Bill armed men

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m300572
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Bill armed men

Postby m300572 » Thu May 04, 2006 3:16 pm

Leading on from the pike push thread, over the Newark event I was attacked by a mid 17th C royalist infantryman armed with a bill. As I drew my mighty weapon to hack him down (my sword was inherited from a large fisherman and weighs about double the normal!) the thought flashed through my mind - is this totally anachronistic or are there records of infantry being armed with old weapons such as bills from local armouries.

I dimly recall a reference to soldiers being sent to the Bshop's Wars being armed with bows and 'old brown bills'. Anybody got any thoughts or more details on this?



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John Waller
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Postby John Waller » Thu May 04, 2006 3:36 pm

Yes there are records of the issue of bills particularly in seige/garrison situations where a pike would not be of much use.

A fisherman with a sword however may be anachronistic?


Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.

m300572
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Postby m300572 » Thu May 04, 2006 3:54 pm

A fisherman with a sword however may be anachronistic?


Slight misunderstanding - the sword belonged to a memeber of my regiment who actually worked as a fisherman in real life - he died of cancer a few years back and i inherited his sword - he was a big bloke and its a big sword (especially as I now drive a desk rather than digging). i am the regimental ensign so a sword is fine.

Ta for the bill information - its slightly more scary than being attacked by a single pikeman where you know if you get past the point he is stuffed.



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Postby Nigel » Thu May 04, 2006 4:48 pm

Certainly at Newcastle the defenders were armed with bills a few of which still survive and look as though they have literally been cut out of metal rather than forged.


There’s a country in Europe where they treat their ex soldiers with pride no waits for medical treatment after injuries received during service, no amensia from the government. Cant for the life of me recall where it is but I know exactly where it is not.

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steve stanley
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Postby steve stanley » Thu May 04, 2006 7:19 pm

Think Rawdon's also had some at Basing House...
Steve


"Give me a tent and a kettle
Snowshoes and axe and gun
Send me up in Grand River
Steering by star and sun".
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John Waller
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Postby John Waller » Thu May 04, 2006 8:37 pm

There is one shown in Blackmore's Arms & Armour of the ECW. He notes their use at Basing and being ordered to be sent to the garrison at Reading.


Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.

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Foxe
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Postby Foxe » Thu May 04, 2006 9:03 pm

I seem to recall the gunners at Lichfield being issued with polearms (Osprey book?)

I also have this sneaking feeling that the Mendlesham armoury, which was in use until at least the civil war, contains some short polearms. Could be wrong about this though.


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Postby Foxe » Tue May 09, 2006 8:30 pm

This may be of limited relevance, dealing as it does with seamen rather than soldiers, but "Gunners' Stores for Selected Ships, January 22 1655" (PRO WO 47/3) includes some interesting stuff, which I will excerpt:

For a first rate ship (in this case, crew of 600 men) the small arms included:

200 matchlock muskets, 100 snaphaunce muskets, 20 blunderbusses, 30 pairs of pistols, 150 long pikes, 50 half pikes, 30 bills, 100 hatchets, and 300 swords.

For the smallest, sixth rate (about 50+ men), the stores were:

20 matchlock muskets, 10 snaphaunce muskets, 3 blunderbusses, 4 pairs of pistols, 10 long pikes, 10 half pikes, 4 bills, 12 hatchets, and 30 swords.


...and further this Informant saith not.

Foxe

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New model Army and Scotland

Postby Dathi » Wed May 10, 2006 8:52 am

There are references to pikemen being issued with Halberds and bills in Scotland during the ocupation in the 1650's. If I remember rightly this was for something like hot pursuits of badly behaved skirt wearers....



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steve stanley
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Postby steve stanley » Wed May 10, 2006 2:07 pm

The Scots Army also included 72 Halberdiers in each Infantry Regt. equiped with Back,Breast,& Headpiece following the 1647 "New-Modelling"
Steve


"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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