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"Italian Wars Mounted Crossbowmen" Topic

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GARS190020 Nov 2016 7:36 a.m. PST

What can you all tell me about Mounted Crossbowmen of the Italian Wars? What were they primarily used for? Did they mostly fight mounted or dismounted? What kind of crossbows did they use? How common were they? How long did they last before being replaced?

Any pics of models representing these units you all have would be welcome too.

Personal logo Condotta Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2016 10:16 a.m. PST

From the little I've discovered, mounted crossbow were used to harry enemy light foot and horse, reconnoiter, and mainly to dismount to provide support at critical points and times, made capable by their mobility as precursors to later dragoons. The crossbow could be fired from horseback, but was difficult and slow to reload, so not very useful unless dismounted.

However, the cranequin improved loading mounted. It appears mounted crossbow joined knights to provide protection if challenged by enemy foot bow or light horse bow.

Here is an interesting study:


Here are my Old Glory 28mm miniatures being directed to scout the flank by a Perry Miniatures knight:

Personal logo Condotta Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2016 12:10 p.m. PST

Here is representation of mounted crossbow supporting mounted knights:

28mm Old Glory, Perry Miniatures and Foundry (early Perry).

Scharnachthal21 Nov 2016 1:30 p.m. PST


Your link nice study but the mounted crossbowmen seen in the Schilling chronicles and on the woodcut showing the battle of Dornach are not Swiss.

The first picture from the Spiezer chronicle shows German princes riding against the Hussites.

The second one actually shows the troops of a former mayor of Fribourg, Guillaume d'Avenches, who had been deposed in 1446 and as a Savoyard castellan of Yverdon feuded with his hometown from c.1447-1450. So not Swiss, but rather Savoyard troops. Anyway, Fribourg was allied to the Swiss at the time but not yet a member of the Swiss Confederacy.

The picture from the Berne chronicle shows Austrian cavalry riding against the city of Schaffhausen in 1467 (at the time, Schaffhausen was allied to the Swiss but not a member of the Confederacy).

The cavalry at Dornach are Imperialists attacking Swiss foot, not Swiss cavalry attacking Imperialist forces. See here:


Another interesting study on mounted crossbowmen can be found here (entry of 5th May 2010):


Personal logo Condotta Supporting Member of TMP21 Nov 2016 9:05 p.m. PST

Scharnachthal, thanks for the additional information.

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