Pikes more defensive?

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Vespasian28
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Pikes more defensive?

Post by Vespasian28 » Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:43 pm

From reading the rules I guess the pikes of this period are viewed as more a defensive weapon than an attacking one?

They don't get quite the same POA as in FOGAM, needing a fourth rank to get a single +, but in three ranks negate a lot of what might be coming their way. And of course are very good against mounted.

But, unless I'm reading it wrong, could someone explain the rationale of Spear and heavy weapons getting a plus if they were up against unprotected shot but three ranks of pike would only be evens?

Looking at the starter army for the French I was surprised to see both Swiss and Landsknechts in the same army. Can I assume my paltry knowledge gleaned from older army lists is incorrect and these were great chums willing to fight side by side?

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Re: Pikes more defensive?

Post by david53 » Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:41 pm

Vespasian28 wrote:From reading the rules I guess the pikes of this period are viewed as more a defensive weapon than an attacking one?

Very true but good against Cavalry/Hoses or mounted.

timmy1
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Post by timmy1 » Sun Sep 26, 2010 3:00 pm

Vespasian

I have questioned this. At later dates for that list the Swiss and Landsknechts were in the same French army but it is quite late on. Early you are 100% right - they were only in the same French army on one recorded occasion.

As for Pike being a defensive weapon, that is partly so. However this is very much a combined arms thing. Unless the Pikes are DF they are usually a defensive weapon and that is right for the period (and frankly is right for much of AM as well but lets not go there). Push of Pike CAN work but Pike next to Shot enables the Shot to be much more agressive. Pike go with Salvo foot and the single plus if you are still 3 ranks deep can make all the difference. Unless the Shot have sword or HW, facing mounted in the open without Pike is really too risky so they have to hang back. With Pike the Shot have nothing to fear frontally.

For DF it is not the question of the +POA but rather what occurs if you make your opponent take a CT.

rbodleyscott
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Post by rbodleyscott » Sun Sep 26, 2010 3:29 pm

Pike only work as Offensive weapons in FOGR if they are at least 4 bases deep (including halberdiers or swordsmen).

Pretty much everyone is on 1 POA less than in FOGAM in close combat.

So the net difference between 4 ranks deep pike and most other close combat foot is still + POA, exactly the same as in FOGAM.

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Re: Pikes more defensive?

Post by rbodleyscott » Sun Sep 26, 2010 3:46 pm

Vespasian28 wrote:But, unless I'm reading it wrong, could someone explain the rationale of Spear and heavy weapons getting a plus if they were up against unprotected shot but three ranks of pike would only be evens?
Because we don't want 3 ranks deep pikes to get a net POA vs shot, we only want the deeper formations to do so. Cannot apply the same logic to spears and HW because they really ought to be only 2 bases deep.

I wouldn't worry too much about what spears and HW do or don't do, you won't see many.

Most importantly they don't get a POA vs (at least) 3 rank deep or protected pikes, so 4 deep pike will have a net + POA against them.
Looking at the starter army for the French I was surprised to see both Swiss and Landsknechts in the same army. Can I assume my paltry knowledge gleaned from older army lists is incorrect and these were great chums willing to fight side by side?
Chums or not, they certainly did at Pavia in 1525.

puster
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Defensive Pikes

Post by puster » Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:55 pm

Grimmelshausen (a chap living through the 30yw) wrote that a pikeman is an innocent man, for rarely does he actually harm another being.

Once the arquebus/musket became better, the pike became a defensive weapon. The "push of pike", where the main battle were groups of pikemen that went into a huge melee and sooner or later one side broke and was slaughtered, became largely a thing of the past after the Italian wars and Ceresole. Imho the rules handle this well - huge blocks of pikes DO get that advantage (and outpouring cc-specialists), while later on the pike mainly protect the muskets.

deadtorius
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Post by deadtorius » Sun Sep 26, 2010 11:33 pm

I do recall reading that there was a small group of Landsknechts who fought for the king of France. They wore armour that was darkened black in fire to distinguish them from other Landsknechts who they might end up facing. The Emperor considered them traitors and gave them one shot at returning to their proper side with a pardon, I think any time they were captured after that it was execution as a traitor.
How is that for work incentive?

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Post by rbodleyscott » Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:19 am

deadtorius wrote:I do recall reading that there was a small group of Landsknechts who fought for the king of France.
4,000 to 5,000 of them, so not that small.

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Black band (not Bande nere)

Post by puster » Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:28 am

>4,000 to 5,000 of them, so not that small.

At times there were more. At Marignano the Landsknechts made up the core of his infantry, and were most likely stronger. Accounts vary between 6 and 10000.

The core of these were the "Black Band", the "Schwarzer Haufen", a unit that probably went back to survivors of the Black band that was in action in northern Germany around 1500 (eg for Denmark against Sweden, or in Dithmarshen). These were permanently in French service. It is afaik not clear wether all the Landsknechts at Marignano were part of this group, or wether other Fähnlein took temporary French service here.
The Black Band were utterly destroyed by the Imperial landsknechts at Pavia, where it allegedly was around 5000 strong and fought beside Swiss troops (or rather in the same army). It was rebuild fast. A new Black Band, roughly 2000 in strength, was part of the French troops at the siege of Naples in 28 (besieging the remnants of the army that had sacked Rome), where it fought along a roughly 1500 strong "White Band" of Landsknechts in Venetian service. When the siege and the League army unravelled, the survivors were given the chance to join the Imperial Landsknechts - so the bitter rivalry that existed between the Imperials and French some three years before must have evaporated, probably with the total destruction at Pavia.

On the rivalry between Swiss and Landsknecht, it must be said that when Maximilian singled out some 20 Landsknechts for depiction in his Triumph, 2 of these were "Aidgenoß" (Swiss - there also is an English and one Spaniard).

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Re: Defensive Pikes

Post by Montesa » Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:32 am

puster wrote:Grimmelshausen (a chap living through the 30yw) wrote that a pikeman is an innocent man, for rarely does he actually harm another being.
Is the quote from the picaresque novel Simplicius Simplicissimus?
I have the books but haven't read them.

puster
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Re: Defensive Pikes

Post by puster » Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:46 am

Montesa wrote:
puster wrote:Grimmelshausen (a chap living through the 30yw) wrote that a pikeman is an innocent man, for rarely does he actually harm another being.
Is the quote from the picaresque novel Simplicius Simplicissimus?
I have the books but haven't read them.
Its not quoted but from memory, but yes, its from Simplicius Simplicissimus.

"Ein Musketier ist zwar eine wohlgeplagte arme Kreatur; aber wenn ich ihn gegen einen elenden Pikenier halte,
so besitzt er gegen ihn noch eine herrliche Glückseligkeit [ ...]
dannhero glaube ich, daß der jenige, der einen Pikenier niedermacht, den er sonst verschonen könnte, einen unschuldigen ermordet.
[...]
in Summa, ich habe in meinem Leben viele scharfe Occasionen gesehen, aber selten wahrgenommen, das ein Pikenier jemand umgebracht hätte."

Translated:
A musketeer is a poor wretched creature, but compared to a pikemen he lives in joyfull happiness
I believe that whoever kills a pikeman (without need) murderes an innocent.
I have seen many sharp engagements in my life, but rarely have I seen that I pikemen killed somebody


We have to consider, however, that Grimmelshausen only joined the army in the mid thirties, so he missed the first phase where pikeman probably have seen more action. In addition, he wrote his book some twenty years later.


What I forgot to mention on the issue of the new "Black band" before Naples in 1528 - they did serve alongside a Swiss contingent, also in French service. Naturally the Swiss were not able to join the Imperial Landsknechts after the army dissolved and had to return home without weapons. It is reported that only very few made it back towards home through the war wrecked Italy, were peasants were keen to take revenge and protect their homes from hungry trespassers.

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Post by timmy1 » Mon Sep 27, 2010 7:44 pm

There are certainly records of push of pike in the ECW but modern historians think it was just that - to the extent that some wag decided to rename 'the Pike and Shot Society' to 'the Push and Shove Society'. Very few recorded instances of people being killed frontally by Pike - lots killed running away though.

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