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"Pikes - useful at all outside "big battle" situations?" Topic


13 Posts

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Comments or corrections?

huevans01115 Apr 2024 2:49 p.m. PST

Trying to imagine pikes being used in a skirmish and it wouldn't seem to work. They are far too long and cumbersome and fully armoured pikemen too clumsy.

Raid scenarios would seem to naturally involve light cavalry harquebusiers, Croats, cossacks dragoons and possibly detached musketeers.

I can imagine pikes being useful in defending against a storming party in a siege, but they seem too clumsy to be useful to the Forlorn Hope storming the ramparts.

Would pikemen be used at all outside a main battle scenario? Would they be left in camp unless in a main battle? Would they be armed with half-pikes or halberds for skirmishes?

Anybody have some info on this topic?

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Apr 2024 7:25 p.m. PST

Yeah I wonder too.

I love how the "town guard" in so many cheesey B movies are 6 dudes armed with polearms, pikes or halberds or the like.

Like seriously, I'll just run into this narrow alley….

FilsduPoitou15 Apr 2024 7:42 p.m. PST

I wondered about this; not just ECW but ancient pike armies like the diadochi too. From the old Osprey book I have on ECW armies, if I remember correctly, it stated that pikemen didn't go on raids/skirmishes.

Glengarry515 Apr 2024 8:25 p.m. PST

The impression I have was that sometimes, like storming parties, pikemen laid aside their pikes in favour of handier halberds.

BillyNM15 Apr 2024 10:52 p.m. PST

In Monro's memoirs (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Monro) the pikes are never used in any action short of a battle. At the Alte Veste he describes how more and more musketeers are detached to assault the fortified position until there are only the pikes left behind with the colours.

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Apr 2024 12:05 a.m. PST

I should imagine that you'd want pikemen with you, outside of a main battle, if you anticipated encountering enemy cavalry in the open. Without them, your goose would be cooked! Some dragoon units included a few mounted pikemen for this purpose.

There are some TYW period diagrams of snaking single files of alternate pike and shot skirmishing, the pike present to protect the shotte.

4DJones16 Apr 2024 3:27 a.m. PST

I think it's Fairfax in his memoir who claims, when pursued to the walls of Hull by Royalist cavalry, a stand of pikes came out to cover him ( I don't think it was a great number).

When the Scots garrison of Morpeth castle made a sortie against MOntrose's siege lines (1644), and were repulsed by a mounted counter attack, the pike came out to cover their retreat. There were five companies in the garrison, --a third of them pike.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2024 7:29 a.m. PST

Pikes never sat right with me in skirmish games, either.

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Apr 2024 9:06 a.m. PST

They would be a bit silly in skirmish games, but some rules use 5 figures or so to represent a regiment of foote.
A rule book with pikes as skirmishers will still probably sell well if given enough manufacturer fund backing?


martin

thestoats16 Apr 2024 9:49 a.m. PST

It depends on what you consider a "skirmish." During the Saxon Feud/Frisian Rebellion pikes were used by both sides, particularly by trained mercenaries, in numbers as low as several hundred for certain operational groups. Also remember that a landsknecht was trained to operate in combat as part of a fahnlein, as small as 300 men.

huevans01116 Apr 2024 2:12 p.m. PST

I should imagine that you'd want pikemen with you, outside of a main battle, if you anticipated encountering enemy cavalry in the open. Without them, your goose would be cooked! Some dragoon units included a few mounted pikemen for this purpose.

There are some TYW period diagrams of snaking single files of alternate pike and shot skirmishing, the pike present to protect the shotte.

Someone should write up some "raid" scenarios. All those units that are total garbage for a big battle like Croats or tartars or other irregular light horse are suddenly exactly what you need to loot that baggage train!

I guess you could have mounted pikemen, although that pike is pretty cumbersome to carry on a nag. I'd probably opt to have my horse hovering near my shot and keeping opposing horse from closing though and not bother with pike at all.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP18 Apr 2024 2:06 p.m. PST

Seems like they should be handy in places with constrained frontage causeways, city gates, etc.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2024 7:11 a.m. PST

I remember seeing a picture in a Turnbull book showing Japanese Ashigaru fencing with Nagae yari, they were holding them halfway down the shaft in 'Swiss' style, over their heads.

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