A kern was a Gaelic warrior, specifically a light infantryman, in Ireland in the late Middle Ages.
The word kern is an anglicisation of the Middle Irish word ceithern [ˈkʲeθʲern] or ceithrenn meaning a collection of persons, particularly fighting men. An individual member is a ceithernach. The word may derive from a conjectural proto-Celtic word *keternā, ultimately from an Indo-European root meaning a chain. Kern was adopted into English as a term for a Gaelic soldier in medieval Ireland and as cateran , meaning 'Highland marauder', 'bandit'. The term ceithernach is also used in modern Irish for a chess pawn.
Kerns notably accompanied bands of the mercenary gallowglasses as their light infantry forces, where the gallowglass filled the need for heavy infantry. This two-tier "army" structure though should not be taken to reflect earlier Irish armies prior to the Norman invasions, as there were more locally trained soldiers filling various roles prior to this. The gallowglass largely replaced the other forms of infantry though, as more Irish began to imitate them, creating gallowglass of purely Irish origin.
Earlier, the Ceithern would have consisted of myriad militia-type infantry, and possibly light horse, most likely remembered later in the "horse boys" that accompanied gallowglass and fought as light cavalry. They would be armed from common stock or by what they owned themselves, usually with swords, shields, bows, javelins and filled out numerous portions of an army, probably forming the vast bulk of most Gaelic forces. In the mid sixteenth century Shane O'Neill was known to have armed his peasantry and Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, outfitted many of his Ceithernn with contemporary battle dress and weapons and drilled them as a professional force, complete with experienced captains and modern weapons.
Jean Froissart (c. 1337–c. 1410) includes a description of the Irish wearing ‘very simple’ armour (perhaps leather or fabric forms of protection). Kerns were light troops who relied on speed and mobility, often utilising lightning strike tactics as a force multiplier to engage much larger formations. In the words of one writer, they were, "lighter and lustier than [English soldiers) in travail and footmanship".John Dymmok, who served in the retinue of the earl of Essex, Elizabeth I’s lord lieutenant of Ireland, provides the classic description of a kern equipped for war: ". . . a kind of footman, slightly armed with a sword, a target (round shield) of wood, or a bow and sheaf of arrows with barbed heads, or else three darts, which they cast with a wonderful facility and nearness, a weapon more noisome to the enemy, especially horsemen, than it is deadly". Kerns were armed with a sword (claideamh), long dagger (scian), bow (bogha) and a set of javelins, or darts (ga).
Kerns did not cling to their obsolete weapons and tactics but wholeheartedly and with great speed adopted weapons and military methodology of the continent, becoming heavily dependent upon firepower. However, they retained their original armaments and used them to great effect in areas where pike-and-shot formation was ineffective, such as woodland and dense scrub.
Native Irish displaced by the Anglo-Norman invasion, operated as bandits in the forests of Ireland where they were known as "wood kerns" or Cethern Coille.They were such a threat to the new settlers that a law was passed in 1297 requiring lords of the woods to keep the roads clear of fallen and growing trees, to make it harder for wood kerns to launch their attacks.
Notably, Kerns appear in Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 2 :
Shakespeare mentions kerns (and gallowglasses) in his play Macbeth :
Hoplites were citizen-soldiers of Ancient Greek city-states who were primarily armed with spears and shields. Hoplite soldiers used the phalanx formation to be effective in war with fewer soldiers. The formation discouraged the soldiers from acting alone, for this would compromise the formation and minimize its strengths. The hoplites were primarily represented by free citizens – propertied farmers and artisans – who were able to afford a linen armour or a bronze armour suit and weapons. Most hoplites were not professional soldiers and often lacked sufficient military training. Some states maintained a small elite professional unit, known as the epilektoi ("chosen") since they were picked from the regular citizen infantry. These existed at times in Athens, Argos, Thebes, and Syracuse, among others. Hoplite soldiers made up the bulk of ancient Greek armies.
Infantry is a military specialization which engages in ground combat on foot. Infantry generally consists of light infantry, mountain infantry, motorized infantry, marine infantry, mechanized infantry and airborne infantry.
Medieval warfare is the European warfare of the Middle Ages. Technological, cultural, and social developments had forced a severe transformation in the character of warfare from antiquity, changing military tactics and the role of cavalry and artillery. In terms of fortification, the Middle Ages saw the emergence of the castle in Europe, which then spread to the Holy Land.
A spear is a pole weapon consisting of a shaft, usually of wood, with a pointed head. The head may be simply the sharpened end of the shaft itself, as is the case with fire hardened spears, or it may be made of a more durable material fastened to the shaft, such as bone, flint, obsidian, iron, steel, or bronze. The most common design for hunting or combat spears since ancient times has incorporated a metal spearhead shaped like a triangle, lozenge, or leaf. The heads of fishing spears usually feature barbs or serrated edges.
Combined arms is an approach to warfare that seeks to integrate different combat arms of a military to achieve mutually complementary effects. According to the strategist William S. Lind, combined arms can be distinguished from the concept of "supporting arms" as follows:
Combined arms hits the enemy with two or more arms simultaneously in such a manner that the actions he must take to defend himself from one make him more vulnerable to another. In contrast, supporting arms is hitting the enemy with two or more arms in sequence, or if simultaneously, then in such combination that the actions the enemy must take to defend himself from one also defends himself from the other(s).
Skirmishers are light infantry or light cavalry soldiers deployed as a vanguard, flank guard or rearguard to screen a tactical position or a larger body of friendly troops from enemy advances. They are usually deployed in a skirmish line, an irregular open formation that is much more spread out in depth and in breadth than a traditional line formation. Their purpose is to harass the enemy by engaging them in only light or sporadic combat to delay their movement, disrupt their attack, or weaken their morale. Such tactics are collectively called skirmishing.
Darts are airborne ranged weapons. They are designed to fly such that a sharp, often weighted point will strike first. They can be distinguished from javelins by the presence of fletching and a shaft that is shorter and/or more flexible. Darts can be propelled by hand or with the aid of a hand-held implement. They can be distinguished from arrows because they are too short to be used in a bow.
Light cavalry comprises lightly armed and armored cavalry troops mounted on fast horses, as opposed to heavy cavalry, where the mounted riders were heavily armored. The purpose of light cavalry was primarily raiding, reconnaissance, screening, skirmishing, patrolling and tactical communications. Prior to the early 17th century they were usually armed with swords, spears, javelins, or bows, and later on with sabres, pistols, shotguns, or carbines.
Gaelic warfare was the type of warfare practised by the Gaelic peoples, that is the Irish, Scottish, and Manx, in the pre-modern period.
The Battle of Curlew Pass was fought on 15 August 1599 during the campaign of the Earl of Essex in the Nine Years' War, between an English force under Sir Conyers Clifford and a rebel Irish force led by Aodh Ruadh Ó Domhnaill. The English were ambushed and routed while marching through a pass in the Curlew Mountains, near the town of Boyle, in the west of Ireland. The English forces suffered heavy casualties. Losses by allied Irish forces were not recorded but were probably minimal.
The Gallowglass were a class of elite mercenary warriors who were principally members of the Norse-Gaelic clans of Ireland between the mid 13th century and late 16th century. Originally applied to Scots, who shared a common background and language with the Irish, but as they were descendants of 10th-century Norse settlers who had intermarried with the local population in western Scotland, the Irish called them Gall Gaeil.
Roman military personal equipment was produced in small numbers to established patterns, and used in an established manner. These standard patterns and uses were called the res militaris or disciplina. Its regular practice during the Roman Republic and Roman Empire led to military excellence and victory. The equipment gave the Romans a very distinct advantage over their barbarian enemies, especially so in the case of armour. This does not mean that every Roman soldier had better equipment than the richer men among his opponents. According to Edward Luttwak, Roman equipment was not of a better quality than that used by the majority of Rome's adversaries. Other historians and writers have stated that the Roman army's need for large quantities of "mass produced" equipment after the Marian Reforms and subsequent civil wars led to a decline in the quality of Roman equipment compared to the earlier Republican era:
The production of these kinds of helmets of Italic tradition decreased in quality because of the demands of equipping huge armies, especially during civil wars...The bad quality of these helmets is recorded by the sources describing how sometimes they were covered by wicker protections, like those of Pompeius' soldiers during the siege of Dyrrachium in 48 BC, which were seriously damaged by the missiles of Caesar's slingers and archers.
It would appear that armour quality suffered at times when mass production methods were being used to meet the increased demand ..." and "...the reduced size curiasses would also have been quicker and cheaper to produce, which may have been a deciding factor at times of financial crisis, or where large bodies of men were required to be mobilized at short notice, possibly reflected in the poor-quality, mass produced iron helmets of Imperial Italic type C, as found, for example, in the River Po at Cremona, associated with the Civil Wars of AD 69 AD; Russel-Robinson, 1975, 67
Up until then, the quality of helmets had been fairly consistent and the bowls well decorated and finished. However, after the Marian Reforms, with their resultant influx of the poorest citizens into the army, there must inevitably have been a massive demand for cheaper equipment, a situation which can only have been exacerbated by the Civil Wars...
For much of history, humans have used some form of cavalry for war and, as a result, cavalry tactics have evolved over time. Tactically, the main advantages of cavalry over infantry troops were greater mobility, a larger impact, and a higher position.
A javelin is a light spear designed primarily to be thrown, historically as a ranged weapon, but today predominantly for sport. The javelin is almost always thrown by hand, unlike the sling, bow, and crossbow, which launch projectiles with the aid of a hand-held mechanism. However, devices do exist to assist the javelin thrower in achieving greater distance, such as spear-throwers or the amentum.
Heavy infantry consisted of heavily armed and armoured infantrymen who were trained to mount frontal assaults and/or anchor the defensive center of a battle line. This differentiated them from light infantry who are relatively mobile and lightly armoured skirmisher troops intended for screening, scouting, and other tactical roles unsuited to soldiers carrying heavier loads. Heavy infantry typically made use of dense battlefield formations, such as shield wall or phalanx, multiplying their effective weight of arms with force concentration.
The military history of Serbia spans over 1200 years on the Balkan peninsula during the various forms of the Serbian state and Serbian military.
Redshank was a nickname for Scottish mercenaries from the Highlands and Western Isles contracted to fight in Ireland; they were a prominent feature of Irish armies throughout the 16th century. They were called redshanks because they went dressed in plaids and waded bare-legged through rivers in the coldest weather. An alternative etymology, illustrated by Jamieson by a quote from Sir Walter Scott, is that it referred to the untanned deer leather buskins worn by Highlanders, although Jamieson notes that Scott's source, John Elder of Caithness, actually stated its origin was from their habit of going "bare-legged and bare-footed". The term was not derogatory, as the English were in general impressed with the redshanks' qualities as soldiers.
A claymore is either the Scottish variant of the late medieval two-handed sword or the Scottish variant of the basket-hilted sword. The former is characterised as having a cross hilt of forward-sloping quillons with quatrefoil terminations and was in use from the 15th to 17th centuries. The weapon was also employed by the Irish and favoured by the mercenary Gallowglass in battle.
People have used weapons in warfare, hunting, self-defense, law enforcement, and criminal activity. Weapons also serve many other purposes in society including use in sports, collections for display, and historical displays and demonstrations. As technology has developed throughout history, weapons have changed with it.
Ancient Greek weapons and armor were primarily geared towards combat between individuals. Their primary technique was called the phalanx, a formation consisting of massed shield wall, which required heavy frontal armor and medium-ranged weapons such as spears. Soldiers were required to provide their own panoply, which could prove expensive, however the lack of any official peace-keeping force meant that most Greek citizens carried weapons as a matter of course for self-defence. Because individuals provided their own equipment, there was considerable diversity in arms and armour among the Hellenistic troops.
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