Maximilian had employed in 1486. Hence the name ”Grosser Garde” which was also used when refering to the Garde. Rather than disbanding when the contract with Maximilian and Albrecht of Saxony ended the Garde soldiered on now led by Nithardt Fux and Thomas Schlentz in the pay of other rulers, notably Edzard of Ostfriesland and King Johann of Denmark. The later used the Garde to reclaim the Swedish throne lost by his father in 1471. Returning to mainland Europe in 1498 it saw further campaigns in the Netherlands and northern Germany before once more entering the service of King Johann of Denmark for his planned campaign to subdue Ditmarschen. However this proved fatal for the Garde as it was defeated and in part destroyed in the battle of Hemmingstedt 1500.

In it's final campaign the Garde fielded a total of 16 companies with a recorded strenght of 3983 men so it was similar in size to other known large Landsknecht regiments though the companies were weak compared to later companies of 400-500 men. (As a comparison Frundsberg had a regiment of 18 companies, Marx Sittich von Embs one with 11 and Schertlin von Burtenbach raised a regiment of 15 companies.)


Ah that clarifies a few things, I always thought the first Black Band was raised in the Netherlands or Burgundian Kreits. Saxony (as in the duchy/province) drifted quite a bit eastward over time didn't it?
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PostPosted: Wed 18 May, 2016 3:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:

Then there was a general conscription system to all men, but Auszug would be selected from best ones (based on discipline and equipment)? Those that weren't selected in this case could serve as free soldiers?


I think it's most accurate to say that the Auszug was intended to select good men (selecting the best is a fairly complex affair even today with modern tests and record keeping). In pratice the men selected at times fell short of that goal. During the 1512 "Pavierzug" in Italy the poor quality of the Fribourg auszug led to complaints and was seen as a cause for shame for the entire canton.

Bern's instructions to it's officials in 1476 gives a idea of what they were looking for when selecting soldiers.
Quote:
"...mannhafte, kräftige, wohlbewehrte Leute ausgewählt würden, solche die zu Nöthen gebrauchen sein, auch mannlich Herz und Gemüth hätten..."
I.e manly, strongly built with full equipment and with manly hearts and minds as well.
"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."
-Fieldmarshal Lennart Torstensson.
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Fri 20 May, 2016 5:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Staberg wrote:
Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:

Then there was a general conscription system to all men, but Auszug would be selected from best ones (based on discipline and equipment)? Those that weren't selected in this case could serve as free soldiers?


I think it's most accurate to say that the Auszug was intended to select good men (selecting the best is a fairly complex affair even today with modern tests and record keeping). In pratice the men selected at times fell short of that goal. During the 1512 "Pavierzug" in Italy the poor quality of the Fribourg auszug led to complaints and was seen as a cause for shame for the entire canton.

Bern's instructions to it's officials in 1476 gives a idea of what they were looking for when selecting soldiers.
Quote:
"...mannhafte, kräftige, wohlbewehrte Leute ausgewählt würden, solche die zu Nöthen gebrauchen sein, auch mannlich Herz und Gemüth hätten..."
I.e manly, strongly built with full equipment and with manly hearts and minds as well.


What exactly would be "full equipment"? By the way, I would be grateful if you could answer my previous questions, they are part of a research I've been doing on the Landsknecht (from its formation until 1515)
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PostPosted: Mon 23 May, 2016 1:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Swiss Pikemen's Social Standing         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
that the Swiss pikemen often came from the poorest classes of the Alps.


Perhaps the better term would be "poorer" instead of "poorest".

In the sense they were poorer than the other dudes, yet not exactly the bottom of society.

Remember, only a small minority of citizenry would ever partake in militia enrollment, otherwise their militias would number tens of thousands.


Citizen militias weren't exactly poor, a lot of cities were quite well off and an ordinary footman would often be described as having quite solid equipment.

Here is a depiction of the citizen militia of the city of Strasbourg in 1392;

http://hroarr.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/...jpg?51e3ec

Not exactly peasantry.

At least the 15th century depictions of the Swiss usually show them being very well armored, regardless of weaponry;

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e2/Deutsche_Geschichte5-290.jpg/1024px-Deutsche_Geschichte5-290.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b7/Luzerner_Schilling_Battle_of_Grandson.jpg


Some forgotten twohanded swordsmen(more common in imagery than some would like to admit);

https://myArmoury.com/talk/files/2874ye_101_139.jpg

https://myArmoury.com/talk/files/switzerland2011_82_of_352_199_628_115.jpg


I personally do not see the reasoning behind the pikemen being recruited from the ranks of peasants.

“The stream of Time, irresistible, ever moving, carries off and bears away all things that come to birth and plunges them into utter darkness...Nevertheless, the science of History is a great bulwark against this stream of Time; in a way it checks this irresistible flood, it holds in a tight grasp whatever it can seize floating on the surface and will not allow it to slip away into the depths of Oblivion." - Anna Comnena
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Joined: 14 Mar 2015

Posts: 255

PostPosted: Fri 27 May, 2016 6:46 am    Post subject: Re: Swiss Pikemen's Social Standing         Reply with quote

Mario M. wrote:
Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
that the Swiss pikemen often came from the poorest classes of the Alps.


Perhaps the better term would be "poorer" instead of "poorest".

In the sense they were poorer than the other dudes, yet not exactly the bottom of society.

Remember, only a small minority of citizenry would ever partake in militia enrollment, otherwise their militias would number tens of thousands.

Citizen militias weren't exactly poor, a lot of cities were quite well off and an ordinary footman would often be described as having quite solid equipment.

Here is a depiction of the citizen militia of the city of Strasbourg in 1392;

http://hroarr.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/...jpg?51e3ec



You're right, it makes sense to assume that they were poor than other mercenaries, but not necessarily poor swiss (since Confederation chose only the best to Auszug). But I found VERY strange seeing Strasbourg's militia armed exactly as a past decades' men-at-arms; men who made up such militias were actually able to buy armor almost as much as knight's one?

Quote:
At least the 15th century depictions of the Swiss usually show them being very well armored, regardless of weaponry;

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e2/Deutsche_Geschichte5-290.jpg/1024px-Deutsche_Geschichte5-290.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b7/Luzerner_Schilling_Battle_of_Grandson.jpg


Is not it too hasty to assume that the Swiss were such all well equipped actually based on these illustrations? I mean, if you look at Froissart's cronicles you always notice soldiers equipped to the teeth: even stone-throwers had armor

In addition, Ian Heath mentions that in a battle of 1476, the Confederate army was composed nearly 6,000 men

Said that, it's important to say that Ian mention that, in 1476, an entire Confederate army of 6,000 men was apparently entirely unarmoured.


Quote:
Some forgotten twohanded swordsmen(more common in imagery than some would like to admit);

https://myArmoury.com/talk/files/2874ye_101_139.jpg

https://myArmoury.com/talk/files/switzerland2011_82_of_352_199_628_115.jpg

I personally do not see the reasoning behind the pikemen being recruited from the ranks of peasants.


But I thought longswords were a fashion trend among the Swiss Mercenaries. Those who could afford more than Schweizergegen would certainly have a hand-and-half sword; but, indeed, these look much more like larger, "two handed longswords" (although not zweihanders). still, these swordsmen seens to be armoured officers instead of ordinary soldiers.

By the way, the hats' feathers were indicative of military caste? They had some kind of regulation or any soldier who wanted to could use one?
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Jaroslav Kravcak




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 22 Apr 2006

Posts: 123

PostPosted: Thu 30 Jun, 2016 9:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well my own notion is mostly the same as already presented before: feudal army was the force to be reckoned with and they would hardly be efficiently opposed by untrained, malnourished and deficiently equipped force.

Speaking about Swiss, or Flemmish as sucesfull middle ages infantry forces, my general picture was allways of an infantry forces very well armed and armoured, formed preferably of more able men and in case of offensive campaigns and mercenaries from the best individual these areas could offer.

I would draw a paralel to Rome, as I dont really see much difference in especially republican roman forces - cca 5th century BC untill the institution of profesional army in 1st century BC. Certainly noone would label victory against romans at these times to them being mere town militia, so Id say same goes for these forces. Especially with the Swiss gaining at least the same efficiency honed to perfecion as far as infantry armed predominantly with cold steel weapons can go, even though not being outright the same in any manner and certainly not in their eventual achievement - but that should go on behalf of the quality of their opposition, rather than their quality per se. So it is propable both republican roman and swiss armies were drawn from city militias of citizens with minimal equipment, training and overall fitness requirements to form and efficient force.

Or in another words, I dont really think oftetimes favoured notion, especially among some gamers about how poor beggars, or outright cavemen were able to beat the flower of chivalry just by going out and beating them to pulp effortlessly stands much credibility. In all examples Ive seen, these militias would be well supplied, armed and armoured and generally were able to maneuver their enemies into the position advantageous for them in cases of their greatest victories.
Oftentimes, their victories werent all that great and the fact, that they often stood up to defeat quite well and havent been broken just testifies to their effectiveness and proficiency.

I also see quite common to asociate the term Doppelsoldner with two handed sword - Im not really that much into precise semantics, but in rough estimation doppel- means double and -sold means payment so it indeed simply describes double-pay-men. So certainly no double handed sword in it and as far as my guess goes they could use anything from harquebus to pike, they received more pay for performing special duties, dangerous tasks, being better armoured, or combination of these, most likely being expected to form frontal ranks, or enfant-perdus in battles, spearheads in sieges etc.
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