How long were these pikes anyway? The Scotts and Flemish ones? M2TW length, or a various middle ground between M2TW and polearm?
I agree that Flanders were a very real 'faction', and that their strengths were their militias. However I think on balance we should be careful about generalising and exagerrating. In fact the Geldon was not used at Courtrai, it was in fact the Goedendaeg. The true Geldons were really pikes that replaced the Goedendaeg. Also I would argue that a good pike formation does require training and skill to be successful.
The morningstar was a spiked mace which was also used by the Flemish to great effect since it completely undermined armour and could be used against cavalry in melée to great effect. Both the goedendaeg and the morgenstern were so excellent because they could be cheaply massed produced and given to men with no training and still have the advantage of effect. This was the strength of the Flemish, and simialr to longbowmen and almogavers- cheap light specialist infantry could totally undermine knights based on superior tactics. The strength of the goedendaeg was that it's spearpoint was actually very short and heavily weighted, this allowed the Flemish to drop their spearline into their targets which gave them a great deal of penetration power. Because of the momentum of the spearpoint they didn't have to use as much energy as a normal spearman would in controlling his weapon or getting up enough force to break into the armour. Unlike a normal spear that had difficulty against armoured infantry- the goedendaeg's weight and bulbous head meant that it didn't have to negotiate openings in armour- it could just burst right through. It stood less than the height of a man, so no more than 175cm/ 6 foot, which doesn't make it a very long longspear -it wasn't the length of the goedendaeg that gave it it's 'edge' but the weight of its tip. http://www.liebaart.org/goeden_e.htm
Guldensporenslag definitely was a turning point just as Agincourt was, of light infantry over knights. Like Agincourt, the terrain helped greatly, the system of ditches and streams around Courtrai meant that the French cavalry couldn't function properly and couldn't manouevre, flank or even charge. As I mentioned in the other thread, a polearm unit could not withstand cavalry but once they engaged in melée they were lethal. That's why the Dutch won at Courtrai, after this I would argue that specialist polearm units developed, and the halberd merged with the longspear into the pike. The real era of the pike came with gunpowder.
Note the lengths of these 'pikes', this is from the Flemish Leugemeetefresc, circa 1345.
Last edited by Hengest; November 18, 2011 at 07:38 PM. Reason: added link
Already with following the idea that each men usually own their own equipment, it's already a plus for the Count, no need to pay extra for the equipment since they have already effective ones. Also, keeping a register of available men to be raised in case of war is already a great sign of superior organization.The militia is of course a defensive force and is used to guard the town walls against hostile raiders. But soon the town councils discover that the militia is the perfect instrument for securing the town's interests and frequently use the town militia to campaign against their political competitors. The Count of Flanders has the right to commandeer the town militias, but he cannot deploy them beyond the borders of his territory without the explicit permission of the town council.
All men living within the town walls can be called up to serve in the town militia in times of war. The town council maintains a register of all men who are subject to military service and maintains an arsenal of military equipment and weapons. But most of the men own their own fighting equipment and weapons and keep these at home.
Indeed they were well trained militia but their weakness tend to be the amount of available men (even since they did have access to some thousand readied men) due that Flanders was a County. Money wasn't their problem, their strength resided in their great economy, we could say that Flanders were the "Italian States" of the North-West Europe.
Flanders quickly get the idea that morningstar, goedendag and pikes were cheap but very effective weapons against armored foes and cavalry force, hense as you said formed trained specialist militia, which makes the renown of Flanders.
The picture looks like to be a company of Flemish militia using the goedendag (see at the right side) I would guess that the Flemish pike were 10-12 feet long at least to be capable to resist cavalry charge and be enough far away from the reach of the knight's lance.
I agree that the Flemish militia were probably better than most.
I also agree that the goedendaeg was a cross between a mace and a spear.
In my sources, geldons and pikes were not used by the Flemish until much later- it is very common however that people think there were geldons at Courtrai, but I think this is a misunderstanding.
This is what I have got so far, additions/changes are of course possible and welcome
Flanders unit roster
- Boerenmilitie (peasants)
- Stadsmilitie (town militia, with falchion)
- Piekeniers (pikemen, you might want a heavier armed one and a militia-like one)
- Serianten (warriors/soldiers, a little lighter than soldeniers)
- Soldeniers (soldiers, armed with goedendag)
- Poorters (rich patricians, good armour, with sword I guess)
Missiles (haven't got a lot as normal bow wasn't really in use anymore, possible peasant archers or lighter crossbowmen)
- Schutters (crossbowmen, accompanied by garsoenen who carried their pavise shields)
- Poortelijke ruiterij (rich patricians, providing the cavalry from the cities
- Edelknapen (squires)
- Nobelen (nobles/knights)
Garsoenen could be added as a unit, they protected the crossbowmen against missiles. Could have high defense but low attack.
- From the reference you gave me, they were speaking about an elite retinue of archers, coming from a guild of St. George if I remember correctly, will this be a good addition?
- Serianten what were their usual equipment? Goedendag or something else?
- Piekeniers will be considered militia or professional?
- Soldeniers I suppose were the urban professional?
- Poorters how much was their training? They did have access to good equipment but do their training was high as well?
- Nobelen what were their training? Well trained knights or somewhat undisciplined/untrained but of course have the best equipment.
- Edelknapen are considered the elite of Flanders?
-Serianten are just soldiers, like soldeniers. I just wrote both so there are some more units. You can give them every weapon you want
-piekeniers just means pikemen, I would make 2 units, one militia and one more prof
- Soldeniers just means soldiers, I wanted them to be high tier and as Flanders lacked a big professional army it's urban yea.
-Poorters were the higher class in the cities, they can afford good equipment and I guess had some reasonable training
- nobelen means nobles, they were the knights so the elite
-edelknapen are squires, every knight brought a few squires and took care of their equipment so they are medium cavalry
The reason the glaive was more popular over a spear (whatever its length) was that its blade could whack away a spearpoint, or even break the shaft quite easily. The only benefit of a pike was its length, but as I've said it was actually a disadvantage once your opposing unit got behind your spearpoint. This was in fact the very tactic of the zweihänder. The glaive was much more varied in its usage and it didn't need length to accomplish this- which as I said was in fact a negative. The best documented competition of pike versus polearm can be seen at Flodden where the English bill destroyed the Scottish pike formations. This was the reason pikes never became so popular- its not like they weren't known about! It was just not a good weapon for the job. I feel that there is a tendency at TWC to be a bit naive, that a weapon like a longbow or a pike was like inventing the wheel or fire- these weapons hadn't come into their own previously because of a lack of materials, training or most commonly that the weapon was redundant against the military fashions of the day. Weapons like the longbow and the pike became popular because they could easily take advantage of what was formerly considered a strength. The reason pikes and longbows fell out of use is for the same reason. It's important to see ancient weapons as developments not as hardcore black and whites.
The Scots used a longspear (4.5m long) which could be argued as a pike, since the Dark Ages but they didn't actually have much success (only documented victory is of Nechtansmere) with it even against the English in the Middle Ages. It was possibly a turning point at Stirling Bridge but as I've said before this was because the flanks were protected against cavalry (because they were stood on a bridge) and with the range a spear gives you they were able to push back the English. This is a tactic that a lot of TW players use in bridge battles.
Sources are mainly through university libraries although one or two you can find on the net even as PDFs I think, not all of these are my sources but Dominion's shared work. We came to the joint conclusions I've been for.
The New Cambridge Medieval History: c. 1415-c. 1500 Christopher Allmand, Rosamond McKitterick
German Bishops and their military retinue in the medieval empire Benjamin Arnold, Uni of Reading (I think there's something about the early use of pikes in this one)
Knights and Warhorses: Military Service and the English Aristocracy Under Edward III Andrew Ayton
The Encyclopedia of Military History Dupuy & Dupuy
Medieval Armies and Weapons in Western Europe Jean-Denis Lapage
Medieval Weapons An Ilustrated History of Their Impact Kelly DeVries and Robert D. Smith
Medieval Warfare a History Maurice Keen
Horses and Crossbows: Two Important Warfare Advantages of the Teutonic Order in Prussia from The Military Orders, Volume 2: Welfare and Warfare Sven Ekdahl
I recommend looking into the develops in Italian militia and their use of the longspear since this was the best documented adoption of the weapon and its drill as a common weapon- and is certainly relevant and probably connected to the use of the spear/pike among the Flemish merchant and urban militias that had so much in common with the Italians.
Last edited by Hengest; November 26, 2011 at 01:41 PM.
Last edited by lolIsuck; November 28, 2011 at 02:14 PM.
- Boerenmilitie (peasants)
- Stadsmilitie (town militia)
- Peasant Archers (generic peasant archers would go here)
*These are the standard "militia" raised in emergencies and such.
- Militia Piekeniers, Piekeniermilitie? (militia pikemen)
- Militia Schutters, Schuttermilitie? (militia crossbowmen, with pavise shields?)
- Militia/Merchant Cavalry (if you implement such a unit, it would go here imo)
*These is the semi-professional militia of Flanders used not just for garrisoning duty but also military campaigns
- Piekeniers (regular pikemen)
- Serianten (warriors/soldiers, assorted weapons, sword, mace...)
- Goedendag(?) Soldeniers (soldiers, armed with goedendag)
- Schutters (pavise crossbowmen)
- Poortelijke ruiterij (rich patricians, providing the cavalry from the cities)
- Poorters (rich patricians, good armour, with sword I guess, infantry)
- Nobelen (nobles/knights - bodyguards)
Not sure about Edelknapen (squires). They would either be regulars or a kind of low level Household Noble (knights in training?)
As for the St. George Archer Guild, this tourist source refers to it as
"The crossbow archers of St. George..." so it appears they were crossbowmen, not archers?
There was (and still is) also a Fraternity of St. George in England:
Link: http://www.longbow-archers.com/fraternity.htmlIn 1509 King Henry VIII commenced making annual payments to a small company of Archers called the Fraternity of St. George. These payments were made every 23rd April to encourage their practise of the Longbow. In 1537 King Henry VIII formalized these arrangements, granting a Charter in the name of the Fraternity and Guild of Saint George later known as the Honourable Artillery Company of London. The word artillery comes from the French “Arc tirer”, to pull or draw the bow. The longbow was indeed Europe's medieval artillery. The King's Bowman in France were called “Artilleurs du Roy.”
However St. George is venerated across the Christian world and is the patron saint of England. He has no special connection to neither Flanders nor archery.
There is also a St. Sebastian's Archers Guild in Bruges that apparently trained its members in the use of the longbow. Unlike St. George, St. Sebastian is connected to archery. I am not sure if there were other archery guilds dedicated to this saint in the world (I'd assume there were) or how many.
The problem with both is that it's hard to represent them as a specifically "Flandrian" thing but if one were to do so St. Sebastian's Guild would work a lot better imo. On the other hand both seem like they could be integrated into M2's guild system. St. George's and St. Sebastian's (both are in Bruges) seem to be referred to as "sister guilds".
I did just a quick search, info seems scarce, but if anyone knows more about the history of these guilds it would help a lot.
Last edited by Jean=A=Luc; November 29, 2011 at 04:12 PM.
If you want I can help with translations and research. I speak dutch ( actually I am Flemish). And last year during my history studies I had a course on medieval Dutch/flemish - which is a bit different of course from modern dutch/flemish).
Flanders was a highly populated area during that time with big cities as Gent, Bruges, Ypres and Courtrai. I have to look it up but I reckon most militias were raised in cities, not on the countryside. In that time the guilds were the mainframe of Flemish society, with militia's often divided per guild. Because Flanders was an important textile-centre ( importing english wool) the main guilds were the weavers and Fullers.
I think Flemish units should get the "English longbowman ability" to put stakes in the ground ( if stakes could be replaced by their goedendags of course)
If you want I'll look into it.
It is not easy no. You are from the Netherlands, yes?
In Ghent there also existed ( and still exists) a guild of St. George. They were pavise crossbowmen, assigned with the defence of their Flemish town/city. In Ghent the 'ordinary' archers ( with bows) belonged to the guild of St. Sebastian ( also since the early 14th century).
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