Sunday, December 4, 2011

Armoured Pikemen

One of the difficulties of entering into wargaming for this specific period and particularly the Dutch Wars period is the lack of readily available publications. I feel it really is a period on the cusp at this time of being 'unlocked' by researchers in order that the specific details of uniforms and equipment become available to the wider sub-culture - the wargamer. Certainly this is a problem area in the meantime looking for details about the Dutch and it seems probable that most if not all of our answers remain locked in the mass of emerging archival material.

Having spent some time on the Netherlands Army website this date I took the time to read an article by F.G Wilde on De mannen van 1688: een poging tot reconstructie (available in pdf) which I was able to read paragraph by paragraph thanks to the wonders of Internet translation software - what an amazing age we live in.

Wilde certainly has the Dutch pike by the outbreak of war in 1672 as 'largely' armoured - helmet and half-armour to be precise. Whilst no specific analysis is applied to the discontinuation of armour, it might be surmised that discarding of half-armour would have accelerated as a result of William's reforms in the face of French superiority over the following years.

By 1674 we see the musketeers (line regiments presumably) carrying the bandolier or twelve apostles and thus we can presume the matchlock. It seems that there was no reason why flintlock armed men might not continue the use of the bandolier with its measures of powder during the period of transition to the uptake of cartridges. The flintlock should not necessarily mean a move towards cartridges for our period but so far I have seen no examples either illustrated or modelled that allow for bandoliers with flintlocks. If anyone can show me, I'd be beholden. Wilde has the uptake of cartridges 'later' than 1674. Given that by then the marines, Guards and grenadiers were flintlock armed, I'd say there is room in the sculpting world for this inclusion.


  1. This page may help you: Not too much, in fact, but it's better than nothing.

  2. De Wilde himself states himself that information on the 1666-1679 period is very hard to come by and to use 1688 data for 1672 is very questionable. There are prints indeed that show States' troops with armour and half armour, this fact can only be checked using the regiments and colonel's inventory. The de Hooghe prints rarely show pikemen in armour, but that could be an artistic licence. Marines were issued with flintlocks or their predecessors quite early and I have seen prints of marines with flintlocks and bandoliers: a reprint can be found in the Osprey on colonial US troops.