Study The Rise Of Swiss Heavy Infantry. Describe The Arms, Armor And Tactical Formation Of The Swiss Heavy Infantryman.

695 words - 3 pages

Study the rise of Swiss heavy infantry. Describe the arms, armor and tactical formation of the Swiss heavy infantryman. How is the Swiss heavy infantry different from earlier medieval heavy infantry?For the most part, Western Europe was dominated by cavalry heavy armies, an attribute to the feudalization that spawned from France; however, it was in the un-feudalized sections of Europe that infantry dominated. Nowhere was this more prevalent in the region that became known as the Swiss Federation, and since the power of the mounted knight was so relied upon during the Hundred Years' War, this heavy infantry tactic was by no means a new concept, but considering the time of its reemergence, it was revolutionary.To counter the power of the mounted knight, the opponent had either to withstand the shock of a mounted assault against its infantry or be able to deliver sufficient missiles from a distance great enough to inflict casualties on the mounted formation to prevent it closing with the infantry. Generally, infantry was formed in one long "wall" or deployed in a ring or crescent for greater defensive strength. A position held in depth would have a solid formation with no hollow--one reason that the heavy Swiss infantrymen were never 'pike pure' formations, one was their lack of manpower, and the other was the recurrent need for a missile offensive/defensive combined-arms punch, in the case of the Swiss, this was usually in the form of crossbowmen. The Swiss revitalization of infantry came by simply reinventing the Macedonian phalanx, complete with 18-foot pikes similar to the sarissae used by Alexander's infantry sixteen hundred years earlier. The Swiss infantry, or halsberdsmen, with pikes at the ready, were the first infantry to stand and absorb the shock of the heavy cavalry charge--with their halberds (which was an assortment of pikes, polearms, and the Swiss Morgenstern) and axe throwers, attacked the knights by chopping off the legs of the horses and butchering the knights as they lay helpless on the ground, as demonstrated by the crushing defeat of the Burgundians at the Battle of Laupen in 1339.The...

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