I have read a few of the Japanese samurai history books by Stephen Turnbull and was surprised to learn he has an interest in Medieval and Renaissance history too. The book covers the period of the 14th and 15th centuries.
During this period the book charts the development of arms, armour, and tactics in warfare. The impact of technology on changes to the knightly arts of combat. The skill of the individual knight in combat seems to neutralised by. New range of weapons, from huge cannons to pike tactics.
From a German martial tradition, this period seems to see the start of the decline as Germans clung to their longsword systems, while other countries moved with the times and embraced new technology and weaponry.
I also saw that the landsknecht were mainly pikemen. Not sure why I didn’t know that. For some reason I saw them as schlachtschwert wielders in fancy pants.
For anyone interested in the development of warfare, this seems like a period of massive invention and the almost industrialisation of war not seem again until the First World War.
The sections on Eastern Europe during this time are very interesting as it is not part of history or region I have read about before. There are complaints from scholars about this book, but to be honest for me I found the book informative and a great jumping off point into further research.
If it wasn’t for the book I would not have gone on to look for images of the huge bombards Turnbull talks about. Holy moly, weapons capable of firing 1200lb shells, in the 15th Century. I wonder what the fighting elite solider thought about his future in the light of such weaponry. Hardly honourable way to conduct war..
But we see the change from armoured knight to lightly multi armed cavalryman.
The book should be of interest to anyone studying military history and use it not as a definitive guide but more as a gateway book to more research.
You can buy this book on Amazon.
Please note I was not paid to write this review but was sent a review copy of the book. All comments are my own, and the publishers have not amended the review in any way.