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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Tue 26 Sep, 2006 2:07 pm    Post subject: Defensive equipment of a Burgundian pikeman in 1472         Reply with quote

The army of Charles the Bold, the ill fated last Duke of Burgundy is a fascinating subject, in the early years of the 1470's he created a regular army similar to that of France and the Italian city states through a series of ordinances which detailed the organization, equipment and training of it' s soldiers. On paper it was a most impressive force combining "native" troops such a Burgundian gendarmes, Picard archers and Flemish pikemen with German, English and Italian mercenaries and it was supported by the largest and most modern gunpowder artillery train in Europe. And still it failed disastrously in the Swiss war of 1476-1477 for reasons that have yet to be fully explained and explored by the historians.

The Burgundian army left behind a wealth of documents including the ordinances, a treasure trove which allows a rare and surprisingly detailed look at how a late medieval army was organised and equipped. However at time sit not easy to fully decipher the meaning of the texts.

I've struck one such problem in the the ordinance of Bohain en Vermandois, laid down on janurary 13th 1472. This ordinance provide a detailed description of the equipment the Burgundian infantry was to posses, including the pikemen which is my personal interest.

Quote:
The pikeman must wear a sleeved jacket reinforced with plates , and a breastplate. His right arm should be protected by more plate armour, and his left army by a targe (a small round shield). Since he would need both hands free to wield his weapon the targe may have been fastened to his arm.
Nicholas Michael, Armies of Medieval Burgundy 1364-1477, page 12


I've attached two images of recreated Burgundian pikemen below, it' fairly obvious that Breckon has looked at Embleton's earlier image and then added details based interpretation of the ordinance text.

The jack ("jacket") and it's plate reinforcements are fairly easy to visualize as is the breastplate. It's " right arm should be protected by more plate armour..." part and the targe which is causing me problems.

While it makes perfect sense to increase the armour on the right arm as it is the most exposed limb, I'm a bit at a loss at to which kind of armour would be/could be worn over a thick multi-layer jack sleeve and the jack chain? A gauntlet would protect the hand and part of the lower arm and there are several "long" gauntlets which covers the lower arm almost all the way to the elbow shown in German artwork of the period.

The targe raise other interesting questions. How was it held? Was it attached to the arm as the author suggests in order to free up the left hand for gripping the pike? How was it used in a fight? It seems to me that there is a possibility of it getting in the way while one is using the pike in massed formation while it doesn't seem to add much in the way of protection.

I'll would be grateful for any and all help with answering these questions.
Regards
Daniel



 Attachment: 36.63 KB
Burgundian_pikeman1.jpg
Burgundian pikeman recreated by GA Embleton

 Attachment: 42.23 KB
Burgundian_pikeman2.jpg
Burgundian pikeman recreated by B Breckon
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Steve Grisetti




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PostPosted: Tue 26 Sep, 2006 3:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Defensive equipment of a Burgundian pikeman in 1472         Reply with quote

Daniel Staberg wrote:
...While it makes perfect sense to increase the armour on the right arm as it is the most exposed limb, I'm a bit at a loss at to which kind of armour would be/could be worn over a thick multi-layer jack sleeve and the jack chain?...

If a plate armour is present on the right arm, why would there be any jack chain on that arm?

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W. Schütz
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PostPosted: Tue 26 Sep, 2006 3:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maybe the "more plate on right arm" is not suggesting that you should add another peice of armour over the jackchains, just saying that the right arm should allways be more protected than the left? So if you have just the jack-cloth-protection on the left you should add chains to the right, and if you have jackchains on the left one should have plate on the right. Just as some equestrian armour has its bridle-side heavier and reinforced on the left side where the lance hits. Just my first thought..
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Merv Cannon




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PostPosted: Tue 26 Sep, 2006 7:52 pm    Post subject: Burgundian Pikelettes         Reply with quote

Hi there.......I just found an interresting little publication on the "Army of Charles thë Bold " .......here........
Arrow http://www.lanceandlongbow.com/lls_publications.html although it is £15 so I would want to know more content details before ordering if it were me.
BTW, what is this stuff about the defence of the right arm ? Is that to do with a Pike formation , ie holding the pike forward with the right arm ? I myself would natrually hold a pike with the left arm forward, but thats just me.....I certinally am no expert of fighting with a Pike, but I would sure like to know ! It would be nice to see some original illustratuions posted ( hint, hint !) Big Grin

Cheers !

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 26 Sep, 2006 8:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I myself would prefer having both arms equally protected being lefthanded and close to ambidextrous.

I could feel comfortable with one arm only being armoured if the other arm was already protected by a shield ...... maybe. Question

I could also see having one arm only armoured if that was all I could afford financially or if being as lightly armoured as possible was an advantage if priority was given to agility and endurance if a lot of running expected: An extra 5 pounds of armour could slow you down if a battle became an endurance match ?

With a pikeman with NO shield and maybe only a small buckler to go with a sword as secondary weapons the non-dominant arm could be as vulnerable as the strong side arm depending on technique and on the unpredictability of a fight.

In formation the right arm might be more at risk, but in a looser formation or if the secondary weapons were being used both arms would seem to me equally in need of protection ? I could be wrong and any arguments for the armouring advantages of only one arm I would find interesting. Cool

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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Tue 26 Sep, 2006 11:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Burgundian Pikelettes         Reply with quote

Merv Cannon wrote:
Hi there.......I just found an interresting little publication on the "Army of Charles thë Bold " .......here........
Arrow http://www.lanceandlongbow.com/lls_publications.html although it is £15 so I would want to know more content details before ordering if it were me.
BTW, what is this stuff about the defence of the right arm ? Is that to do with a Pike formation , ie holding the pike forward with the right arm ? I myself would natrually hold a pike with the left arm forward, but thats just me.....I certinally am no expert of fighting with a Pike, but I would sure like to know ! It would be nice to see some original illustratuions posted ( hint, hint !) Big Grin

Cheers !

I have that two booklet set, good on flags and heraldry and army composition and provides a short history of Charles the bold's wars but does not go further than the Osprey as far as equipment is concerned.

Which arm was held forward changed as pikes grew longer. 17th Century drill has the left arm forward and the right hand gripping the rear of the pike, this is due to need to balance the 16-18 foot pikes then in use. 15th and early 16th Century pikes were shorter (10-14 feet) and used in a diffrent manner. For example all but one of the drawings made by Paul Dolnstein of his landsknecht comrades wieldidng their pikes in battle or in training durign the first years of the 16th Century show them having the right arm forward. (A few examples below)

Regards
Daniel



 Attachment: 86.15 KB
Landsknechts charged by gendarmes by Paul Dolstein.jpg
Heavy lancers charging massed pikes

 Attachment: 89.47 KB
Two landsknechts practicing their pike skills [ Download ]
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Sep, 2006 12:23 am    Post subject: Re: Defensive equipment of a Burgundian pikeman in 1472         Reply with quote

Steve Grisetti wrote:
Daniel Staberg wrote:
...While it makes perfect sense to increase the armour on the right arm as it is the most exposed limb, I'm a bit at a loss at to which kind of armour would be/could be worn over a thick multi-layer jack sleeve and the jack chain?...

If a plate armour is present on the right arm, why would there be any jack chain on that arm?

A good question, I interpret the text that way because it states that "more" plate armour is to be worn on the right arm, suggesting to me that plate armour in the shape of jack chains is already present. If it wasn't, why word it that way?
It's things like this that makes it so frustrating not to have the original text.

Regards
Daniel
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Chuck Russell




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Sep, 2006 4:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

could always be artistic licience too. odd. i have more controll with my left arm forward and right arm back for longer pikes. heck even for shorter ones and spears, but i grip those differently
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Fabrice Cognot
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PostPosted: Thu 28 Sep, 2006 6:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Daniel


Here's a translation to modern French of the January 1473 ordinances :

Quote:
Les piquenaires porteront jaquette de haubergerie à manches et plastron, au bras droit sur la maille des lames de fer à petites gardes, au bras gauche ils n’auront que la manche du haubergeon, afin de porter plus aisément la légère targe qu’ils recevront quand ils en auront besoin.


And here's my English translation of it :

Quote:
The pikemen shall wear a shirt of mail with sleeves and breast, on the right arm on the mail bands of iron with small guards, on the left arm they'll only have the sleeve of the haubergeon, so as to wear more easily the light target they'll recieve when they'll need it.


You can see it's quite different from the one you quoted...

"jaquette de haubergerie" is baiscally a mail shirt - it could have been a brigandine, but this would have been stated (as it is stated otherwise for other troops), and besides, the 'manche du haubergeon" makes it even clearer. The last sentence should be understood as follows : "so that they can wear more easily whenever they need it the light target that they'll be given." Nowhere is the attachment of the target to the left hand ever mentionned.

That should answer part of your questions Happy


Cheers
Fab

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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Oct, 2006 3:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fabrice,

Thank you very much for those quotes, that did indeed clarify things. I suspected the Osprey text was sufferign from translation errors but not such large ones. Your quote does indeed provied a rather diffrent image of the equipment of the pikeman. Too bad that I've already ordered equipment based on the erronous translation... Worried

Where did you find the text of the Ordinnace? The reason I'm askign si that I've been looking for the tex of the Ordinnaces but so far has only found references to the compelte text beign published in 19th Century works whcih my inter-library loan service have been unable to find.

Thanks
Best regards
Daniel
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Fabrice Cognot
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PostPosted: Mon 09 Oct, 2006 5:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All of them have been transcribed by Jules de la Chauvelays, and are readily available to me as I live in Dijon. That must be the book you're after, and can't get.

However, you'll find a partial copy of his transcription of the ordinances here :

http://legioburgundiae.unblog.fr/

Happy

Fab

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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Oct, 2006 1:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting. That bit about giving pikemen targets sounds a lot like what Fourquevaux suggested. It makes me wonder how common shields were among pikemen.
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Risto Rautiainen




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Oct, 2006 1:34 am    Post subject: Re: Burgundian Pikelettes         Reply with quote

Daniel Staberg wrote:
For example all but one of the drawings made by Paul Dolnstein of his landsknecht comrades wieldidng their pikes in battle or in training durign the first years of the 16th Century show them having the right arm forward. (A few examples below)


Okay, this is slightly off topic, but is the other guy in the second pic doing something like Fiore's volta stabile with that pike? It very much looks like that to me.
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Fabrice Cognot
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Oct, 2006 1:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Risto

Hard to tell from the pic IMO.

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Josh Warren




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2006 11:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For what it's worth, Daniel, the Osprey book pictures you reference as being reconstructions by Breckon, after having looked at Embleton's earlier image were in fact drawn for Osprey by Embleton himself. Wink
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 26 Jul, 2012 11:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not violating forum rules by bumping an ancient thread just because it has such loads of useful information, am I?
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 26 Jul, 2012 12:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
I'm not violating forum rules by bumping an ancient thread just because it has such loads of useful information, am I?


Not at all. In fact, I'll add an image that might be of use to others who find this.



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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Thu 13 Nov, 2014 5:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
I'm not violating forum rules by bumping an ancient thread just because it has such loads of useful information, am I?


Not at all. In fact, I'll add an image that might be of use to others who find this.


I like the image. From what I can tell the archers wear sallets and brigandine, their arms left unarmored and wearing thigh height leather boots for horse riding. They must've been some rich and fine dandy archers Cool

However I can't really tell what the pike men were wearing, could anyone tell me?
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Michael Wiethop




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PostPosted: Thu 13 Nov, 2014 2:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It still baffles me as to how the Swiss so easily crushed the Burgundians again and again. The Burgundian army seems like the perfect late medieval army, with cannons, heavily armored archers defended by stakes and pikemen, and super-heavy cavalry. A very well-equipped combined arms force. Yet the Swiss, with just their pikemen, halberdiers, and skirmishers annihilated them so utterly that the Burgundian state ceased to exist.

I've read somewhere that the Swiss had much greater morale and motivation than the Burgundians, and the Swiss do seem to have been highly motivated, but I have little idea how motivated the Burgundians were.
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Thu 13 Nov, 2014 4:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Wiethop wrote:
It still baffles me as to how the Swiss so easily crushed the Burgundians again and again. The Burgundian army seems like the perfect late medieval army, with cannons, heavily armored archers defended by stakes and pikemen, and super-heavy cavalry. A very well-equipped combined arms force. Yet the Swiss, with just their pikemen, halberdiers, and skirmishers annihilated them so utterly that the Burgundian state ceased to exist.

I've read somewhere that the Swiss had much greater morale and motivation than the Burgundians, and the Swiss do seem to have been highly motivated, but I have little idea how motivated the Burgundians were.


What I heard being said a ton of times was that at neither Morat nor Grandson the military intelligence of Charles was up to date. He ordered his troops to go back to camp and eat something just before the enemy arrived, in another case he thought the vanguard of the swiss was the entire army.

A combination of bad bad luck and some unfortunate or rash decisions on Charles part. His artillery trains was impressive and he even brought along a mile or so of bridge. His setup at Morat would have probably gotten him a victory if it wasn't for him making the bad call of paying the troops when the enemy arrived. Really his logistics and strategy were top notch it's just that at the last moment he threw it all away with one bad call.
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