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Guilherme Dias Ferreira S




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PostPosted: Sat 03 Feb, 2007 12:38 pm    Post subject: shield efficiency         Reply with quote

Is the shield (a regular medieval one) effective against axes, maces and other weapons that concentrate the blow energy in a small area?
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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Sat 03 Feb, 2007 2:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the question is "how is a shield effective against these weapons?". If you slap your shield into a block with a sweeping motion (like opening and closing a door) that strikes the weapon from the side with the edge or face of the shield rather than directly opposing the angle of attack the shield can stand up to almost any blow--even from a powerful, heavy pole weapon. If you interpose it directly into the path of the attack then the shield will fail much sooner.
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Steven H




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PostPosted: Sat 03 Feb, 2007 4:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I second Hugh.

Plenty of artwork shows shields being used melee held in a way that facilitates this approach. Typically the shield is held with the edge (and fist of the wielder) pointed at the opponents opposite shoulder. This makes the shield cross the body at a shallow angle to the line of attack. The only way for an attacker to directly attack the shield is to not attack the wielder, but that would be pointless.

On the other hand, Medieval shields clearly didn't stand up well to multiple hits. In the Viking era at least shields were disposable. A man showing up for a duel was to bring three shields and expect to go home with none, even if he won. Some of these shields were only 6mm thick.

The above is true primarily for flat or nearly flat shield styles. Deeply curved shields have some distinct differences.

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Stephen Hand




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PostPosted: Sat 03 Feb, 2007 7:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

But if you slap your shield into a block, or indeed move it to meet the incoming blow in any other fashion you are creating a massive tempo which your opponent can exploit. This is the basis of just about all the re-enactment combat that I have ever seen and unfortunately for those who've invested time and effort into such styles flies in the face of all available evidence for how large shields were actually used. If someone attacks the shield you simply place your shield edge into their bicep or armpit (moving your body to achieve this, not your shield - and incidentally intercepting the attacker's tempo as you do so). This effectively ends the fight.

For more information on the available evidence for how shields were used, please consult my two papers on the subject, the first in Spada: An Anthology of Swordsmanship and the second in (you guesed it) Spada II, both publications from Chivalry Bookshelf.

Cheers
Stephen

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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Sat 03 Feb, 2007 7:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Hand wrote:
But if you slap your shield into a block, or indeed move it to meet the incoming blow in any other fashion you are creating a massive tempo which your opponent can exploit. This is the basis of just about all the re-enactment combat that I have ever seen and unfortunately for those who've invested time and effort into such styles flies in the face of all available evidence for how large shields were actually used. If someone attacks the shield you simply place your shield edge into their bicep or armpit (moving your body to achieve this, not your shield - and incidentally intercepting the attacker's tempo as you do so). This effectively ends the fight.

For more information on the available evidence for how shields were used, please consult my two papers on the subject, the first in Spada: An Anthology of Swordsmanship and the second in (you guesed it) Spada II, both publications from Chivalry Bookshelf.

Cheers
Stephen


I did look at your article, Stephen (well, the first one). Look on p. 80 of Spada I: fig. 26 clearly shows the fencer on the right slapping the halberd to the outside with the flat of his shield so he can attack, *exactly* as I said. In fig. 25 we see the same thing being done against a thrust. We see it again against an axe in fig. 43. We also see it in the picture I'll attach to this post since it's one you don't seem to have yet.

Moreover, in all the primary-source pictures included in your Spada I article only one even vaguely looks like the fencer defends by striking his opponent's body to defend against an attack, and in that one he's pressing against the outside of the arm (fig. 23), not the bicep or the armpit. And the DiGrassi text right beside that picture (pp. 81-82) says to defend against a "thrust of the high ward" by beating off his target with your own; again, nothing about the bicep or underarm.

So while your proposed defense may work in certain circumstances against an opponent who is unable to outtime your body with his hand (and there are certainly people that slow, it's true), it's hardly the most common defense the iconography shows, nor is it that easy to do against someone skilled.

You were closer to being correct when you wrote of "outside" and "inside" wards--for these are exactly the blocks I recommended in my post. Slapping your shield open blocks with the flat of your shield, pulling it back to your right blocks with the edge of the shield. Combine these actions with footwork that gives you a good place (meaning your opponent has trouble hitting you there, usually on his outside corner) along with a good sword technique that works well around your shield and you have the basis for excellent sword and shield combat with a strapped shield--and all without resorting to a backhanded slap at reenactors.



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Stephen Hand




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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 12:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sigh, did you read the paper? It would appear not. Looking at the artwork it could be interpreted as the shield being moved to slap away attacks. However, as I point out ALL of the fencing manuals that deal with shields tell you not to do this. They tell you to move your body around the shield, not the shield around the body. Moving the shield creates a tempo, a window of time that can be exploited by an opponent. This is why when using heavier swords, and shields, even the lightest of which are twice the weight of any single handed sword, many historical combat systems emphasise moving the body around the sword or shield, not the sword or shield around the body as might seem logical to modern people who have never had to fight with a sword.

Then I looked at historical images and lo and behold they appear to show identical stances and in some cases techniques to those we see in the manuals. But of course these are still images without any commentary and so debate is possible about exactly how the people arrived at the positions we see them in. Yes, we could assume that these images are showing techniques contrary to every sword and shield text ever written OR we could assume that they are showing the techniques from the manuals that they so closely resemble. What do you honestly believe is more likely?

I am not taking a slap at all re-enactors. I've been a re-enactor for 28 years and for most of those used a shield in a made up style which sounds very much like the one you're suggesting. I AM taking a slap at people who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo and who won't entertain new research when it appears. For some inexplicable reason, many of the same people who are keenest to embrace the latest research on clothing, arms and armour look on the latest research into combat techniques with disdain. I have had many people tell me that the styles they made up in the 80s or 90s have a better chance of being accurate than the documented style that I discuss in my papers. When we had no evidence as to how shields were used we made it up and that's fine. We got it wrong - all of us. Everyone I've ever met or seen who has described a modern made up style of sword and shield use, myself included got it wrong. We have evidence for how large shields were used in the 15th and 16th centuries. Iconic evidence from earlier periods suggests that the material in the 16th and 17th century manuals wasn't new, that shields had been used that way for centuries, even millenia.

Shields were used by moving the body around them so that lines of attack are closed. We have plenty of evidence that this was the case, direct evidence from the 15th and 16th centuries and circumstantial evidence from earlier periods. The historical method of shield use is massively superior to any made up style that I have ever seen. Are you honestly suggesting that the historical images you refer to are more likely to be showing a style made up by modern people who have never been in a fight or even seen a real fight with swords than a style described in historical fencing manuals?

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George Hill




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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 1:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen,

I have no arguements at all against the style you describe, however I would very much like more pictures, in particular ones takens from above, (If possible) showing the movement around the shield, so I may better understand it.

Video (espeically from above) would also be most welcome. (I've seen the Hurstwic videos, do you agree with them, or take any exception to their technique?)

Thank you,

George

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 7:42 am    Post subject: Re: shield efficiency         Reply with quote

Guilherme Dias Ferreira S wrote:
Is the shield (a regular medieval one) effective against axes, maces and other weapons that concentrate the blow energy in a small area?


I'd say yes.
Striking AT the shield has little purpose; Even if you manage to make a hole in it, it will most likely not give you a decicive advantage.
the chances that your opponent delivers a counterstrike is also conciderable.

However, striking over the top of a shield, axes have an advantage, if nothing else because the axehead can stil hit you even if the shaft is blocked.
This is of course made up for by the versitality of the sword. Axes and maces are only efficient when used at full swing at a propper distance, while swords can be used at almost all ranges and angles (when facing a unarmoured man, of course.)
The shield will, of course, still give protection; the impact will be significantly dampend, as compared to if it had not been blocked at all.

"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."
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 9:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen,
Please watch your tone. Sighs and somewhat snide questions don't strengthen any arguments. Thank you.

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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 11:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen, I will definatly have to take a look at that book now. I've been wondering if my hypothesis about moving the body around the shield and not the other way around was correct, as it had always made more sense to me.

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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 4:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Hand wrote:
Sigh, did you read the paper?


Yes, Stephen, I did, and with resepct, I found it unconvincing. You connect unarmored sources with armored hypotheses--exactly the sort of error I find in a lot of WMA enthusiasts who have do reenactment, if I may say so without it sounding like I'm trying to slap at you the way you did reenactors (which I'm not), and you compare big, heavy shields with light, fast ones as if they'd make no difference.

The simple fact is that shields are slow and the body is slower. The sword is faster, and by moving into contact with your shield against someone you put yourself at a huge timing disadvantage. One of the best tricks you can do is to attack with your sword in a way that causes your opponent to move his body and/or shield in one way, then change the arc of your attack to hit him (which has to be pre-planned, by the way; it's very hard to do hard enough to make a telling blow when you decide to change it mid-swing--much as in the feint with a longsword in Ringeck where you start a cut to Ochs but change it to Pflug on the opposite side when you lure your opponent into blocking). And by moving in the time of the hand, body and foot you are *always* going to be faster than someone who has to close to you to get his shield against you.

You may be right with huge Viking center-grip rounds or with the Talhoffer deulling shields, but not with light shields on enarmes.

Quote:
Looking at the artwork it could be interpreted as the shield being moved to slap away attacks. However, as I point out ALL of the fencing manuals that deal with shields tell you not to do this.


I'm sorry, but, again, with respect, there are *no* sword and shield manuals that deal with armored combat, and every *othr* source says armored and unarmored combat are completely different.

Quote:
They tell you to move your body around the shield, not the shield around the body. Moving the shield creates a tempo, a window of time that can be exploited by an opponent. This is why when using heavier swords, and shields, even the lightest of which are twice the weight of any single handed sword, many historical combat systems emphasise moving the body around the sword or shield, not the sword or shield around the body as might seem logical to modern people who have never had to fight with a sword.


The weight of heavy Viking shields might be an issue, but not that of lighter heater-style shields. There the difference simply isn't that much of an issue. Moreover, the original poster didn't ask about light swords, he asked about maces, axes etc., many of which are heavier than a shield. Moreover, I specifically wrote about halberds (like the one pictured in your book), and it's *easy* to outtime one of those even with a moderately heavy shield.

Quote:
Then I looked at historical images and lo and behold they appear to show identical stances and in some cases techniques to those we see in the manuals. But of course these are still images without any commentary and so debate is possible about exactly how the people arrived at the positions we see them in. Yes, we could assume that these images are showing techniques contrary to every sword and shield text ever written OR we could assume that they are showing the techniques from the manuals that they so closely resemble. What do you honestly believe is more likely?


I believe they're talking about apples and oranges. Harnischfechten is *radically* different from Blossfechten. Just as one example of how, a fairly light slice with a sword to your leg will do damage when it's not armored, whereas even the heaviest blow will have relatively little effect agaisnt a plate cuisse. Likewise with blows to the head. Therefore you can't make delicate, mincing little slices with a sword to a target protected by plate, you have to make a powerful, committed swing in the hopes of causing concussion damage. That makes for *radically* different sword usage. Likewise, body movements when wearing full armor (and through all of this I'm speaking of complete Transitional armor, by the way, since that's the period when small, light heater shields were used against men in more or less full plate) must be very different than can be done when you're unarmored as DiGrassi or even Talhoffer writes about.

Quote:
Are you honestly suggesting that the historical images you refer to are more likely to be showing a style made up by modern people who have never been in a fight or even seen a real fight with swords than a style described in historical fencing manuals?


No, I'm saying that books abut Blossfechten don't teach us anything at all about Harnischfechten and that the historical images I've seen mesh very closely with the way I envision shields being used in Harnischfechten. Oh, and I'm saying I have yet to see a single picture anywhere that shows armored figures using shields by pressing them to the arm or underarm the way you described in your first post. Instead, I see swords in contact with shields (well, or with their targets, but that doesn't tell us anything).

Once again, however, let me temper all of that by saying I'm referring to shields with enarmes of the heater style. The center grip rounds which you wrote about in your Spada I article were fairly heavy and were center grips--a far different sort of animal. Moreover, armor was much less comprehensive in that period, and that may have created a need for a more Blossfechten sort of approach.

By the way, my reply to you was, as this one is, respectful and polite. I consider your tone impolite and dismissive. Even if you are right and I am wrong I'm hardly saying "Well, duh, we do it this way in our fantasy sword play club so it must be right!". and therefore do not deserve your scorn.

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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 7:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hugh Knight wrote:

By the way, my reply to you was, as this one is, respectful and polite. I consider your tone impolite and dismissive. Even if you are right and I am wrong I'm hardly saying "Well, duh, we do it this way in our fantasy sword play club so it must be right!". and therefore do not deserve your scorn.


Hugh,
This is no more appropriate than Stephen's post. This not-so-veiled tone and attitude is not welcome here. Disagreement is fine but everyone here must conduct themselves with civility.

Further, it is not your place to comment on another poster's behavior. That is reserved for the Moderators.

Happy

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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 8:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hugh, I was under the impression that there where manuals that show some techniques in harness, but none that show heatershield techniques?

Additionally, what is Blossfechten?

M.
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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 10:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
Hugh, I was under the impression that there where manuals that show some techniques in harness, but none that show heatershield techniques?

Additionally, what is Blossfechten?

M.


There are lots of manuals that show armored combat or "Harnischfechten", but none of them show any combat with swords & shields. Not a single one. The forms of combat taught in armor are spear, halfsword, dagger, pollaxe and grappling. That's all. There are at least two manuals that show combat with a kind of shield called an encranche, the Wallerstein Codex and Gladiatoria, but neither of them show any sword and shield combat--they're using the shields in conjunction with spears as if you'd just gotten off your horse (and not even that last long) as in this picture: http://www.thehaca.com/Manuals/Gladiatoria/13.jpg.
In addition, there's one picture in Talhoffer's Alte Armatur und Ringkunst that shows a fight with shields and swords, but it isn't a "technique" per se--it's actually in the introductory text material and not in the section of the book actually dealing with techniques. I'm in the process of translating this book now, but I've only done the actual techniques, not the earlier material (whcih mostly deals with war machines). The picture can be seen here: http://img.kb.dk/ha/manus/th290/kamp0076.jpg
As you can see, they're fighting halfsword and the shields are only slung on their backs by the guige, so this picture is hardly relevent to this discussion, but I present it here for completeness sake. The text says:
"Merck wo die sunn dem gold oder liechten glantze harnasch nach gaut so sol der schilt vor gan also über windet ain manlicher vechter sinen veyent mit der sunnen hilff der sunnen glantz un dem gold oder in dem liechten schöne | harnasch sendet gemist dar uß in der veyent ougen "

As for Blossfechten, most authorities break combat down into three categories: Harnischfechten, Blossfechten and Rossfechten. In English they are, respectively, "fighting in harness", "open fighting", and "mounted fighting". Blossfechten means to fight out of armor and usually includes longswords, sword & buckler, dagger and grappling. It can also be said to include Talhoffer's large dueling shields, but they are used with no armor at all, and aren't handled like you'd handle a small heat in fully-armored sword & shield combat. This is because shields became very small, light and maneuverable when armor became so good they weren't needed as much. This happened during the 14th century, often called the Age of Transition because armor was changing from the period of all mail to all plate. We have only two fighting manuals from this period, I.33 and the so-called Doebring Hausbuch (MS3227a). I.33 is entirely unarmored sword and buckler, and so has nothing whatsoever to do with sword & shield in armor, and the parts of the Doebringer Haubuch we have in translation refer only to Blossfechten with longswords. There is another section of the Doebringer Hausbuch that includes armored combat, but to this point it is unpublished; moreover, from hints in the part we do have and from things recorded by later "Liechtenauer Society" masters (e.g., Ringeck), it seems pretty clear the part we don't have yet talked only about spear and halfsword and dagger (and maybe wrestling)--certainly no shield play.

Finally, all the authorities clearly show that Blossfechten and Harnischfechten are two very different animals. For one thing, one of the primary kinds of sword attacks, the Schnitt or slice, simply can't be done in armor. For another, the plates in armor can't be pierced with a thrust which means that only the gaps can be attacked that way. Finally, the blows of the sword can't chop flesh as they do in Blossfechten, so they can only be used as heavy, percussive attacks designed to stun or break bones where armor might be weak. This calls for a sword to be swung in an entirely different manner than you would in Blossfechten. Later masters (e.g., Ringeck) say that those who swing such heavy blows with swords in Harnischfechten "know nothing of the art", but the iconography is clear that this was done in the period under discussion here.

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Hugh
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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 10:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Hugh Knight wrote:

By the way, my reply to you was, as this one is, respectful and polite. I consider your tone impolite and dismissive. Even if you are right and I am wrong I'm hardly saying "Well, duh, we do it this way in our fantasy sword play club so it must be right!". and therefore do not deserve your scorn.


Hugh,
This is no more appropriate than Stephen's post. This not-so-veiled tone and attitude is not welcome here. Disagreement is fine but everyone here must conduct themselves with civility.

Further, it is not your place to comment on another poster's behavior. That is reserved for the Moderators.


Sorry, but my post, to include the sentences you quote above, was polite and respectful. Nothing I said could be taken as a slap or slight at Stephen. I will not, however, be talked down to when I've said nothing foolish or ignorant. All I did was reprove him for his ungentlemanly post in a polite, respectful way. Can you explain what about that post was in any way uncivil? If there's something I missed, some unintentioned slight, I will apologize immediately.

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Hugh
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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 10:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hugh Knight wrote:
Sorry, but my post, to include the sentences you quote above, was polite and respectful. Nothing I said could be taken as a slap or slight at Stephen. I will not, however, be talked down to when I've said nothing foolish or ignorant. All I did was reprove him for his ungentlemanly post in a polite, respectful way. Can you explain what about that post was in any way uncivil? If there's something I missed, some unintentioned slight, I will apologize immediately.


Hugh, should you have questions of this nature, it is to be taken up in private with the moderator or the person with whom you have an issue. When you are asked to do something by a moderator you are not to debate about it in public. This entire line of conversation is outside the scope of this forum and even off-topic for the "off-topic" forum. I'll expect to see no further public discussion of this and will instead look forward to having this topic get back on track.

Thank you.

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PostPosted: Mon 05 Feb, 2007 3:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I apologise for getting frustrated earlier, but it's hard to see my published work being misunderstood and misrepresented.

If I could rewrite my original Spada paper I would do two things. I would get rid of my speculation that Inside Ward can be used as an initial ward at the start of a fight and more importantly I would put greater emphasis on the 16th century rotella sources. These sources show and describe roughly two to two and a half foot enarmed (strapped) round shields being used almost identically to the way Talhoffer and others show the roughly six foot by two foot centre grip duelling shields being used. The body is moved around the shield which is rotated and used to close lines of attack. So, in other words shields not much larger than 14th century heaters and held the same way were described and shown being used the same way as much larger shields. By the way, Viking shields were very thin and surprisingly light. Another problem with re-enactment combat that I've seen is that people are hesitant to make shields as light as they were because the shields don't last long. Historically it seems people looked at shields much as we might look at an airbag in a car, as something that they didn't mind seeing destroyed if it meant they were still alive.

The whole point of rotating the shield in place is that it can be done exceptionally quickly, negating the sort of redirections that Hugh describes and that I and thousands of others used with great effect against people who moved the shield to meet the attack when we knew no better.

Yes, Harnisfechten and Blossfechten (literally shirt fighting - the English word Blouse is a cognate of the German word Bloss) are quite different. I would expect to see as time goes on, interesting differences in shield use discovered. However, I am certain that these differences will not be at the fundamental level suggested by Hugh. The difference between stepping off line and rotating the shield to close the line, and moving the shield to meet an attack is immense. Now that we have published material on how shields were actually used, the idea of moving any shield larger than a buckler to meet an incoming attack should offend anyone with the most rudimentary understanding of tempo. Examples of swords being used in the same way, remaining essentially stationary while the body moves around the sword, abound in early fencing works. Look at the Zwerchau. It is essentially a transition from Vom Tag to Ochs and as such requires the hands to rotate about two to three inches (5-7.5cm) while the body moves around the sword. Yet it is an exceptionally powerful cut. It is fast because the sword hands move hardly at all. Is the Zwerchau easy to redirect around? No. And neither are the similar actions with shields where the hand barely moves in the course of the defence.

The system of sword and shield use that I outline in my two papers fits perfectly with late medieval and renaissance fencing theory. Moving the shield to intercept blows does not. Images of shield use from periods before the historical manuals are perfectly in keeping with the principles outlined in those manuals. While it is certain that each unique shield type will conceal its own secrets and subtleties, any hypothesis that shields were used radically differently to the documented way must provide some degree of evidence to support it. At very least the alternative system must utilise the principles of fencing laid down in early works (as indeed the historical system does).

Hugh, to date you have attacked my interpretation but provided no alternative except broad suggestions to slap away attacks with the shield face and edge. This is in effect the equivalent of the simple parries that Lichtenauer and his followers expended so much ink warning against. The presence of harness may change many things but it does not alter the fundamental laws of tempo and measure. If you have any positive evidence to support your interpretation then please present it for scrutiny as I have.

Sincerely
Stephen

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PostPosted: Mon 05 Feb, 2007 6:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen's approach is quite interesting, and I'll certainly try it out.
However, it is clearly a mode of fighting suited for dueling, but not for the field. Practically, you are focusing your defence on a single opponent, which, in a larger fight, means that you are going to be turned into swis cheese by the opponent's spears and polearms.

As such, while certainly relevant, it's hardly the end-all of shield combat, nor can one conclude with certainty that ALL shield combat was conducted like this.
Shields are primarly a field weapon, and as such its usage would vary greatly, depending on the level of training of the troops, the nature of the engagement, and so on.

"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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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Mon 05 Feb, 2007 7:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hugh,
Thanks for clearing up the meaning of Blossfechten and Rossfechten for me. I had extrapolated from the talk of "harness" that Harnischfechten was armoured fighting, but as I do not speak German the other two where a trouble.

General question: With all the one-upping going on between Stephen and Hugh, I'd like to ask if bucklers are shields moved to |intercept| an incoming blow? We've established that larger shileds are held to the body and are used to "remove" that area as a target. I am guessing these larger shields are brought to defence by keeping it to you and moving the body to bring the shiled protected side into the direction of the blow?

M.
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Michael S. Rivet





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PostPosted: Mon 05 Feb, 2007 8:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elling Polden wrote:
Stephen's approach is quite interesting, and I'll certainly try it out.
However, it is clearly a mode of fighting suited for dueling, but not for the field. Practically, you are focusing your defence on a single opponent, which, in a larger fight, means that you are going to be turned into swis cheese by the opponent's spears and polearms.


And yet pretty much all of the manuscripts (translations thereof) I've read assume a single target (at a time at any rate) and plenty of room to maneuver and use footwork. You'd assume that none of that could be taken for granted on the battlefield, but that would seem to relegate a vast amount of surviving technique to "duel conditions only." Perhaps that is the case. I don't see Leichtnauer confessing to that, nor any of his followers, though. I'd be interested in hearing (reading) a comment from Stephen's regarding shield technique on the medieval battlefield before restricting his research to duelling conditions.
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