Other Medieval Weapons

Q&A: Why failed to medieval infantry strike cavarly with lengthy pike? Why was cavarly so robust?

Query by rap1zip1: Why failed to medieval infantry strike cavarly with prolonged pike? Why was cavarly so strong?
Given that the Charles Martel’s Battle of Tours (7th Century) to 14th Century, the strongest medieval military drive was cavalry. But I do not comprehend this. As depicted in the Braveheart movie, infantry (foot troopers) can strike horse with extremely long pikes simply (much longer than knight’s pike). This is not a rocket science. Anyone can assume of this. Then, why was not each infantry attempt the exact same?? Pike Square tactic was not invented right up until late 15th Century!! Why?

Greatest answer:

Answer by Feisty
They did — they wedged a single conclude into the floor and tried to spear the horse. But keep in mind, the horses had been armored too — and they had to locate tiny chinks in it. Not as effortless as it appears!

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6 Thoughts to “Q&A: Why failed to medieval infantry strike cavarly with lengthy pike? Why was cavarly so robust?”

  1. Mr. Bigglesworth

    I’m guessing it’s because a only knights were cavalry, and there weren’t that many of them compared to the huge numbers of foot soldiers. Therefore they wouldn’t have seen them that often.

    Just a guess…..

  2. . .

    Movies don’t make good tactical lessons. I’m sure there were cases where something like that more-or-less worked but come-on – Cavalry can go around. They needn’t face-off against the Infantry and typically didn’t.
    A successful Calvary charge would press beyond the forward edge of battle by exploiting gaps in the line or vulnerable flanks. It would force the command center to flee leaving the lines without consolidated direction so they dissolve.
    An unsuccessful Cavalry attack was usually one that was correctly forecast so was repelled by opposing cavalry and artillery.

  3. RDG78

    I concur with “Feisty.” but must add that the horses were moving. Try hitting a moving target. You can’t always count on movies to get things right.

  4. JASON K

    To answer why, it is because it took that long to perfect a defense against heavy cavalry. Movies are generally loose in terms of historical accuracy. “Braveheart” was very well done, but due to safety and budget constraints, historical sacrifices had to be made. In medieval times, the cavalry was so strong because the war horses were immense beasts, probably double the weight of the horses in the movie, and extremely well-armored with barding; So the Clansmens’ pikes would not have been nearly as effective in reality. Plus, the English general certainly would have fired more than two volleys of arrows before the charge, and the cavalry would not have approached from the front. Actual battles lasted most of a day as skirmishers traded fire and formations jockeyed for position.

    That said, I loved that movie.

  5. ammianus

    Firstly, medieval cavalry were heavily armored (even the horses sometimes) and very highly trained. Being mounted, they had much more mobility than infantry.
    Secondly, proficiency with pike or long spear took a long time to learn effectively, so only a relatively few infantry in each army would have reached this level.The strength of pike units is the ability of the individual men to operate as a single unit,very difficult to achieve in an era where infantry were mostly levies rather than professionals.
    Thirdly, such formations lacked mobility and manoeuvrabilityy – they were only useful moving forward, and changing direction in such formation was simply beyond the ability of the soldiers of the day. Such troops were therefore vulnerable to attacks in flank and rear from cavalry. Their lack of mobility made them easy archery targets,and English tactics were usually to break up the formation with volleys of arrows before sending in the cavalry.
    Finally, it requires a certain degree of courage to stand with your pike or spear awaiting a charging knight on horseback in full armor – as mentioned previously, infantry at this time were mostly feudal levies and rarely had any knowledge of, let alone identification with, the causes their leaders had them fighting for.

  6. Randy F

    Weapons are developed by need. With the use of the heavy horse came the pike.

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