How to use lances

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Colin Middleton
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How to use lances

Postby Colin Middleton » Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:08 am

I was at a Fiore workshop yesterday and the question came up, "What do you do if your lance doesn't break?" Specifically, assuming that you've got a good, solid blow on the other guy but the lance stays solid and he ( somehow) isn't unhorsed. Our guess was that you drop your lance do that you're bot carried out of the saddle, especially if it actually penetrates the 'target's body.

I know there ate a few guys on here who've done competitive jousting with solid lances and hoped that you could shed SoM light on the question.

Many thanks

Colin


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Re: How to use lances

Postby Mick,M » Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:04 am

Is this a joust/war Lance or a lighter pricking lance? and would it be couched across or in line with the horse?
With the pricker and in line I have in the past always used the strike and recover on the occasion were the lance is stuck fast I have had let go the lance.
With the joust/war lance across the horse if the lance is stuck fast, I have released the lance, turned the horse away and let my breast plate pivot the lance, if you get what I mean, makes for a sore shoulder/arms and much profanity but you can stay on your mount.



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Re: How to use lances

Postby Jason » Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:13 pm

If you're doing it at decent speed there is simply not enough time to drop it as it's couched. What happens is that it tracks past your left as the target moves past you (assuming you've struck across the horse), then is wrenched out from under your right arm and into your face/head , up and over, spinning helecopter style behind you as it pushes you backwards in the saddle. It all happens far too fast to do anything about it. I have no idea what happens if it penetrates and passes through a target though.



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Re: How to use lances

Postby Mark Griffin » Sat Mar 28, 2015 9:51 pm

I have no idea what happens if it penetrates and passes through a target though.


Now that would be the ultimate in experimental archeology. Form and orderly queue!

Presumably you are using an arret as well, that alters the ability to lock up significantly and increase the chance of a good breaking hit. After contact its chaos and you have very limited actions and thinking time as Jason says. You either let go or hold on and with both, ride through, letting a huge number of potential causes and outcomes come into play. Also, with some visors you haven't foggiest whats going on so once the point drops out of sight its all about what your hand is telling you. If the lance hasn't wrench your hand and arm back of course.

Those of us that have done solids will only have experienced it with a coronel so its either miss, attaint, break or oops I'm out the saddle.


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Re: How to use lances

Postby Jason » Mon Mar 30, 2015 6:25 pm

The weirdest break was a solid lance tip to tip (coronel to coronel) break with everyone wondering what had just happened as the impact was a good couple of beats before it 'should have been' if you see what I mean. The second weirdest was a coronel strike on Philippe's right inside thigh about 1 inch from his femoral artery. Big big bruises on him from knee to nipple (!) and the impact marks of the coronel (he wore a maille skirt from that day onwards). The tip simply slid downwards off the shield and managed to hit where it was not supposed to be able to hit one misty sunday morning joust by the coast.



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Re: How to use lances

Postby Mark Griffin » Mon Mar 30, 2015 6:35 pm

Coronel to coronels always produce that 'wtf?' in riders. You don't know whats happened, but you know something weird is going on..... Then someone on the ground with a big grin explains....


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Re: How to use lances

Postby Jason » Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:40 am

I reckon that the ground crew have the best view of a joust, even better then the riders themselves.

I've often had to have the outcome of a spectacular pass explained to me by a grinning ground-crew member! I knew something big had happened but not what exactly.



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Re: How to use lances

Postby Colin Middleton » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:06 pm

Thanks for sharing guys. The original question came up while experimenting with Fiore in full harness, as did the question of whether we could ever try any of the mounted techniques. :D

I'll make sure that the guys who asked the question have a read.

Best wishes

Colin


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Re: How to use lances

Postby Phil the Grips » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:17 pm

Colin Middleton wrote: as did the question of whether we could ever try any of the mounted techniques. :D

You might try asking to do such at this event; it sounds right up their boulevard- http://rossfechten-symposium.com/


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Re: How to use lances

Postby Colin Middleton » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:49 pm

I think that our first hurdle is that none of us can ride well...


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Re: How to use lances

Postby Mark Griffin » Thu Apr 02, 2015 9:17 pm

I reckon that the ground crew have the best view of a joust, even better then the riders themselves.

I've often had to have the outcome of a spectacular pass explained to me by a grinning ground-crew member! I knew something big had happened but not what exactly.


Couldn't have put it better myself.

Line up, signal, engage the right gears, get on line tight into the tilt, start lowering lance and finding and engaging target if target there be (if not, decide what to do with lance), hit and be hit, 4 seconds tops. Then look at lance end raise visor and see what the bloke at the end says you did, taking mental notes. Not including the arguments about the points. Its really all that fast and not really even that intuitive. If you have the right gear it helps and makes you more confident and consistent, other than that, its all a whirl...


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Re: How to use lances

Postby Mark Griffin » Tue May 05, 2015 11:46 pm

I should add into that list, form a mental image of what you should be looking like and try and stick to it. I even found a millisecond last weekend as I was coming down the list to think about putting my rein arm in a better position and trying to adjust my feet as I knew my heels weren't right. Then I hit my opponent...


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Re: How to use lances

Postby Rod Walker » Thu May 07, 2015 2:43 am

This pass was with grapers and arrets but the lances were cut down tapered solid lances with solid balsa tips in them. I have not engaged my arret correctly with the graper, (it is sitting off my arret and slams back into it) and the impact is a surprise as none of us expected to be breaking the solid sections with balsa tips on the end. I wasn't set for it at all and all of that movement in my body is from my hit as my opponent missed me.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tz9sy143mNA

Then there is this pass with grapers, arrets, steel coronels and solid tapered lances. I am much better set for this one. Arret engaged correctly with graper, lance breaks, all good.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTjkcFgGCbI

The pass in this clip is neither lance breaking.These are the US style solid dowel lances. We are not using grapers or arrets here but there is a large screwed on vamplate.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPvtJmuyzn4



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Re: How to use lances

Postby Mark Griffin » Tue May 12, 2015 8:28 pm

Finally started reading Noel Fallows 'Jousting in Medieval and Renaissance Iberia' which is a cracking read. Many treatises translated, lots on lance use from Spanish sources and others. If you joust or want to learn about it for whatever reason its essential reading. Naughty me for leaving it so long!


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Re: How to use lances

Postby Mark Griffin » Sun May 31, 2015 8:57 am

I will repeat what I said above. Amazing resourced, packed with info.


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Re: How to use lances

Postby Thalion » Sun May 31, 2015 11:23 am

Hi,

Does the book contain much on the horses themselves?

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Re: How to use lances

Postby Mark Griffin » Sun May 31, 2015 10:24 pm

Depends what you mean. You are never going to be able to breed from any instructions given, but it has a good bit about other aspects.


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Re: How to use lances

Postby Jason » Mon Jun 01, 2015 1:50 pm

Thalion, what do you want to know re horses? I look after, train and breed them so might be able to help with some answers.



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Re: How to use lances

Postby Thalion » Mon Jun 01, 2015 6:50 pm

Hi,

Well then, you are certainly the man to ask. I am a modern rider myself (dressage, jumps, etc etc) and I wonder what sort of style would they have used? As I've seen some depictions of knights (1066, 1257, 1450s) of them having completely straight legs, even when they don't have a high cantle on their saddle.

I've also seen some rather strange depictions of saddles / tack (again from tapestries and manuscript artwork) so how would they compare to a English saddle?

Additionally, I know that a War horse would be a destrier for those who could afford them, and they resemble modern light draft horses; but which breed has the best claim for what they would have ridden (preferably an English Knight, as you know, they're by default the best) as I've heard people say alot of things and some quite ridiculous (Such as Gypsy Cobs).

Furthermore, How would a trained War Horse compare to a bomb-proof horse? Would they be about equal or were they better trained (in general of course)?

And finally, alot of people have strong views about this, would a War Horse charge pikes / spears / lances if their rider told them to? Would they charge if it meant they had a good chance of dying? As I only ride modernly trained (again, dressage etc etc) horses and most not bomb-proof, I can't have a formed opinion on such a matter like this.

Hope you don't mind so many questions in a single post,
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Re: How to use lances

Postby Mark Griffin » Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:27 pm

Sounds like youd be best going to one of yards there are around to look at the animals and equpment close up ideally.

For period sources around the middle of the period you are talking about

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Knights-Warhorses-Military-Service-Aristocracy/dp/0851155685/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1433193846&sr=1-4&keywords=medieval+war+horse

and an excellent general study
[url]
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Warhorse-1250-1 ... +war+horse[/url]

no idea about this one, just found it. I'll let you know when it arrives...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Horse-Middle-Ages-Joan-Thirsk/dp/0750910674/ref=pd_sim_sbs_14_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=00N4MDZ1C5Q51WGFSHDR

same goes for this
[url]
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Medieval-Warhor ... VND0H3VQRT[/url]


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Re: How to use lances

Postby Jason » Tue Jun 02, 2015 6:34 pm

Some answers, couched in the 'as far as I have found out' and 'my opinion', and 'for further consideration'.

Straight legs happen automatically in a medieval saddle, they're very different, much more secure and more comfortable than modern ones (really!), but they need to be made for both the horse and rider together so are 'much' more expensive. Lousy for jumping though and that's probably why a certain mr. conquorer died from stomach rupture when his horse jumped/fell/tripped out hunting. It's not just a high cantle, its a wrap around cantle and a high wide protective pomel. Works very well for what it was designed to do though, as does a modern jumping/running saddle, neither do the others job very well though.

In my opinion based on fighting in club tourney for real, as well as fake melee in battle, you'd best be on a spanish type horse (or a nippy polo pony) anybody on anything draft-based is toast and I can run rings round them almost literally. Collected canter and petit gallop abilities as well as croup (back end) control independant of forward motion is v. important. Only a very few of us exploring this area currently though and it takes a high-school trained horse to begin do it properly.

Gypsy cobs are great for pulling carts and make lovely hacking platforms but are not 'authentic' for a medieval destrier, however a brave horse of any type is better than a scared horse of the right type.

You need power and spirit for a 'fighting platform' a dull plodder would not be very useful in battle, unless there was nothing else left, even then it might not want to get close to engagement. Just look at the trained horses used in re-enactment, more than half of them shy away from any kind of close-to-the-enemy stuff even when trained to do so. Modern 'Bomb proof' usually refers to vehicles, sudden loud noises, and is a modern term for that side of things. My guess is that back in the day a good warhorse was similarly trained to cope with the sudden events of the time. I imagine the introduction of black powder meant more than a few horses needed to be retrained to deal with that.

I reckon I could get a horse to impale itself on a pike block under the right circumstances and of course only once, but I'd never consider trying of course, what use would that be? A horse was worth a lot more than being just a disposable dead mount and a dead rider. It's amazing what they can do when the blood is up though. I had one polo pony crash through the shield wall at Hastings, twice, from a gentle trot too, no pointy things any where near her though but the foot, fully expecting it and braced, were knocked like skittles. However many horses simply won't close whatever you do, so as usual I think there would have been a lot of individual variation.



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Re: How to use lances

Postby Mark Griffin » Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:35 am



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Re: How to use lances

Postby Thalion » Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:37 am

If the saddle is so awful for jumping, isn't there something you can do other than not jumping to lower the risks?

That video is absolutely brilliant! He clearly isn't in his right mind to take on a horse like that haha. And is that a Hospitaller I see (Red field, white cross and looks to be in a Cappa)? Thanks for all you useful answers as well, you've enlightened me a great deal.

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Re: How to use lances

Postby Mark Griffin » Wed Jun 03, 2015 11:10 am

and we haven't even discussed blind or partially blind chaffrons yet...

I think if you have a decent head of steam up many horses who haven't been trained will certainly get close enough to a block of something nasty to deliver some impact but you'd undoubtedly be thrown at the last moment and the horse would be ruined. So not much point there. Also the value of a top destrier in time to train and maintain, let alone its actual worth is pretty important. There is a reason why mine is not going to Waterloo for example!

War/jousting saddles all have the same configuration that Jason describes. They are markedly different to civilian or hunting saddles, of which a decent number survive, that are not so enclosing and would allow jumping. Jumping in mine would be suicide pretty much!


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Re: How to use lances

Postby Mark Griffin » Wed Jun 03, 2015 11:20 am

I suspect the video is showing an demo that went wrong, no way is he showing anything other than being hit with a lance and he's fudged his exit. Used to do run/knockdowns all the time, armoured and otherwise. Its all a matter of using the horses and riders action to knock you clear, the opposite of what he did.


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Re: How to use lances

Postby Thalion » Wed Jun 03, 2015 12:14 pm

So what happens if your horse bucks or gets spooked? And didn't that happen to someone at Kelmarsh, they walked right into the zone of don't go as horses are doing a final canter / gallop along the crowd line area.

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Re: How to use lances

Postby Mark Griffin » Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:37 pm

depends on if you can see it coming. Problem with horses outside of things going well is its animal psychology and chaos theory so in the best of circumstances, sit deep and hope you can sort it using whatever tools are available or bale out. The latter can come as a surprise, or as a calculated gamble.

Jason can enlighten you about that but in my own limited experience, if you can't get things under control its better to bale than wait till the animal stops. As you probably wont.


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Re: How to use lances

Postby Mark Griffin » Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:48 pm

But I don't want to give the impression jumping off and letting the animal head off into the distance is to be taken lightly. Its not. But if its going nuts the chances are having you not on its back might ease the situation. Or not.... its a horse after all! Far better to not get into that situation in the first place. Bit like not driving on the brake lights directly in front Think well in advance and spot issues before they get you. Think ahead a lot...


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Re: How to use lances

Postby Mark Griffin » Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:46 pm

And another thing... I would in no way consider myself an expert, these are purely my opinions. The one thing I have learnt with horses is that if you ask a question of two horse people you will invariably get about 8 answers and suggestions. Its why horse psychologists make such good money... :-)


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Re: How to use lances

Postby guthrie » Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:35 pm

Mark Griffin wrote:But I don't want to give the impression jumping off and letting the animal head off into the distance is to be taken lightly. Its not. But if its going nuts the chances are having you not on its back might ease the situation. Or not.... its a horse after all! Far better to not get into that situation in the first place. Bit like not driving on the brake lights directly in front Think well in advance and spot issues before they get you. Think ahead a lot...

Is there any vague agreement on the sort of space needed to permit a horse to run off steam during a battle without charging into the crowd? I've seen events with big exits at one side, and small exits at several sides; with not a lot of run off, and with a lot of it.




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