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atrimus


Location: Saint Louis, MO
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 2,487


I’m interested in doing a bit of reading on historic military combat, from the various weapon types used and their purposes, to military tactics, siege and defense structures, military rankings, unit formations, etc, primarily from the medieval period to anytime prior. Does anyone have any suggestions of good books or websites I could get this information?



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Late Great Donald Blake 

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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,566




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atrimus


Location: Saint Louis, MO
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 2,487


I read (and amateur write) my share of high fantasy, which is generally based around a medieval aesthetic. I’ve always been curious how accurate warfare in fantasy was to actual medieval warfare.



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Kev Agent of The Shadow


Location: Fair Oaks CA aka Rivendell
Member Since: Tue Jun 01, 2004
Posts: 2,922


Victory in the East by John France. It is the history of the First Crusade solely from a military view.

Very interesting from the military historian's viewpoint, and it indirectly sheds light on the Crusaders conduct in general. For example, one argument I'm sure you've heard many times is that the Crusaders couldn't have been pious men if they were starving out entire towns. Well, it turns out that they practiced the "military science" of times in the Middle East pretty much the same way they were practicing it on themselves in Western Europe at the time. Higher beliefs had nothing to do with the way they behaved, slaughtering peasants (who fed the cities) was simply the way warfare was conducted in 1095.






KATS latest read: Prince Valiant Volume 5 by Harold Foster
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Late Great Donald Blake 

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,566


This isn't a subject I read a terrible amount... but I do watch a bunch of videos on it while I'm eating sandwiches and such lol


This one is more focused specifically on weapons and their use:

https://www.youtube.com/c/scholagladiatoria


LGDB: But this guys specifically gets into battle tactics, formations, famous events in antiquity that changed combat and so on, and covers a wider range of topics.


https://www.youtube.com/c/lindybeige


Enjoy!


cheers,
---the late great Donald Blake





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atrimus


Location: Saint Louis, MO
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 2,487


Recently I was having a nerd-talk with a friend, and he commented how fantasy is often wrong when it depicts sword fighting as the primary combat tactic; how spear/lance fighting was the preferred method, while swords were mostly seen as sidearms. I guess it’s something I’d always assumed, but never gave it much thought.

Anyway, that’s how this whole historic-military-combat rabbit hole started for me. Thanks for the links.



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atrimus


Location: Saint Louis, MO
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 2,487


Interesting to know. Thanks for the suggestion.



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Late Great Donald Blake 

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,566


Yeah I think the reason swords have the cultural predominance they do is, especially by the eleventh century, is because of their ubiquity. In large scale battles as you say they were primarily side arms. They were everywhere because (especially once they could be mass produced) they could be conveniently worn. Spears and later other polearms dominate the battlefield for a number of reasons, they're cheaper to make, easier to use, they have obvious reach.

But I think it's more important to emphasize that it's not their superiority to swords in one-on-one fights that makes them more significant in war. That's sort of debatable. It's the spears conduciveness to military formation that makes them the primary weapon of Antiquity and the Medieval battlefield. They're more useful with respect the things like the phalanx (famously) and various shield walls. Big formations of men with spears and shields could not only kill effectively, but form devastating units that could constrain and control the battlefield. But swords would come to be associated more with one-on-one combat. Especially going into the Renaissance period when dueling among civilians outside of a warfare context popularize. Swords also negan to become more prevalent (and two-handed) somewhat as the armor improved in the late Medieval period.

But yeah, so I think the principle to keep in mind is that warfare is by and large not conceptualized in a military context as a bunch of individuals fighting a bunch of individuals, but as organized units maneuvering tactically against one another, and in that case the spear is sort of a lynch pin in military battle especially before gunpowder.


cheers,
--- the late great Donald Blake


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Happy Hogan 

Manager

Location: Northern Virginia
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,482




    Quote:
    This isn't a subject I read a terrible amount... but I do watch a bunch of videos on it while I'm eating sandwiches and such lol



    Quote:

    This one is more focused specifically on weapons and their use:



    Quote:
    https://www.youtube.com/c/scholagladiatoria



    Quote:

    LGDB: But this guys specifically gets into battle tactics, formations, famous events in antiquity that changed combat and so on, and covers a wider range of topics.






    Quote:

    Enjoy!



    Quote:

    cheers,
    ---the late great Donald Blake





This guy
https://www.youtube.com/c/Skallagrim/featured

and this guy
https://www.youtube.com/user/todsstuff1/videos

and this guy (he sometimes goes overboard dissing stuff he doesn't like but he's still entertaining)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkmMACUKpQeIxN9D9ARli1Q






Late Great Donald Blake 

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,566


I think in terms of sheer entertainment, he's my favorite! Guys got a really commonsense approach imo. I don't like Shad as much, but still a great channel there overall.


cheers!
---the late great Donald Blake


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