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Brandon Cotter




Location: Alachua Florida
Joined: 23 Oct 2013

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri 21 Dec, 2018 8:39 am    Post subject: Scandinavian mounted crossbow men         Reply with quote

Hey guys,

a while ago I remember seeing something, maybe on this site maybe not, talking about armed retinues in late medieval Scandinavia. In it someone mentioned that In place of “men-at-arms” or heavy lancers the Scandinavian countries relied relatively heavily on a class of mounted crossbowmen who in addition to more traditional “knights” formed the core of the Scandinavian armies.

I was wondering if anyone had anymore information on these troops, especially equipment or how they differed from English archers or continental croosbowmen from the same period.

As a bonus question, were these Troops (if they existed and I didn’t just make them up in my head) likely to have used their crossbows mounted or were they likely to have dismounted for actual combat?

Thanks.
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Jean Henri Chandler




Location: New Orleans
Joined: 20 Nov 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,161

PostPosted: Mon 24 Dec, 2018 2:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Scandinavian mounted crossbow men         Reply with quote

Brandon Cotter wrote:
Hey guys,

a while ago I remember seeing something, maybe on this site maybe not, talking about armed retinues in late medieval Scandinavia. In it someone mentioned that In place of “men-at-arms” or heavy lancers the Scandinavian countries relied relatively heavily on a class of mounted crossbowmen who in addition to more traditional “knights” formed the core of the Scandinavian armies.

I was wondering if anyone had anymore information on these troops, especially equipment or how they differed from English archers or continental croosbowmen from the same period.

As a bonus question, were these Troops (if they existed and I didn’t just make them up in my head) likely to have used their crossbows mounted or were they likely to have dismounted for actual combat?

Thanks.




This was true all over Central Europe and in Italy by the 15th Century, as well as specifically up in the Baltic zone including parts of what is today Sweden and Finland. There are dozens of depictions in period art and they are frequently mentioned in military manuals, letters etc. They did shoot mounted. They seem to have also reloaded mounted using special spanners called 'goats foot', 'wippe', and the heavier and more diiffcult to use 'cranequin'.

Heavy cavalry deployed in small mounted teams usually called a 'lance' (sometimes a helm or gleve, all euphemisms for knightly armor). Exact breakdown varied but the man at arms with armor and an armored horse was the epicenter, he had armed supporters consisting of 1-2 lancers or demi-lancers (usually armored but on an unarmored horse) and typically at least one mounted crossbowman, as well as an unarmed attendant or valet. Pay for the mounted crossbowman was equivalent to a demi-lancer usually.

Aside from regular archery support, they also used signalling bolts (which could frighten horses) and special pyrotechnic bolts to set fires to buildings, such as during sieges.

In East-Central Europe such as among the Teutonic Knights or the Hungarian Black Army, this seemed to specifically be a response to mounted archers of the Steppe Nomads such as of the Ottomans, the Krim Tatars or the Golden Horde. But it also seems to have simultaneously arisen in Italy, possibly because the Venetians were financing the Hungarian Black Army and other forces fighting the Turk.

Jean

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
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