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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Sun 12 Jun, 2005 1:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Felix Wang wrote:


The Swiss at Laupen, 1339, (Bernese and Forest Cantons, that is) did not fight from behind obstacles or in broken terrain. The Bernese and their allies attacked down a slope, and while the Bernese routed the infantry of Freiburg and various feudal lords, the men of the Forest Cantons charged into the front of the formed mass of feudal horsemen. They could not and did not force their way further forward, but were promptly surrounded. Their weapon was principally the halberd, and they held their ground against the men-at-arms until the Bernese could rally and attack the horsemen from the rear. This is 80 years before Arbedo. It would seem the halberd was a reasonably good anti-cavalry weapon. At Arbedo and Sempach, it was dismounted men-at-arms with lances who discomforted the halberd-wielding Swiss.


Havign actualy been to Laupen as well as studied older photographs which show the terrain in a less altered state I'd say that the terrain is a bit hard to classify, while not 'broken' as such it is far from 'open' especialy for cavalry due to the slopes present in the area. The men of the forrest cantons only held of the Burgundians with difficulties, they were hard pressed and only when the Bernese turned into the flank of the cavalry did the battle turn against the Burgundians.
At Arbedo the main anti cavalry weapon was the pike not the halberd, with the pikemen forming a sleeve around 3/4 of the formation (the rear was unprotected by pikemen at this time) and thus protecting the mass of halberdiers sheltering with in.

Laupen does indeed show that halberdiers could hold their ground against cavalry but not easily and had the Freibourg foto put up a better fight the men of the Forrst Cantons might very well have been broken and routed.
The Swiss introduced the pike for a reason, and that reason was clearly the need to improve their defence against cavalry further, halberdiers alone were not helpless in any way against cavalry but neither were they enough.

Regards
Daniel
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Sun 12 Jun, 2005 10:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
One thing I did want to add was that while some of those 16th Authors certainly do cite *not* to use Cavalry to charge straight at companies of foot, that's not to say they *don't* use Cavalry to charge the foot. 'Straight' is the operative word to consider.


Exactly. I'm not at all trying to say that cavalry wasn't an important arm, only that a frontal charge against fresh, well-ordered pikemen was unlikely to succeed. However, a charge against disordered or demoralized pikes could quickly turn into a rout. A charge after missile fire (from bows, crossbows, guns or what have you) could end a battle, as could a charge (especially on the flanks) against infantry engaged with other infantry.

Quote:
halberdiers alone were not helpless in any way against cavalry but neither were they enough.


That sounds about right. I was probably giving halberds/greatswords too much credit earlier. 16th century theorists make it pretty clear that gunners couldn't stand against cavalry, no matter how courageous they were. I think one author said the same for targeters (I'll have to check on that when I get home). I imagine halberds were better against horse, being longer, but, in the open, they could probably only beat heavy cavalry with very good order and morale. And, in the open, I don't think they had any advantage against pikes either (though some combination of pikes and halberds might have had some advantage). Heck, Silver didn't even think a halberd had the advantage on a pike one on one! Of course, on broken ground, halberds seem pretty good.
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PostPosted: Sun 12 Jun, 2005 10:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:

Quote:
halberdiers alone were not helpless in any way against cavalry but neither were they enough.


That sounds about right. I was probably giving halberds/greatswords too much credit earlier. 16th century theorists make it pretty clear that gunners couldn't stand against cavalry, no matter how courageous they were. I think one author said the same for targeters (I'll have to check on that when I get home). I imagine halberds were better against horse, being longer, but, in the open, they could probably only beat heavy cavalry with very good order and morale. And, in the open, I don't think they had any advantage against pikes either (though some combination of pikes and halberds might have had some advantage). Heck, Silver didn't even think a halberd had the advantage on a pike one on one! Of course, on broken ground, halberds seem pretty good.


I think that's about the size of it. De la Noue says that 700-800 Gendarmes would run down 18,000 Arquebusiers without much difficulty, but if even a third of these were Pikes, then it would be a different story. "Musketry without Pikes is like arms and legs without a body". Likewise with the other short weapons. That said, I think it would be just to suggest that Pikes without the Shotte and short weapons would be like a body without arms and legs.

But I agree that, within the abilities of the arms, the real weight in any of these conflicts is moral. The French Gendarmerie had it, the Swiss and Spanish Infantry had it in spades, everyone else's moral was dependent upon other factors at any given time and place.

Cheers,

Gordon

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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Sun 12 Jun, 2005 1:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
But I agree that, within the abilities of the arms, the real weight in any of these conflicts is moral.


Yep, that's true, but the choice of weapons surely affected morale also. I know I'd be more likely to stand up to a cavalry charge if I had a pike than if I had a dagger. And I'd be even more courageous if I had some armour. I suspect good arms increased morale quite a bit.

Of course, having too much [initial] spirit and too little order can be as bad as being a disheartened coward, at least if we look at the French example in the Hundred Years War...
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Matthew Kelty





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PostPosted: Sun 12 Jun, 2005 2:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

>Of course, having too much [initial] spirit and too little order can be as bad as being a disheartened coward

Ahh, Morale, Bravado and Arrogance, all kissing cousins of one another, and all the difference between a glorious success and a spirit-crushing failure... Happy
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PostPosted: Sun 12 Jun, 2005 5:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:

Of course, having too much [initial] spirit and too little order can be as bad as being a disheartened coward, at least if we look at the French example in the Hundred Years War...


You got that right! Big Grin Good point. Indeed, the major achievement of the French Monarchy during the course of the Hundred Years War was it's semi-suppression of the Great Feuditories and somewhat subjugating the nobility into serving in the compaingnes d'ordonnance. Of course it wasn't really complete until Louis XIVth completed the job, but still, with powerful, undisciplined warriors all vying for glory, honour and riches it's difficult to mount an effective campaign! Big Grin

You are of course correct in that the choice of weapon makes a huge difference. What I mean is that, it wouldn't matter how valiant a body of Arquebusiers was, they would be (and were) ridden down without pike support, but pikes without a strong sense of unity and discipline, OR having felt abandoned on the field, would be toast before a veteran cavalry army as well.

An example of the former would be, (as I recall) in a battle early on in the French Wars of Religion (excuse my inability to quote exactly which, at the moment) wherein one of the Catholic commanders, I believe it was the duc de Guise, took note of the poor discipline of one of the Huguenot Pike squares (I believe the words were "wavering pikes") and hurled his compaigne d'ordonnances at it, breaking it up. Again, though not having been previously molested, it was still a weak force ready for destruction. Counterpoise this with the afore mentioned Swiss who took a horrible battering from Conde's Heavy Cavalry without breaking. So, within the abilities of the weapons with which they were armed, moral/discipline indeed would make the difference.

An example of the latter would well be Mookerhyde and Tournhout, both primarily battles in which the one side's cavalry drove off the other's Horse, and then proceeded to pound the snot out of, and break, the remaining Foote. Disheartened by the abandonment/destruction of their own horse, they lost the moral to withstand the enemy's Horse. Or, back to Ceresole, where the Landsknechts were successfully withstanding d'Enghien's Horse after breaking his wing of Foote, but surrendered en-masse when the victorious Swiss and Gascons advanced on them.

Anyway, sorry about getting so wordy. Must be Matthew Kelty's influence on me! Big Grin

Cheers!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
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Matthew Kelty





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PostPosted: Sun 12 Jun, 2005 9:37 pm    Post subject: Slath Sword reference nailed down         Reply with quote

I mentioned earlier the "Slath" sword as described by Sir John Smythe.

In the Zeughaus Catalog "Das Wiener Bϋrgerliche Zeughaus: Gotik Und Renaissance" published in 1960, they have a Zweihander, Catalogue #98, labeled as "Schlachtschwerter der Bϋrgerwehr"

Their Catalogue has, in all, four ceremonial Zweihanders manufactured between 1580 and 1590, and are described in the Catalog as:

Zweihander, sogenannte "Schlachtschwerter"

or:

Zweihander, so-called "battle swords"

So, now you've all got a new word to bandy about... Happy
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PostPosted: Mon 13 Jun, 2005 10:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I think that's about the size of it. De la Noue says that 700-800 Gendarmes would run down 18,000 Arquebusiers without much difficulty


18,000? That's a huge number, but yeah. Smythe said that 1,000 lightly armed cavalry would run down 3,000-4,000 gunners. And Mathew Sutcliffe said cavalry would rout both shot and targetters in the open. Robert Barret said much the same thing, saying that it didn't even matter how brave the unit of shot was, they'd still fall to cavalry.
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PostPosted: Mon 13 Jun, 2005 12:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Quote:
I think that's about the size of it. De la Noue says that 700-800 Gendarmes would run down 18,000 Arquebusiers without much difficulty


18,000? That's a huge number, but yeah. Smythe said that 1,000 lightly armed cavalry would run down 3,000-4,000 gunners. And mathew Sutcliffe said cavalry would rout both shot and targetters in the open. Robert Barret said much the same thing, saying that it didn't even matter how brave the unit of shot was, they'd still fall to cavalry.


Yup, but then of course, old Francios was making a point, and probably did a tad bit of exaggeration in doing so... Surprised I doubt if that many Shotte were ever brigaded together prior to the introduction of the bayonet! I'll dig up the exact quote if you would like though. It's in my notes as on pg. 366 of Discourses. But yes, the general consensus of the period writers seems to have been "Don't get caught in the open by Horse without pikes to cover your backside!"

Cheers!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
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Tim Shuteran





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PostPosted: Mon 13 Jun, 2005 5:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gordon Frye wrote:
Matthew;

There are several references (Ravenna 1512, Ceresole 1544, Dreux 1562) of Gendarmes on fully armoured horses riding completely THROUGH Pike squares, and popping out the otherside. Obviously any Zweihanders even in the middle of the square weren't doing the trick (had to get a good swing when your packed in like that). But it also may be pointed out that it takes a very special horse to be able to do that sort of thing, not simply charging at a solid wall of pikes, but also going INTO a solid wall of men, and continuing on through to the other side.


Gordon


To add to the profound nature of your praise for their horses, keep in mind also that horses, while they have amazing peripheral vision, can't see the narrow wedge of the battlefield directly ahead of them at any given moment. Naturally, horses do not look at each other for this reason, and because of the fact that in the wild, direct frontal facial body language is the signal of ostracization from the herd, which is the equivalent of a death sentence. Their survival instinct is flight-based and not fight-based, and they run from any creature (or pike formation) that encounters them with direct eye contact, or with raised limbs (anything from a simple open hand to a weapon). Add all of this to the prospect of charging into a thicket of pikes. An amazing amount has to be trained "out" of these horses, in addition to the training that goes into them. To accomplish this without mentally destroying a horse must have been an amazingly patient task.

I used to train horses when I was younger. I only ride English, but I also used to incorporate methods from Western traditions like "ground tying" (dropping the reins and the horse acts like he's tied to the ground) and a number of the methods now made famous by Monty Roberts and others. Horses are a lot like people in that they can be permanently mentally and behaviourally damaged. "Breaking" a horse without causing permanent behavioural problems is a delicate balance between stern art and measuredly patient science.

When you add the amazing temperment of these horses, their monetary value, the skill and training of the mounted knight, and the near omnipresence of horse armor, the fact that the zweihander is not the right tool for the job (even when half-swording) becomes readily apparent.
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PostPosted: Mon 13 Jun, 2005 6:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tim Shuteran wrote:

To add to the profound nature of your praise for their horses, keep in mind also that horses, while they have amazing peripheral vision, can't see the narrow wedge of the battlefield directly ahead of them at any given moment. Naturally, horses do not look at each other for this reason, and because of the fact that in the wild, direct frontal facial body language is the signal of ostracization from the herd, which is the equivalent of a death sentence. Their survival instinct is flight-based and not fight-based, and they run from any creature (or pike formation) that encounters them with direct eye contact, or with raised limbs (anything from a simple open hand to a weapon). Add all of this to the prospect of charging into a thicket of pikes. An amazing amount has to be trained "out" of these horses, in addition to the training that goes into them. To accomplish this without mentally destroying a horse must have been an amazingly patient task.

I used to train horses when I was younger. I only ride English, but I also used to incorporate methods from Western traditions like "ground tying" (dropping the reins and the horse acts like he's tied to the ground) and a number of the methods now made famous by Monty Roberts and others. Horses are a lot like people in that they can be permanently mentally and behaviourally damaged. "Breaking" a horse without causing permanent behavioural problems is a delicate balance between stern art and measuredly patient science.

When you add the amazing temperment of these horses, their monetary value, the skill and training of the mounted knight, and the near omnipresence of horse armor, the fact that the zweihander is not the right tool for the job (even when half-swording) becomes readily apparent.


Thank you, Tim. Indeed, you are so right, in that it took an enormous investment in training to gain a good War Horse, and considering that they took the brunt of the casualties in any Infantry-Cavalry fight, no wonder by the end of the 16th Century there were complaints (such as from Blaise de Montluc) about the "decay of the race". Even Cruso states that it was the general lowering of quality in horses and their training (as well as that of the "Launtiers", as Sir Roger Williams styled them) was one of the main reasons for the move away from Lances and towards Pistols.

I guess the closest thing that can be compared today to a well trained period War Horse is to go to the Hunter-Jumper or Dressage fields. Figure a well trained, well bred Hunter-Jumper or top-level Dressage Stallion is going to run upwards of $100,000, and we begin to get an idea of the enormous costs of paying for a compaigne d'ordonnance... especially when each Gendarme needed at least THREE of these Destriers! I read a great quote from D'Aubigney referring to "horses worth 50 Crowns". As I recall (if I'm wrong, it throws my whole theory off, though, LOL!) a Crown was a "Double Louis", i.e. a two-ounce gold piece. Figure an ounce of gold today is around $425-450 per ounce, times two, times fifty, is $42,500-45,000... when you consider that gold is rather undervalued today, I suspect that it would mean quite a bit more, probably in the neighborhood of the above named Stallions.

One thing I have noticed in most horse armour is that the chamfrons (covering the forehead) shield the eyes from the front... they also prevent the horse from seeing what's ahead of him (I realize that with their primary peripheral vision it's not a big deal). But it would be rather akin to the blinders worn by work horses, to keep them focused on what the rider wants them to focus on, not the other things going on which would definitely provide a distraction, like, say, a Pike Column on the horizon...

In my own experience, I've found that horses, being good herd animals, will charge headlong into whatever the leader is charging into. BUT that requires getting a good solid animal that is aggressive and enjoys running folks down, and the rest will follow suit. With sufficient training, as you note, you can get a horse to do almost anything. I knew a trainer who's specialty was in training horses to jump into the backs of pick-up trucks... and I've charged through things that no reasonable horse in the wild would get near, LOL! But your average nag in the pasture is way to smart for that stuff (which is why Mules make lousy Cavalry mounts Big Grin ) Just like with our Pikemen, having well trained, disciplined horses is as important as any other factor in the success of the Arm, and without the close partnership of trained man and horse, you end up with well fed Infantry. Cry

Anyway, thanks for you comments, and I hope you post more of your insights in this thread!

Cheers,

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
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http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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PostPosted: Mon 20 Jun, 2005 1:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Sun 26 Jun, 2005 5:00 pm    Post subject: native indians two handed Mesoamerican sword vs cavalry         Reply with quote

Perhaps the medieval combatant who spent his entire life training for a variety of situations was not capable, or trained to avoid repulsing cavalry with spear and/or two handed sword.

Historical evidence seems to imply that native Mexican indians did a pretty good job of attacking on the offense, wounding or killing every last man of Spanish cavalry units with two handed wooden swords (embedded with flint edges) and simple spears. Bear in mind, they had not even seen horses before! I don't know if comparable information exists with the indians defending a "heavy charge", but have little doubt that at least some warriors, somewhere, must have taken on the horseman and won.

Eye Witness Accounts of Mesoamerican Swords. http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=jbms&id=118

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Tyler Weaver




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PostPosted: Mon 27 Jun, 2005 10:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Historical evidence seems to imply that native Mexican indians did a pretty good job of attacking on the offense, wounding or killing every last man of Spanish cavalry units with two handed wooden swords (embedded with flint edges) and simple spears. Bear in mind, they had not even seen horses before! I don't know if comparable information exists with the indians defending a "heavy charge", but have little doubt that at least some warriors, somewhere, must have taken on the horseman and won.


It should be remembered that the Spanish (and especially Spanish horsemen) were universally vastly outnumbered when fighting the Aztecs and other Mesoamerican indians, not to mention that their horses were probably worse for the wear from the transatlantic voyage, and despite this they brought the entire region under their control within a matter of decades.

I seem to recall a situation when fifteen (yes, one-five) of Cortez's cavalrymen cut a bloody swath through an enormous Aztec army all the way to the general's standard, killing him and sending the Aztecs fleeing. If that's not a testament to the effectiveness of cavalry against an inexperienced enemy, I don't know what is.

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 27 Jun, 2005 4:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree with your assessment that the indians (and most other poor combatants elsewhere) probably fared poorly when Cavalry was on the agressive in good conditions.

The whole issue is basically true of all battle tactics, situation dependent. As I understand it, Cavalry is in a bad situation if it gets slowed down (say to less than 10 mph), and scattered. Numerous accounts of the indian encounters describe horses being severed (with entrails spillling out) from a single blow from these large paddle like swords. I have seen how little it takes to make large Shire-cross eventing bred horses fall, throwing riders abruptly over the horses neck, (I could teach a child to do it with a 2"X4" knock to the legs) that there is little doubt in my mind that soldiers would know how to move in and take advantage with Calvary mired down in mud, fooled by a feint and scattered/ confused, etc.

I don't aspire to do mounted combat, and really don't research it. Is La Régle du Temple (quotes Knights Templar instruction for conduct of mounted charge, as well as numerous other quotes up to around 1850) considered a good reference? It seems to state that an isolated charge by one Knight is suicide, and that a frontal charge against footmen arranged several lines deep is also suicide. According to this account the "old ones" (experienced knights) are wise enought to arrive bunched up at moderate speed....togather.



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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jun, 2005 10:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared; You're right about the American Indians having a tough time with the Spanish Horse, but also being able to deal with them on occasion. Bernal Diaz del Castillo, in his autobiographical "True History of the Conquest of New Spain" makes note of a War Mare who was virtually beheaded by a Tlaxcalan Warrior early in the Conquest, before the Tlaxcalans figured out that these Spaniards might be useful in dealing with the Aztecs. Diaz spends a fair amount of space praising the breeding and qualities of the Mare... much more than when speaking of his fellow soldiers! (Interesting point in that the Spaniards of that day prefered Mares for Light Cavalry, a taste that they inherited from the Arabs).

The Spaniards fairly early on though figured out that the proper tactic was to keep a tight formation, and indeed it was with 15 horses that the primary battles of the Conquest were won (Cortez started with 16, and the Mare was the only major casualty until after reinforcements, and then the larger battles for Tenochtitlan itself came about) There are numerous references to American Indians, be they Tlaxcalan, Aztec, Maya, Chibcha or Quechua standing up to pounding by artillery (which we as modern technophiles would assume would terrify them), while breaking and running at the charge of a small group of horses. Missiles, no matter how they were projected, were understood. Centaurs were not. Another good book to look into is "The Broken Spears" which is a compilation of Aztec writings, taken down by the Spaniards later on, concering the Conquest. Their comments on horses are most interesting, and usually embody details like hot breath, flashing eyes, flailing hooves and other things that are still pretty darned intimidating in a horse. As Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada, conqueror of present-day Columbia said "After God, we owe our Victory to our Horses", a feeling that was pretty much universal among the Spanish Conquistadores. And for very good reason.

Of note is that one of the horses later was captured and, along with several captured Spaniards, sacrificed to the gods of the Aztecs, as the Aztecs thought of the horses as other warriors in and of themselves (some truth to that, too!). Needless to say, the surviving Spaniards weren't pleased by either sacrifice.

Cheers!

Gordon

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http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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PostPosted: Wed 07 Sep, 2005 3:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gordon Frye wrote:
Benjamin;

My point about sword and shield was that it was in fact effective against pikes, but absolutely not when the pikes were well supported by Horse. Machiavelli waxed eloquent in Arte della Guerra about them, but needless to say, as you well note, the Spaniards didn't keep them long at all. Their one major victory, if you can call it that, was Ravenna. Indeed, only Maurice of Nassau seems to have been considering using Targeteers to any extent, and that seems to be more due to the classical model, just as was Machiavelli. I think that Machiavelli was the only one to seriously advocate a mass return to the Shield, and all of the professional soldiers ignored him.


Gordon,

A couple of points:

1. Ravenna was not the "one major victory" of the rodeleros (they caused a lot of damage, but ultimately lost); I would say that Barletta was actually their finest hour. I'd also be curious to see what role they may have played at the Garigliano.

2. As for the Spaniards not utilizing rodeleros "long at all", I would have to disagree. True, their numbers were heavily reduced, but they remained a part of the tercios in Flanders even in the later 16th century (as Sir Roger Williams noted). Daniel would probably attribute this to the Spaniards' adaptability, and I would have to agree with him here. The nature of fighting in the Low Countries still gave rodeleros and their equivalents a job.

3. As I mentioned on another thread, rodeleros were a staple of naval warfare. Look at illustrations of Lepanto and you'll see targetiers o' plenty.

In addition, the use of espada y rodela figures into one of the early instances of WMA vs. AMA, when the Portugeuse Andrea Pessoa used his sword and target to good effect against samurai who were boarding his carrack, the Nossa Senhora de Graca, in 1609. Pessoa's ship finally succumbed to fire, but he killed several samurai in that action.

4. Targetiers were used by the English in Ireland right into the early 17th century. They also saw some use in the New World.

5. We should also not forget that the Aztecs were largely defeated by rodeleros, as they were the most common troop type in Cortez's army. I guess Cortez's force represented a sort of "Pre-Seminara" Spanish force, in terms of its composition.

6. Highland Scots armed with broadsword and targe were a regional variant of the targetier troop type, and their exploits are well known enough.

Best,

David

"Why meddle with us--you are not strong enough to break us--you know that you have won the battle and slaughtered our army--be content with your honor, and leave us alone, for by God's good will only have we escaped from this business" --unknown Spanish captain to the Chevalier Bayard, at the Battle of Ravenna, 1512


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PostPosted: Wed 07 Sep, 2005 3:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great post, Matthew. I seem to recall reading your posts elsewhere--martialartsplanet, perhaps?

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'Giacomo DiGrassi, His True Art Of Defence'
Translated By I.G., 1594

"The two hand Sword, as it is used now a daies being fower handfulls in the handle, or more, having also the great crosse, was found out, to the end it should be handled one to one at an equall match, as other weapons, of which I have in treated. But because one may with it (as a galleon, among many gallies) resist many Swordes, or other weapons: Therefore in the warres, it is used to be placed neere unto the Ensigne or Auncient, for the defence thereof, because, being of it selfe hable to contend with manie, it may the better safeguard the same."


Di Grassi also mentions the use of the 2-hander by city guards.


Quote:
'Certain Discourses Concerning Formes And Effects Of Weapons'
Sir John Smythe, 1590.

(In reference to how the Imperial forces are drawn up)

"When the great Princes of Germanie...are disposed to make warre...being bound (as they are) by their tenure Militarie to the Empire, some to find horsemen, and others to finde footmen at their own charges...form their regiments of footmen into great bands of 500 to an Ensigne... ...their milicia consisting of Harquebuziers, Piquers, and some Halbarders, with a few slath swords for the gard of their Ensignes..."

('Slath' sword is a euphemism for a two handed sword. I recently acquired a Catalog from the Landeshaus Graz that was printed in the 60's, and two of their two-handed blades are described as something like 'slather schwert' (sp? I'll dig up the book later)


"Slath sword", as well as "slaughter-sword", are both English corruptions of the German schlachtschwert ("battle sword"). I realize you already mentioned this on another post, but I wanted to bring everyone's attention to "slaughter-sword" as well. Happy

Quote:
Bernard Van Orley: Ahhh, the Pavia Tapestry. One of the best works contemporary with that event, and so little is published about it... The Osprey book has a few pictures from it, but they are all black and white photos, and miniscule. The Original is on display at an obscure Museum in Italy. The best images I have are from a book published by Banco Toscano, and is titled "Giovanni Delle Bande Nere". It's in Italian, and is a Coffee Table book with various essays about Giovanni De Medici. ~$35.00 plus shipping, kind of hard to find. While not a complete record of the Pavia Tapestry, it has a few excellent plates of various sections. Of particular note is one section, where a Doppelsoldier is pictured about to dispatch of a Pikeman (or Halberdier) who is weilding a pole that has been cracked. This might be where the myth of the "Pike Breaker" comes in.


What about Marozzo's section on the spada da due mani, where he shows all the broken polearm shafts on the floor?

Quote:
In all, almost every example of a Zwiehander has it portrayed near Halberdiers and the Ensign. Most distributions of Halberdiers/Billemen in a Company are at about 20%, and the ratios that are apparent in *every * single illustration I've seen:

1. For every flag visible, you only ever see one or two Zwiehanders.

2. For every Zwiehander visible, you see about 20-30 Halberds/Bills.


But can this really be relied upon?

Quote:
As to the chopping off the horses legs, that appears to be a Braveheartism. I've already firmly entreched them in the middle of the Pike square, but to agree with and add to David's point

1. Horses are quick
2. Horses are smart
3. Horses are big
4. Horses are mean (when trained to be mean)
5. Horses are expensive, and useful

Kill the man, not the horse, and a Halberd, Glaive or Billhook is a hell of a lot better way to get a Rider's complete and undivided attention.... Happy


What about the famous drawing by Urs Graf, which shows the dead horse missing a leg? This was clearly the result of either a long-bladed polearm or a bidenhander.

Best,

David

"Why meddle with us--you are not strong enough to break us--you know that you have won the battle and slaughtered our army--be content with your honor, and leave us alone, for by God's good will only have we escaped from this business" --unknown Spanish captain to the Chevalier Bayard, at the Battle of Ravenna, 1512
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David Black Mastro




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PostPosted: Wed 07 Sep, 2005 3:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Staberg wrote:
The myth fo the larger formatiosn of doppelsöldner armed with zeihänders arose in the works of sevarl german historian who worked in the late 19th Century. That at elats is how far I've been able to trace it. The period sources certainly does not mention any lareg scale use of the zweihänder in battle. And to judge by the few list of equipment I've been able to find for landskenchts the Zweihänders were issued at a very limited scale, between 0-4 such swords were issued to a 300-400 man company whiel the remainder of he men used pike and arquebus except for a few men armed with halberd and tasked with guardign the engisn and the hauptman. By the mid-16th century at least the Zweihänder seems to have become mostly a weapon used by officers and NCO's partly to show rank.


Daniel,

Does this mean that Douglas Miller is incorrect in his description of the composition of a fahnlein? Miller gives a paper figure of 400 men--300 rank-and-file pikemen, and 100 doppelsoldner, who are in turn divided up into 50 arquebusiers, and 50 men with either halberds or 2-handers (with the former being more common).

Thanks,

David

"Why meddle with us--you are not strong enough to break us--you know that you have won the battle and slaughtered our army--be content with your honor, and leave us alone, for by God's good will only have we escaped from this business" --unknown Spanish captain to the Chevalier Bayard, at the Battle of Ravenna, 1512
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Wed 07 Sep, 2005 4:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David;

Glad that you are recuscitating this thread as I rather enjoyed it!

I certainly won't disagree with you at all about the rodeleros continuing to be used for another century, albeit in fairly limited numbers for the most part. And I agree completely with you about their efficacy in regards to weapons other than Halberds, be they pikes, katanas or maquahuitl... or pistols, for that matter. On anything approaching one-on-one, such a defensive weapon is invaluable, especially in the hands of one who knows it's full employment! And I shall stand corrected as well on their significant use in such engagements as Lepanto, where such on-on-one tactics were the norm. Indeed, the Military Regulations of the Colony of Virginia make note of the necessity of using Targeteers armed with broadsword and pistol, and expecting that Sergeants and Officers too will carry Targets while in the field against Indians, rather than Halberds or Spears.

One of the things I would note about Cortez's men was that a number of them (especially the one's who "reinforced" Cortez, who had landed under the command of Panfilio Narvaez to arrest him) were veterans of the Wars in Italy, and quite possibly of Ravenna. So their trust in the rodelo would be well placed, both in the field against Aztecan warriors armed with maquahuitl and shield, or in the siege of Tenochtitlan later. I too would be interested as to how much effect such troops had at Garigliano, where tight quarters and bad weather reduced the abilities of the French to effect their usual tactics. (One might ask a similar question, as to how effective would targeteers have been at Pavia, had the Spaniards continued to employ large numbers?)

Oh, and thanks for the info on Andrea Pessoa vs the Japanese... I had heard some mention of it, but not any specifics. I would enjoy hearing more on that one!

But I would suggest that the primary reason for the decline of the mass use of Targetteers/Rodeleros was their inability to stand against Heavy Horse of the French variety. They did magnificently in the Reconquista against the Moors, and the siege fighting that often was so prevalent in the Italian Wars, and perhaps against light cavalry of the Jinete variety, but against French Heavy Horse and Swiss Halberds (with Pikes as well, obviously) in the open field, they tended to fair more poorly (not that they couldn't manage to kill Gaston de Foix and his entourage at Ravenna!)

Again, thanks for the information!

Cheers,

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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