History Community ~ All Empires Homepage


This is the Archive on WORLD Historia, the old original forum.

 You cannot post here - you can only read.

 

Here is the link to the new forum:

  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Forum LockedSwiss infantry

 Post Reply Post Reply Page  123 4>
Author
TJK View Drop Down
Consul
Consul
Avatar
Retired AE Moderator

Joined: 02-Aug-2004
Location: Poland
Status: Offline
Points: 368
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TJK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Swiss infantry
    Posted: 15-Aug-2004 at 12:41

It was Swiss who brought infantry back into offensive warfare for the first time since the Roman legion. This poor mountain people have been forced to fight for the independence against Habsburgs. When most of their soldiers were lightly armed and armored they could resist against Habsburg's feudal army due to the discipline, morale and effective using of mountain terrain.

During XIV centaury the principal Swiss weapon was halberd and the battle tactic consist in the massed shock of halberdiers column charging downhill.

Nevertheless the tactic was continuously developed. They had learned that this same principle would work on level ground if the infantry could maintain their massed formation without gaps and without faltering in the face of a cavalry charge. To exploit this lesson required excellent organization, rigorous training, and iron discipline of a sort unseen since Roman times. Swiss had a variety of formations such as line, wedge, and square which they could adopt in prompt, systematic, orderly fashion. For the most part, however, they marched and fought in heavy columns, with a frontage rarely exceeding 30 men, but often 50 to 100 men deep.

Whenever possible, the Swiss marched directly and rapidly into combat from march column. There was no deploying, no delay of any sort in going through the formality of establishing a battle line. They usually fought in 3 columns, echeloned to the left or right rear. If the countryside would permit, the individual columns would march.

In addition to the basic halberdiers, Swiss formations included a few crossbowmen (later also handgunners) as skirmishers.

The defeat by Milanese at Arbedo (1422) forced Swiss to reconsider the tactical effectives of halberd as principal weapon and shortly after battle the instructions were given to increase the number of pikes in the contingents. The introduction of pike hasn’t eliminated the halberds. The halberdiers have been located in the interior files of the column and their principal task was to cut down individual horsemen in a melee, when the pikemen had stopped or repulsed a cavalry charge.

The Swiss have adopted the phalanx system of deploying their pikemen. The first four ranks of pikemen would level their weapons to create the impenetrable wall while the remaining ranks would hold their weapon upright, ready to fill the gaps.

The first test of test of new formation was battle of St. Jacob (1444) were French army of 40,000 soldiers have attacked small reconnaissance Swiss force (1500 soldiers). In the ensuing battle, the Swiss force was annihilated, but they killed approximately 3000 French attackers. The determination and efficiency of Swiss infantry so discouraged French that they withdrew...

Typical composition of Swiss army of this age could be found on the Zurich roll from 1443:

Crossbowmens - 473

Handgunners - 61

Pikemens - 635

Halberiers&Axemens – 1591

The Swiss scorned cannon, and during the 15th century did not fully understand the vulnerability of their own massed columns to effective artillery fire -mainly because up to that time there had been no real field artillery. Charles the Bold of Burgundy recognized this Swiss vulnerability to cannon and small-arms fire, but his own rashness prevented him from exploiting his relatively advanced tactical ideas.

No other infantry in Europe could stand up to the Swiss, and by the end of the century their moral as well as tactical ascendancy was complete. Although they hired themselves out as mercenaries indiscriminately, more often than not they provided the principal infantry component of the French armies of the late 15th century.

Maximilian of Habsburg, plagued by this as much as by his wars with Switzerland, tried to offset the Swiss infantry advantages by creating a German counterpart: the landsknechts. Organized, trained, and equipped just like their model, the landsknecht mercenaries were soon nearly as sought after as the Swiss themselves. Strangely, however, whenever Swiss and landsknechts were pitted against each other, although the struggle was always fierce and bloody, the Swiss were invariably victorious. They seem to have been even more ferocious and bloodthirsty against their German imitators than against any other foe.

Swiss soldiers

Sources:
Douglas Miller, Gerry Embelton "The Swiss at War 1300–1500"
Trevor& Ernest Dupuy "The Encyclopedia of Military History"
www.digicamera.net/ game/rulesivu.htm



Edited by TJK
Back to Top
Huitzilopochtli View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar

Joined: 04-Aug-2004
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 83
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Huitzilopochtli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2004 at 14:27

Very interesting,   for some reason I can't ever find anything on the Swiss army of that time,  are there any sites where I could find more about them?



Edited by Huitzilopochtli
Back to Top
Tobodai View Drop Down
Tsar
Tsar
Avatar
Retired AE Moderator

Joined: 03-Aug-2004
Location: Antarctica
Status: Offline
Points: 4321
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tobodai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2004 at 14:38
Why did an amalgamation of German French and Italians band together to fight that hapsburgs anyway?
"the people are nothing but a great beast...
I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value."
-Alexander Hamilton
Back to Top
demon View Drop Down
Pretorian
Pretorian
Avatar

Joined: 03-Aug-2004
Location: Brazil
Status: Offline
Points: 1186
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote demon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2004 at 14:47
Interesting.  I always had appreciations to Swiss army because they never lost a battle except one which was when they invaded.
Grrr..
Back to Top
TJK View Drop Down
Consul
Consul
Avatar
Retired AE Moderator

Joined: 02-Aug-2004
Location: Poland
Status: Offline
Points: 368
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TJK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2004 at 15:31
Quote can't ever find anything on the Swiss army of that time,  are there any sites where I could find more about them?

Please look at at the : http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/theswisssystem/

Quote Why did an amalgamation of German French and Italians band together to fight that hapsburgs anyway?


In fact there were 3 german cantons (districts) which have formed the first alliance : the Schwyz, Uri and Unterwalden at 1291.. the next cantons have joined the federation later. The main reason were the taxes required by habsburgians administration..




Edited by TJK
Back to Top
Genghis View Drop Down
Sultan
Sultan
Avatar

Joined: 02-Aug-2004
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 2657
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Genghis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2004 at 19:46
Were the Swiss well-paid mercenaries?
Member of IAEA
Back to Top
Quetzalcoatl View Drop Down
Samurai
Samurai
Avatar

Joined: 05-Aug-2004
Location: Jamaica
Status: Offline
Points: 985
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Quetzalcoatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2004 at 19:47

 

 The swiss were kick @ss in the medieval time, they even crushed the burgundians imperialist ambitions. Which is good now, most of burgundy is in France.

Back to Top
demon View Drop Down
Pretorian
Pretorian
Avatar

Joined: 03-Aug-2004
Location: Brazil
Status: Offline
Points: 1186
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote demon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2004 at 20:59
I am positive that Swiss mercenaries were the best mercenaries.
Grrr..
Back to Top
TJK View Drop Down
Consul
Consul
Avatar
Retired AE Moderator

Joined: 02-Aug-2004
Location: Poland
Status: Offline
Points: 368
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TJK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Aug-2004 at 13:52

Hey Hyarmendacil !

Welcome back !!!

Quote

The Dutch and the Flemings (as well as the Scots) adopted the pike sooner than did the Swiss but they did not actually develop a way to use it offensively. Therefore, we can say that offensive pike warfare in Middle Age Europe began with the Swiss and the Landsknechts.

Exactly my point...

Back to Top
Roughneck View Drop Down
Housecarl
Housecarl
Avatar

Joined: 02-Aug-2004
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 192
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Roughneck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Aug-2004 at 19:06
Which is better, a Swiss Army knife or a foot long bayonet?  Well when's the last time anyone tried to mess with the Swiss?
Back to Top
Keltoi View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar

Joined: 03-Aug-2004
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 28
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Keltoi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Aug-2004 at 19:14

The swiss were incredible.

Cymru am Byth
Back to Top
Genghis View Drop Down
Sultan
Sultan
Avatar

Joined: 02-Aug-2004
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 2657
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Genghis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Aug-2004 at 21:16
It's hard to imagine well-mannered people from the land of banks, cheese, and cuckoo clocks being so bloodthirsty.
Member of IAEA
Back to Top
Roughneck View Drop Down
Housecarl
Housecarl
Avatar

Joined: 02-Aug-2004
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 192
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Roughneck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Aug-2004 at 22:22
About as hard as rationalizing the land of Beethoven, Motzart, and Einstein give us Hitler, Himmler, and Heydrich?
Back to Top
ihsan View Drop Down
General
General
Avatar
Retired AE Moderator

Joined: 06-Aug-2004
Location: Turkey
Status: Offline
Points: 831
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ihsan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Aug-2004 at 10:29
The Swiss were definitially a very good force in the 14th-15th centuries, until the Spanish sword-and-shield infantry beat them in the 16th century.
[IMG]http://img50.exs.cx/img50/6148/ger3.jpg">

Qaghan of the Vast Steppes

Steppes History Forum
Back to Top
Genghis View Drop Down
Sultan
Sultan
Avatar

Joined: 02-Aug-2004
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 2657
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Genghis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Aug-2004 at 10:48
Actually the Germans being bloodthirsty doesn't surprise me.  They are the descendants of those bloodthirsty Germanic tribes.
Member of IAEA
Back to Top
TJK View Drop Down
Consul
Consul
Avatar
Retired AE Moderator

Joined: 02-Aug-2004
Location: Poland
Status: Offline
Points: 368
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TJK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Aug-2004 at 15:03

Quote The Swiss were definitially a very good force in the 14th-15th centuries, until the Spanish sword-and-shield infantry beat them in the 16th century.

I think it was more due to the massive use of arquebuses (and later muskets) and artillery.

Swiss were also defeated by  at Marignano (1515). The key for the French victory was in this case the combined action of landsknechts with heavy cavalry and artillery..   

Back to Top
Temujin View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar
Sirdar Bahadur

Joined: 02-Aug-2004
Location: Eurasia
Status: Offline
Points: 5237
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Aug-2004 at 19:49
there are just a few but in my opinion major inaccracies in your first post...
Back to Top
Temujin View Drop Down
Immortal Guard
Immortal Guard
Avatar
Sirdar Bahadur

Joined: 02-Aug-2004
Location: Eurasia
Status: Offline
Points: 5237
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Aug-2004 at 10:45
Originally posted by TJK TJK wrote:

This poor mountain people have been forced to fight for the independence against Habsburgs.

first of all, the swis peasantry was not poor, in fact the peasants of Swabia were the richest in the whole HRE, possibly in whole Europe. Swabia itself is of corse not a rich province, but the peasantry was, that's why there has been the peasantwar and other minor uprisings in that area early in the 16th century. second, the Swiss were in fact self governing since the Zähringer dynasty died out in the early 13th century, the Swiss did therefore not fight for independence, they only wanted to prevent immediate Habsburg dominance after they attempted to connect their original holdings in northern Switzerland with the holdings in Austria. Swiss were at no point opressed.

Quote The Swiss have adopted the phalanx system of deploying their pikemen. The first four ranks of pikemen would level their weapons to create the impenetrable wall while the remaining ranks would hold their weapon upright, ready to fill the gaps.

but it was not the same as the macedonian phalanx of ancient times, the Swiss Gewalthaufen had an caree-like defensive formation that was not known in ancient Greece, similarities are therefore conincidental. 

and I wasn't the case that infantry as been reintroduced, it was rather the lack of a cavalry-riding nobility that forced them to modify agricultural tools to weapons, like the Hussite flail for example...

 

and Swiss or German swere not more bloodthirsty thatn everyone else is in a bloodthirsty world...

Back to Top
TJK View Drop Down
Consul
Consul
Avatar
Retired AE Moderator

Joined: 02-Aug-2004
Location: Poland
Status: Offline
Points: 368
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TJK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Aug-2004 at 14:18
Quote irst of all, the swis peasantry was not poor, in fact the peasants of Swabia were the richest in the whole HRE, possibly in whole Europe. Swabia itself is of corse not a rich province, but the peasantry was, that's why there has been the peasantwar and other minor uprisings in that area early in the 16th century.

Well, I have really no knowledge about  the economical position of Swiss peasantry..but what have the Swabia here to do ?

Quote second, the Swiss were in fact self governing since the Zähringer dynasty died out in the early 13th century, the Swiss did therefore not fight for independence, they only wanted to prevent immediate Habsburg dominance after they attempted to connect their original holdings in northern Switzerland with the holdings in Austria. Swiss were at no point opressed.



Sorry Temujin but I don't see the  contradictions here..Habsburgs attempt  to subordinate the  "Forest Cantons", thus Swiss have fight for independence despite the fact they were more or less independent  before..

Quote but it was not the same as the macedonian phalanx of ancient times, the Swiss Gewalthaufen had an caree-like defensive formation that was not known in ancient Greece, similarities are therefore conincidental.

I have never claim that it was identical with Macedonian phalanx, but similarities were great however. As for the carre-like defensive formation  look for the last stage of battle of Magnesia where the Seleukos phalanx have formed such carre (or just look the expamles of Macedonian formations in the "Armies of Ancient World " by John Warry )

Quote and Swiss or German swere not more bloodthirsty thatn everyone else is in a bloodthirsty world...

I don't mean Swiss and Germans but Swiss vs Landknechts which were in fact the rivals as a mercenaries...




Back to Top
Quetzalcoatl View Drop Down
Samurai
Samurai
Avatar

Joined: 05-Aug-2004
Location: Jamaica
Status: Offline
Points: 985
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Quetzalcoatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Aug-2004 at 19:35

Originally posted by Roughneck Roughneck wrote:

About as hard as rationalizing the land of Beethoven, Motzart, and Einstein give us Hitler, Himmler, and Heydrich?

 

 What is it Austria or Germany, Mozart and Hitler were austrians, so you are mixing two countries together.

Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  123 4>
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 11.10
Copyright ©2001-2017 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.062 seconds.