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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    All the factors that you or others mention which the English struggled with are real (political issues, expenses and logistics, manpower of the French) but they are not the really relevant issue.

    For one thing, the French also had plenty of challenges (including interregnums, revolts, famines, other foreign military problems like Saracen pirates, treacherous Dukes and assassinations among other nastiness)

    But all those things are just the common problems of any large scale invasion. Cromwell faced the same problems in Ireland, Cortez and Pizarro et al faced many times the same problems in the New World.

    Dismissing the Teutonic Order's conquest of Prussia and Livonia is particularly foolish. Look at a map. London is 116 miles to Calais, 292 miles from Paris. You can see across the English Channel on a clear day. The English also inherited their way into France and didn't have to conduct a fighting invasion.


    G
    1. The French definitely had their share of challenges, but they (largely) diminished over time, especially once their leadership got put together at the end of the war. Meanwhile, the English suffered weak leadership at a critical point under Henry VI, with various factions beginning the power struggles that would become the Wars of the Roses, and had to deal with powerful allies of suspect loyalty, most notably Burgundy. Thus, the French enjoyed a stability towards the end of the war that the English couldn't match.

    2. The success of such invasions, however, is largely dependent on the ability of the invader to account for such difficulties. Cortez and Pizarro exploited native rivalries to gain supplies and cannon fodder, for example, and succeeded. Napoleon failed to do so in Russia, leading to his defeat and the launch of the Coalition that ultimately destroyed him. Logistic challenges are indeed a central piece of any campaign; a war may be lost by an army with good logistics, but the examples of those with poor logistics being victorious are vanishingly few at best.

    3. The English, unlike the Knights, had to fight or manage too many fronts. Their navy was a significant, necessary investment, keeping vital sea lanes open. Furthermore, they had to or chose to--in addition to fortifying their strongholds in Gascony, etc.--manage several campaigns simultaneously to the War in Spain, devote significant investment to retaining their Burgundian ally and other resources in the Low Countries, and retain substantial forces in England proper to deter the Scots. The Knights, for much of their history, only had to move east, trusting their allies to the west and south and the sea to their north as bulwarks against any issue. Thus, it is not only the logistics of supplying forces but the strategy of when and where to concentrate said forces.

    3a. In addition, it is unfair to underestimate English difficulties in supplying troops in France. The Channel has always been a difficult place to maneuver large vessels, especially ones carrying square sails (there are many, many cases in which English vessels or fleets were waylaid by winds for weeks if not months in the Channel). Furthermore, difficulties on land in travel--storms, landslides, etc.--generally mean that you have to only either wait or go around. Such incidents at sea--storms, especially--mean that there is a good chance of losing the supply fleet, and even if it weathers the storm largely intact it will generally have been driven dozens, if not hundreds, of miles downwind, distance it will have to recover. If the wind is against the fleet, it will often simply have to wait until a shift, or will move so inefficiently that it might as well. Square-rigged, large, non-maneuverable vessels are terrible at beating into the wind, especially in unskilled hands (remember, command of a ship for centuries was often awarded on basis of connections, not merit, and thus command in such situations would be either incompetent or in the hands of a sailing-master with little legal authority). These conditions often meant that less than half the year could be a viable 'sailing season' for such fleets. It cannot be said that land transport was easy in the Middle Ages, but waterborne transport posed vastly more challenges in logistical terms over the same lengths (i.e. a short voyage could be just as hard to pull off as a long march).

    4. The French, at the bottom line, had a vastly greater pool of resources on which to draw. Their population, as previously mentioned, was much greater than England's, leading to their having much greater manpower reserves. That, in turn, led to much greater ability to recover from defeat. Part of the reason Agincourt especially was such a major success was because it enabled the experienced English army to escape and fight another day. The English, ultimately, had much less ability to recover from defeat than the French, so once the French started winning battles they snowballed onward as the English lost resources. The cannon helped them in this regard, but did not prove decisive in the strategic sense. Once the French had the ability to start winning major battles--a situation all but guaranteed to them by their logistic superiority--this effect would come into play, regardless of cannon.

    4a. Cannon were expensive! Saying the French won because of their cannon is ultimately an indirect way of saying they won because they were better at raising and using revenue. Cannon were certainly known in the British Isles since the early 1300s--heck, the English brought five to Crecy! But they, ultimately, cannot or did not utilize them with the same efficiency as the French--which can only be attributed to lack of logistical skill and efficiency.

    5. Joan of Arc aside, it is fair to say that the end of the war brought an upsurge of French nationalism. Thus, the English had to further devote resources merely to holding the territory they had, not to aggressively countering French forces. Cities often being in places ideal for controlling the countryside, it is no surprise that sieges were fought in such places, favoring the French artillery. But, even without cannon, the difficulty of retaining territory as well as countering the French military would have doomed the English. Cannon merely expedited their downfall, but did not cause it.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Does anyone have pictures of bone armor that doesn't look like a skeleton Halloween costume?
    "Reach down into your heart and you'll find many reasons to fight. Survival. Honor. Glory. But what about those who feel it's their duty to protect the innocent? There you'll find a warrior savage enough to match any dragon, and in the end, they'll retain what the others won't. Their humanity."

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by KarlMarx View Post
    2. The success of such invasions, however, is largely dependent on the ability of the invader to account for such difficulties. Cortez and Pizarro exploited native rivalries to gain supplies and cannon fodder, for example, and succeeded.
    Cortez and Pizarro were also (unwittingly) preceded by a wave of disease that wiped out 90-95% of the native population and caused societal collapse compounding the issues of resistance.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Archpaladin Zousha View Post
    Does anyone have pictures of bone armor that doesn't look like a skeleton Halloween costume?
    Very ancient Siberian bone armour:
    http://siberiantimes.com/science/cas...rthed-in-omsk/

    Whale bone armour, Siberia or Alaska, XIX century:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/dervish/15091298648

    Cuirass breastplate
    Italy
    Late 16th century
    Steel, bone, wrought and carved
    h 42 cm
    © State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
    (I guess it was just for show)
    https://artblart.files.wordpress.com...03/cuirass.jpg

    Dunkleosteus Armour (proof that Nature Does It Better: 3m length, and look at that eye protection!)
    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com...473ac423c7.jpg

    Comments to the answers to my question coming tomorrow!

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    I look forward to it! Thank you already!
    "Reach down into your heart and you'll find many reasons to fight. Survival. Honor. Glory. But what about those who feel it's their duty to protect the innocent? There you'll find a warrior savage enough to match any dragon, and in the end, they'll retain what the others won't. Their humanity."

  6. - Top - End - #156
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiero View Post
    Cortez and Pizarro were also (unwittingly) preceded by a wave of disease that wiped out 90-95% of the native population and caused societal collapse compounding the issues of resistance.
    And that doesn't support the thesis that relative logistical strength and resources are decisive...how exactly?

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    I do not mention thrust at first because Han-to-Song Dynasty Chinese dao is pretty much the odd one that's perfectly straight, no false edge, and with a tip that's unsuitable for thrusting. It appears to be a chop-exclusive weapon.

    Spoiler
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    Three Kingdom period Two-handed Dao



    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    Victor Davis Hansen or his idea of 'European shock warfare'

    there is some truth to there being a bit more emphasis on fighting up close and personal in a sustained manner in Europe than in most other places. I think it coincides with the use of armor in Europe. Japan was also like this to some extent though their fencing system (and blades) adapted to it in different ways.

    If you are a steppe-nomad riding by on your horse with a saber, you need only make one cut and keep going, you don't need to parry and if you do, you probably have a small shield. But Latin infantry, and the Greeks before them, were trained to duke it out. It was part of fighting culture in much of Europe long before even the Romans.

    G
    I don't really get this reasoning - aren't a combat style that focus on fighting up close and staying in combat, which coincide with the use of armor, counterproductive to the development of complex handguard? After all, most troops would wear gauntlets already (including those that are too poor to wear complete metal armor - see picture. At the very worst they can still use a shield), making hand guard unnecessary.

    Spoiler
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    Last edited by wolflance; 2017-08-21 at 09:51 PM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    I do not mention thrust at first because Han-to-Song Dynasty Chinese dao is pretty much the odd one that's perfectly straight, no false edge, and with a tip that's unsuitable for thrusting. It appears to be a chop-exclusive weapon.

    Spoiler
    Show

    Three Kingdom period Two-handed Dao




    I don't really get this reasoning - aren't a combat style that focus on fighting up close and staying in combat, which coincide with the use of armor, counterproductive to the development of complex handguard? After all, most troops would wear gauntlets already (including those that are too poor to wear complete metal armor - see picture. At the very worst they can still use a shield), making hand guard unnecessary.

    Spoiler
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    Well, you are missing a couple of things here.

    Those gauntlets are there for the same reason - that kit, including the gauntlets (which were routinely recommended for polearm -equipped troops) are used the same way as a crossguard.

    But gauntlets are of limited utility. Look at the gauntlets in that image, do you think you can shoot a gun or a crossbow with those on? Or handle a sword?

    Really good articulated gauntlets, as opposed to simple half-gauntlets or 'clam shells' of the type in that image, were quite expensive and even the best onesoffered limited hand protection. I can tell you that in fencing in longsword tournaments today, I wear very expensive, excellent quality protective gloves made out of the best materials the modern world can devise and 15 years of experimentation and gradually perfected designs (all of us do these days - it's a requirement) but I rely far more on my weapon - and the cross- to protect my hands than I do on the gloves. The gloves are great, a major investment (probably the single most expensive bit of protective gear for most HEMA people, except maybe the coat). But if the gloves are protecting me it means I made a mistake.

    In fact I actually bought a heavy tournament sword with a sidering recently even though it's a bit heavier than I would prefer, because of the extra hand protection it provides. Hand hits were a problem for a long time in HEMA. In the early days of the current HEMA revival they were actually talking about banning hand-hits in tournaments because so many people were getting their hands broken, and because a lot of people thought "hand sniping" was a form of "cheating", like it was a way to game the rules. Even though the manuals often specifically tell you to target the hands, and there are no rules in a real fight. But what happened is people learned to fence better and use their cross properly. It also goes along with proper edge alignment, you learn to be aware of the direction your blade and your cross are pointing at all times, until it becomes instinct, second nature. The guards (fighting positions) in the various medieval and Early Modern European fencing systems are set up to help you align your cross correctly. Most of the Master-cuts and other single-time counter techniques actually rely heavily on the cross to protect your hands.

    Spoiler: Absetzen - usuing the cross in a single-time counter
    Show




    As for shields, the shield is good protection but it doesn't always protect your weapon hand. The use of the shield, specifically the buckler in our oldest known European fencing manual, the I.33, does in fact strongly emphasize protecting the weapon hand as much as possible, (this is another thing you never see in genre films, shows or games) but it's nowhere near as effective in that role as built in hand protection on the sword hilt itself.




    The other part of it has to do with the specific role of a sword on the battlefield. A sword is a sidearm. Which means it's used after you use your main weapon, and it's also for "civilian" defense as well. You may not be wearing any armor at all, but you should always have your sword (and anyone of a military estate or caste would normally be allowed to carry their sidearm at all times) and you may need it to defend yourself. If you have a complex hilt or even just a cross, you can use the sword much more effectively in defense. This isn't part of most RPG's or CRPG's etc., but it is actually one of the most important reasons for a sword - to defend against attacks.

    Earlier swords in Europe and those from other parts of the world without significant hand protection were either meant to be used with a shield or were meant to use in a 'hit and run' type attack, or they were used with sophisticated martial arts emphasizing voiding and special parries that minimize exposure of the hands. But the hands are always a target, they are the part of the enemy closest to you most of the time and they are also the part bearing the weapon. In FMA they call it 'defanging the snake'. It's all over the medieval manauls.


    Spoiler: Why you need to protect your hand
    Show





    It's just a theory, I don't have a deep enough knowledge of fencing systems from the Middle East, Central or South Asia, China or Japan to say for sure why, but I know from doing medieval fencing for 15 years now that you rely heavily on the cross and all the other forms of hand defense (knucklebows, siderings, finger rings, and so on) in the fencing systems of Latin Europe. Many of the techniques simply wouldn't work without those hilt elements.


    English cavalry sword


    Polish Pallash cavalry sword

    Spoiler: Schiavona
    Show


    One other thing worth mentioning - sabers were later to get complex hilt elements in some parts of the world, specifically because cavalry swords intended for the 'stand-up fight' - heavy cavalry weapons, were the ones given the complex hilt features and pretty quickly, basket hilts. The Pallasch, the Schiavona, the English backsword and so forth. They usually also had fairly long, strait blades either double-edged or with a partial false edge.

    Those were the weapons meant for duking it out at close quarters. The saber proper was intended (at least in theory) for the ride by attack or hit-and-run. Sabers got some hand protection (knucklebow) at least intermittently as far back as the 16th Century - but the need for it was largely based on the use of the saber as a personal sidearm and in duels and so forth, which is why more hand protection became more common by the 19th.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    Snip
    G
    So, to sum it all down, it is "you need complex hilt because you don't always have gauntlet or shield with you/can't always afford them/need the protection in duel" ?

    That sounds fair enough.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    Spoiler: Why you need to protect your hand
    Show


    So the number of lightsaber duels in Star Wars that end via... dis-arming your opponent has a grain of truth?


    Spoiler: Absetzen - usuing the cross in a single-time counter
    Show

    A serious question: a lot of people post pictures of fighting manuals that show parries in these kinds of positions, and it just seems incredibly awkward a lot of the time. The only experience I have that's even remotely close are the bayonet fighting manuals from the American Civil War, where the parries are short, quick motions to just deflect an attack (granted the musket with a bayonet is a vastly different weapon from a sword, and volunteer soldiers in the ACW would have nowhere near the experience or training in hand-to-hand combat that a Medieval swordsman usually had). How easy is it to make one of these (seemingly) complicated parries vs. simply deflecting an enemy attack? Obviously they worked given how many people have posted manuals showing these kinds of things.

    Also related to some of the things you were saying here, would someone carrying, say, an axe or a hammer be at a disadvantage against someone using a sword with crossguard in terms of being able to defend themselves? What about polearms? I can't see most weapons on those categories being as good at parrying as a sword, but I have zero experience actually using them.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by rs2excelsior View Post
    A serious question: a lot of people post pictures of fighting manuals that show parries in these kinds of positions, and it just seems incredibly awkward a lot of the time. The only experience I have that's even remotely close are the bayonet fighting manuals from the American Civil War, where the parries are short, quick motions to just deflect an attack (granted the musket with a bayonet is a vastly different weapon from a sword, and volunteer soldiers in the ACW would have nowhere near the experience or training in hand-to-hand combat that a Medieval swordsman usually had). How easy is it to make one of these (seemingly) complicated parries vs. simply deflecting an enemy attack? Obviously they worked given how many people have posted manuals showing these kinds of things.

    Also related to some of the things you were saying here, would someone carrying, say, an axe or a hammer be at a disadvantage against someone using a sword with crossguard in terms of being able to defend themselves? What about polearms? I can't see most weapons on those categories being as good at parrying as a sword, but I have zero experience actually using them.
    I don't think the technique is awkward, but I do think it is an incredibly risky move. A slight mistake, and your hand or worse will get cut immediately ( as the discussion above shows, getting Luke Skywalker-ed is really BAD news).

    I'd prefer to stay as far away as possible from my opponent's blade, with or without complex hilt/shield/gauntlet. There have to be other, better ways to defend/parry without letting opponent's blade coming THAT close to your body (something like a hanging parry for that specific situation, perhaps?). That being said, German longsword seems to love taking that risk.

    Now for your second question, assuming unarmored + no shield, guy with the sword will have both reach and defensive advantage (not to mention sword is better balanced/nimbler) over axe/hammer. Guy with the polearm will have advantage over all of the rest, simply because of the massive reach advantage.
    Last edited by wolflance; 2017-08-22 at 02:22 AM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich;
    ... lots of stuff about hand protection
    I can't quite agree with you on this one, or rather, it's a bit more nuanced thing. Crossguard on European swords doesn't do an awful lot to protect your hand in most cases.

    What is does do is protect your hand in a bind, and it works really well there (if you do things right, there's a reason why Kohutovic wrote an entire article about not loosing your fingers in a Zwerch), but outside of it, not so much, not when you start to compare it to I.33 use of buckler or complex hilts. If you have a fighting style that doesn't have a lot of sword binds, or doesn't have lot of work in Edel Krieg to put it in Lichtenauer way, then you don't really need it as much.

    Viking (and I use the term here colloquially) sword and shield (most likely) relies on shield binds, and viking-type swords do lack the crossguard, as do many Asian swords meant for fighting styles that lack or de-emphasize binds (which is most of them, really).

    Quote Originally Posted by rs2excelsior View Post
    So the number of lightsaber duels in Star Wars that end via... dis-arming your opponent has a grain of truth?
    More than a grain - chopping off someone's sword hand is the best defense you could ask for. It's not like it can stab you from the ground.

    Quote Originally Posted by rs2excelsior View Post
    A serious question: a lot of people post pictures of fighting manuals that show parries in these kinds of positions, and it just seems incredibly awkward a lot of the time.
    Most manuals doesn't mean that it was the most widespread, it's just that one tradition of fencing in HRE had a fetish for writing books, so we have a disproportionate amount of material about them. Other sources, e.g. Fiore, don't have many of the complex positions - and have some others.

    As for awkwardness, not really, they are quite comfortable to do once you figure out how. Keep in mind that manuals often draw things off-model to show you how the position works, they don't care that much about anatomical correctness, hence guy in Fiore who has arms that are 4/5 the length of his torso.

    Quote Originally Posted by rs2excelsior View Post
    The only experience I have that's even remotely close are the bayonet fighting manuals from the American Civil War, where the parries are short, quick motions to just deflect an attack (granted the musket with a bayonet is a vastly different weapon from a sword, and volunteer soldiers in the ACW would have nowhere near the experience or training in hand-to-hand combat that a Medieval swordsman usually had). How easy is it to make one of these (seemingly) complicated parries vs. simply deflecting an enemy attack? Obviously they worked given how many people have posted manuals showing these kinds of things.
    Taking the Absetzen in Ochs from Galloglaich's post as an example, the idea here is that you're basically both attacking and defending in the same tempo. This is slightly harder and riskier to do than parry-riposte system of Napoleonic and later eras, but it is a lot, and I mean A LOT harder to defend against.

    Thing is, these techniques are meant mostly for duels. You can use some of them on the battlefield, but skirmishes are less about technique and more about situational awareness and group cohesion - I've seen quite a few people who were very good at duels/HEMA (some of them trained by the guy in Galloglaich's picture) crash and burn in group battles because they got tunnel vision and overextended, only to get smacked by a flail. If you have a bunch of soldiers who need to also train to shoot properly, you teach them a few basic attacks, and that then focus on group fights, your time is limited, after all.

    Let's not forget about one more thing when comparing these techniques to bayonet fighting - rifles are heavy and unwieldy and have a lot of fiddly bits that get in the way of techniques - they are meant to shoot first and stab second. This means that a lot of things you can do with a short staff or spear are not possible to do (or are harder to do) with a rifle. Lancing out with a long, one-handed thrust comes to mind as an example.

    Last but not least, those quick parries and deflections do exist in the manuals, it's just that the manuals tell you not to do them because what they are showing you is better. That basically tells you that people who didn't have enough time and money to train in these techniques did very likely use something like a parry-riposte.


    Quote Originally Posted by rs2excelsior View Post
    Also related to some of the things you were saying here, would someone carrying, say, an axe or a hammer be at a disadvantage against someone using a sword with crossguard in terms of being able to defend themselves? What about polearms? I can't see most weapons on those categories being as good at parrying as a sword, but I have zero experience actually using them.
    Axe and hammer loose against sword, crossguard or not, if we are talking about unarmored combatants. At the end of the day, sword is just far quicker and likely longer than hammer or an axe, and additional strength of blows you get from them doesn't do much in this case - if you hit someone twice as hard, he's not gonna be twice as dead.

    If you introduce large center-gripped shields into the mix, then axes are on a somewhat equal footing with swords, because your main defensive tool is now covered, and axe can hook the shield out of the way, while the sword can move faster. What is better depends a lot on personal preferences and fighting styles.

    As for polearms, they beat everything. Their length gives you a huge advantage, and even a very good swordsman will be very leery of going against a semi-competent spearman. There is a minor caveat here, though, some polearms are designed for use in armor, using these when you're not in armor is not such a good idea, since they tend to be on the short side.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by KarlMarx View Post
    And that doesn't support the thesis that relative logistical strength and resources are decisive...how exactly?
    Their success had a lot more to do with the fact that any potential resistance collapsed before they even met it. If the natives hadn't been wiped out by disease, their logistical strength and resources would have been completely irrelevant.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiero View Post
    Vegetius wasn't a soldier or even a historian, just a compiler of other people's works. Polybius is a better source for military details.
    This is true. However, concerning the detail of Roman legionnaires wearing only the right greave, I think he can be believed (as in, that he has correctly understood and conveyed the meaning of his source). The largest problem with him is the fact that he tends to mix up different times. In this case, however, he is explicitly talking about the old Roman army (the time of principes etc.), and I don't see how his source could have been referring to something else. To make a comparison, in the same paragraph he gives an information which I consider unreliable: he says that, in this same ancient era, the Roman archers wore armour on the left arm. He uses, once again (in this discussion) the term "manica". He evidently understands this as armour, because the phrase is inserted into a whole discourse extolling the great value of armour in shaping Roman military success. However, I think it much more likely that the word "manicae" had been used by his source with a different meaning, that of a protective sleeve or glove which wasn't meant as armour, but to protect the archers from being hurt by their own bow. Manica could indeed mean protective implements used on the job, like fingerless gloves for working, and we know of leather sleeves or gloves used by hunters.

    What I find interesting is how Vegetius was, from many points of view, an ancient Wikipedia editor...

    Anyway, I now am curious as to where the image of left-greave Roman soldiers came from. It could have been an expansion on Livy's notation of Samnites wearing graves on the left, come from another literary source, from iconography, or from reenactment.

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    Oh dear, Livy is even worse. He just makes things up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    So, to sum it all down, it is "you need complex hilt because you don't always have gauntlet or shield with you/can't always afford them/need the protection in duel" ?

    That sounds fair enough.
    Yeah that is a bit jumbled ;) let me try to unpack it a bit more clearly.

    You need a substantial cross, and then later other complex hilt elements, because

    1) You don't always have a gauntlet

    a) While crude gauntlets were affordable for most infantry, the type with fingers (and also well made enough to not be clumsy) were much more expensive.

    2) Gauntlets make it hard to do things.

    a)Gauntlets get in the way. Even those really nice fingered gauntlets are hard to work with if you are doing things like spanning crossbows, putting gunpowder into an arquebus, adjusting the straps on a horse or the buckles on armor, or fiddling around with cannon.
    b) As a result gauntlets were one of the first things which were left behind even by people who could afford them. One compromise was a half-gauntlet (covering the back of your hand but not your fingers). The other thing people often left exposed when fighting hand to hand was their face, because of the need to breathe and see clearly. The visor would be down when in a cavalry charge or when under attack by arrows or other missiles. But it's hard to fight with swords while looking through it.

    3) Gauntlets aren't really enough protection (especially gauntlets with fingers)

    a) Many people did fence with gauntlets of course, but as I said, the cross is still always your first and best line of defense.
    b) The tradeoff between clumsy mitten or clamshell type gauntlets and the type with fingers is that while the latter lets you do more, including control a sword more effectively, they can't really protect well against your hand getting smashed especially by large hand weapons. The cross is much more effective for this and much more robust in defense. In a really insane full scale battle you are probably best off with both, though many fighters seem to have gone without the gauntlet and just relied on the complex hilt features.

    4) The shield doesn't protect your weapon hand, typically

    a) unless you use specific techniques like the halbschilt guard in I.33, but not all fencing systems made use of those and they aren't perfect anyway.

    5) The sword was a sidearm, and you would have the sword with you much more often than you would have armor

    a) both in a civilian context and on the battlefield. Armor takes a long time to put on, and there were laws against walking around in armor
    b) Italians in particular seem to have broken those laws though and did sometimes wear mail under their clothing and also wear gauntlets, as noted by George Silver and acknowledged by Benvenutto Cellini in his autobiography.

    5) In Europe at least, one of the most important roles of the sword was for defense, to prevent you being hurt by someone else with a weapon.

    a) Many documented sword fights ended with no injuries. It's much safer to defend yourself with the weapon if there is hand protection.



    Hope that helps a bit,

    G
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiero View Post
    Their success had a lot more to do with the fact that any potential resistance collapsed before they even met it. If the natives hadn't been wiped out by disease, their logistical strength and resources would have been completely irrelevant.
    There certainly was still resistance--the Aztec fought campaigns against the Spaniards in vain, and Pizarro faced decades of unrest from pretenders reorganizing fractions of the old empire. They attempted to resist; the Spaniards didn't simply walk in and conquer ghost cities. The plagues damaged much of their logistic potential, most specifically their 'social infrastructure'--i.e. leadership and organization--that would have enabled them to manage the resources to wage an effective campaign. In both conquests, a strong emperor had died of plague recently to be replaced by a contentious and opposed successor, who could not muster effective loyalty to fight a broad campaign.

    This, on top of the nightmare of raising effective forces following their decimation by the plague, and of still having the supporting farmers, craftsmen, etc., proved their undoing.

    Logistics isn't just about having stuff, it's also about distributing stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rs2excelsior View Post
    So the number of lightsaber duels in Star Wars that end via... dis-arming your opponent has a grain of truth?
    Very much so, though it's a trick they tended to overuse in all the subsequent films. The original (and only good -ha ha ) Star Wars was largely inspired by the excellent Kirosawa Samurai films. Those are known for their realistic fencing. And in those films there are a couple of famous scenes where someones hand or arm is cut off. For example "there is no cure for fools" from Yojimbo. Note the dialogue and the similarity to the bullies in the Mos Isely cantina in Star Wars. "I'm wanted by the authorities!" "They'll hang me if they catch me!"



    http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/3...For-Fools.html

    A serious question: a lot of people post pictures of fighting manuals that show parries in these kinds of positions, and it just seems incredibly awkward a lot of the time. The only experience I have that's even remotely close are the bayonet fighting manuals from the American Civil War, where the parries are short, quick motions to just deflect an attack (granted the musket with a bayonet is a vastly different weapon from a sword, and volunteer soldiers in the ACW would have nowhere near the experience or training in hand-to-hand combat that a Medieval swordsman usually had). How easy is it to make one of these (seemingly) complicated parries vs. simply deflecting an enemy attack? Obviously they worked given how many people have posted manuals showing these kinds of things.
    Like I said, they are counter-intuitive. What you are seeing there is a single-time counter. Some of them are parries, some are actually attacks. They aren't something you do naturally without training, but if you are trained and have drilled it in a bit, they are actually safer to use than a 'regular' parry.

    Many of the mastercuts, the zornhau for example, use this single-time technique. It is the safest and best thing to use when your opponent is presenting you with the opportunity. Sometimes it's better to use the double-time counters where you beat the enemies weapon aside and then counter, or more gently 'capture' it with a parry, luring them close so you can attack another opening.

    Single-time counters and attacks also work better (IMO) with either a longsword or a thrusting sword like a rapier, not as easy to do with a shorter cutting sword.

    Also related to some of the things you were saying here, would someone carrying, say, an axe or a hammer be at a disadvantage against someone using a sword with crossguard in terms of being able to defend themselves? What about polearms? I can't see most weapons on those categories being as good at parrying as a sword, but I have zero experience actually using them.
    As others mentioned, the reach matters - a lot. Though it doesn't inevitably overcome. An experienced swordsman can beat a spearman. The biggest problem with hafted weapons is that they can be seized a lot easier. If you parry - get a bind, you can grab the haft and then cut them. This is a common tactic when fencing. You can also parry and then just target the (typically unprotected) hands and this is exactly why gauntlets were recommended historically for polearm fighters. And why a lot of real actual polearms from the late medieval period had roundels which were also meant to protect the hand, as well as langets to protect the haft itself from being cut.

    The sword can be grabbed too of course but it's much riskier, and the sword is usually a little quicker than most polearms even the short ones.

    But these attacks, and the counters like 'absetzen' do work, just like in the image of Anton I posted, and they are reliable. I did an absetzen exactly like that against a kid in a tournament two months ago and I do have it on video. For me, whether or not you use single or double-time counters or attacks depends on the way the other guy fights. A half-trained fighter who is aggressive, as tournament fighters in safety gear sometimes will be, and attacks every opening safe or unsafe, is best dealt with by parrying before attacking and if possible, using double-time counters. Someone who fences in correct tempo and is more aware of the blade however is riskier to deal with in this manner, because they can exploit the opening in tempo that you give them with that first parry.

    This is the real problem with a simple parry or a hanging parry. Every and any parry is better than being hit. Unlike some HEMA coaches I teach all the parries, simple to sophisticated, because you need them when you don't have time to think. It's a controversial issue actually but I believe the manuals expect you to know them, they are referred to repeatedly just not emphasized. But the problem with them is while they save you in the instant, you still don't have the initiative, the other person is going to attack again. And simple parries can be exploited for a near-certain killing follow-up (like doing a zwerchau after the other guy does an off-line simple parry). Single-time counters by contrast, as well as some of the more sophisticated double-time counters (krumph-schiel for example or parrying with the kron / sprechfenster) do not give your opponent this opening, on the contrary they threaten your opponent and may kill or wound them, but if properly executed they will almost always give you back the initiative. It puts your opponent on the defensive, wins you the center, and puts you back in the right tempo.

    So the shorthand TL : DR is, single-time counters help put you in control of the fight.

    The mastercuts, and techniques like absetzen, are all about controlling the other persons blade. One way to do this is to attack across their own line of attack. This is how zornhau works, and trust me, it works. You can also control the other persons blade by parrying, but that only buys you a couple of seconds. In a successful absezten like that one Anton was doing in the image, you have basically locked up your opponents sword, so they can't get you. This gives you a level of certainty in your defense which is ideal. They could always leap back and avoid your point - it doesn't always give you that killing shot, the part you are actually more certain of (not 100% certain but much more certain) is controlling their blade, because if you do this, you did so because you identified their intent.

    This is also just a modification of a basic parry - if they attack your left shoulder or left side of your head (the single most common attack if they are right handed) in Liechtenauer you parry in left Ochs. You also see this exact same parry in many other fencing systems incidentally. In left Ochs, your cross protects your hand and their sword gets trapped between your blade and your cross. The technique part comes from just raising your cross and dropping your point while stabbing once you realize their sword is trapped. If you do it quickly you will get them. If you didn't do it quickly you still in all likelihood parried their attack, and your hand is made safe by your cross, so long as your edge alignment is correct (you want your cross at about a 45 degree angle up and out)


    I don't know if that makes any sense, if I had time I'll try to find some video to demonstrate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Greywolf
    I can't quite agree with you on this one, or rather, it's a bit more nuanced thing. Crossguard on European swords doesn't do an awful lot to protect your hand in most cases.

    What is does do is protect your hand in a bind, and it works really well there (if you do things right, there's a reason why Kohutovic wrote an entire article about not loosing your fingers in a Zwerch), but outside of it, not so much, not when you start to compare it to I.33 use of buckler or complex hilts. If you have a fighting style that doesn't have a lot of sword binds, or doesn't have lot of work in Edel Krieg to put it in Lichtenauer way, then you don't really need it as much.
    Martin, no offense but what you are saying here is from the perspective of someone with experience in re-enactor type fighting but not a lot of training in fencing per-se.

    You don't just use the cross just in a bind, you use it when doing ordinary parrying, otherwise the hand is very exposed.

    The basic defensive guards in the Kunst Des Fechten - pflug, ochs, they are all about your alignment with the cross. This keeps the opponents sword from bouncing or sliding down the blade and hitting your hand when you parry. Just in simple parries when you learn to use your cross, or with the messer also the nagel, you will find yourself fighting much better.

    You also have the option of pushing things and forcing binds, for example performing and absezten or using sprechfenster or waiting in 'pflug' to catch your opponent in a bind with the 'kron' guard, you rely heavily on the cross to protect you when doing that, and it's an ideal entry into a whole host of fight-finishing techniques.

    This is also a big reason for the hand-forward guard you see in Destreza or some of the Italian rapier systems, you can get away with this because a slight turn of the wrist can deflect attacks at the big target presented by your hand.

    With more sophisticated fencing techniques, both with thrusting / dueling swords like the sidesword (modern term), rapier, or later on the smallsword, take advantage of the hand protection in fact the 'fingered grip' that you use is almost impossibly risky to use without it.







    You are absolutely correct of course that a lot of HEMA fighters don't know how to fight in a group. That requires it's own kind of training and it is indeed a different kind of fighting. I used to do re-enactor type group fighting but it doesn't pull me as much today (partly because I have limited time and money, though I do still find it interesting) and I've kind of lost the knack for it - as you noted, situational awareness suffers when all you study for is the duel. But that doesn't mean by any stretch that knowing how to fence properly would interfere with fighting in groups, or that the fencing techniques in Liechtenaur or Fiore would be some kind of detriment historically. It's an artifact of our modern world and the HEMA and re-enactor scenes. Nor is the implication that these techniques were somehow 'fancy' or 'expensive' things that regular joe fighters didn't have time for really on point, so to speak. Fencing and battle overlap - there are some techniques more appropriate for a one on one fight (I'd be very carefful about grappling on the battlefield) but it's still useful to know them (for example grappling techniques can be used to avoid grapple which I actually do all the time in tournaemnts).

    The fact is HEMA fencers spend most of their money on swords and know a lot more about fencing, re-enactors spend most of their money on armor and know a lot more about ancient battles.

    I may cringe a little bit when I see the 'fencing' going on in a bohurt or a lot of re-enactor battles, but I know that group fighting techniques for most HEMA guys is cringeworthy for guys like you. We benefit from understanding each others research and experiences a little bit, because the real world that guys like Talhoffer actually lived in required both skill sets.

    G
    Last edited by Galloglaich; 2017-08-22 at 11:10 AM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Greywolf View Post
    Spoiler: One of the first curved hilt/curved blade sabers in art in Middle East, Israel, 1287
    Show


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    Is this the "sad" book about the English losing the war? https://ospreypublishing.com/the-fal...france-1449-53

    Thanks for the explanations. I don't fully get the discussion about what factor was THE factor, because the most important ones being named are actually results of each other: had the French not been rich, they would not have got the cannons; had they not had the cannons, their money would have been useless. Had the tactics not put the strategies to fruition, the strategies would have been fruitless, and, had the strategies and logistics not enabled the tactics, even the best tactics would have had to stay in the generals' minds, and never see the field.

    What I don't get is: how important were English-held fiefdoms during the war? When it is said that France had twice the manpower of England (I think they likely had more, in total), does that comprise the English fiefs? Didn't the English raise men from there? Were they afraid of rebellions? Eleanor died in 1204, after which the huge Aquitaine was left to King John. They had owned it for more than a century when the war begun.

    What I find impressive is that the radical change in time scale for sieges had already happened back then, because of the new French model for artillery. The Italians were forced to come to terms with it much later, during the Italian Wars, when the scale got even smaller: sieges that would have been a matter of months or years, during the last years of the English in France became a matter of days; during the Italian wars, with lighter cannons pulled by horses and shooting iron balls instead of rock, they turned into a matter of hours.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blymurkla View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    Is this the "sad" book about the English losing the war? https://ospreypublishing.com/the-fal...france-1449-53

    What I don't get is: how important were English-held fiefdoms during the war? When it is said that France had twice the manpower of England (I think they likely had more, in total), does that comprise the English fiefs? Didn't the English raise men from there? Were they afraid of rebellions? Eleanor died in 1204, after which the huge Aquitaine was left to King John. They had owned it for more than a century when the war begun.
    At the beginning of the war, England actually only held Gascony (the remnant/core of Aquitaine). They quickly expanded into southern France as far as Languedoc, but didn't hold this territory particularly long, forfeiting most of their conquests in a truce of 1360 to consolidate their control in Aquitaine. Until 1415, the war was fought as a naval conflict and war of succession in Castile, but other than raiding by each side there was little fighting in France proper. After that year, Henry V invaded France and conquered Normandy, Champagne, and the Ile-de-France (including Paris), but only maintained tenuous control of those regions. Within 30 years at most, the French had driven them out of most of the territory; the remainder of the war was essentially the final conquest of Aquitaine. Thus, aside from that single territory--of which only Gascony was solidly English for most of the war--there were no English fiefs in France from which an army could be raised. The 'golden age' of England in France was the Angevin Empire of Henry II, in the 1100s.

    Nonetheless, the French did not control the entirety of their country for most of the war. Brittany and Burgundy, for much of the time, fought for the English, and many other fiefs essentially descended into anarchy. Though statistics are uncertain in general, and I am certainly far from an expert on demography of the period, it is by disregarding these fiefs as well as Aquitaine that I arrived at the guesstimate of 2:1 for the relative manpower of each country.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    The last stage of the conflict (leading up to Castillion) was actually the English "comming to a the aid" of a Pro-Rnglish revolt in Gascony as far as I understand it. So they certainly did gain some "man power" from "french" areas. But as KarlMarx said (the poster not the author), it was mainly from Gascony. England retained some power at Calais as well, but mainly as a landing point for armies.

    While the cannons are certainly important in the last stage, I think the English would have lost irregardless. The last campaign was very small (in terms of English soldiers), and all the English could hope for was a Frenchs disaster in line with Agincourt.

    Planning (hoping!) for an Agincourt is a pretty dangerous tactic, especially as the current French king seems to have been a pretty decent commander/king. So even though the french did benefit from the superiority of cannons, I think the English would have lost anyway.

    In general we can list the number of things that happened, but its hard to pin-point the exact course, as we cannot test different scenarios. I think such long lasting conflicts are resolved more due to political and socio-economics reasons than single technologies. After overall political and social/economical factors, I think persons (the ruler/king/generals etc) matters more than the technology.

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    What does a supply depot look like? I know it's a very open question, but can anyone tell me roughly what a small supply station behind the lines of a modern war might look like, what facilities it needs and doesn't need? Nothing too fancy, just somewhere for a few vehicles to overnight on their way to the front. Let's say, at company level, where they aren't expecting determined assaults but guerrilla raids could be a possibility?

    Thanks. I hope the question makes sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobtor View Post
    The last stage of the conflict (leading up to Castillion) was actually the English "comming to a the aid" of a Pro-Rnglish revolt in Gascony as far as I understand it. So they certainly did gain some "man power" from "french" areas. But as KarlMarx said (the poster not the author), it was mainly from Gascony. England retained some power at Calais as well, but mainly as a landing point for armies.

    While the cannons are certainly important in the last stage, I think the English would have lost irregardless. The last campaign was very small (in terms of English soldiers), and all the English could hope for was a Frenchs disaster in line with Agincourt.

    Planning (hoping!) for an Agincourt is a pretty dangerous tactic, especially as the current French king seems to have been a pretty decent commander/king. So even though the french did benefit from the superiority of cannons, I think the English would have lost anyway.

    In general we can list the number of things that happened, but its hard to pin-point the exact course, as we cannot test different scenarios. I think such long lasting conflicts are resolved more due to political and socio-economics reasons than single technologies. After overall political and social/economical factors, I think persons (the ruler/king/generals etc) matters more than the technology.
    Well, it's not like any of these things are discrete. Technology, politics, and economics all enable and involve each other. A hypothetical where any one factor was different requires the others be different as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blymurkla View Post
    »I know there's a war and stuff going on. A crusade, even, I think. But you know what? ... boardgames!«
    Tabletop game is serious business!


    @Galloglaich & Martin Greywolf
    I find that both of your replies have merits after digesting them, although I want to add some speculations on my part.

    It appears to me that single-time counter, particularly mastercuts, works on the premise that:

    1) Your sword is longer, or at the very minimum, of equal length/not significantly shorter than the other guy's sword.
    2) You have a good enough (cross/basket/cup etc) guard to minimize the risk.

    Thus swords & swordmanships developed in the combat environment that regularly pit them against significantly longer weapons (i.e. the "reenactment combat" type of fighting) will not focus on/develop that kind of techniques, which may be the reason that stunted the development of complex guard in other parts of the world. Afterall people only spend time developing/training/refining the techniques they think will be useful.

    In other word, my theory goes like this: European generally used longer swords, and had numerous? dueling traditions that can utilize various single-time counters to their fullest, thus they developed larger and more protective guards, and later found out that these guards are also useful in other situations/on the battlefield.

    If we wider our focus to include other parts of the world...let's say Japanese. The Japanese used their swords (as sidearms) on and off the battlefield, and carried sword in their day-to-day life. They also dueled. Japanese likely faced all the issues mentioned by Galloglaich (no gauntlets, gauntlets interfering with dother things, gauntlets offer insufficient protection, no shield, etc) but developing complex guard never seems to occur to them.

    I think the reason might be that Japanese "duel" is actually very different from European duel/juridical combat in that there's no sense of fairness and nothing dishonorable about "bring an oar to a sword fight" so to speak. Apparently the participants are free to muster every ounce of advantage they can, including bringing more men to gank up on the other party (it is only a duel in the sense that both parties agreed to show up on a set date to duke it out). They probably attended a duel with very different expectations/mindset from the European, and as such did not develop complex guard.

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich
    sliding down the blade
    I heard that sharp swords actually bite into each others and do not slide down as much as HEMA steel simulators did. Is that true?


    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    Those were the weapons meant for duking it out at close quarters. The saber proper was intended (at least in theory) for the ride by attack or hit-and-run. Sabers got some hand protection (knucklebow) at least intermittently as far back as the 16th Century - but the need for it was largely based on the use of the saber as a personal sidearm and in duels and so forth, which is why more hand protection became more common by the 19th.

    G
    That's not always the case. Case in point:

    Persian saber (shamshir) appears to be intended for duke-it-out combat only. There's actually no unarmored Persian swordsmanship. All Persian martial arts, with the exception of dagger combat, assume you are armored, wear bazubands, carry a buckler or shield (or another sword/dagger), and heavily emphasize strength training and grappling/wrestling.

    (Being the originator of superheavy catapharct cavalry, Persian were probably liking the duking quite a bit more than ride by slashing)
    Last edited by wolflance; 2017-08-23 at 12:36 AM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    So, on crossguards and binds.

    1) HEMA experts agree wit me

    Both Roland Warzecha and Matt Easton have said that crossguard is there and most likely came to be sued because of sword binds. Matt had a video up very recently on this, Roland had this in one of his instructional videos IIRC. This is not just me guessing.

    That aside.

    2) Pflug and Ochs ARE binds

    European fencing styles between high medieval and Napoleonic period, roughly speaking, are all about binds. Pflug and Ochs are a way to force an advantageous bind out of your opponent, as are sieges of I.33. Crossguard helps you in them because that's literally what its purpose is.

    What it doesn't protect you from, unlike more complex hilts, is someone sniping your hand after voiding the initial attack, you have to use other methods to do that, be it timing and distance, or a buckler. Preferably both.

    Once we start to look at Filipino MAs (or Chinese, but good luck finding any good interpretations), we can see that they deal with the attacks in a different way, that will not result in loss of all their fingers. You have a lot more cutting into attacks and guiding them aside to snipe at the hand, no transition into a bind war. Static parries are there at times, but they tend to be done with the middle of the blade rather than the strong, and are discouraged as a last resort.

    Then there are rapiers who rely on binds so much that they can't really work with simple crossguard, and later parry-riposte styles that stick your hand far forward where it is very liable to be sniped, again needing the crossguard to work well. You could argue that the latter doesn't need the complex hilt per se, but it's just so, so much more dangerous without it.

    3) Re-enactor battles

    Look, this isn't an issue of technique, there's a fair amount of HEMA people who are also re-enactors. Problem is safety, when wearing period gear, thrusts aren't allowed, period. You can't live through a stab in the face while wearing a kettle hat. Only people who are allowed to stab are spearmen, and that comes with blunted tips, a heap of restrictions (no upwards-pointing thrusts, no thrusts above into ribcage and above unless they come down at a significant angle etc), as well as sort of an unwritten agreement that you won't be a giant dickosaurus and pull your blows to spare internal organs.

    Once you basically take thrusts out of a fight, you aren't even slightly accurate any more. Everyone on that battlefield knows it.

    4) "Secret" techniques

    One thing that is definitely not true however is that techniques in fencing treatises weren't exclusive - they very much were, and the books themselves tell us so. I.33 goes at length about dealing with generales, Fiore devotes several pages of pure text to tel;ing us how much more he knows and how both he and his students are able to defeat other, lesser fencers, and Lichtenauer tradition made certifying fencers into a lucrative business.

    The costs of learning these aren't astronomical, but they are an expense of both time and money, and therefore, not everyone will bother to do it, kind of like not everyone who owns a gun bothers to learn how to use it properly. That the manuals give us advice on how to deal with these unskilled opponents is evidence enough.

    5) Training soldiers

    When you have a few months to train your raw recruits in how to war properly, corners are going to be cut. You're not gonna bother teaching them about binds, you're gonna give them basic cuts and parries and move on to group tactics. Knowing Fiore/Lichtenauer or whoever else will not hurt, quite the opposite, but you simply don't have the time to give your people that level of skill.

    On the other hand, if you do know how to fence, you have to sort of shift your mental gears a little when going into a skirmish and you're set. Getting good at battlefield awareness will still need time, but at least you don't have to worry about knowing how to stab someone properly.

    6) Sharp swords biting

    I have done some very, very, very careful work with sharp swords, and to me they do bite, but with a significant asterisk.

    For most angles of blade contact, they stick a little - perhaps to throw you off, but not enough to actually stop you from using a sliding technique, you just have to do it deliberately as opposed to accidentally. What you learn with steel blunts should carry over quite nicely after a little while.

    Where the swords DO bite quite a bit is when you hit them at nearly 90 degree angle, edge straight on edge, then they do stick together much more than blunts do. Thing is, this isn't something you're supposed to do in the first place.
    That which does not kill you made a tactical error.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    Is this the "sad" book about the English losing the war? https://ospreypublishing.com/the-fal...france-1449-53
    That's the one. I'm not even English so post-brexit I have no idea why I keep rooting for them to win.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    Thanks for the explanations. I don't fully get the discussion about what factor was THE factor, because the most important ones being named are actually results of each other: had the French not been rich, they would not have got the cannons; had they not had the cannons, their money would have been useless. Had the tactics not put the strategies to fruition, the strategies would have been fruitless, and, had the strategies and logistics not enabled the tactics, even the best tactics would have had to stay in the generals' minds, and never see the field.
    That was sort of the point I wanted to make, it all feeds into each other and singling out one factor as the decisive makes little sense as they all depend on each other. That's what is so wrong with a lot of Victoria English longbow fetishists who have had a lot of influence on the view of the conflict. Equally no single thing or person on the French side was the "thing" of victory. Every historian or other expert which ever form they may take will be able to find something in their own field that had a positive influence on defeat or victory in such a long and complex conflict that stretched from Scotland to Spain in wars and proxy wars. A Great Man proponent have plenty of personalities to see, a feminist scholar will see Joan of Arc, the sociology major follows the trends in politics changing over the course of time, the epidemologist will see the diseases rampant, Victorians can't see the wood for the (long)bowstaves and English bravery (we beat Napoleon!) and so on and so on. Me, as someone who has a background in economics, will tend to emphasize the economical foundations of waging war, money after all is the sinews of war. I won't say that's the one true factor, just that you can't really ignore it. For various important reasons. One is that a medieaval kingdom is more a crime syndicate than a nation as we understand it. We see an English-French conflict when that's about the last thing it was. Though in both kingdoms the powers at be played on such themes when trying to justify what was more about the power and wealth at the highest echelons of society. Consider that Henry IV was the first English king to natively speak English. Says something about how "English" and "French" the contest actually was. Just going to mention it because I find it interesting, since we are justified in asking why on earth would you pick a fight you were unlikely to win. This comes from the crime syndicate thing, it made little sense for England to got to war with a paper-strength much more powerful France, however, the power balance between the English king and his French counterpart was much more even due to their respective ability to raise revenue and consequently troops and materiel. What was good for the English king (more personal power in France) was not necessarily good for England. Many (probably most) royal houses or high nobility in Europe strived to increase dynastic holdings (the Habsburgs were very successful building up holdings but it tended to generate broad european wars) often in the long term at the expense of the countries they ostensiably ruled.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    What I don't get is: how important were English-held fiefdoms during the war? When it is said that France had twice the manpower of England (I think they likely had more, in total), does that comprise the English fiefs? Didn't the English raise men from there? Were they afraid of rebellions? Eleanor died in 1204, after which the huge Aquitaine was left to King John. They had owned it for more than a century when the war begun.
    This has been answered by others already, I'll just add some details. First ownership of Gascony and Aquitane was in part in disputed, and often contested by the French crown in various ways. Gascony did provide troops and monies (I'll get back to the latter), but most other fiefs were much looser held (most gains by treaty the French never intended to honour) and their previous owners had in many cases not relinquished control and the English had to pry the castles out of their cold dead hands themselves. Not made easier by the under-the-table support the French monarchy gave them. After all, the French had a long term goal to outwait and outgrind the English more or less. There were plenty of rebellions, near rebellions and local "wars" by deposed or neighbouring French lords who absolutely did not have the French monarch tacit approval to distrupt the English, honest! The reason Gascony was loyal was in part historical ties, but more pragmatically the light hand of rule from distant England. Essentially there was a limit how far the English could push their Gascon subjects, who to a degree were only required to self-defend which ofc was in their own interest. As the end-game started England had more and more difficulties providing meaningful support to it's Gascon subjects, e.g. to curtail raids from neighbouring French territories.
    About money. One of the key sources of income for the English crown was taxation of the Gascony wine trade. French wine imported to England was to large degree from Gascony, which naturally tied the Gascons to the English too. I'm not gonna go give numbers but a large part of the French wars were paid for by said taxation (the other major income was the English wool trade), which consequently meant the region was incredibly important to the war effort, seeing as the English preferred to raise troops by paying for them over direct feudal obligations. It's certainly true that you don't necessary need actual manpower yourself as long as you have the means to pay for it.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    If we wider our focus to include other parts of the world...let's say Japanese. The Japanese used their swords (as sidearms) on and off the battlefield, and carried sword in their day-to-day life. They also dueled. Japanese likely faced all the issues mentioned by Galloglaich (no gauntlets, gauntlets interfering with dother things, gauntlets offer insufficient protection, no shield, etc) but developing complex guard never seems to occur to them.
    On the battlefield, I'm not sure the samurai ever went without gauntlets. I don't think I've seen any kote (secondary sleeve armour) that don't have an integrated tekko (gauntlets):

    Spoiler: Kusari kote with tekko (mail sleeves with gauntlets)
    Show


    Spoiler: Kusari kote with metal plates with a textile underlay and tekko
    Show


    Even in peace time and out of armour proper, they sometimes wore this textile gauntlet/sleeve which covered the forearm and back of the hand (sometimes the forearm part was reinforced with mail or metal plates). Embarrassingly I am completely blanking on the name of this armour, although knowing the Japanese, it was probably called kote and tekko as well.

    Aside from the armour, I think some of the reason for a lack of a complex guard might be due to differences in fencing styles. Unfortunately I haven't done enough kendo or any fencing to offer anything more constructive than this supposition.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    Tabletop game is serious business!


    @Galloglaich & Martin Greywolf
    I find that both of your replies have merits after digesting them, although I want to add some speculations on my part.

    It appears to me that single-time counter, particularly mastercuts, works on the premise that:

    1) Your sword is longer, or at the very minimum, of equal length/not significantly shorter than the other guy's sword.
    2) You have a good enough (cross/basket/cup etc) guard to minimize the risk.
    Not really.

    A single time counter is just combining the parry with the riposte/counter. It's often like a bind, or can actually be a bind, but not always.

    You deflect his attack while putting your weapon, generally the point, in line with his body. You don't need a longer weapon. You don't really need a complex guard. This is taught in foil fencing with the wee circular bell guard and weapons of the exact same length.

    The simplest way to explain it (and, please, I beg of you guys, don't stomp on this and add a billion qualifiers. This is the wicked simple explanation) is you block with the strong or your blade (near the hilt) and angle your sword so the hilt is out away from your body and the point is inside, toward your enemy. Use the sword like a snowplow, let the angle direct his attack away. His attack should be moved aside, your point is lined up, and when his blade is past you, if you need to you can lunge, maintaining the contact and angle to keep him off target while you put your point in him (works well if you have a shorter weapon), or you can just extend your arm, which should hit since you've lined up the point already. This is risky with a shorter weapon because when you straighten your arm, you might lose the angle that keeps his point out of you.

    This is "single time" because your counter happens while he's still in the process of making his attack, when he's vulnerable, rather than parry, then riposte which is double time, which gives him more chance to switch from attack to defense.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Greywolf View Post
    So, on crossguards and binds.

    1) HEMA experts agree wit me

    Both Roland Warzecha and Matt Easton...
    Those guys are respected in the HEMA community, but aren't by any stretch the final word on anything. I can assure you that I'm not alone in my opinion on this matter either. I have known Matt quite well for 15 years, and while I haven't seen the video you mentioned I suspect you are missing some of the nuance in what he said.

    Regardless, even if Matt does actually disagree with me here which I doubt, I could poll 20 'Names' in the HEMA community and ask their opinion and you'd get 5 different nuances of the same thing I am trying to explain to you. Binds are part of the use of the cross, but you are vastly overstating their relevance and don't seem to grasp the utility of the cross (and other protective hilt features) in basic parries.

    Roland is very respected too but his ideas are more representative of a certain subset of people in the community. Many of his interpretations are a bit outlier (like translating I.33 to Viking swords) and he does some odd things like insisting on training with sharps.

    2) Pflug and Ochs ARE binds
    No. They can help you get into binds but they are not in and of themselves binds nor is parrying in Pflug or Ochs automatically going to put you into a bind, far from it. In fact unless you seek the bind actively (like with an absetzen or winden) you are almost certain not to get a bind.

    What it doesn't protect you from, unlike more complex hilts, is someone sniping your hand after voiding the initial attack, you have to use other methods to do that, be it timing and distance, or a buckler. Preferably both.
    I think this is where you are missing the point of the cross. If you are cutting at someone and someone snipes at your hand, a slight shift of your wrist and a turn of the cross is precisely what you do to save your hand.

    Then there are rapiers who rely on binds so much
    I think you are confusing binds with parries again. You do a lot of binds with rapier but you do far more parries than actual binds.

    3) Re-enactor battles
    Look, this isn't an issue of technique, there's a fair amount of HEMA people who are also re-enactors. Problem is safety, when wearing period gear,
    It's gear, it's time, it's money, and it's a matter of emphasis based on what we are all interested in.

    You can definitely do a pretty realistic sword fight without thrusting - this is what they used to do in fechtschule after all. But it takes a lot of fencing training to learn to fence properly. Time that most re-enactors send more of putting together accurate gear and clothing, learning how to march in formation, simulating battles in large groups, camping out and brewing beer and so on.

    4) "Secret" techniques

    One thing that is definitely not true however is that techniques in fencing treatises weren't exclusive - they very much were, and the books themselves tell us so.
    Fortunately we have far more data than just the fechtbucher, of which we have many different types which were written for different audiences, to tell us who got trained and to what extent, and at what cost. We know for example who was involved in training in the various fechtschuler in many cities, and these were not wealthy people. Quite often apprentices and journeymen, in fact journeymen were sometimes the organizers of the events. We have lists of these from several cities I read a list of them from Strasbourg for over the course of 100 years.

    Basically anyone who would be a part time soldier, someone who was the vassal of a rural lord, or in a urban militia, would be very likely to have this kind of training, as well as a wide variety of other training mostly in the form of martial sports and games ranging from shooting contests to water jousting to horse racing to jousts and bear baiting and a huge variety of other activities, which were routine and took place dozens of times through the year in a given area, at least in the High to Late Medieval period.

    This is a lecture on the subject if you want a deeper dive.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bsV3NFtDzU

    5) Training soldiers

    When you have a few months to train your raw recruits in how to war properly,
    This isn't how most fighters or soldiers were prepared for war in the medieval period. See the above. It was a combination of martial sports and games, hunting, and more or less continuous low-intensity warfare and raiding.

    G
    Last edited by Galloglaich; 2017-08-23 at 04:07 PM.
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