Medieval Military

Throughout the Medieval Period of roughly 1000 years there were numerous battles and the Military became more advanced as the period Progressed, the Medieval Military from the 6th century would have had absolutely no chance of beating the Medieval Military of the 13th and 14th Century for example as the weaponry had advanced so much.

Battles were very well planned out and orgainised affairs in later medieval times and you needed different Military Men for different jobs, longbowmen for example could almost win a battle on their own when used in large tightly packed formations and were dominant in several medieval Battles such as the battle of Crécy.

English longbowmen

English Longbowmen fire on French enemy

English longbowmen were in demand throughout Europe & commonly highly paid mercenaries Read more about the English longbowmen >>


Janissaries Soldiers in Uniform

The medieval Janissary were troops that protected the Turkish Sultan in the Ottoman Empire during medieval times Read more about the Janissary >>


Mamluk Cavalry Soldier

Mamluks were bought and imported by Ayyubid Sultan Al Salih Ayyubheld and were held in high esem due to their fighting capabilities. Read more about the Mamluks >>

Medieval Archers

Medieval archer using longbow

Archers - These Highly Trained and Effective Soldiers Became a Dominate Force on the Battlefield Read more about the Medieval Archers >>

Medieval Cavalry

Mamluk Cavalry in combat

Cavalry mounted soldiers were not as heavily armoured as medieval knights Read more about the Medieval Cavalry >>

Medieval Crossbowmen

Medieval Crossbowmen

Medieval crossbows were easier to use than longbows *crossbowmen could be quickly trained.. Read more about the Medieval Crossbowmen >>

Medieval Foot Soldiers

Medieval foot soldiers once itimidated by knights, began to dominate the battlefield Read more about the Medieval Foot Soldiers >>

Medieval Housecarls

Medieval Housecarls in Battle

Housecarls were bodyguards and servants to nobility in medieval times... Read more about the Medieval Housecarls >>

Medieval Lancer

Cavalry Medieval Lancer Formations

Medieval lancers were popular Medieval soldiers, they were mounted cavalry and used long spear or pole type weapons. Read more about the Medieval Lancer >>

Medieval Longbowmen

Medieval Longbowmen Firing Arrows

Longbowmen were a devastating fighting force packed into tightly packed formations Read more about the Medieval Longbowmen >>

Medieval soldiers

Medieval Soldiers Pikemen

Medieval Soldiers played a vital role on the battlefields throughout the medieval period Read more about the Medieval soldiers >>

Swiss Mercenaries

Swiss mercenaries Landsknecht soldiers

Medieval Swiss mercenaries were well paid and usually hired by French Kings to fight for their armies Read more about the Swiss Mercenaries >>

Medieval foot soldiers (infantry) became more dominant on the battlefield as the medieval period progressed and as battle tactics changed.

This change in the dominance of infantry over cavalry was displayed in the battle of Crécy in 1346 in which the English longbowmen were dominant.

The Golden Era of the foot-soldier (infantry) was from the 14th century onward, with an increase in the numbers of infantry forces deployed and improvements in infantry warfare tactics.

Medieval Warfare Battles Batalla de rocroi por Augusto Ferrer Dalmau

Pikemen are victorious *Battle of Rocroi


Medieval Footsoldiers Battle of Crecy

Medieval Footsoldiers *Battle of Crécy

Modern historians described the mainly English and Welsh foot soldiers in the battle of ‘Crécy’ as numbering around 7,000 – 15,000 *Historians estimate that 500,000 bodkin arrows could have been fired during the battle of Crécy.

English enemy fire their arrow bolts at French Enemy

English longbowmen fire Bodkin arrows

English crossbowmen were highly skilled foot-soldiers and it would typically take around 10 years to fully master the skill required for battle. Longbowmen could fire around 10 bodkin point arrows every minute that had a range of around 980 ft. 

The ‘bodkin point arrowhead’ was a simple squared metal spike that helped make the longbow more effective at penetrating chainmail and possibly also armor plate in some situations.



English longbowmen Battle of Agincourt

English longbowmen fire a series of arrows on the enemy at the Battle of Agincourt

The longbowmen needed to be very strong as 200lbs of force was created when the weapon was loaded, it was probably one of the best inventions of the 1300s and helped to change history.


Medieval Longbow used by Longbowmen

Longbow used by Longbowmen

Crossbowmen *Foot – Soldier *Infantry

Medieval Crossbowmen used crossbows *Cross Shape. The crossbow could be used by foot soldiers in advanced positions * Crossbowmen had an advantage over other foot soldiers as they could fire bolts at close range without getting into range of an axe, sword, or other close combat weapons.

Genoese crossbowmen

Historians believe that the elite and best crossbowmen of the middle ages emerged from Genoa in Italy *The Genoese crossbowmen and the Iberian peninsula from Spanish cities such as Barcelona.


Genoese crossbowmen

The Crossbow used by a Crossbowman in the middle ages was also called an arbalist *named after the European variant ‘the arbalest’ used in the 12th century. Crossbowmen were very important medieval soldiers and classed and foot-soldiers (infantry). There are records of crossbowmen in battles up to around the 15th century in the Battle of Hastings.

Medieval Crossbowmen

The crossbow fired a thick bolt instead of an arrow and had a loading mechanism that made it easier to load and use compared to the longbow. In advanced positions, the crossbow was effective in distances of around 350 -400 yards (1200 feet).



The crossbow was a powerful weapon that could kill a knight in full armor. Medieval crossbowmen made use of a special large shield known as Pavise for protection in advanced positions.

Medieval Soldier loading a Crossbow

Pikemen were foot-soldiers of the medieval period who wielded very long polearm weapons called Pikes that could be around 20 feet long.

Pikemen were used in a defensive strategy. Tightly packed, Pikemen would form defensive wall formations by pointing their long pike weapons from the ground up, this would form a spear wall that was difficult for cavalry to penetrate and they would be impaled on the spikes as they charged.

Medieval Warfare Battles Batalla de rocroi por Augusto Ferrer Dalmau

Pikemen are victorious at the Battle of Rocroi

Landsknecht FootSoldiers

The Landsknecht were mainly a post-medieval force arriving towards the end of the medieval period, they often dressed in colorful outfits and were easy to spot. 

The Landsknecht originated in Germany as mercenary soldiers and were individually and collectively a formidable fighting machine, armed with huge two-handed swords that could easily cut a man in half and pike weapons which were very long sturdy spears, The Landsknect also had gun powder weapons called arquebus.

Medieval Landsknects

The Landsknecht were winning battles in Medieval times from around the end of the 15th century and the end of the medieval period to the end of the 16th century, they were also known as Pikemen due to the long wooden Pikes that they used in different formations and were well versed in battle techniques such as square formations that were introduced by the Swiss military.

Pikes were also used to provide tactical assistance to other Pike-men who were using other weapons, one of their main skills was in bringing down Knights on horseback who could not penetrate their Pike formations, and this made the Knights ineffective in battle as they were unable to get at the enemy.

Medieval Military List

Calvary Archers

Calvary Archers were well trained and able to shoot an arrow with amazing accuracy whilst riding a horse at the same time


Man in charge of twenty infantry in medieval England, these twenty would have been freemen not knights and were drafted into the army.


Man-at-Arms was a heavily armed cavalryman commonly a nobleman or knight, all knights were classed as men-at-arms and could be serving a Lord under feudal obligation or a paid mercenary working for a fee such as gold coins or other rewards for services provided.

Medieval Foot Soldiers

Foot soldiers were soldiers that fought on foot also commonly known as infantry and were not mounted. There were different types of foot soldiers such as crossbowmen, longbowmen, and Pikemen for example. described above, a footsoldier was usually a person of military skill or experience who commonly fought for a reward.