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Author Topic: Question about the battle of Flodden  (Read 531 times)

Offline rampantlion

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Question about the battle of Flodden
« on: January 13, 2021, 05:22:35 PM »
I understand that the Scottish pike units had pavises in their front ranks before the start of the battle to help protect against the English longbows.  As the Scots closed towards the enemy lines when did they drop the pavises?  I assume the moment that they started moving forwards?

Thanks  -  Allen

Offline Atheling

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Re: Question about the battle of Flodden
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2021, 06:57:31 PM »
I understand that the Scottish pike units had pavises in their front ranks before the start of the battle to help protect against the English longbows.  As the Scots closed towards the enemy lines when did they drop the pavises?  I assume the moment that they started moving forwards?

Thanks  -  Allen

I think we can safely assume that they did just that. Carrying a pike and a Pavise, even slung on ones back, would have been a difficult undertaking.

Though perhaps a question better answered by reenactors?

Offline OB

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Re: Question about the battle of Flodden
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2021, 08:43:47 PM »
I understand that the Scottish pike units had pavises in their front ranks before the start of the battle to help protect against the English longbows.  As the Scots closed towards the enemy lines when did they drop the pavises?  I assume the moment that they started moving forwards?

Thanks  -  Allen

If not before hand.  The accounts we have of the fighting note the Sots Pike blocks front ranks were very well armoured.  English archery doesn't seem to have had much effect on them.  It was the English artillery that triggered the Scots advance from the defensive.

It's an interesting battle when considered in detail.

Offline Atheling

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Re: Question about the battle of Flodden
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2021, 06:31:47 AM »
If not before hand.  The accounts we have of the fighting note the Sots Pike blocks front ranks were very well armoured.  English archery doesn't seem to have had much effect on them.  It was the English artillery that triggered the Scots advance from the defensive.

It's an interesting battle when considered in detail.

With Flodden we suffer from that age old bugbear of medieval warfare in that we have to reconstruct so damn much. This is not entirely illogical as it may appear, after all, they were "us" and using reason to construct events prior to and during the first moments of an given battle is not wildly abusive of said reasonable argument. There are often gaping contradictions. Take Verneuil 1424. Jean de Wavrin whjo fought for the English at said battle where he describes the battle in some detail but drops a clanger later when he states that he could not describe the battle as he was solely set on defending himself. I suspect that this is true of many first hand accounts of battle set in the Late Medieval era and throughout history.

The bane of wargamers but gold of archaeological battle reconstructor.

Offline OB

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Re: Question about the battle of Flodden
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2021, 09:28:23 AM »
All true. 

I think this is an interesting read.  Towards the end you will see a reference to the wind direction impeding the English archery. I hadn't paid much attention to it before.


https://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archiveDS/archiveDownload?t=arch-352-1/dissemination/pdf/vol_007/7_141_152.pdf

Offline Stuart

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Re: Question about the battle of Flodden
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2021, 03:45:16 PM »
The Scots began their advance as a result of the attrition of the English artillery, in doing so they then had to contend with bows as well, a contemporary account states;

ĎThey were so surely harnessed with complete harness, German jacks, rivets, splents, pavises and other habiliments that shot of arrows in regard did them no harm.í

It would therefore appear that they advanced at least part of the way with pavises. How on earth you do that in 3/4 to full armour (it was only the front ranks) downhill in wet weather is beyond me.

Iíve often wondered if it was something the French captains recommended.

Offline Atheling

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Re: Question about the battle of Flodden
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2021, 03:58:47 PM »

Iíve often wondered if it was something the French captains recommended.

Interesting point.....  ??? ??? ???

Offline rampantlion

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Re: Question about the battle of Flodden
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2021, 04:56:21 PM »
Thanks all for the input.  I too read somewhere recently about the wind hindering the English archery.  I also found it interesting that both sides started out the battle with an artillery duel instead of aiming the artillery at the enemy formations as a whole.  The account that I was reading also stated the the Scots artillery commander was killed during this duel of cannons and it disheartened the rest of the artillerymen and contributed to their leaving the field.  They also were not particularly effective and I have heard various accounts as to why.

Offline Baron von Wreckedoften

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Re: Question about the battle of Flodden
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2021, 09:16:55 AM »
Given that the front ranks were occupied by the nobility, is it possible (and simply unrecorded because it was unremarkable) that the pavisse was carried by a servant, at least on the march forward if not once the formation came into action?
No plan survives first contact with the dice.

Offline Atheling

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Re: Question about the battle of Flodden
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2021, 09:38:01 AM »
Given that the front ranks were occupied by the nobility, is it possible (and simply unrecorded because it was unremarkable) that the pavisse was carried by a servant, at least on the march forward if not once the formation came into action?

Again, an interesting possibility. There's no reason I can think of why a page, of some description, would not be required to carry out such a duty; if it was the case.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Question about the battle of Flodden
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2021, 01:20:38 PM »
Front couple of ranks were nobility and professional soldiers. One interesting point on that is the record that around 300 suits of armour were specifically carted and taken from the Scots dead after the battle.

Iím assuming that would be that of the nobles, the rest lesser quality but of any interest being lifted by the English troops. It gives an idea of the scale of representation to aim for when modelling figures.

Re pavises and modelling itís a trap of gaming to be mindful that this was a peculiar feature of this campaign/battle and not typical of an early 16c Scots army. Thereís no reference of their use again.

It makes sense in the fact that Jamesí original battle plan was for the English to assault his army supported by artillery in a dug in position. A static defence would make sense for the use of pavises.

The army then moved to Flodden in the afternoon to avoid being flanked and still the Scots planned to use their artillery to force the English to assault uphill, again where a pavise may make more sense.

Using them on the offensive was not planned and I think not necessarily something adapted by all.

I think if (when) I come to represent this Iíll make small bases of figures with pavises to put in front of my existing pike blocks. As opposed to having them IN the pike blocks as it limits their depiction to Flodden only.

It all depends on how important that is to you but I think by way of conclusion pikes with pavises is the Scots at Flodden only and not the Scots Army of 1500-1540.

Things like this are misleading in poorly researched army lists

 

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