Author Topic: Burgundians of Charles the Bold  (Read 694 times)

timurilank

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2021, 04:38:26 PM »
Duncan,
That was an interesting link (Deventer Burgerscap).
At the same page, on the right are a list of Labels, the one ‘Militair en Politiek’ offers more related medieval topics.
Of interest to some is ‘The Push of Pike In The 14th Century’ and under older topics (bottom of page) ‘Wat Zijn Landweren?’,
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Duncan Head

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2021, 05:12:29 PM »
And also http://deventerburgerscap.blogspot.com/2016/02/the-pikey-wisby-project-phase-1.html which has a bit of pike-training re-enactment; unfortunately nothing to indicate that the "pikey wisby project" went any further, and nothing new on the blog since early 2018.
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Erpingham

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2021, 05:34:18 PM »
Having double checked my Verbruggen source, I need to do a minor correction.

Pikes were being bought in lengths of 13 to 20 ft.  This was in 1477 and, he believes, reflects a desire to modernise arsenals after the experience of fighting the Swiss, who used longer pikes.  So 13-16ft is a good guess for 1473.

He also says, inter alia, there were 2,200 pikemen in the 1473 army, though he is referring to secondary studies not contemporary records.

Quote
There is comparison evidence in the prints of Master WA which show a mixed body of "pikes" and archers;

It is open to question what this represents.  The archers are clearly mounted archers, given their riding boots and spurs.  The short weapons and love of helmet decorations suggest to me the second rank men could be dismounted coustilliers.  Unfortunately, we can't see their legs and feet to check for long boots or spurs.

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timurilank

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2021, 08:42:58 PM »
It seems Deventer Burgerscap migrated from blog to Facebook, however, October 2020 is the last entry.
Great photo collection at FB.
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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2021, 09:58:17 PM »

Not my period, but that does seem - to my mind at least - to beg the question of depth of the pike formation.  Two to four ranks, seems plausible.  More, less so.  It is not that I am suggesting a competent archer could not physically shoot over eight or sixteen ranks of suitably crouched chaps, but it does seem counter intuitive.  Also, unless one dismisses this all as a drill manual fantasy, it would seem to require a lot more pikes than archers.

I suspect you are not imagining this formation correctly.  The number of pikemen isn't given in the 1473 ordonnance - in fact it doesn't talk about the infantry of the companies at all in numerical terms.  In the 1471 Ordonnance, there was one pikeman per lance.  In the 1472 ordonnance, the overall proportion was 2 pikemen to 3 mounted archers and one foot archer.  So its likely that the archers outnumbered the pikemen two or three to one.

The ranks of pikemen are therefore likely to be very thin - one or two ranks - with several ranks of archers behind.  Overall, these are going to be linear formations, not deep blocks.
Actually, that was precisely the point I was trying to make - I could believe this much more readily as a shallow line.

In fact, the ancient comparison that struck me was the reported experimental Alexandrian phalanx - sparabara with sarissa phalangites to be crude...
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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2021, 07:12:44 AM »
A single rank of men with very very very long sticks, which may very likely be expected to be spaced far enough apart for a longbowman to move through - if not shoot through even - does not sound like an effective anti anything tactic to me.

When has one rank of close formed pikes ever been successful?
 
I’m well past skepticism on this, it screams out “ludicrous” to me.
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Andreas Johansson

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2021, 07:58:22 AM »
When has one rank of close formed pikes ever been successful?
Pike and shot battalions were sometimes “fraised”, ie had their pikes distributed along their entire width instead of concentrated in the centre. This might amount to a single rank of pike as the proportion of pikes fell, and acc’d Nosworthy such formations were effective enough at repelling cavalry; they were abandoned because of poor manoeuvrability.
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aligern

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2021, 08:34:09 AM »
The circles of foot spear into which knights retired for protection at Bouvibes were, I think, only two ranks deep. Richard 1 at Jaffa deters cavalry with only a single rank of spear, In Arab tactics doesn’t tge infantry formation have only two ranks of spear backed by missilemen.  I suppose it depends upon how determined tge attacking and defending units are. A close order spearwall with two ranks will present four spearpoints to the breast of each horse and four archers shooting on the same frontage would provide a considerable deterrent. It becomes a matter of confidence in your fellows and nerve.
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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2021, 01:53:59 PM »
Sorry Andreas, but you are talking about much shorter weapons - the sort of pike that can have one end planted under a foot and still project at a horses head height.

And it’s defended by gunmen able to pack much closer together. 

This proposal is for huge pike lengths, which must offer the space for a long bowman to operate behind - and as we established before, that involves quite a bit of working room.

It’s not a matter of will, it’s an impossibility.

Long pikes only work by a solid array of multiple points close together making it impossible to brush past.  They generally also need a roof array to offer some degree of plunging missile protection too.

Shorter pikes (long spears even) can work as a buttress to the main missile weapon behind them.  But not long pikes, and absolutely not in a single row with lateral space.

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Andreas Johansson

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2021, 03:00:29 PM »
Sorry Andreas, but you are talking about much shorter weapons - the sort of pike that can have one end planted under a foot and still project at a horses head height.

And it’s defended by gunmen able to pack much closer together. 
I don't know that 14' pikes (typical length in the French army in the mid-17C, when fraising was officially prohibited as injurious to manoeuvrability) are that much shorter than the 13'-16' ones Anthony speaks about for the Burgundians.

Also, gunmen with matchlocks are well adviced not pack too close together.
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Duncan Head

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2021, 03:19:09 PM »
Sorry Andreas, but you are talking about much shorter weapons - the sort of pike that can have one end planted under a foot and still project at a horses head height.
...
This proposal is for huge pike lengths,
No, it isn't. Remember that we don't actually know for certain that the 14-16 feet cited by deventer burgerscap was correct for the pikes of the ordonnance pikemen, since they don't cite a source; and in any case that's not "huge", as pikes go.

The regulation requires the pikemen to plant one knee on the ground, and to level the pike at the height of the horse's saddle ("ils habitueront les piquenaires à mettre genou en terre au signal, en tenant leurs piques baissées à la hauteur des arçons des chevaux, afin que les archers puissent tirer par dessus eux comme derrière un mur"). It follows, therefore, that the pikes must have been of such a length that would permit this arrangement.

The pictures and video at the deventer "pikey wisby" link show pikes of about fourteen feet braced at close to horse-head height, and that's with the pikemen crouching as prescribed by their 17th-century drill-master, not as the ordonnance requires, kneeling on one knee - and hence, lower. I suspect your geometrical assumptions are faulty.
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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2021, 03:32:22 PM »
We did a playtest which had the pike/bow formation with artlllery support against a Swiss Pike block in the centre of the battlefield.  We were developing the rules as we went along, based in part on our Wars of the Roses set, and it ended up as an entertaining game.

The result was actually quite close because of missile casualties (largely from the artillery) inflicted on the Swiss and some damage done to them by the Burgundian men at arms but once contact was made the pike/bow combo stood little chance.

Erpingham

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2021, 04:13:26 PM »
One thing that history shows is that relying on shooting to stop a rampaging Swiss pike formation was futile.  Burgundian artillery couldn't stop them at Murten nor French artillery at Novara.  If you could stop them - use cavalry for example or a field fortification - then pile on the fire you had a chance.  Even then, they usually managed to withdraw.
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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #28 on: April 01, 2021, 04:46:01 PM »
I ont think the Burgundians will win regularly against the Swiss but in a wargame both sides have to have some chance

Duncan Head

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #29 on: April 01, 2021, 06:50:01 PM »
The Burgundians did use a mixed formation of bows and pikes in the field, not just in training, at Neuss in 1475:

Quote
Deployment of the first battle
In the first battle [we posted] all the infantry, pikemen of our ordinance, and the English archers both of Messire Jehan Middleton’s company and of our household and guard, together with the infantry belonging to [the companies of] the lords of Fiennes, Roeux, Céquy, Haines, and Peene and other enfeoffed lords. [Among] all these pikemen were intermingled the archers in groups of four, so that there was a pikeman between every group of archers.

Order of march, river-crossing
After these battles had been organized in this way a certain amount of time elapsed, more than was necessary, because the companies did not arrive soon enough at their appointed places. Nevertheless, regardless of the time, we crossed the said river at a ford which was not too deep, firm with a good bottom and, because of the narrowness of the said ford, we made the reserve of the right wing of the first battle march across it in files, the men-at-arms with their coustilliers and pages on their right and likewise in file after them went the right wing and all the archers and pikemen of this wing. Then followed the archers and pikemen of the left wing and, after the wing, its reserve, and, in just the same way, the second battle crossed, the reserve of the right wing followed by the wing , the archers of the same wing, and all the rest of the second battle in similar order to the first.
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