Would knights fight in pairs?

Discussion in 'Western Martial Arts' started by Southpaw535, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Hi Southpaw

    Crecy was part of Edward III's 14th C campaign, Agincourt part of Henry IV's 15th C campaign.

    The arrows themselves did not directly cause the majority of the casualties, but they created the conditions which led ultimately to the victory. Artillery and the ability to bring it to bear is always one of the most significant factors in combat. Napoleon understood this which is why he placed such a heavy emphasis on it. It is also why we have the modern doctrine of airpower. For all the criticisms of the 'effectiveness' of airpower in recent conflicts, you try waging a campaign without air superiority and see what happens.

    Back on topic. In physical terms the arrow storm that the longbow's range and rate of fire produced destroyed the momentum of the cavalry charge, killed a fair number of men and large numbers of horses, trapping and leaving the cavalry vulnerable. In psychological terms the panic that it induced, resulting in broken charges, rout etc... opened up the path for greater fatalities.

    Overall casualties would be caused by arrows, hand to hand trauma wounds (swords, pikes, daggers, maces, cudgels etc), heat exhaustion, positional asphyxiation, drowning, crushing/trampling...
  2. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    As an additional to this, most of the longbows used in recent test demos are considerably smaller and therefore less powerful than the important examples found on the Mary Rose. Those findings really revolutionised our understanding of the longbow and confirmed its reputation as an armour piercing weapon.

    The skeletons also show how disproportionately muscled most longbowmen were. These findings combined with the evidence for regular practice suggest a rather different weapon than is often portrayed.

    The wiki page isn't too bad, for a wiki page. Relatively well sourced:
  3. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    We can however, many of the surviving swords were actually ceremonial swords and were completely useless as weapons but some historians took these to be evidence of super strong knights. Battlefield weapons tended to be disposable and got chucked after use so few survived.

    Also the quality of weapons varied so also you get some people making expensive realistic replicas of the bargain basement medieval throw aways.

    Once you know what you are doing you can pick up a sword and instantly know the difference between a well made weapons and a throw away.

    The Bear.
  4. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    What you have to remember that armour and steel quality varied drastically in medieval times. We view modern steel as fairly constant quality but in before industrial steel this wasn't the case. So there would be flaws in every suit of armour. If you were unlucky and arrow would penetrate. Remember an archer could fire 10-12 arrows per minute. England has 5000 archers. So in the first minute 50,000 were fired. If only 1% penetrated. Well you can do the math.

    The Bear.
  5. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    I seem to remember that there's a passage in one of the sagas (Njall's Saga?) that refers to him standing on his sword blade a couple of times to straighten it out?

  6. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    Yeah, think of some of the crapest cheap monkey metal that passes as steel today and your approaching a medieval average. It's why we get stories of magical swords or legendary processes like damascus steel. You manage to get steel which is close to our modern RC56-60 hardened edge and it's gonna seems like it was forged by a god.

    The Bear.
  7. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    Nice to read a thread about Agincourt where the longbow isn't put in the god-weapon-category.

    I have allso read that people wonder how the french managed to mess that battle so utterly up.

    I believe that if we had given the french knights some lessons in chain of command, and the leaders some radios, they would have won the battle :love:

    I have heard that there actually were two commanders on the french side, neither one wishing to aknowledge the other as the top commander... Not nessecarily the best conditions to win a fight against a well trained enemy with every reason to fight...
  8. ninjedi

    ninjedi Valued Member

    very interesting!

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