French Gendarme Heavy Cavalry

  • Medieval Era
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

In the 14th Century, France's Gendarme Heavy Cavalry were the Knightly Orders, recruited for a set term of Military service to their Ruler (or Liege). Typically, these Knights - which were composed of a Company of 6, were the Front Line primary Assault Troops in The French Army.


The Gendarme provided their own Armor and weapons. Thus, they spent small fortunes to provide themselves with the very best in maximum Armor protection. Unfortunately, this was also their undoing. So heavy, The Gendarme could not mount a horse without assistance. Thus was given in the form of "Crane Winches", which provided a rope to lash to the Knight (around his chest). Sent men on the ground would winch the Gendarme up and directly over his saddle. Funally, he would be lowered downward -and literally strapped down. Falling off ones mount was seen as a "death sentence" (although an "honorable" one).


Normally a Gendarme was obligated to serve for a 49-day period by obligation to his Liege. These rules were later changed during The Hundred Years War, to 1-year (with finally a "duration " clause enacted). Also Company sizes were increased to 40 and 60. This often created a drain on the Nobility to staff such numbers. By the 15th Century it was not uncommon to have Lessor Knights in service.


The advent of The English Longbow put an end to The French Heavy Cavalry. New tactics were developed. Gendarme Knights were deployed to Villages and Town, to enforce their Lords Law and to protect The Citizens. Under the Control of a Provost, The Gendarme would evolve into France's first Military Police and then later (and still), National Law Enforcement Body.