12-14 centry western Drill.

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Kane101
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12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Kane101 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:01 am

i noticed that several group including the one i am with are simple using Viking drill and commands for well Drill.

its all well and good shouting Sheild wall and the command being followed but it doesn't feel right to me, i guess being in also in a roman group and viking group having a different form of drill for both i expected a crusade period group to be different as well.

does anyone know of any references to historic drill commands or can suggest a good set to work from.

no offence to those that use the Viking style for other periods but the average punter that attends these shows might get a little board watching the same things yelled out in different outfits. kind of reminds me of that Bring it on film with cheerleaders all performing the same routine. if people get what i mean.


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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby CraigofYork » Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:34 am

i'm picking up what your putting down....it's funny you posted this becuase it was only the other day i was having a conversation about this....unfortunately i don't know of any historical references to medieval and darkage drill commands - but i've not tried looking yet!



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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Brother Ranulf » Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:17 am

For the 12th century I have found no direct evidence for either military drill or shield walls, with the exception mentioned below.

There seems to an "expectation" among re-enactors that shield walls "must have been used" after Hastings - but there it was the Saxons using that formation, not the Normans. We have evidence of Anglo-Norman battle arrays in (usually three) divisions, something like the Roman triplex acies; we have evidence for totally shambolic discipline on the battlefield (Lincoln 1141), for mixing archers and dismounted knights in the front ranks (The Standard 1138) and for dismounting most of the mounted knights to fight as infantry (The Standard 1138 and Tinchebrai 1106). We have evidence for battle-cries and (less plausibly) inspiring speeches by the army commanders. We can confidently say that most of these were features of 12th century battles in Europe.

There is evidence for close-packed infantry protecting the horses of the knights and serjantz with their kite shields against Saracen arrows during the Second Crusade - but this could simply be a temporary response to a purely local problem rather than a widespread military tactic. In European battles the often small mounted element was usually kept in reserve at the rear or off to one or both wings, where protection from enemy arrows was not generally needed.

The 12th century Assize of Arms spells out the permissible kit for non-noble fighting men (non-professional serjantz) but it gives no indication that these men should ever receive any specific training in either use of arms or battlefield drill. It could be argued that such men were only kept in check on the battlefield by being mixed in or backed up with professional, trained troops (knights and full-time serjantz).

It's a really interesting subject and one that deserves some thought. :think:


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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby lucy the tudor » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:21 am

I do not know of the evidence they used to compile it, possibly based on Icelandic?
But, in the Regia handbook pdf, page 23, there is a breakdown of commands they presumably use, which do sound stonkingly good when shouted in a rough voice...
http://www.regia.org/members/handbook/viking.pdf


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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Brother Ranulf » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:46 am

Looks rather like Old Norse to me (Icelandic evolved from Old Norse) - but with the letter "u" inserted before final -r to make it more pronounceable for English speakers.

Go backwards, for example, should be ganga aptr, not ganga aptur.

Whoever compiled it used an dictionary to translate each English word verbatim - it is more likely that a Norseman would shout hrøkkva - fall back, rather than "go backwards".

As you say, the look and sound of those commands is always impressive in re-enactments, but of very limited relevance in the period 12th to 14th century.


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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby gregory23b » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:47 am

hrøkkva

rucken? back


middle english dictionary

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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Kane101 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:11 pm

this brings in the other side of the coin as it were. if commands are given in which language would they have been spoken.

the Knight Hospitaler and Templer are of mixed peoples but they are monastic in nature would they yell commands in latin or is the language of the person yelling.
i know from experiance with a multi national event last year at old Sarum we used latin commands for the late roman infantry and it worked well mostly cause we all knew the commands and howe they sound so we could react.
if its was a mostly frankish army would they speak in french and those that couldn't speak french just copy or have a translator of sorts.

if there is no actual evedence to support drill for this period then i guess commands are simple enough to create its. the precurser words are the hardest.
what do you shout to get people attention that a command is coming.
in modern drill it is Squad, detail, company depending on size of unit. there are others. yet these are modern terms if you are directing to a group on the field then its easy. Templers, Knights, serjantz (nice word is this correct for sergeants) this would indicate only a section of the force to do the next action. then there is for hte whole group on the field, would you use, Brothers, bretheren, company or some other word.

this all kind stems from being given the command Shield wall. to me this is a close pact formation interlocking shields to the front. but our combat captain tells me this just shields to the front. to my mind the simple command of Company Shields would sound better. people thoughts are welcome. once hte basic's are sorted then the rest kind of falls in place. it might not look or sound historical but its a military display and we are trying to give something that looks good.


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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Biro » Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:29 pm

Just doing my usual thing, playing devils advocate and questioning convention....

Is 'Shield Wall' a direct translation from the original norse battle commands/formations - or is it one of those modernisms/victorianisms invented to describe the formation?
(I'm just thinking along the lines of heater shields being called so by the victorians because they were shaped like irons (heaters)).



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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Brother Ranulf » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:40 pm

Gregory - I believe hrøkkva is related to rucken; Old English mainly uses a different set of words for "back" and "backwards".

Biro - I know the shield wall (skjaldborg in Old Norse = fortress of shields) crops up frequently in the sagas, but you probably will not find it mentioned in the literature after 1066.

Kane - good point about language. Dragging this topic back to the 12th - 14th century (and away from Vikings :thumbup: ) the Scots army at the Battle of the Standard in 1138 included elements who spoke at least six different languages and most of them had no knowledge of Latin - imagine controlling that little lot. There is also the question of how far a shouted command can be heard above the din of battle, moving masses of men, clashing weapons, sweaty horses and the general carnage. I was wondering if some kind of pre-arranged signal would not be a more reliable form of communicating - and I am becoming more dubious about the idea of serried ranks of troops behaving in unison like the Grenadier Guards. Getting the rabble to move forward, turn to one side or retire in some kind of order seems quite enough in most medieval battles.

I also wonder if the whole concept of the shield wall did not collapse completely at Hastings; it failed, after all; it relies on a static, fixed defensive position with totally secure flanks and it can eventually be broken by assault with mixed infantry, cavalry and archers. 12th century battles tended to be more fluid, mobile and flexible.

Just a few more thoughts to contemplate.


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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Kane101 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:10 pm

continplating the reality of a battle with all those ego's involved, charging forward on mass as bundle of troop sounds more like what would be the common thing to happen, vision and hearing in the thick of battle is a pain, re-enactment fighting is much harder, more things to think about, the amount of times i've heard or uttered "what did he say" durring performance even though i know the show.

it appears to be the common officer shouts sergeants repeat if you are using lots of men.

so i guess for a battle its simply movement.

Advance,
fall back,
charge
calvary wall. (interlocking shield wall double height top shields at an angel with spears or lance comming out.)
Archer wall ( interlocking sheids double height much harder to do as the kite shield has tomany gaps on the bottom rank)

everything else is training displays

forming one or two lines
skirmishing
marching and turns, wheeling
and the such. the kind of stuff that is used to disapline a proffesional body of troops to act together.


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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:58 pm

General Patten once said that a an officer had to posses two things, an eye for battle and a big mouth.


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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Medicus Matt » Fri Jul 01, 2011 9:56 am

I don't have my tattered copy to hand, but are there any clues to be had in the Chronicles of Joinville and Villehardouin? If you haven't read them then I urge you to do so. Cheap enough on Amazon (get the more modern Smith translation rather than the Shaw).
There might be clues in other eyewitness accounts...Ernoul's account of Hattin for example?

Anyway, shouldn't most of you be riding around on horses, rather than worrying about infantry commands? :wink:


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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby randallmoffett » Fri Jul 01, 2011 2:21 pm

Not in 14th century English, Scottish and later basically many other armies.

There is one very interesting line in Froissart for the revolt of 1381 that seems to indicate the mob because of past military service broke into formation at the behest of their leader.

The only thing we have major evidence for nearing drills is the tournament, melee and mounted combat and archery practice that I am aware of. As well medievals seem to have obsessed over Vegitius. Check out Christine de Pisan. A bit later than much of your period but she has some related info.

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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Langley » Fri Jul 01, 2011 2:29 pm

Doing a bit of pole arm stuff with the kids during Schools Week at Dynefor last year we were down in the meadow and it suddenly struck us... If you recruit a bunch of lads off the land who are used to working as a team to harvest a field you already had a group of people who were used to working together, probably under command, using sharp steel implements and not loosing too many vital bits of their anatomy in the process. Maybe you have the basis of things like bill blocks right there. I recall seeing meadows harvested by such a team with scythes when I was a lad. Usually quite a few get together to do someone's crop then they all move on to the next guy's farm plot. Thoughts on that people?



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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Kane101 » Fri Jul 01, 2011 2:51 pm

Medicus Matt wrote:I don't have my tattered copy to hand, but are there any clues to be had in the Chronicles of Joinville and Villehardouin? If you haven't read them then I urge you to do so. Cheap enough on Amazon (get the more modern Smith translation rather than the Shaw).
There might be clues in other eyewitness accounts...Ernoul's account of Hattin for example?

Anyway, shouldn't most of you be riding around on horses, rather than worrying about infantry commands? :wink:


we only have two horse at this time but the cost of the period saddles is still pending


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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Medicus Matt » Fri Jul 01, 2011 3:36 pm

randallmoffett wrote:Not in 14th century English, Scottish and later basically many other armies.




They're portraying Brother Knights and Sergeants of the Military Orders. I think it was a relevent comment....even if it was also a humorous dig at a friend.


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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby randallmoffett » Fri Jul 01, 2011 9:03 pm

Brother knights are very often used on foot in the Holy lands or otherwise. De Joinvilles Chronicle is loaded with examples of men who are of men of orders fighting on foot. There is no period during the medieval period when a knight would not be trained to fight on foot and mounted throughout the medieval period. Preferred certainly I would much rather ride than walk but capable and trained for certainly.

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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Brendan C » Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:31 pm

Kane101 wrote:i noticed that several group including the one i am with are simple using Viking drill and commands for well Drill.

its all well and good shouting Sheild wall and the command being followed but it doesn't feel right to me, i guess being in also in a roman group and viking group having a different form of drill for both i expected a crusade period group to be different as well.

does anyone know of any references to historic drill commands or can suggest a good set to work from.

no offence to those that use the Viking style for other periods but the average punter that attends these shows might get a little board watching the same things yelled out in different outfits. kind of reminds me of that Bring it on film with cheerleaders all performing the same routine. if people get what i mean.


For 12th century, any military commands being shouted would have been in medieval French (for the toffs) or possibly middle English (for the peasents). Some of the medieval French terms, such as 'avance' (advance) would probably have been recognised by everyone, as medieval french words were being adopted into English quite quickly

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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Darren Mac » Tue Jul 05, 2011 4:28 pm

Did use simple latin commands for Templar troop a few years back. With advice taken from a RC priest adept at (ecclesiastical) latin. After initial english cries of 'Draw weapons, shields to the front!', we used the following:
In lineam formatte - form line
In lineam ambulate - line will advance
Linea in praelio - line will attack

Don't know how accurate any of that was, but it sounded good anyway!


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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Darren Mac » Tue Jul 05, 2011 4:35 pm

Dirigo or derigo maybe more appropriate to use as a command to 'fall-in' or 'form-up'.


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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Colin Middleton » Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:16 pm

Brother Ranulf wrote:I was wondering if some kind of pre-arranged signal would not be a more reliable form of communicating - and I am becoming more dubious about the idea of serried ranks of troops behaving in unison like the Grenadier Guards. Getting the rabble to move forward, turn to one side or retire in some kind of order seems quite enough in most medieval battles.


I'd had similar thoughts re the 15th C. By my reckoning, you've got your petty captian (equivalent to an NCO) on the ground shouting at people (and hitting them if they don't pay attention), but he'll not be receiveing any complex commands. My guess was that the captain arranges 3 or 4 basic commands with his petty captains, which are signalled by movements of the standard. If you combine that with at blast from drums/pipes to tell you to check and you've got something workable. By necessity, it's got to be very simple and all you're controlling is timing (e.g. when the flag does this, archers attack, when the flag does this, infantry attack, when the flag does this, pretend to run away). Each layer then communicates to their subordinates in this way. Any changes made during the battle require runners or other messengers to pass the new instructions on.

It should be possible, but it's not what I'd call advanced.


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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Colin Middleton » Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:20 pm

Langley wrote:Doing a bit of pole arm stuff with the kids during Schools Week at Dynefor last year we were down in the meadow and it suddenly struck us... If you recruit a bunch of lads off the land who are used to working as a team to harvest a field you already had a group of people who were used to working together, probably under command, using sharp steel implements and not loosing too many vital bits of their anatomy in the process. Maybe you have the basis of things like bill blocks right there. I recall seeing meadows harvested by such a team with scythes when I was a lad. Usually quite a few get together to do someone's crop then they all move on to the next guy's farm plot. Thoughts on that people?


Sounds likley, for country types. Can't count on it for the household or the town though.

So you've got awareness of where the sharp bit is and where your mates are and the concept of staying near your mates so that they can help you. All you need to learn after that is what the arm-waving is about!


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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Colin Middleton » Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:21 pm

randallmoffett wrote:As well medievals seem to have obsessed over Vegitius. Check out Christine de Pisan. A bit later than much of your period but she has some related info.

Randall


Hi Randall, can you point me in the direction of where I could get a copy of those books?

Many thanks

Colin


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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Medicus Matt » Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:31 pm

Colin, you can read a full translation of Vegetius here:-
http://www.pvv.ntnu.no/~madsb/home/war/vegetius/
It's not as good as Milner's 1996 translation but it's pretty servicable.

However, it's mostly a 4th century whinge about how much better things used to be, although it's also quite detailed on matters of how recruits should be trained. It doesn't contain much on drill or commands though (you need to look at Maurice's 6th century 'Strategikon' for that) . Interesting stuff though, my copy of Milner's translation lives on my cistern.

Vegetius is hugely frustrating, teasing us by stating that recruits should be well practiced in 'the drill called armatura' but then failing to tell you what said drill consisted of.
Last edited by Medicus Matt on Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby randallmoffett » Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:46 pm

Sorry missed this, had a fairly bad accident and not online much and when I am pain meds make it feel like my head is in a fish bowl.

Chevck here for here book of deed.

http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/0-271-01880-1.html

you can find it cheaper but you need to make sure you have an english version as most are french.

Randall



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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Colin Middleton » Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:55 pm

Thanks for that Matt,

I don't mind so much how useful it is, it's something that I should be familiar with.

Randall, thank you for putting us onto that too.

Best wishes


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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Fri Jul 08, 2011 4:59 pm

I doubt it would be much use, afterall, battle was very rare. Some of the most experienced and successful medieval generals such as Henry V and Edward IV never fought in more than a handful. It is of more use because medieval war leaders did try to refer to it's suggestions regarding siegecraft and logistics and even camp layout. My own feeling is that the reason why it is so hard to find examples of period drill instructions is becasue there were no period drill instructions.


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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Benedict » Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:34 pm

You might want to have a look at Matthew Bennett's article on the 'Rule of the Temple' as a military manual (http://www.deremilitari.org/resources/a ... nnett1.htm). It doesn't specifically mention battlefield orders, but it gives a good impression of the discipline expected from a body of men who were used to campaigning together. It also talks about how to achieve an effective cavalry charge (control and discipline, not all-out speed).



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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Dingo8MyBaby » Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:54 pm

I saw some information years back that related to the late 1170/1190 of Italian infantry drilling in close order and following basic unit commands. Also its known that the knights practiced in their conroi units at riding in close formation and delivering a charge as a solid unit.



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Re: 12-14 centry western Drill.

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:05 am

Italian milita are not your average western army. Although the term milita has a connotation of being an armed rabble, there was especially duirng the 12th and 13th century when many states were still communes, a great deal of civil pride in being a militaman, and plenty of opportunity to get actal battle experience while operating as one! The same holds for members of Military Orders. I would be careful about transfering the same level of skill to men who might only be on campaign with each other for 40 days in their entire lives. The only people who would have a genuine need to "train" and "drill" are mercenaries.


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