Home Forums Medieval How often did melee troops actually close to melee? Reply To: How often did melee troops actually close to melee?

#88256
Not Connard Sage
Participant

It would be interesting to know how much time was spent hitting each other versus standing just out of reach and yelling insults, given that battles like Towton are supposed to have lasted all day. Also, how many of the wounds were to the front versus how many inflicted as the losers fled? That might go some way to answering the question about how often they closed with the enemy.

It takes a lot of time to kill a lot of people with hand weapons.  All that stabbing, hacking and slashing is quite tiring. I speak from second, or possibly third, hand experience from my time practising kendo.

For the other, it’s entirely possible that someon has analysed the archaeological record. Perhaps in this.

http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/books/b9789004306455_003

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Ha-8CgAAQBAJ&pg=PA204&lpg=PA204&dq=Battle+Trauma+in+Medieval+Warfare:+Wounds,+Weapons+and+Armor&source=bl&ots=eGEtzZ90gC&sig=XNaNT_rHYU9miKG68-EbmTesz0A&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjd3O-UgajaAhUqJsAKHcLkDOgQ6AEIejAP#v=onepage&q=Battle%20Trauma%20in%20Medieval%20Warfare%3A%20Wounds%2C%20Weapons%20and%20Armor&f=false

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK332959/

 

Of course, it must be borne in mind that in the melee the enemy isn’t necessarily standing obligingly in front of you. If someone unsportingly hits you from behind while you’re trying to kill his mate you’re just as dead, but the nasty gaping hole in the back of your skull might suggest to the 21st century doubter that you were legging it.

This may be a rather facile example, but if the bloke in the middle gets it wrong he’s going to get a deeper parting in his hair than he expected.

 

 

More archeological evidence

http://www.culture24.org.uk/history-and-heritage/military-history/pre-20th-century-conflict/art356828

https://www.economist.com/node/17722650

Trauma, warfare and violent death at the Black Friary

 

 

 

 

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