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  1. - Top - End - #211
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Fortinbras View Post
    I have a couple questions about professionalism in Medieval armies.

    First off, would it be fair to say that housecarls where essentially an early incarnation of knights? If not, what are the important differences between knights and housecarls?
    I think there are actually some close similarities. The most significant difference is that the huskarl is usually infantry whereas knights are typically cavalry. There are some other social and legal differences in status, which in some ways would be equivalent, but huskarls from my understanding are typically also part of the immediate entourage of a given Lord (a Thegn or an Eorl) whereas knights might be the foreman or manager of a distant fiefdom or his own estate independently or semi-independently.

    You know Vikings were active in the East as well as the British Isles and the West, and in Russia there was an interesting kind of in-between status called the Druzhina.



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Druzhina

    Rathere than being independent like the Varjag / Varangian groups, these guys were the Vassals of a Kynaz (Prince) and they fought as cavarly.

    This is a pattern you will see a lot, infantry tends to come from towns (especially) and from free peasants. Cavalry is associated with the nobility and their henchmen.

    What about ministerales? Functionally, what where the differences between ministerales and "free" knights in places like England?
    Depends on the time period. A ministeriales in the early days were part of a direct entourage of some Lord or Estate, but later on they were often more independent. That dividing arrives when the henchmen in question gets put in part of a stronghold which has some real defensive value. Then inevitably, they tend to become a little more autonomous, may swich allegiences and so on.

    But overall I think there may not have been all that much difference. These terms tend to be less precise in period.

    G
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Okay, that's good context. What kind of shield would be used more for "shield bashing?"

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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    I don't think any sources are that specific (someone will correct me, I guess?)...

    What we can guess from basic mechanics and modern combat reenacting is that shields will be suitable for different 'bashing' obviously.

    With small buckler on the end of an arm, one can actually punch someone, from different angles, into different places, with different effect.

    With Roman style large shield, actually putting your whole weight behind the shield and slamming into something would be more 'natural' - even though strikes with edges and boss in different ways are also possible.
    Avatar by Kwarkpudding
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Archpaladin Zousha View Post
    What, in terms of historical context, would be the difference between a heavy and light shield? I know tower shields are generally like the pavise, but I'm not exactly certain how big one or the other of the two other kinds of shields are. I know in terms of game rules one is easier to shield bash with than the other, but what would a knight, like, say, King Arthur and his Knights (fictional, I know, but it provides the context I'm looking for) have used?

    Light Common all over the world from the Bronze Age through the 19th Century in some places.
    Made of wicker / rawhide ala peltasts, zulu shields etc.

    Medium composite
    Thin (usually linden) wood with steel boss and rawhide rim and / or cover, ala Viking Shield, Roman Scutum. Good to stop darts, javelins, spears and lighter bows.

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    Heavy composite
    Not well known in the West, heavier composite shields made to contend with bullets and high velocity crossbows. Best typified by the 'mini pavise' of the Lithuanians.

    Medium composite Buckler
    Steel boss, thick wood + rawhide very common throughout the Medieval period


    Ottoman Shield


    Rotella replica
    Full steel shields, usually bullet proof.
    Steel bucklers appeared pretty early, but as metalurgy improved, larger steel shields became increasingly common, by the late 15th Century Ottoman Jannisaries were using them in significant numbers. They spread to Italy and then to Spain and the rest of Europe, known as rotella as well as other names.

    Arthur could have been using Roman or Viking type, or light type shields. Probably the former as Spyrit said.

    G
    Last edited by Galloglaich; 2012-10-18 at 03:53 PM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    As long as we're on the topic of shields, I've read that one of the advantages of the wooden shield over the steel shield is that an opponent's edge weapons will sometimes get stuck in the wood, allowing you to disarm or restrain them. Is that true? (And more specifically, was that something people would have actually counted on being able to do?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Archpaladin Zousha View Post
    Okay, that's good context. What kind of shield would be used more for "shield bashing?"
    Literally any shield that could hold up under the strain would have been suitable for hitting people with, though obviously the shape, size and weight would influence how easily and with how much variety you could manage this. But really, if you've got a big piece of wood/metal strapped to your arm, and you see an opportunity to ram it into the other guy's face, you are probably going to do that.
    Last edited by gkathellar; 2012-10-18 at 05:04 PM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    As long as we're on the topic of shields, I've read that one of the advantages of the wooden shield over the steel shield is that an opponent's edge weapons will sometimes get stuck in the wood, allowing you to disarm or restrain them. Is that true? (And more specifically, was that something people would have actually counted on being able to do?)
    Hacking and stabbing shield's replicas suggest that it's indeed the case.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeBPDVfi_DI

    Given the way thin planks of wood tend to behave, it's not surprising at all.

    If somebody wanted to give a good hit to the shield, he certainly had to be vary of possibility that his edge will get stopped.

    As far as metal shields go, main problem is big expense of metal, so weren't generally considered worthwhile trough most of the shields history, until state of metallurgical industry made them more accessible.

    They will also tend to end heavy for the size, steel is dense, and must still have proper thickness and bulk to not bend to easily.
    Last edited by Spiryt; 2012-10-18 at 05:26 PM.
    Avatar by Kwarkpudding
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    Rush in and die, dogs—I was a man before I was a king.

    Whoever makes shoddy beer, shall be thrown into manure - town law from Gdańsk, XIth century.

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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Thanks. Assuming that's an accurate representation, I guess a secondary question would be: was the blade-catching feature of a shield ever designed for? For instance, might shield-makers have arranged the grain of the wood to make it more likely to catch an opponent's weapon?

    That may or may not be beyond the scope of available evidence, but it would be interesting to find out.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    I literally don't have the time to get to details for once. I'm going to try some short responses, to hopefully clear up some confusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    Ok so, I was kind of hoping to just define terms before launching back into really long detailed arguments, but since you already did that I'll attempt to be systematic. I'm going to start with number 4 since I think it's the easiest one to settle.

    Did complex weapons and metal and / or plate armor make warfare too sophisticated for militias to handle?
    It's not that militia couldn't use the weapons and equipment (although in the case of plate armor cost may have been a factor) -- it was the more advanced tactics that the weapons allowed, that gave an edge to professional soldiers. This is not to say the weapons couldn't be used with more basic tactics -- they were and had been according to the narrative.

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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    Communal skirmish in Bologna between Guelphs and Ghibellines, 1369 AD

    It's hard to tell with the shields but the heavy infantry appear to be wearing heavy armor, certainly they all have helmets and some appear to have gauntlets. The crossbowmen are wearing lighter armor, possibly mail or just textile.
    I can't really tell if they are wearing heavy army, but we need to be careful with period pictures, as often they are idealized or stylized -- not always, however.

    This is interesting for something I just came across last night -- for most of the 14th century, the militia in Italian armies was called up first, and only if the war or campaign bogged down would they turn to hiring mercenary companies. (That's not to say however, that there were no mercenaries involved in the opening stages of campaigns, as small mercenary companies or individually hired mercenaries were still common, just that the bulk of the army remained militia).

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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    But to be honest I'm actually fairly dubious it was such a factor in Italy, I think the popular narrative about this is off and probably based on some very old data.
    What do you mean by popular narrative? I think "the rise of the signori" is the popular narrative. (I'll have to double check Machiavelli, when I have the chance).

    What I've been presenting is, to the best of my knowledge, the "current" narrative. As for being based on "very old data" -- well, if by that you mean a careful study of the period sources and archives, then yes! ;-) If you mean that more current research has overturned the narrative -- then I'm more than willing to look at that research.

    Can you suggest *another* source on the rise of the Condottiere in Italy -- which I will limit my claims to from here on. Pictures of battles don't really constitute a detailed study. I wish I could find a copy of Mallett's and Hale's book on Venice, as that sounds like its a more detailed study of a state which even Mallett claims benefitted from the best trained militia in Italy (supporting its mercenary armies).

    Possibly some of William Caferro's works would be useful here, not only are they recent, but they deal with the early period of mercenaries.

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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    Italian Carroccio, mid 15th Century not sure the specific town or the battle but it could be Milan or Florence. As you are probably aware, these special ox-drawn carts were usually manned by militia, they often carried the standard of the town.
    I don't think that's actually a Carroccio. But if it was, that's exactly where you would expect the professional soldiers that had existed for a long time -- the permanent guards that were hired even by the republics (they're basically the equivalent of "household" guards -- I'm not sure if there's a better term). Also that's where the important nobles and politicians would also be there. But, I'm pretty sure it's not a Carroccio. Not sure what it is -- I know there were experiments with war wagons and carts, but little more than that.

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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Well, I assumed it was an associated device since Italy is the only place I know of where they pulled war wagons with oxen.

    As for the rest of it on #4, I think you and I just need to disagree. I think it's patently obvious that not only miltiias could handle technology and new tactics, they actually introduced probably at least half of the most important military innovations of the 14th-16th Centuries, both in terms of equipment (I mentioned several specific examples, though I could elaborate further, I didn't think it was necessary) and tactics (same).

    Furthermore, if Mallet thinks plate armor or heavy crossbows were somehow new to the world during the rise of the Conditerri, I think he's lacking in basic understanding of war in that period at the individual / micro-level (which wouldn't be unusual).

    By "old data" I mean, that guy published in an era in which a lot of the military history is now considered dated by Academia, but I'm not an expert on Italy by a long shot and I'm not about to start a crash course on it. If you really want some other books to read there are some classics and a lot of new work, I could ask a buddy who is an expert to recommend some things.

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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiryt View Post
    I don't think any sources are that specific (someone will correct me, I guess?)...

    What we can guess from basic mechanics and modern combat reenacting is that shields will be suitable for different 'bashing' obviously.
    From my experience, almost any shield can be used to push or bash, but you need a certain level of grip and control to do anything more than just a straight forward shoving match (which also opens you up to someone reaching around the top of you and scoring a hit with their sword or axe).

    I haven't used anything as small as a heater shield, just Norman era kite and round shields, but both of these shields were held by straps and/or a sling, making more complex bashing techniques rather difficult.

    This would imply that central grip shields are better for bashing, since you have a larger range of movement and can adjust the angle of your grip to enable attacks better.
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2012-10-19 at 02:50 AM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

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    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    Ok so, I was kind of hoping to just define terms before launching back into really long detailed arguments, but since you already did that I'll attempt to be systematic. I'm going to start with number 4 since I think it's the easiest one to settle.

    Did complex weapons and metal and / or plate armor make warfare too sophisticated for militias to handle?

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I've already probably been too long winded on this argument, so here are some images with brief descriptions.

    Mid- 14th Century depiction of the "Battle of Golden Spurs" from 1302, in which the town militia of the cities of Bruges, Ypres and Ghent in Flanders, with a little help from regional knights, smashed the French nobility.


    That is the victorious militia on the right, using their characteristic weapon 'the Godendag' which I'll get into more in a minute. Note they are depicted by the period artist, wearing the latest armor of that period (transitional harness with coat of plates)

    Communal skirmish in Bologna between Guelphs and Ghibellines, 1369 AD

    It's hard to tell with the shields but the heavy infantry appear to be wearing heavy armor, certainly they all have helmets and some appear to have gauntlets. The crossbowmen are wearing lighter armor, possibly mail or just textile.

    Militia from the town of Prague in a wagonberg of War Wagons, 1420

    Note some kind of armor on all of the fighters, coat of plates in my opinion, plus crossbows, firearms, and flails, all of which the Czechs advanced in this period.

    Miltia from the towns of Prague and Tabor in a tabor or War Wagon during the Hussite wars (1422-1440's), painting is from mid to late 15th Century.


    Note they are wearing plate armor and using the latest weapons of that era.

    Italian Carroccio, mid 15th Century not sure the specific town or the battle but it could be Milan or Florence. As you are probably aware, these special ox-drawn carts were usually manned by militia, they often carried the standard of the town.


    Note again, they are wearing plate armor and carrying a heavy crossbow.

    Berne militia praying before the battle of Laupen (14th Century, painting from the 15th century) Diebold Schilling

    Note, plate armor nearly universal, longswords for sidearms. Note the Berne standard behind them. And the crossbow standard I don't know whose that is.

    Armed militia from Zurich, relieving a siege, Diebold Schilling, 15th Century

    Note, plate armor nearly universal, guns and pikes.

    Militia from Berne, Zug, Uri, Schwyz and Zurich praying again after another battle, 15th Century.

    Note plate armor and longsword sidearms (usually associated with knights) seem to be universal.



    Now according to my sources, in Central and Northern Europe, individual members of the militia were required to own both arms and armor by the town ordinances, and also by their guilds (since the guilds usually formed the core of the infantry and often some of the cavalry too - the Butchers of Rostock for example were required to own warhorses as well). I think the guild connection is particularly significant as regards training, though I'll get to that in another post. But we have guild regulations from Flanders in the 13th Century (the oldest I have is from the skinners guild of Arras in 1236) stipulating that all guild members must have specific armor and weapons.

    Even in rural militia in many areas, not just weapons but armor was required by all free men. For example the original Law of the Gulating, in Norway, required arms only in the 11th Century, but by the 12th Century the Law had been updated to include "helmet, mail hauberk, shield, spear and sword" for the wealthier peasants and all burghers.

    From what I understand it was the same in Italy by the time of the formation of the Lombard League. The regulations of those fighting guilds in Bologna that I linked upthread required armor, bucklers, weapons (spears and swords) from all their members, and in some case horses as well (for the more affluent).

    Crosbows, similarly, were ubiquitious particularly in urban militias. In Flanders like in Bologna, they had specific military guilds which were formed to augment the town defenses. The first two on record were the Guild of St. George (in Ghent and then Bruges) which was a crossbow guild, and the guild of St. Sebastian which was an archers guild (the Flemish used English style longbows). These date back to the mid -13th Century. In the 14th Century the St. Michels Guild was formed, and a second St. George guild for the new type of crossbows, and then in the 15th Century the St. Barbara's guild was formed for firearms.

    The Swiss are of course, famous for their crossbows, as were the Czechs, and the Germans. Tactical Crossbow training even shows up in some German fencing manuals from the 15th century









    In fact I think it's clear that far from falling behind military technology and tactics, the urban miltiias tended to be major innovators of both, setting shockwaves through Eurpean history and carving out crucial landmarks in the development of hand to hand weapons (like the Flemish Godendag, mentioned above, the Swiss Halberd, the Czech war-flail, and the Swiss pike), crossbows (which were vastly improved by the Genoese, the Swiss, the Czechs who were I think the first to make large scale use of mounted crossbowmen, and the Flemish who were the first to use steel prods), firearms and cannon (both vastly improved by the Czechs), and complex combined-arms systems, some of which are barely known in the English speaking world, like the Hussite style war-wagon, which turned out to be particularly decisive against the Turks, as well as confounding to the German and Western Knights; and the pike / halberd and crossbow tactics developed by the Swiss as just two examples.

    So in light of all this, I think the argument that militias couldn't handle more sophisticated weapons, or armor, or tactics, is bogus. If some or all the urban miltiias in Italy got to the point where they couldn't handle these things, I suspect it means something else was going on. Either factional disputes or too much pressure from outside or the Signore system and loss of citizen autonomy or some other factor. Too much olive oil in their diet ;)

    But to be honest I'm actually fairly dubious it was such a factor in Italy, I think the popular narrative about this is off and probably based on some very old data.

    G


    As Galloglaich has pointed out advanced weapons and armour were in the end a requirement for the militias in the different cities in Flanders, keep in mind that Flanders was in the time period obscenely rich and that for instance Brugge (Bruges I think in English) was nicknamed the Venice of the North with its own fleet.

    This only declined when the Spanish pretty much smashed any and all potential enemies down to the bedrock (where we get the split between what is now Belgium and the Netherlands from) to stop the continual uprisings.

    The resources that France, Austria-Hungary, Spain and several other wanna be rulers of this region spend on keeping order ended up being quite influential on the decline of said states.

    France for example had more troops fighting in Flanders (recorded by both French and local sources, not just by the 'victors' like for a certain Anglo-French battle...) then they had against their traditional enemy England.

    One of the emperors of Austria-Hungary has been quite famous locally for having said that Flanders was the death of him to the representatives that were send to him to negotiate a cease-fire on his deathbed.

    That last bit however could be romantiscised of course.

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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    I was answering to a post from Beleriphon, but this post seems to be gone?
    Beleriphon
    I think the image of the unarmed rabble being completely over run by an armed group of attackers is what's being asked. In essence would a 12th century German village be able to effectively defend themselves from an armed group of attackers?


    In 12th century germany, there are incredibly huge differences depending on time, place, ruler and political / military context.

    In ancient times, all free german men were required by law to keep weapons for the purpose of defending their community. This changed with the advance of feudalism and serfdom, which, at least in theory, involved servitude to a lord as a trade-off for military protection provided by said lord an his men. For villagers, this "taming" removed the need or even right to bear arms, thus retarding their military ability. Note that it took until well after the Thirty Years' War of 1618-1648 (during which groups of desperate peasants banded together and butchered entire platoons of marauding mercenaries) until serfdom was completely established throughout all of germany. Also note that (free) cities are very different from villages.


    Off the top of my head, I think there were at least three types of peasants / villagers (in matters of military strength) in the 12th century:


    1. Wehrbauern (~defending peasants, not to be confused with the nazi attempt to revive that concept)

    Mostly colonists near hostile borders, these men have the right and duty to keep weapons. Many have a military background of some kind. In case of an attack, it is their express purpose to defend their territory until their liege assembles a more powerful force. I guess this involves the defense of fortified places and skirmishing.


    2. Freisassen (~yeomanry)

    Those are free men possessing property, often in wild, untamed regions and independend from a lord protecting them. As such, they should have a vested interest in defending themselves. I would expect a well-off estate to have some weapons or dangerous implements such as axes or hunting bows and at least a handful men of age ready to use them in an emergency.


    3. Leibeigene (~bond-slaves)

    Generally speaking the most defenseless group, if their lord for whatever reason neglects his duty to protect them. They are often quite poor and have to work hard, so they have little resources to spend on proper weapons or training to use them.
    Last edited by Berenger; 2012-10-20 at 07:20 PM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    A point that hasn't been made is that raid results are going to be lopsided towards raiders in most cases regardless of results for a few reasons. The obvious one is that raiders generally pick their targets, which means that the presence of particularly strong villages or towns isn't always all that relevant, as those would be the places they don't generally attack (there are obvious exceptions here, such as the various attacks on Constantinople). Instead, you would usually see softer targets picked - in the late early to central middle ages, this meant Magyar attacks on central villages, Viking attacks that often focused on monasteries (which were often coastal, relatively poorly defended, and full of lucre), and general Mediterranean piracy and coastal attacks away from more militarized areas. Similarly, raiders generally have the advantage of surprise. This counts for quite a bit, to the point where forces that were generally technologically and numerically inferior would have had an advantage provided that the margins were small. Disorganized people not expecting an attack tend not to do the best defending against them for a lot of reasons - local numerical inferiority, the general uselessness of armor when you aren't actually wearing it, etc. Then, on top of this, there is the matter of where the "barbarians" were coming from and who they were. The Vikings had impressive metallurgy, high grade weapons, a decent amount of armor, and essentially unrivaled ships for most of the second age of invasions. The Magyar had high quality horses and generally better horse related technology, good bows, and effective raiding parties. Most of those pirates were coming from lands controlled by the Ummayad or Abbasid Caliphates, depending on period. These were regional superpowers that generally put the Byzantine empire to shame, let alone western Europe.

    The point is this - even a lot of well armed, fairly well trained people could fall comparatively easily, due to the nature of raiding in general and the nature of the particular raiders. The presence of successful raids, massacres, etc. by no means indicates that the targets of them were incompetent, or that they would have much issue dealing with the raid on better terms (if, for instance, they were on the attack).
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    That does bring up a good question. If a village was threatened, how able would they be to defend themselves? I don't imagine they'd have many weapons which aren't improvised. One of the main factors would be how organized a village is capable of becoming against the attack.
    I think the key is to understand the preditor mindset of raiders, which would, as pointed out, avoid "hard" targets, in the same way a loin will not attack prey that can fight back if easier targets are available. A village would rely on three things:

    1) an alert watchkeeter of some sort to provide warning.

    2) an overt appearance of readyness to scare off the raiders

    3) a easy to access, defenedable location, like a tower house or fortifed farmstead, where most valueable goods were stored and which, while not able to stop a determined attack, would make storming it (and the getting the goods inside) far to diffcult for the raiders.


    the aim is too be to much effort to take, as the raidesr won't waste time on a hard target.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Berenger View Post
    I was answering to a post from Beleriphon, but this post seems to be gone?
    I'm glad you rewrote it, because I just want to say, this is a great post.


    In 12th century germany, there are incredibly huge differences depending on time, place, ruler and political / military context.

    In ancient times, all free german men were required by law to keep weapons for the purpose of defending their community. This changed with the advance of feudalism and serfdom, which, at least in theory, involved servitude to a lord as a trade-off for military protection provided by said lord an his men. For villagers, this "taming" removed the need or even right to bear arms, thus retarding their military ability. Note that it took until well after the Thirty Years' War of 1618-1648 (during which groups of desperate peasants banded together and butchered entire platoons of marauding mercenaries) until serfdom was completely established throughout all of germany. Also note that (free) cities are very different from villages.
    Yep...and there were also a lot of smaller towns (mediatstadt) which were kind of in between. For example, check out this wonderful map of Silesia drawn by Martin Helwig's in 1561



    Click here for more detail:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi..._Schlesien.jpg

    There is one 'big' town on that map, Breslau (now and aka Wroclaw) which was essentially a free city, that turned out to have near impregnable defenses. But the dozens of other settlements shown on that corner of the map like the wonderfully named 'monsterburg' and 'frankenstein' are small towns or villages incorporated with castles which in both cases did have some fortifications and defensive abilities, (since Silesia was a dangerous frontier area) but often only the citadels and the big free cities could resist major invasions.

    Off the top of my head, I think there were at least three types of peasants / villagers (in matters of military strength) in the 12th century:


    1. Wehrbauern (~defending peasants, not to be confused with the nazi attempt to revive that concept)

    Mostly colonists near hostile borders, these men have the right and duty to keep weapons. Many have a military background of some kind. In case of an attack, it is their express purpose to defend their territory until their liege assembles a more powerful force. I guess this involves the defense of fortified places and skirmishing.
    Moving especially into the 13th -15th Centuries you would see more and more of these kinds of peasants brought into basically the entire eastern half of Germany and in large numbers into the Eastern Central European regions like Silesia, Poland, Prussia, the Baltic areas (Livonia), Czech, Hungary and etc. Events like Mongol invasions starting in the 1240's would leave large areas depopulated, tougher peasants were lured from places like Saxony and Swabia (and also from Slavic zones like Bohemia and Poland, and even further afield such as Sweden and Flanders) with special offers of rights and land grands (no money down! First year interest free!)

    These folks ended up being pretty tough, but relied both on fortifying their towns and on natural defenses such as forests, hills, and rivers (many settlements were made on river islands)

    Another way they survived during times of real danger, which I think gamers should generally find very interesting, are so called Earth-stalls or Erdstall. Don't have time to get all into it but I recommend further research

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erdstall

    https://www.google.com/search?q=erds...KeTc2AWO1IDYDg

    2. Freisassen (~yeomanry)

    Those are free men possessing property, often in wild, untamed regions and independend from a lord protecting them. As such, they should have a vested interest in defending themselves. I would expect a well-off estate to have some weapons or dangerous implements such as axes or hunting bows and at least a handful men of age ready to use them in an emergency.
    The Teutonic Knights made use of a lot of men like this in Prussia, Livonia and surrounding areas.

    3. Leibeigene (~bond-slaves)

    Generally speaking the most defenseless group, if their lord for whatever reason neglects his duty to protect them. They are often quite poor and have to work hard, so they have little resources to spend on proper weapons or training to use them.
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...g_13r_Mars.jpg

    An example of a typical raid on a more or less defenseless village from 1480, but it probably holds true for 1180 as well. Note that most of the villagers are holding out in the church ... usually whatever stone or brick buildings like the church or the granary doubled as a fort.

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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Fusilier, I think you have the answers right in front of you, if you'll just look at the data without preconceptions.

    Once companies were well established entities, the 14th century was known as the time of the great companies, they would typically overwinter at some place they conquered, and then see who wanted to hire them in the Spring.
    I think if you look deeper into this you will find that the condotierri companies shrank dramatically (as in 90% or more in most cases) in size during the Winter season, (sometimes before the fall harvest) and most of the warriors filtered away to their homes and to other places. Most contracts for ordinary soldiers were for short terms, one or at the most three seasons. I have information on such contracts from Swiss and south German (Swabian) sources. The process would reverse in the spring as warriors would be re-hired.

    Where I would say "soldiers," you say "warriors." To me this is a potentially fundamental disagreement. In my mind warriors are individuals who fight as individuals. Soldiers, band together into units and fight as part of a larger whole. It's not a difference in physical presence, but in mentality. So to me, part of being a good soldier has a lot to do with understanding drills and tactics, and individual prowess with a particular weapon (or weapons) is a secondary consideration. For a warrior it would be reversed -- individual prowess with a weapon is the primary focus.
    I chose my words carefully. Soldier implies a true professional working for a State, such as you really didn't see on a large scale in Europe (outside of Byzantium) until after 1648, and arguably not until the French revolution. Both mercenaries and militia are distinct from soldiers, per se, though there was some overlap in well organized States like France or the Venetian Republic. Most militia and part time mercenaries of course did have excellent understanding of drills and tactics, this is in fact one of the main things you and I have been arguing about.

    They note that the early condottiere were assumed to be trained, experience men, because they were typically veterans of other wars. (snip) It also stated that they preferred to hire soldiers who at least some training. In the case of crossbowmen, places like Venice and Genova would certainly be good places to recruit, because everybody was required to train with a crossbow.
    In the early days of mercenaries throughout Europe, the standard for recruiting was that someone showed up with a weapon and armor. You could not generally carry weapons and armor unless you had the Right to use them, and if you had the Right, you were assumed (not always correctly) to have the necessary skill. In the second part of your statement above, you basically hit upon the point that I've been making all along. Yes they hired crossbowmen from places like Venice and Genoa (and Pisa, and Padua, and Brescia, and Berne and Zurich and Augsburg and Stuttgart and so on) because they were trained in the militia. Militia training was the basis for training most 'soldiers' and mercenaries. It was the same for pikemen, swordsmen and halberdiers.

    You have made the assumption that combat experience is the only thing that really made for quality troops - if that was true Somali's would be the best infantry on the planet. But there is clearly also a training component, and we know for a fact that could be extremely effective, or else we would not see stunning victories of relatively inexperienced militias against knights and mercenaries so often, like the Battle of Legnano or Golden spurs or Morgarten or Kutna hora

    The interesting question is how were they trained? The truth is, we don't really know that much detail yet, but we have a hint in the existence of special fighting guilds like the ones I mentioned in Flanders and Bologna (whose statutes I posted upthread), and later on, the famous Marxbruder and Federfechter of Germany and Czech, who we know used to certify Dopplesoldner (double-pay) mercenaries for the Landsknecht companies.

    I think I've already posted in this thread some images of craftsmen who were also Landsknechts, which was usually the case in fact.


    What do you mean by popular narrative? (snip)
    What I've been presenting is, to the best of my knowledge, the "current" narrative. As for being based on "very old data" -- well, if by that you mean a careful study of the period sources and archives, then yes! ;-) If you mean that more current research has overturned the narrative -- then I'm more than willing to look at that research.

    Pictures of battles don't really constitute a detailed study. I wish I could find a copy of Mallett's and Hale's book on Venice, as that sounds like its a more detailed study of a state which even Mallett claims benefitted from the best trained militia in Italy (supporting its mercenary armies).
    One of the really important things that has changed in the last 30 years is that we now know a great deal more about actual armor, weapons, and martial arts today than we did then.

    30 years ago even in Academia there was still a great deal of mythology about 200 lbs armor and 10 lbs semi-blunt swords, wielded with crude bashing and hacking (since virtually nobody had any idea of the existence of European Martial Arts). Now thanks to the efforts of guys like Alan Williams on armor, Ewart Oakeshott on swords and Sydney Anglo and various others on Medieval fencing manuals - we have a much more realistic idea of what Medieval and Renaissance combat was actually like.

    From some of the comments that you summarized here I think it's quite clear that Mallett was unaware of some of these realities.

    There have also been a lot of detailed studies, archival evidence and even archeological field work done on many major Medieval battles since the 1980s which have greatly expanded our general understanding since that time.

    As for pictures not giving us a detailed study, with the exception of that one image of urban strife from Bologna, all of the battles I linked images to are very well understood now and I have plenty of source material on them, just let me know if you want more detail or challenge the narrative of any of them and I'll be glad to provide it.

    This is interesting for something I just came across last night -- for most of the 14th century, the militia in Italian armies was called up first, and only if the war or campaign bogged down would they turn to hiring mercenary companies. (That's not to say however, that there were no mercenaries involved in the opening stages of campaigns, as small mercenary companies or individually hired mercenaries were still common, just that the bulk of the army remained militia).
    Here again, I think the reality is right in front of your nose. Yes they used the militia by preference, because it was better trusted. In a longer campaign, particularly a siege, they would hire more mercenaries for this simple reason: the town could not afford large casualties from their militias, since the militias were the skilled craftsmen and merchants of the town itself, and if they died in large numbers, the town would be mortally wounded. Long sieges were very deadly due to disease, primarily, outbreaks of plague were common and by the turn of the 16th Century a whole host of new foreign diseases (from syphilis to Typhoid fever) added to the danger. So for a rich town it becomes an obvious choice to hire mercenaries instead.


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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    Well, I assumed it was an associated device since Italy is the only place I know of where they pulled war wagons with oxen.

    As for the rest of it on #4, I think you and I just need to disagree. I think it's patently obvious that not only miltiias could handle technology and new tactics, they actually introduced probably at least half of the most important military innovations of the 14th-16th Centuries, both in terms of equipment (I mentioned several specific examples, though I could elaborate further, I didn't think it was necessary) and tactics (same).

    Furthermore, if Mallet thinks plate armor or heavy crossbows were somehow new to the world during the rise of the Conditerri, I think he's lacking in basic understanding of war in that period at the individual / micro-level (which wouldn't be unusual).

    By "old data" I mean, that guy published in an era in which a lot of the military history is now considered dated by Academia, but I'm not an expert on Italy by a long shot and I'm not about to start a crash course on it. If you really want some other books to read there are some classics and a lot of new work, I could ask a buddy who is an expert to recommend some things.

    G
    While, his work may be a bit dated -- you haven't really refuted anything with data. It appears that you just have a different "impression" of things.

    As for condottiere companies shrinking, that trend was gone by the 15th century. The contracts were too long-term to allow it to happen, and the increasingly frequency of mercenaries being activated during the winter season would have made it impractical. I'll have to go through Mallett with a fine toothed comb, I have vague memories of some examples of captains being fined for failing to maintain the contracted number of mercenaries.

    You are correct, that experience can be trumped up by tactics and numbers -- but the condottiere period allowed the mercenaries to develop pretty sophisticated tactics. And in a sense, it's that *experience*, that allows experimentation with different tactics.

    As for weapons -- I think you may have misinterpreted what I said about them. Most importantly I still get the feeling that you believe the only thing that matters with a weapon is personal prowess -- at which point you would be right, militia could handle the weapons just as well as mercenaries.

    As for his data about weapons being outdated, it's not really evident, because those details don't bear too much on the discussion. I.e. Condottiere used field artillery, crossbows, handguns, and their heavy cavalry was very well armored. If you want to quibble over weather or not militia cavalry could be just as well armored as a mercenary company, then fine. It doesn't detract from the overall argument, that the Condottiere were experimenting with new weapons, which the militias certainly would have access to, and new tactics.

    Finally, if militia could could be on par with mercenaries, why would Venice -- who are generally agreed to have some of the best trained militia -- have hired mercenary infantry on long term contracts?

    From an academia standpoint, I know of no better work on the subject. If you have something to recommend, or can dig something up, I would be most interested. It's possible that new information may state that the militia impact on Italian warfare was larger in the mid-15th century than previously thought, and that the militia was very capable. But, so far, I haven't been able to find anything to that effect, and Mallet's research is very thorough.

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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by fusilier View Post
    Finally, if militia could could be on par with mercenaries, why would Venice -- who are generally agreed to have some of the best trained militia -- have hired mercenary infantry on long term contracts?
    There are lots of potential reasons to use mercenaries - you may not want to risk your own citizens, you may simply not be able to afford the economic cost of having a large portion of your work force gone for an extended period, you may not have one or more specialty troops (cavalry, siege engineers, etc), or you may simply need more troops than you have.

    On the flip side, permanent professional armies have almost always been better than militia. It's the difference between making a living at something and doing it part time.

    I don't know the era well enough to have a strong opinion on which may have been better - but even if they were equal they might still have hired mercenaries.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Raum View Post
    There are lots of potential reasons to use mercenaries - you may not want to risk your own citizens, you may simply not be able to afford the economic cost of having a large portion of your work force gone for an extended period, you may not have one or more specialty troops (cavalry, siege engineers, etc), or you may simply need more troops than you have.
    Oh yes. There are plenty of reasons. One of them is that the militia may not be able to stay in the field for too long (before it starts to hurt the livelihoods of the militia members, and potentially the economy of the state).

    But there was something that changed in Italy starting around the 13th century, and maturing by the 15th. Venice, which maintained and trained its militia to much higher standard, still found it necessary to employ mercenaries -- and these were year round mercenaries, not just the ones hired for a particular campaign.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raum View Post
    On the flip side, permanent professional armies have almost always been better than militia. It's the difference between making a living at something and doing it part time.

    I don't know the era well enough to have a strong opinion on which may have been better - but even if they were equal they might still have hired mercenaries.
    The first part is really what Mallett's work drives at. The Condottiere system in Italy was one where temporary mercenary service evolved into permanent professional armies. The evolution wasn't that straight-forward, and there would obviously be intermediate stages. But the Condottiere gradually became more and more like professional permanent soldiers. Mallett considers their development over the period to be a key in understanding how professional armies developed.

    As for the second part. Yes. Sometimes just to bolster the number of forces, or to make it easier to maintain a long campaign. But, by the fifteenth century, the mercenaries (in Italy) were making up the bulk of the forces, and they were the lead -- militia might be raised to bolster a mercenary army, rather than the other way around.
    Last edited by fusilier; 2012-10-22 at 06:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiryt View Post
    Hacking and stabbing shield's replicas suggest that it's indeed the case.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeBPDVfi_DI

    Given the way thin planks of wood tend to behave, it's not surprising at all.

    If somebody wanted to give a good hit to the shield, he certainly had to be vary of possibility that his edge will get stopped.

    As far as metal shields go, main problem is big expense of metal, so weren't generally considered worthwhile trough most of the shields history, until state of metallurgical industry made them more accessible.

    They will also tend to end heavy for the size, steel is dense, and must still have proper thickness and bulk to not bend to easily.
    When it comes to metal versus wood shields, wouldnt longevity play a role as well in their buying decisions? I mean, wooden shields from all I have seen tend to take damage much easier than metal shields. As has been stated, they may even be designed to do so in order to trap weapons in them. But metal shields are more durable. Harder to penetrate, break, or even deform, so while you might go through several wooden shields over the course of a campaign, a single metal shield would seem more likely to last you the entire time.

    I know, we hate deadliest warriors, but thats what made this thought pop into my head. Samurai versus viking, the kanabo smashed the viking shield. Samurai versus spartan. He took a few really solid whacks, and barely dimpled the shield at all. It was still fully functional despite taking MASSIVE psi impacts. I guess to me it feels like making a choice between buying a cheap used car or buying a new car. The cheapo is cheap and easy to pay for sure, but its going to break down much faster and more often than a brand new car would. The new car costs way more, but its the only car you will likely need for the next decade or so.

    Same for shields. That wood shield is going to break on you. Probably every time you go into battle, (Or maybe not, im not certain how fragile they are) But metal shields would be able to take far more punishment and last longer between replacements.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    As I understand it wooden shields were largely considered discardable.
    They were cheap enough that the average soldier/warrior could afford to go through several in a campaign.
    Also, I suspect wooden shield were a great deal tougher than DW makes them out to be. If not then I doubt wooden shields would have seen much use in melee at all since every dude with a big club, quite probably the most common weapon in history, would wade through them.



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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Traab View Post
    I know, we hate deadliest warriors, but thats what made this thought pop into my head. Samurai versus viking, the kanabo smashed the viking shield. Samurai versus spartan. He took a few really solid whacks, and barely dimpled the shield at all. It was still fully functional despite taking MASSIVE psi impacts. I guess to me it feels like making a choice between buying a cheap used car or buying a new car. The cheapo is cheap and easy to pay for sure, but its going to break down much faster and more often than a brand new car would. The new car costs way more, but its the only car you will likely need for the next decade or so.

    Same for shields. That wood shield is going to break on you. Probably every time you go into battle, (Or maybe not, im not certain how fragile they are) But metal shields would be able to take far more punishment and last longer between replacements.
    Dunno what was DW take on this, but "Spartans" definitely used wooden shields though. A lot of them had thin layer of Bronze on it, but it was definitely wooden construction.

    Anyway, for majority of shield users over the history, there wasn't any choice like that, simply because they didn't have access to any actually metal shields. At least bigger than buckler.

    Like mentioned, it was Early Renaissance invention.

    Wooden shields can be made in various amount of ways, from various woods and to be of different bulk, so it all will affect their function.

    Roman scuta were pretty expensive pieces, carefully constructed, rather heavy, and they were indeed expected to last a while - carried in sheaths, and so on.

    A lot of Dark Age shields that were found indeed appear to be designed as very disposable - take a few arrows and whacks, and take new shield.


    Harder to penetrate, break, or even deform
    Well, actually, thin metal 'bowls' will tend to deform, so Full Metal Shields probably weren't above certain size for that reason. To keep weight realistic as well.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by fusilier View Post
    While, his work may be a bit dated -- you haven't really refuted anything with data. It appears that you just have a different "impression" of things.
    I pointed out, with facts, that his theory that "armor and crossbows" made war too complex for militias was patently ridiculous. I think this was broad enough of a hole in his argument (the principle one that you quoted) that I didn't need to elaborate further, but I can if you want.

    As for condottiere companies shrinking, that trend was gone by the 15th century. (snip), I have vague memories of some examples of captains being fined for failing to maintain the contracted number of mercenaries.
    If they got fined, one assumes there was a reason...

    You are correct, that experience can be trumped up by tactics and numbers -
    No- you are missing the point. Experience can be trumped by technology, training and esprit de corps, as the militia of the Flemish, the Germans, the Swiss and the Czechs repeatedly proved. And as did the Venetians and the Italians of the Lombard League and many others.

    - but the condottiere period allowed the mercenaries to develop pretty sophisticated tactics. And in a sense, it's that *experience*, that allows experimentation with different tactics.
    In some cases yes it does, but quite often experimentation with different tactics comes from training, which happens with militias as often or more often than with mercenaries. See below. Familiarity with new weapon technologies also tends to come from the places where the technology is itself produced. For example in the Medieval period the best armor, and most of the better quality armor used throughout Europe, came from Augsburg, Milan, and Brescia. So militias from these areas knew how to use the stuff. The best fighting ships came from Venice, which similarly gave them a major advantage in naval warfare. And so on.

    As for weapons -- I think you may have misinterpreted what I said about them. Most importantly I still get the feeling that you believe the only thing that matters with a weapon is personal prowess -- at which point you would be right, militia could handle the weapons just as well as mercenaries.
    The only way you could have this feeling is if you didn't read all my other posts, let alone follow all the links and so on. I don't necessarily blame you, they were long and we don't agree on just about any of this so you probably didn't want to read it. But you are once again completely missing the point as a result.

    I mentioned personal weapon training as one aspect of understanding of Medieval Warfare that Mallett obviously didn't understand, (and contrary to your assertion, the effectiveness and weight and so on of armor and crossbows and guns and swords does matter on a larger scale because these things do percolate up - and these are things - the weight of armor- that you and Mallett mentioned) and which has changed dramatically since his era. But it's only one of several things that have in terms of our understanding. I already pointed out at length the major tactical and operational innovations of the militias during the Medieval period, which you seem to have glossed over or ignored.

    But regarding armor, maybe Mallett thought it was too much for militias because he thought it weighed a lot more than it did.

    As for his data about weapons being outdated, it's not really evident, because those details don't bear too much on the discussion. (snip) It doesn't detract from the overall argument, that the Condottiere were experimenting with new weapons, which the militias certainly would have access to, and new tactics.
    As I've pointed out repeatedly, militias pioneered many if not most of the principle military tactical innovations of the late Medieval period, including but not limited to, halberd squares (the Swiss) pike squares (the Swiss) firearms (the Czechs) gun wagons (the Czechs) field howitzers (the Czechs) and the most sophisticated tactics of integrating crossbows with heavy infantry, which you alluded to (via Mallett) several times upthread, were pioneered by the Genoese, the Flemish, the Swiss, and the Czechs. Militias.

    As for cavalry, I've pointed out several times that militias tended to make good infantry, often the best available - whereas the best cavalry comes from the Feudal Aristocracy. It's always been that way, going back to Alexander.

    Finally, if militia could could be on par with mercenaries, why would Venice -- who are generally agreed to have some of the best trained militia -- have hired mercenary infantry on long term contracts?
    If they weren't, why did you yourself say that Venice used the militia first, and usually brought in the mercenaries after the war 'bogged down' as you put it (i.e. in most cases, became a siege)? And you are continually skipping the other point I've repeatedly raised, that mercenaries were most often themselves raised directly from militias. The Venetians as case in point relied heavily on militia from Albania, Croatia, (the Dalmatian Coast) including the famous Schiavoni who comprised the bodyguard of the Doge of Venice. And further afield, German and Czech miltiia such as comprized the bulk of the Venetian financed Hungarian Black Army.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Army_of_Hungary

    which brings me to the second part of my point. Yes Venice relied heavily on a permanent force of mercenaries, because Venice controlled half of the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean at various times. They were one (by todays standards) very small city with a heavily engaged manufacturing sector they could not afford to disrupt (since their wealth came from trade and manufacturing) including a 3,000 ship fleet, and they had to garrison hundreds of islands and fortifications from Italy all the way to the Black Sea. Genoa faced the same problem, incidentaly.

    You seem to think Venice was limiting their activity to the Italian peninsula, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth - they had a huge Empire to maintain. For example note this map:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...ade_Routes.jpg

    The Venetian trade routes are in blue and purple. Many of these bases you see the Venetians landing were permanent Venetian outposts. I'll list a few

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corfu#Venetian_rule

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republi...2.80.931358.29

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canea#The_Venetian_era

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crete#Venetian_rule

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Famagus...a.2C_1192-1571

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyprus#Middle_Ages

    Most of the major Islands in the Eastern Mediterranean (like Crete and Cyprus) and a great deal of the land in what is now Greece, Croatia and Serbia were at one time or another under the control of Venice, and they (Venice) had military outposts and trade missions much further afield, as far as the Crimea and deep into the Black Sea, the Middle East and Persia. It was the same for Genoa. In short, they controlled the equivalent territory of a large Kingdom, so they obviously needed more military manpower than they could supply out of the militia of one town.

    From an academia standpoint, I know of no better work on the subject. If you have something to recommend, or can dig something up, I would be most interested. It's possible that new information may state that the militia impact on Italian warfare was larger in the mid-15th century than previously thought, and that the militia was very capable. But, so far, I haven't been able to find anything to that effect, and Mallet's research is very thorough.
    You keep trying to bring it back to this, but I am not focused on the Italian Condottieri, I have my hands full with the other research I'm doing right now. I do however have several sources on Swiss and Czech militia and the Landsknechts, including first-hand accounts and primary sources if you want me to recommend some of those I can. But for the time-being my interests lie north of the Alps.

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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Besides the obvious course of action known as the bayonet, what would be a practical method of combining a melee weapon with a firearm? I have essentially the Book of Armaments, and most of the combination weapons shown were showpieces and probably wouldn't work as martial weapons.
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    Many thrown weapons can also be used by keeping them in the hand. Otherwise I don't really see any practical applications.
    Close combat weapons come in two types: bashing as stabbing. When it's about life and death, risking your ranged weapon getting damaged by hitting an attacker in the head is a worth risk. But since ranged combat is always preferable to hand to hand combat, I think it very doubtful that anyone would make a ranged weapon more difficult to hold and aim for the sake of making it a better club. The alternative is poking someone with the weapon, which is covered by the bayonet.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Voyd211 View Post
    Besides the obvious course of action known as the bayonet, what would be a practical method of combining a melee weapon with a firearm? I have essentially the Book of Armaments, and most of the combination weapons shown were showpieces and probably wouldn't work as martial weapons.
    Renaissance arsenals and museums are full of gun-axes, shields with guns, guns with maces, morningstars with guns, sabres with guns and all other crazy stuff.

    The question is obviosuly how practical those things were, and how widely used - the answer is probably "not very".

    Most of them are rather ornate and all, being probably rich man toy that could very well be useful for self-defense in some unexpected situation.

    http://www.myarmoury.com/feature_spot_combo.html


    . But since ranged combat is always preferable to hand to hand combat, I think it very doubtful that anyone would make a ranged weapon more difficult to hold and aim for the sake of making it a better club.
    Even deep into the age of guns, ranged combat was still very often not considered 'superior' to melee - with proper ways, one could still inflict severe losses and rout with hand to hand combat.
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    Default Re: Got a Real World Weapons or Armour Question? Mk XI

    Quote Originally Posted by Raum View Post
    There are lots of potential reasons to use mercenaries - you may not want to risk your own citizens, you may simply not be able to afford the economic cost of having a large portion of your work force gone for an extended period,
    I think this bears repeating, it's the principle point. These towns were not that big, and the militia often included many of their most prominent citizens, their merchants in the cavalry and their skilled craftsmen in the infantry. If a town of 10,000 people deploys 2,000 militia and loses half of them to dysentery in a siege, they have just lost 10% of their economy, and probably the most productive 10%.

    you may not have one or more specialty troops (cavalry, siege engineers, etc), or you may simply need more troops than you have.
    I think it was kind of the opposite. They had a lot of speciality troops in the sense of siege engineers and the like, (though not as much cavalry) but what they lacked was cannon fodder, for the reasons you referred to above.

    To underscore this, some facts: we have detailed records of the muster of a small army from the German city of Regensburg which went on campaign in 1431. The force consisted of 73 horsemen, 71 crossbowmen, 16 handgunners, and a mixed group of smiths, leatherworkers, a chaplain, pike-makers, tailors, cooks, and butchers, for 248 men in total.

    This small force had a large number of supplies:

    They brought 6 cannon, 300 lbs of cannonballs and 200 lbs of lead shot. Forty one wagons carried powder and lead, 6,000 crossbow bolts, 300 fire-bolts, 19 handguns, cowhides, tents, and horse fodder for six weeks. Supplies for the 248 men included ninety head of oxen, 900 lbs of cooked meat, 900 lbs of lard, 1200 pieces of cheese, 80 stock-fish, 56 lbs of uncut candles, vinegar, olive oil, pepper, saffron, ginger, 2 tuns and 73 “kilderkins” of Austrian wine, and 138 “kilderkins” of beer. The total cost of this campaign was 838 guilders. The source for this is the Osprey book German Medieval Armies, page 10.

    This small, very well supplied force then merged with two other larger forces consisting of peasant levies and mercenaries, to the tune of about 1,000 more troops, mostly armed with polearms and lighter crossbows. This is a good example of how a hard core of militia, which had plenty well-trained, well-equipped specialists, a lot of times was fleshed out with more warm bodies.

    Of course the opposite did also sometimes happen where the towns provided the 'cannon fodder' and the mercenaries or nobility supplied the specialists, particularly cavalry. These types of scenarios usually happened when the town was the lesser partner in a given alliance. But for the towns themselves, to the extent that they were in control of a given campaign, it was much more in their interests to try to get the most out of their expertise and special equipment, while reducing the risk to their population and therefore economy as possible.

    G
    Last edited by Galloglaich; 2012-10-23 at 02:33 PM.
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