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John H





Joined: 08 May 2006

Posts: 60

PostPosted: Tue 07 Nov, 2006 8:39 pm    Post subject: 15th century drilling and battlefield commands?         Reply with quote

I am curious about how structured armies and their formations were during the late 15th century. All of the material I have read regarding formation movement and command (ranks, files, facings, wheelings, the actual verbal commands, and so forth) seem to be from around the 16th and 17th centuries.

In the late 15th, how structured were battlefield troop movements?

Are there resources available on this topic?

Thanks in advance for any insights!
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Gordon Frye




Location: Kingston, Washington
Joined: 20 Apr 2004
Reading list: 15 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 1,191

PostPosted: Tue 07 Nov, 2006 9:48 pm    Post subject: Re: 15th century drilling and battlefield commands?         Reply with quote

John;

That armies were very structured is not in question. For example, the Duke of Burgundy's armies of the 1470's were quite well defined, with detailed organizations being published to that effect. Check out this website on Charle's comagnies de ordonnance : http://www.medievalproductions.nl/compagnie_de_ordonnance/

There is no doubt that there WERE some basic commands, and that there were some attempts at coordinated movement en-masse (the descriptions of the troops doing so suffices to say that it happened), but to the best of my knowledge none of it has come down to us. In fact, for just basic DRILL commands, the first attempt at writing it down to try to codify it was in 1597 (by Johannes II van Nassau). The writers of military treatises just didn't seem to think that such things were necessary for some reason.

Though a century too late for your interest, there is a study group working on late-16th and early 17th Century practices which may help put things into perspective for you: http://www.RenaissanceSoldier.com

Good luck,

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Jonathan S




Location: Peterson AFB, CO
Joined: 08 Nov 2006

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu 09 Nov, 2006 6:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

John I would say they had to be structured in order to win a battle. Most battles were won based off of troop training and telling people when and where to move. I would say flags and horns were the main key role in actually determining what the next order would be. Or pointing people in the right manner or another. It is deffinetely a curious topic you bring up because I dont think a lot of people think how all of them worked out. I wish I had a resource or something that I could point out to you but I dont. I will make it a goal to see if I can come up with something though and maybe I can get back at you.
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