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Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
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PostPosted: Sat 13 May, 2017 8:42 am    Post subject: Dutch Rodeleros and related questions         Reply with quote



I find this in a group of HEMA, when some people were saying such dutch sword-and-targe soldiers are product of spanish influence in the Netherlands, but I don't remember of any reference of them in battles or even as bodyguards. One was claiming that such soldiers were used under Nassau's wars against Spain, and although I actually have seen such style of helmet among modern dutch helmets, I don't know if they already existed by 16th century, so I would like to know your opinions.

Observation: Nassau was greatly influence by Machiavelli's work in warfare, where he defended the revival of sword-and-shield infantrymen the romans used. So it wouldn't be impossible if that was a real correlation. Check this image from late 16th century, for example:
https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/collection/RP-P-OB-9980

Another Observation: Due to Spanish influence, Portugal used rodeleros as well, they are greatly recorded in their wars in India and Thailand. For those who know portuguese, here is an article I translated:

Quote:
"Also here, after the extinction of the captains, naíques, espingardeiros (harquebusier or musketeer) and peões (ie. foot infantrymen) inherited from the pre-portuguese period, the military corps was extraordinarily increased in the time of the governor Fernão Teles de Meneses (1581).
[...]
Besides the captain and his close soldiers, were set places for 82 espingardeiros, 80 flecheiros (ie. archers or crossbowmen, probably the last one) and 83 rodeleiros (ie. portuguese for "rodeleros"), commanded by 5 naíques, resorting to local allied troops, in order to ease the shortages of men-at-arms.

Source: p. 146 from: https://run.unl.pt/bitstream/10362/9389/1/tese_andreteixeira.pdf

Some notes:

1. "Espingardeiro" was a generic term for any firearms employed soldier. It firstly meant a handgunner in 14-15th centuries, but also meant a harquebusier and probably musketeer as well.

2. Don't know that "naíque" means, but probably refers to some sort of officer in portuguese overseas' domains

3. "Flecheiros" would literally be translated as "arrow-er", but more specifically an archer or crossbowmen. Portuguese terminology is always confusing, since term like "besteiro", "archeiro" and "flecheiro" could equally means crossbowman, but "archeiro" and "flecheiro" meaning archer as well; english longbowman at Aljubarrota (1385) being refered as "archeiros ingleses", for the sake of example. Given to the ambigously usage, I prefered the term crossbowman because, since late medieval times, there are no known references to archers in Portugal, but only crossbowmen, since all the weapons of non-noble soldiers were usually kept in King's arsenals and the crossbow held great place in portuguese warfare. Although the crossbowmen were loosing space to the Espingardeiros in the end of 15th century (ie. handgunner of harquebusier), the text seens to indicate they never fade out to exist. If there is complainment about the use of native archers in the portuguse garrison, a reader must be aware that native troop were put under a different type of organization and typhology, so they wouldn't be recorded in the same place as the portuguese-born troops.



Since we are discussing this, I would also like to ask if it makes sense to say this: since sword-and-shield soldiers were firstly introduced by italians and then adopted by the aragonese, it's actually reliable to say that most of spanish rodeleros were actually aragonese? Or they became as much as popular in Castile as it was in Aragon?

Information I got in Ian Heath's book:
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Sat 13 May, 2017 9:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maurice of Nassau indeed fielded targetiers and pikers equipped with shields in the early 17th century. I posted some images from the 1625 English version of Adam Breen 1618 infantry manual. The dedicated targetiers in the 1625 manual look similar to the image you've got there.

As far as inspiration goes, I suspect it was a mixture of the longstanding Spanish (and general European) practice of using shields combined with belief in the efficacy of ancient Roman methods.

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Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
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To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
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Henry O.





Joined: 18 Jun 2016

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PostPosted: Sat 13 May, 2017 10:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I suspect the influence is more classical, Machiavelli, or general European practice than Spain specifically. English military writers from the second half of the 16th century tended to have quite a bit of enthusiasm for targeteers, usually citing the ancient Romans. Robert Barret wrote that while nothing could withstand a push of pike on an open plain, "best for the myne or breach is the Target of prooffe, short sword, and Pistoll" and recommended that 2 or 3 infantry per hundred should be armed that way. Sword and target also remained relatively popular weapons for captains or other officers.

For the most part using targeteers or not seems to be presented as a matter of preference. Tactically they perform more or less the same role as halberds, bills, longswords, and other "short weapons": Backing up the pike square if it is disrupted, pursuing and executing routing enemies, entering into buildings, mingling among the shot to protect them in a melee, etc.
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Sun 14 May, 2017 1:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Dutch Rondassiers are an intersting example of the difference between theory and practice.

"Rondassiers" could be found in units raised by the Dutch provinces before Maurice of Nassau, they appear in a number of musters from the 1570's and were never numerous, usually around 2-4 in a company with 3 being the most common number. They either took the place of the men with "greatswords" (slagszwaarden) or served alongside them.

Maurice and several other of the Dutch military reformers such as Johann von Nassau-Siegen were very interested in the used of Rondassiers and experimented not only with the common shot-proof steel target but also with the much larger shield seen in the image in the first post. These large square shields were not made to be shot proof and instead the Rondassier wore a modified version of the shot-proof armour used by cuirassiers.

If we look at the letters & documents that survive from the archives of Maurice and Johann one could easily believe that the Dutch were supposed to deploy Rondassiers in large numbers, particularly as a formal regulation for the drill used by the Rondassiers was published in 1618. But a look at the actual muster rolls show that the Rondassiers remained far and few between. The States General simply refused to introduce them in the numbers wanted by Maurice and the "heavy" Rondassier with square shield was probably never seen outside of Maurice's personal guard.

One probable reason for the refusal of the States General was the cost of the Rondassiers, the men were double-pay men and in all the musters I've seen they were invariably the best paid common soldiers. The equipment envisioned by Maurice was also expensive as shields, armour and pistols were all specialised and therefore expensive equipment.

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by a thousand unforseen circumstances, even when one has thorougly taken all
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Sun 14 May, 2017 3:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's useful to know. Commanders tended to want tons of expensive equipment when designing their ideal armies. Raimond de Fourquevaux, for example, specified some sort of armor for each and every soldier, if it were possible. In practice, this could be difficult to pull off. Similarly, commanders describing ideal armies tend to burden their soldiers with more weight than real soldiers usually wanted to bear.
Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Joined: 14 Mar 2015

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PostPosted: Wed 17 May, 2017 6:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Henry O. wrote:
English military writers from the second half of the 16th century tended to have quite a bit of enthusiasm for targeteers, usually citing the ancient Romans. Robert Barret wrote that while nothing could withstand a push of pike on an open plain, "best for the myne or breach is the Target of prooffe, short sword, and Pistoll" and recommended that 2 or 3 infantry per hundred should be armed that way. Sword and target also remained relatively popular weapons for captains or other officers.


Shield-and-sword armed infantry was also employed in England by that time?

Daniel Staberg wrote:
The Dutch Rondassiers are an intersting example of the difference between theory and practice.

"Rondassiers" could be found in units raised by the Dutch provinces before Maurice of Nassau, they appear in a number of musters from the 1570's and were never numerous, usually around 2-4 in a company with 3 being the most common number. They either took the place of the men with "greatswords" (slagszwaarden) or served alongside them.


Dutch companies were arranged in 400 men units? I didn't know the dutch also employed zweihander armed men among their infantry (those probably being more popular than rondassiers).

Quote:
One probable reason for the refusal of the States General was the cost of the Rondassiers, the men were double-pay men and in all the musters I've seen they were invariably the best paid common soldiers. The equipment envisioned by Maurice was also expensive as shields, armour and pistols were all specialised and therefore expensive equipment.


Do you know how old is such pratice of giving double pay to special infantry? I thought it was landsknecht stuff ...
Also, since fully armoured rondassier quite uncommon in dutch armies, what exactly was the most common (or minimum required equipment) for a regular rondassier? At least three quarter's munition armor?
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Henry O.





Joined: 18 Jun 2016

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PostPosted: Wed 17 May, 2017 11:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:

Shield-and-sword armed infantry was also employed in England by that time?


Yes, just probably not in very large numbers. Take for example this diagram of an English square from Thomas Styward's 1582 book which shows officers equipped with sword and target stationed in front of the formation:

http://imgur.com/a/AJ4Dc

The "B" positions in the center of the pike square could also be partially replaced by targeteers in theory. However the main source of headache for most Elizabethan tacticians was that they still had tons of outdated billmen that they had to put somewhere.

There are also quite a few accounts of metal or leather targets being used in the english colonies in the early 17th century. Targeteers armed with pistols were apparently more useful against the native american style of warfare than pikes and halberds were.
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Flavio P.




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PostPosted: Mon 22 May, 2017 9:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Henry O. wrote:
The "B" positions in the center of the pike square could also be partially replaced by targeteers in theory. However the main source of headache for most Elizabethan tacticians was that they still had tons of outdated billmen that they had to put somewhere.
.


They however did a great job at the Battle of Flodden.
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Henry O.





Joined: 18 Jun 2016

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PostPosted: Wed 24 May, 2017 10:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Flavio P. wrote:
They however did a great job at the Battle of Flodden.


That's true. But despite Flodden being seen as a decisive victory for the English bill over the continental pike, the attitude among english military men towards bills seems to have cooled dramatically during the second half of the 16th century. There was a broad agreement that England needed a much higher proportion of pikes, similar to other european armies, and many felt that it would be better to swap out the remaining bills for continental-style halberds or targets. According to Humphrey Barwick, the main reason for retaining the bill was just that it was more familiar and easier to learn for common folk than a halberd was.

In 1622, the remaining bills in the tower of london were lumped together with longbows and old coats of mail as being "unfitt for any moderne service here." About 1000 of them were then shipped overseas to the Jamestown colony, the thinking being that they would still be useful against the primitive arms of the american natives, but it isn't clear how much they were actually
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