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The Landsknechts (Men-at-arms) [Paperback]

Douglas Miller
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

31 Mar 1994 Men-at-arms (Book 58)
The Landsknechts were German mercenaries who served during the reigns of Maximilian I and Charles V in the sixteenth century. Having signed up, these Landsknechts were read a very detailed code of conduct, organized into companies, paid one month in advance, and sent into battle! Their major weapon was the pike, which could be up to 18 feet in length, but those whose duty it was to advance in the front line carried instead the fearsome Zweihander; an enormous battle-sword around 66 inches in length! Douglas Miller describes in detail the organisation, tactics, weapons, uniforms and history of these remarkable soldiers.

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The Landsknechts (Men-at-arms) + Landsknecht Soldier: 1486-1560 (Warrior) + Pavia, 1525: Charles V Crushes the French (Osprey Military Campaign)
Price For All Three: 30.34

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Product details

  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (31 Mar 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0850452589
  • ISBN-13: 978-0850452587
  • Product Dimensions: 25 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 472,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The word 'Landsknecht' first appeared in the German language around 1470. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit restricted in scope 10 Jan 2003
As a reasonable intro into the genesis and development of the Landsknects during the Italian Wars this book isn t bad but if you are looking further afield to the role of these troops in other 16th Century wars such as in Eastern and Northern Europe you will be dissappointed. Methinks the other Osprey soldier series has a better book on the subject with more new material. Buy the alternative!
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Landsknechts 10 Sep 2001
By Lee Freeman - Published on Amazon.com
The Landsknechts, by Douglas Miller, part of Osprey's Men-at-Arms series is a very useful little book. Despite the book's short length ( only 40 pp ), it is nevertheless packed with useful information on the history of the Landsknechts, as well as their structure and organization. Especially satisfying to this reviewer were the 8 pages of color plates, illustrated by G. A. Embleton, which contain illustrations of men of various ranks and positions within this mercenary company, such as dopplesoldner, captain, standard-bearer, sutleress, etc, as well as illustrations of several battle flags. This book, like all the books in this series is very attractively done.The book has served me well as a handy reference guide, as have the other Medieval/Renaissance books in this series. This is a very well-done series. Lee Freeman
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Start, but not the Last Word 6 May 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
The Landsknechts, by Douglas Miller, is a good basic introduction to these mercenary soldiers and campfollowers of the Holy Roman Empire during the Renaissance. As its original publication was in 1976, its scholarship is understandably outdated. It serves well as an all-around overview of the organization, weapons, tactics, battles, and lifestyles of the landsknechte, and would be a good volume for study by those with a passing interest in the subject. If you are serious about studying, reenacting, or re-creating the landsknechte, I would recommend that you read this book, along with the other landsknecht-oriented Osprey books, and then seek out more serious and scholarly works, especially those of more recent publication. -Anjabeth
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another fascinating Osprey book 29 Aug 2008
By Steven A. Peterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have not looked at one of these Osprey volumes for a while. But one of my Amazon friends reviewed it, and this seemed like an intriguing volume. And I'm glad that I purchased this.

For those not familiar with Osprey, the publisher specializes in short books, normally with nice illustrations. This is part of their "Men-at-Arms" series. The focus is on German "Landsknechts," an equivalent to the Swiss Pike men, a more well known set of troops.

These German soldiers were mercenaries. The book notes their military strategy, the nature of their equipment, how their pike technique differed from the Swiss. Several battles are discussed, providing a sense of how the "Landsknechts" were deployed. One of the more telling discussions was of the battle of Pavia (I think I'm right; sometimes it gets a little uncertain what the role of Landsknechts were in certain battles and which battle the author is writing about)--where German mercenaries were on both sides! And fought one another!

The book notes that the use of such soldiers was coming to its natural end, as cannon and early relatives of the musket were beginning to come into play. Their mercenary nature (and sometimes refusing to fight if they didn't get paid what they wanted) began to undermine their usefulness.

At any rate, an interesting look at these "men-at-arms."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great illustrations 4 Dec 2007
By danny boy - Published on Amazon.com
The text is well-covered for a book of this nature. What shines is the artwork done by Embleton. These paintings have been the inspirational source of many contemporary miniature figures. This book still stands tall in the light of more recent Osprey offerings.
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit outdated but still a useful survey of a less-known area of military history 17 May 2012
By Michael K. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Even most students of military history might have to stop and think if they came across the German term in the title. It originally meant "servant of the land" but the spelling often was changed to Lanzknecht -- "servant of the lance" -- and what it refers to is the mercenary pikeman of the early 16th century, especially as employed by Emperors Maximilian I and Charles V against their enemies in central Europe. The mercenary companies of this period didn't operate the same way as the Italian condottieri. They weren't available for hire to anyone with the money to pay them but rather were raised ad hoc and as needed for service to the emperor alone. While they often carried two-handed swords and halberds and various other weapons, their primary arm was the Swiss-style pike, which was as much as eighteen feet long. (I can't even imagine efficiently manipulating something that size.) As auxiliary weapons, the crossbow gradually gave way to the portable firearm, and artillery of primitive design also was added. The text is excellent in describing the development of the Landsknechts and their most important international campaigns, which included both notable successes and serious failures. They disappeared mostly because of the emperor's growing inability to pay them ("no money, no men") and their eventual replacement by conscripted foot soldiers. Given the fact that this book was first published more than thirty-five years ago and simply reprinted since without updates, I suspect the interpretations Miller draws from the sources are now a bit outdated.

One of the selling points of Osprey's books, of course, is the section of color plates showing uniforms and insignia, but in this case the term should be "costume." There was no uniformity at all and the gaudy and garish outfits depicted again seem very inefficient. Officers (and their mounts) might own elaborate sectional armor but the typical infantryman was lucky to possess a breastplate.
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