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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Oct, 2005 3:39 am    Post subject: Battlefield use of buckler and something else?         Reply with quote

Playing with my buckler I noticed that I could easily hold a spear at the same time as the hand holding the buckler handle can easily wrap itself around the shaft of the spear. This might prove useful or awkward: A good way to use a buckler with a spear or hopelessly unmanageable. I don't have the experience to judge but it got me wondering about the use of bucklers on the battlefield in combination with other weapons than the usual sword.

Oh, this holding of the spear by the hand holding the buckler might work also with the typical Viking shield making twohanded use of the Viking spear possible to a limited degree with the shield in hand ??? This might not work well if it limits the use of the shield to much. I see a difficulty in transitioning from having the spear shaft butt on the right side of the body to having it it on the left so that the shield hand can hold the spear butt on the left side of the body with the right hand closer than the left to the spear head.

One might just use the shield hand on the spear shaft near the butt to execute a powerful thrust and then go back to a onehanded hold on the spear. The more conventional alternate is to have the shield hanging from a guige when using two hands on the spear or maybe Danish axe.

In any case even if none of this makes sense or is practical, as explained, there might be some legitimate techniques using buckler and spear or buckler and axe ( long or short. ) , and if yes, would the buckler be used like a very small shield or would some of the standard sword and buckler techniques be used in an adapted to a different weapon way.

This may just be all a dumb question but I hope this stimulates imaginative debate and maybe some historical information.

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Gary Grzybek




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Oct, 2005 5:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't recall any manuals reguarding the use of buckler and spear together but anything is possible. Just look at some of the plates in Talhoffer where the combatants are holding the spear and sword together. I confess I have never experimented with these unique combinations.
Gary Grzybek
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Oct, 2005 7:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

We have done some axe and buckler fighting (mostly because new people tend to get axes before they get swords... Axes are cheaper, and we have a good local supply...)
As far as I can see, the axe does not have any advantages over the sword when used with a buckler; The offensive buckler blocks negates some of the axes advantage at curving around shields, and the lack of a static defence makes a axe fighter exposed to draw cuts.

When it comes to spear and buckler, it has been attempted, and found not to be worth it. While posible, the grip of the buckler gives you less control, while not providing much in the way of defence. It is much harder to slide the spear in your hands while holding a buckler.
What is more practical and more worth it is holding a knife or dagger in the right hand, along with the spear. This gives you a edge if someone decides to rush you, and is not too cumbersome, if the dagger has a thin hilt.

Having the shield hanging in front of you by the guige is also quite posible, and not that much in the way.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Oct, 2005 9:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elling;

Thanks for the insights: How about using the Buckler as a very small shield ? Would not be a first choice as a bigger shield would probably be preferred but I can see a case where carrying Buckler and sword as secondary weapons one might decide to use the Buckler with one's spear.

Another question about spear use is that onehanded the overarm use of the spear seems more natural to me and comfortable than single handed underhanded use. Also with an 8' spear the threat and possibility of a throw keeps the opponent wary of that possibility.

With a shield the spear has to be used onehanded unless a guige is used, and again the overhanded use seems to have advantages.

Although I think the best way to use a spear is with both hands using staff techniques with the added advantages of a sharp pointy end so probably one would not use the Buckler on one's belt unless throwing the spear was at least a 50% possibility ??? ( Oh, and the Buckler would already be there for defense after throwing the spear and before drawing one's sword would be possible ? )

There is also the issue that on a battlefield there is not always a parity of weapons used i.e. sword and buckler against sword and buckler or buckler and spear against the same: You might be faced with any other weapon or combination of bucker / shield + some weapon. ( Sword, axe. spear, polearm, missile weapons .......... rocks even. Laughing Out Loud )

Hopefully the above is not to much of a confused mess Blush

Maybe if I knew more about the way a shield is used with a spear would help. Many different cultures have used both at different time historically from Ancient Greeks to Romans with the Pilium or Macedonians with the Sarissa.

Renaissance armies seem to have abandoned using shields with the very long spears that are Pikes while the Macedonians used the same type of weapon with a small shield maybe using a guige for twohanded use of the Sarissa ?

Oh, and I like your suggestion of holding a dagger in hand at the same time as holding the spear: Good already there backup weapon with possibilities of hooking with the dagger ( Maybe ??? ) Makes rushing dangerous !

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Geoff Wood




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Oct, 2005 5:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Elling;

Another question about spear use is that onehanded the overarm use of the spear seems more natural to me and comfortable than single handed underhanded use.


......but, you can get more reach with the spear underhanded by holding it further back but with the shaft under your forearm to keep it balanced (if that makes sense?) ...............
Geoff
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Oct, 2005 6:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Geoff;

Yes it does make sense that you get more reach underarm but to take full advantage of a spear twohanded use seems better. The hold on the spear does feel firmer / stronger overhand rather than underhand to me ?

Sorry if I contradict myself in this post, previous ones or the next I'm mostly trying to arrive to some conclusions as I go along and I'm asking questions as much as I'm stating anything. ( At this point just a theory that I would be as happy to have disproved as proved. )

Could be just " movies " but a lot of onehanded spear use " Ancient Greek " , " 19th century Zulus " seem to favour overhand use at least for one on one combat. The Zulus may have used their short handled spears very much like a Gladius with an underhand grip.

Again the overhand grip being used to stab with the possibility to use the spear as a missile weapon.

The underhanded use may be more useful when used in a formation.

Oh, early Knights seemed to have use the overhand grip also: Maybe easier to stab down at fleeing infantry and the continuing motion of horse and rider would pull the spear out of the " victim " rather than driving the spear deeper in with the odds of ripping the spear out of the grip of the Knight. The couched spear is probably more effective against another rider. Now these would be early spears / lances before they became specialized tools with Vamplates !

But later the more "evolved " lances were meant to be one shot weapons that would shatter rather than risk having the wedged in opponent lance push you off your own horse ! ? At least that is the impression I've gotten from the input of those who joust here in their previous posts.

I seem to have gotten away fro the original buckler question and drifted more to spear use Eek! Exclamation But that's O.K. with me if the discussion turns to spear use also.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Cameron A




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Oct, 2005 7:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

the reenacting group I am in has done a lot of sword and buckler work, we have found that spear and buckler is not effective at all, but a buckler user can take down a spearman quite easily if the situation presents itself as he can grab the shaft of the spear using the buckler hand, leads to one less spearman on the field
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Oct, 2005 8:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cameron;

Nice short and sweet reply and very eye opening; Actually make me feel that my idea that you could grab the shaft with the buckler hand was a valid insight but I never thought about grabbing the other guys spear Eek! Eek! Eek! Cool

Might be other things useful one could grab ? Shield rim maybe ? Not just spears: Any other polearm shaft ?

So you have the advantages of a small shield and having a free hand: Using your sword for a simultaneous attack opens up lots of possibilities as well as a few skulls. Razz Exclamation Laughing Out Loud

Almost like having 3 hands to fight with Exclamation

Thanks again Cameron. Cool Cool Cool

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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 27 Oct, 2005 8:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean,
For whatever it's worth, the Ringeck commentaries describe both an example of grabbing the other guy's spear, and also in the sword and buckler section a technique where you grab the rim of the other guy's buckler to twist it out of his hand. I have extrapolated that to apply to larger round shields in my practices.
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Felix Wang




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Oct, 2005 10:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The use of axe and buckler is shown in medieval art: the Holkham picture Bible demonstrates this at [url]http://thehaca.com/arttalk/at2.htm [/url].

The Macedonians seem to have used a moderately small shield, strapped to the forearm and having a guige. This arrangement kept both hands free to use the sarissa.

As for the use of shield and spear, it seems a common battlefield usage was an overhand grip. This is shown in Greek art when two phalanxes approach each other. It is also well shown in the Bayeux Tapestry, in images of the Saxon shieldwall. Sumerian art seems to show an underhand grip (the Vulture stele and the Standard from Ur), but in the case of the standard the soldiers have no shields, and grip the spear with both hands.
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Fri 28 Oct, 2005 12:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Most reenactors use one handed spears in a underhand grip. it gives better control, and is less tiring. In real life, it would also allow you to apply more weight to the thrusts.

A one hand spearman relies very heavily on his shield for defence. Thus, a small, "active" shield like the buckler is not very favorable. Also, a small shield leaves you open to "cross strikes" on the battlefield; A spearman two places down the line can easily kill you while you are occupied with something else. Armies that rely on one handed spears have tended to have pretty large shields.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Fri 28 Oct, 2005 8:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy made a buckler or target part of the regulation equipment of his army in the various ordinnaces he issue in the 1470's. It was to be strapped to the left arm.
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Rafael Ramos da Costa





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PostPosted: Sun 24 May, 2015 11:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

not 'battle fieldy', but found this manual depicting the buckler+spear use.

http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Gladiatoria_group

found it when looking for quarterstaff+buckler use, what sounds very usefull in my opinion. even in training the hand is in great risk and if such contraption proves itself valid historicaly can be quite a "revolution" in the quarterstaff yielding comunitiy.

(this is my very first post in here. joined just to answer your questions, sir!)



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Tom King




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PostPosted: Tue 26 May, 2015 2:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cameron A wrote:
the reenacting group I am in has done a lot of sword and buckler work, we have found that spear and buckler is not effective at all, but a buckler user can take down a spearman quite easily if the situation presents itself as he can grab the shaft of the spear using the buckler hand, leads to one less spearman on the field


Within the Adrian Empire, in open field battle such moves prove disastrous to the executor. As was drilled into me as a shield carrying linesman, the enemy to the right.left of you is the most dangerous. I'd consider honest medieval battle similar, where anything but a united front would be tantamount to suicide. TLDR: fight the person in front of you and get killed by is buddy 2 men away with a well placed spear thrust.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Fri 19 Jun, 2015 2:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, to join in the thread necromancy, there's one possible mode of wielding the spear and buckler together in one hand that hasn't been discussed here: using the spear not as a spear, but as a parrying stick. I don't think there's any evidence for it in Europe, but it's a common defence in Zulu stick-fighting, and a long parrying stick in the left hand gets much more effective when one adds a buckler or a small shield to protect the hand holding the stick because the defensive hand no longer presents an easy target.
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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Fri 19 Jun, 2015 6:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I told is was relatively common for archers to carry a buckler and one handed weapon ie sword,mace, hammer, axe, as back up weapons in case the enemy got to close for them to use their bows. Awful for fighting as a team, prolonged fighting, fighting masses of men but they are very easy to draw and bring to bear.
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