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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > Warfare Through the Ages > The Medieval Era

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The Medieval Era Discussions on Knights and Crusaders, and all things medieval!

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  #31  
Old 06 Sep 17, 10:14
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Originally Posted by Surrey View Post
Interesting point about Towton compared to other battles. The numbers involved were much greater than any other English medieval battle. Also much greater than the size of armies that England deployed in the 100 year war in France or if the armies used against the Scots or Welsh.

Where did all these apparently trained and experience soldiers come from?
Modern estimates put the numbers at about twice those of 2nd St Albans. The older histories from Victorian times tend to take the somewhat wild claims of the chroniclers at face value.

We do know from accounts of other battles that Owen Tudor was not above shipping in French and Breton mercenaries and Irish kerns to support the Lancastrians and doubtless the Yorkists did something similar. This would be expensive and probably could not be sustained for all battles and campaigns.

Also the war had more than one theatre of operations and each side was deploying their forces accordingly so that for example Edward Mortimer was attempting to stop Owen Tudor's Welsh forces from joining up with Margret's main army advancing on London. I think that Towton was a battle when both sides were able to concentrate much of their forces
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Last edited by MarkV; 06 Sep 17 at 10:27..
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  #32  
Old 06 Sep 17, 10:15
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allow me to add the question:
were there not desertions, before the battle? maybe whole groups?
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  #33  
Old 06 Sep 17, 10:28
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Not desertions as such, at the time going into battle was still very much an individual decision.

The 700 mentioned above that marched from here to the battle of the Golden Spurs, did so in disagreement with actual government of the city at the time which decided (quite sensibly) to hedge their bets between the count, king and rebellious citizens.

Thus a few local knights gathered a willing battalion and marched to battle, no doubt other locals fought for the King of France and still others simply stayed at home having decided to sit this one out.

"Desertion" really only comes into play when nation states and standing armies appear on the scene.

The idea of being obliged to fight for your "country" is all in all a modern one.
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  #34  
Old 06 Sep 17, 10:31
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allow me to add the question:
were there not desertions, before the battle? maybe whole groups?
Probably not a lot as both sides were either volunteers or mercenaries (who didn't get the rest of their pay until after the battle). Nobody had forced either of them to be there. At this period there was no conscription, draft or whatever.
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  #35  
Old 06 Sep 17, 10:45
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Originally Posted by Snowygerry View Post
Not desertions as such, at the time going into battle was still very much an individual decision.

The 700 mentioned above that marched from here to the battle of the Golden Spurs, did so in disagreement with actual government of the city at the time which decided (quite sensibly) to hedge their bets between the count, king and rebellious citizens.

Thus a few local knights gathered a willing battalion and marched to battle, no doubt other locals fought for the King of France and still others simply stayed at home having decided to sit this one out.

"Desertion" really only comes into play when nation states and standing armies appear on the scene.

The idea of being obliged to fight for your "country" is all in all a modern one.
Although in Feudal times and lands one was expected to fight for your lord. One problem if one was an agricultural peasant (as almost everybody was) is where do you desert to? Trying to fit in in a different manor to the one you came from you would stick out like a sore thumb and the local lordship was unlikely to be favourably disposed to someone who had betrayed one of his fellow nobles (and might well think that a public hanging would discourage the spread of such pernicious ideas. You could go over to the other side but you'd still be expected to fight. Moving to a town might be safer but unless you had a special skill and could persuade the local guilds to accept you you'd probably not prosper
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  #36  
Old 06 Sep 17, 13:11
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good, logical points....much helpful in trying to imagine more of the reality....and the ''up close'' aspect, instead of the usual strategic one
..and very interesting
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  #37  
Old 06 Sep 17, 17:03
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surrey View Post
Interesting point about Towton compared to other battles. The numbers involved were much greater than any other English medieval battle. Also much greater than the size of armies that England deployed in the 100 year war in France or if the armies used against the Scots or Welsh.

Where did all these apparently trained and experience soldiers come from?
lets not dismiss what was written about the era Re: when old Richard was found, the evidence made the (It's all Lancastrian propaganda and Shakespere lies) Yorkist believers cry

Towton was said to have lasted for ten hours, which means there had to have been some form of relief for those who were unwounded and slogging it out. Even a modern boxer, all stripped down to a bare minimum, an excellent diet and training regime, couldn't keep fighting for more than about half hour solid. A bloke in 30 kilo's 66 lbs of equipment, (his gauntlets would weigh more than what a boxer wears) swinging or pushing with his weapon would be hard pressed to keep it up for more than a few minutes, so there must have either been an organised rotation of the front ranks some how, or there could even have been an agreed respite between the two sides. This of course goes for more than just the battle of Towton.

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  #38  
Old 06 Sep 17, 18:39
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Originally Posted by Dibble201Bty View Post
lets not dismiss what was written about the era Re: when old Richard was found, the evidence made the (It's all Lancastrian propaganda and Shakespere lies) Yorkist believers cry

Towton was said to have lasted for ten hours, which means there had to have been some form of relief for those who were unwounded and slogging it out. Even a modern boxer, all stripped down to a bare minimum, an excellent diet and training regime, couldn't keep fighting for more than about half hour solid. A bloke in 30 kilo's 66 lbs of equipment, (his gauntlets would weigh more than what a boxer wears) swinging or pushing with his weapon would be hard pressed to keep it up for more than a few minutes, so there must have either been an organised rotation of the front ranks some how, or there could even have been an agreed respite between the two sides. This of course goes for more than just the battle of Towton.

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I thought MarkV meant that they all didn't fight at once and/or continuously....?
..wouldn't they have jockeyed for position/etc...and MarkV mentioned the distance weapons would ''initiate'' the action...?
this would all take time....?
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  #39  
Old 06 Sep 17, 19:05
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Originally Posted by Moulin View Post
I thought MarkV meant that they all didn't fight at once and/or continuously....?
..wouldn't they have jockeyed for position/etc...and MarkV mentioned the distance weapons would ''initiate'' the action...?
this would all take time....?
Dibble is re hashing an old idea which is almost as ancient as the battles themselves and has been asked about fights as old as the Romans versus Carthage. Of course they didn't stand and hack at each other for hours - that's an old naive idea. The battles contained maneuvering, short sorties and a lot of missile fire. Just as today some elements would be held in reserve and not committed until the time was right. The battle may have lasted ten ours but it is simplistic to suggest that every man was fighting continuously for ten hours
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  #40  
Old 06 Sep 17, 21:11
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Even a battle with Herself, who's as implacable as a Terminator on wizz, rarely lasts a full ten hours.

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  #41  
Old 07 Sep 17, 07:34
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Often the longest part of the battle was the mopping up. Analysis of the Towton bodies looking at the number and type of wounds, the direction from which they were inflicted and the location where the bones were found suggests that the majority of the dead were killed in this last stage. No quarter was offered at Towton so the victorious side spent considerable time running down and killing the routed and stripping the body of valuables. The battle effectively ended when it got dark and the survivors could get away.

Once everyone was in position (which would also take time), fighting would start with a missile exchange. At Towton the Yorkist arrows were hitting their targets whilst the Lancastrian ones were falling short so the Lancastrian archers had to move up closer. The time when men were close enough to hack at each other would be relatively short.
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