Medieval Warfare Essay

1150 words - 5 pages

The Medieval period was a time of noblemen who fought for love, honor, and country under a code of chivalry. "Chivalry comes from the French word cheval, chivalry means someone who fights from horseback. The term also meant "knighthood".(Matthews, Platt, Thomas p.234-235)." In this period the nobility used war as a way to show their power and hold their status by being professional soldiers. There were also lots of soldiers from the lower classes who were led into battle under nobles. These soldiers fought for the nobleman to maintain their safety and land. The soldiers rode into battle on their horses in full armor with weapons drawn ready to defeat their enemies one by one. They laid siege castles for weeks and months at a time until the battle was won.
To better understand warfare in medieval times we must look at the armor and weapons that were used in battle. According to Rogers, "The main hand weapon for most types of soldiers throughout the medieval period was the sword (Rogers p.432) ". The war hammer and mace were also used by the cavalry soldiers as close range weapons. "These weapons were made of iron so they would be heavier and were capable of inflicting more damage against heavily armored soldiers (Rogers p.440). There were some innovations at this time that helped the cavalry soldier, like the high saddle. "This saddle had high supports in front of and behind the rider, and stirrups which made it possible for the cavalryman to remain firmly in the saddle during a rapid charge (Bradbury p.19)". For the soldiers on the ground other weapons like Longbows, crossbows, slings, and poleaxes were used. According to Rogers, "The sling was a weapon for lower-status soldiers (Rogers p.441)". The longbow was a very portable weapon which could do lots of damage at a long range which is why it was used extensively in battle. There were also larger weapons used to do damage to buildings and walls called siege weapons. "Among these weapons were trebuchets which were throwing machines and springalds which would launch large projectiles at fortified walls (Prestwich p. 287)". Now that we know what weapons were being used, it is time to look at the tactics that were involved.
The archers, foot soldiers, and cavalry all had to work together in order to make the battle go right. "The army would be broken down into three formations of which cavalry, foot soldiers, and archers were separated to attack at different times (Verbruggen p.209)". Each of these ranks of soldiers have their own job in the battle. The archers would usually start the battle and try to cause a break in the enemy's infantry formation. Once there was a break in formation the infantry men would attack the lines of the enemy until the breaks in formation got larger. Finally the cavalry men would come in on horses and wreak havoc on the enemy's infantry. The battle must be fought like this because if the infantry was to advance first they would meet the other infantry, and if the...

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