Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 26 to 39 of 39

Thread: Defeating the Shield

  1. #26
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    4,181
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Wilkie View Post
    douglas could you please explain ?
    I have been experimenting with going to half-sword, smothering the shieldman's weapon. At half-sword, which is what Fiore's punta falsa illustrates, it allows the point to be inserted between breastplate and gorget. (Assuming Harnischfechten.)

    Also, in the German tradition (not my strong suit), it seems that the Zwerchhau seems to have been developed for dealing with shields.
    <><><> <><><> <><><>
    Do what thy manhood bids thee do,
    from none but self expect applause;
    He noblest lives and noblest dies
    who makes and keeps his self-made laws.

    -Sir Richard Francis Burton

  2. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas S View Post
    I have been experimenting with going to half-sword, smothering the shieldman's weapon. At half-sword, which is what Fiore's punta falsa illustrates, it allows the point to be inserted between breastplate and gorget. (Assuming Harnischfechten.)

    Also, in the German tradition (not my strong suit), it seems that the Zwerchhau seems to have been developed for dealing with shields.
    Isn't that what I said i though you meant

    Douglas, I think you are talking about pinning the shieldman's sword against this own shield. This works well if the shieldmen is holding his sword point in a forward guard. His sword point needs to extend past the shields edge so you can get the trap. I have seen this executed successfully a few times.
    I think my error was in not detailing the follow through thrust. Its a good move... you just have to control his weapon first.
    Last edited by bill tsafa; 09-11-2009 at 12:25 PM.
    No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
    Roger of Hoveden, 1174-1201

  3. #28
    Hi Mark. The problem with trying to leverage a shield, is one of time. While the longsword is trying to gain leverage over the shield there is a blade on the way to his head. I don't think it is a good idea for any two-handed weapon to stay in a bind against a shield if they can help it. There is nothing to Mutiere (press down and thrust) against unless the shieldman sticks his blade forward. Controlling the range by keeping distance allows for more options. You want to fight the man, not his weapon.
    Fair enough Bill, but I wasn't talking about leveraging the shield - I was talking about leveraging the sword. I seek out my opponent's weapon and keep that out of play, working my point in. That usually leads to a shield beat on my weapon - and a momentary opening for me.

    Normally I do fight the man, but I analysed that in this situation he has one hand on his weapon, i have two. That gives me more than enough ability to commandeer his sword in the bind. So I use it.

    Once I've used this tactic the fight evens up immensely - he wants to engage my sword with his shield, I want to engage his sword with my sword. Mind you - I still have to gain a bind, and once they've had this done to them once they're much more coy about commiting the sword.

    It just didn't make sense to me that the classic knightly weapon would be at such a disadvantage against sword and shield, so I kept thinking. This seems to work.

    I haven't seen anyone else try this against sword and shield. I'd love to play it against a few more people.

  4. #29
    I think you're on to something Mark. I think the best way to set up that attack is to threaten the shieldsman's lowlegs, from the edge of your range. There is a good chance he will respond by bringing his sword forward and low to cover his lowlegs. You will then be in a prime position to bind his sword and get a thrust.
    Last edited by bill tsafa; 09-13-2009 at 08:30 AM.
    No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
    Roger of Hoveden, 1174-1201

  5. #30
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    92
    Hi again.

    Sorry, Douglas, I don't see how half-swording would present any great advantage over the sword and shield that the skillful use of distance and timing would not (grappling or just plain thrusting to weak points would seem to achieve the same desired effect, right? No?).

    Next, how would the Zwerchau be useful for dealing with the shield? Maybe it's obvious and I don't see it. Could you explain a bit more? In the Talhoffer dueling shield material, as far as I can tell, there aren't many Zwerchauen. Bill mentioned the Zwerchau from the very beginning. However, how would the Zwerchau be useful for an opponent wearing a helm?

    More information please, if possible.

  6. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Henri de La Garde View Post

    Sorry, Douglas, I don't see how half-swording would present any great advantage over the sword and shield that the skillful use of distance and timing would not (grappling or just plain thrusting to weak points would seem to achieve the same desired effect, right? No?).

    Next, how would the Zwerchau be useful for dealing with the shield? Maybe it's obvious and I don't see it. Could you explain a bit more? In the Talhoffer dueling shield material, as far as I can tell, there aren't many Zwerchauen. Bill mentioned the Zwerchau from the very beginning. However, how would the Zwerchau be useful for an opponent wearing a helm?
    Talhoffer's dueling shields touch the ground and extend well past the head. In that case Zwerchhue will not work well. The shieldman still has to maintain vissibility and he can not do that by lowering his shield. He has to poke his head around the sides. That is where vertical attacks, like Schielhau, come in handy.

    Most handheld shields are held just under the eyes. Hence a horizontal cut will go straight across the top. You will have to set that up by threatening low to get the shieldman to lower the shield even more and give you a bigger window of attack.

    As far as head protection worn... well their are many different levels of head protection. I tend to break them up into four main categories: none, mail coif, nasal helm, great helm. I suspect that when Mark Wilkie first asked his question he was competing in a manor consistent with unarmored combat. If the period of combat he is trying to recreate consists of mail coifs or nasal helms, then I suggest he swing harder from the hips and be sure to get a followup thrust to the face. Period nasal helms only weighed about two pounds. If he uses a sword with some good blade presence he would be able to make an opponent see stars long enough to finish him off. If his opponent is using a Great Helm then I suggest he switch to a heavier weapon and be sure he has equivalent armor too. If he must use a longsword, then he can take the risk of getting in trying to halfsword to an armpit, because I would assume he is in full plate too.

    Regarding the issue of whether to bind or keep range... I think it is best to have both options available. I think keeping range and attacking to the shieldside will keep you alive longer. After a couple of engagements the shieldman will be anticipating you to move shieldside, that is when you swordside and bind him. If you don't kill him immediately or gain an clear advantage... get back out.
    Last edited by bill tsafa; 09-13-2009 at 09:50 AM.
    No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
    Roger of Hoveden, 1174-1201

  7. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    92
    Bill:

    Good point about the height of the Talhoffer shields. I suppose I should really stop considering them as some sort of reference since the combat was so particular in terms of arms and armour.

    As to the Zwerch, I totally agree with the idea that a thrust to the face would be highly desirable. The Zwerchau used on a helm is, in my opinion, an open and shut case. To the cloth coif, on the other hand, it seems quite valid. But there we cut to the core of the latest threads on some of these issues, namely, were shields (not bucklers, but shields of considerable size) carried about town and used in unarmoured encounters? Were there many combatants on battlefields with relatively unprotected heads? And, (egad! don't answer this) were some of the meisterhau, specifically Zwerchau, ever intended for battlefield application?

    Edward I's Assize of Winchester (1285) sets out that those who hold land worth about 15 pounds be equipped in full knightly fashion, with long-sleeved hauberk, sword, knife, lance, horse, and helm. Those with land worth a mere 10 pounds should be equipped much the same, with the exception that their hauberk might be short-sleeved. Even "the 100 shilling freeholder must provide a padded surcoat, iron cap, sword, and knife...," while the poorest classes brought at minimum a sword or bows and arrows to battle. This is of course, 1285, and similar statues appear earlier. It is possible that things changed in the Late Middle Ages, but it seems rather unlikely given the increased prevalence of plate armour that a helm would not among be the minimum expected defensive armaments (my information comes from John France, "Western Warfare in the Age of the Crusades, 1000-1300" {1999, UCL Press, London}, 32-33).

    Given the absence of Zwerchau in the sections of manuscripts specifically and incontrovertibly describing armoured combat, I would suggest that your earlier mention of a technique like a thrust to the weak point of the armour should be most useful.

    What you said before of the ease with which the shield-man can bind his opponent seems spot on to me. For this reason, half-swording seems only possible once one has already used far more complex skills of timing and distance to gain a position - as you've described, such as on the shield side - where close quarters techniques can be employed.

    Adopting a half-sword ward in preparation for such techniques from normal distance (far away) seems like kindly letting the opponent know how you plan to dispatch him, not to mention throwing away the advantage of the longsword's length for deflecting an attack should you accidentally misjudge timing.

    I think we are very much describing the same kinds of responses to the situation (with the exception of the Zwerchau), I just wanted to clarify that getting the right position on the shield man is probably a much greater challenge than the techniques used once there.

  8. #33
    Given the number of binds in I.33, maybe this was a more common technique than we might think even with bigger shields. Therefore the sword and shield user might have been less sensitive to a sword bind than what we can see in modern tests.

    Considering two equally armoured fighters, I think there is a point somewhere over the range of armour quality below which the longsword user is at a disavantage: he has more power than needed because his opponent is not heavily armoured, and yet he is far less protected without a shield. In other words, the gain in power from having two hands on the sword is not worth it compared to the loss of protection from being without a shield.

  9. #34
    Henri de La Garde- Your points are well laid out and logical. We agree on just about all the issues except the effectiveness of a Zwerchhue on light head-armor. I'll give you something else to consider... Unless the shieldman has anything other then a great helm with a closed face, he can not ignore the Zwerchhue, even if he believes it can not hurt him. If the Zwerchhue lands on the side of a helm and stops... it is a very quick motion to pull back and thrust to his open face. This combination would be very consistent with many of the other plays in the German system which use a cut to setup a thrust. So if you make the Zwerchhue and he ignores it, you make your face thrust. If you make the Zwerchhue and he reacts to block it, he has just opened up some other hole in his defense. At the very least the longsword maintains initiative.

    BTW, the details you gave on Edward I's decrees are very interesting. Thanks for posting that. I made a note of it for future reference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vincent Le Chevalier View Post
    In other words, the gain in power from having two hands on the sword is not worth it compared to the loss of protection from being without a shield.
    Vincent- I rather agree with you on this point. If I had to use a two-handed weapon, I would use a Glaive. The Glaive is basically a sword on a staff. It gives much better reach and power then a longsword. The other thing I might use is a two-handed axe. The axe head has some depth and reach behind shields with great power. However... the Longsword vs Shield is Mark Wilkie's chosen weapon in this thread and we should focus on this mix of weapons. It would be fun to start other threads and talk about other mixed weapon forms.
    Last edited by bill tsafa; 09-13-2009 at 09:57 PM.
    No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
    Roger of Hoveden, 1174-1201

  10. #35
    For the record, I'd like to note that George Silver gave the longsword odds over the sword and target. He doesn't give any specific advice for this fight, and he may have been wrong, but the opinion of a period master at least deserves mention.

  11. #36
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Falls Church, VA
    Posts
    1,524
    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin H. Abbott View Post
    For the record, I'd like to note that George Silver gave the longsword odds over the sword and target. He doesn't give any specific advice for this fight, and he may have been wrong, but the opinion of a period master at least deserves mention.
    Horray, someone quoting a source. In our simulations, of course we skew things, just because.

    In the montante material from Spain and Portugal, we have several plays against shields, including one against several (or two at least). The assumption is, it would work.

    Steve

  12. #37
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    92
    Hi Steve. Thanks for adding your voice to this discussion.

    To tell the truth, our simulations were quite skewed. Whenever we've actually done bouting with longsword versus sword and shield (not so often given the fact that we're usually focusing on just one or the other at any given time) we found skill level and experience mattered a lot more than the weapons used, so it was pretty inconclusive.

    I'd rather look at what the sources have to say - even indirectly - than to speculate, but it's hard to know where to look.

    Can you describe those plays a little bit?

    In your experience are there other sources which might indicate, loosely, some principles that might govern such an encounter?

    Bill, you have a good point about a dangling Zwerchau near the face. Not something I would be comfortable with.

  13. #38
    Thinking about sources, Thibault seems convinced that with his method you can defeat sword + rotella with sword alone, which is possibly even more impressive than with a longsword (and without using the left hand either). I haven't read these sections in detail yet so I can't really comment further...

  14. #39
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Falls Church, VA
    Posts
    1,524
    Quote Originally Posted by Vincent Le Chevalier View Post
    Thinking about sources, Thibault seems convinced that with his method you can defeat sword + rotella with sword alone, which is possibly even more impressive than with a longsword (and without using the left hand either). I haven't read these sections in detail yet so I can't really comment further...

    Answering both this, and the preceding.

    The plays will be going published via lulu in a few days/weeks, they are in final edit, and will be available as a download or a physical copy. Also, we'll likely have some movies. We did the montante versus polearms at WMAW. The montante material has plays against dissimilar weapons as a minor theme, along with multiple opponents and terrain issues, shieldmen were used in the tercios, so, its a practical expectation that a swordsman would encounter them.

    Also, Thibault echoes (some of ) the Spanish la verdadera destreza masters that the sword alone, done right, can defeat doubled arms. Other masters in the same tradition, say, not so.

    The play of the two handed sword for them, is almost the same as that for the sword alone, so they (most of them) do not treat it as different, same play.

    Steve

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •