Medieval warfare

The Battle of Crécy (1346) between the English and the French in the Hundred Years' War.
The Château de Falaise in France.
Celje Castle in Slovenia.
The Walls of Dubrovnik are a series of defensive stone walls, never breached by a hostile army, that have surrounded and protected the maritime city-state of Dubrovnik (Ragusa), situated in southern Croatia.
Hungarian raids in the 10th century. Before the battle of Lechfeld in 955 Medieval Europeans were vulnerable from the Nomadic style of war that came from the Hungarians.
Replica of XII century Serbian medieval equipment
Armors of 15th century from Germany
A Varlet or Squire carrying a Halberd with a thick Blade; and Archer, in Fighting Dress, drawing the String of his Crossbow with a double-handled Winch.--From the Miniatures of the "Jouvencel", and the "Chroniques" of Froissart, Manuscripts of the Fifteenth Century (Imperial Library of Paris).
Great helm
Byzantine klivanion
Turkish armor during battles of Marica and Kosovo in 1371 and 1389
The Byzantine fleet repels the Rus' attack on Constantinople in 941. The Byzantine dromons are rolling over the Rus' vessels and smashing their oars with their spurs.
A battle between the Venetian and Holy Roman fleets. detail of a fresco by Spinello Aretino 1407–1408.
Two views of a hand culverin and two small cannons from the 15th century.
A modern replica of an English longbow.
Artillery in a 1490s illustration of the Siege of Orleans of 1429.
Viking fleet landing at Dublin, 841
Norwegian Vikings' defeat at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, 1066
Norman Vikings' victory at the Battle of Hastings, 1066
During The Mongol invasion of Europe, Tatars, under the leadership of Kadan, experienced a major failure in March 1242 at Klis Fortress in southern Croatia.

European warfare of the Middle Ages.

- Medieval warfare
The Battle of Crécy (1346) between the English and the French in the Hundred Years' War.

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German World War I observation post disguised as a tree.

Military tactics

Military tactics encompasses the art of organizing and employing fighting forces on or near the battlefield.

Military tactics encompasses the art of organizing and employing fighting forces on or near the battlefield.

German World War I observation post disguised as a tree.

In both the European and Oriental traditions of warfare, the advent of gunpowder during the late Medieval and Early Modern periods created a relentless shift to infantry firepower becoming "a decisive, if not dominant" arm on the battlefield, exemplified by the significant impact of massed arquebusiers at the Battle of Nagashino in 1575.

Edward I and Edward, Prince of Wales

Wars of Scottish Independence

The Wars of Scottish Independence were a series of military campaigns fought between the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England in the late 13th and early 14th centuries.

The Wars of Scottish Independence were a series of military campaigns fought between the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England in the late 13th and early 14th centuries.

Edward I and Edward, Prince of Wales
The dethroned King John, whom a Scottish chronicler dubbed 'toom tabard' ('empty coat')
Notable figures from the first War of Independence as depicted by the Victorian artist William Hole
Bannockburn Monument plaque
Edward III invades Scotland, from an edition of Froissart's Chronicles
David II (lower left) captured at Neville's Cross, from an edition of Froissart's Chronicles
David II pays homage to Edward III

The wars were important for other reasons, such as the emergence of the longbow as a key weapon in medieval warfare.

Beaumaris Castle in Wales was built in the late 13th century and is an example of concentric castles which developed in the late medieval period.

Medieval fortification

Medieval fortification refers to medieval military methods that cover the development of fortification construction and use in Europe, roughly from the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the Renaissance.

Medieval fortification refers to medieval military methods that cover the development of fortification construction and use in Europe, roughly from the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the Renaissance.

Beaumaris Castle in Wales was built in the late 13th century and is an example of concentric castles which developed in the late medieval period.
Badajoz
Castle of Topoľčany in Slovakia
Chindia Tower, Târgovişte, Romania
Remains of a commandry (Order of Knights of St. John of Jerusalem) wall in Steinfurt, Germany. The downward slope on the outer side is hidden behind a fence and shrubbery
Walls of Dubrovnik, Croatia
Fortifications of Várad (now Oradea/Nagyvárad, Romania) in a 1617 print
Where the fixed wooden bridge stands today over the precipice, at the entrance to Srebrenik in Bosnia, castle used to have lifting bridge.
Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, which was built between the 15th and 17th centuries
Baba Vida medieval fortress build on the banks of the Danube in Vidin, Bulgaria
Predjama Castle was built next to the cave
Drawing of battlements on a tower
Snežnik Castle protected by defensive wall in southern Slovenia
Gate of Tomar Castle, Portugal
Stumble steps at Maynooth Castle, Ireland. Note the canting, and the varied tread depth and riser height.
Reinforced wood door
The siege of Constantinople

During this millennium, fortifications changed warfare, and in turn were modified to suit new tactics, weapons and siege techniques.

15th-century Venetian poleaxe at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Poleaxe

Several variant spellings redirect here.

Several variant spellings redirect here.

15th-century Venetian poleaxe at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Godfrey of Bouillon holds a short Lucerne hammer. Anachronistic fresco dated 1420.
Warrior holding a poleaxe in the coat of arms of Alytus County, Lithuania

The poleaxe (also pollaxe, pole-axe, pole axe, poleax, polax) is a European polearm that was widely used by medieval infantry.

The Battle of Crécy (1346) between the English and the French in the Hundred Years' War.

Chevauchée

The Battle of Crécy (1346) between the English and the French in the Hundred Years' War.

A chevauchée (, "promenade" or "horse charge", depending on context) was a raiding method of medieval warfare for weakening the enemy, primarily by burning and pillaging enemy territory in order to reduce the productivity of a region, as opposed to siege warfare or wars of conquest.

Scotland Forever! [crop] depicting the cavalry charge of the Royal Scots Greys at the Battle of Waterloo.

Horses in warfare

The first evidence of horses in warfare dates from Eurasia between 4000 and 3000 BC. A Sumerian illustration of warfare from 2500 BC depicts some type of equine pulling wagons.

The first evidence of horses in warfare dates from Eurasia between 4000 and 3000 BC. A Sumerian illustration of warfare from 2500 BC depicts some type of equine pulling wagons.

Scotland Forever! [crop] depicting the cavalry charge of the Royal Scots Greys at the Battle of Waterloo.
A soldier in World War I with his mule.
Chariots and archers were weapons of war in Ancient Egypt.
Haniwa horse statuette, complete with saddle and stirrups, 6th century, Kofun period
The "War Panel" of the Standard of Ur
A Qin dynasty sculpture of a chariot with horses and rider from the Terracotta Army unearthed near the tomb of China's first emperor Qin Shihuangdi, Xi'an, China, 3rd century BC
Depiction of a Sasanian Persian Cataphract from Taq-e Bostan
Life-size model depicting c. 1850 horse artillery team with a light artillery piece
A horserider of probable Xiongnu origin: the rider wears a hairbun characteristic of the oriental steppes, and his horse has characteristically Xiongnu horse trappings. 2nd–1st century BC. Excavated in Saksanokhur (near Farkhor), Tajikistan. National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan.
Manuscript illustration of the Mahabharata War, depicting warriors fighting on horse chariots
Yabusame archers, Edo period
Spanish and Moorish light cavalry (jinetes) skirmish at the 1431 Battle of La Higueruela
A re-imagination of Louis III and Carloman's 879 victory over the Vikings; Jean Fouquet, Grandes Chroniques de France
Jousting is a sport that evolved out of heavy cavalry practice.
Chasseurs of the Guard (light cavalry) to the left and cuirassier (Heavy cavalry) to the right, at the battle of Friedland.
"Napoleon I with his Generals" by Ludwig Elsholtz. This painting shows light cavalry horses which come into use as officer's mounts in 18th- and 19th-century Europe.
Kanem-Bu warriors armed with spears. The Earth and Its Inhabitants, 1892.
Native Americans quickly adopted the horse and were highly effective light cavalry. Comanche-Osage fight. George Catlin, 1834
Confederate general Robert E. Lee and Traveller. Cavalry played a significant role in the American Civil War.
Australian Imperial Force light horsemen, 1914
Polish Cavalry during a Polish Army manoeuvre in late 1930s.
A memorial to the horses that served in the Second Boer War.
U.S. Special Operations Forces, members of Task Force Dagger, and Afghanistan Commander Abdul Rashid Dostum on horseback in the Dari-a-Souf Valley, Afghanistan, in October 2001.
US Air Force Special Operations Command Combat Controller Bart Decker rides a horse in Afghanistan in the early stages of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Mounted police in Poznań, Poland
Horse Cavalry Detachment of the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division demonstrating a mock cavalry charge at Fort Bliss, Texas

Pitched battles were avoided if possible, with most offensive warfare in the early Middle Ages taking the form of sieges, and in the later Middle Ages as mounted raids called chevauchées, with lightly armed warriors on swift horses.

Depiction from the Grandes Chroniques de France

Battle of the Golden Spurs

Military confrontation between the royal army of France and rebellious forces of the County of Flanders on 11 July 1302 during the Franco-Flemish War (1297–1305).

Military confrontation between the royal army of France and rebellious forces of the County of Flanders on 11 July 1302 during the Franco-Flemish War (1297–1305).

Depiction from the Grandes Chroniques de France
The Flemish line of battle as depicted on the Courtrai Chest
Fragments of original goedendags preserved at the Kortrijk museum
The initial positions of the Battle of the Golden Spurs
Map of the Flemish and French positions at the start of the battle, with the river Leie to the right, and the castle at the top
The Flemish infantry pictured in the Florentine Nuova Cronica
The attack of a French garrison at Courtrai as shown on the Courtrai Chest
The French Golden Spurs are collected by the Flemish. Depiction on the Courtrai Chest.
A depiction of French casualties in the Grandes Chroniques de France (c. undefined1390–1401)
Nicaise de Keyser's romantic depiction of the battle may have served as the inspiration for Hendrik Conscience's book The Lion of Flanders (1838)

The Battle of the Golden Spurs had been seen as the first example of the gradual "Infantry Revolution" in Medieval warfare across Europe during the 14th century.

"Attack of the Prussian infantry", 1913 historical painting by Carl Röchling depicting the Battle of Hohenfriedberg of 1745

Early modern warfare

"Attack of the Prussian infantry", 1913 historical painting by Carl Röchling depicting the Battle of Hohenfriedberg of 1745
Model of city with polygonal fortifications
Assault on a town, early 17th century
Siege of the city of Hulst in 1645 (situated in the Dutch province of Zeeland) by Frederick Henry. Sieges dominated warfare of this era
Gustavus Adolphus at the Battle of Breitenfeld. Adolphus was perhaps the greatest military innovator of this era
Battle of Heiligerlee in 1568, showing the deployment of artillery, cavalry and infantry bearing pikes and muskets
The Battle of White Mountain in Bohemia (1620), one of the decisive battles of the Thirty Years War
The death of King Gustavus II Adolphus in cavalry melee on 16 November 1632 at the Battle of Lützen
Winged Hussar
The Battle of Vigo Bay of 1702, part the War of the Spanish Succession (anonymous contemporary painting)
Ahmed Gurey's pioneering use of cannons supplied by the Ottomans figured prominently in his Conquest of Ethiopia.
Japanese arquebus of the Edo era (teppo)
The bronze Dardanelles cannon, used by the Ottoman Turks in the siege of Constantinople in 1453
Muskets and bayonets aboard the frigate Grand Turk
Tarasnice from the Hussite Wars (1419–1434)
Goa-style arquebuses were probably widespread in Vietnam during the 17th century
Mughal matchlock rifle
Mughal musketeer
Mughal Army artillerymen during the reign of Akbar

Early modern warfare is the era of warfare following medieval warfare.

This 15th-century depiction of Charlemagne and Pope Adrian I shows a well-bred medieval horse with arched neck, refined head and elegant gait.

Horses in the Middle Ages

Horses in the Middle Ages differed in size, build and breed from the modern horse, and were, on average, smaller.

Horses in the Middle Ages differed in size, build and breed from the modern horse, and were, on average, smaller.

This 15th-century depiction of Charlemagne and Pope Adrian I shows a well-bred medieval horse with arched neck, refined head and elegant gait.
This 15th-century battle scene shows the powerfully-built horses used in warfare. From The Battle of San Romano by Paolo Uccello.
A Mughal nobleman (Sowar) on horseback.
Medieval people engaging in falconry from horseback. The horses appear to have the body type of palfreys or jennets. from the Codex Manesse.
Carolingian warrior on a war horse with lance, round shield, chainmail and spangenhelm, 8th century
A later print of a 15th-century joust
This 13th-century manuscript shows an approximate height of the medieval horse at the time, note the knights' legs extending well below the horses' barrels.
Wooden horse figurine, Tang dynasty
Ornate 16th-century armour for horse and knight, and typical high saddle. Royal Armoury, Stockholm
A bird on a man on a horse, Tang dynasty
A horse litter
A 13th-century depiction of a riding horse.
This horse is fitted with a horse collar to bear the weight of the harrow. October, Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry
Detail from 15th-century painting by Gentile da Fabriano, showing curb bits, with ornamental bosses at the sides of the mouthpiece
In this depiction of a medieval horse team, the lead pair have breast collars, while the trace pair wear horse collars. Note that one horse is saddled.
This medieval painting shows a beautiful woman in a dress mounted on a war horse, riding astride, not sidesaddle.
Depiction of a lady riding in an early sidesaddle of a design credited to Anne of Bohemia (1366-1394) – Gerard Horenbout, 16th century.

They were also more central to society than their modern counterparts, being essential for war, agriculture, and transport.

The Battle of Svolder, by Otto Sinding

Battle of Svolder

Large naval battle during the Viking age, fought in September 999 or 1000 in the western Baltic Sea between King Olaf of Norway and an alliance of the Kings of Denmark and Sweden and Olaf's enemies in Norway.

Large naval battle during the Viking age, fought in September 999 or 1000 in the western Baltic Sea between King Olaf of Norway and an alliance of the Kings of Denmark and Sweden and Olaf's enemies in Norway.

The Battle of Svolder, by Otto Sinding
Hailed as king in 995, Olaf Tryggvason quickly proceeded to convert Norway to Christianity, using all means at his disposal.
While the battle is described in a number of medieval sources, the narrative in Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla is the best known and the one which has most influenced modern historical and literary works.
Olaf Tryggvason proposes marriage to Sigrid the Haughty, on condition she convert to Christianity. When Sigrid rejects this, Olaf strikes her with a glove. She warns him that might lead to his death.
Olaf offers Queen Tyra a stalk of angelica. She weeps and scolds him for not daring to face up to Svein Forkbeard and retrieve her dowry.
The late Viking Age DR 66 runestone from Aarhus commemorates a man who "met death when kings fought". The event referred to may be the Battle of Svolder.
The Long Serpent was "the best ship ever built in Norway, and the most costly".
Standing on the isle of Svolder, the allied leaders survey Olaf Tryggvason's passing fleet.
The chaotic nature of a sea battle is shown in Peter Nicolai Arbo's Svolder painting.
Einarr Þambarskelfir tries the king's bow and finds it too weak.
In the final stage of the battle, Eirik and his men board the Long Serpent.
Division of Norway after the Battle of Svolder according to the Heimskringla.
Faroese stamp showing a scene from the Battle of Svolder, inspired by Jens Christian Djurhuus' poem, Ormurin langi.

The disposition adopted in the battle was one which recurs in many sea-fights of the Middle Ages where a fleet had to fight on the defensive.