Please explain the how of it

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DavidB
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Please explain the how of it

Post by DavidB » Sat Jul 21, 2012 4:44 am

OK, once again, I'm not understanding the following
(currently reading about de Soto's foray against the
Florida Indians)- how do you stick someone with a lance,
or sword, riding at speed, from a horse?
How is it that the blade doesn't get caught in the
target? I know that, with a sword, you're supposed
to keep your arm absolutely straight, but I don't
know why.
There has to be an immense amount of energy in the
point of the blade when it hits-formula anyone?
Let's see, small point, weight of blade, rider, mount and
speed of the above- I get that it will skewer.
But how does one retain the weapon?
Thank you.

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Netpackrat
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Re: Please explain the how of it

Post by Netpackrat » Sat Jul 21, 2012 4:48 am

Lots of practice.
Cognosce teipsum et disce pati

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Dinochrome
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Re: Please explain the how of it

Post by Dinochrome » Sat Jul 21, 2012 9:52 pm

I've always heard that the use of a sword (saber) from horseback was to slash the target. If the horseman doesn't go for an impaling thrust it should be easier to retain the sword. For a lance, I don't know. Maybe it's, "stick the lance in the enemy, lose the lance, draw the saber".
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Netpackrat
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Re: Please explain the how of it

Post by Netpackrat » Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:03 pm

Not a horse rider, but from what I've read, the general idea with a lance is that you sort of raise your arm and let the lance pivot as you go past your victim, and then your forward motion will pull the lance out behind you as you continue on. Then raise the lance back to vertical and forward again for another thrust. Not something that you can just learn over knight. :mrgreen:
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tfbncc
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Re: Please explain the how of it

Post by tfbncc » Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:40 am

Somewhere, many years ago, in some obscure book, I read something of lancers. Lancers are light cavalry. Meant to harass and harry a line of infantry or artillery. The lance was lightweight, strong, and flexible. Able to be held one handed with the arm extended forward during the charge. As the lancer makes contact with his target, he pulls his arm back swiftly so that only 3 or 4 inches of the point penetrates, inflicting wounds and causing confusion. The object is NOT to skewer your target, as the rider would lose his lance and make him all but useless. A light cavalry charge was designed to make holes in the enemy line that could be followed up by heavy cavalry with sabers and subsequently, a foot charge by infantry. The best charge was carried out from the flank or an oblique angle to the infantry line. The lance gave the light cavalry the extra reach to get past a line of muskets and bayonets. To be a lancer you had to be the absolute best of the best of horsemen with the skill of a fencing master to handle the lance properly. They were the Top Gun pilots of their day. Like fighter pilots, the training was longer and more intense than most other military units of the time.

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HTRN
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Re: Please explain the how of it

Post by HTRN » Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:35 am

Dinochrome wrote:I've always heard that the use of a sword (saber) from horseback was to slash the target.
Against platemaile, the preferred weapon is, IIRC, a warhammer or axe. The idea is to beat the armor hard enough to cause injuries inside. A sword doesn't do to well against it..

Didn't PBS/Nova/etc do a show on this not so long ago?
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toad
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Re: Please explain the how of it

Post by toad » Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:43 am

Used to be lancers would practice against tent pegs. The object was to lift the tent peg out of the ground on the point of the lance. I saw some photographs of this practice in a magazine back in the 1950's, as a very young child of course. Damned expensive and dangerous hobby.
When riding down fleeing infantry with the saber the standard practice was to do a back slash to the front of the grunt. If you tried to slash the back you often had a pack or leather helmet that would stop the blade from striking flesh.
Read the Sharpe's series of books for information on this.
In South America during the 19th century their were some pure cavalry vs. cavalry battles from the view point of lancers vs swordsmen, lancers vs. lancers, swordsmen vs. swordsmen. Usually the lancer had the advantage over the swordsmen because of reach. However the good swordsmen claimed they could parry a lance and close inside the reach of the lancer. Usually though the commander of sword equipped cavalry would try to get his unit to retreat from lancer units.

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First Shirt
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Re: Please explain the how of it

Post by First Shirt » Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:57 am

Back in the days of "The Raj" British cavalry practiced by "pig-sticking." Beaters would start the boar from cover, then the horsemen, armed with bamboo-shaft lances would try to ride down and kill the boar without killing themselves. (It was considered gauche to use a firearm, or to try and tackle the piggie on foot.) Apparently it was a dangerous enough activity that the powers-that-be tried to prohibit it, without great success. It normally involved one or two deaths each year, and any number of serious injuries. But it was considered great training for lancers and light cavalry.
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skb12172
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Re: Please explain the how of it

Post by skb12172 » Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:59 pm

On a DeSoto? Just strap it to the hood, I guess... :lol:
There must be an end to this intimidation by those who come to this great country, but reject its culture.

DavidB
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Re: Please explain the how of it

Post by DavidB » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:55 am

On a DeSoto
...well, kinda, it was while reading the Contact: The Battle for America series
Back in the days of "The Raj" British cavalry
...have you read Mallinson's
Matthew Hervey series?
Read the Sharpe's series of books
...love Sharpe; read 'em all three times,
even the wonderful contracted short stories for
The Sharpe Appreciation Society

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