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Justin Pasternak




Location: West Springfield, Massachusetts
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PostPosted: Wed 13 Dec, 2006 11:51 am    Post subject: Usage of the Knight's Lance         Reply with quote

I know that every knight had to be trained with use the lance in I think it is quantain and jousting in competitve tourments, But was a knight required to carry a lance into battle if he choose to and if not were there individual or small groups of knights that weren't very skilled in using the lance and may have preferred other weapons such as a long sword, war hammer or battle axe instead of the usually lance that we see in movies, books, paintings, illustrations, etc.
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Wed 13 Dec, 2006 12:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

Justin,

It would have been a poorly trained knight that was so unskilled in the use of the lance as to require his use of other weapons. Knights, meaning the mounted fighting nobility, trained from boyhood in a variety of weapons, including the lance. Tournaments, at least in the beginning, were "mock wars" that helped hone a knight's skill. Squires trained at the quintain. Even hunting could hone a knight's skills on horseback.

Did knights sometimes use other weapons? Of course, especially when on foot. However, there are instances of swords being used in the manner of lances from horseback after the lances broke or otherwise lost, so it seems knights might show a tendency to fight in that manner. There are instances when knights were forced to fight with other weapons; Robert the Bruce used an axe to cleave Henry De Bohun's skull after the rash young knight charged the Scottish king with lowered lance at the opening stages of the Battle of Bannockburn. It has been suggested that, if he had been armed with lance on his warhorse, Robert would have met De Bohun's charge as if in a joust.

One term for the unit that included a knight, lance, suggests (to me, at least) that the lance might be seen as being important. The mounted knight typically wielded his lance first, but as in all things, this is a gross generality.

I hope this made sense, and my statements aren't too broad.

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
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John H





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PostPosted: Wed 13 Dec, 2006 2:51 pm    Post subject: IMO unlikely         Reply with quote

A lance was a very effective weapon that easily out-ranges any other melee weapon. It wouldn't have made any sense to not use one. That would be akin to throwing down your rifle because you are more comfortable with a pistol. Even if you are a world champion pistoleer, you will still likely lose in a fight against a rifleman if he can pick the range.

If you have sparred with swords before, another nice example is trying to fight someone armed with a great sword when you have a longsword. The range advantage they have is significant.
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Rod Walker




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PostPosted: Wed 13 Dec, 2006 2:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are numerous references to poorly trained knights. I will have to dig out my sources but there are treatises lamenting that knights could not correctly couch a lance at the charge, of missing the target completely or in jousts or peace of striking the horse or the man off target.


The lance is actually quite a diffulcult weapon to use skillfully. Combine this with using an arret and it is a specialised skill set.

We all started our jousting careers with no arrets or grapers. When we started to use arrets and grapers after 10 years of without, it was a shock to realise that we had to relearn to use the lance.

In a charge the heavy lance is a one shot weapon. After you drive it into someone you would probably want to get rid of it ASAP and draw another weapon. The sword is not the first choice. The sword is most effective against unarmourered or lightly armoured targets, far more effective against armoured targets is the war hammer or axe, especially from horse.

I have a theory that in a charge in a war scenario you would want to drive your lance into the target and then you would want it to break so as to make it easier to ditch the lance. This is what happens if lances do not break http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPvtJmuyzn4 I am coming towards the camera.

Not good. Both of us are on the ground. Contrary to popular belief the knight is not welded to his saddle. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, in this case lance does not break and we both end up flying through the air.

Have to run, horses to feed. To be Continued.

Cheers

Rod
Jouster
www.jousting.com.au

"Come! Let us lay a lance in rest,
And tilt at windmills under a wild sky!
For who would live so petty and unblessed
That dare not tilt at something, ere he die?"
--Errantry, John Galsworthy
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 13 Dec, 2006 3:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rod;

Ah, why I READ about this stuff ......... Razz Big Grin But, OUCH or if not ouch at least stunned ! Seem like I would have all the time in the world to stroll over to you in battle, in period to make good use of a rondel dagger and optionally kill you and the other guy or get a nice ransom. Laughing Out Loud

To get serious and out of friendly teasing mode: It doesn't look like either of you felt like springing to your feet and continue the fight without at least a good amount of time getting your wind back.

So, how bad did that feel like and I hope nothing more serious than being winded ? Worried

How much did the armour absorbed the worse of it ? And have you had a similar fall un-armoured as a reference point.

Any time to react and control the fall a bit or does it happen so fast that all you can remember is being on the horse and then being on the ground ?

I slipped on my icy balcony once in the winter and basically that is how it felt: Some very early and minimal judo training may have kicked in as my head was nicely tucked in and I didn't even have a bruise or a scratch the next day ! But conscious thought was definitely not involved. Wouldn't guess what would happen the next time but I was rather pleased with my stupid cat-like landing. Eek! Laughing Out Loud ( Top of balcony to bottom of stairs and 7 steps misses completely. Ended up sitting > lying on the last step. )

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




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PostPosted: Wed 13 Dec, 2006 4:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jean, bascially both of us would have been yours to do with what you wished. Big Grin

I was out before I hit the ground and Ripper was stunned for 30 secs or so. It took me about 15minutes before I had any idea of what had happened. There was not time to do anything, it was like we had ropes tied to us and they suddenly ran out,,,, just like in the 1954 Ivanhoe movie.

I have had plenty of armoured and unarmoured falls and I would prefer everytime to come off in armour.

Can you imagine hundreds of heavilly armoured men at arms on armoured horses clashing!!!!!

Cheers

Rod
Jouster
www.jousting.com.au

"Come! Let us lay a lance in rest,
And tilt at windmills under a wild sky!
For who would live so petty and unblessed
That dare not tilt at something, ere he die?"
--Errantry, John Galsworthy
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Michal Plezia
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PostPosted: Wed 13 Dec, 2006 4:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rod Walker wrote:


Can you imagine hundreds of heavilly armoured men at arms on armoured horses clashing!!!!!


Medieval 2 Total War? Laughing Out Loud But I've heard that they've forgotten the good charges of Rome and returned to old one-man-down-and-stop technique Evil

I wonder how hard is to penetrate full reinforced milanese armour of late XV cent with lance...or was it usually the ultimate weapon Question

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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Wed 13 Dec, 2006 10:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As Rod says, it's best to break your lance, which is exactly what the writings of the 15th and 16th Centuries suggest. In fact, to come back to your own lines with an unshattered lance was paramount to admitting that you hadn't made contact with the enemy, and that you were a coward. Even the Cornet was to break his lance, with the captain's flag on it, against an opponent, or the company would be disgraced (This according to Cruso as late as 1632).

As Rod suggests, the Lance is a difficult weapon to weild well, and to do so against a quintain is one thing (and it IS a good thing to train against), but to graduate from being a moving weapon hitting a stationary target, to being a moving weapon and trying to hit another moving target is a whole different proposition. Dang, I don't know HOW often I've managed to miss what looked to be an easy hit coming on at me... but there it goes, me with an unshattered lance! Dang! Eek!

That good Milanese (or any other well made armour) is lance-proof is not the question, though. Even the very best armour still has its "chinks", and it's hitting those places where the armour is not, or where it's thinnest, was the object of the exercise. In fact Puvinel in 1623 was still advising young men to work at hitting VERY small objects with the lance, that they might aim for, and hit, the eye-slots of their enemy's helmet. Even if you didn't get inside, the resultant hit on a helmet is pretty punishing, as Rod can well attest! (So can some of his opposing jousters! Big Grin )

So indeed, the FIRST choice of the Knight when mounted was the Lance. It has range, power, and effectiveness that also takes into account the speed and power of the horse. All of the other weapons of the Age of Chivalry were secondary, for the melèe.

Allons!

Gordon

PS. Rod; I've got to get myself an arrèt one of these days! I feel so unfashionable! Eek!

Big Grin

"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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Cor Böhms




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Dec, 2006 1:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The jousting lance was NEVER used on the battlefield. It would make a slow and not very effective
weapon. There was an other lance, more like a spear, with a steel spearpoint blade in use in the later Middle-
Ages. This was a much lighter and quicker weapon.

Audacia magia est
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Dec, 2006 1:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are quotations from Italian sources of the 14th or 15th century stating that German knights were not as skilled wih the lance as Italian ones, so they tended to rely on other weapons like swords or maces. The source also states that compensate for this the German knights usually deployed in more massive formations, forming deep wedges that included some mounted crossbowmen among their numbers. What they lacked in individual skill they made up in collective shock power.

Now I wish I can track down that source. I read the English translation, so there must be one available on the Web.
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Rod Walker




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Dec, 2006 1:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cor Böhms wrote:
The jousting lance was NEVER used on the battlefield. It would make a slow and not very effective
weapon. There was an other lance, more like a spear, with a steel spearpoint blade in use in the later Middle-
Ages. This was a much lighter and quicker weapon.


Umm, not exactly. I can quite happily show you multitudes of manuscripts depicting thin straight sided lances used in war and joust ,as well as heavy looking tapered lances used in war and joust.

It doesn't matter how light and quick a lance is, you are not using it like the later Napoleonic lancers would. It is being used as a shock weapon, hence the use of arrets and grapers. You lock the lance into your arret to remove the shock from your hand and wrist and transfer it to your breastplate.

Check out the Rout of San Romano by Paolo Uccello C1450, there is some big chunky looking lances being used there.

I have used all sorts of different shaped lances on horseback and in authentic harness against stationery solid targets (up to 300kg) and against other mounted armoured men and armoured infantry and can say that pretty much all lance designs do the same job, heavy, light, thick, thin etc.

Cheers

Rod
Jouster
www.jousting.com.au

"Come! Let us lay a lance in rest,
And tilt at windmills under a wild sky!
For who would live so petty and unblessed
That dare not tilt at something, ere he die?"
--Errantry, John Galsworthy
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Cor Böhms




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Dec, 2006 4:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In reenacting the lance looks like a good weapon, but in the melee of a medieval battlefield, where the "Knights" were
by far outnumbered by ,not noble, "Men at arms", mounted and footmen, the broad jousting lance would be a 'one change weapon'.
Most documents about medieval battles were written centuries after the fight took place and by that means also not that
accurate. That goes also for the heraldry at that time ( my profession). It also has a lot to do with the renewed and romanticist interest for the Middle-Ages, that came in to existence in the romantic period of the works of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
He painted a romantic view on the Middle-Ages (Lady of the Lake,1810; Ivanhoe 1820 etc.) In real life, it were hard times that had only little to do with 'chivalry' and other noble virtues, but more with greediness and the hunger for power.Mostly
at the cost of the poor peoples lives.
Also on the battlefield. There was no ' fair play' ,based on "The noble art of jousting".

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William Knight




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Dec, 2006 6:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not expert, but I'm leary of basing any general judgements either on potentially chauvinistic sources of one nationality speaking about another or on the bitter whingings of some writer who believes that his generation is the least martial and noble blah blah blah.
Also, do sources mention breaking lances in -battle- or is this in reference to tournaments? Could it be a trope carried over from tournament literature.
Granted he is biased against the tradition of romances and rather late, and not an expert, but in Gargantua Rabelais mocks those who make much of breaking lances upon enemies, and observes that one should rather break one's enemies upon one's lance.
-Wilhelm
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Dec, 2006 7:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Biased as it may be, it is a primary source reference.

(And I'm still looking for the place where I found teh quote in the first place.)
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Dec, 2006 9:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cor Böhms wrote:
In reenacting the lance looks like a good weapon, but in the melee of a medieval battlefield, where the "Knights" were
by far outnumbered by ,not noble, "Men at arms", mounted and footmen, the broad jousting lance would be a 'one change weapon'.
Most documents about medieval battles were written centuries after the fight took place and by that means also not that
accurate. That goes also for the heraldry at that time ( my profession). It also has a lot to do with the renewed and romanticist interest for the Middle-Ages, that came in to existence in the romantic period of the works of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
He painted a romantic view on the Middle-Ages (Lady of the Lake,1810; Ivanhoe 1820 etc.) In real life, it were hard times that had only little to do with 'chivalry' and other noble virtues, but more with greediness and the hunger for power.Mostly
at the cost of the poor peoples lives.
Also on the battlefield. There was no ' fair play' ,based on "The noble art of jousting".


Um, Cor, I believe that Rod knows absolutely of what he speaks, not simply from a reenactor standpoint, but from a strong historical research standpoint as well. Not from later-day Romances, or secondary sources, but from the original documents done at the time. I don't believe that Froissart was writing long after the fact of the Hundred Years War engagements, nor was Sir Roger Williams writing from second hand discussions of the 80-Years War. Both men were there, and experienced the actions they speak of, as did scores of other soldiers and warriors such as Bayard, Tavannes, and de Joinville.

With that background, let me repeat pretty much what Rod said: the heavy lance WAS used, and used almost exclusively, by Knights and hommes d'armes in the 15th and 16th Centuries. Indeed, the smaller "spear" was used by horsemen from ancient times, through to the early Middle-ages, and then again by European Cavalry during the Age of Napoleon (being brought back with his Polish Lancers). Whether they were Heavy or Light Cavalry depends upon the era of which you speak, as the same thing was accounted at a different level at different times. The Heavy Lance used in the Joust of Peace resembles in almost all ways the Lance of War, other than for the sharp point of the latter. They are often fluted or even hollowed out for lightness, and for the very ability to break on contact (heavy contact, that is). As pointed out, you WANT the lance to break, be it in your opponent, or on his breastplate.

You are absolutely correct in that the Lance is a "one shot weapon" (see above). No question about it. That's why the Squires and Pages in the rear areas carried spares, so that the Knight or homme d'armes could return from the fray, and acquire a fresh lance for another charge. Melèe's may have been somewhat useful on occasion against other armoured horsemen, however against Infantry, and usually against othe Cavalry, it was the shock action of the charge that won the day, not mixing it up one-on-one á la Hollywood.

I don't think that anyone has suggested that the time under discussion was other than a rather brutal era. We may have some romantic images associated with it, but not to the point of wishful thinking, I believe.

Cheers,

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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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Dec, 2006 10:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And violence is an inherent feature (indeed, a core value) of medieval chivalry.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Dec, 2006 10:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's important to note that lighter lances weren't one-shot weapons at all. If they had been, the Spanish wouldn't have gotten anywhere in the New World without piles and piles of them.
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Cor Böhms




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Dec, 2006 12:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gordon Frye wrote:

You are absolutely correct in that the Lance is a "one shot weapon" (see above). No question about it. That's why the Squires and Pages in the rear areas carried spares, so that the Knight or homme d'armes could return from the fray, and acquire a fresh lance for another charge. Melèe's may have been somewhat useful on occasion against other armoured horsemen, however against Infantry, and usually against othe Cavalry, it was the shock action of the charge that won the day, not mixing it up one-on-one á la Hollywood.
Gordon


Uhm, Gordon,
You are right that it was the shock action of the charge, but it was not only a matter of shock action ,I think. You can do that at the first encounter. The picture of a Knight charging with his lance time after time and collecting a new one (when it is broken) from his squire or page (who would be left unatact by the enemy?) looks to me more á la Hollywood than a one to one fight . I was not there at the time, but than again , were you? Even in the Medieval documents there was a strong tendency to romanticize the chivalry and courage of the Knights. I do believe in the power of a Knight in full armour on the battlefield, but not in the role of the broad jousting lance in the battle after the first charge. May I remind you on the "Battle
of the golden spurrs", Kortrijk, Belgium 1302, An army of farmers and civil militians defeated there an army of 2000 French
Knights and collected 500 golden spurrs from the dead Knights from the battlefield. No Hollywood scenes there.

Best regards,
Cor

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Addison C. de Lisle




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Dec, 2006 2:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cor Böhms wrote:
An army of farmers and civil militians defeated there an army of 2000 French
Knights and collected 500 golden spurrs from the dead Knights from the battlefield. No Hollywood scenes there.


Do you have the tally of peasant deaths?

Also I'm not a moderator, but can we keep this civil please?

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Rod Walker




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Dec, 2006 2:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Cors, I am not exactly sure what you are discussing here.

I can assure you that we are not basing our observations on anything to do with 'Hollywood' here, but rather on research and sound practical usage of the weapons, harness and tactics of the period.

You seem to think that there is a distinct difference between a 'jousting' lance and a war lance/spear. Up until the late 15th/early 16thC there is no difference that we are aware of. As I stated earlier, they used heavy tapered lances and thinner spear like lances for both war and joust. In fact the word 'spear' is interchangable with lance and could be used to refer to pretty much any long shaft with a steel head on it.

It was also common practice from the 12thC at least for your squire to carry extra lances for his knight, to guard his knights spare mounts (if any) and to extricate his knight from the press of battle if wounded.

I am sure Gordon can provide you with numerous period references to knights charging into battle and returning to their own lines for fresh lances. Please see the Gendarme thread for more info. http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=8498

Quote:
May I remind you on the "Battle
of the golden spurrs", Kortrijk, Belgium 1302, An army of farmers and civil militians defeated there an army of 2000 French
Knights and collected 500 golden spurrs from the dead Knights from the battlefield. No Hollywood scenes there


Again you are confusing me. We didn't bring Hollywood into this, you did.
The French chivalry fought this battle dis-mounted over marshy ground strewn with obstacles that bogged them down and negated their armour making them easy prey for their lighter (unarmoured) opponents. A perfect use of tactics to give the upper hand to those that never could have prevailed in a stand up fight. I don't see your point in bringing this up, we were discussing the use of the lance not battles where knights were defeated by infantry. I am well aware of the limitations of knightly cavalry, Crecy, Poitiers and Agincourt being the most famous and well known I suppose. But as I said we are straying from the original question.

Quote:
It's important to note that lighter lances weren't one-shot weapons at all. If they had been, the Spanish wouldn't have gotten anywhere in the New World without piles and piles of them


Hi Benjamin, I would say that they aren't being used as a shock weapon against armoured infantry or cavalry. Rather they are being used like lancers, thrust, withdraw, move on.
This is Gordons area of expertise, over to you Gordon Big Grin

Cheers

Rod
Jouster
www.jousting.com.au

"Come! Let us lay a lance in rest,
And tilt at windmills under a wild sky!
For who would live so petty and unblessed
That dare not tilt at something, ere he die?"
--Errantry, John Galsworthy
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