Renaissance Weapons

The advent of gunpowder saw the demise of the fully armoured knight and the advent of new tactics. Troops were more easily trainedwhich allowed the raising of large levies.

The slow rate of fire from these primitive weapons meant that they required protection, particularly from cavalry.

The development of gunpowder weapons interacting with pikes for protection against mounted troops provided a change from the mediaeval period.

Although the gunpowder weapons had a much slower rate of fire than the longbow, it was much easier to train troops in the use of the “fire sticks”. Skilled use of the longbow took years to master and constant practise to maintain.

As the period went on, a greater percentage of shot versus pike appeared in most armies. As shot armed troops became more confident in their power to stop charging cavalry, they began to operate independently of protective pike blocks. This gave armies much greater maneouvrability.

Early in the period, shot without the protection of pike would need the aid of rough terrain as protection against mounted troops. As their weapons and tactics improved, shot was able to operate independently.

Dragoons operated as mounted infantry. They did not fight as cavalry, but used their mounts to move rapidly to an important part of the battlefield. They then dismounted and fought as skirmishers on foot.


The Swedes used reindeer in a skirmish role.

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