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"Late-Med & Early-Ren unit question?" Topic

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385 hits since 14 Mar 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

FlyXwire14 Mar 2019 7:39 a.m. PST

Would the Swiss and/or Landsknecht infantry committed to forlorn hope units, or the Swiss Vorhut generally be composed of 2-handed swordsmen and halberdiers – was this more the case than not?

(I've got some extra halberdier figures, and wondering if I can make them into a "FH" formation for this period – 1470s-1530s)

Puster Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2019 12:25 p.m. PST

Landsknecht "Verlorener Haufen" being mainly two-handed swords (in the case of Landsknechts) is imho a bit of a myth.
The concept of the "forlorn hope" is pretty common – to sacrifice (or at least endanger) a small group for the benefit of the main army – but the ways to use them, and their composition, differ. Imho the "forlorn hope" should be consiered more a tactic then a unit.

ONE way to use this tactic is as two formations close to clash for some men to step out of their own formation, the "Haufen", and try to distrupt the enemys formation by melee assault. It is here that the two handed sword is most usefull – as is the sword and shield (as used by the Spanish, there are also more rare Landsknechts equivalents to this) and helbard. When used to assault fortified positions, to lure an enemy formation out of its position or to skirmish ahead of the main body, the two handed sword is less usefull – depending on mission these would use pike or arquebus, too. The composition of these units differed, with volunteers, better paid veterans and convicts playing their role in different ratios.

My knowledge on the Swiss is too sketchy to bring it out here, except that I would model these mainly with the universally usefull helbard.

Just my 2c

Daniel S16 Mar 2019 9:03 a.m. PST

The Swiss Vorhut was commonly a combined arms formation, one known from the "Old Zürich War" had a "haufen" of missile troops supported by the vorhut proper of halberdiers with a outer fringe of pikemen surrounding the halberdiers on 3 sides. The only diffrence between the Vorhut and the Gewalthaufen was the size of the unit.

At Murten the Vorhut again consisted of the massed missile troops of the army, this time supported by a pure pike haufen with the cavalry in support on one flank. At Nancy it was a huge formation with both infantry and cavalry, no info on the breakdown of arms but given that the infantry numbered 700 this again suggests a combined arms formation.

FlyXwire17 Mar 2019 5:34 a.m. PST

Puster & Daniel, thank you you for your advice!

Daniel S17 Mar 2019 12:34 p.m. PST

Spotted an typing error on my part, the Vorhut at Nancy had 7000 infantry rather than 700.

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