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Author Topic: Scottish Pike Blocks Structure  (Read 1076 times)

Offline Terry37

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Scottish Pike Blocks Structure
« on: March 23, 2018, 04:00:22 PM »
I have been reading about Flodden, and also picked up the Osprey book on the Scots during Tudor time - Flodden to Pinkie, and the Pike block with the heavily armored forming the front ranks, and at least at Flodden with pavises, seems to have been their primary tactic. But what I can't find is anything further about the make up of the Scottish pike blocks.

Were they all pikes or did they have skirmishers of arquebusiers on the flanks as other nations who used pike blocks had?

Thanks,

Terry
"My heart has joined the thousand for a friend stopped running today." - Richard Adams

Online commissarmoody

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Re: Scottish Pike Blocks Structure
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2018, 02:38:46 AM »
From what I understand they tried to rely on the border horse and highlanders for their Archery and skermish compoint.
I can't remember the numbers but, a bunch of handguns where gifted to the Scots by the French. But I belive most of them arrived after the army had set out, so most likely a few would be on hand. But not in large numbers.
Also from the what I have read, even though they had a few French sergeant training them in the continental style of arms. They really didn't have much time to perfect the techniques, so a well trained Swiss style mercenary canton they where not.
"Peace" is that brief, glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading.

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Online commissarmoody

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Re: Scottish Pike Blocks Structure
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2018, 02:39:44 AM »
What scale are you planning on gameing this? And might see about moving this to the medieval form. I belive it will get more attention there. :)
« Last Edit: March 27, 2018, 02:43:49 AM by commissarmoody »

Offline Terry37

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Re: Scottish Pike Blocks Structure
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2018, 03:09:22 AM »
I am looking at the Tudor period, or roughly 1500-1544, about the reign of Henry VIII. Definitely for the renaissance time period.

I am a 15 MM gamer and play primarily HOTT. I am trying to determine if I need to put all pike figures on the base or a mix of pikes and other supporting weapons.

From all of my research, it seems that what you say in your first reply sums it up, so that the pike blocks were simply just that pikes and nothing else.

Thanks for the replies!

Terry

Offline the scott

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Re: Scottish Pike Blocks Structure
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2018, 04:00:10 AM »
I will be following this one with some interest as l would like to do a Scottish forces for my WOTR so they can come south and dance with the English and also for Flodden just go to find the figures in 28mm yours Andrew

Online commissarmoody

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Re: Scottish Pike Blocks Structure
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2018, 04:54:06 AM »
Glade to help. Only offered the medieval suggestion because of the merger of the two era's at this point. At least as far as combat in the Isle's is considered.

I have been looking at doing this campaign/battle with some 28mm Perry figs.
Good luck with your project.   :D

Offline LCpl McDoom

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Re: Scottish Pike Blocks Structure
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2018, 09:20:08 AM »
Hi Terry,
I did some research on all this for the 500th anniversary so will see if I can provide you some useful info. I can certainly draw up a recommended booklist if you need this?

In summary though, you have it all going in the right direction.

Firstly, it is Renaissance, despite the English profession-of-arms at this point still harking back to WotR/Late Medieval.

Secondly, James IV had set out, with his French advisors, to mimic the continental tactics. The Scots nobility had joined in with this, and as always, had to be seen to be leading from the front ranks.

So if you were to structure a suitable looking Scots phalanx it would look very Swiss for the most part, just with several ranks at the front of well-armed and armoured men-at-arms, mostly carrying pikes, some hefting other polearms. The core would be part armoured pikemen, and the rear the less well-equipped probably with just pot helmet and padded jack.

Also consider that the 'divisions' of the Scots army would have had slight differences and distinctions from each other. The most successful was Hume's and Huntly's on the far-left of the Scots battle-line. I'd ignore the notion of some writers stating these were Border pikemen and Gordon highlanders  o_o

It's more likely that Hume's Borderers, collected from various riding families, fought dismounted with some pikes and their own lances. Huntly's Gordon troops had been drawn from various parts of the House of Gordon 'empire'. So you would have seen many Lowlanders as pikemen for the main part, but a few Highlanders serving adequately as the skirmisher role - in as near to Swiss fashion as possible. I believe that formation and structure is far more realistic and likely, and would also explain why out of all the Scots 'divisions' it was also the most successful in the battle.

I'd be happy to provide more info/ideas if you want to discuss it further.

Offline Terry37

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Re: Scottish Pike Blocks Structure
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2018, 05:20:42 PM »
LCpl, Thank you very much for the feedback, some I am aware of but some I was not, and is exceptionally useful.

To be more specific about what I am trying to discern let me explain my Swiss Pike formations in French service. They consist of a central block of pikemen, with the front ranks being the more armored, while the rear ranks very little armored. On the flanks I have halberdiers. All of these figures are mounted on a single base. Then I have some arquebusiers based separately that act as skirmishers.

OK, that being the model, would the Scottish pike blocks have anything like the halberdiers on the flanks or would they just be composed of only pikemen?

Thanks again,

Terry

Offline LCpl McDoom

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Re: Scottish Pike Blocks Structure
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2018, 06:10:50 PM »
I would suggest that Huntly & Hume's division would have some flank-guards armed with non-pike weapons, probably armoured nobility and well-appointed men with half-pikes, spears, some halberds, plus other polearms like the Jeddart axe. As we agree, the front-rank would be well-armoured, even equipped to a degree with some pavises and bucklers/targes. This division would also have a capable screen of skirmishers if we consider Hume's Borderers and their usual armaments, and the Gordon men drawn from both lowland and highland estates with what they would carry and how they would usually fight. I believe that defines the successful 'division' - one that the rest of the Scots army failed to copy.

The next 'division' coming on in echelon would have been that of the Earls of Errol, Montrose and Crawford. I personally doubt they would have had any skirmish element at all, and any flank-guards would be the same as above - some polearms and similar weapons. So it's less proficient and under-equipped to act in the Swiss manner (often remarked as the 'Allemain' manner, meaning German-Swiss to a sixteenth century British audience). Then throw in some poor quality ground just in front of the English positions, and with no light troops to forewarn you or find a safe route thru that, this division is in trouble.

The Royal division would have been the King's household, and anyone and everyone who thought James IV was the best thing since sugar cones were first imported would jostle to be seen here! Again, I'd suggest no light troops worth considering adequate enough for screening the advance, not that they would have been permitted to stride off in front of the King's own personal space anyway. Cluster around all the 'new' nobility, the Kirk (church) men, officers, lackeys, etc., and I'd suggest it was the same as before, if flank-guards could be bothered with, it would have been lesser mortals tasked to do this by the nobility busy looking good around their King.

Bothwell had the Reserve with d'Aussi and all that happened here was that the troops were fed piecemeal into the rear of the King's division, and it's doubtful they were ever meant to do anything else.

And finally you have Lennox and Argyll, with the clan/highland element, who probably would have been better as a cloud of light troops in front of a broad assault by the whole army. Instead they were kept as a flank-guard to the army, a large contingent of mostly unarmoured and ill-prepared troops who were not best placed in the frontline of a fight like this.



   
« Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 06:12:36 PM by LCpl McDoom »

Offline Terry37

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Re: Scottish Pike Blocks Structure
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2018, 04:58:13 PM »
LCpl, Thanks again for he great info. From your last reply sounds like it pretty much depends on which pike block I am doing. To clarify, I am more of a generic gamer, but try to base my armies on historical. But if I were just going to do a generic Scottish pike block of the Flodden time frame, do you recommend adding flanker type defenders on the sides of the pike block? If so, what would you most recommend? I also assume they would not be clansmen.

Terry

Offline LCpl McDoom

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Re: Scottish Pike Blocks Structure
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2018, 08:28:23 PM »
No, I wouldn't put flankers into the mix. It's a generic weakness of them trying to take on Swiss/Continental tactics and not quite getting it right, with just the Huntly/Hume exception.

Online commissarmoody

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Re: Scottish Pike Blocks Structure
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2018, 12:48:53 AM »
No, I wouldn't put flankers into the mix. It's a generic weakness of them trying to take on Swiss/Continental tactics and not quite getting it right, with just the Huntly/Hume exception.
Beat me too it!  lol

Offline Terry37

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Re: Scottish Pike Blocks Structure
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2018, 02:53:50 PM »
Thanks gentlemen! That was the way I was leaning, so appreciate some educated support. You all have been a very big help!

Terry