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  • Marching with pikes

    How did they march (long-term movement, not tactical) with pikes? Wouldn't the pikes have problems with trees over-growing the roads?

    And what about night camps? Would they stack them, or what?
    Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

  • #2
    The long pikes would be carried on wagons, as well large shields were in earlier times, or other equipment for that matter.

    That bagage train was one of the reasons units moved so slowly.

    Another option sometimes used was to only transport the pike *heads* and mount them onto wooden sticks on location, at the expense of uniformity obviously.

    It is obviously also possible to make your pike in such a manner they allow you march with them, shorter and lighter,



    http://taramagick.com/1798.html

    Edit, while looking around a bit for a picture I found this, while it's not directly relevant to the question it's interesting nonetheless..may as well post.



    http://www.generalmonck.com/
    Last edited by Snowygerry; 21 Feb 18, 04:14.
    Lambert of Montaigu - Crusader.

    Bolgios - Mercenary Game.

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    • #3
      In older literature the phrase "to trail a pike" is often used as in "he trailed a pike in the low countries" indicating service overseas.
      "I'll over sea And trail a pike; with watching, marching, lying in trenches, with enduring cold and hunger And taking here and there a musket shot, I can earn every week four shillings, madam. And if the bullets favour me to snatch any superfluous limb, when I return (With good friends) I despair not to be enrolled" The Lady of Pleasure by James Shirley, a play of 1637, Shakespeare also used the phrase. Trailing a pike as the term suggests meant allowing the butt to rest on the ground behind you and holding it somewhere behind the head which pointed upwards. This was the normal way of carrying a pike when not in battle formation. The men in Snowgerry's post are carrying half pikes. A full pike was very tiring to carry

      See European Weapons and Armour: From the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution by Ewart Oakeshott pp 57-58
      Last edited by MarkV; 21 Feb 18, 04:52.
      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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      • #4
        The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth: John Nicols describes pikemen marching in threes trailing their pikes. Interestingly Halberdeers also marched trailing their Halberds
        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
          How did they march (long-term movement, not tactical) with pikes? Wouldn't the pikes have problems with trees over-growing the roads?

          And what about night camps? Would they stack them, or what?
          On Carts, On a night sentries got half pikes I think. Or made do with hangers and Tucks, a short side sword. The big ones stayed on the wagon till needed.

          In England pikemen werent above sawing a few feet off the end to make it easier to carry. We're supposed to have lost a battle against the spanish because of that.
          "Sometimes its better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness" T Pratchett

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          • #6
            Originally posted by DARKPLACE View Post
            On Carts, On a night sentries got half pikes I think. Or made do with hangers and Tucks, a short side sword. The big ones stayed on the wagon till needed.
            Do you have any evidence for this? None of the contemporary sources I can find mention carts.
            Half pikes were also known as long partisans
            Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
            Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MarkV View Post
              Do you have any evidence for this? None of the contemporary sources I can find mention carts.
              Half pikes were also known as long partisans
              A pike man in the Sealed Knot.
              "Sometimes its better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness" T Pratchett

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              • #8
                Originally posted by DARKPLACE View Post
                A pike man in the Sealed Knot.
                Is that anything like a balloon knot?

                I was married for two ******* years! Hell would be like Club Med! - Sam Kinison

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by slick_miester View Post
                  Is that anything like a balloon knot?

                  Not everything in the UK is a euphemism for anal sex. Apart from Center Parcs,. The day your Mrs tells you "we're off to Center Parcs" pack some lubricant and knobbly condoms
                  Because trap two is on offer.

                  The Sealed Knot is a reenactment society dedicated to dressing up in 17th century clobber and beating the **** out of each other with sticks.
                  "Sometimes its better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness" T Pratchett

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DARKPLACE View Post
                    A pike man in the Sealed Knot.
                    No that is not evidence hear say at best
                    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It occurs to me that, from a common sense point of view, apart from the dreadful noise of a company or regiment clattering along, would not dragging a pike along the ground on the march tend to wear down the butt and make handling awkward? It would also be complicated for all but the right hand files, elongating the line of march substantially.

                      Interestingly, Richard Elton, Lievtenant Collonel, in his 'The compleat body of the Art Military' of 1659, comments briefly that, "The use of shouldering the pike is only properest on the March and goes on to explain in slightly more detail:

                      "the trailing of the pike is seldom used, but when the Souldier shall march straight forward through a Wood, the file leader before he enters in, trials his Pike, and consequently all the rest in his file, then stooping down, they take up the but-end of their leader’s Pikes, which they may easily gripe with their own in their right hands , and after march forward through the bustling leaves in a straight line…"

                      Apparently this technique is to ensure that the company all emerge from the wood in the same spot, and don't get broken up, or lost.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                        Do you have any evidence for this? None of the contemporary sources I can find mention carts.
                        Half pikes were also known as long partisans
                        If you can your hands on this, it offers a wealth of information on the logistics of the Spanish Army of Flanders, certainly the best English source on the subject I know of, with detailed references to Spanish archives.

                        http://assets.cambridge.org/97805215...rontmatter.pdf

                        Interestingly the Macedonians I believe, according to Polybius had a system whereby they disassembled their pikes in two separate parts and carried them like that, I've never heard something similar about the pikemen in modern times, but I imagine it would be possible.
                        Last edited by Snowygerry; 23 Feb 18, 07:55.
                        Lambert of Montaigu - Crusader.

                        Bolgios - Mercenary Game.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          How long would the pike be on average, and how much would it weight? I would imagine the best way to be simply balancing it on your shoulder. It would be possible to trail that way as well. Trailing it by dangling would put the whole weight on your arm anyway.
                          Wisdom is personal

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Karri View Post
                            How long would the pike be on average, and how much would it weight? I would imagine the best way to be simply balancing it on your shoulder. It would be possible to trail that way as well. Trailing it by dangling would put the whole weight on your arm anyway.
                            Depending on time and place, between 10 and 18 foot, with about 14 to 16 foot long being about average.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jf42 View Post
                              Depending on time and place, between 10 and 18 foot, with about 14 to 16 foot long being about average.
                              What about weight? That doesn't sound impossible to simply carry on the shoulder.
                              Wisdom is personal

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