Longbow vs. armor test

Open to public view.

Re: Longbow vs. armor test

Postby Dave Long » 12 Jan 2013 18:50

Jonathan Waller wrote:Would they be moving flat out like this historically?
Actually, they might well have been moving faster. The small size of that arena means that the horses are always either accelerating, braking, or turning, none of them gets up to flat out at any point.
This article suggests that barrel horses in competition are only averaging 30-40 km/h, or about 2/3 of their top speed. For something closer to top speed, one needs more space.
Terrain is, of course, very important: cf Morgarten. But given that you all think a stationary horse and rider presents a very large, very easy target, and (Bane's calculations were apparently way off?) an arrow can cover 100m in under 2 seconds*, it seems reasonable that any unarmored cavalry within bowshot would prefer to be moving faster rather than slower.

For reference, cross-country horses cover 6-7 km in 12-13 minutes (32 km/h) and do so over varied terrain; eg:
Image

* I get: 100 m / (180 fps ~= 55 m/s) = 1.8 s ... or about 16-25 meters for the horses mentioned above
User avatar
Dave Long
Staff Sergeant
 
Posts: 192
Joined: 30 Oct 2011 19:18

Re: Longbow vs. armor test

Postby Jonathan Waller » 12 Jan 2013 19:16

Still the configuration of medieval horses and the gates they used are different to those used in Barrel racing and Cross country... The work with medieval riding that Toby Capwell, Arne Koetts, Joram van Essen et al. have been doing would give better insight to pace that one might be dealing with.

Also measurement of top speed for a horse need to have have a rider in appropriate armour and appropriate saddle and tack, if we are to learn something that tells about the historical context?

In a similar way that many of the claims for medieval archery, which are then supported my tests, yet the bows are using modern synthetic strings. I understand the reason why people use them, but until tests are carried out with all the parts in place is anything concrete is being added?
User avatar
Jonathan Waller
2nd Lieutenant
 
Posts: 397
Joined: 16 Nov 2009 18:39
Location: London England

Re: Longbow vs. armor test

Postby Dave Long » 12 Jan 2013 19:51

Jonathan Waller wrote:Still the configuration of medieval horses and the gates they used are different to those used in Barrel racing and Cross country... The work with medieval riding that Toby Capwell, Arne Koetts, Joram van Essen et al. have been doing would give better insight to pace that one might be dealing with.
No question as to gait. Just quickly looked up your names, and those guys have the common sense to work in canter/gallop, just as we see in barrel racing, in cross-country, and, more to the point, in the victorian Assaults at Arms, and in any horse sport which involves an active antagonist.
User avatar
Dave Long
Staff Sergeant
 
Posts: 192
Joined: 30 Oct 2011 19:18

Re: Longbow vs. armor test

Postby Chiron » 12 Jan 2013 20:36

Would they be moving flat out like this historically?

The perfect range to start the charge would most likely be about 50-100m out of a stand, this gives you time to get up to a good speed and then land have really push the horse to its really top speed right before impact, we're talking probably 9m/s cruising and an end burst of 12m/s. A good horse (depending on breed) can easily get up to a fast gallup in less than 20m out of a stand and 15m if already at a walk, so I'm being generous with the length. Dom Duarte says to give a prick with the spurs right before impact to get the most speed and so the horse doesn't shy, you want your horses peak speed to be at the moment of impact. The kings mirror tells young knights to practice doing swerving turns at full gallop on their horse, whether the swerves looked like the ones done on barrel racing is up for debate. This also very much depends on your last point. Most of combat tended to be open skirmishing so in that context you would most likely be using cover to hide your approach and then charge, you would also be going at not quite so brake neck speeds in order to stay maneuverable.
Based upon the configuration of Medieval horses and the gate used, what would their "flat out" be.

Which horse? which time period?
Depending on region different horses were imported depending on price, you also had the local lords raising their own stock. Horse breeding usually happened at two levels. The first, semi-wild herds of horses running around on your land or in the hills in general that would you would let a stallion run with when you wanted colts, which you would later collect and take the colts to work from. New Forest ponies and welsh cobs are the remains of such herds. The second mares and stallion stabled separately and serviced at need, this provided the highest end horses, but was generally not the standard method.
For more information on breeding see
"Horse Breeding in the Medieval World" by charles Gladitz
However consistently through the medieval period (Charlemagne to henry the eighth) Spanish horses were preferred for war purposes as well as transport. A Spanish horses are not known for being heavy perse, stallions in general however are more muscled. This can be be improved with training, the difference between the older Lipizzaner stallions used in Vienna and the older ones who have built up muscle is huge (for a horse person at least). Strength and speeds were characteristics that were often specifically praised in sources. I'm not sure (God help me, I'll go and try and find which one right away) which battle, but Froissart wrights the french picked the strongest and fastest horses to make the first charge.

How would that be reduced by the terrain?

This is something highly dependent on horse and terrain, but a sustained steep incline would probably rule out a speed of much over 9 m/s. Deep Mud is actually more of a hinderance than an incline.

Was their objective to get there fast, or get there together.

Depends on how much you listen to Verbruggen, I tend to interpret allot of his demonstrations of how inextricably linked riding knee to knee densely packed was with knightly combat, as the chroniclers emphasizing numbers. His interpretation of single combats before the battle as being between two groups, I must admit find somewhat odd, seeing as the sources seem fairly explicit. He also focuses mainly on battles which are not representative of the private wars and chevauchees that comprised day to day warfare in the medieval period. What is however absolutely sure is if you're not small group of riders spread out you're not going to be doing barrel racing turns.

Also measurement of top speed for a horse need to have have a rider in appropriate armour and appropriate saddle and tack, if we are to learn something that tells about the historical context?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjKbi7YUNaI
Look at the 10:00m mark
This is about as authentic as your ever going to get armour wise, I'm not sure whether they're using tack out of the collection, but it looks like they are. That horse is going faster than the ones in the video Dave posted.

Often what you see in barrel racing tends to be what we call "early quarter horses" meaning they have allot of spanish of blood in them from the indian spanish mustangs that make up the basis of the breed. My main subject of research at the moment is the possible connection to surviving spanish mustangs (easily confused with BLM mustangs which got heavily contaminated in the 20s and 40s) and medieval warhorses.
nay king, nay quin we willnae be fooled again!
Terry pratchet, the wee free men:
User avatar
Chiron
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 483
Joined: 18 Aug 2010 20:30

Re: Longbow vs. armor test

Postby Jonathan Waller » 12 Jan 2013 21:09

Perhaps someone can work out the speed from that clip from the Met?

My point is that all parts of the equation need to be considered with as authentic conditions and considerations as possible. Of course there may be no difference between modern examples and period ones. We may find that a properly made linen bow string can be as strong and thin as a modern kevlar one. But until it is done we are not getting any closer to really answering the questions.

In much the same way as the guys I mentioned above, who are jousting in armour as close as possible to historic examples, riding horses schooled and riding saddles and tack based upon period examples, using solid lances with steel coronels.
The answers then found may not be right, but they are closer, and the insights that are gained can lead to a greater and deeper understanding of the subject and allow further refinements to be made...
User avatar
Jonathan Waller
2nd Lieutenant
 
Posts: 397
Joined: 16 Nov 2009 18:39
Location: London England

Re: Longbow vs. armor test

Postby Dave Long » 13 Jan 2013 19:00

Jonathan Waller wrote:My point is that all parts of the equation need to be considered with as authentic conditions and considerations as possible. Of course there may be no difference between modern examples and period ones.
Agreed; we need to "triangulate" as best we can. I'll go on the record as doubting that there will be qualitative differences between modern examples and period ones, especially if one is (as I am) more interested in light cavalry than heavy.

Do you know any of these jousters, Jonathan? At least some of their horses appear to be very well trained, and I'd be willing to bet that some of them could, with a little practice, run a similar barrel pattern to the NFR in only 3-4 seconds[1] slower than we've seen.

Even though most modern demonstrations of baroque riding focus on the low-speed elements[2], in the source material one finds that (especially when they discuss maneuvers for war) higher speeds are not excluded. Pluvinel[3] suggests that a good way to test a horse is to take off rapidly in a straight line, stop, turn 180 degrees, and repeat the exercise a few times in each direction, then comments:
Pluvinel, 1627 wrote:Vostre Majesté a très-bien jugé les passades [sont] la vraie épreuve de la bonté du cheval, parce qu'en partant on connaisse sa vitesse, en arrêtant sa bonne ou mauvaise bouche, en tournant son adresse et sa grace ; et en repartant plusieurs fois, sa force, sa vigeur, & sa loyauté.

"Your majesty is correct; passades are the true test of a horse's quality, for in taking off we learn his speed, in stopping his good or poor mouth, in turning his handiness and his grace, and in repeating the exercise several times his power, his bottom, and his heart." Like with the barrel horses, he wants to know how quickly the horse can accelerate, brake, and turn; he even points out that when one does this as an exercise it is most important to do everything smoothly[4], but when one does it in war it should be as quick and as abrupt as possible.

[1] Sport horses are very roughly around 500 kg and manage a 100m dash, with their rider, faster than Usain Bolt with no extra weight; the difference between a big guy in harness and a thin girl with a western saddle seems very large to us but isn't, relatively speaking, so large to them. And (with the exception of an obviously messed up first barrel, which cost .75 seconds) all of the runs on that video were within .38 seconds of the best time.
[2] I very roughly divide the speed range of the horse into thirds: 0-6 m/s, 6-12 m/s, and 12-18 m/s. The first third (under 20 km/h) is where you find anyone who rides in a 20mx40m indoor arena. The last third (over 40 km/h) is pretty much the domain of straight-line racing. But, as the barrel horses show, the middle third gives a good combination of speed and maneuverability. Just like the modern olympic arms don't do justice to the variety of historical swordplay, the modern olympic equestrian disciplines don't cover this range: dressage (the tai chi of equestrian sport) is entirely in the bottom third, jumping hovers at the edge between the bottom and middle thirds, and only the cross-country gets up well into the middle range.
[3]Antoine de Pluvinel, Instruction du roy, 1627 p. 87
http://www3.vet-lyon.fr/bib/fondsancien ... 74/116.pdf
[4] this exercise is still being done in our days, although not with the same name; the polo player in this video uses it (the smooth version) to warm his horse up (0:15-0:40)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc0QaZjFRow
User avatar
Dave Long
Staff Sergeant
 
Posts: 192
Joined: 30 Oct 2011 19:18

Re: Longbow vs. armor test

Postby Dave Long » 15 Jan 2013 16:06

Jonathan Waller wrote:Perhaps someone can work out the speed from that clip from the Met?

It'd be best if someone can tell us what part of Central Park(?) that is, and if not the length of the path, at least its width.

Until then I've tried the field expedient of counting fingers[0]. This method would clearly not work for anything shot with a telephoto lens[1], so take it with, not just a grain, but the entire block of salt.

FWIW, this method results in an estimate of 11 m/s (40 km/h).

That's a plausible result; anyone have a better way to work this out?

[0] I get 20 mils at 10:10, 40 at 10:17, 90 at 10:19, and 130 at 10:20. Assuming a horse of 150 cm at the withers which gives horse+rider of 260 cm, we find he covers 110 m in 10 seconds.
[1] here we have both the optics from the original camera and whatever effect the youtube window may have on the perspective to mess things up, before we even start talking about projection speed...
User avatar
Dave Long
Staff Sergeant
 
Posts: 192
Joined: 30 Oct 2011 19:18

Re: Longbow vs. armor test

Postby Chiron » 15 Jan 2013 21:47

So we agree, all parts of the equitation must be correct. :D

This applies most of all to applying modern disciplines to ones that seem to have died out long ago. But if you know what to look for, you can use them as a touchstone. I do not necessarily agree with everything Dave Long says or takes as evidence (I rarely completely agree with myself), but modern disciplines are a important angle or variable or hoof or whatever the hell you want to call it. The most important angle, even maybe (gasp) a right-angle, is comprised of the original sources, I wanted to bring in Long's quote from pluvinel, but he beat me to it. We can glean an awful lot about mounted combat in general from the context and what is mentioned about it here and there. In archery we seem to be fairly dependent on artifacts, but the chroniclers (I know, it depends which ones and which times) tend to devote allot more of their valuable space to what the cavalry did and how they did it than the finer points of archery. Sorting out what you can use, from the exaggeration in order to make a point is the catch.

The Fechtbücher either say, to "ride" against each other, or to "run" at each other, the techniques themselves make it fairly clear that speed is needed to pull them off successfully. It also makes complete sense from a martial perspective. A riders main problem is that the area that he has to defend has just been tripled and the most vulnarable part is in front of you without anyway to defend it, and yet your arms are still the same length as before. The faster you move past, the less time your enemy to strike at you or your horse while leaving. The general rule is the longer you exchange blows the more it degenerates into a mutually destructive clusterfuck. Fiori says (If one of the Fiori people could say where exactly it is) that even a master is lost after the third counter or something like that. The german system tries to eliminate the opponent without even giving him a chance to counter, or even threaten you if possible. Fiori seems to show a mix of walking and running plates but the germans seem to be speed demons. Also if you look at manuscripts charges are always depicted with the horse in an extended gallop.

I agree that for something to be said definitively, all parts of the equation have to be correct, but quite frankly we'll never be sure that they are, and we'll never be able to replicate them exactly. In the meantime we shouldn't ignore what's in front of us.
nay king, nay quin we willnae be fooled again!
Terry pratchet, the wee free men:
User avatar
Chiron
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 483
Joined: 18 Aug 2010 20:30

Re: Longbow vs. armor test

Postby Jonathan Waller » 15 Jan 2013 22:23

Also if you look at manuscripts charges are always depicted with the horse in an extended gallop.

I recall reading a book on art where this was spoken about if recall almost all representations of horses at speed before a certain period are shown extended like this, I will have to track it down.

I am not saying horses weren't fast or that they were not run at fast speeds or that the speeds etc would not be comprable to "modern" data, just highlighting that there are elements that we need to consider and not automatically trace evidence from one source to another.

I know that Arne and the others who rode at the Sankt Wendell are working to a very different approach to the horses, saddles and how they ride.

Best
User avatar
Jonathan Waller
2nd Lieutenant
 
Posts: 397
Joined: 16 Nov 2009 18:39
Location: London England

Re: Longbow vs. armor test

Postby Dave Long » 16 Jan 2013 00:47

Jonathan Waller wrote:I know that Arne and the others who rode at the Sankt Wendell are working to a very different approach to the horses, saddles and how they ride.
Any chance of getting them over here, or at least of summarizing the approach? It would be interesting; all I know at the moment is that at least some of their horses have been trained to a high level in a baroque style, which is far more serious than the jousters which I have seen up to this point.

I was not joking when I referred to dressage as the tai chi of horse sports. If we view jumping as plyometrics, dressage is much closer to an isometric discipline, and it does things slowly precisely because we don't have many options beyond bodyweight for equine strength training, and it turns out that moving slowly actually requires more balance and strength[0] than moving quickly. Looking at training around the baroque period, we see much more emphasis on loading the hind end than in more recent centuries; my hypothesis has been that this is due to the transition in military requirements from an emphasis on duelling on horseback by an elite (more "turn and burn"[1]) to an emphasis on battlefield mobility by conscripts (more "boom and zoom"[2]).

Recently, however, I've run across a veterinary paper which claims that the limits to acceleration and braking in horses are not raw power output, but balance and traction related: applying full power to accelerate leaves the horse on its hind end, full braking tends to dump it on its front. Given that the classical program involves strengthening the horse in general but specifically its ability to carry weight and generate power with its hind end, and to keep its balance weighted towards the hind even under deceleration, this suggests that classical dressage (even though it doesn't contain any explosive forms below the highest levels, rather the reverse) is also helpful for improving performance even in sports which require abrupt, explosive, movement.[3]

[0] for instance, suppose you have the option of duelling against one of two opponents, and they flourish by standing on their hinds. The first horse pops right up almost vertical, stands a while, and comes quickly down again. The second horse slowly lifts to 30 degrees, holds a little, and just as slowly comes back down. The first will be, by far, your easier opponent.
[1] in my --limited-- sparring experience, bladework is not an issue unless the horses are reasonably matched; it's the footwork which counts.
[2] cf 2012 Rolex Kentucky CCI**** A little slow at first, but picks up ... (eg 7:22, 10:15, 11:42, 13:47, 15:34)
[3] is it going too far to state that fencing categorically requires abrupt, explosive, movement -- whether the legwork is done with two legs or four is incidental?

Jonathan Waller wrote:
Also if you look at manuscripts charges are always depicted with the horse in an extended gallop.

I recall reading a book on art where this was spoken about if recall almost all representations of horses at speed before a certain period are shown extended like this, I will have to track it down.
probably referring to the periods pre- and post-Muybridge...
User avatar
Dave Long
Staff Sergeant
 
Posts: 192
Joined: 30 Oct 2011 19:18

Re: Longbow vs. armor test

Postby Jonathan Waller » 16 Jan 2013 08:19

That all sounds interesting and along the lines of what I understand from their end. I know Toby had been on here before though I don't know how often he gets here lately.

probably referring to the periods pre- and post-Muybridge...


Yes he was referred to if I recall

[3] is it going too far to state that fencing categorically requires abrupt, explosive, movement -- whether the legwork is done with two legs or four is incidental?


Attain a explosive acceleration along rapid and controlled deceleration is what they have been wanting for the joust, similarly for the mounted melee along with rapid changes of direction.
User avatar
Jonathan Waller
2nd Lieutenant
 
Posts: 397
Joined: 16 Nov 2009 18:39
Location: London England

Re: Longbow vs. armor test

Postby Chiron » 16 Jan 2013 18:15

I am not saying horses weren't fast or that they were not run at fast speeds or that the speeds etc would not be comprable to "modern" data, just highlighting that there are elements that we need to consider and not automatically trace evidence from one source to another.

Gotcha

Attain a explosive acceleration along rapid and controlled deceleration is what they have been wanting for the joust, similarly for the mounted melee along with rapid changes of direction.


This is well documented and a type of riding that is heavily connected with spanish riders and spanish breeds, the earliest references we have to this sort of warfare in connection with Iberians is Herodotus's account of spanish mercenaries riding at spartan lines and turning sharply before hitting enemy lines. Although Andrade postulates this being the modus operandi going much farther back. Charlemagne's cavalry regularly practiced charging at each other and braking away right before combat. Usamah Ibn-Munqidh relates of a frankish who single handedly attacks a small group of arabs and systematically kills for of them, every time "turning back" and telling them to give him their camels, it says that they pursued at full gallop and could not catch him, so it seems he was doing rollbacks at a considerable speed.
Both Fiori and Lichtenauer have mounted techniques that require such a movement.
MS_Ludwig_XV_13_48v-c.jpg
MS_Ludwig_XV_13_48v-c.jpg (23.89 KiB) Viewed 20352 times

This one seems to mind to clearly be a rollback, using the energy of the movement to drive the sword into the armpit.
200px-MS_KK5012_69v.jpg
200px-MS_KK5012_69v.jpg (17.49 KiB) Viewed 20352 times

Peter Falkner wrote:If he should follow Turn upon him to your left and wound him

This is the medieval answer to someone on your "seven o'clock", and if it is not done with a rollback then at least with a very sharp turn.

You see horses doing levades now and again in medieval pictures. You also probably saw the horse training thread, where there are pictures of what look like early dressage work. There is also a mention in a 13th century veterinary work of warhorses being trained to "kick and bite" their way through enemy lines. Henry the eighth practiced with his horses "in the italian" style often making them perform little jumps and other tricks which he loved to show off.

Omnipresent in these matters was the preference for spanish stock. For most people a horse is a horse is a horse, this was defiantly not true in the middle ages when stock prices from the same dealer could vary greatly. Guess what? Modern highschool dressage only uses this type of horse to this day.
nay king, nay quin we willnae be fooled again!
Terry pratchet, the wee free men:
User avatar
Chiron
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 483
Joined: 18 Aug 2010 20:30

Re: Longbow vs. armor test

Postby Dave Long » 16 Jan 2013 19:23

Chiron wrote:... if it is not done with a rollback then at least with a very sharp turn.
I'll be overly opinionated once again, and state that I am having trouble thinking of a situation* where one shouldn't choose the rollback over the very sharp turn.
1. the rollback pivots over the hocks, often taking less time and certainly taking less space than any turn.
2. horses are relatively robust backwards and forwards, and relatively fragile sideways. A rollback lets the horse use its strong axis while it's at speed, and only use its weak axis while relatively motionless; a turn, especially a sharp one, makes continuous heavy demands on the weaker axis.
3. a horse in a sharp turn tends to be fairly committed to the turn. At the end of the first third of a rollback, the horse is sitting nicely and its options are wide open should a sudden change of plans be necessary.

* oops, I guess we were supposed to be talking about longbows. And a rollback leaves you sitting pretty much in the same general spot for about a second. Maybe there is a use for very sharp turns!

[Edit: As an illustration, check out the training sequence in the St. Wendel video from 9:55. At 9:58 the second rider extends out of the circle, and takes from 9:59 to 10:02 to get back around in a sharp turn. Had he done a rollback instead, he would have arrived at the same position 1-2 seconds earlier]
User avatar
Dave Long
Staff Sergeant
 
Posts: 192
Joined: 30 Oct 2011 19:18

Re: Longbow vs. armor test

Postby Chiron » 17 Jan 2013 20:21

Dave Long wrote:
Chiron wrote:... if it is not done with a rollback then at least with a very sharp turn.
I'll be overly opinionated once again, and state that I am having trouble thinking of a situation* where one shouldn't choose the rollback over the very sharp turn.
1. the rollback pivots over the hocks, often taking less time and certainly taking less space than any turn.
2. horses are relatively robust backwards and forwards, and relatively fragile sideways. A rollback lets the horse use its strong axis while it's at speed, and only use its weak axis while relatively motionless; a turn, especially a sharp one, makes continuous heavy demands on the weaker axis.
3. a horse in a sharp turn tends to be fairly committed to the turn. At the end of the first third of a rollback, the horse is sitting nicely and its options are wide open should a sudden change of plans be necessary.

* oops, I guess we were supposed to be talking about longbows. And a rollback leaves you sitting pretty much in the same general spot for about a second. Maybe there is a use for very sharp turns!

[Edit: As an illustration, check out the training sequence in the St. Wendel video from 9:55. At 9:58 the second rider extends out of the circle, and takes from 9:59 to 10:02 to get back around in a sharp turn. Had he done a rollback instead, he would have arrived at the same position 1-2 seconds earlier]


I'm somewhat split and quite frankly I think it's left up to you to know what to do when and where, the early fencing manuals assume we're not stupid enough to have everything spoon fed to us. what speaks against a rollback however is that your striking him in the turn from what I can tell, meaning you would be striking while the horse is doing the rollback not a very stable place for your horse to receive the shock, you're also stopping right and standing still for a moment in front of someone chasing you with a lance. If you do a full rollback you have to move your lance to normal position otherwise you have your lance still pointing behind you. A turn from 12 to 7:30/8:00 gives you a good angle to absorb the shock and still rest your lance on the shoulder while coming off line, a rollback at this angle with a brisk canter out of the rollback would also do the trick. So I really think it's up to you and your horse.

I also think that the rollbacks and "turn and burn" capabilities of medieval combat equestrianism is one reason we see so few plays addressing the seven o'clock position, either that or nobody needed to be told what to do when they got into that kind advantage/problem.
nay king, nay quin we willnae be fooled again!
Terry pratchet, the wee free men:
User avatar
Chiron
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 483
Joined: 18 Aug 2010 20:30

Re: Longbow vs. armor test

Postby Dave Long » 17 Jan 2013 23:37

Chiron wrote:
Attain a explosive acceleration along rapid and controlled deceleration is what they have been wanting for the joust, similarly for the mounted melee along with rapid changes of direction.
This is well documented and a type of riding that is heavily connected with spanish riders and spanish breeds, the earliest references we have to this sort of warfare in connection with Iberians is Herodotus's account of spanish mercenaries riding at spartan lines and turning sharply before hitting enemy lines.
We also have a mention in Xenophon (cf infra)

It only makes sense that spanish riders and horses would be well adapted to rapid changes of direction. Mounted stock work (like war) requires rapid changes of direction to deal with bovines (respectively opponents) who are doing their best to break free of your OODA loop, and the spanish historically not only spent a fair amount of their time fighting, but also running cattle on the newly conquered lands.

Are there parallels between the announcer's comments in the video above (~1:08) about "taking control of the cow, saying 'you better do what I want'" and the description below of how celt/iberian cavalry was able to pressure and control the movement of an army?

Finally tracked down the Xenophon referenced above in Hellenica 7.1*
He's just mentioned that the greek cavalry is doing nothing...
Xenophon (CLB) wrote: But the horsemen sent by Dionysius, few though they were, scattering themselves here and there, would ride along the enemy's line, charge upon them and throw javelins at them, and when the enemy began to move forth against them, would retreat, and then turn round and throw their javelins again. And while pursuing these tactics they would dismount from their horses and rest. But if anyone charged upon them while they were dismounted, they would leap easily upon their horses and retreat. On the other hand, if any pursued them far from the Theban army, they would press upon these men when they were retiring, and by throwing javelins work havoc with them, and thus they compelled the entire army, according to their own will, either to advance or to fall back.

*
Ξενοφῶν wrote:οἱ δὲ παρὰ τοῦ Διονυσίου ἱππεῖς, ὅσοιπερ ἦσαν, οὗτοι διεσκεδασμένοι ἄλλος ἄλλῃ παραθέοντες ἠκόντιζόν τε προσελαύνοντες, καὶ ἐπεὶ ὥρμων ἐπ᾽ αὐτούς, ἀνεχώρουν, καὶ πάλιν ἀναστρέφοντες ἠκόντιζον. καὶ ταῦτα ἅμα ποιοῦντες κατέβαινον ἀπὸ τῶν ἵππων καὶ ἀνεπαύοντο. εἰ δὲ καταβεβηκόσιν ἐπελαύνοιέν τινες, εὐπετῶς ἀναπηδῶντες ἀνεχώρουν. εἰ δ᾽ αὖ τινες διώξειαν αὐτοὺς πολὺ ἀπὸ τοῦ στρατεύματος, τούτους, ὁπότε ἀποχωροῖεν, ἐπικείμενοι καὶ ἀκοντίζοντες δεινὰ εἰργάζοντο, καὶ πᾶν τὸ στράτευμα ἠνάγκαζον ἑαυτῶν ἕνεκα καὶ προϊέναι καὶ ἀναχωρεῖν.


[Edit: clarity: s/get outside/break free of/]
User avatar
Dave Long
Staff Sergeant
 
Posts: 192
Joined: 30 Oct 2011 19:18

Re: Longbow vs. armor test

Postby Chiron » 18 Jan 2013 19:21

Dave Long wrote:It only makes sense that spanish riders and horses would be well adapted to rapid changes of direction. Mounted stock work (like war) requires rapid changes of direction to deal with bovines (respectively opponents) who are doing their best to get outside your OODA loop, and the spanish historically not only spent a fair amount of their time fighting, but also running cattle on the newly conquered lands.

Are there parallels between the announcer's comments in the video above (~1:08) about "taking control of the cow, saying 'you better do what I want'" and the description below of how celt/iberian cavalry was able to pressure and control the movement of an army?

:D I'm glad to see we are on the same page (I think literally in respect to the Xenophon quote, I mentioned the Herodotus sample because it is the first mention of spanish horsemen using the technique). This also ties into John Keegan's theory that the lifestyle of pastoral cultures makes them naturally suited to warfare, the opposing force being just one more herd that needs to be moved from A to B for slaughter.

There is one more thing that has to be remembered when talking about Spanish horses, is that they are also "cowy", quarter horses get this from their spanish roots. This kind of dominant behavior towards a fellow herbivore is evolutionarily seen idiotic, as such it must be a product of selective breeding. Let us take a brief look at root of what a horse being "cowy" means: a) the horse reacts to the stimulus of a third party b) it does this in order to achieve a specific goal c) when done with a rider it is done to achieve a common goal. I do not know how strong this trait is in the spanish horses in europe, but it must manifest itself in the bullfighters as a horse that couldn't read the bull wouldn't last long. I think it's also present in the south american spanish types. These are traits easily converted to warfare. They developed during spain's prehistory for the same purpose that they are used today, but in between they were also used for warfare. It was useful for the American indians for both hunting buffalo and warfare, and is therefor still very strong in surviving Spanish mustangs (not BLM). The spanish mustang basis that helped build the fundament of the quarter horse is what gives quarter horses this feature.

There are a few things that make me think this was something prized among knights the preference for spanish stock (I know I harp on about, it but it's important), the exclusive use of stallions, the dueling method of combat used can more easily exploit this than complex (and for the horse abstract) battlefield maneuvers, the love of dangerous mounted hunting activities, the long reign, and psychological aspects clear in medieval military thinking.

The preference for stallions also hinges on a couple other things, a stallion has more testosterone so he builds more muscle, a stallion is more aggressive and therefor more likely to consciously respond with a fight reaction which will naturally make him tend towards putting weight on his haunches making him naturally do rollbacks and other similar maneuvers and he's more likely to actively help you fight than a mare, we have quite a few references to warhorses fighting after the death of their riders.

A horse can understand getting closer to an enemy to strike him, a quick turn, or a swerve to avoid a rider, or turning back on a chasing enemy, or even getting into a more advantageous position. They do it all the time with each other, mine duel when they're bored. A caracole or mass pincer is more abstract and is more reliant on group training and herd dynamics.

If you want to hunt boar or bull or stag on horseback with a sword your horse needs to anticipate the movements the animal to stay safe, the riders job is to give the right angle but if the horse isn't watching the boar/bull/stag your going to have a problem anyway.

Modern "english" disciplines tend to have very tight reigns, cutting horses are ridden on short reigns. granted medieval bits were harsh enough that a horse could most likely feel very small lateral movements with the reigning hand, but having ridden with a heater shield it is very hard indeed to give many aids with the reigns at all (granted I have minimal time to work with my horse), armor also makes you want to move as little of your body as possible. Getting a horse to think with you takes just as much time as teaching one to obey your every command without thought, but in the long run I'd rather have the one I can trust to know what to do without me having to worry about my horse and my enemy at the crucial moment. The horse still needs to take your aids but he's more likely to except them if he knows what you're trying to achieve. This is I think a personal preference of the rider.

Certain facets of medieval culture make me think, that it would be the common preference. Medieval government and military at heart followed a decentralized philosophy, which caused some of the major conflicts of the medieval period, it is also what makes victorian and modern military historians yank out their hair and call the medieval military backwards. Medieval warfare consisted of the chevauchee, raids behind enemy lines by small bands. The large amount of small elite bands skilled at working independently that the feudal system produced was invaluable in reeving and raiding behind enemy lines as well as taking and holding fortified positions before defenses could be raised, but became a liability on the battlefield when it took a charismatic, respected and skilled commander to circumvent the underlying independence and take command. Getting back to the topic, it was all about Auftragsführung1.
The rise of riding schools is part of the equation, this form of "cowy" horse is not as useful when doing large scale maneuvers or mounted arquebusiers, this puts different demands on horses and horsemen. The number of men that had to be mounted on well trained steeds also increased hugely. These two factors coincide with the changing of a third, the change of focus to the battlefield made warriors into officers, and created a command structure. Gone is the decentralization hello the lead up to absolutism.

1. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Führen_mit_Auftrag
nay king, nay quin we willnae be fooled again!
Terry pratchet, the wee free men:
User avatar
Chiron
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 483
Joined: 18 Aug 2010 20:30

Re: Longbow vs. armor test

Postby Dave Long » 19 Jan 2013 00:20

To see one solution to riding with sharp bits but minimal rein movement, regard this garrochista. The video follows the kendo principle of jo-ha-kyu, starting slowly but accelerating constantly: canter work starts ~2:30, "lance" work ~4:30. Incidentally, the persian swordsmanship article Matt found shows at least one lancer using exactly this technique:
Image 116.png
Image 116.png (119.73 KiB) Viewed 20301 times

Regarding Befehlstaktik vs. Auftragstaktik: now we're talking about a large subject, which probably merits its own thread. I have some ideas as to how, historically, european riding became almost obsessed with Befehlstaktik, and a book project, "Reiten für Lausbuben", which (independently of hat worn or saddle type) attempts to promote an Auftragstaktik style, through games and sports which are complementary, not hostile, to traditional instruction. (NB. in prior work, de Coubertin succeeded in launching the modern olympics yet failed in his attempt to do something similar)

Tangentially: have you read Bennet's "Conquerors"? She believes she can trace spanish horses and horsemanship not only forward to Connell's "Hackamore Reinsman" (and the working cow paint supra), but also back to the persians: (eng.) hackamore -> (sp.) jaquima -> (pers.) hakma. I haven't looked into it yet, but after seeing this persian miniature echoing the youtube garrochista, I'm thinking to.
User avatar
Dave Long
Staff Sergeant
 
Posts: 192
Joined: 30 Oct 2011 19:18

Re: Longbow vs. armor test

Postby Chiron » 19 Jan 2013 10:10

To see one solution to riding with sharp bits but minimal rein movement, regard this garrochista. The video follows the kendo principle of jo-ha-kyu, starting slowly but accelerating constantly: canter work starts ~2:30, "lance" work ~4:30. Incidentally,

Cool, all the Garrochista videos that I found on the internet just remained at a walk or light canter with the lance touching the ground.

Incidentally, the persian swordsmanship article Matt found shows at least one lancer using exactly this technique:

When did the man in the video hold his lance like that? That tactic goes way back to the Sarmations and most likely before. It was the standard way to hold the lance in the middle east since roman times. This does not mean it doesn't have spanish origins.

I've been wanting to buy "conquerers" but other books took precedent.
I agree that it really deserves it's own discussion (maybe admin might do us a favor and thread split?)
The Auftragsführung und Befehlsführung thing would be an interesting discussion. I agree with you that european riding has become obsessed with Befehlsführung, allot of places western has kept a large element of Auftragsführung. The European military in general also became pretty obsessed with Befehlsführung, and as I hinted above when performing large scale battlefield maneuvers you need that kind of direction for the horse. An added factor is it takes training with the rider in order to create the bond and a naturally inclined horse in order to use Auftragsführung. It's much easier to train a horse to take orders and than hand him over to trooper who has been taught basic aids, the same is true for the recruits themselves. You are supplying a mass military machine, not an elite warrior culture raised to warfare since birth. Already in 1573 you see an almost complete change to a roman or napoleonic style military system, with appointed officers and troops ordered like with like into companies. A stark contrast to the high middle ages or even 1450.
nay king, nay quin we willnae be fooled again!
Terry pratchet, the wee free men:
User avatar
Chiron
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 483
Joined: 18 Aug 2010 20:30

Re: Longbow vs. armor test

Postby Dave Long » 19 Jan 2013 10:40

Chiron wrote:When did the man in the video hold his lance like that?
Not his garrocha, his reins ... on the buckle. (his buckle, not the reins')
Last edited by Dave Long on 20 Jan 2013 19:18, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Dave Long
Staff Sergeant
 
Posts: 192
Joined: 30 Oct 2011 19:18

Re: Longbow vs. armor test

Postby Chiron » 19 Jan 2013 13:17

Aha, now I see what your talking about, noticed that on the gorrochista but not on the the persian. It seems even with a shield

Have you read Sadko Solinki's "Reiter, Reiten, Reiterei"
Just started reading it today, has some absolutely fascinating stuff, only thing I could fault him on would be the scarcity of footnotes, but if you know most of the sources you can tell where he took the information.
nay king, nay quin we willnae be fooled again!
Terry pratchet, the wee free men:
User avatar
Chiron
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 483
Joined: 18 Aug 2010 20:30

PreviousNext

Return to General Historical Martial Arts

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests