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The Battle of Pavia - Revolution in War?

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    Posted: 19-Apr-2005 at 10:20

I dont know a lot about European medieval battle. I would like it if anyone can shed some light on my questions. Thankschemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" />>>

During the battle of Pavia, well-armored Frenchmen were slaughtered by arquebus fire. How did it happended? Did the chivalry died under a hail of balls (like Takeda samourais in 1575) or did they die in a hand to hand combat?
Also, heavy knights has been slaughtered during a lot of middle ages battles by archers with longbows and foot soldiers: Courtrai, Crcy, Poitiers, Azincourt, Mortgarten, Morat, >>

I dont know a lot about this. Can some one explain me what really happened during this battles?
How can well-armoured and well-trained heavy-chivalry be killed buy ordinary foot-soldiers?
I cannot believe that arquebus or hallebards can pierce plate armors and kill heavy cavalry protected by plate or gothic armor. Were a full plate armor a real protection for knight?>>

Has been charge of heavy cavalry really effective in its offensive use during medievals battles and why?>>

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  Quote Quetzalcoatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Apr-2005 at 02:07

 

 Well to start with, arquebuse can pierce a knight armour at very close range. Further the battle is not as you are thinking, knights charging a group of arquesiers in an open field. In fact those arquebusier are surrounded by field fortifications, which are very formidable, many horses just died on them during frontal assault. Furthermore, pikemen protected the arquebusier flanks. On an open field without artillery or field fortification nothing can actually stop a cavalry charge.  The like Murat ,who can properly commandeer a cavalry force, the cavalry force become more like a moving wall almost unstoppable. That's why cavalry was still useful until WW1, where increase firepower would easily overwhelm an cavalry force.

 THe problem with french knights of the old, they have  different philosophies of wars contrary to others, they were pretty much like thesamurai, fighting for honour and glory and they were very reckless, charging everything that move. THis can actually led to disaster like at i) Pavia ii) Crecy.

 But actually if the knights managed to catch the arquebusiers or archers by the flanks, it is a one sided affair or a massacre like at i) formigny ii) Pattay and iii) montlhery (swiss pikemen flanking arquebusier)



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  Quote Mangudai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Apr-2005 at 04:50

At Pavia, the french gendarmes were surrounded by an overwhelming number of pikemen and other infantry (who also were protected by the forrested terrain). Their horses were killed by pikes, and the riders were finished off by arqebusers who fired their wepons at point-blank range - piercing the armour at vurnable gaps

Charges of heavy cavalry were successful when used at the right moment - something that ardent european knights often tended to forget. Against well-drilled infantry with polearms they were inneffective throughout the middle ages. The battle of Hastings is often hailed as the first triumph of the knight in Europe. In fact the saxon huskarls were only routed after they had broken up from their initial defensive formation, which successfully had resisted the norman horse.

It's true that knights often suffered defeats. The reason is that the noblemen themselves thought they were invincible, and foolishly plunged themselves into hot-headed charges that were doomed to fail - such as at Bannockburn, Coutrai, Morgarten and many other occasions. The british though soon learned how to use their knights effectively, and won many victories in the hundred years war and against the scots during the 14th century - when the english knights were used together with infantry. After Bannockburn english knights seldomly charged a well prepared enemy. At Crcy 1346, most french casualties were in fact inflicted by the english knights - not the longbowmen. The english longbowmen and dismounted knights first decimated the french knights from a defensive formation, but once the french knights broke and fled the english knights mounted on fresh horses and charged the disorganised french infantry. The french routed and a horrible slaughter followed as the english knights rode down almost 10 000 french

But when the french learned how to combine infantry and cavalry they too were successful against the english during the last stages of the hundred year's war n the 15th century - at Jargeau, Patay, Formigny and Castillon their knights successfullt routed english armies 



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  Quote Quetzalcoatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Apr-2005 at 07:45

 

 Good points Mangudai, you are probably more knowledgeable than me on the subject, so what do you think of field fortifications. They were extensively used by longbows, they used a lot of stakes.

 

 

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  Quote Mangudai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Apr-2005 at 08:50

Well yes, field fortifications were very effective against cavalry in any form. The english used stakes as you mentioned, but also "pot holes". Many armies used trenches, and the wagonlaagers proved effective against all cavalry in history

Originally posted by Quetzalcoatl

 

 Good points Mangudai, you are probably more knowledgeable than me on the subject, so what do you think of field fortifications. They were extensively used by longbows, they used a lot of stakes.

 

 

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  Quote cavalry4ever Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Apr-2005 at 22:05

Interesting part about field fortifications is that they increase effectiveness of cross bows and early firearms. They break order in the attacking formations and make cavalry ineffective. For slow firing arms, one may increase rate of fire by having several of them for each shooter. Servants and other non combatants can reload them while soldiers are firing them. Rate of fire and poor accuracy make firearms ineffective in the open field. Napoleon's tactics were one volley followed by a bayonet charge. Cavalry is really deadly against musket equipped infantry. Balance will be tilted in the XIX century with introduction of rifled musket and minnie ball. This why losses in the US Civil War are so staggering.

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