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Re: Shortened lances

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  • andrewcopestake
    Steve good question My view has always been that they simply knocked the back end off to taste as it were after all you d want to keep the business end intact
    Message 1 of 15 , Nov 1, 2010
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      Steve good question My view has always been that they simply knocked the back end off"to taste" as it were after all you'd want to keep the business end intact the resultant spear would then be wielded with both hands sort of pike like.
      However I'm not sure this style was viable with the later lance- say 15thg century onwards- or perhaps a bit earlier and by then a variety of tinopenrers had become a bit more "knightly" and appropriate so shortened lances fell out of favour perhaps .
      However now I'm actually thinking about this perhaps new info will emerge ??/
      Like I said good question.
      Andy OGUK

      --- In freecompanyrules@yahoogroups.com, "SBSchifani" <Schifani@...> wrote:
      >
      > I've always been a little unclear on the recorded instances of knights cutting down their lances for use on foot. Would they simply use the far end of the lance with the sharpened point? Or would they (if the period was late enough that the lance had a vamplate) instead wield the lance by a handgrip and add a point to the chopped down tip?
      >
      > Thanks for any insight!
      >
      > Steve
      >
    • Dave Clarke
      Hi Andrew, What do you mean by 15thC style onwards? If you mean the typical jousting sticks as seen in tournaments, then I d have to say that they were not
      Message 2 of 15 , Nov 1, 2010
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        Hi Andrew,

        What do you mean by 15thC style onwards? If you mean the typical jousting sticks as seen in tournaments, then I'd have to say that they were not used in battle.

        Manuscripts which detail fighting to the death in judicial duels from the 15thC detail how, if your initial charge with a lance fails or if you are somehow unhorsed, to fence with the lance as if it were a long spear. In that case, the knight would hold the lance some ways up, with his body maybe halfway along the shaft. This is, as I said, for one on one combat, and likely not repeated in mass battle.

        Steve, I'd guess, with no reference material, that they'd cut the butt off for the simple reason they wouldn't then have to re set the hea on the shaft.

        I'd like to know how common it was to cut a lance shorter, and to learn of the references to the practice. I'd have thought they might've liked to keep them longer for use as pikes, as we know pikes are tremendous against cavalry.

        Dave

        On Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 7:53 PM, andrewcopestake <acopestake@...> wrote:
         

        Steve good question My view has always been that they simply knocked the back end off"to taste" as it were after all you'd want to keep the business end intact the resultant spear would then be wielded with both hands sort of pike like.
        However I'm not sure this style was viable with the later lance- say 15thg century onwards- or perhaps a bit earlier and by then a variety of tinopenrers had become a bit more "knightly" and appropriate so shortened lances fell out of favour perhaps .
        However now I'm actually thinking about this perhaps new info will emerge ??/
        Like I said good question.
        Andy OGUK


        --- In freecompanyrules@yahoogroups.com, "SBSchifani" <Schifani@...> wrote:
        >
        > I've always been a little unclear on the recorded instances of knights cutting down their lances for use on foot. Would they simply use the far end of the lance with the sharpened point? Or would they (if the period was late enough that the lance had a vamplate) instead wield the lance by a handgrip and add a point to the chopped down tip?
        >
        > Thanks for any insight!
        >
        > Steve
        >




        --
        "most of what I understand doesn't make sense to me."
      • andrewcopestake
        There does seem to have been a change in lance styles - in the 14th century - say Crecy Poitiers period lances were simple spears with a handguard- relativly
        Message 3 of 15 , Nov 1, 2010
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          There does seem to have been a change in lance styles - in the 14th century - say Crecy Poitiers period lances were simple spears with a handguard- relativly easy to cut down When did this "posh spear" become the shaped lance of the 15th century that you see in contempoary manuscripts
          Also of course other factors weigh in depending upon where and when The French at Poitiers cut down their lances but - as far as I;''m aware there was no notice of it or it was not done at Agincourt- or was it ?
          The Austrians cut down their lances against the Swiss(Morgarten???) but without diving into the books I can't think of others - You'd think the scots would at Dupplin, Halidon, Homildon, Nevilles Cross Otterburn etc but perhaps they simply used normal spears as was thier custom and never bothered with the heavy lance.
          Andy OGUK

          --- In freecompanyrules@yahoogroups.com, Dave Clarke <dg2clarke@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hi Andrew,
          >
          > What do you mean by 15thC style onwards? If you mean the typical jousting
          > sticks as seen in tournaments, then I'd have to say that they were not used
          > in battle.
          >
          > Manuscripts which detail fighting to the death in judicial duels from the
          > 15thC detail how, if your initial charge with a lance fails or if you are
          > somehow unhorsed, to fence with the lance as if it were a long spear. In
          > that case, the knight would hold the lance some ways up, with his body maybe
          > halfway along the shaft. This is, as I said, for one on one combat, and
          > likely not repeated in mass battle.
          >
          > Steve, I'd guess, with no reference material, that they'd cut the butt off
          > for the simple reason they wouldn't then have to re set the hea on the
          > shaft.
          >
          > I'd like to know how common it was to cut a lance shorter, and to learn of
          > the references to the practice. I'd have thought they might've liked to keep
          > them longer for use as pikes, as we know pikes are tremendous against
          > cavalry.
          >
          > Dave
          >
          > On Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 7:53 PM, andrewcopestake <acopestake@...>wrote:
          >
          > >
          > >
          > > Steve good question My view has always been that they simply knocked the
          > > back end off"to taste" as it were after all you'd want to keep the business
          > > end intact the resultant spear would then be wielded with both hands sort of
          > > pike like.
          > > However I'm not sure this style was viable with the later lance- say 15thg
          > > century onwards- or perhaps a bit earlier and by then a variety of
          > > tinopenrers had become a bit more "knightly" and appropriate so shortened
          > > lances fell out of favour perhaps .
          > > However now I'm actually thinking about this perhaps new info will emerge
          > > ??/
          > > Like I said good question.
          > > Andy OGUK
          > >
          > > --- In freecompanyrules@yahoogroups.com<freecompanyrules%40yahoogroups.com>,
          > > "SBSchifani" <Schifani@> wrote:
          > > >
          > > > I've always been a little unclear on the recorded instances of knights
          > > cutting down their lances for use on foot. Would they simply use the far end
          > > of the lance with the sharpened point? Or would they (if the period was late
          > > enough that the lance had a vamplate) instead wield the lance by a handgrip
          > > and add a point to the chopped down tip?
          > > >
          > > > Thanks for any insight!
          > > >
          > > > Steve
          > > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
          >
          >
          > --
          > "most of what I understand doesn't make sense to me."
          >
        • Anthony
          ... The French are recorded cutting their lances down to 5 ft. or so at Agincourt. This is the latest reference I know to the practice - after this everyone
          Message 4 of 15 , Nov 1, 2010
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            --- In freecompanyrules@yahoogroups.com, "andrewcopestake" <acopestake@...> wrote:
            >

            > Also of course other factors weigh in depending upon where and when The French at Poitiers cut down their lances but - as far as I;''m aware there was no notice of it or it was not done at Agincourt- or was it ?

            The French are recorded cutting their lances down to 5 ft. or so at Agincourt. This is the latest reference I know to the practice - after this everyone seems to have a pollaxe (though maybe Arbedo - not clear what the Italians used on foot there). The sources seem quite specific that this was supposed to be a short, handy melee weapon, though I don't know exactly how it was used.

            I'm not sure how long Austrian lances were at Sempach - did they cut them down or use them long?

            Also, I'd definitely be of the view that they used the pointed end, not the butt end.
          • SBSchifani
            ... I was under the impression that they outreached the Swiss weapons. ... That makes sense. I don t think it would be any trouble to add a vamplate to a
            Message 5 of 15 , Nov 1, 2010
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              >>I'm not sure how long Austrian lances were at Sempach - did they cut them down or use them long?<<

              I was under the impression that they outreached the Swiss weapons.

              >>Also, I'd definitely be of the view that they used the pointed end, not the butt end.<<

              That makes sense. I don't think it would be any trouble to add a vamplate to a shortened lance to improve handling...but there is absolutely no evidence of such a thing being done.

              Thanks for the help! I'm about to model 12 cut down lances (approx the length of the model itself or a bit shorter) and I wanted to get some opinions.

              Steve
            • andrewcopestake
              Steve a couple of other thoughts occur- Does a vamplate improve handling and would the shortened versions have them- personally I d think not as this
              Message 6 of 15 , Nov 2, 2010
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                Steve a couple of other thoughts occur-
                Does a vamplate improve handling and would the shortened versions have them- personally I'd think not as this shortening was an extemorary measure.
                Also its interesting that a five foot long stick with a point is seen as a more effective melee weapon by the French thatn assorted swords Mauls maces axes etc.
                The English - with prehaps a more embedded tradition of dismounted fighting do not seem to have used shortened lances in any quantitiy.

                Andy OGUK

                --- In freecompanyrules@yahoogroups.com, "SBSchifani" <Schifani@...> wrote:
                >
                > >>I'm not sure how long Austrian lances were at Sempach - did they cut them down or use them long?<<
                >
                > I was under the impression that they outreached the Swiss weapons.
                >
                > >>Also, I'd definitely be of the view that they used the pointed end, not the butt end.<<
                >
                > That makes sense. I don't think it would be any trouble to add a vamplate to a shortened lance to improve handling...but there is absolutely no evidence of such a thing being done.
                >
                > Thanks for the help! I'm about to model 12 cut down lances (approx the length of the model itself or a bit shorter) and I wanted to get some opinions.
                >
                > Steve
                >
              • Anthony
                ... Yes, it is interesting. I suspect that the technique was something like the thrusting part of pollaxe fighting. IIRC, swordplay against an armoured
                Message 7 of 15 , Nov 2, 2010
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                  --- In freecompanyrules@yahoogroups.com, "andrewcopestake" <acopestake@...> wrote:

                  > Also its interesting that a five foot long stick with a point is seen as a more effective melee weapon by the French thatn assorted swords Mauls maces axes etc.

                  Yes, it is interesting. I suspect that the technique was something like the thrusting part of pollaxe fighting. IIRC, swordplay against an armoured opponent was also based on thrusting at this time.
                • andrewcopestake
                  Its been a good few years but any Swordsman will tell you the point is muightier than the edge. Mind you I d be well rusty these days- still have the swords
                  Message 8 of 15 , Nov 2, 2010
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                    Its been a good few years but any Swordsman will tell you the point is muightier than the edge. Mind you I'd be well rusty these days- still have the swords nicly poloshed ans oiled though..
                    Andy

                    --- In freecompanyrules@yahoogroups.com, "Anthony" <anthony@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > --- In freecompanyrules@yahoogroups.com, "andrewcopestake" <acopestake@> wrote:
                    >
                    > > Also its interesting that a five foot long stick with a point is seen as a more effective melee weapon by the French thatn assorted swords Mauls maces axes etc.
                    >
                    > Yes, it is interesting. I suspect that the technique was something like the thrusting part of pollaxe fighting. IIRC, swordplay against an armoured opponent was also based on thrusting at this time.
                    >
                  • SUZANNE BANNISTER
                    The point is more deadly than the edge, it tends to be more fatal than a cut. Look at the number of fatal stabings in our city centres. You rarely hear of
                    Message 9 of 15 , Nov 2, 2010
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                      The point is more deadly than the edge, it tends to be more fatal than a cut. Look at the number of fatal stabings in our city centres. You rarely hear of someone slashed to death. English Law actually makes it an offence to " Carry a bladed or POINTED article" Problem is it takes more skill and training to use the point effectivley and the point was negated by full plate armour unless you hit a weak spot. Not easy to do in the heat of combat.
                      Remember the Roman legions. They used their short swords with devestating effect against foes with no or little armour, against effective armour they were not so deadly.
                      Cut down lances were a field adaptation like, adding armour plates to seats in early war RAF Hurricanes. It was to fill a gap in equipment available. The French did not have the tradition or social set up that encouraged their nobility to hack it out standing shoulder to shoulder with their social inferiors, therefore he did not have to hand the weapons to use on foot.
                      I believe cut down lances were a stop gap weapon, how it was cut down, whether it had hand protection or not would be down to the whim of the user.
                       
                      HCB
                       
                      --- On Tue, 2/11/10, andrewcopestake <acopestake@...> wrote:

                      From: andrewcopestake <acopestake@...>
                      Subject: [freecompanyrules] Re: Shortened lances
                      To: freecompanyrules@yahoogroups.com
                      Date: Tuesday, 2 November, 2010, 13:56

                      Its been a good few years but any Swordsman will tell you the point is muightier than the edge. Mind you I'd be well rusty these days- still have the swords nicly poloshed ans oiled though..
                      Andy

                      --- In freecompanyrules@yahoogroups.com, "Anthony" <anthony@...> wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > --- In freecompanyrules@yahoogroups.com, "andrewcopestake" <acopestake@> wrote:
                      >
                      > >  Also its interesting that a five foot long stick with a point is seen as a more effective melee weapon by the French thatn assorted swords Mauls maces axes etc.
                      >
                      > Yes, it is interesting.  I suspect that the technique was something like the thrusting part of pollaxe fighting.  IIRC, swordplay against an armoured opponent was also based on thrusting at this time.
                      >




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                    • Anthony
                      ... The French did not have the tradition or social set up that encouraged their nobility to hack it out standing shoulder to shoulder with their social
                      Message 10 of 15 , Nov 3, 2010
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                        --- In freecompanyrules@yahoogroups.com, SUZANNE BANNISTER <suzhowbannister@...> wrote:
                        The French did not have the tradition or social set up that encouraged their nobility to hack it out standing shoulder to shoulder with their social inferiors, therefore he did not have to hand the weapons to use on foot.

                        Except they had been fighting this way for over fifty years. One might ask why they didn't come "tooled up" for an infantry fight? Even if we assume, having not had a major field action against the English in a generation, they weren't prepared it is interesting that they felt the need to improvise a weapon out of their lances and not just, as Andy pointed out, rely on the swords, maces, axes, falcon beaks and so on that they undoubtedly had to fight on horseback. While doubtless some did just rely on their sidearms, others clearly felt the need for a weapon with a bit of reach. Which probably tells us that we don't know enough about men-at-arms fighting on foot in this period as we would like :)
                      • andrewcopestake
                        Another though occours- Swords Maces etc need a bit of room to work in Pikes and spears need less as they derive their effectivenmess from the mass rather
                        Message 11 of 15 , Nov 3, 2010
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                          Another though occours- Swords Maces etc need a bit of room to work in Pikes and spears need less as they derive their effectivenmess from the mass rather than the individual. So I'm still very unsure how a five foot spear would work- not really enough reach- bills and halberds could be longer- so does 5 feet mean 5 feet - after all only 60 inches- my sword has a 32 inch blade- thoough its 17th century - not 15th and it weas by no means qa long blade. In an individual fight once you are past the oponents point you've got the bugger ! Assuming he's not quick enough to recover of course now in a melee things are going to be very different however my point- reach isn't everything is still apposite .
                          As Anthony says we simply don't know enough- anyone know where I can get 500 men at arms- we could then experiment.....
                          I can dream can't I...
                          Andy

                          --- In freecompanyrules@yahoogroups.com, "Anthony" <anthony@...> wrote:
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > --- In freecompanyrules@yahoogroups.com, SUZANNE BANNISTER <suzhowbannister@> wrote:
                          > The French did not have the tradition or social set up that encouraged their nobility to hack it out standing shoulder to shoulder with their social inferiors, therefore he did not have to hand the weapons to use on foot.
                          >
                          > Except they had been fighting this way for over fifty years. One might ask why they didn't come "tooled up" for an infantry fight? Even if we assume, having not had a major field action against the English in a generation, they weren't prepared it is interesting that they felt the need to improvise a weapon out of their lances and not just, as Andy pointed out, rely on the swords, maces, axes, falcon beaks and so on that they undoubtedly had to fight on horseback. While doubtless some did just rely on their sidearms, others clearly felt the need for a weapon with a bit of reach. Which probably tells us that we don't know enough about men-at-arms fighting on foot in this period as we would like :)
                          >
                        • Anthony
                          ... Good point. While we know men-at-arms fought in close order, we know at Agincourt they were particularly short of space because of the funneling effects of
                          Message 12 of 15 , Nov 3, 2010
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                            --- In freecompanyrules@yahoogroups.com, "andrewcopestake" <acopestake@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Another though occurs- Swords Maces etc need a bit of room to work in Pikes and spears need less as they derive their effectiveness from the mass rather than the individual.

                            Good point. While we know men-at-arms fought in close order, we know at Agincourt they were particularly short of space because of the funneling effects of the woods and everyone crushing into the leading battle - so much so they ultimately became jammed together because of the archers worrying at the flanks. Were they adapting to having very little space by cutting down their lances? Or maybe the game plan was to somehow use their impetus better to push through the thin English ranks? We just don't know, but it's interesting to speculate.
                          • andrewcopestake
                            Perhaps they did intend to use impetus but the ground slowed them down- Once the enemy has been knocked over he s easy meat. As we know most battle casualties
                            Message 13 of 15 , Nov 3, 2010
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                              Perhaps they did intend to use impetus but the ground slowed them down- Once the enemy has been knocked over he's easy meat. As we know most battle casualties are caused AFTER units have broken up and started to run away.
                              Andy

                              --- In freecompanyrules@yahoogroups.com, "Anthony" <anthony@...> wrote:
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > --- In freecompanyrules@yahoogroups.com, "andrewcopestake" <acopestake@> wrote:
                              > >
                              > > Another though occurs- Swords Maces etc need a bit of room to work in Pikes and spears need less as they derive their effectiveness from the mass rather than the individual.
                              >
                              > Good point. While we know men-at-arms fought in close order, we know at Agincourt they were particularly short of space because of the funneling effects of the woods and everyone crushing into the leading battle - so much so they ultimately became jammed together because of the archers worrying at the flanks. Were they adapting to having very little space by cutting down their lances? Or maybe the game plan was to somehow use their impetus better to push through the thin English ranks? We just don't know, but it's interesting to speculate.
                              >
                            • SBSchifani
                              Thanks for all the great thoughts, I feel much more confident in how I ll model the practice in 28mm. Steve
                              Message 14 of 15 , Nov 3, 2010
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                                Thanks for all the great thoughts, I feel much more confident in how I'll model the practice in 28mm.

                                Steve
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