Gall-Gaideheil

Irish and European fighting styles and techniques, and the required Arms & Armour

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Gall-Gaideheil

Postby ocahan on Thu Oct 22, 2009 4:56 pm

Hello, new boy here.
I'm researching the Gall-Gaideheil circa 10-11th C and trying to work out what their fighting style was.
Were they capable of fighting in shieldwall, or massed formations or did they adopt looser deployment?
Information is scant and so I was directed here by a member of Gael Agus Gall.
If anyone could throw any light on this, or give me some pointers as to where to look, I'd be grateful.
Thanks.
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Re: Gall-Gaideheil

Postby Freebeard on Thu Oct 22, 2009 5:35 pm

have a look through the Scottish chronicales/annals to see if there is any info there regarding their fighting styles in war mentioned.
-'Dligid Diummus Dermat'

"Wyt ti’n ffrwtin fel gwyddel"
(you are farting like an irishman)
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Re: Gall-Gaideheil

Postby ocahan on Fri Oct 23, 2009 3:42 pm

Thanks. I did have a trawl through previously with little joy, however I will trawl again...
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Re: Gall-Gaideheil

Postby Celtic Britain on Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:55 pm

Hello,

it's a very interesting question indeed. I am member of a Dutch group, Celtic-reenactment.com and we do research on the medieval lordship of Islay and the MacSorleys.
We know the Gall-Gaideheil were of an island culture, the ship (similar to the Viking longboat) was very important, so there would have been regular sea battles.
I think they didn't use something like a shieldwall, most of the weapons used by later galloglass are too big to make a safe shield wall, they could easily hurt men next to you. 16th century sources give us information on the galloglass way of fighting in a sparr, named after the axe the galloglass used. He was accompanied by a kern and a horseboy, of course this could be two kerns, or galloglass or something like that as well.
We tried to make something with this information and formed up a triangle with two light armoured men on each side and the heavily armoured galloglass in the middle. It works with the long weapons and your flanks are covered during the battle.
unfortunately there is little proof this was the best way for the galloglass to go in to battle, it's also possible that the galloglass formed the frontline and behind it the kerns fought in the way they were the best – short hit and run attacks.
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Re: Gall-Gaideheil

Postby ocahan on Fri Feb 05, 2010 3:49 pm

I have had conflicting (and unsupported) views on this subject. One friend said there was reference to them fighting in Anglesey in a shield wall formation, but he could not find his source for this. I have never seen a source that supports this.
I don't know but I think that these troops could probably adopt loose or close formation dependent on need.
I have looked high and low (chronicles, secondary sources) and can find nothing to describe their fighting style.
They are often mentioned as 'pirates' but that throws no light on fighting formations in this period.
Your experiment sounds very logical and is as good a solution as steady foot.
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Re: Gall-Gaideheil

Postby Celtic Britain on Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:39 pm

I think he means the moment that the Kingdom of Man was supporting his Welsh ally in Snowdonia. The Welshman calls it something like the summer of the Gael, if I remember. I thought it was in the 11th century. I saw it in a book, but like your friend I don't have a source.
I remember there was very less information about it, and I don't think the source is providing us with any information about the military formations.
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