Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Drakkar & Dromon - Oars and War

Dromon and Drakkar, Oars at War.
Gordon S Fowkes, KCTJ

Both Viking ship and Mediterranean Galley played major roles in the Crusade as together they gained a few centuries of naval and maritime superiority until the Ottomans picked up where the Arabs had left.  These war vessels were often modified and expanded for commercial purposes and complemented the rise of the short fat sailing ships that was the life blood of the 12th Century Renaissance. They represented two distinct design and construction plans but which intermingled and married in the shipyards north and south.


Drakkar (Longship) and Dromon (Galley)

The Viking Long Ship was an exceptional sailing ship, with good to excellent rowing capabilities.  It was not long before Viking ships were shortened, the deck in place, and oars were stowed.   The Dromon was the standard Byzantine warship in the Mediterranean which became the warship of choice for all colors and creeds well into the gunpowder age.  Both ships were fast under oars and while it is now accepted that Dromons and other Medieval galleys were rowed with the oarsmen standing up.  Since the Vikings and Byzantines fought with and against each other including service on Dromons against Byzantium’s enemies, it is more than likely that rowing tips and ship design intermingled.

These ships had a high length to width ration in excess of seven to one.  Even as high as ten to one.  This high ratio plus the low angle the oars had to have lowered the freeboard to the point that rowing in rough waters was pointless.  The distance between rowing station (tholes, benches, thwarts, oars) on Viking ships was 32 inches, while on the Dromon it was a foot longer.  Therefore there is likely a wide variety of rowing techniques.  The paper Is  intended to muddy the differences.

Crusade Era crews were made up of free men already organized in fraternal, commercial, and military roles.  In fact the use of galley slaves is a rare exception in history and unsatisfactory when used. The collective skill sets required of oarsmen as shown here requires drill team precision and football ardor


The Boat Races

1959, I was a coxswain on the University of California (Berkeley) Crew, then consisting of the 8-oared shell.  That’s the little guy at the back (aft) of the boat with a big mouth with eight really big guys on the oars.  We used to race up and down the Alameda estuary for races and practice. 

In order to see what these ships and crews were capable of, one can look at You Tube:
“Holy Smokes, they are flying!”  An eight oared shell


Modern racing shells (solo to eight oars) use seats that slide, and so far as we know today, rowing seats had to wait the 19th Century.  More than likely.

Imagine one of those dromons with as many as a hundred oarsmen would look like in a final drive to close with the enemy.


The “balance of power” of the oarsmen exerted between port and starboard, and between fore and aft is critical or the ship will heel and wobble. 

Angles of Oars to Water.


In order to get maximum power between the oar and the water, the angle must be very low.   This was a major design feature of all galleys and Viking ships which also produced a very low distance between gunnel and water.  This made sailing any long and low ship in troubled waters short and wet. As a consequence oar powered vessels avoided rough water, hugged the shoreline and came on shore for bad weather and/or night.


The Galleys of the Mediterranean (later large galleys were used in the Wool trade to reach northern waters were built frame first.  They, like the Romans and Greeks before, drove through the waver rather than over. Unlike them, the ram had been removed and replaced with a prow.  The tactics changed from ramming to boarding.


 The Viking Long Ship was clinker built (hull built before framing), and had good sea keeping capabilities as it could bent and twist in rough seas.  Since the water far at sea was likely to have higher waves than on rivers, Viking traders and raiders shortened the length to width ratio to under five to one.  This modification together with decking the thwarts and relying on sail is what is depicted in the arts of the time.  They could not have raided across the North Sea to the Bosporus with a ship too long.

Therein lies the mystery, which is where were the oarsman’s hands, feet and fanny relative to the gunnel, oar, thwart and thole (oarlock).  The purpose of this article is to let in more dark to confuse certainty.  The short answer is that more serious rowing required standing, not sitting.  But more before that:

Oars vs Rudder

If the power of the port (left) is greater than starboard (right), the ship will turn to the right (starboard).  This requires the helmsman to steer to port (left) which throws the ship off balance, by leaning away from the turn;  the ship rocks to the outside of the turn which further unbalances the ship.  Been there, done that.
The selection and placement of oarsmen and their oars with a mix of the skinny, round, tall and short to keep that balance is essential.  While in modern rowing, the person has to fit in the boat, while that choice was not as popular back then.


Recovered oars at the same site often differ in length.  Some plans and pictures of the multi-decked ships show the outboard oarsmen with the shorter oar rowing closer to the hull.   More common are the images of two or more banks of oars, regardless of number of oarsmen per oar, having all blades paddle in the same row of puddles.


Most oar ships of the day normally had a flat deck from bow to stern, but not always.   Some ships placed the higher benches and longer oars towards the stern.  In order for the oars to synchronize, the bow oars (men) were shorter with the taller and longer, the higher. It also provided a commanding view of the crew for those on high.  That and the guys closest to the boss are tall by mutual assent.

When I was a private (E-2) short in stature I marched in the rear, and as is the effect of short last, the column marched like an accordion with the short on the run.  When I was a Captain commanding an Engineer Company, the tall came last, and the formation got short.   On the galleys of the day, the short came first, albeit backward.

 Gearing Ratio

The relative length and gearing ratio (balance) between handle, thole (oarlock) and blade affects the amount of leverage the oarsman can exert in pulling the boat across the water.  The ratio of oar inside the ship versus outside, defined by the location of the thole (hole, oarlock) as a fulcrum.   In the Medieval Era, that ration ranged between 1:3 (one third inside) and 1:4 (one quarter inside).   1:3 favors getting underway faster, while 1:4 favors speed once underway.


Catch and Release

All oars must enter and leave the water exactly the same time and angle cleanly to retain the balance of power.  Splashing slows the boat and the race is won on the run, not the drive.  In short when the oars are out of the water.   Catching occurs when the oar goes into the water, and the release….


The oars today are feathered on the run in order to evade snagging the blade on the water (ripples and waves).  This reduces how much the oarsman has to raise the blade/lower the wrists on the run versus lowering the blade/raising the wrist.  This distance must be changed as the seas get rougher.

In modern racing boats, this is all in the wrists.  No kidding.  The blade is turned by rotating the oars forward for the catch and back for the release.  The latter uses the rush of water to flip the oars out of the waters, in lieu of yanking against the water.


The historical evidence supporting this use of the wrists to make a clean catch and release is indicated by this old piece of statuary. 


The Run

The Perfect Stroke (Boston)



The race is won on the run not the drive.  A sloppy but powerful crew will be beaten by a precise albeit weaker crew.

 The essential difference between modern crew rowing and of the good old days is that today the oarsmen (oarswomen) is the modern sliding seat which allows full extension of the legs.  Since the upper body has about a third as much power as the whole body, the big mystery in scholarly studies of rowing has been to ignore that the legs were used in rowing in order to go faster than the other guys. Be they close ahead or astern.

Stand and Row

The short answer is that back then they stood and rowed, stepping forward to plant a foot or two against a load bearing member of the ship.  Those include other benches or steps for the purpose. The only time these oarsmen rowed sitting down was in port. This particular example is of a chained oarsman.  At best this shows that standing and rowing was not sitting down.
Later rowing systems based on Italian designs including rowing arrangement of more than one oar to a station, and/or more than one oarsman to an oar.  Crusade Era ships were one and one. 

These diagrams show illustrate the difference in height relative to rowing stand up or sitting. It is about 3 feet from the deck to the elbows and if sitting.

The basic issue of whether to stand or sit relates to the skeleton and muscular makeup of the body.   The sliding seat likely did not exist, and the amount of stroke an oarsperson sitting down is less than one standing up and moving. Key to this is the difference between seats whether bench or thwart (longitudinally) 


 The best ballpark figures I have, show that the distance between thwarts, tholes (oar locks) and oars on Viking ship are about 32 inches (.8 meters) and those on the Galleys were 47 inches (1.2 meters). The oars and tholes in Viking ships were exactly half way between thwarts, with the shield even with the thwart.   



Load Bearing Members Carry the Load of the Members
There is stress wherever the boat, the oar, the water and the oarsman meet and the net result of this stress is a boat in a hurry.  These occur in a sequence from where the foot and the boat, butt and bench, oar and thole, blade and water.  Anything but the strongest materials will cause the boat to stop running.

Leather padding or gaskets reduced the friction of oar on thole.  Some galleys do not have a round thole but a peg or more between which takes up the friction which allowed more than one oar to a thole.   

A standing oarsman on a Viking type ship such as the Knarr could get his weight and body strength stepping on the thwart forward or the smaller one under that thwart.  A galley oarsman normally had a step in front of his bench which was also a load bearing member of the ship.  This is what is shown in the Russian sample.


Precision, Decision, and Synchronization.

The subject of oaring boats is huge, with larger variations of equipment and technique.  This treatise shows only show a few combinations.   The drawing in Russian drawing above is one of a ship rowed by slaves (note chain).  The bulk or and primary choice of crews, however, were professional crews of volunteers often chartered by the maritime powers of the world. These ships and oarsmen were often rented out for cash, alliance or privateering.



Templar light galley- 40 oars, monoreme, crew of 45. Armed with Tension Trebuchet and Greek Fire Projector

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Cistercian Connection

Gordon S Fowkes, KCTJ, LTC USA RET
Cistercian order was unusual in that it got its hands dirty and acted as a agent of change
The very existence of the First and subsequent Crusades were made possible to a series of revolutions in economic and political life that transformed Northern Europe from backwater and boondock status to a dominance it is retained to this day.  Technology (Tools) drove the process, and it was the entrepreneurial spirt of inventive farmers, craftsmen, and what we call today business.  

The first markets for these inventive farmers were often held in front of the local church, as that was the single most accessible location. The monastery as an economic enterprise provided central direction upon reflection and quickly adopted the technologies to enhance the productivity of the monastery.  The Cistercian Order under Saint Bernard is found in the middle of the process.  What is now called the 12th Century Renaissance is also called the first “world” economy) that went from China to Indonesia to India to the Levant, Europe, and Iceland. Silk at one end, wool at the other. And back again.

 The soil of northern Europe was too dense and damp to be plowed efficiently with the scratch plows of the day to produce much past subsistence.  Even during Roman times the northern woods were at best a buffer or border even in areas under firm Roman control, economic activity was marginal.

 In order to cut the heavy soil, the heavy plow was invented which included a cutter (c), plowshare, and wheels and was initially drawn by oxen. The need for speed and horse power as horses pulled two hours longer and faster, lead to the invention of the horse collar which solved the problem of the oxen yoke which choked the horse.  The hooves of horses did not fare well in the damp earth, unlike oxen, which lead to the use of horse shoes. 

Oxen could survive largely on hay, but horses needed vegetable protein such as from grain and legumes (beans).  The additional protein in farmers diets lead to increased energy in the people in the area. Yes, bean power.

Since legumes contain symbiotic bacteria called Rhizobia were found to restore nitrogen to farmland, crop rotations changed from fallow and wheat to fallow, wheat, and legumes, a change to three crop rotation which also extended the productive use of the land.  Farming is always a gamble, and often a dead end career for those stuck on the farm, particularly when the crops fail.  The woods were often the only place a person could survive, often as bandits.  The woods were also where pigs were allowed to forage for nuts, tubers, and fruits that had been shaken loose by the farmer or game keeper.

 This resulted in a sea change in the land use that allowed the subsistence farmer to go the market originally at the local church to buy and sell.  The creation of markets at the churches gave way to more defined market places that specialized in certain products 

The world of agriculture produced product that was either mobile (sheep, cattle, horses) that required processing (hides, textiles) and resale elsewhere.  Some rooted to the ground that had to be taken to a market for further processing (wines, mines) and some that had several stages of production.  Sheep were a good investment, for their wool, especially fine in the colder northern climates.  Sheep’s wool was sheared by the shepherd, which wool was sold in the Fairs and markets of Champaign, later Belgian for processing and weaving, which was bought by Italians from Northern Italy for further refinement, and from there for international trade

The increase in the need for specialized labor and services like blacksmith (Smith) created an entirely system of family names based on trade, craft, or job such as: Spinner, Weaver, Fuller, tailors (Taylor), skinners (Skinner), Farmers, Banker, Driver, Gates, Monk, Priest,  Tucker, Walker, and the like.  The impact of this association of economic function with family name lasts to the present day is an indicator of the dramatic and dynamic change in society, economics, war and politics north of the Alps.

Commerce requires an exchange of goods, services, and/or money.   And the Northern Italians brought their financial, industrial, and transportation skills honed in the Mediterranean to plug into the Campaign, Belgian and English trade centers.  And with the Italian financiers came a necessary connection between the Papacy, and the Holy Roman Empire where St Bernard was a superb diplomat and player in the politics of the Catholic world. 


 This was enhanced by the law in many lands that if a peasant, serf or bound servant were able to stay away from the local area for a year, that person was a free person (Freeman) who could work at the growing towns.  The more successful in business and trades created a new social class that lived and worked in a town, called the burger (burg is Germanic for town) hence “bourgeoisie”.  They, then as now, organized into Guilds and associations for the purpose of quality control. 

Likewise the tradesmen, artisans, and workers did organize. The first labor laws protecting selected trades were enacted in Ghent in the 11th Century (give or take).  While Burger and the Trades often were at serious odds to each other, when it came time to protect the town, they raised city militias and trained professional quality troops.  All this at the same time as the Crusades.  Machiavelli’s “On War (De Re Militari)” argued that the best military for a Republic was a well-trained militia. 

Politically, there is always a group of “elders” or “good old boys” who serve as either formal or informal form of governance which before 1800 were called, a Commune.  Normally property owners, burgers, and representatives of the guilds and associations, shared power with the titular feudal authority except when they went their own way.  The communes controlled the means of production in their towns and with association with other towns.   The wool producing towns in France, Belgium and Germany were either dominated by the communes or independent as “communal republics”.

Yes, Marx stole the name of a form of governance run by business interests leaving scholars no noun to describe a business oriented polity.   The concept of “capitalism” likewise make it impossible to mix business and politics except behind the door. 

Many Italian city states used the communal republic as a form of governance. As such, Florence, Genoa and Venice were republic in form.   Universal suffrage was a 20th Century development.  Romeo and Juliet is about a family feud within the Republic of Venice.   These Italian cities provided the banking, trading and maritime skills for the wool producing regions which regions later shifted to Belgium and England. 

 We know that St Bernard of Clairvaux whose monastery was near the wool market at Bar-sur-Aube orchestrated the recognition of the Knights Templar at the Council of Troyes in 1129, a decade after their founding in Jerusalem.  Troyes was one of the cities that held the annual Champagne trade fairs which brought to the fore, the domination of the early wool trade.   Trade in textiles before the US Civil War had the same influence as does oil does today.  King Cotton did not save the CSA.

St Bernard was a cut above your average run of the mill king maker, he was the Pope maker (three or four) behind the door as well as up front in the pulpit.  King makers came to him.   As the Papacy’s premier and extraordinary representative, he was a Guelph (Papacy) versus Ghibelline (Holy Roman Emperor) in their struggle to control the wealthy north Italian cities. These cities had organized into alliances such as the Lombard League in league with the Frangipani (three popes and thirty four cardinals) and Orsini families. 

This further allied the powers that were in France and the Low Countries in also in opposition to the Holy Roman Empire.  Key amongst the French supporters of the Papacy included Counts of Anjou (Fulk or Foulques) family who were avid supporters of the Cistercians, St Bernard and the Knights Templar. Fulk III had built abbeys and monasteries in the Loire valley (heart of France).  Fulk IV became King of Jerusalem, and his son, Geoffrey Plantagenet was the first of the line of the Plantagenet Royal family of England (as in Richard the Lion Hearted) and of the Angevin Empire.

 Go figure


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mind-Body and Battle

In animals as well as man, there is a default choice of courses of action and reaction. But it is a bit more complicated than Fight-Flight-Freeze.   Initially a REVULSION REFLEX inhibits what might be an all-out murderous mutual massacre.  This serves two purposes: maneuver for advantage and the appearance of overwhelming force (INTIMIDATION).   Once one side turns away, the Revulsion Reflex is erased and replaced by the RUN-DOWN REFLEX in which the loser is run down killed, captured, eaten or sold on the slave market.  The end status is submission, even though such results in certain death.

The initial stages of a confrontation include the posturing, growling, snarling and puffing up hair, all of which are signs of aggression. In humans as well.  The controlling factor in intimidation is eyeball to eyeball, or the appearance of it. 

 Most animals in nature carry body markings to camouflage the female against discovery during nesting, resting, or child raising.   On the other hand, body markings that make the males competitor appear more ferocious. Some is carried over in human threat displays, Tall hats and capes make the contestant appear larger than life, body markings exaggerate combative appearance.  The male lion has a big mane while the female does not, the mane is the main sex display while other body differences between male and female are not as apparent.  

The combat response of the “Freeze” is based on the fact that a moving target attracts the eye, standing still under the right circumstances clouds the predator’s mind (as in Hide).  This is a standard response at night when the enemy lights up the night with searchlights and/or flares.  Hiding in the umbra of taller objects also works

The Peacocks feathers all full of eyes, or the accentuated eyes of Owl or Orca are there to intimidate in this psychological preparation of the battle.  Few animals can face down a pair of human eyes, so I avoid eye contact in sparring and take in the whole person for balance, stance, guard, vulnerable spots and movement.
Like the tank or aircraft, the human body has vulnerabilities which must be protected.  These include the BRAIN, EYES and VITALS.  That which connects and protects these (MEANS) includes the skeleton, skull, and body operating systems the defense of which life depends: Nervous, Gastro-Intestinal, Respiratory and Vascular. The nervous system includes several subsystems of interest to the warrior.

The most common human fighting technique is battery by hand and foot, mostly by hand.  There are only two targets worthy of battery, and that is to affect the Brain and the Lungs.  The skull protecting the brain is a hard target so it must be struck with something soft in order to induce concussion. Conversely, the lungs must be hit with something hard in the guts so as to push the diaphragm upward constricting the lungs.  Plain battery elsewhere is defeated by muscle, bone, and fat.

The skeletal system puts bone to protect the soft parts, and provides a mobile firing platform and weapons system.   The “soft parts” inside the body are protected by the muscles and bone, and are the subsets of the Body regarding Tactical Imperatives.  One versus the other’s.

THE ENGINE (Cardio-Vascular-Lungs).  
Similar to a tank, aircraft, and car engine, the animate require oxygen and fuel to transfer energy to, lubricate, and operate the various components of the body.  In vertebrates this requires lungs to take in air and transfer the oxygen to the blood, which blood picks up nutrients and agents from the various glands and organs.   Together, this constitutes the vitals.

The process of breathing without which life gets short, involves the transfer of oxygen from the lungs into the heart which pumps the oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.   While the rib cage provides considerable protection of damage by blunt instrument, compression of the guts often knocks the breath out of the breather.  Behind and below the guts (intestines), certain vital organs that filter and deliver the chemicals into or out of the blood and digestive systems. These are located in an ellipse with the long axis across the belly from kidney to kidney. 


Deep Diaphragm (Belly) Breathing brings in more air in to get more energy out, and relaxes the body (and mind).  Chest breathing is rapid and shallow, and tightens up the body (and mind).  Deep “belly” breathing is the counter to stress.  One must calm down to fight.

This provides two references, the Center Line from nose to groin which is both the center of vulnerabilities, but also the Center Line of the body’s defensive and offensive firepower.  Consequently, a direct face-off between humans place the greatest firepower mutually opposed to the opponents vulnerabilities.   

The terms COG, Center of Gravity ad Center of Mass are often used interchangeably rendering both moot in battle.  It is certain (IMHO) that all nature knows its balance, centers and all.   In this rendition, the center of mass of any creature only moves when the cargo shifts, and the “bone centers” are fixed by the joints which include the shoulders and knees. 

The Center of Gravity is the net result of all the forces influencing the body including the force exerted in standing and running, and includes the forces of any external object that yanks, pulls, or trips the body.


While one bleeds just anywhere, getting to the heart of it is more precise.

The command and control of the animate body goes through several nets and systems.


The Central Nervous System ties the parts together via several subsystems, some you know, and others operate behind the coded door.  
Chinese Traditional Medicine was unknown to the West and likely the Middle East, but so were the ones we know about today.  Recent work in the martial arts community is making progress In associating the elements of Chinese Traditional Medicine (TCM) with what we know of the body today.  The pressure points of TCM normally are found where a nerve comes to an end, crosses another or divides.  Additional work is being done in affiliating TCM with the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) according to the Dragon Society (Grand Master Rick Moneymaker, under whom I have studied).

George Dillman Pressure Point Seminar

We usually associate the nervous system with motor and sensory nerves, but well below the conscious level the ANS works in response to the threat as perceived by the Biology of perception which follows two paths into the brain to the switchboard of the Amygdala, Smell and
Audio‐Visual, which produces chemical changes to make things happen or not.  Smell is the oldest of senses and is routed through the Thalamus to activate the Limbic System while Audio‐Visual is routed through the Hypothalamus which goes to the Cortex. Smell (Stink) produces action without reflection.

9The Parasympathetic system appears to be operating in diametric opposition to each other.  The Sympathetic system cranks up under perceived threat, and the Parasympathetic backs off. The Sympathetic reaction, however, is counter-productive to efficient fighting, in particular the heart rate.  Pupil dilation is accompanied by a narrow field of view which does not see or sense attacks coming from the sides. The Oriental system of belly breathing, deep and slow, also slows down the heart rate, increases the field of view, and relaxes the body.  A tense body not only hurts more when hit, the range and speed of the limbs are retarded. 

RELAXATION RESPONSE (Calm down to fight)

This leads to an apparent, but necessary paradigm shift: One must calm down in order to fight efficiently and effectively.  The foaming at the mouth, wild eyed, emotional fighter won’t fight long in the face of deadly calm.   Shouting is targeted and timed to freeze the target at the right time and way.  This calming down effect has many names in the East, but is also found in Western athletics and performance arts.  It is sometimes called the Relaxation Response.  When relaxed, the athlete or artist’s mind becomes detached from the fury of the moment, but operates in a more strategic fashion.  A chattering mind invites battery to the body. 
In Close Order Combat at Close Quarters (spear or pike range), one reads of forces who advance with shouts in unison, like “God Wills It” or singing a battle song are also ridding the body of tension, creating a bond within the ranks, and elevates the mind from dwelling too much on what could go wrong. 


Substantial and credible research has established that the default behavior of humans when faced with the choice of killing don’t kill, don’t shoot, miss deliberately, never forget, and vomit once done.  It is clear that the initial behavior during the initial face to face confrontation is to threaten, posture and maneuver for advantage.   Recent studies of the casualty rates of battles back to antiquity also show abysmally small numbers of casualties or both sides, provided the other side didn’t run.  

Since killing is an integral part of life on the planet, there is a question as to why do humans react against killing even when being killed is a clear and present danger.  This reaction is also common to the animal kingdom, few animals launch into an attack without some intimidating (or sneaky) maneuvers.  If the object of their intimidation does not back off, the confrontation can end as both sides back off  This is nature’s way of limiting aggression to issues of dominance (Social Status) or dinner. The lions, gazelles, buffalo, and other wild creatures who are subject of being eaten or beaten only do so when needed.  Otherwise, they share the same space. 
Humans don’t settle for that. Usually. 

During WW 2, only 15 to 20% of infantrymen fired their weapons.  The change from paper targets at known ranges to popup silhouette targets at random distances raised the odds in Vietnam to 90-95%. Realistic training, that is the replication of all the sensory inputs normally associated with a given task.  That is why we invented the infiltration course after Korea, to get accustomed to overhead machinegun fire, tracers and all, in a controlled situation. 

The routing of sensory inputs by way of the Amygdala, Thalamus and Hypothalamus that is not overloaded with emotions, allows a calmer more trained mind to sort these stimuli and select an appropriate response.  The Trained Mind is where the coded reflexes activating muscle memory and learned responses that can fight on automatic, leaving the relaxed mind to make strategic observations and directions.   This occurs in athletes, dancers, fighter pilots and Friday Rush Hour to function without burning up energy in conscious decision making as that mind is too slow.


From a broader point of view, control of the Revulsion Reflex which is primarily driven by the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS), is to counter with activating the Parasympathetic System in addition to reducing the fear factor of external stimuli, like incoming rounds.  Taking learned responses to cope with the actual physical threats includes digging in, shooting back, wearing protective gear at all times. 

The Knights Templar slept in their combat gear, something that I learned my first week in combat. And they did so without regard to any specific threat assessment.  Unit morale due to the unit replacement system in US forces today has elevated the sense of camaraderie between buddies to a level far above any achieved before or so wide.  Likewise the bonding of the Knights Templar and the other holy orders coupled with a shared set of values, rituals, and combat training worked to override any errant stimuli so they could fight effectively and efficiently. 


The Temple and the Hospital only recruited those who were already MOS qualified (knights, men at arms, sergeants) and bonded together by faith, ritual and hard collective training.  For a unit to function as a unit in combat, they must have trained tougher under simulated combat conditions, and some that aren’t battle.  This includes hunger, exhaustion, confusion, extreme heat and/or cold, rain, snow, and/or dust, all of which are available at Ft Hood Texas often at the same time.

There is little known about the training schedule, program of instruction, of Mission Essential Task List used to train the Order.  The fact that the holy orders and other well trained outfits could assemble on day, or show up in the middle of battle and be able to be deployed effectively means that there had to be a shared and clearly understood way to fight for each of the components and for the leadership.  The Western knights of the 12th Century were far superior to Islamic forces, and particularly at higher levels of command.  Saladin started the reversal of the trend which ended in the 13th Century.  One fatal difference influenced operations was the incessant bickering of the various political components of either side.  

See the Crusade through Arab Eyes, by Amin Maalouf, which shows how screwed up the Muslim side was during the First Crusade until the Third.   During that period of time, Muslim rule passed from Arab to Turk, which did not reverse again until after WW 1. 
Crew Served Weapons,

The recent studies of modern combat and firing rates, show that any form of distance between the enemies eyes and our own reduces aversion, and can activate the Run Down and Chase Reflexes. This distancing applies to officers, non-commissioned officers, crew served weapons crews, and those at a distance from the threat.  Knights of the day from Far East to Iceland operated as a crew served weapon, as the knight rarely went unaided or alone.  Except when showing off.
Kingdom of Heaven, Kerak. Balien (Right) intercepts Saladin's host (dust in background)
Flags and Bugles.

The noise, dust and confusion of Close Order Battle makes giving verbal orders problematic.  The high notes of the trumpet operate at a frequency that the human ear registers full attention, and bugles are still used (out of respect) today.  Likewise banners, flags, pennons, and Guidons are the default visual means of controlling forces afoot, afloat, or a riding.  The soul that carried the banner of a band of brothers did so without a weapon in hand, and for whom dropping the flag was a major disgrace.  It still is, even though following the flag in current battles would draw fire. 

Units lacking the sense of camaraderie and shared experiences have a short shelf life.  Once the enemy turns to run, runs or acts in a panicky way, the Rundown or Chase Reflex automatically reverses the Revulsion Reflex, and the chase Is on.

Once the enemy looks away, turns his back, or demonstrates weakness, another equally powerful gut reaction to chase down and kill the enemy without any sense of revulsion.  In battles between forces in close order (side by side, shoulder to shoulder, etc.) turning and running resulted in mass casualties due to aroused avarice by the attacker and suppressed defensive capabilities while running backside to front. 

It is no accident or insidious capitalist warmongering plot that children play “hide and seek”, or running games like “keep away” which goes professional in soccer, football (both), basketball, or hockey.   This behavior like most childhood games is practice for what comes later in life, and is driven by coding in DNA.  Socialization only provides the details.

Some of kids play is not play but training, and it occurs naturally without any external input.

More serious “games”

Several important factors reduce or counter revulsion reflex include those activities where the mind is occupied with conscious engagement with a complex piece of hardware, like a laser range finder. Or upon rote reaction of certain responses that require the brain to focus on a few important things such as in calling for and adjusting fires like Fire Missions and Tank Gunnery Commands.  Those have to be done right despite foggy brains and fear. 


 This is the part when the loser is massacred on the run even if not edible.  Basketball, Soccer, Rugby, and Hockey (field and ice) are running games with the puck or ball representing the game’s game. This is the part when the family chows down on the defeated, the wounded are bayoneted, and the dead are stripped. In Medieval warfare, the casualties of the side that ran were horrific while in those battle with no panic, or run, American Football is more lethal. 

King Guy of Jerusalem surrenders to Saladin at the Battle at Hattin 1187