Author Topic: Burgundians of Charles the Bold  (Read 1338 times)

Erpingham

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #30 on: April 02, 2021, 10:43:42 AM »
Jean de Wavrin also describes the Flemish pikemen as being deployed between two archers to deter cavalry attacks in 1471. 

These pikes make very convenient poles for placing a spike between two archers against the terrifying efforts of cavalry trying to break their ranks, for there is no horse which if struck in the chest with a pike will not unfailingly die.  These pikemen can also approach and attack horsemen from the side and pierce them right through ...

What seems clear that this mixed model of archers with added pike support was tried in the Burgundian army in various forms over a period of years.
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NickHarbud

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #31 on: April 02, 2021, 01:32:30 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.

Yeah, but at Murten the Burgundian pike and longbows were all off collecting their pay when the Swiss rocked up.  Even then, the Swiss had to find a weak spot at the end of the fortifications to break into the Burgundian lines.
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Erpingham

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #32 on: April 02, 2021, 01:50:22 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.

Yeah, but at Murten the Burgundian pike and longbows were all off collecting their pay when the Swiss rocked up.  Even then, the Swiss had to find a weak spot at the end of the fortifications to break into the Burgundian lines.

"If you could stop them - use for example  .... a field fortification"  If the Burgundian fortifications were fully manned, things may have been different. However, the Burgundian artillery couldn't stop the advance of the Swiss Vorhut and the Vorhut's advance screened the Gewalthaufen which meant they hit the weakly manned defences intact.  Whether the combined bows and pikes of the Burgundians would have been able to hold is one of those "what ifs".  Judging from later Italian Wars experience, counter attacking forces behind the fortification may have been needed to stop a Swiss breakthrough and it isn't clear (to me at least) whether these were in Charles' plan.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2021, 03:09:51 PM by Erpingham »
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Dave Knight

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #33 on: April 02, 2021, 02:47:33 PM »
Thanks for all the input.

I have been struggling to find much in English beyond the Ospreys

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #34 on: April 03, 2021, 07:13:54 PM »
Dave,

you mentioned you were trying rules for this formation (or abomination) as you went.

what were you trying out ?

a slightly better defensive rating for an otherwise normal longbow unit, or a full swiss pike kiel with (overpowered) long range missile capability?

Given the number of folk here who think its a viable formation, I guess I'd be inclined to tolerate it if the pikes were treated as something not dissimilar to stakes - but at a cost to missile effect.

which approach(s) were you trying?

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Erpingham

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #35 on: April 03, 2021, 07:32:51 PM »
Quote
Given the number of folk here who think its a viable formation

Primarily on the basis of the number of mentions of versions of it at different times and places.  I do wonder how it worked.  Mounted archers and infantry pikemen in one formation. 

Quote
I guess I'd be inclined to tolerate it if the pikes were treated as something not dissimilar to stakes - but at a cost to missile effect.

That's how I'd approach it.  Not sure about making the archery less effective, though.

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Mark G

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #36 on: April 03, 2021, 10:16:56 PM »
Well if you lose a third of your front row archers, I think that must show a detriment
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Dave Knight

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #37 on: April 04, 2021, 01:39:17 AM »
First pass we are trying a mixed unit.  We have kept the Longbows as in our Wars of the Roses rules and as such they are not as effective as in most sets and the Swiss Pike Blocks can take a lot of punishment.  Unless the Swiss have already been significantly weakened the Pike element is not likely to do serious damage.

One of the joys of period specific rules is that you don't have to worry about non historical interactions  so although the bow/pike combo might seem overpowered it really isn't when compared to the Swiss.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2021, 01:44:29 AM by Dave Knight »
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Mark G

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #38 on: April 04, 2021, 07:44:47 AM »
So it’s not an embellished bow unit, it’s a Kiel with missile capability?

From a third of one rank with pikes?
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Dave Knight

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #39 on: April 04, 2021, 10:40:12 AM »
The first thing to say is that we have only played one game so far so it is all very speculative at the moment :)

The figures we are using are in 2 ranks on a 60mm wide base so for starters we had 2 bases per unit 1 of Pike and one of Bow. A two base unit, or company as we call them, is standard in our Wars of the Roses rules.

In contrast the Swiss are in 9s, 3 x 3.

In the game we gave the Burgundians considerable artillery support

No doubt if we continue with this project there will be a number of twists and turns along the way in terms of formations 8)

Dave Knight

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #40 on: April 05, 2021, 09:30:55 AM »
Thanks to Mark of the suggestion of the Burgundian Army book fromm Freezywater Publications

I have found an article on the Swabain War which is also of interest

It was sent to me as a PDF but should be available as below

Winkler, Albert (2020) "The Swiss in the Swabian War of 1499: An Analysis of the Swiss Military at the End of the Fifteenth Century," Swiss American Historical Society Review: Vol. 56 : No. 3 , Article 4. Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/sahs_review/vol56/iss3/4



Erpingham

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #41 on: April 05, 2021, 09:51:35 AM »

Thanks for that Dave.  You might also like this Albert Winkler article: 

The Battle of Murten: The Invasion of Charles the Bold and the Survival of the Swiss States



There is a nice eyewitness account of the effect of artillery on the Swiss at Murten quoted in there.

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #42 on: April 05, 2021, 12:40:43 PM »
Very useful - thanks

Erpingham

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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #43 on: April 05, 2021, 01:47:52 PM »
Thanks for the Swabian Wars article.  Not one there is a lot about in English.  One of the things I love about Swiss is their failure to read the bit in the rules where it says pike formation can't move through woods.  :)

I'd not read about the battle of Calven before, which is surprising for such a sizeable action.  A lot in there for Nick Harbud's study of the role of field fortifications in Late Medieval warfare, I thought.

« Last Edit: April 05, 2021, 02:25:06 PM by Erpingham »
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Re: Burgundians of Charles the Bold
« Reply #44 on: April 05, 2021, 02:11:48 PM »
Pretty much all new to me as well.