European Medieval Tactics (2): New Infantry, New Weapons 1260-1500

Overview

By about 1260 the steady rise of the European heavily armoured mounted knight to the predominant role in most pitched battles was complete. But though he dominated the actual day of battle, he did not dominate warfare - there were plenty of vital though unglamorous tasks for which footsoldiers were still necessary, 'cleaning up round the edges'. With the development in the 13th century of co-operative tactics using crossbowmen and heavy spearmen, deployed together to compensate for each others' vulnerabilities, ...
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European Medieval Tactics (2): New Infantry, New Weapons 1260-1500

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Overview

By about 1260 the steady rise of the European heavily armoured mounted knight to the predominant role in most pitched battles was complete. But though he dominated the actual day of battle, he did not dominate warfare - there were plenty of vital though unglamorous tasks for which footsoldiers were still necessary, 'cleaning up round the edges'. With the development in the 13th century of co-operative tactics using crossbowmen and heavy spearmen, deployed together to compensate for each others' vulnerabilities, circumstance began to arise in which the charge by Muslim horse-archers, and then by European armoured knights, could be defied.

Infantry were far cheaper and easier to train than knights, and potentially there were far more of them. Slowly, tactics emerged by which more numerous and more varied infantry played an increasing part in battles. The best-known examples of this 'democratization of the battlefield' are the English longbowmen who won battles against French knights in the Hundred Years' War, and the massed Swiss spearmen and halberdiers who did the same in wars against the Dukes of Burgundy.

Illustrated with specially commissioned full-colour artwork depicting the tactical formations of the era, this book traces these and other examples of this 'jerky' and uneven process through its regional differences, which were invariably entwined with parallel cavalry developments - the balanced army of 'mixed arms' was always the key to success. By the time serious hand-held firearms appeared on battlefields in large numbers in about 1500, the face of medieval warfare had been transformed.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...provides a fine history of military forces and techniques of early warfare and represents the second part of the author's study of tactical changes during a thousand years of European history ... It's a powerful survey ... and is especially recommended for any collection seeing popularity with [Nicolle's] first volume."
- James A. Cox, The Midwest Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781849087391
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 9/18/2012
  • Series: Elite Series
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 638,315
  • Product dimensions: 7.27 (w) x 9.73 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

David Nicolle, born in 1944, worked in the BBC's Arabic service for a number of years before gaining an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, and a doctorate from Edinburgh University. He has written numerous books and articles on medieval and Islamic warfare, and has been a prolific author of Osprey titles for many years.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 4

The 13th-14th Century Infantry Revival 10

From feudal militias to 'mercenaries'

Italian armies and tactics

The British Isles

The Empire and Scandinavia

France

The Challenge of Bow & Crossbow 21

The 14th to mid-15th centuries: Italian urban militias and condottieri - Venice

France: indentured troops - urban forces

The British Isles: coastal militias

The Empire and Scandinavia: local forces - urban militias - leagues - 'free knights' - crossbowmen

Diversity of troop types and tactics: elite infantry - professional men-at-arms - Flemish mixed-arms infantry - archers - Scottish and Swiss spearmen

From Knight to Man-at-Arms 34

The 14th to mid-15th centuries: France: the arrière ban and indentured companies

England: mixed indentured companies - 'hoblear' light cavalry

Italy: mercenary knights - the Venetian army - Angevin and Spanish southern Italy

The Empire and Eastern Europe: Western and Eastern influences

Strategy and tactics: French defensiveness and English aggression

Fortifications & Firearms 41

Up to the mid-15th century: Defensive co-operation between French regional networks - blockades and canvoys

Field fortifications: bastides, stakes, and 'wagon forts'

Firearms: effectiveness and limitations of artillery - cost - the spread of handguns

The Dawan of Modern Warfare 48

The second half of the 15th century: Infantry development

Attitudes to war: Italy - France

Continuing importance of armoured cavalry - skill-at-arms

Italian tactics

Firearms

External Challenges 58

Warfare on the frontiers of Western Christendom: The Baltic

Hungary

Spain

Bibliography 62

Index 64

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