1/Tuesday Tidbit

Surprising accuracy of Braveheart —birth of the schiltron:

The Battles of Falkirk and Bannockburn (1st battle and final scene) are considered major turning points in European land warfare w/ first use of that kind of schiltron—12ft pike phalanx (FOR THE PERIOD) ImageImage
2/The formation at Falkirk under Wallace was circular+static. "The front ranks knelt with their spear butts fixed in the earth; the rear ranks leveled their lances over their comrades heads; the thick-set grove of twelve foot spears was far too dense for the cavalry to penetrate" ImageImageImageImage
3/ Not just a clever idea thrown in for the movie, the schiltron pike phalanx used at Falkirk in 1298 is considered the first of its kind in the period, later perfected by Swiss Pikemen + Spanish Tercios in the age of "pike+shot" (pictured) Image
4/ It was at Bannockburn that Robert the Bruce took the schiltron pioneered by Wallace and used it on the offensive. This was equally unprecedented (not in all history OF COURSE, but for several hundred years in medieval Europe). Result: sikkening casualty ratio for the Scots ImageImage
5/ Not only that, at Bannockburn the high point of the first day stalemate was Robert The Bruce cleaving a British knight's head with an axe in single combat in view of both armies. Huge morale victory, the Scots routed the demoralized English the next morning (after mass). Image
6/ Bottom line: there are many tropes used in battle scenes (like "we use pitch/oil fire to divide the superior force!" seen in Last Samurai, King Arthur, Braveheart, many more) but the Braveheart pike schiltron in 1298 at Falkirk is NOT one of them. Mel Blesseth

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