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"What are Berittene Hakenbüchsen- Schützen?" Topic

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Gattamalata02 Jan 2013 9:00 a.m. PST

According to Field of Glory Renaissance: Trade and Treachery, Berittene Hakenbüchsen-Schützen, heavily-armoured men with early ‘fire-tubes' intended to fire-in their own attacks, and break their opponents with shock and melee impact. The description seems like the image below, but AFAIK, it's nothing more than fantasy.


Any actual accounts of this troop type. I know of fire-tubes/fire lances being used in East Asia by cavalry, but never heard of something similar in an European setting, prior to adoption of pistols by reiters and later mounted carbiners shooting in support of charging cuirassiers.

Personal logo RNSulentic Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member02 Jan 2013 11:54 a.m. PST

The list writers seem awful sure of themselves, but likewise, I've never seen an actual account of such horsemen. And frankly, for the lists they do appear on, there is no reason to ever field them.

WCTFreak02 Jan 2013 12:46 p.m. PST

Which date is given ?

Griefbringer02 Jan 2013 2:13 p.m. PST

Some of the early 16th century German army lists in DBR also include a unit type named "Petronels", consisting of heavily armoured cavalrymen armed with matchlock weapons.

Puster Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2013 6:07 p.m. PST

We had a similar debate lately on the mounted arquebusiers
TMP link

Gattamalata02 Jan 2013 7:47 p.m. PST

The list writers seem awful sure of themselves, but likewise, I've never seen an actual account of such horsemen. And frankly, for the lists they do appear on, there is no reason to ever field them.

Other than the original 1st Ed. Field of Glory book and the Storm of Arrows supplement, both bought to gauge the game, I don't have any other FoG title, but The Assault group is releasing its Renaissance range in context of the FoG Ren lists, so this is when I first saw mention of this troop type. A discussion with Pete and we both think it's delving into fantasy.

I had thought the FoG lists were based on the relevant Ospreys, correct or not, but I've got the German Medieval Armies and both Landsknecht titles and neither mention Berittene Hakenbüchsen-Schützen, so no idea what the designer(s) used as a reference.

Which date is given ?

As early as the 1490s for these mounted fire and shock tactics.

Gattamalata02 Jan 2013 8:09 p.m. PST

How early? Petronel could be a generic term for pistol packing horsemen or specifically a type of gun halfway in size between an arquebus and a pistol, but I know not of any shot and shock cavalry til the widespread use of the wheelock mechanism almost mid-way into the century.

@Puster: I mentioned that thread in the discussion elsewhere, but still curious as to why the FoG writer(s) included this troop type.

Personal logo RNSulentic Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member02 Jan 2013 9:00 p.m. PST

@Gatta: FoGR is a different (and IMHO) a better game, but the AG figures I take to be the 'Light horse mounted arquebusiers' that appear in pretty much everybody's FoGR army lists after the turn of the 16th century. Early German states lists usually have a unit of these heavily armored guys, but like I said, I don't find a tactical reason for them, so I've not bothered to ever use them.

The light horse guys I have all sorts of uses for, because of the way the casualties can occur in FoGR.

Major William Martin RM03 Jan 2013 4:45 a.m. PST

Back in the old, old WRG days, (6th & 7th), Phil had a similar unit of 5 or 6 in the Later Imperialist army list. It was still a "gimmick" unit of questionable value, but under those rules they were SHK, Hg and dismounted as SHI, Hg, THCW.

The only use I ever found for them was running them out somewhere and attempting to block a piece of terrain, and they didn't work all that well for that either.

Sir William the Aged

Stuart MM Inactive Member03 Jan 2013 6:08 a.m. PST

I remember dicussing this a few years ago and being similrly perplexed;

TMP link

Stuart MM Inactive Member03 Jan 2013 6:11 a.m. PST

This depiction being of interest


Makes me think of the hussite wars but it just doesnt seem to ring right.

Stuart MM Inactive Member03 Jan 2013 6:17 a.m. PST

This was what I settled with eventually to represent them;


Though they don't quite match the descriptions / depictions of them as being heavily armoured.

Just had a cursory flick through an old Funcken book and there is a depiction of one there, described as a 'culverineer on horseback'

Personal logo oldbob Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2013 7:14 a.m. PST

StuartMM; Those figures are Front Rank mostly from the "WOTR" range. Did you convert them? They are very nice!

Stuart MM Inactive Member03 Jan 2013 8:50 a.m. PST

I did, well, just added some handguns. My abilities weren't up to scratch to depict them properly

Griefbringer03 Jan 2013 10:31 a.m. PST

@Griefbringer: How early?

Checking the DBR German army lists, petronels are available in the 1494-1518 period, after which they are replaced by mounted arquebusiers.

dapeters Inactive Member03 Jan 2013 12:54 p.m. PST

Be very careful of using "art" it is always done after the fact. The Petronels drawing is interesting. Again when was it drawn? Secondly this guy is wearing at least a three quarter harness of plate, only the wealthiest of men-at-arms could afford such equipment. Okay so he is a very, very, very wealthy commoner and bought what looks to me close to be state of art the Milanese made gothic armor. Why did he then by an such an old fashion sort of gun?

Malatesta150003 Jan 2013 1:32 p.m. PST

Its not a contemporary picture though, it looks more Victorian. I would not put any faith in it

The Last Conformist04 Jan 2013 2:01 a.m. PST

According to the DBMM list notes for Medieval German, von Seldeneck's manual (ca 1480) describes heavily armoured mounted handgunners. Has anyone access to this and can tell us more precisely what it says of them?

Puster Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2013 3:15 a.m. PST

From the Kriegsbuch von Phillipp Mönch:


Seldeneck describes mounted arquebus to be used in conjunction with heavy cavalry, shooting to disrupt the enemy and then trying to outflank them.

Puster Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2013 3:19 a.m. PST

And their opponents:


What we see here is a "typical" army around 1496, so Maximilian and before in creation, using bow, crossbows and arquebus in conjunction, and showing mounted arquebus both as seperate unit and as part of a larger contingent.

I highly recommend the book:

You can download the PDF version there – do not worry, it has no text but pictures that give an impressive view especially towards the siege warfare of the era (the swimming ring is my favourite).

And while we are here, they also have the inventary of the Landshut armory in 1485 here:

Alas, there is not much on mounted Hakenbüchsen in it. But here is a relevant quote (in German, alas – use babelfish) from Seldeneck on the usage of mounted arquebusiers

"Ausgehend vom Bannerträger nimmt der Hauptmann sodann die Schlachtaufstellung vor, für die Philipp von Seldeneck eine Dreiecksformation präferiert, bei welcher der Bannerträger im Unterschied zu den Fußtruppen vergleichsweise weit vorne in der Mitte der achten Reihe eingeordnet wird, ihm mithin eine gewisse Führungsrolle hinter der Spitze des Reiterheeres zukommt. Gilt einerseits dem Schutz der Kriegsfahne besondere Aufmerksamkeit, richtet sich die Kriegstaktik andererseits speziell in der Ordnung der Reiterei auf eine möglichst schnelle Eroberung des gegnerischen Feldzeichens mittels eines Überraschungsangriffes. Zu diesem Zweck ordnet Philipp von Seldeneck den Rittern auf der rechten Flanke berittene Armbrustschützen zu, welche – noch bevor die Streitmächte aufeinandertreffen – nach einer geschlossenen Salve versuchen sollten, hinter dem Banner in die linke Seite der gegnerischen Reiterei einzubrechen, um durch Eroberung der Fahne einen kampfentscheidenden Vorteil durch Verwirrung und Demoralisierung des Gegners zu erzielen."

From link

Daniel S04 Jan 2013 6:05 a.m. PST

There is not a single word in that quote about mounted arquebusiers as far as I can see. Only mounted crossbowmen. Perhaps a line or two is missing?

Puster Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2013 6:13 a.m. PST

Oups, my mistake. I wanted to type "Seldeneck on mounted crossbowmen", not "arquebusiers", but my mind outtricked me.
I apologize if I raised hopes here that the actual text does not fulfill.

Seeing all the available documentation on the army composition and the total lack of mounted arquebus or hakenbüchsen (while at the same time they DO play a role for foot, and crossbows for mounted) I am pretty confident that their role – if any existed – for warfare in the Reich before Maximilian was minor to neglectible.
Looking at the later and plenty depictions there is also a profound lack of mounted arquebus (and crossbows) in battle, camps or on the march. The Triumph of Maximilian shows anybody and his cook and the cooks dog, but nobody on horse with a ranged weapon – so again I assume the role of such units for the imperial army was minor to non-existant.

I wish I could remember the source where I have read about handguns being used from horse in the Reich… perhaps it was in conjunction with the Hussite wars. Memory fails me here.

Griefbringer04 Jan 2013 2:16 p.m. PST

Interesting pictures, Puster – thanks for posting them!

DucDeGueldres06 Jan 2013 3:18 p.m. PST

Thanks Puster for this source.
Once again a very useful one.
One of my dilemma's in building my early 16th century Guelders' army is whether or not to include mounted crossbowmen and/or mounted arquebusiers. Personaly I had been thinking more of a kind of dragoons who shot dismounted, especially the early matchlock arquebusiers.

These plates shed some other light upon my thoughts.

Le Duc.

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