Monday, September 28, 2009

Lancers

America is much larger, and much more inland than Western Europe, so horses are even more valuable in the American Middle Ages than the European Ages. Horses are expensive to keep, but they are worth their weight, and the value of horses has resulted in intensive breeding for the animal, especially in places like Kentucky and Texas. In fact, many are quite specialized for speed, luggage capacity, and of course, warfare.

As the herdsmen began to move eastwards, the rulers of the Eastern territories knew something had to be done. Because the herdsmen lived a more pastoral existence, they were better equipped to using horses and long range weaponry. The Warlords figured the best way they could handle this onslaught was focusing on defense. Therefore, America began to foster its first ever knights class.

Knights rely on strongly crafted and very heavy armor. several layers may be added on, depending on the battle or wealth of the knight. Most use leather, maybe even flexible woods from South America. the armor itself is formed into a coat-like structure, with impressive shoulder pads. At this point, the Knights will start adding the metal armor, usually a tunic made of scale male. The helmets are almost always metal, and they are curved to resemble the helmets of conquistadors. This is because, as most war is waged on the frontiers, fighting would like something like a brim to keep the sun out of their eyes. To do battle, knights carry massive wooden lances, used to hopefully penetrate the enemy, or at least incapacitate him enough to finish the job. Most nights carry, instead of longswords or broadswords, rather lithe fighting sabres.

Though most Knights exist in the Eastern forest zones, it's not unheard of out in the arid west. Nomads aren't as much of as threat out here, but it's still good to have forces to keep them at bay. Here, knights aren't part of a nobility caste. but servants of their Emperor. Because the Emperor can finance whatever war he wants, he can use valuable water to finance his armies. While the Non-Denom Church and the Warlords have a working, if not always smooth relationship, out in the west , Church and War are considered two very different things. But in the desert lands, Church and State are one, and as a result the Mormon army is also rather religious. This has rubbed off on the Buddhists.

3 comments:

  1. Thinking about lancers, and the whole lancers vs. horse archers dynamic recently. The original site talks about how Horse Archery use to be the main mode of warfare, and was gradually supplanted by Lancers in certain areas. I suspect the development of lancers would be spurred by the development of armor. Heavier armor gets developed to counter archery, which leads to lances to pierce the armor, which leads to heavier armor, which leads to the need for bigger horses to carry more weight.... and so on. The big question to my mind is whether the American horse archers have recurve composite bows or not- that would heavily influence their effectiveness against armor. How advanced armor making techniques are in general would also impact likely weapons and tactics a lot.

    The other factor is that once armor becomes heavy enough to make lances important, training for archery becomes a problem. The Byzantines (who spent a lot of time developing their cavalry arm) found that training a man to become proficient in both lance and bow was almost impossible. I suspect that early in the transition, there were mixed formations of lancers and horse archers (as the Byzantines fielded), but as the lance gained prominence or the technique of horse archery died out in the east formations gradually became all lancers. I could see some areas retaining mixed formations though- Iowa might have both lancers and nobles fighting in their traditional style, and Deseret is right on the 'border' of the two which indicates to me that they would use both.

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  2. The Herdsmen page does indeed state that they use composite bows.

    I would reckon Iowa indeed has horse Archers in their ranks. White's color gradient maps for Religion and Warfare shows that while "civilized" Iowa is trying to become more Midwestern in culture, the west of it still has a hard time abandoning its Herdsmen ways. I wouldn't be surprised to even see heavily armored knights versed in archery, keeping the territory well protected from invaders.

    Deseret probably also has Horse Archers, but these would probably be the conscripted archers from the conquered Wyoming clans, but I don't think they're formally trained in such.

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  3. Sorry the delay in replying, just was thinking about this idea again recently!

    So composite bows are avalible, that would make very heavy armor the norm, at least among western lancers.

    In regards to Iowa, I think there would definitely be a bit of 'tradition vs progress' dynamic, with nobles embracing their new way of life preferring lancers and those clinging to their old ways sticking with horse archery. Nobles who are particulary interested in military theory might even be working on combining the two in the same formation, which was tried with various degrees of success by real-life armies.

    Well armored horse archers would certaintly be possible as well- several historical examples of that. It's only trying to combine jousting and archery into one man that makes things tricky- both require a lot of skill to develop. The other possibility of course is the Iowans would end up like the Alans- they carry lance and bow as traditional, but have a marked preference for one over the other when it comes to actual combat. The Alans, for example, still often hunted with a bow from horseback, but when it came to warfare fought almost purely with the lance.

    For Deseret, they likely would conscript Wyoming archers, but one nice thing about being a hydraulic empire is that you can levy enough taxes to maintain a full time professional army, which can be drilled to your hearts' content. So I could see their army involving mixed formations of armored lancers and armored horse archers, being one of the few nations with the wealth to develop a proficient force in this manner.

    One thing I am curious about is whether any of the nations (in particular those bordering nomand territory) ever experimented with mounted crossbowmen. These did feature in European warfare, in particular Poland, who faced a similar situation. So there might be states were mounted crossbow are used to supplement lancers.

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