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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,406

PostPosted: Thu 10 Aug, 2017 6:43 am    Post subject: early landsknechts vs late era landsknechts i.e 1510 vs 1600         Reply with quote

so, essentially im curious about how the landsknecht evolved over the course of the 16th century as it reached the 17th

for example how would their weapons, their armour have evolved, as i understand it they were actually fairly lightly armoured at one point compared to other nations pikemen,

other questions involve the numbers of say, halberdiers gunners and 2 handed swordsmen vs pikes

also regarding 2 handed swords how did they evolve over the period

also their clothing, when did theur distinct puss slashed clothing show up?

and lastly, from what i understand the landsknechts started to somewhat change WHO and what they were over time in terms of reputation, i believe becoming less effective and perhaps more stately
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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

Posts: 249

PostPosted: Fri 11 Aug, 2017 3:45 pm    Post subject: Re: early landsknechts vs late era landsknechts i.e 1510 vs         Reply with quote

First of all, I recommend reading these threads:
http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=33947

http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=33588&highlight=


William P wrote:
for example how would their weapons, their armour have evolved, as i understand it they were actually fairly lightly armoured at one point compared to other nations pikemen


That's something everyone, including me, get when they look for artistic evidence and historians or enthusiasts commenting about this. However, as you can see in one of these threads, Daniel Staberg suggested these artistic evidence can't be regarded as decisive evidence in the subject of how common armour was, since it's likely the painters or artists were focusing in Landsknecht complex dresses. Thing is, we have no sufficient information in that subject, then we have to trust more in speculation than in proper information.

At one hand, artistic evidence shouldn't be regarded as useless at all, specially because at the Battle of Stoke Field (1487) the landsknecht mercenaries suffered against the arrows of english longbowmen. George Gush in his Renaissance Armies use this as evidence of how the landsknecht were not well armoured by this date, but support that this changed by Charles V's time.

However, Dolstein has rich evidence for armoured landsknecht in his drawings. And although it isn't secure at all to say that "everyone was armoured because an artistic evidence said so", Dolstein says that Landsknecht in Scandinavia were well armoured against swedes' polearms.


I'm inclined to believe that Dolstein is refering more to the front-line men rather to all the soldiers. But given the small size of the landsknecht, it's not unlikely to believe that they were good armoured. We can draw a conclusion from this speculation: small and veteran-made armies, specially when they weren't recruited in disordered manner, were certainly a way more armoured than large armies composed mostly from first-travel newbies and people who couldn't afford armor. For the sake of example, there were situations when some swiss cantons brought thousands of soldiers who were described as poorly armoured, context being the defense of their Confederation. A famous lansknecht company, the Black Band, have its name due to the blackened armour they wore, and its likely they had plenty of them; black armor was usually munition-grade quality armor, i.e.: armour made to equip masses of soldiers; given that it's certain the Black Band was one of the best and better supplied companies of its time (the number of doppelsoldner supports that), it's plausible to speculate that the more veteran a company was, the better armoured they were.

Also, notice that we have munition cuirasses in Museums dated from Maximilian's late 15th century campaigns. He invested in his landsknecht thousands of munition-grade cuirasses. Although I don't know how common it was for employer or Obrist to supply recruited troops with armor, that's certainly a factor when talking about armour frequency.

I would say they were certainly less armoured compared to spanish, italian or netherlandish pikemen; less or perhaps as just as well armoured as the swiss (but I think it's likely for the latter one) and better armoured compared to scots (the armor they had at Flodden was supplied by the French, so they were not usually well armoured).

Quote:
also regarding 2 handed swords how did they evolve over the period


If you look at Paul Dolstein's drawings, which are dated from 1502 or 1506, no sort of two handed swords weren't into use by this date, something that Heath mentions when commenting about the Landsknecht in Armies of Middle Ages vol. 2. They mght have adopted it years latter, or perhaps a decade or two latter. By that time, two handers were known for at least these people:

1 - The swiss, as armoured swordsmen are represented in a late 15th century or early 16th century swiss manuscript. In fact the swiss seens to have liked all types of longswords since late 15th century, being used by crossbowmen, handgunners, pikemen and halberdiers alike; I don't remember the manuscript or the propper date, but it's certain that by Zwingli's time not only the longswords weren't into use, but also the zweihander was introduced (drawings from the Battle of Kappel shows one faction swiss using zweihanders to cut off the other's pikes). The swiss introduced two handers due to italian influence

2 - The Scots, since at least from late 15th century, both among lowlanders as to highlanders, their swords being distinctive to their location. In Flodden (1513) the scots arranged two-hander armed soldiers to protect the flanks of the schiltrons. It's relevant, however, that these tatics were probably an continental introduction, from the Swiss and the Germans. That makes me believe that zweihander were into landsknecht use by early 1510's at least.

3 - The spanish (portuguese included), because, as as far as the evidence goes, the very fist two handers we have all come from the Iberian Peninsula (check Oakeshott's book on the subject), and just then they started appearing in Italy. In Portugal, for example, "Estoque" meant longsword and "Montante" a two hander. Although none could properly say why it was in Spain this development, evidence is evidence.

4 - The danish, since we have examples of two handers dating by 1450's

I suggest a route were two handers started in Spain before going to Italy, where the swiss adopted by somewhere around 1470's; the landsknecht could get those from the swiss somewhere between late 1500's and early 1510's.

Quote:
also their clothing, when did theur distinct puss slashed clothing show up?


According to the "legend", the swiss create it by the Burgundian Wars against Charles the Bold. Landsknecht simply copied they style of dress.

Quote:
and lastly, from what i understand the landsknechts started to somewhat change WHO and what they were over time in terms of reputation, i believe becoming less effective and perhaps more stately


By the time of the War of Religion in 17th century. Pikemen didn't were such innovation and landsknecht lacked the disciplined to make them reliable[/quote]


Last edited by Pedro Paulo Gaião on Sat 12 Aug, 2017 4:50 am; edited 1 time in total
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Daniel Staberg




Location: Gothenburg/Sweden
Joined: 30 Apr 2005
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Posts: 539

PostPosted: Fri 11 Aug, 2017 11:45 pm    Post subject: Re: early landsknechts vs late era landsknechts i.e 1510 vs         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:


At one hand, artistic evidence shouldn't be regarded as useless at all, specially because at the Battle of Stoke Field (1487) the landsknecht mercenaries suffered against the arrows of english longbowmen. George Duby in his Renaissance Armies use this as evidence of how the landsknecht were not well armoured by this date, but support that this changed by Charles V's time.

I have found nothing about Stoke Field in the writings of Georges Duby, however English historian George Gush included such a claim in his original series of articles published in Airfix Magazine:
Quote:
" Armour seems to have been fairly rare at first (Lambert Simnel had some unarmoured Lansknecht pikemen who got badly shot up by the longbow at Stoke at 1487) but more widespread later; mail caps and shirts were favoured but wealthier individuals could wear plate corselets, with or without laminated 'skirt' or fauld. In a wargame unit, it would be realistic to have the front rank in corselets, the rest in mail or unarmoured."


However Gush removed that quote when he published the articles in a revised and updated form as a book in 1975. He was quite right to do so as there is nothing in the primary sources for Stoke Field that supports such a claim, it was the lighly equipped Irish who suffered from archery not the German & Swiss of Martin Schwarz who are described as well equipped with both arms & armour and as fighting long and hard in close combat.

It should be noted that Gush was not well read on German armies, his bibliography lists only 4 germans books, 2 about Wallenstein's army, one about the military border in Croatia and a single one about Landsknechts. All the rest of his information is taken from English language books many of which are well known for their poor treatment of for example the Landsknechts. A good example is the (in)famous Charles Oman who rewrote the history of the Italian Wars to hide the achivements of German troops in those wars as far as possible.

"There is nothing more hazardous than to venture a battle. One can lose it
by a thousand unforseen circumstances, even when one has thorougly taken all
precautions that the most perfect military skill allows for."
-Fieldmarshal Lennart Torstensson.
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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

Posts: 249

PostPosted: Sat 12 Aug, 2017 5:41 am    Post subject: Re: early landsknechts vs late era landsknechts i.e 1510 vs         Reply with quote

Daniel Staberg wrote:

I have found nothing about Stoke Field in the writings of Georges Duby, however English historian George Gush included such a claim in his original series of articles published in Airfix Magazine:

Quote:
" Armour seems to have been fairly rare at first (Lambert Simnel had some unarmoured Lansknecht pikemen who got badly shot up by the longbow at Stoke at 1487) but more widespread later; mail caps and shirts were favoured but wealthier individuals could wear plate corselets, with or without laminated 'skirt' or fauld. In a wargame unit, it would be realistic to have the front rank in corselets, the rest in mail or unarmoured."


However Gush removed that quote when he published the articles in a revised and updated form as a book in 1975. He was quite right to do so as there is nothing in the primary sources for Stoke Field that supports such a claim, it was the lighly equipped Irish who suffered from archery not the German & Swiss of Martin Schwarz who are described as well equipped with both arms & armour and as fighting long and hard in close combat.

It should be noted that Gush was not well read on German armies, his bibliography lists only 4 germans books, 2 about Wallenstein's army, one about the military border in Croatia and a single one about Landsknechts. All the rest of his information is taken from English language books many of which are well known for their poor treatment of for example the Landsknechts. A good example is the (in)famous Charles Oman who rewrote the history of the Italian Wars to hide the achivements of German troops in those wars as far as possible.


Sorry, I actually changed author's surname. I had read both the articles and the book, but didn't notice he removed this information in the latter. Martin Schwarz is the only primary source of the battle? The reference I got from the battle are all secondary, and none had mentioned the landsknecht being well equiped with armor. For sure, their were deeply engaged in hard meéle to the end, but that's partially (or mostly) because they were trapped and couldn't retreat from the field as the irish did early (don't know if landsknecht who fled were cut down by companions according to the swiss custom).

In G. W. Bernard's The Tudor Nobility (1992), he quotes a certain Jean Molinet (apparently a primary source) who says the german and the swiss corpses were "filled with arrows like hedgehogs" by the end of the battle (p. 92). That might look contradictory if we take Schwarz's statesment in account (he was an Obrist, right?); perhaps he wasn't refering to all the soldiers or simply meant to describe the men in the front ranks, who knows? Perhaps even his notion of armoured was the continental notion (half or three quarter harnesses) which wouldn't provide full protection against arrows' volley.
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Daniel Staberg




Location: Gothenburg/Sweden
Joined: 30 Apr 2005
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PostPosted: Sat 12 Aug, 2017 11:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Martin Schwarz/Schwartz was the leader of the German & Swiss troops in the Yorkist army, he was killed on the battlefield so did not not leave an account of the campaign and battle.

The Yorkist army gambled everything on an all out attack, once they failed to break the severly shaken Tudor vanguard superior numbers made successfull flight from the battle very hard but none of the English sources describe the Yorkists as surrounded. Their position was bad but they were not trapped in the manner of say the Romans at Cannae.

Jean Molinet is a primary source in that he was a contemporary but he was not an eyewitness as he worked at the Burgundian Court in the Netherlands. In this case as in several others he got things wrong as he was limited to second and third hand information at best. He describes the "Germans" as "only half-armed" i.e only having offensive arms (weapons) but no defensive arms (armour) The English sources do not support this claim but identify that is was the Irish who fought without weapons:
Quote:
The Irish,on the other hand, though they fought most spiritedly, were nonetheless slain before the others, being according to their custom devoid of body armour; their slaughter striking no little terror into the other combatants

-Polydore Virgil
(Translation from Bennett's "Lambert Simnel and the Battle of Stoke", English Heritage report used an older translation which is slightly diffrent and today considered to be inferior)

Most scholars include a correction when they quote Molinets description of the battle, a good example is the English Heritage report on on the battle https://content.historicengland.org.uk/content/docs/battlefields/stoke.pdf or Dr Michael Bennett's "Lambert Simnel and the Battle of Stoke" which is still in many ways the standard historical work covering the battle.

Stoke 1487 is just one of several battles from this period which suggests that archery for some reason did not do well against offensive Swiss/German style pike formations. You have Grandson & Murten 1477, Guinegate 1479, Stoke 1487 and Flodden 1513.

"There is nothing more hazardous than to venture a battle. One can lose it
by a thousand unforseen circumstances, even when one has thorougly taken all
precautions that the most perfect military skill allows for."
-Fieldmarshal Lennart Torstensson.
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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

Posts: 249

PostPosted: Mon 14 Aug, 2017 6:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Staberg wrote:
Jean Molinet is a primary source in that he was a contemporary but he was not an eyewitness as he worked at the Burgundian Court in the Netherlands. In this case as in several others he got things wrong as he was limited to second and third hand information at best. He describes the "Germans" as "only half-armed" i.e only having offensive arms (weapons) but no defensive arms (armour) The English sources do not support this claim but identify that is was the Irish who fought without weapons:
Quote:
The Irish,on the other hand, though they fought most spiritedly, were nonetheless slain before the others, being according to their custom devoid of body armour; their slaughter striking no little terror into the other combatants

-Polydore Virgil
(Translation from Bennett's "Lambert Simnel and the Battle of Stoke", English Heritage report used an older translation which is slightly diffrent and today considered to be inferior)

Most scholars include a correction when they quote Molinets description of the battle, a good example is the English Heritage report on on the battle https://content.historicengland.org.uk/content/docs/battlefields/stoke.pdf or Dr Michael Bennett's "Lambert Simnel and the Battle of Stoke" which is still in many ways the standard historical work covering the battle.

Stoke 1487 is just one of several battles from this period which suggests that archery for some reason did not do well against offensive Swiss/German style pike formations. You have Grandson & Murten 1477, Guinegate 1479, Stoke 1487 and Flodden 1513.


"Half-armed" couldn't mean equipped with half munition-harness? I don't know what mistranslation they did to translate "irish" as german or vice-versa, but the Irish were at least 4,500 if we consider only the mercenaries recruited by the irish earls, while the german numbered some 2,000 (there is a source in the link you gave me that says there were dutchmen too, perhaps refering to the "germans" recruited in Netherlands). Given that yorkist numbers were about 8,000, I'm not inclined to believe that the said "irish" composed only a minority of the army when they would number at least more than half of their army itself. In matter of crude numbers, taking Molinet' sources in account, it would be a way more plausible that germans actually mean germans.

I'm not really into burgundian warfare besides superficial readings in the three major defeats of Charles the Bold's army, but I'm actually believing that those defeats were product of commanders' idiocy rather than military inferiority. I mean, they could deploy their own pikemen and cause great losses in the swiss due to the push-of-pike; use cavalry against the pikes was sadly ridiculous considering that burgundian pikemen were mainly intended to fight cavalry too.
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