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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jul, 2019 6:52 pm    Post subject: Heavily Armored Harquebusiers         Reply with quote

I remeber reading at one of Heath's books regarding the historicall acuracy of harquebusiers being represented in full or partial armor, something uncommon to archers and even crossbowmen, for example. The reason being that such weapons were fired at so close distance that its users were inevitably exposed to enemy missiles and meéle approach from the enemy, the armor and his side weapon (usually a sword) having such utility.

My question relates to this: was that a general trend in gunpowder soldiery of that time or it was closed to specific contexts and nationalities, like the Swiss? Or was it coincidence, since the people who could afford those firearms were the same who could afford some good armor?




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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jul, 2019 8:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You are wrong in your assumption - you'll find just as many heavily (well, fully) armored crossbowmen in those same chronicles, in fact I think your image and this one both come from the Spiezer Chronik from 1478



Whether or not the troops were armored had more to do with a specific cultural / political / economic context than any hard and fast rule. In Central Europe there were a class of more expert crossbowmen and gunners who were typically armored. Most burgher militia in the German, Flemish, Scandinavian, and West Slavic towns were also armed with either a crossbow or a handgun and were also required to own significant armor. This has already been recently discussed in a couple of the other threads you started.

There were some general trends in certain regions, but it's dangerous to generalize about any aspect of the medieval battlefield. You really have to drop modern assumptions altogether to understand the era.

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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jul, 2019 9:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Correction, I think your image of the gunners in the siege-mantlet is from the Bern Chronik, but from the same artist Diebold Schilling the elder, circa 1475.
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Thu 25 Jul, 2019 7:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
You are wrong in your assumption - you'll find just as many heavily (well, fully) armored crossbowmen in those same chronicles, in fact I think your image and this one both come from the Spiezer Chronik from 1478

Whether or not the troops were armored had more to do with a specific cultural / political / economic context than any hard and fast rule. In Central Europe there were a class of more expert crossbowmen and gunners who were typically armored. Most burgher militia in the German, Flemish, Scandinavian, and West Slavic towns were also armed with either a crossbow or a handgun and were also required to own significant armor. This has already been recently discussed in a couple of the other threads you started.


Such fully armoured cavalry crossbowmen is then actually historical acurrate? Some german manuscripts I found usually shows non-MAA cavalry (including crossbowmen) using lesser armor, like this: http://kriegsbuch.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-ap...erman.html

Using the French Ordinances as example, the Coustilliers and Mounted Archers were required lesser armor than the Gendarme/Man-at-arms.

The adoption of crossbows and handguns had something to do with preference or income-ranked equipment? I know better of flemmish armies, usually the infantry was based in armoured pikemen.

Another question: was heavily armoured crossbowmen/arquebusiers being a local trend of these regions? The equipment I usually found in these manuscripts would actually match or surpass a corps of English royal or comital guardsmen in terms of armor.

Btw, the quotation from Heath's book:
Quote:
Figure 70 dates to c. 1440. The majority of early pictures of handgunners show them relatively heavily armoured, even where the archers and crossbowmen around them are not, probably because the handgunners, if they hoped to be effective, had at first to approach much closer to the enemy. However, by the second half of the 15th century the most usually worn was a helmet and aventail, with occasionally breast and back plates with fauld. 15th century Milanese handgunners were equipped with helmet, breastplate, handgun, sword and halberd; possibly the last doubled as a rest for the gun.


A link that might expires after a few months: http://warfare.uphero.com/WRG/Middle_Ages_1-68-70-Handgunners.htm

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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Thu 25 Jul, 2019 10:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
Such fully armoured cavalry crossbowmen is then actually historical acurrate? Some german manuscripts I found usually shows non-MAA cavalry (including crossbowmen) using lesser armor, like this: http://kriegsbuch.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-ap...erman.html


I don't know why people seem to always want to assume the primary sources are wrong when they don't jibe with our modern preconceptions.

I think you are struggling with the same problem I mentioned in the previous reply - you are trying to extend military regulations from France or somewhere else to all of Europe. France, as you may be aware, always struggled with any troop type other than knightly heavy cavalry. They had to import their marksmen and crossbowmen in particular from other places because they could not cultivate their own - famously to very mixed success for example with Genoese militia hired as mercenaries. Eventually they settled on using Swiss Mercenaries as their infantry.

In Central Europe, crossbowmen including mounted crossbowmen were a regular part of militia, and as I have pointed out to you several times and as it very clearly states in that article from the Acta that you linked in one of these threads, armor was a requirement for the militia. Not only armor, but specifically "good" armor and the quality of the armor was inspected.

I am surprised that you can look at the image above and assume it shows unarmored mounted crossbowmen. Look again more closely. And look at this image from the (late 15th Century, urban, Rhineland) Von Wolfegg housebook. Zoom in and look in particular at the mounted crossbowmen in the front and rear of the column. You'll notice they have blackened armor and helmets, with a jacket or shirt worn over the armor. You can see this very clearly in the crossbowmen in the lower right corner as their shirts are partly open at the chest.

You can also see this very clearly in numerous Kriegsbucher, including the one you linked but some have better / clearer art than others . For example if you look closely at this image in the Philipp Mönch - Kriegsbuch you can clearly see that the mounted crossbowmen, and most of the other cavalry as well as the infantry, are wearing armor, usually half-armor (i.e. on the upper parts of their bodies) which was typically the requirement in militias.

Quote:

Using the French Ordinances as example, the Coustilliers and Mounted Archers were required lesser armor than the Gendarme/Man-at-arms.

The adoption of crossbows and handguns had something to do with preference or income-ranked equipment? I know better of flemmish armies, usually the infantry was based in armoured pikemen.


I think mounted crossbowmen did wear less armor than full lancers, since they were not usually required to have armor on their lower body. Their horse also wasn't typically heavily armored if at all. Their job wasn't usually to linger in hand to hand combat. So more like a demi-lancer (in terms of 15th Century terminology).

Flemish armies and militia had a lot of crossbows, by regulation they were required to own armor and wear it to muster. Crossbow shooting guilds and the closely associated shooting sports were of the elite social activities of all Flemish towns. There is a recent book published on their crossbow guilds which gets into a lot of detail about all this.

https://boydellandbrewer.com/archery-and-crossbow-guilds-in-medieval-flanders-1300-1500.html

Crossbowmen, archers and gunners were kind of an elite in Flemish armies and therefore not the majority of them. And also keep in mind that the power of the largest Flemish cities was already broken by the Hapsburgs by the early 16th Century and warfare changed in the Early Modern period so what came later like in the 80 Years War etc. was different.

Quote:

Another question: was heavily armoured crossbowmen/arquebusiers being a local trend of these regions? The equipment I usually found in these manuscripts would actually match or surpass a corps of English royal or comital guardsmen in terms of armor.


Crossbowmen and hand-gunners were a main part of the urban militia for almost all towns in Late medieval Central Europe, the Low Countries, the West Slavic countries like Poland and Bohemia, northern Italy, Scandinavia, and the Baltic States. Most town residents of the citizen strata on up (from the middle class to the wealthy) were required to own armor and some other primary weapon, usually a crossbow or a firearm. The wealthiest were mounted and the elite fought as heavy cavalry, with quite a few knighted.

Hope that helps,

Jean

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William P




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PostPosted: Fri 26 Jul, 2019 1:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

the trend for crossbowmen to be decently well armoured actually goes a fair way back in manuscripts, going at least to the 13th century, when archers and crossbowmen are depicted in the same scene, crossbowmen tend to be much better armoured, the macejowski bible being one such depiction.
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Jul, 2019 1:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
Such fully armoured cavalry crossbowmen is then actually historical acurrate? Some german manuscripts I found usually shows non-MAA cavalry (including crossbowmen) using lesser armor, like this: http://kriegsbuch.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-ap...erman.html


I don't know why people seem to always want to assume the primary sources are wrong when they don't jibe with our modern preconceptions.

I think you are struggling with the same problem I mentioned in the previous reply - you are trying to extend military regulations from France or somewhere else to all of Europe. France, as you may be aware, always struggled with any troop type other than knightly heavy cavalry.


William P wrote:
the trend for crossbowmen to be decently well armoured actually goes a fair way back in manuscripts, going at least to the 13th century, when archers and crossbowmen are depicted in the same scene, crossbowmen tend to be much better armoured, the macejowski bible being one such depiction.


The affair was rather on the fact the cavalry crossbowmen is in full harness, like a men-at-arms. I know where in social/military class a cavalry crossbowmen would be placed in Central Europe, if the was just below a MAA and over a light cavalry like those of Nuremberg or in other organization.

In Portugal, though, where I have some research, there was a royal decree issued by king João I over a dispute of Aquantiados burghers, of which the King decreed that any crossbowmen who had the equipment of a men-at-arms could jump into the category of men-at-arms himself. There aren't many systematical sources on that subject, but I think Portuguese military ranks would be organizated as the foot soldier (having the minimum of a spear and a sling), the crossbowmen or besteiros do Conto (from mid-classed subjects, usually artisans and guildsmen), cavalry crossbowmen and then man-at-arms. There are few references for Cavalry Crossbowmen and probably they would just be called as "crossbowmen" (João's decree seens to be directed at these).

A 1310's Ordinance doesn't required them crossbowmen to bring armor, but requires gorgets and shoulder plate pieces. It also doesn't required any class to bring swords as well (even from the man-at-arms who were expected to afford horse armor). A friend of mine just said the Ordinance doesn't mention something because they're too obvious or because it wasn't the necessary (like a sword to a MAA, who were just required to bring lots of lances and spears). So, it's probable they had something~, but the neighboring Castilian Ordinance of 1385 might say otherwise: they only required armor for cavalry classes of MAA and ginetes.

A portuguese article I rad yesterday said by the decade of 1380's the Crown was demanding the crossbowmen to have "solhas" (coats-of-plates), but the author says it was perhaps not embraced at the arrays, since they demanded again in 1388. By 1418 the Coat of Plates was the normative for richer portuguese crossbowmen. Some armor, at least, but not nearly as heavy as you find in german or polish manuscripts.



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It's strange that poorer horseman were required more personal armor (the thick gamberson over mail) than the richiest [ Download ]

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[ Download ]

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Last edited by Pedro Paulo Gaião on Mon 29 Jul, 2019 8:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Mon 29 Jul, 2019 7:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's quite clear that while you could define a baseline of a 'typical' crossbowman in certain parts of Europe, by region, it's also the case that there was no central authority to define even nominally universal standards like you had in a Western monarchy such as Portugal.

The bare minimum for mounted crossbowmen in militias in Central Europe seems to be a coat of mail or platendist (brigandine or coat of plates) plus a helmet. But it was quite common to also have half armor and not unusual to have a lancers armor. It varied from town to town and guild to guild.

It's also not unusual, at least in Central Europe, to not specify the sword in military guidelines, since the sword was a personal weapon and everyone - at least every male citizen and every household, was expected to have one.

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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Aug, 2019 10:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
It's quite clear that while you could define a baseline of a 'typical' crossbowman in certain parts of Europe, by region, it's also the case that there was no central authority to define even nominally universal standards like you had in a Western monarchy such as Portugal.

The bare minimum for mounted crossbowmen in militias in Central Europe seems to be a coat of mail or platendist (brigandine or coat of plates) plus a helmet. But it was quite common to also have half armor and not unusual to have a lancers armor. It varied from town to town and guild to guild.

It's also not unusual, at least in Central Europe, to not specify the sword in military guidelines, since the sword was a personal weapon and everyone - at least every male citizen and every household, was expected to have one.


I didn't realize I haven't asked that before: crossbowmen and harquebusiers were considered the same social and military class? Both wear some solid armor (though apparently harquebusiers would sometimes be more heavier)

With "lancer armor" you mean a full plate armor, right? It's safe to assume that in Central, Northern and Eastern Europe a mounted crossbowmen was considered a class over the light cavalrymen armed with lances and swords?

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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Aug, 2019 6:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:

I didn't realize I haven't asked that before: crossbowmen and harquebusiers were considered the same social and military class?


They could be from a range of estates - gunners or crossbowmen could be peasants or serfs, or gentry right up to high-status burghers or lower nobility.

Quote:

Both wear some solid armor (though apparently harquebusiers would sometimes be more heavier)


I think the point of confusion here is that there were many different types of crossbows and men who carried them into battle, from 'cannon fodder' level with a stirrup crossbow and fairly light gear, to elite infantry marksmen with an attendant carrying a pavise and their other gear, right up to your armored mounted crossbowmen who are close to the status of lancers.

A stirrup crossbow with a 200 lb draw and a lathe made out of simple yew is a different weapon requiring a different level of training than a 1,000 lb draw weapon spanned with a windlass or cranequin let alone something you span on horseback, with training to coordinate with heavy cavalry. The latter two categories were often members of socially high status shooting guilds.

But all crossbows look more or less the same or aren't necessarily differentiated in the literature, kind of like with swords so we always tend to lump all crossbowmen together.

On the other hand gunners and the firearms they used were in a much narrower range of required skill and potential military impact. In the 15th Century low ranking peasants didn't routinely own firearms. Nor was the skill for handling black powder or serpentine universally available. So most gunners were of a kind of semi-elite, and many gunners were also part of shooting guilds.

Quote:

With "lancer armor" you mean a full plate armor, right? It's safe to assume that in Central, Northern and Eastern Europe a mounted crossbowmen was considered a class over the light cavalrymen armed with lances and swords?


Again, the specific role on the battlefield did not always correlate precisely with social status or more properly for the medieval context, estate.

Lancer armor varied by region and the specific time period, but generally here means a certain minimum standard over infantry armor, usually involving some leg protection. Often steel harness but it could also mean a coat of plates or a mail coat (mail coats were actually somewhat more expensive a lot of the time). In German speaking areas it might not include armor for the back of the legs or all of the elements of a true full harness that a knight or heavy lancer might wear, and was often pretty light.

All I can say for sure is that the cost, as expressed in certain letters and records, was similar to outfit a mounted crossbowman of the more elite level, with a lancer - roughly 10-20 gulden for armor and weapons. Kit for a 'ritter' or man at arms or 'heavy lancer' could be more, up to 30 gulden or more, but much of the extra cost of the more elite heavy cavalry was the cost of the horses.

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