Medieval European Warfare

Topics: Siege, Medieval weapons, Siege engine Pages: 5 (1311 words) Published: November 12, 2009
Medieval European Warfare
In early to mid Medieval Europe, the armies had nothing very complicated. The nobles had solid iron weapons, and the not as rich had brass coated in iron. There was the lance, the spear, the pike, throwing axe, battle axe, short sword, the horsebow, the longsword, broadsword, dagger, shortbow, longbow, crossbow, mallet, mace, greatsword, serrated sword, halberd, throwing knives, and the wrist knife. The lance, dagger, longsword, and horse bow were generally used by cavalry. The lance, battle axe, longsword, broadsword, dagger, mace, greatsword, and the halberd were used by men-at-arms, or knights. The serrated sword, throwing daggers, shortbow, and wrist knife were used by assasins. The longbow, mallet, mace, and battle axe were used by English yeomen. Infantry used the halberd, pike, spear, and broadsword. Swiss infantry especially used the pike and halberd.

In the 12th century, the Chinese invention of gunpowder reached Europe. Everybody immediately began developing weapons with it. The French invented the cannon and firearm, making France a major power with England and also lead to the downfall of many lesser nobles who couldn't afford cannon-proof fortifications. Castles were expensive anyway (as much as 13,000,000 ducats) so the lesser nobles could barely afford a regular castle(considering a king got 12 million ducats a year).

The weapons used for seige warfare were the ballista, battering ram, and seige tower that could allow experienced archers to have more accuracy. Strategies
Early warfare during this period was very simple. Two armies would throw their infantry at each other and charge with the cavalry when the general deemed it right. The stronger army always won because there was no "coming in on the left flank" or "drawing your enemy into an ambush" or any of that stuff. But it didn't take long for the English to discover the usefulness of archers. They used yeomen, English farmers who were good with the longbow. The English army contained 80-90% yeomen with the rest being men-at-arms. Each 100 yeomen (called a century) were led by a centenaur, who repeated the orders of the Master of the Archers (a knight who was uncommon, for he was skilled with the longbow). The Master of the Archers told them when and where to shoot, sending about 60,000 arrows a minute at the enemy. When the opposing army had been reduced, the yeomen teamed up on the nobles and captured them for ransom. This made the yeomen very rich, for ransoms could be as much as thousands of ducats. The Swiss also had a good deal going. They reinvented the Greek phalanx with less armor and more maneuverability so they couldn't get hit in the flanks.

Qualities of a Good Soldier
For men-at-arms, some good qualities were a code of honor (chivalry), weapons skill, good horsemanship, and rich (needed enough money for horse, armor, and weapons). For yeomen, good qualities were discipline, skill with a bow, and flexibility (could be called to war at any time by the king). For infantry, good qualities are mobility, discipline, and skill with weapons.

People in the Army
Depends on the country. For Germans, it was mainly infantry with some cavalry. With the Swiss, it's all infantry. With the English, it was mostly yeomen with some knights thrown in. All mixed in with archers with shortbows and the regular army people.

Pay for the troops

This is for 90 days pay.

Ducats Soldier Type
1,200 English Yeoman Archer (longbow)
1,500 Italian Crossbowman
1,000 Common (professional) infantry
1,000 Archer (short bow)
1,500 Light cavalry (common in Spain, where it...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Medieval Warfare Essay
  • Essay on Medieval Warfare
  • Medieval Period in European History Research Paper
  • Medieval Essay
  • European Essay
  • Medieval European Sports Essay
  • Essay about Warfare During the Renaissance
  • Essay about Did the Development in European Warfare During the Sixteenth Century Amount to a ‘Military Revolution’?

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free