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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Feb, 2016 7:46 am    Post subject: Swiss Guards at France and Rome (1480-1527)         Reply with quote

Since few years ago I have been looking for more details about the types of uniforms, weapons and armor used by Swiss who served as royal guards in France - as the Hundred Swiss - and as papal guards until the Sack of Rome. Unfortunately, I just found one picture, here in myArmoury.

Some issues: the codpiece figure d) is an armor piece of steel? There were halberds with this form already in 1581? This uniform style has always been that way since 1480? And about the h) figure: This type of uniform and skirt was worn by Hundred Swiss in France too?

What would a sergeant at this time? Because in the XI - XIII centuries , it was the name given to a professional soldier who received usually half of a knight's fief to fight as cavalry, but it seems unlikely in this case.

These swiss guards could use more armor than their counterparts who acted as mercenaries? It is possible that they all wore three-quarter armor, with their sergeants and other officers using "full" armor? Zweihanders, glaives and other poelarms were common in France's guards and Pope's guards? Did they had Pikemen?
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Mark T




PostPosted: Tue 23 Feb, 2016 1:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Pedro,

If you can track down the book 'One million mercenaries', by John McCormack, that might give you some answers. Also do a search here for 'Swiss' ... there's a PhD thesis by Albert Winkler that is one of the other main sources we have (in English) which is also helpful.

Chief Librarian/Curator, Isaac Leibowitz Librarmoury

Schallern sind sehr sexy!
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Mark Lewis




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Feb, 2016 3:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Members of the Swiss Guard appear in The Mass at Bolsena, painted by Raphael in 1512-14, shortly after Pope Julius II founded the Guard. The guard facing outwards is a self-portrait of Raphael himself.

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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Wed 24 Feb, 2016 5:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I tried to do some research on Swiss use of two handed swords and came to conclusion that they used it much less than German Landsknechts. Often when Swiss are said to have used two handed swords contemporary writers just meant longswords, not two handers as we think about the term... They certainly did use them at times but using a two handed sword was often a statement about where are you from and who do you serve. You can find some of my conclusions in this thread I made about custom Swiss twohander I got made for me. http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=27650&highlight=
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Feb, 2016 11:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
Members of the Swiss Guard appear in The Mass at Bolsena, painted by Raphael in 1512-14, shortly after Pope Julius II founded the Guard. The guard facing outwards is a self-portrait of Raphael himself.



I'm not a sixteenth century's italian fashion expert, but they seem much more italian noblemen than swiss soldiers. It was uncommon for them to wear armor or traditional garment? They are not even with their "famous" weapons.


Luka Borscak wrote:
I tried to do some research on Swiss use of two handed swords and came to conclusion that they used it much less than German Landsknechts.


Any particular reason? There are several sources saying that the swiss even outlawed them! Although, I find a picture of the Battle of Kappel (1548), in Switzerland, which shows zweihanders, however. I also saw pictures of Zweihanders in the Vatican armouries and in certain admission ceremonies for new guards.

What is the use of a Zweihander the defense of walls? There were Zweihanders before 1500? They were invented in Switzerland, right?


Luka Borscak wrote:
Often when Swiss are said to have used two handed swords contemporary writers just meant longswords, not two handers as we think about the term


Longswords like Greatsword (or Great War Swords), or more like bastard swords/hand-and-half swords?
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Gregory J. Liebau




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Feb, 2016 11:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:

I'm not a sixteenth century's italian fashion expert, but they seem much more italian noblemen than swiss soldiers. It was uncommon for them to wear armor or traditional garment? They are not even with their "famous" weapons.


I would suggest relying on a painting like this far more than the modern line drawings cited in your initial post. The concept of military uniforms was hardly established before the mid-16th century anywhere in Europe, and I am suspicious of any reason to suggest that there was uniformity in anything beyond the basic armament of the Papal guard during the period in question. As far as the adoption of local fashion goes, this also seems hardly surprising. Men do not usually wish to walk around the place that they live looking like foreigners, no matter their official rank.

-Gregory
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Sun 29 May, 2016 6:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Still talking about clothing, this illustration was made in 1830 seeking to emulate the cent suisses in 1507. I found curious about the archer represented with leg harness and a cuirass with a hedgehog on it, this has some heraldic value?

It was common for guards to be in armor while in service? Or only in ceremonial occasions?




By the way, one of the Swiss has a bow (should be a longbow?), which I particularly thought that the Swiss didn't use. To make matters worse, I found this same illustration represented in Italian guide of Italian Wars' units, where it says that the Cent Suisses were a mixed garde of archers and halberdiers:



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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Sun 29 May, 2016 7:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
Mark Lewis wrote:
Members of the Swiss Guard appear in The Mass at Bolsena, painted by Raphael in 1512-14, shortly after Pope Julius II founded the Guard. The guard facing outwards is a self-portrait of Raphael himself.



I'm not a sixteenth century's italian fashion expert, but they seem much more italian noblemen than swiss soldiers. It was uncommon for them to wear armor or traditional garment? They are not even with their "famous" weapons.


Luka Borscak wrote:
I tried to do some research on Swiss use of two handed swords and came to conclusion that they used it much less than German Landsknechts.


Any particular reason? There are several sources saying that the swiss even outlawed them! Although, I find a picture of the Battle of Kappel (1548), in Switzerland, which shows zweihanders, however. I also saw pictures of Zweihanders in the Vatican armouries and in certain admission ceremonies for new guards.

What is the use of a Zweihander the defense of walls? There were Zweihanders before 1500? They were invented in Switzerland, right?


Luka Borscak wrote:
Often when Swiss are said to have used two handed swords contemporary writers just meant longswords, not two handers as we think about the term


Longswords like Greatsword (or Great War Swords), or more like bastard swords/hand-and-half swords?


In the period you seem to be most interested in, late 15th and early 16th century, there seems to be no specialized term for true two handed swords. Two handers were still just very big longswords. Swiss outlawing two handed swords in this period in some cantons seems to be a measure against big longswords because used as side arms they are too big and unpractical and for primary weapons not big enough and in a disadvantage against real pole arms. But these outlawings don't seem to be very successful. Also, open carry of longswords was considered as a dangerous practice in towns and outlawing them also tried to prevent that. Later, in the second quarter of 16th century, some Swiss adopted true twohanders from Germans and used them as primary weapons for some smaller units of men. They called them "battle swords" and not many Swiss adopted them because they were a symbol of German Landsknechts, who were natural enemies of Swiss. But when some Swiss adopted Reformation, loyalties shifted for many Swiss cantons. And yes, true twohanders were useful for defending walls because they could strike multiple targets with one strike.
So, there is no evidence and it is not logical that Swiss invented the real twohander. They did like to use longswords, rather big longswords, very much. There is also the Swiss saber which is a complex hilted, longsword sized saber. And in later 16th and 17th century, Swiss used their twohanders for beheadings.
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Mark Lewis




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PostPosted: Sun 29 May, 2016 9:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
Still talking about clothing, this illustration was made in 1830 seeking to emulate the cent suisses in 1507. I found curious about the archer represented with leg harness and a cuirass with a hedgehog on it, this has some heraldic value?

This illustration appears to be entirely based on illuminations in Le Voyage de Gênes, manuscript Francais 5091 in the Bibliotheque Nationale.

http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8427230...ntact.r=fr

The hedgehog was a heraldic device of the French king Louis XII.



Liveried pikemen/halberdiers, porcupine appears on the banner at left.



Armoured longbowmen. Appears to be a golden crown on the breastplate, not visible if there is a hedgehog below. Archers' legs are not shown anywhere that I can find, so not clear if they wore leg armour.



The illuminations in this manuscript show great attention to detail to the clothing of even minor background figures, it accurately depicts stradiot horsemen for example. The artist Jean Bourdichon was the French court painter so must surely have been capable of accurately illustrating royal soldiers - if he desired to do so.

http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/artists/1...1457-1521/

I hadn't heard the Cent Suisses described as including "archers" before... possibly this could refer to crossbowmen, who were a normal complement of Swiss pike/halberd formations? Alternatively, my understanding is that "archer" in French armies also eventually came to refer to lightly armed cavalrymen (compared to the heavy gendarmes), the term having originally referred to mounted infantry/longbowmen.

The armoured longbowmen might instead be members of the Garde Ecossaise (Scottish Guard) who are shown equipped with armour, polearms, and bows in at least one earlier illumination.

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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Sun 29 May, 2016 6:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The French Royal Guard included several companies of native French archers in the early 16th century who served alongside the Scots and the Cent-Suisse. Francis I added a 3rd French company in 1515 and the 4 companies would eventually evolve into the Garde du corps du roi

Archers of the Guard and the regular Ordonnance companies were well equipped, leg harness were described as part of their equipment already in the mid-15th Century and the main change in equipment in the early 16th was that breastplates replaced the brigandines worn previously.

While the Archers of the Ordonnance companies eventually did evolve into heavy cavalry the Archers of the early Italian wars did use warbows and usually dismounted to fight in battle although their armour and horses made it possible to use them as cavalry in some situations.

"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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Mario M.




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PostPosted: Sun 29 May, 2016 6:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
Any particular reason? There are several sources saying that the swiss even outlawed them!


Only a few cantons allegedly outlawed them, not all ze Swiss, and even your own source states that they kept making them.

In fact, there are sources describing the Swiss using two handed swords as late as the 17th century.

Mark Lewis wrote:
There were Zweihanders before 1500?


Yes, plenty of them.

Mark Lewis wrote:
They were invented in Switzerland, right?


Not sure, but the earliest depictions of a large two handed sword in Switzerland(that I know of) are dated around 1427;

http://manuscriptminiatures.com/media/manuscr...396-11.jpg
http://manuscriptminiatures.com/media/manuscr.../396-7.jpg



Mark Lewis wrote:
Often when Swiss are said to have used two handed swords contemporary writers just meant longswords, not two handers as we think about the term


It is true that a lot of them were longswords, but there are plenty of Swiss depictions showing two handed swords that are much larger than your average longsword;

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5e/Schilling_Spiezer_Chronik_18.jpg/563px-Schilling_Spiezer_Chronik_18.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fe/Schilling_Spiezer_Chronik_08.jpg

“The stream of Time, irresistible, ever moving, carries off and bears away all things that come to birth and plunges them into utter darkness...Nevertheless, the science of History is a great bulwark against this stream of Time; in a way it checks this irresistible flood, it holds in a tight grasp whatever it can seize floating on the surface and will not allow it to slip away into the depths of Oblivion." - Anna Comnena
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Mark Lewis




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PostPosted: Sun 29 May, 2016 9:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Staberg wrote:
The French Royal Guard included several companies of native French archers...

Thanks for this more precise answer Daniel. Happy
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Fri 03 Jun, 2016 3:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
Swiss outlawing two handed swords in this period in some cantons seems to be a measure against big longswords because used as side arms they are too big and unpractical and for primary weapons not big enough and in a disadvantage against real pole arms.


But Zweihanders would not be nearly as large as a halberd? Not to mention that in matter of fencing they may prove to be much more practical, I suppose ...

Luka Borscak wrote:
But these outlawings don't seem to be very successful. Also, open carry of longswords was considered as a dangerous practice in towns and outlawing them also tried to prevent that. Later, in the second quarter of 16th century, some Swiss adopted true twohanders from Germans and used them as primary weapons for some smaller units of men.


Why they would banish the use of longswords in cities? I mean, I know it was forbidden to carry weapons inside cities (unless you' re a knight or part of the city guard), but longswords were MORE dangerous than other weapons? When you say that "these outlawings don't seem to be very successful" you refer to the pre-reformation period (before Zwingli and Calvin) or post-reform period?

-----------

Mark Lewis wrote:
The hedgehog was a heraldic device of the French king Louis XII.


[...]
The armoured longbowmen might instead be members of the Garde Ecossaise (Scottish Guard) who are shown equipped with armour, polearms, and bows in at least one earlier illumination.




Well, in Le Voyage de Gênes's image the Scottish Guards appears to use a kind of uniform as well as the top image soldiers. If such uniform is the king's coat of arms and its respective colours, it makes sense that the Scots Guard (and other Garde du Corps and Household Troops) are represented in the top images with Louis' livery.

But being scottish, swiss or other royal guards, I noticed a relative lack of armor for King's personal elite at Le Voyage de Gênes. I mean, in the early fifteenth century's manuscript , the scots are fully armoured as if they were in a parade occasion, unlike the soldiers marching in Le Voyage de Gênes; this can be explained, of course, by the fact that the landsknecht (and most likely the Swiss) hate wearing armour in marches or other situation outside battles.

Another detail that I found interesting is that the Cent Suisses are usually described using halberds adorned with the royal arms and gold-hilted longswords, but not with pikes; I mean, it is not very coherent to put a guard protecting a gate or a room using a huge spear that is generally useful only in battle formations, but I think it would not be impossible that they changed the halberds by pikes in war.

By the way, the Swiss but had crossbowmen and arquebusiers in their mercenary armies; but they generally had the function to cover the movement of pike blocks by skirmishing. But I don't know why a King would retain people like this in a Guard which has around 100 men.

--------------

Daniel Staberg wrote:
The French Royal Guard included several companies of native French archers in the early 16th century who served alongside the Scots and the Cent-Suisse. Francis I added a 3rd French company in 1515 and the 4 companies would eventually evolve into the Garde du corps du roi


The King of France kept archers in his royal guard? Fascinating! But the composition of native French regiment was equal to the Scots, a mixture of archers and men at arms?
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Jun, 2016 3:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote="Pedro Paulo Gaião"]
Luka Borscak wrote:
Swiss outlawing two handed swords in this period in some cantons seems to be a measure against big longswords because used as side arms they are too big and unpractical and for primary weapons not big enough and in a disadvantage against real pole arms.


But Zweihanders would not be nearly as large as a halberd? Not to mention that in matter of fencing they may prove to be much more practical, I suppose ...

Luka Borscak wrote:
But these outlawings don't seem to be very successful. Also, open carry of longswords was considered as a dangerous practice in towns and outlawing them also tried to prevent that. Later, in the second quarter of 16th century, some Swiss adopted true twohanders from Germans and used them as primary weapons for some smaller units of men.


Why they would banish the use of longswords in cities? I mean, I know it was forbidden to carry weapons inside cities (unless you' re a knight or part of the city guard), but longswords were MORE dangerous than other weapons? When you say that "these outlawings don't seem to be very successful" you refer to the pre-reformation period (before Zwingli and Calvin) or post-reform period?

-----------


Yes, twohanders are smaller and lighter than a halberd, but exactly that is their disadvantage, less reach and power and fencing is not that useful in a formation on a battlefield... But I speak about very early twohanders (late 15th, early 16th century) which are basically big longswords and for a sidearm on your belt, shorter swords are much more practical... And this early, there is no proof of dedicated two handed swordsmen as far as I know...

In cities they would try to ban carrying longswords because it is a provocation, like open carry of a gun in a modern city. And yes, longsword is more dangerous weapon than a long knife or shortsword or something else one might carry. With a longsword one who is skilled could keep several people at bay if he is defending or attack several less armed people. And I speak about pre reformation period, but after reformation, not much changed about this, after reformation changes can be seen on the battlefield, more armies would have dedicated two handed swordsmen...
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Mark Lewis




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PostPosted: Sun 12 Jun, 2016 6:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Lewis wrote:
Appears to be a golden crown on the breastplate, not visible if there is a hedgehog below.

Just to follow up on the accuracy of the illustrations compared to the apparent source... I just posted another clip from the manuscript in another thread, and happened to notice a figure in the background where the crown and hedgehog are both visible on the breastplate.

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Shannon Love




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PostPosted: Tue 14 Jun, 2016 4:00 am    Post subject: Zweihanders were anti-hafted weapons         Reply with quote

[quote="Pedro Paulo Gaião"]
Luka Borscak wrote:
Swiss outlawing two handed swords in this period in some cantons seems to be a measure against big longswords because used as side arms they are too big and unpractical and for primary weapons not big enough and in a disadvantage against real pole arms.


Quote:
But Zweihanders would not be nearly as large as a halberd? Not to mention that in matter of fencing they may prove to be much more practical, I suppose ...


The battle field use of the Zweihanders was for the wielder to get inside the wall of pointy bits presented by a block of pike or long halberds, and then start chopping the wooden hafts in twain, opening a hole in the block that would allow the contesting block to break into the formation. In the Landsknecht those who wielded the Zweihanders were termed doppelsöldner, meaning double soldier which indicated their increased pay.

The Swiss did not like the Dopplesoldner because they negated a big advantage of the Swiss on the battlefield. Eventually, they had to adopt the weapons themselves when they ended up fighting all the copycats they spawns.

Luka Borscak wrote:
But these outlawings don't seem to be very successful. Also, open carry of longswords was considered as a dangerous practice in towns and outlawing them also tried to prevent that. Later, in the second quarter of 16th century, some Swiss adopted true twohanders from Germans and used them as primary weapons for some smaller units of men.


Quote:
Why they would banish the use of longswords in cities? I mean, I know it was forbidden to carry weapons inside cities (unless you' re a knight or part of the city guard),...


The problem presented by longswords in urban environments was simply one of the space they took up which increased the likelihood of accidentally smacking someone with the sword. Even if sheathed, hitting someone, especially a social superior, with a weapon was a gross insult. IIRC, in the compact, fortified cities of Southern Europe, the most common width of the streets, not sidewalks, but the entire gap between two facing buildings was only ~8ft/2.44m. Given that the swords themselves were almost that long, the potential for accident was significant. The Zweihanders couldn't be worn at the waist, neither could they be carried vertically like a hafted-weapon, or on the back Instead, they were carried resting the shoulder, often without a scabbard (many had projections serving as hand guards on the blade making sheathing them largely impractical.) Basically, someone carrying a Zweihanders or even one of the smaller long swords, was an accident and/or a brawl waiting to happen.

The modern analogy wouldn't be an open carry handgun, but a larger military machine gun like the Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). Carrying a SAW over your shoulder as you navigated crowded civilian area would be asking for an accident.

Quote:
...but longswords were MORE dangerous than other weapons?


Depends on the circumstances. Remember that even with a smaller long sword, the wielder can grab the 25% of the blade forward of the cross-guard, turning the sword to a short but deadly thrusting weapon for confined spaces. The recovery of many older instructional manuscript as well as experiment historians and recreationist, have shown that long sword fighting was nothing like fencing with rapiers e.g. they would turn the blade sideways to make a shield, then grab the blade and use it to jab the hilt like mace, or use the cross-guard as hook.

A long sword was likely the best all around individual weapon. If you had room to swing it, it's cutting and crushing power were immense. If room was lacking, you could choke up on the weapon and fight in surprisingly close quarters.

The use of short, hafted-weapons like halberds by body guards, likely sprang from an integration of factors in which offensive lethality was not a major factor.

[list=]1) The primary function of a body guard is not to kill an attacker to preserve the life of the body they guard (thus the use of the term lifeguard back in the day.) A dozen guards with 6ft/2m hafted weapons, could make an nearly impenetrable block in an urban street or interior space. To outreach them, an assassin would have sneak up on the target with a long weapon which is not easy. In this usage, the bodies of the guards, any armor they wore plus their hafted-weapons, served more as barrier or area-denial, than a means of killing an attacker. They formed a hedgehog.

2) The hafted-weapon could be carried upright, close to the body and thus gave the wielder greater ability to maneuver than any weapon that projected even slightly horizontal. I discovered this personally, when an injury forced me to use a tall walking staff for balance and pull myself up from a sitting position. You would think a 6ft wooden shaft would be constantly in the way, but I found it easier to keep out of the way than either crunches or a cane. Its height became an advantage when I could just tuck it inside my elbow instead of trying to find a place to prop it. Likewise, body guards would have found it easier to maneuver in enclosed spaces with a vertical hafted weapon than a horizontal sword.

The hafted-weapons can also be used more prosaically to bar doors or gates or to form lifts or ladders. Two body guards, each holding the end of a hafted-weapon, could easily lift their protected individual over a wall or into a second story window.

3) The polished and often ornate blade, carried vertically on one shoulder so they topped out a couple of feet above the head of the wielders or anyone else, provided some protection against down firing sniper attacks but more importantly, advertised the presence of powerful high status individual coming through. In an age where advertising ones wealth, power and status provided better protection than blending in, this would have been a major factor.

4) Long swords couldn't duplicate a lot of these functions save perhaps forming a shorter spiked hedgehog. [/list][/list]
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Shannon Love




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PostPosted: Tue 14 Jun, 2016 4:00 am    Post subject: Zweihanders were anti-hafted weapons         Reply with quote

[quote="Pedro Paulo Gaião"]
Luka Borscak wrote:
Swiss outlawing two handed swords in this period in some cantons seems to be a measure against big longswords because used as side arms they are too big and unpractical and for primary weapons not big enough and in a disadvantage against real pole arms.


Quote:
But Zweihanders would not be nearly as large as a halberd? Not to mention that in matter of fencing they may prove to be much more practical, I suppose ...


The battle field use of the Zweihanders was for the wielder to get inside the wall of pointy bits presented by a block of pike or long halberds, and then start chopping the wooden hafts in twain, opening a hole in the block that would allow the contesting block to break into the formation. In the Landsknecht those who wielded the Zweihanders were termed doppelsöldner, meaning double soldier which indicated their increased pay.

The Swiss did not like the Dopplesoldner because they negated a big advantage of the Swiss on the battlefield. Eventually, they had to adopt the weapons themselves when they ended up fighting all the copycats they spawns.

Luka Borscak wrote:
But these outlawings don't seem to be very successful. Also, open carry of longswords was considered as a dangerous practice in towns and outlawing them also tried to prevent that. Later, in the second quarter of 16th century, some Swiss adopted true twohanders from Germans and used them as primary weapons for some smaller units of men.


Quote:
Why they would banish the use of longswords in cities? I mean, I know it was forbidden to carry weapons inside cities (unless you' re a knight or part of the city guard),...


The problem presented by longswords in urban environments was simply one of the space they took up which increased the likelihood of accidentally smacking someone with the sword. Even if sheathed, hitting someone, especially a social superior, with a weapon was a gross insult. IIRC, in the compact, fortified cities of Southern Europe, the most common width of the streets, not sidewalks, but the entire gap between two facing buildings was only ~8ft/2.44m. Given that the swords themselves were almost that long, the potential for accident was significant. The Zweihanders couldn't be worn at the waist, neither could they be carried vertically like a hafted-weapon, or on the back Instead, they were carried resting the shoulder, often without a scabbard (many had projections serving as hand guards on the blade making sheathing them largely impractical.) Basically, someone carrying a Zweihanders or even one of the smaller long swords, was an accident and/or a brawl waiting to happen.

The modern analogy wouldn't be an open carry handgun, but a larger military machine gun like the Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). Carrying a SAW over your shoulder as you navigated crowded civilian area would be asking for an accident.

Quote:
...but longswords were MORE dangerous than other weapons?


Depends on the circumstances. Remember that even with a smaller long sword, the wielder can grab the 25% of the blade forward of the cross-guard, turning the sword to a short but deadly thrusting weapon for confined spaces. The recovery of many older instructional manuscript as well as experiment historians and recreationist, have shown that long sword fighting was nothing like fencing with rapiers e.g. they would turn the blade sideways to make a shield, then grab the blade and use it to jab the hilt like mace, or use the cross-guard as hook.

A long sword was likely the best all around individual weapon. If you had room to swing it, it's cutting and crushing power were immense. If room was lacking, you could choke up on the weapon and fight in surprisingly close quarters.

The use of short, hafted-weapons like halberds by body guards, likely sprang from an integration of factors in which offensive lethality was not a major factor.

[list=]1) The primary function of a body guard is not to kill an attacker to preserve the life of the body they guard (thus the use of the term lifeguard back in the day.) A dozen guards with 6ft/2m hafted weapons, could make an nearly impenetrable block in an urban street or interior space. To outreach them, an assassin would have sneak up on the target with a long weapon which is not easy. In this usage, the bodies of the guards, any armor they wore plus their hafted-weapons, served more as barrier or area-denial, than a means of killing an attacker. They formed a hedgehog.

2) The hafted-weapon could be carried upright, close to the body and thus gave the wielder greater ability to maneuver than any weapon that projected even slightly horizontal. I discovered this personally, when an injury forced me to use a tall walking staff for balance and pull myself up from a sitting position. You would think a 6ft wooden shaft would be constantly in the way, but I found it easier to keep out of the way than either crunches or a cane. Its height became an advantage when I could just tuck it inside my elbow instead of trying to find a place to prop it. Likewise, body guards would have found it easier to maneuver in enclosed spaces with a vertical hafted weapon than a horizontal sword.

The hafted-weapons can also be used more prosaically to bar doors or gates or to form lifts or ladders. Two body guards, each holding the end of a hafted-weapon, could easily lift their protected individual over a wall or into a second story window.

3) The polished and often ornate blade, carried vertically on one shoulder so they topped out a couple of feet above the head of the wielders or anyone else, provided some protection against down firing sniper attacks but more importantly, advertised the presence of powerful high status individual coming through. In an age where advertising ones wealth, power and status provided better protection than blending in, this would have been a major factor.

4) Long swords couldn't duplicate a lot of these functions save perhaps forming a shorter spiked hedgehog. [/list][/list]
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jun, 2016 5:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
Yes, twohanders are smaller and lighter than a halberd, but exactly that is their disadvantage, less reach and power and fencing is not that useful in a formation on a battlefield... But I speak about very early twohanders (late 15th, early 16th century) which are basically big longswords and for a sidearm on your belt, shorter swords are much more practical... And this early, there is no proof of dedicated two handed swordsmen as far as I know...


Another fully-armoured swiss with Longswords, but don't know from what time or illustrated manuscript it came from:
https://myArmoury.com/talk/files/switzerland2011_82_of_352_199_628_115.jpg


There is a whole thesis which says that only the swiss officers would use such full harness, meaning therefore that these were actually officers and they wouldn't fight in the formations like others. So maybe they could use these huge swords without any specific division, as landsknechts did. Indeed, it is curious that even the landsknecths' officers didn't wear full armor, while the Swiss did.

By the way, the longsword (not the bastard sword nor the hand and a half sword, but those trully used with both hands, although not Zweihanders) came to be used as a men-at-arms's secondary weapon? Sometimes I have the impression that they only get attention in fencing textbooks.


Quote:
In cities they would try to ban carrying longswords because it is a provocation, like open carry of a gun in a modern city. And yes, longsword is more dangerous weapon than a long knife or shortsword or something else one might carry. With a longsword one who is skilled could keep several people at bay if he is defending or attack several less armed people. And I speak about pre reformation period, but after reformation, not much changed about this, after reformation changes can be seen on the battlefield, more armies would have dedicated two handed swordsmen...


I know that only knights and the cities' garrisons had the right to bear arms in everyday life, but a mercenary, a pilgrim or even a traveler merchant couldn't port them in the cities? I mean, they HAD to walk with him, since there was no other place to guard.

-----

Shannon Love wrote:
The battle field use of the Zweihanders was for the wielder to get inside the wall of pointy bits presented by a block of pike or long halberds, and then start chopping the wooden hafts in twain, opening a hole in the block that would allow the contesting block to break into the formation. In the Landsknecht those who wielded the Zweihanders were termed doppelsöldner, meaning double soldier which indicated their increased pay.


I had seen Skallagrim's video where he tried to break the handle of a spear using a Kriegsmesser. Apparently it is very rare to break the poles in a single blow. I don't think you necessarily need to break the pikes to advance: you can use the sword to parry thepoints. With your blade in contact with the cable, just move forward and use your sword to prevent your enemy to use the pike properly.

Still, in a picture of Battle of Pavia (1525) you can actually see zweihander's swordmen and a pikemen with his pike broken (lower left):
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Mark Lewis




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Jun, 2016 5:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
Another fully-armoured swiss with Longswords, but don't know from what time or illustrated manuscript it came from

This is from one of the Swiss illustrated chronicles, Diebold Schilling's Spiezer Chronik from the mid 1480s. There are three consecutive illustrations that show sheathed two-handers carried over the shoulder in this way. All three also specifically include the Swiss warhorns, which seem to be a signature of the Forest Cantons of Schwyz, Uri, and Unterwalden (the three banners shown in the background.)

http://www.e-codices.unifr.ch/en/list/subproject/swiss_chronicles

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
There is a whole thesis which says that only the swiss officers would use such full harness, meaning therefore that these were actually officers and they wouldn't fight in the formations like others.

Swords that appear nearly or equally large appear throughout the manuscript, but always worn sheathed at the hip... perhaps these are meant to represent smaller bastard swords instead of proper two-handers, but they are not clearly distinguished as illustrated. Large swords held with a two-handed grip are shown being used in battle in many other illustrations, by Swiss with all levels of armour.

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
Still, in a picture of Battle of Pavia (1525) you can actually see zweihander's swordmen and a pikemen with his pike broken

Neat detail! However, broken weapons of all types are very commonly shown in battle scenes (I see at least one broken sword in the background...) so I would chalk this up to artistic license.
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2016 6:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
Luka Borscak wrote:
Yes, twohanders are smaller and lighter than a halberd, but exactly that is their disadvantage, less reach and power and fencing is not that useful in a formation on a battlefield... But I speak about very early twohanders (late 15th, early 16th century) which are basically big longswords and for a sidearm on your belt, shorter swords are much more practical... And this early, there is no proof of dedicated two handed swordsmen as far as I know...


Another fully-armoured swiss with Longswords, but don't know from what time or illustrated manuscript it came from:
https://myArmoury.com/talk/files/switzerland2011_82_of_352_199_628_115.jpg


There is a whole thesis which says that only the swiss officers would use such full harness, meaning therefore that these were actually officers and they wouldn't fight in the formations like others. So maybe they could use these huge swords without any specific division, as landsknechts did. Indeed, it is curious that even the landsknecths' officers didn't wear full armor, while the Swiss did.

By the way, the longsword (not the bastard sword nor the hand and a half sword, but those trully used with both hands, although not Zweihanders) came to be used as a men-at-arms's secondary weapon? Sometimes I have the impression that they only get attention in fencing textbooks.


Quote:
In cities they would try to ban carrying longswords because it is a provocation, like open carry of a gun in a modern city. And yes, longsword is more dangerous weapon than a long knife or shortsword or something else one might carry. With a longsword one who is skilled could keep several people at bay if he is defending or attack several less armed people. And I speak about pre reformation period, but after reformation, not much changed about this, after reformation changes can be seen on the battlefield, more armies would have dedicated two handed swordsmen...


I know that only knights and the cities' garrisons had the right to bear arms in everyday life, but a mercenary, a pilgrim or even a traveler merchant couldn't port them in the cities? I mean, they HAD to walk with him, since there was no other place to guard.

-----

Shannon Love wrote:
The battle field use of the Zweihanders was for the wielder to get inside the wall of pointy bits presented by a block of pike or long halberds, and then start chopping the wooden hafts in twain, opening a hole in the block that would allow the contesting block to break into the formation. In the Landsknecht those who wielded the Zweihanders were termed doppelsöldner, meaning double soldier which indicated their increased pay.


I had seen Skallagrim's video where he tried to break the handle of a spear using a Kriegsmesser. Apparently it is very rare to break the poles in a single blow. I don't think you necessarily need to break the pikes to advance: you can use the sword to parry thepoints. With your blade in contact with the cable, just move forward and use your sword to prevent your enemy to use the pike properly.

Still, in a picture of Battle of Pavia (1525) you can actually see zweihander's swordmen and a pikemen with his pike broken (lower left):



It's hard to say how popular sidearms hand and half swords/longswords were among the man at arms. Graphic evidence shows them being used (check Dürers knight and death) but longswords can be balanced in very different ways and you can't Know that just by looking at their profile, so we can't know how easy would be to handle them with one hand when mounted. But we do know some longswords were used like that.
The picture of the Swiss you posted is from Schilling chronicles, late 15th/very early 16th century. It's supposed to show generic Swiss soldiers, not just officers, but I agree it's unlikely all Swiss soldiers were so well armoured. And I'm sure wealthier Landsknechts like officers or double paid men wore as much armour as they could afford.

Travellers coming to towns might have been made to leave their long weapons with town guards while they are in the town. But it depends how strict town laws were.
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