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Andrew Huang




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PostPosted: Sat 26 Aug, 2017 2:19 pm    Post subject: Mounted Knights vs Dismounted Knights         Reply with quote

In Medieval times, who would usually win in an encounter? I believe Late Medieval and Rennissance Knights often dismounted and when mounted straight up cavalry charges against pikemen would get them skewered, but what about against dismounted Knights?(who mostly used halberds rather than pikes?
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Philip Renne




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PostPosted: Sat 26 Aug, 2017 3:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This type of encounter happened at times during the Hundred Years War. At Crecy dismounted English knights repelled French mounted knights, and at Poitiers a mounted charge set the dismounted French knights into a panic. Of course there were a lot of different factors going into these victories, such as the archers and use of encirclement by the mounted forces, so I don't think a fixed rule can be stated as to which is more effective against the other.
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Andrew Huang




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PostPosted: Sat 26 Aug, 2017 3:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Philip Renne wrote:
This type of encounter happened at times during the Hundred Years War. At Crecy dismounted English knights repelled French mounted knights, and at Poitiers a mounted charge set the dismounted French knights into a panic. Of course there were a lot of different factors going into these victories, such as the archers and use of encirclement by the mounted forces, so I don't think a fixed rule can be stated as to which is more effective against the other.

From what I know Crecy is exeptional because the Knights were facing obstacles and charging uphill.

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Philip Renne




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PostPosted: Sat 26 Aug, 2017 3:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Andrew Huang wrote:
Philip Renne wrote:
This type of encounter happened at times during the Hundred Years War. At Crecy dismounted English knights repelled French mounted knights, and at Poitiers a mounted charge set the dismounted French knights into a panic. Of course there were a lot of different factors going into these victories, such as the archers and use of encirclement by the mounted forces, so I don't think a fixed rule can be stated as to which is more effective against the other.

From what I know Crecy is exeptional because the Knights were facing obstacles and charging uphill.


Yes, the English were fighting from prepared positions, which was their normal strategy during this period. Had they been drawn out of their positions and flanked by the French mounted forces the battle would have gone much differently I believe.

If the French cavalry that bypassed Henry V's lines at Agincourt via Tramecourt woods would have charged into the English rear the outcome of that battle probably (maybe?) would have been different.

The point is we have data on how these matchups play out in the historical record. When the dismounted men at arms are fighting from prepared positions they tend to do well against their mounted opposites, when they are flanked or caught in open ground they don't seem to do so well.
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Pedro Paulo Gaićo




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PostPosted: Mon 28 Aug, 2017 2:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It depends on several factors, perhaps the most relevant is to respect the equipment. Are we talking about the fifteenth century? What kind of equipment are the dismounted knights using?

The Poleaxes would be the only viable alternatives to have relevant chances to sucessfully oppose mounted men-at-arms. Pikes being a option too, but from what I remember only scottish men-at-arms used them when dismounted (and possibily the portuguese men-at-arms in Quadrado tatics from Saint Nuno's wars). This, of course, assuming neutral terrain and identical numbers to each side. In general, mounted cavalry would have the advantage, but it wouldn't be reliable to use then that way unless you intend to attack the flanks during an already going on battle. There would be simply heavy losses in both sides, like when you put pikemen to fight each other.
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Henry O.





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PostPosted: Tue 29 Aug, 2017 12:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

When behind obstacles such as a steep slope, a ditch, sharpened stakes, or a field of deep mud, good infantry can put up an extremely powerful defense against cavalry. I think the question though is whether an army of dismounted knights would do any better when attacking that kind of position. I suspect an army of knights on foot marching across the field at agincourt in full armor would have been just as exhausted and disorganized by the time they reached the english lines as those on horseback.

The argument as I understand it is that during the first period of the infantry revolution it was understood that infantry could make up an extremely powerful defensive arm, but heavy cavalry remained the most effective offensive arm in medieval armies up until the cohesive rapid advances and maneuvers introduced by the Swiss during the 15th century.

There's also the fact that cavalry is extremely important for foraging, raiding, and skirmishing. If your own horsemen get driven off by the enemy's horsemen in the opening stages of the battle, then even if you have superior infantry you may have to abandon your defensive position or risk being cut off from your supplies/line of retreat.
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Iagoba Ferreira





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PostPosted: Tue 29 Aug, 2017 1:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In the combat of Arińez (Inglesmendi after that), 1367, a highly mobile English force of 200 men at arms, 200 archers and some knights was pinned down in a hill by ginetes light cavalry, but to finish them the French and Castilian heavy cavalry dismounted and attacked uphill.

The hill is not very steep (I have been there several times), but probably was better to avoid the arrow fire on the horses, and take some time more walking protected in heavy armour, before arriving to close combat, even if a bit more exhausted.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Sep, 2017 1:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Mounted Knights vs Dismounted Knights         Reply with quote

Andrew Huang wrote:
In Medieval times, who would usually win in an encounter?


The Middle Ages covered an entire continent and somewhere between 500-1000 years. It's impossible to make a useful generalisation for such an enormous span of time and space.


Quote:
I believe Late Medieval and Rennissance Knights often dismounted


Not just them. Men-at-arms throughout the Middle Ages dismounted in sieges and assaults against fortified places, and also to fight in rough terrain or built-up areas like villages or monasteries. Indeed, they often dismounted in open battles too except in the period between 1150 and 1300 when dismounting in battle seems to have been relatively rare (though not completely nonexistent).


Quote:
and when mounted straight up cavalry charges against pikemen would get them skewered,


Which rarely happened anyway. Any halfway decent medieval commander understood that mobility was one of cavalry's main advantages and they were keen on using it to manoeuvre the cavalry against the enemy's flanks and rear, especially if the enemy force was largely made up of (less mobile) infantry.


Quote:
but what about against dismounted Knights?(who mostly used halberds rather than pikes?


Again, a generalisation so uselessly broad that it's just downright false. We know that dismounted knights/men-at-arms before the 14th century habitually used their lances as infantry spears. For instance, the English did this at Bremule (1119) and Northallerton (1138). Even in the 14th century, as poleaxes and other short anti-armour polearms came onto the scene, it was still common for dismounted men-at-arms to fight with spears or lances. Right near the beginning of the century we have Flemish knights fighting with pikes at Courtrai (1302), and Scottish knights joining their spear/pike-armed infantry formations at Bannockburn (1314). The English, again, did this all the time during the Hundred Years' War. Chronicles of John Hawkwood's mercenary company in Italy mention the rather puzzling fact that the English men-at-arms there fought with two or more men to a lance -- it's not clear whether we should take this literally (meaning that each lance was so large that it had to be handled by more than one man) or more figuratively (say, perhaps they were fighting in pairs or small teams centred around a lance-armed man). Into the 15th century, we have Italian men-at-arms dismounting and using their lances as pikes to outrange the weapons of Swiss halberdiers at Arbedo (1422). Later we have the Archduke (future Emperor) Maximilian dismounting to join his Burgundian pikemen at Guinegate (1479).

As for how effective dismounted men-at-arms were, it clearly varied and others have provided some useful examples. But I might want to add that Bremule (1119) might be particularly illustrative here; the English dismounted most of their men-at-arms and had them form a spear phalanx to resist the initial French charge (successfully, as it were), and then sent the mounted reserve into the French flank as a finishing blow. As usual, combined arms won. This is part of the reason why a simplistic comparison of mounted vs. dismounted men-at-arms isn't really that useful -- such forces usually didn't operate alone, but rather as parts of larger forces in combination with other arms.


Iagoba Ferreira wrote:
In the combat of Arińez (Inglesmendi after that), 1367, a highly mobile English force of 200 men at arms, 200 archers and some knights


Are you sure that there were 200 men-at-arms "and some knights?" I find this puzzling since the English in this era made no military distinction between knights and other men-at-arms and wouldn't have recorded the two categories separately in a military sense. To put it perhaps a little simplistically, men-at-arms were people fighting in a "knightly" role, and the difference between proper knights and other men-at-arms was a matter of social prestige rather than actual military function.
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Iagoba Ferreira





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PostPosted: Fri 08 Sep, 2017 2:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There aren't many sources, but some estimates 500 men, other says 200 archers and another 200 men at arms, and Chandos Herald says only 100, but seems more interested in the heroic deed of the nobles (one of wich is killed heroically while on horseback). Here you can read the translation:

http://www.elfinspell.com/Chandos2.html

It is clear that this small force was fast, wholly mounted, faster and able to scout far ahead of the main army (2-3 days ahead). The Felton brothers were veterans of the famous battles of those times.

Sadly my fellow Ayala, despite being from Alava, is scarce on the details Sad
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Pedro Paulo Gaićo




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PostPosted: Fri 08 Sep, 2017 8:32 am    Post subject: Re: Mounted Knights vs Dismounted Knights         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Again, a generalisation so uselessly broad that it's just downright false. We know that dismounted knights/men-at-arms before the 14th century habitually used their lances as infantry spears. For instance, the English did this at Bremule (1119) and Northallerton (1138). Even in the 14th century, as poleaxes and other short anti-armour polearms came onto the scene, it was still common for dismounted men-at-arms to fight with spears or lances. Right near the beginning of the century we have Flemish knights fighting with pikes at Courtrai (1302), and Scottish knights joining their spear/pike-armed infantry formations at Bannockburn (1314). The English, again, did this all the time during the Hundred Years' War. Chronicles of John Hawkwood's mercenary company in Italy mention the rather puzzling fact that the English men-at-arms there fought with two or more men to a lance -- it's not clear whether we should take this literally (meaning that each lance was so large that it had to be handled by more than one man) or more figuratively (say, perhaps they were fighting in pairs or small teams centred around a lance-armed man). Into the 15th century, we have Italian men-at-arms dismounting and using their lances as pikes to outrange the weapons of Swiss halberdiers at Arbedo (1422). Later we have the Archduke (future Emperor) Maximilian dismounting to join his Burgundian pikemen at Guinegate (1479).


it's reasonable that spear and lances formed the first option's main-weapon for a dismounted men-at-arms, at least until mid-14th century, as poll-axes didn't were such known thing and no men-at-arms would pick a sword as a main weapon by that time. However, I agree that we could speak that pollaxes were more favored than other weapons by mid-14th century in many places of Europe; those who prefered the pike were relatively few: the Scots (since Bannockburn) and arguably the Portuguese (since late 14th century at least).

In those occasions we often see dismounted men-at-arms using lances en masse might be explained by the fact they didn't have brought something like a pollaxe with their horses or didn't have time to pick other weapons in the wagoons. Exceptions being perhaps Arbedo (1422), but even in this case it might include itself in those situations. At Aljubarrota (1385) we see french and spanish knight using both lances and pollaxes as weapons to face the portuguese formation; but in most of the cases, the lance is often being mentioned by men-at-arms who were obliged to dismount while marching uphill; and one primary source even mentions that they dismounted and broke their lances in half to make the abble for the ensuing meéle. But I must also be honest to admit that Froissart says the anglo-gascon men-at-arms with the portuguese were using "well steeled Bourdeaux lances" in the first stages of the battle, but perhaps that might be explained from the fact they were enjoying an terrain advantage, or perhaps lances would be better options for the first moves of a battle.

By the way, are you sure the flemmish knights dismounted? When I read the article in myArmoury, the flemmings had quite few calvary to use, and I didn't remember the part were men-at-arms dismounted (specially because only the feudal lords in Flanders would put cavalry in battles, the urban militias providing the infantry). Also, in the Battle of Guinegate (1479), wikipedia only says he joined the infantry blocks with another 200 noblemen, but didn't say if he was with the pikemen or the halberdiers; in one famous account, he's recorded dismounting and having a halberd while marching along the infantry, not a pike.

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Iagoba Ferreira wrote:
In the combat of Arińez (Inglesmendi after that), 1367, a highly mobile English force of 200 men at arms, 200 archers and some knights


Are you sure that there were 200 men-at-arms "and some knights?" I find this puzzling since the English in this era made no military distinction between knights and other men-at-arms and wouldn't have recorded the two categories separately in a military sense. To put it perhaps a little simplistically, men-at-arms were people fighting in a "knightly" role, and the difference between proper knights and other men-at-arms was a matter of social prestige rather than actual military function.


Well, although this distinction is indeed rare, I often find distinctions in some occasions: in the size of english garrisons of 14th-15th centuries cities and castles, while describind the size of some nobleman's retinue or in the payment roll (knights received more than squires and the armati, the latter probably being non-knightly men-at-arms). There is one primary source of the Battle of Aljubarrota (I believe froissart, but you can get the information in the section of important battles of Ian Heath's Armies of Middle Ages vol.1) who said the 200 longbowmen who were shipped from Gascony were under the command of three squires (perhaps promoted veteran longbowmen). And although wikipedia isn't the best source, in their article of the Battle of La Rochelle (1372), they say: "

"In 1372 the English monarch Edward III planned an important campaign in Aquitaine under the newly appointed lieutenant of the Duchy, the Earl of Pembroke.[9] He contracted to serve a year in the duchy with a retinue of 24 knights 55 squires and 80 archers besides another companies led by Sir Hugh Calveley and Sir John Devereux, who finally did not serve or did not appear.[10] Pembroke received instructions to recruit a host of 500 knight, 1,500 squires and 1,500 archers after his arrival in France." Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_La_Rochelle

The Austrian losses at Sempach (1386) were, according to the same Heath's book, as it follows: "676 men, including Leopold, a margrave, 3 counts, 5 barons, 7 bannerets, 28 austrian and 35 tyrolean knights". Squires and non-knightly men-at-arms were simply not mentioned.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sat 09 Sep, 2017 1:25 am    Post subject: Re: Mounted Knights vs Dismounted Knights         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaićo wrote:
it's reasonable that spear and lances formed the first option's main-weapon for a dismounted men-at-arms, at least until mid-14th century, as poll-axes didn't were such known thing and no men-at-arms would pick a sword as a main weapon by that time. However, I agree that we could speak that pollaxes were more favored than other weapons by mid-14th century in many places of Europe; those who prefered the pike were relatively few: the Scots (since Bannockburn) and arguably the Portuguese (since late 14th century at least).


No. Just no. Why is it so difficult for people to accept that dismounted men-at-arms continued to use lances/spears/pikes well after the appearance of the poleaxe, despite all the primary source evidence? If we read the likes of Froissart, Monstrelet, or other similar chronicles, it's easy to see that formations of dismounted men-at-arms were not uniformly armed. When such accounts mention the weapons used in this or that infantry/dismounted encounter, we can almost always see a mixture of weapons -- swords and lances, or lances or poleaxes, or swords and lances and poleaxes. They were not uniformly armed with poleaxes, unlike what modern video games would like us to believe.

Moreover, if men-at-arms didn't continue to fight with lances on foot, why do we have so ridiculously many armoured combat treatises showing the use of the spear/lance on foot? A very large chunk of Liechtenauer's Kampffechten/Harnischfechten verse is dedicated to the lance. Same with Fiore, or Gladiatoria, and so on and so on. Of course these were treatises on single combat rather than massed/unit combat but it's really hard to believe that such a useful skill as fighting with a spear/pike/lance on foot and in armour was never used simply because poleaxes had come into being. Indeed, many of these treatises covered poleaxe fighting too, and there's no indication that they treated spear/lance-fighting as being in any way more "obsolete" or less "useful" in actual warfare than poleaxes.


Quote:
In those occasions we often see dismounted men-at-arms using lances en masse might be explained by the fact they didn't have brought something like a pollaxe with their horses or didn't have time to pick other weapons in the wagoons. Exceptions being perhaps Arbedo (1422), but even in this case it might include itself in those situations. At Aljubarrota (1385) we see french and spanish knight using both lances and pollaxes as weapons to face the portuguese formation; but in most of the cases, the lance is often being mentioned by men-at-arms who were obliged to dismount while marching uphill; and one primary source even mentions that they dismounted and broke their lances in half to make the abble for the ensuing meéle. But I must also be honest to admit that Froissart says the anglo-gascon men-at-arms with the portuguese were using "well steeled Bourdeaux lances" in the first stages of the battle, but perhaps that might be explained from the fact they were enjoying an terrain advantage, or perhaps lances would be better options for the first moves of a battle.


Again, no. This completely fails to explain the many encounters where we see men-at-arms clearly fighting with a mixture of swords, lances, and/or poleaxes. Just to show a couple of the most obvious (and picking from the SOA forum since the accounts there are already neatly edited and presented, often with highly useful commentaries):

http://soa.org.uk/sm/index.php?topic=1993.0
http://soa.org.uk/sm/index.php?topic=1771.0



Quote:
By the way, are you sure the flemmish knights dismounted? When I read the article in myArmoury, the flemmings had quite few calvary to use, and I didn't remember the part were men-at-arms dismounted (specially because only the feudal lords in Flanders would put cavalry in battles, the urban militias providing the infantry).


At Courtrai? No, they didn't dismount. They just fought on foot right from the beginning, with the same pikes used by the town militia.


Quote:
Also, in the Battle of Guinegate (1479), wikipedia only says he joined the infantry blocks with another 200 noblemen, but didn't say if he was with the pikemen or the halberdiers; in one famous account, he's recorded dismounting and having a halberd while marching along the infantry, not a pike.


Which account? If I'm not mistaken, the mention of him marching with a halberd was in a different incident -- not Guinegatte -- so there's still nothing to prove that he didn't just pick up a pike.


Quote:
Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Iagoba Ferreira wrote:
In the combat of Arińez (Inglesmendi after that), 1367, a highly mobile English force of 200 men at arms, 200 archers and some knights


Are you sure that there were 200 men-at-arms "and some knights?" I find this puzzling since the English in this era made no military distinction between knights and other men-at-arms and wouldn't have recorded the two categories separately in a military sense. To put it perhaps a little simplistically, men-at-arms were people fighting in a "knightly" role, and the difference between proper knights and other men-at-arms was a matter of social prestige rather than actual military function.


Well, although this distinction is indeed rare, I often find distinctions in some occasions: in the size of english garrisons of 14th-15th centuries cities and castles, while describind the size of some nobleman's retinue or in the payment roll (knights received more than squires and the armati, the latter probably being non-knightly men-at-arms). There is one primary source of the Battle of Aljubarrota (I believe froissart, but you can get the information in the section of important battles of Ian Heath's Armies of Middle Ages vol.1) who said the 200 longbowmen who were shipped from Gascony were under the command of three squires (perhaps promoted veteran longbowmen). And although wikipedia isn't the best source, in their article of the Battle of La Rochelle (1372), they say: "

"In 1372 the English monarch Edward III planned an important campaign in Aquitaine under the newly appointed lieutenant of the Duchy, the Earl of Pembroke.[9] He contracted to serve a year in the duchy with a retinue of 24 knights 55 squires and 80 archers besides another companies led by Sir Hugh Calveley and Sir John Devereux, who finally did not serve or did not appear.[10] Pembroke received instructions to recruit a host of 500 knight, 1,500 squires and 1,500 archers after his arrival in France." Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_La_Rochelle


In these cases it's very clear that they're either 1) administrative recruitment or remuneration records rather than battle accounts -- men who were paid differently didn't always fight differently -- or 2) mentioning the specific sub-categories of men-at-arms (bannerets, knights, esquires, etc.) rather than saying "knights and men-at-arms" as if they were two militarily separate categories.
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Mon 11 Sep, 2017 6:24 am    Post subject: Re: Mounted Knights vs Dismounted Knights         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Chronicles of John Hawkwood's mercenary company in Italy mention the rather puzzling fact that the English men-at-arms there fought with two or more men to a lance -- it's not clear whether we should take this literally (meaning that each lance was so large that it had to be handled by more than one man) or more figuratively (say, perhaps they were fighting in pairs or small teams centred around a lance-armed man).


A "lance" is, to my understanding, also an administrative unit consisting of a knight and his hangers-on - other men at arms, infantry, and squires. It is possible this is what they were getting at.

M.

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Pedro Paulo Gaićo




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PostPosted: Sun 17 Sep, 2017 12:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Mounted Knights vs Dismounted Knights         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Pedro Paulo Gaićo wrote:
it's reasonable that spear and lances formed the first option's main-weapon for a dismounted men-at-arms, at least until mid-14th century, as poll-axes didn't were such known thing and no men-at-arms would pick a sword as a main weapon by that time. However, I agree that we could speak that pollaxes were more favored than other weapons by mid-14th century in many places of Europe; those who prefered the pike were relatively few: the Scots (since Bannockburn) and arguably the Portuguese (since late 14th century at least).


No. Just no. Why is it so difficult for people to accept that dismounted men-at-arms continued to use lances/spears/pikes well after the appearance of the poleaxe, despite all the primary source evidence? If we read the likes of Froissart, Monstrelet, or other similar chronicles, it's easy to see that formations of dismounted men-at-arms were not uniformly armed. When such accounts mention the weapons used in this or that infantry/dismounted encounter, we can almost always see a mixture of weapons -- swords and lances, or lances or poleaxes, or swords and lances and poleaxes. They were not uniformly armed with poleaxes, unlike what modern video games would like us to believe.


I didn't say the men-at-arms and knights were uniformly armed, I just say the pollaxes would be their favorite weapon or the most common of all they used. There are some exemptions, of course, but we basically talking about the "rule"; and whether it was a battle or it was duel during a tournament, pollaxes were the knightly weapon of its time; I don't believe you would disagree regarding the observation of pollaxes being the most common/favorite weapon of footed duels or group fights. It's the same deal with swords: men-at-arms in late-14th and 15th centuries often used the longsword as their main sword because they have little need for bucklers, since they would already be using armor (Ehingėn own description of his duel in North Africa makes clear he was using a longsword while at full armor); however, although fewer in number, there is evidence in art for men-at-arms fighting or having a set of arming sword+buckler WHILE at full harness. Both were used, none would question that, but there is a plain evidence that longswords were far more common as sidearms than the set of arming sword+buckler, simply as that.

I'm not negating the lances or perhaps even spears would be picked as main weapons, I'm just saying that, when I find evidence of lances being used en masses, they were usually placed in a context where the men-at-arms had dismounted and used their lances (since the lance is a cavalry weapon) as an main weapon (and even so, sometimes they broke their lances when on foot, as to make them capable of being used more manoeuvrable). There exemptions? Yes, like the English men-at-arms in Aljubarrota who were firstly mentioned by Froissart as armed with lances; but perhaps they wouldn't be even using lances at first glance, if they picked "lances", it was probably because the Portuguese dispositions in the fortified pass of Aljubarrota were mainly pike-armed, so they equip themselves alike, with their own cavalry lances. The Portuguese, like the Scots, had no issue when using pikes as a weapon for the men-at-arms, but this is an unusual behavior: many other knightly cultures considered the fighting in pike formations as unchivalric since this sort of combat doesn't allow them to do feats-of-arms; fighting in a pikemen formation usually means the close-quarters shall put limits to your movements and basically turns everyone into anonymous fighters, many noblemen disliked such idea. And the display of courage and dexterity was indeed an important issue to them: when King Juan of Castille ordered his knights to march to the portuguese formations, they weren't in the mood to do so: if they marched by that time, they would fight the portuguese at night, so none could bear testimony to the feats-of-arms that would be done that day.

By the way, when you quote these mixtures of weapons, you have listed weapons there weren't used as primary weapons but were still mentioned in this events: swords, for example, were sidearms. Those descriptions didn't mention, for instance, if a weapon was heavier present than others; I believe we should take them as a description of all the weapons who were present in considerable numbers, which would render their mention by the chroniclers.

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
A very large chunk of Liechtenauer's Kampffechten/Harnischfechten verse is dedicated to the lance. Same with Fiore, or Gladiatoria, and so on and so on. Of course these were treatises on single combat rather than massed/unit combat but it's really hard to believe that such a useful skill as fighting with a spear/pike/lance on foot and in armour was never used simply because poleaxes had come into being. Indeed, many of these treatises covered poleaxe fighting too, and there's no indication that they treated spear/lance-fighting as being in any way more "obsolete" or less "useful" in actual warfare than poleaxes.


There are descriptions of pommel throwing, "naked fighting", fighting with clubs, stave's fighting, maces et coereta. Those manuals covered many aspects of fighting, some more critical to war, but other not so. Lightly armoured techniques with bucklers and arming sword were also heavily present in all these, but most of the noblemen in a battlefield wouldn't be using bucklers and arming swords, and none of them would even put a foot off their military camp without propper armor.

By the way, if I was fighting against men in full armor, I would rather choose weapons appropriate to deal with them than a spear; if the whole point is using the lance's point to punch through the gaps, you can do this with a sword of a pollaxe too! Perhaps even better with the sword. The spear hasn't any advantage compared to these, besides its length.

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Again, no. This completely fails to explain the many encounters where we see men-at-arms clearly fighting with a mixture of swords, lances, and/or poleaxes. Just to show a couple of the most obvious (and picking from the SOA forum since the accounts there are already neatly edited and presented, often with highly useful commentaries):

http://soa.org.uk/sm/index.php?topic=1993.0
http://soa.org.uk/sm/index.php?topic=1771.0


I'll read them


Quote:
At Courtrai? No, they didn't dismount. They just fought on foot right from the beginning, with the same pikes used by the town militia.


You sure? According to the primary source De Re Militari posted, the Annales Gandenses, there were only "about ten knights" the whole army of the Flemmings. I didn't find a reference for them fighting dismounted, but it isn't impossible they had done so.

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:

Quote:
Also, in the Battle of Guinegate (1479), wikipedia only says he joined the infantry blocks with another 200 noblemen, but didn't say if he was with the pikemen or the halberdiers; in one famous account, he's recorded dismounting and having a halberd while marching along the infantry, not a pike.


Which account? If I'm not mistaken, the mention of him marching with a halberd was in a different incident -- not Guinegatte -- so there's still nothing to prove that he didn't just pick up a pike.


The famous account I was thinking was actually in his victorious march to Cologne in 1505, where he dismounted and picked a halberd, being described marching on foot before his foot soldiers (Miller, Douglas. The German Landsknecht. pp. 3). When you say "there's still nothing to prove that he didn't just pick up a pike", the burden of proof is on you. At first, He could have be equally armed with a pike, a halberd or a zweihander. BUT, the only specific mention of him using an infantry weapon, in this case at Cologne, it's a halbard. Pikes weren't as chivalric as a polearm, remember that, so if we are talking about probabilities, it's very unlikely he picked a pike, don't you think? Swiss also thought as that, and their halberdiers were usually of higher social status than the pikemen; the landsknecht captains, when fighting with their men, usually were described being armed with the zweihandėr, or else the halberd; especially because captains had the custom of challenging their enemies to duels before the battles; so if Maximilian was intending to increase his men's morale as their captains did, it's likely he would be armed as how a captain armed himself. And, before I forget, I find this picture whose style resembles the "Freydal: des Kaisers Maximilian I", where a fully armoured man if using a zweihander.


Couldn't be Maximilian himself?

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 16 Nov, 2017 1:29 am    Post subject: Re: Mounted Knights vs Dismounted Knights         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaićo wrote:
I didn't say the men-at-arms and knights were uniformly armed, I just say the pollaxes would be their favorite weapon or the most common of all they used. There are some exemptions, of course, but we basically talking about the "rule"; and whether it was a battle or it was duel during a tournament, pollaxes were the knightly weapon of its time; I don't believe you would disagree regarding the observation of pollaxes being the most common/favorite weapon of footed duels or group fights.


I would disagree with this notion that there was an automatic preference for the poleaxe whenever it was available. It was widely used, yes, but not universally so, and there was a great deal of room for men-at-arms to choose or prefer other weapons for fighting on foot. Including spears and lances.


Quote:
I'm not negating the lances or perhaps even spears would be picked as main weapons, I'm just saying that, when I find evidence of lances being used en masses, they were usually placed in a context where the men-at-arms had dismounted and used their lances


This is kind of meaningless. The data we have doesn't really support the idea that men-at-arms only used lances on foot when they started out on horseback, because men-at-arms pretty much started out on horseback all the time except when they were garrisoning a castle or a town. Dismounting didn't really affect the choice of arms since there would usually have been plenty of time to call the servants to bring out poleaxes from the baggage -- and yet in many cases the men-at-arms didn't bother to do this and chose to stick with their spears instead.


Quote:
The Portuguese, like the Scots, had no issue when using pikes as a weapon for the men-at-arms, but this is an unusual behavior: many other knightly cultures considered the fighting in pike formations as unchivalric since this sort of combat doesn't allow them to do feats-of-arms; fighting in a pikemen formation usually means the close-quarters shall put limits to your movements and basically turns everyone into anonymous fighters, many noblemen disliked such idea.


Fighting with spears didn't automatically imply extremely dense formations and anonymity in combat. Many, many men-at-arms were cited in chronicles for having done great deeds in battle with spears -- just look at those two SoA threads I linked to (and Froissart's numerous battle accounts).


Quote:
By the way, when you quote these mixtures of weapons, you have listed weapons there weren't used as primary weapons but were still mentioned in this events: swords, for example, were sidearms. Those descriptions didn't mention, for instance, if a weapon was heavier present than others; I believe we should take them as a description of all the weapons who were present in considerable numbers, which would render their mention by the chroniclers.


So what? They were present and used in considerable numbers. Which deeply undermines the modern and baseless notion that dismounted men-at-arms uniformly preferred poleaxes for fighting on foot except when they didn't have a choice.


Quote:
Quote:
At Courtrai? No, they didn't dismount. They just fought on foot right from the beginning, with the same pikes used by the town militia.


You sure? According to the primary source De Re Militari posted, the Annales Gandenses, there were only "about ten knights" the whole army of the Flemmings. I didn't find a reference for them fighting dismounted, but it isn't impossible they had done so.


There's no reference of anyone on the Flemish side fighting on horseback. They all fought on foot -- including those knights, and numerous burghers who were knighted just before the battle.

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Also, in the Battle of Guinegate (1479), wikipedia only says he joined the infantry blocks with another 200 noblemen, but didn't say if he was with the pikemen or the halberdiers; in one famous account, he's recorded dismounting and having a halberd while marching along the infantry, not a pike.


Which account? If I'm not mistaken, the mention of him marching with a halberd was in a different incident -- not Guinegatte -- so there's still nothing to prove that he didn't just pick up a pike.


The famous account I was thinking was actually in his victorious march to Cologne in 1505, where he dismounted and picked a halberd, being described marching on foot before his foot soldiers (Miller, Douglas. The German Landsknecht. pp. 3). When you say "there's still nothing to prove that he didn't just pick up a pike", the burden of proof is on you. At first, He could have be equally armed with a pike, a halberd or a zweihander. BUT, the only specific mention of him using an infantry weapon, in this case at Cologne, it's a halbard. Pikes weren't as chivalric as a polearm, remember that, so if we are talking about probabilities, it's very unlikely he picked a pike, don't you think? Swiss also thought as that, and their halberdiers were usually of higher social status than the pikemen; the landsknecht captains, when fighting with their men, usually were described being armed with the zweihandėr, or else the halberd; especially because captains had the custom of challenging their enemies to duels before the battles; so if Maximilian was intending to increase his men's morale as their captains did, it's likely he would be armed as how a captain armed himself. And, before I forget, I find this picture whose style resembles the "Freydal: des Kaisers Maximilian I", where a fully armoured man if using a zweihander.


Couldn't be Maximilian himself?


It's really simple. At Guinegatte, Maximilian started out on horseback but his cavalry was defeated early on and he retreated to the shelter of his pike formations. This is one of those situations where it's kind of absurd to assume that the pikemen would have brought poleaxes or two-handed swords specifically to arm him when they had no idea beforehand that he would have come and joined them when the cavalry fight went badly for him. So it's far, far more reasonable to assume that he either used his lance as a pike or picked up a pike from one of the pikemen rather than demanding somebody go back all the way to the baggage to fetch his poleaxe (risking interception by the French cavalry, which was then roaming much of the battlefield uncontested) or joining the two-handed swordsmen in the centre of the formation (where he would have had no chance to affect the course of the battle unless the pike formation got shattered and he had to take part in a desperate defence of the standard).
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