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Marco Thiry





Joined: 26 Oct 2005

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PostPosted: Thu 27 Oct, 2005 10:11 am    Post subject: Imagine Your Army         Reply with quote

During 15°, 16° century, you are leader of a peasants’ insurrection. An army composed of 1500 heavy armored knights is coming to repress this revolt. Knights are protected by heavy full plate armor like gothic armor (proof against arrow, bullets…), armed with lances, swords and maces, riding also armored horses. You have to prepare for battle and try to win:
How many peasants do you need and what kind of weapons?
How do you choose your battlefield?
What’s your tactic?

Thanks for your opinion.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 27 Oct, 2005 10:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Marco,
Thanks for your post. Welcome to the forums!

I've retyped your topic's title so it is not all in capital letters. In Internet venues, the use of all capital letters is the equivalent of shouting.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Oct, 2005 11:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Marco;

Might have first to qualify your initial conditions: 1500 Knights is a lot of knights ! And other warriors. You would not have just the knights to deal with. At the very least you would have an armed squire and a page for each Knight and half a dozen archers or polearmed footsoldiers. ( Firearms more than bows in the 16th century. )

The full plate might be very arrow resistant but heavy archebuses or early Handgonnes would be able to get through almost any armour that was at a reasonable weight.

On the plus side the knights are very well armed and trained so are individually very strong fighters. The leadership of the Knights and their willingness to follow orders would be an important factor as bad generalship or undisciplined warriors would be much easier to lead into traps: So you would hope for stupid and conservative leadership that would refuse to learn from mistake and would fall for the same traps over and over again i.e. You could goad them into doing stupid things out of pride and because they would underestimate the abilities of the peasants.

What would I do ? Depends a lot on what the peasants have to work with and was resources they could muster.

Large numbers could be an assets if you could lead them efficiently or just more dead bodies on the field if they just attack as a mob.

Weapons ??? As many Handgonnes ( Primitive firearms ), small canon, crossbows as you could beg borrow or steal.
Any peasants with fighting skills would get whatever shields, swords, axes, spear, polearms and light armour available.

Improvised weapons would be of the smashing kind: Flails, heavy iron bound clubs, hammers, mauls and whatever polearms the local blacksmiths could make from farm tools like pitch forks or scythes.

I would avoid any set battles and try to win the war not any one fight unless the odds were stacked on my side.

Any fight on terrain of my choosing that would be difficult for horses or heavily armoured Knights on foot: Hilly, rocky or forested or marshy. A good escape route or routes would be good leading from prepared ambush to ambush.

Hiding the women and children if possible as well as any movable foodstuff, burning all food resources before they can be taken, attacking supply lines.

Actual combat tactics are a little difficult to imagine without some sort of training of the peasant soldiers, a system of signaling orders on the battlefield and some minimum development of an officer core and seargants in the modern sense of the word.

If you want a concrete example of what actually worked historically look up the Hussites in the 14th century and their use of war wagon combined with Handgonnes and small canon and their great success against the exact type of armies of Knights you use in your question.

Hope this helps and is fun as this is the usual purpose of this kind of day dreaming. ( Which I enjoy doing by the way. Big Grin )

Here is a book that has a full chapter on the Hussites : Medieval Warfare by H.W. Koch by Prentice-Hall, Inc 1978 Copyright © by Bison Books, London England. library of Congress Catalogue Card Number : 77-082133

You might search here as this book might already be in our data base " myArmoury.com Bookstore " and might be available using this site's link to Amazon. ( By the way books bought through this link helps pay for this site . Our Library is on our Home page: just click on BOOKS right next to FORUMS. )

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Sam Barris




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Oct, 2005 12:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Two words: Greek Fire.

Oh, yes. Cool

Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Oct, 2005 12:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Women and children will be a real burden.

Perhaps, assuming the knights are not going to slaughter them, the women and children would be better employed as a burden the knights have to support.

*Freaking typos!!

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy


Last edited by Joe Fults on Thu 27 Oct, 2005 9:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 27 Oct, 2005 1:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd probably want at least twice as many peasants. Assuming the enemy is mounted, maybe use longbows to kill or wound as many horses as possible. If we kill enough horses to hem-in the surviving cavalry, we move in with the clubs, forks, spears and bills. We cut and club the surviving horses out from under the riders or otherwise deposit riders on ground. We slaughter the riders, strip them, eat their flags, distribute the captured arms and armour and move on to liberate the next county. We enjoy short-lived victory and resign ourselves to inevitable defeat, massive reprisals against civilian peasants, short-term collapse of agriculture, famine, plague, blizzards and another 300 years of feudal subjugation. Laughing Out Loud
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Thu 27 Oct, 2005 1:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good call Jean I was going to suggest the Hussites to. After all, they did it... and it worked...
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 27 Oct, 2005 1:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another good title:

http://www.myArmoury.com/books/item.php?ASIN=1841765074



 Attachment: 42.72 KB
1841765074.jpg


-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Alexander Ren




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PostPosted: Thu 27 Oct, 2005 10:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, prearranging the battle field would be a must. I would want to make the ground around my lines riddled with small pitfalls, trenches, and such to break as many horses legs as possible before they got to me. Forming on a hill with lots of woods and ropes going between trees about a foot or two off the ground with ones higher up to get the riders attention and desract them from the ones down low. Also lots of sharp stakes in the ground pointing outward would be good. Lots of people with very long (15-20ft) spears as primary weapons both on the ground and some up in trees. As closer weapons I would want axes, picks, shovels, and other blunt trauma type weapons. 10 to 1 odds would be preferable considering the skill and training of the opponent and the likely lack of skill of the farmers. More realistic odds would be around two or three to one. Also lots of guys with hunting bows, longbows, crossbows, and/or handguns would be very good.

Alex

"The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle."
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Fri 28 Oct, 2005 12:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So we've established that most folks are comfortable that they can take the knights if they can be convinced to attack a prepared position, on a wooded hill, surrounded by a swamp, filled with caltrops, defend by 150,000 peasants, on a rainy day.

Did I miss anything?

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 28 Oct, 2005 6:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Hussites would seek out good defensive ground, circle their wagons, close breeches with heavy timbers, put captured artillery on high ground in the middle of the formation and put men with polearms on the wagons/ramparts. Hussite skirmishers would ride out to harass the enemy and draw them to the wagons. The skirmishers would slip into the wagon circle as the enemy came into range of the Hussite artillery. The guns, firing over the wagons, would tear up the enemy cavalry, and the riders who made it as far as the wagons were dispatched by polearm and handgun.

As far as numbers are concerned-18,000 is the largest number of peasants fielded for a given battle of the German Peasants War, as far as I can tell from the first few pages of the book cited above.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Edward Hitchens




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PostPosted: Sat 29 Oct, 2005 10:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Fults wrote:
So we've established that most folks are comfortable that they can take the knights if they can be convinced to attack a prepared position, on a wooded hill, surrounded by a swamp, filled with caltrops, defend by 150,000 peasants, on a rainy day.

Did I miss anything?


Laughing Out Loud (lol !!) And while we're at it, let's give the peasants a division of Abrams tanks and keep all the other variables and maybe they can defeat the knights! Razz WTF?!

"The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest." Thomas Jefferson
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