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"How did medieval knights use their lances?" Topic

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Irish Marine Supporting Member of TMP10 Dec 2018 6:47 p.m. PST

I'm reading a book series by Griff Hosker in the book series the knight while charging on horseback punches out with his lance or spear. I always thought they tucked the lance or spear under their arm. Does anyone know how It's actually supposed to be done. Great series of books by the way


Personal logo Dale Hurtt Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member10 Dec 2018 7:00 p.m. PST

Try watching the Knight series on YouTube.

Knight, Spears, and Lances: YouTube link

Knights on Warhorses: YouTube link

bsrlee10 Dec 2018 9:41 p.m. PST

A lot depends on the time, up until the 1100's the spear could be used over arm or 'couched' under the arm – see Bayeaux Tapestry, but couched became standard with improved equipment and technique.

The couched lance was apparently a great surprise to the Moslems during the First Crusade but was rapidly adopted although Moslem cavalry still retained the full repertoire of spear/lance techniques enabling them to fight all round not just to the front.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2018 12:31 a.m. PST

I suspect hitting anything more substantial than a paper target with an uncouched lance, while your horse is galloping forward could result in serious injury to the holder of said lance.

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2018 6:29 a.m. PST

My impression has always been that the re-introduction of and improvement in design of the stirrup is what changed the way mounted warriors used their lance or spear. That, and changes in saddle design. The stirrup and higher saddle gave the rider a firmer seat, and allowed the lance to be used with more force.

Roderick Robertson Fezian11 Dec 2018 10:16 a.m. PST

Sharp end towards enemy.

Garand11 Dec 2018 12:23 p.m. PST

I think it would depend on whether the lance is being used on the charge, or whether it's being used in a follow up engagement with the enemy. Horses won't charge through formed infantry FREX, so you would need to be able to "punch" with the lance when fighting troops on foot after the initial charge (assuming the lance wasn't damaged). IIRC we don't really know how knights did it in the Middle Ages, Hollywood notwithstanding. Presumably it didn't involve wasting valuable & expensive horseflesh crashing through guys on foot.


Zephyr111 Dec 2018 10:22 p.m. PST

If the lance is long enough, you could probably spit 4 or 5 inf in close formation at once… ;-)

Benvartok19 Dec 2018 4:09 p.m. PST

You go stand over there while I get my horse……

Great videos from Dale.

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