"Push of Pike" quotes

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Bevis Gittens
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"Push of Pike" quotes

Post by Bevis Gittens »

I know this is a real can of worms and I don't want to start a what style of pike display - 'point' or 'push' - is best at a re-enactment battle but to try and collect period quotes that actually refer to "push of pike". I believe there are very few contemporary descriptions of how a push of pikes actually worked- hence the on going debate - but if anyone knows any interested quotes that shed light on the subject, please share?

I will start the ball rolling with a slightly off subject reference:

During the Pequot Wars in 1636 the Puritan Colonists mounted an expedition against the Native Americans on Block Island, whilst engaging with the Indians one Captain Turner was hit by an arrow which struck his Armour with such force that he felt like "he had been pushed with a pike" Incidentally the armour saved his life...

Quoted on Page 111, "The Pequot Wars" by Alfred A. Cave, Massachusetts 1996
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steve stanley
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Re: "Push of Pike" quotes

Post by steve stanley »

Hmm...Must get that book....... :) ......Back to topic..I see no reason why 'push' in period terms shouldn't apply to what we call 'point'...Isn't there a 1560's Scots account of pike heads getting caught up in armour/padding so it becomes a shoving match...Which would fit with the above idea...?
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John Waller
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Re: "Push of Pike" quotes

Post by John Waller »

Nice pic here of a push of pike http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bad-war.jpg looks like ECW reenactors have been getting it right all these years :wink:
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Re: "Push of Pike" quotes

Post by Dash »

Aymes Loyaulte

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steve stanley
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Re: "Push of Pike" quotes

Post by steve stanley »

Langside...That's the one I was thinking of........A little thought shows that any other style was be impractical for 'real' sized units......But point looks silly for units of 12..........Come to think of it,units of 12 look silly anyway.......... :D
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Send me up in Grand River
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Bevis Gittens
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Re: "Push of Pike" quotes

Post by Bevis Gittens »

Dash wrote:Here's a selection of quotes.

http://www.marquisofwinchesters.co.uk/E ... hting.html
Perfect just what i was thinking of, I have always admired Julian's thoroughness of research on various subjects.

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Re: "Push of Pike" quotes

Post by Dash »

steve stanley wrote:Langside...That's the one I was thinking of........A little thought shows that any other style was be impractical for 'real' sized units......But point looks silly for units of 12..........Come to think of it,units of 12 look silly anyway.......... :D
Totally agree re 12 pike be it "point or push" - wish we had 40 pike in the regiment.

Always on the lookout for more if anyones interested.. :shh:
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steve stanley
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Re: "Push of Pike" quotes

Post by steve stanley »

Wish we had 40 in Bright's as well........... :(
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Send me up in Grand River
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Merlon.
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Re: "Push of Pike" quotes

Post by Merlon. »

If you look in the right places there are hints of the actual method in the drill manuals themselves. Barriffe states

Barrife Militarie discipline P82-84 (1660 edition) P192-194 (1639 Edition)

Now the Pikes being advanced, and the rankes closed forwards to their due distance of order, the muskettiers are to present, even with the front, every ranke successively moving forwards, until they become even in rank with the first rank of Pikes, there to give fire, and to wheele off to the right and left, trooping, file-wise, downe close to their own divisions: and taking their places in the reere, as in the former figures. The first ranke of muskettiers having fired, and wheeled away, the next ranks are to move forwards at three motions, into their places and there to give fire after the same manner; wheeling away againe and placing themselves according to former directions, every rank still making good their Leaders ground

. In this sort the battell may be continued, until they have fired once, twice, or oftener over: and that the bodies be come so close together, that the pikes begin to port and so at length come to push of pike.
Which done, the musquetiers are to give fire either retreating, or else not to advance further, than the halfe files of Pike. For in that place (the bodies being come so neere together) they will do as much execution, as if they were even with the front. The manner of the standing, you may perceive by the following figure:

Image

The pikes now being charged, and ready to come to the push, the musquetiers are to advance no further than the halfe files of Pikes: that soe they may doe Execution with their shot and be out of danger of the pikes. This having attained, they are there to present, and give fire; every rancke still moving forward, and maintaining his leaders ground. After they have performed their firings, they are to wheel of by division as in the in the former figures: still placing themselves in the rear of their own files, always taking their directions from the Drum, either for charging on or retreating &c

Most people fail to take into account the wings of shot in their discussions of pike fighting. possibly the same type of issue that the medievals have with large numbers of clankies and not enough archers.

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steve stanley
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Re: "Push of Pike" quotes

Post by steve stanley »

I still think it's down to unit size.....correct strength units(and I'm not talking 1000's) would make us look at what we do...Roll on the RA,(AND KA) regiments..........Also nice to see Officers trying to handle what the originals could.............. :)...It get overlooked that units were basically linear...deep,yes,but not the 'columns' we approach..........
"Give me a tent and a kettle
Snowshoes and axe and gun
Send me up in Grand River
Steering by star and sun".
- Labrador Trapper's Song

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Re: "Push of Pike" quotes

Post by IagotheHungry »

I know it's out of period, but the ancient Greeks make reference to "Othismos", meaning a shoving, during hoplite battles.

Also, with Merlon's quote there, is it just me that went "aha!" when I saw that pikes were at charge for the push? I had a look at the old "why do push?" thread the other day, and it set me off being a combat authenticity nerd again. >.<
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Re: "Push of Pike" quotes

Post by Dathi »

Speaking of push of pike. I tripped over this painting by Pieter Post from about the mid 1630's. Seems charge for horse was used for real.
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Re: "Push of Pike" quotes

Post by cholsta »

I would not call it a great mystery though. The idea that pikemen would raise their pikes and instead do a shoving match is as silly as it can get. Reenactors might have fun doing it, and it is also pretty safe, but it has little to do with history.

I don't think pike units always charged at great speed towards their enemy. The pike fencing style is more meant for control and fighting at a distance, whereas grabbing the pike at the middle (Swiss style) and going in was the aggressive style.

The front ranks would have quite good armour so that no doubt reduced casualties as it would take a powerful blow to penetrate the plate. I Flight Systems
Last edited by cholsta on Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Push of Pike" quotes

Post by Chris T »

The Folorn Hope (RIP!) had considerable success with point of pike actions in which, as the fight developed pikes were shortened (or a a pinch discarded) and used with swords. Due to re-enactmentisms this is an option not usually available, as the ECWS rank and file do not use swords and the SK cannot carry them in pushes, so very few pike can use them: the more our kit (for whatever reason) diverges from the historical, the more our tactics tend to! (and, of course, visa versa)

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