Talk:Pike (weapon)

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Thrown weapons[edit]

In the article it says that unlike similar weapons the pike isn't thrown, I'm wondering what are these similar weapons becasue as far as I know only the Javelin was thrown. (talk) 02:34, 9 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

vulnerability to Halberd[edit]

Somewhere in Wikipedia I read that the pike was vulnerable to the Halberd or some kind of bladed pole weapon. It gave an example of where rhe English used it to chop off the heads of Scots pikes, leaving them with a broken pole. Was that Flodden? No matter, I think it needs to go in with this article somewhere. IceDragon64 (talk) 10:47, 21 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Soldiers dropping their pikes?[edit]

"There are examples of pikemen throwing their weapons down and seizing muskets from fallen comrades, a sign that the pike was on the wane as a weapon."

What are these examples? In a discussion I've had elsewhere, I learned that it wouldn't have been very natural for pikemen to just pick up firearms like that, since the pike was considered a gentleman's weapon at the time and discarding it for a firearm would have been seen as somewhat demeaning. On the other hand, many pikemen also seem to have had extensive training in firearm use even though they were not meant to use them (firearms) in battle. So, since these indirect extrapolations have resulted in an equivocal conclusion, I'd be very grateful if anyone can actually post references to primary source accounts of the relevant incidents (of pikemen taking up firearms). Otherwise I'd feel compelled to remove the quoted passage. Lay (talk) 09:04, 28 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Usually 10 to 14 feet long?[edit]

I changed this a long time ago but it was immediately reverted - what is the reasoning behind this? In the period I am familiar with 15 to 18 feet was normal. This seems to me much too short for an overall average, if such a thing is even appropriate for a weapon so variable in size.Megalophias (talk) 21:06, 5 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is it sourced? Your statement won't be deleted if you provide <ref>source</ref> for it. Wandalstouring (talk) 14:35, 6 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • "In the middle seventeenth century most English pikes were sixteen feet in length but varied from as little as fifteen to as much as eighteen feet." An Historical Guide to Arms and Armour, Stephen Bull
  • "...originally ten foot, the Swiss pikes were enlarged to 18 foot in the early Italian Wars." George Gush,
  • Swiss used 18 foot pikes in mid 15th century. The Swiss at War 1300-1500, Douglas Miller, Gerrry Embleton.
  • "Swiss pikes were 18 feet long; English sixteenth-century pikes 12-18 feet long." The Military Revolution in Sixteenth Century Europe, David Eltis.
  • "I would that all the pikes throughout England (that are for the field) should be reduced into one uniformity of length, that is, either to seventeen foot long by the rule, or else to eighteen foot, and not above, which are two foot longer than the Spaniards do use in their militia..." Sir John Smythe, Certain Discourses Military, 1590.
Unfortunately I have been unable to find any reliable sources for pike length in the 14th century, and I'm not certain about the 15th either. Megalophias (talk) 06:19, 7 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Last use of spears or pikes[edit]

At the end of WW2, women were trained to defend Japan with bamboo pikes. That msut have been the last major tactical formation of pikes during a war. --Malin Randstrom (talk) 08:12, 9 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm glad there was no invasion of Japan. Poor women. Can you provide a source for that? Wandalstouring (talk) 09:18, 9 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Here is an interesting photo from the Indonesian Revolution against the Dutch colonial administration, titled "Javanese revolutionaries armed with bamboo spears and a few Japanese rifles. 1946.":

I suspect their main use was in 'reprisals' against those seen as collaborators and foreign elements. Heavenlyblue (talk) 18:59, 29 January 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Pikes in WWII[edit]

If memory serves correctly, there were pikes used against German tanks in various places around the world (of course, to no avail). I know that the British were planning to use pikes to somehow stall or stop German tanks when they came ashore in the Battle of Britian: never happened. Colonel Marksman (talk) 00:48, 8 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Provide reliable sources. Wandalstouring (talk) 13:36, 8 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Life in the Home Guard with Pikes". {{cite web}}: Text "After a time we progressed from armbands to full uniform with cap badges, Royal West Kent Regiment — still no rifles. Then came a surprise. A large coffin type box was awaiting us one training evening in the station waiting room. The rifles? Under the strict eye of our sergeant the heavy box was prized open and the packaging removed. No rifles but pikes — steel tubes with bayonets welded in one end." ignored (help) for starters.Plumtree100 (talk) 14:27, 8 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Does this mean that steel tubes with bayonets were training equipment for senseless bayonet charges or is there any mention of these bayonet tubes used in combat? Note also that there are pikes and spears and somehow the pike starts at around 3 meters/9 feet. Wandalstouring (talk) 17:55, 8 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Category:Spears is itself a category within Category:Pole weapons. — Robert Greer (talk) 02:12, 11 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Intro changes[edit]

Hi, I added a note about the use of the Sarissa, an ancient Pike to the intro as this article. The Sarissa article refers to it as a Pike in the intro so it seemed appropriate. Previously the intro stated that the Pike was used from the early medieval period until 1700 which completely ignored the history of it's successful use up until then. I also removed the statemen,t " While the soldiers using such spears may not have called them "pikes", their tactical employment of these weapons ran along broadly similar lines.", as it seems redundant, every object has a different name in another language but we don't put that in every article. Master z0b (talk) 02:38, 29 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Image removal[edit]

The image of Swiss guards is captioned as "Swiss guardsmen armed with pikes and halberds", when I look at the photo I can only see Halberds and not Pikes. Unless someone objects I'm going to remove it, we already have a lot of good photos in this article. Master z0b (talk) 03:55, 12 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Relocated pike fishing (bagrenye) content[edit]

Brief content on bagrenye (ceremonial sturgeon fishing by Russian Cossacks using their pikes) was relocated this date from its errant posting at the Pike pole page (a page on the tool and its various modern uses) to this one on the pike as a weapon (as that is what the Cossacks were using, not firefighters', loggers', or construction workers' tools). Its relevance here is for a consensus to decide.Wikiuser100 (talk) 17:36, 3 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nope: the Russian sources all used the term bagor багор ("pike pole" - a tool, as the one used by the firefighters, or, for example people who float timber in rafts) rather than pika пике ("pike" - a common Cossack weapon). Apparently a tool with a hook is a lot more convenient for getting the fish from the river bottom than a pike (essentially, a lance) would be. -- Vmenkov (talk) 17:34, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Narrow the definition[edit]

If I get it right the pike was not only a melee weapon exclusively (not thrown) but also always 2-handed (or at least worn with the second hand free to support the pike). If that's correct it would be nice to be added to the early part of this article to distinguish the pike further from the more general spear and the different javelin. Since I'm not sure about this I didn't change the article itself. Florian Finke (talk) 12:14, 8 May 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Used against cavalry[edit]

"A common misconception is that pikes were employed for use against cavalry. " This sentence is not true. Pikes were indeed employed against cavalry. Their relative success due to having or not having cavalry support does not change the fact that pikes were employed for use against cavalry. (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 08:01, 11 May 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Actually it is true, the common thought put forward time and again is that Pikes are *specifically* great vs cavalry and that for example pike's enabled infantry to resist the charge of heavy medieval knights. Yet if you scroll through all the referenced battles (I've been going from medieval era to Italian wars so far) you will find a near total lack of pike beating cavalry charge. Instead other mitigating factors like pits/hills/swamps or ambush and outmanoeuvring as the reason for success. The swiss mercenaries in particular tended to win due to formation tactics and manoeuvring, not because they had pikes. The notion that pikes are good vs cavalry appears to have been accidental correlation.2607:FEA8:12C0:BC80:D68:F641:74E2:DF6B (talk) 14:25, 3 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That is true IF you ignore the Battle of the Battle of Stirling Bridge, the Battle of the Golden Spurs and the Battle of Bannockburn which were all won by pikes against cavalry. It is an error that they won *on* the bridge at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. They won against cavalry that had already crossed the bridge. The collapse of the bridge prevented the full force of the English army from crossing. Pits had been dug at Bannockburn but ended up having to effect on the battle as it was fought in a different location. It is quite correct that what was effective against pikes and against cavalry were archers. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:47, 24 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Why does File:Pike square img 3655.jpg have no caption in the article? Vpitt5 (talk) 00:55, 31 May 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

New Model Army stopped using pikes in 1650?[edit]

In the Pike and Shot section it says "By about 1650 the New Model Army had all but stopped using pikemen". Later in the article in the same section it states, "Two musketeers for each pikeman was not the agreed mix used throughout Europe, and when in 1658 Oliver Cromwell, by then the Lord Protector, sent a contingent of the New Model Army to Flanders to support his French allies under the terms of their treaty of friendship (the Treaty of Paris, 1657) he supplied regiments with equal numbers of musketeers and pikemen." This statement contradicts the statement above that Pikemen had all but stopped being used by 1650. I have done some research on the English Civil War period as well and while in Ireland some units abandoned the Pike, Pikemen persisted in the New Model Army and in England in general till the end of the 17th century. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:57, 27 January 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Indeed, the following statement about marching speed is cited to p. 53 of Carpenter 2005 - but it just doesn't appear there. Perhaps these assertions should be removed? Pinkbeast (talk) 01:15, 28 January 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have edited the section to now state,
"During the English Civil War (1642–1651) the New Model Army (1646–1660) initially had two musketeers for each pikeman. Two musketeers for each pikeman was not the agreed mix used throughout Europe, and when in 1658 Oliver Cromwell, by then the Lord Protector, sent a contingent of the New Model Army to Flanders to support his French allies under the terms of their treaty of friendship (the Treaty of Paris, 1657) he supplied regiments with equal numbers of musketeers and pikemen.} On the battlefield, the musketeers lacked protection against enemy cavalry, and the two types of foot soldier supported each other."
taking out the section referring to the New Model Army not using Pikes in 1650.
As stated I'm sure some units in the heat of campaigns may not have used pikes here and there but for the most part Pike's remained as the statment about Cromwell in 1658 suggests. The English Army kept using pikes right up until the 1690s so any statement about pikes not being used in the 1650s seems inaccurate.

The following book is a good source on the decline of the pike in the English army, Tincey, John, and G. A. Embleton. The British Army, 1660-1704. London: Osprey, 1994. 2603:7080:402:E394:50AF:2B9B:581:182 (talk) 05:15, 18 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]