Who Were the ‘Enfants Perdus’?

When we think of early modern military, we typically think of infantry, cavalry and artillery. But once in a while while researching you run into a fun little term that provides some color and character to an otherwise monotone palette.

Enter the French’s enfants perdus.

Battle of Dreux by Jacques Tortorel.
The ‘enfants perdus’ are listed as K (center-left). At the Battle of Dreux (French Wars of Religion), they were arquebusiers used as skirmishers. Engraving by Jacques Tortorel.

Enfants perdus‘s literal translation is “Lost children” but a phrase more typically used as the translation is “forlorn hope.” It’s the equivalent to Dutch’s verloren hoop (which means “lost heap”). French generals of German troops used a more pragmatic phrase, commanded musketeers.

Despite it sounding overly-dramatic, the name enfants perdus were apt. These French enfants perdus were small groups of soldiers, typically musketeers, formed by pulling troops out of various regiments. They were used as skirmishers as well as given specific missions (such as “hold that bridge” or “charge that outpost”). They were also used at the head of regiments to lead attacks.

Continue reading Who Were the ‘Enfants Perdus’?
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On Rapier Tournament Headspace

“Tourney Headspace” seems to be on a lot of fencers minds these days. Hardly a month doesn’t go by where I’m not part of some conversation, over drinks, talking about what works and doesn’t for fencing competitors.

For better or worse, a lacking “tourney brain” is often blamed for poor performance in tournaments. That’s definitely part of it. Not being properly focused can lead to early exits. I also think there’s a bit of a proper technique gap, especially in the confines fo SCA rapier, but tourney brain/headspace gets the lion share of blame.

I figure I would present my two cents on the issue.

Thinking about thinking

Note: By all means, I don’t think my way is the way. I think it’s one of the unlimited ways someone can prep themselves for a tournament or their next fight. It’s highly customizable, which is both a pro and con.

I also encourage people who are trying to develop their tourney brain to talk to the top fencers in their area to see what they do, read up on sports psychology, and be willing to experiment and fail while figuring out what’s best for you.

Continue reading On Rapier Tournament Headspace

The Low Line Attack With a Void (VIDEO)

I had a great day of fencing on Saturday at Balfar’s Challenge. Not only did my rapier melee team (Remy’s Angels II: Electric Boogaloo) came in first place, I also finished strong in second place in the afternoon’s Pennsic Qualifer Tourney in which I rolled out with single rapier the entire time.

I had to fight through my entire fencing family tree which was amusing in its own right. This fight against my cadet, Gregori, on the anniversary of his caddeting, was possibly the most memorable one ’cause of how I won — with a low line void & strike under the opponent’s sword arm.

His reaction was also pretty fantastic. We were laughing a good five minutes after this.

Continue reading The Low Line Attack With a Void (VIDEO)

Falling Band & Cuffs for Llewellyn Walsh’s MoD

This weekend was Balfar’s Challenge and one of my fencing friends, Llewellyn, was elevated to the SCA’s Order of Defense. It’s a great honor and responsibility, and is the highest rapier award in the organization.

I was asked to make a falling band and matching cuffs set to go with his elevation garb. Our friend Liadan was making the main outfit, so I conferred with her on what the outfit would look like. She sent me the cuff and collar measurements for the outfit.

  • Llewellyn MoD elevation
  • Llewellyn Blue Steel

As the photos show, she went with black and green as the main colors (based off an extent example she found) and gold trim to accent it all.

Continue reading Falling Band & Cuffs for Llewellyn Walsh’s MoD

The Thirty Years’ War: How Was Peace Achieved? [VIDEO]

DW Documentary released a two-part series on how the Thirty Year’s War ended and the Peace of Westphalia was designed. In fact, it took five years for all the parties to get onboard and led largely by Maximilian, Graf von Trauttmansdorff who represented the Holy Roman emperor.

Continue reading The Thirty Years’ War: How Was Peace Achieved? [VIDEO]

King’s & Queen’s Rapier Champs Recap: 2018 edition

So yea. K&Q Rapier was almost a month back and, man, this year was a day. After eight years of fencing in the SCA and five Sweet 16 appearances, I finally won King’s Champ.

King's Rapier Champion scroll, East Kingdom 2018
My King’s Champ Scroll

I’m gonna compile all my thoughts about the tournament and the weeks leading up to it. It’s all tied together and were important to my road to the tournament, but no idea if the ideas will come across.

You can read my 2016 & 2015 recaps here. Apparently I didn’t write one for 2017?? Lame.

Continue reading King’s & Queen’s Rapier Champs Recap: 2018 edition

So What Did The King’s Musketeers’ (Mousquetaires du Roi) Uniforms Look Like? [1622-1660]

There are few uniforms more iconic than the Musketeers tunic. Thanks to Alexandre Dumas and Hollywood, it is celebrated as a symbol of brotherhood, friendship, and justice.

And Hollywood has created a whole slew of different looks and designs for the Musketeers uniforms — everything from royal blue cassocks and white crosses, to navy blue tunics, grey, black, etc. Some with gold fleur-de-lis on the ends, some with a red sunburst behind the cross, others much more plain. The latest BBC rendition of the Musketeers even gave us leather shoulder pauldrons and a bastardized version of a long cassock.

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And as much as all of these designs are instantly recognizable, just how accurate are they to history? What exactly did the King’s Musketeers (Mousquetaires du Roi) actually look like?

Let’s take a stroll through history and military fashion… Continue reading So What Did The King’s Musketeers’ (Mousquetaires du Roi) Uniforms Look Like? [1622-1660]

Researching swords, gonnes and garb during the 16th and 17th Centuries.