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The Battle of Murten, 1476

Course of the Battle (1)

The armament and battle strategy adopted by the two armies could not have been more different, with the Confederates’ prospects of victory looking very grim.

Charles’s army comprised some 22,000 men, including 5,700 archers, 5,100 infantry and 2,100 heavy cavalry. The mercenaries hailed mainly from Italy and Savoy, with 900 archers from England. The artillery used in Murten consisted of older models, given that Charles had lost his modern ordnance with its cast brass canons to the Swiss Confederates in his defeat at Grandson.
The Confederates and their allies are said to have numbered 24,000. Most were armed with pikes, halberds and battle axes, with small groups also brandishing bows, crossbows or arquebuses. They also included 1,800 horsemen, mainly from Austria and Lorraine.
In other words the Confederates’ traditional infantry, designed to combat cavalry armies, was made to face a modern Burgundian army equipped with long range weaponry. This army was divided into individual arms sections (a novelty in itself) comprising cavalry, skirmishers (bows, crossbows, arquebuses), pikemen (halberds) and artillery, who were deployed in a planned strategy and from a prepared, fortified position.

Charles wanted to conduct the battle on open ground to the north and west of Salvenach. His plan was to let the Confederates, who were advancing out of Galm Woods, run up against the Grünhag, and then decimate them with artillery from the left and with cavalry from the right.

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