Pikes at Bosworth.....

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steve stanley
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Pikes at Bosworth.....

Postby steve stanley » Sat Sep 22, 2012 7:14 pm

Anyone know where the Idea Tudor's French troops were pikemen comes from?..Seen it in two recent books as an assumption...I was under the impression the French mainly relied on Swiss pikes,while the native foot were Franc-Archers or Crossbowmen..........Also the idea the they were a shock to Richard,which is hard to believe as everyone must have known what happened to Burgundy.............


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Marcus Woodhouse
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Re: Pikes at Bosworth.....

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:09 pm

The French began training with pike, while relying on Swiss both as soldiers and "advisors" training them after getting a good kicking at some battle in the 1440's (I think)-I believe that the Swiss all fought to the death, and while defeated did terrible damage to the French and left them deeply impressed with the abilities of the Swiss AND the potential of the pike.
The pike was not the sole preserve of the Swiss. It was also used by northern "Italian" troops including the Savoyards who were sometimes French, sometimes German and sometimes Italian depending on what suited them, or was forced upon them (they were technically vassels of the French).
Grandeson, Nancy and other battles failed to show the writing was on the wall for the mounted charge, and in fact French heavy horse were still breaking pike and shot formations well into the 16th century in the Italian Wars to be fair.
Given that the English were still wedded to the warbow, I don't have any problem is suspecting that they had little knowledge of the actual use of pike. They may have heard about them but that is different from seeing or experiencing them and the Englsih had not been involved in any war in Europe for nearly 40 years. There were, no doubt individual men who had served as mercenaries who had encountered pikes, the survivors of Nancy for instance, but they were, somewhat crucially, not of noble blood and therefore unlikely to have been able to pass on this experience.
Richard III was not a great war leader, or an innovatitive general. He did not make any head way at Barnet when Oxford's men (who were in a similar postion) rapidly routed Hastings. Nor did he do much better at Tewkesbury. He held a line, his brother adavanced and then he was able to counter attack Beaufort. The Scots retreated before him and avoided battle in 1481-2 and while this was held up as a great victory at the time (and amongst Ricardians still) that doesn't add up when looked at in close detail.
I think that it was all too possible for a king who held his opponent and his troops in low esteem, with a genuine notion that he was God's chosen ruler of England, with an over riding desire to prove his right to rule and his courage in battle, but with no understanding of just how experienced his enemy might be could be back footed.
After all he isn't the first, or last, general to make such a mistake.


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Fox
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Re: Pikes at Bosworth.....

Postby Fox » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:31 am

I think that view is as disproportionately anti-Ricardian as some views are pro-Ricardian.

Richard has seen a lot of action, and is thought of at the time as a compitent military leader.

We're a little short on detail to judge most of his engagements.

But Bosworth might easily be considered as what bridge players might call a "game winning bid".
Simply put, he weighs up risks against the benefits, and takes a bold decision.
He clearly does not trust Stanley (or why threaten his son), and he is looking at an uncertain and unpredictable situation, with things going increasingly against him, with things going wrong for Howard and so on.

Perhaps he decides that with one move, by his own hand, he can bring this all to an end.
And if he did get to Henry's standard, then he got bloody close.



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Re: Pikes at Bosworth.....

Postby steve stanley » Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:47 pm

If I remember rightly...There's a reference to Edward IV entering London with Foreign Pikes in 1471 (as well as the better-known handgunners).......


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Re: Pikes at Bosworth.....

Postby Colin Middleton » Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:01 pm

IIRC, Richarde didn't just "not trust" Stanley, but had written him off as a traitor and ordered the execution of Lord Strange (though it was never carried out) and with Percy not committing, was in a reall mess.

Bosworth was lost before Tudor landed due to Richard's political failures.

That said, Marcus' comments raise some interesting points for discussion.

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steve stanley
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Re: Pikes at Bosworth.....

Postby steve stanley » Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:13 pm

I thought the Barnet thing was due to the lines overlapping,rather than to skill or lack of it.....


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Re: Pikes at Bosworth.....

Postby Man from Coventry » Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:39 pm

There was an excellent article on this topic by some of the Beauforts in the May 11 edition (No 87?) of Skirmish entitled “Did French Pikemen kill Richard III” ? The theory was first advanced in Michael K Jones’s book, Bosworth Psychology of a Battle and the article tested and explored these points further.

According to the Skirmish article, contrary to what Marcus said, the French did not adopt the Pike after their costly victory at St Jacob en Birs in (1444), but after the Battle of Enguinnegate (1479), where Flemish/German Pikemen defeated the French. Louis XI then dropped his policy of recruiting Franc-Archiers and opted for Pike/Crossbow units called bandes, trained by a Swiss, at a training camp at Pont de le Arche. On Louis’s death in 1483, the cash–strapped regency for his son, closed Pont de l’Arche and progressively disbanded the bandes. The former Governor of Pont de L’Arche, the Seigneur de Esquardes found work for some of these unemployed soldiers in Henry Tudor’s army. At Bosworth, Tudor’s bodyguard, bought Tudor time to take refuge within the Pikes and Richard either unhorsed in an attack or dismounted, to mount an assault on foot, was caught by Wm Stanley’s intervention.

In defence of Richard, Pikemen were not invulnerable Charles the Bold and his father Philip the Good had defeated Flemish Pikemen on several occasions most notably at Montenaeken (1465) and Brusthem (1467). English armies had also defeated the Scots who had also used long spears (and would defeat Scots pike at Flodden). Furthermore it was not necessarily obvious to contemporaries that the Swiss Pikes in particular, were the cause of the defeat of the Burgundians, at Grandson the Burgundian army panicked at the site of Fresh Swiss forces, at Morat Charles had stood his army down and they were caught unprepared and at Nancy Charles was outnumbered over 4:1 and the battle was a foregone conclusion. So the strength of swiss[url]well trained[/url] pike units may not have been truly appreciated.

What made the Swiss devastatingly effective and better than the Pikemen that Charles the Bold had hitherto encountered wass their high level of training, which allowed them to attack rapidly, whilst maintaining formation, coupled with their reputation of being utterly merciless.

However I would agree with Marcus, that there is really no evidence to suggest that Richard was a great Battlefield commander.


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Re: Pikes at Bosworth.....

Postby steve stanley » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:29 pm

TBH,I'm not really concerned over Richard in this topic....Just the likelihood of their being a considerable number of pikemen present..I was unaware of the change from Franc-Archiers to Bandes,so I guess their is provenance for the idea..........


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Re: Pikes at Bosworth.....

Postby AndyandHelen » Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:43 pm

Any of you think that Richard was very possibly going through a reactive depression with an underlying death wish? Could help account for his bold charge and blasé gunghoism at Bossie?



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Re: Pikes at Bosworth.....

Postby Ghost » Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:49 pm

nope, he was just taking after his father, impulsive, prone to making bad decisions and an ineffective military commander


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Postby Anthony of the MSS » Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:55 am

Bosworth was lost in 1469, when the Welsh Yorkists lost at Edgecote.



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Postby Anthony of the MSS » Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:57 am

Incidentally we've just come across some evidence that Henry Tudor was actually at Edgcote, fighting for Royalist York (as opposed to Rebel York, this not being a Lancastrian v York battle)



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Re: Pikes at Bosworth.....

Postby Fox » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:06 am

steve stanley wrote:TBH,I'm not really concerned over Richard in this topic....

Bad luck. Let me know how it works out for you.

You've poked the bear; and most people have a "marmite" opinion about Richard, although its lost on me.



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Re: Pikes at Bosworth.....

Postby steve stanley » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:15 am

I've got one,but it's bugger-all to do with the the technicalities of period combat.......... |(


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Re: Pikes at Bosworth.....

Postby Ghost » Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:18 pm

Incidentally we've just come across some evidence that Henry Tudor was actually at Edgcote, fighting for Royalist York (as opposed to Rebel York, this not being a Lancastrian v York battle)


He was at Edgecote with the yorkist army but as a 12 year old due to him being the ward of the Yorkist William Herbert.


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Re: Pikes at Bosworth.....

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:58 pm

Of whom he expressed genuine affection.


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Postby Anthony of the MSS » Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:32 pm

Henry Tudor was made a ward of William Herbert Earl of Pembroke. He would have been about 13 at the time of Edgcote (1469). This is from a quote from a petition of Sir Richard Corbet of Morton Corbrt to Henry V11 "after the death of Lord Herbert after the field of Banbury, hee was one of them that brought yr grace out of the danger of yr enemies and conveyed yr grace to ye town of Hereford unto Jasper [Tudor] now duke of Bedford*… This is the best original evidence I've got, but a 19th century history of the Devereux family claims that Walter Devereux (Lord Ferrers) rescued Henry from the field at Edgcote. Sir Richard Corbet of Morton Corbet turns out to be Ferrers son in law (but fought against him at Bosworth). As Pembroke was married to a Devereux this would also reinforce the likelihood of a connection.



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Re: Pikes at Bosworth.....

Postby Man from Coventry » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:13 am

To stray still further from the original point of the thread.

The idea of Henry Tudor being at Edgecote isn't new - Joan MacAlpine advanced it in her book "The Shadow of the Tower", 1971. However I think from memory she has Tudor rescued by Sir Richard Croft, though its along time since I read it. Unfortunately the evidence is not conclusive, it merely suggests that Henry was conveyed into safe custody after Edgecote, it does not prove that he was there, though there is ample precedent for wards being present at battles, both the Bourchier brothers (wards of the Duke of York) at the time were at Ludford. Balance of probabilities would suggest that he was.

Also would Jasper Tudor have been at Hereford ? He was a recaltirant Lancastrian Rebel at the time, defeated by Herbert at the year before at Twt Hill & Harlech. Neither side at Edgecote were his friends. Its possible he was a prisoner following the fall of Harlech, but most accounts seem to suggest he wasn't at Harlech at its fall but in exile in Brittany at the time.

Would his presence at Hereford have been known to firm Yorkist supporters ? Other sources suggest that Henry only passed into Jasper Tudor's control during the Lancastrian re-adeption.


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Re: Pikes at Bosworth.....

Postby chidokan » Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:02 am

I often wonder why they dont make a tv series of the wars...it would be almost as complex as the plots my mrs watches in coronation street... :D



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Re: Pikes at Bosworth.....

Postby IDEEDEE » Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:20 pm

My twopenn'orth... All I can say is that as part of Sapper's (Brit/German/Swiss - and I think we had at least one Dutchman) pike block at Bosworth in 2011, a little pike-ing from time to time (proper pike-ing, not Sealed Knot scrummaging) is fun... :D




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