Medieval History/1290-1310

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Question
What sort of weapons were used during the time of the 1st Scottish wars of independence
Roughly  1290 Ė 1310
And what was effectiveness of each of these weapons
As much detail as possible would be a great help
And if you canít answer would you please be able to suggest another expert (on this site or not)
Or give me any good places to look
Thanks

Answer
Hi Thomas, and thanks for your question.
The English longbow was coming into its own. This weapon would really distinguish itself a few decades later in the Hundred Years' War. During the Scottish Wars, the English developed a tactic, more of a troop formation, called the harrow which had wedges of archers protruding forward of a basic phalanx of hand-to-hand infantry. The idea was that when the enemy attacked the hand-to-hand infantry in the middle, the archers would hit the enemy in the flank. Any book on the Hundred Years' War would probably discuss the harrow formation and might include a diagram. I know the English used the harrow formation at the Battle of Crecy in 1346.
The Scots nobility had their Claymore swords, a huge two handed sword like Mel Gibson used in Braveheart. The extreme length of the sword was to help a man on foot reach up to an enemy on horseback.
A few things in that movie were accurate: Only the English had heavy cavalry (armored knights riding armored horses that attacked with couched lances), The Scots had only a little light cavalry (no armor) that was good for scouting/reconnaissance, attacking unarmored infantry like archers, or running down infantry who were fleeing a lost battle. The depiction of the Scots infantry staring down an English cavalry charge by presenting a wall of spear points was probably a little too early. That tactic was developed by the Swiss a little later in the 1300s. Like the Swiss, the Scots had the advantage of fighting in mountainous terrain. Heavy cavalry needs to charge across flat terrain.
My fellow expert Zachary Phillips claims to know medieval weaponry. I can't comment one way or the other on his abilities.
Check out these web pages:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claymore
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arming_sword
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guisarme
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lance
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pike_weapon
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spetum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War-scythe
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_longbow
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_axe      surprisingly had fallen out of use in your period


C.M.

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C.M. Aaron

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I've been studying the early medieval period for almost 20 years. In particular, I've studied the fall of the Roman Empire, the barbarian invasions/migrations, early barbarian law codes, the early medieval church, technology of the period, military campaigns and tactics, and some of the early barbarian dynasties, especially the Merovingians in Gaul (France).

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Twenty years of self study. I also write historical fiction of this era.

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Bachelor's degree.

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