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"Mounted Arquebusiers in "Il Mestiere Delle Armi" ..." Topic


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GamesPoet Supporting Member of TMP23 Nov 2019 7:22 a.m. PST

In the following part of the movie "Il Mestiere Delle Armi" (The Profession of Arms) there are shown mounted arquebusiers firing from horse back, one firing behind the other as the gun is rested on the front rider.

YouTube link

It is said that Capt. Ludovico (Giovanni) D'Medici of the Black Bands mercenary company used mounted arquebusiers as part of his force. However, wondering if the bit from that movie where the arquebusiers are firing from horseback has come from a source that describes such as being the way they fought? In the film clip, it seems there are men riding behind the horsemen who are firing the guns.

If not, are there reference material that review how they fought during the early 1500's? I've read that another condottiero named Vitellozzo Vitelli also used mounted arquebusiers prior to Ludovico De Medici. And have also heard that the arquebusiers may have ridden to battle and dismounted to fire their weapons.

Personal logo Gonsalvo Supporting Member of TMP23 Nov 2019 7:45 a.m. PST

Most analysts believe it is very unlikely that mounted arquebusiers routinely fired from the saddle, although doubtless it was done at times while scouting and raiding – the duties of Light Cavalry since ancient times. The Arquebus was pretty inaccurate to begin with, and firing mounted would likely have made that far worse. They likely customarily fired dismounted, rather like the earlier incarnations of the (later) Dragoons.

In the clip, the troops firing the arquebus from horseback were far more heavily armed/armored than one would expect for the Great Italian Wars.

GamesPoet Supporting Member of TMP23 Nov 2019 10:18 a.m. PST

After the attack on horses begins in the film clip, it seems they even show handguns being fired from individuals on horseback, similar to pistols by reiters, which I found to be a bit hard to believe. Although if the film really captures this, it shows it could have been done with the weapons used in the movie.

However, I'd not read, heard, nor seen anything quite like what they also show, with apparently two riders on the same horse, one holding the horse in front, while the second rests the handgun on the front rider's shoulder for firing.

As an aside, the film seems to mention De'Medici had 600 soldiers on foot and 600 cavalry in his force, and apparently they were attempting to stall the forces of Georg Von Frundsberg some 18,000 strong, initially without artillery, in his attempt to reach Rome. According to the movie De'Medici seems to have been part of Francesco Maria Della Rovere's Papal army of 8K plus "600 elite". My understanding is a fight between Frundsberg and Della Rovere occurred near Borgoforte on 11/25/1526, and this is when De'Medici was mortally wounded, dieing on 11/30 after having been hit by a cannon or hand gun in the lower right leg, and having it amputated when it could not be saved. Likely death from a fever and/or gangrene. But I digress.

Puster Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Nov 2019 9:15 a.m. PST

The movie has a lot of highs – alas this battle is not really among them. Some 100 infantry in comparatively open order depicting 18.000 Landsknechts in gear that is – while it likely existed – not typical for landsknechts, attacked by some 50 horse, including mounted arquebusiers – and then being beaten back the appearance of four guns… the exchange of respect between Fundsberg and Medici was imho the best moment. The real campaign was far more interesting, imho, then the depicted scene.

BTW: The "Black Bands" had indeed mounted arquebus in its ranks. Arfaioli put up a good work or two on them.

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