The Mercenary’s Mark: The Landsknecht Shirt
The Landsknecht were a famous mercenary group who were known for being very effective in battle. But they were also known for their fashion sense. Specifically, they wore very distinctive and colourful shirts.
Much like their historical counterparts, our landsknecht shirts have a unique and immediately recognisable design. Most noticeable are the sleeves, which are long and very puffy. These sleeves have what’s known as a slashed design, which means that they are striped with two colours.
There are three different colour choices. We have black and red, which has a black torso and red and black striped sleeves. The black and white variant has a black torso and black and white sleeves. Finally, there’s the green and white shirt, which has a green torso and green and white sleeves.
The shirts themselves are made with a heavy cotton canvas, which makes them very sturdy. Aside from the sleeves, the torso of this shirt is quite standard, fitting comfortably on the body with a V-shaped neckline. At the neck, the shirt is laced shut.
At the wrists, the sleeves are gathered into relatively tight cuffs which feature brass cufflinks. These cuffs mean that, despite the voluminous nature of the sleeves, you can still move about with relative ease and even wield a weapon.
While the design of this shirt is based on the clothing of a specific mercenary company, it’s actually a very versatile shirt which still allows you to stand out from the crowd. The shirt is suitable for both historical and fantasy LARP events, as well as Cosplay, or for whatever excuse you can come up with, really. Wear it on a first date, you’ll definitely make an impression.
Professional Soldiers of the Middle Ages: Mercenaries
In fantasy, mercenaries sometimes get a bad reputation. They’re often depicted as ruthless warriors, willing to do anything for coin. Sometimes fantasy mercenaries are little more than bandit bands or criminals, who have just happened to stumble across a semi-legal job for a change.
Now, there are some examples in history of mercenaries that followed this pattern. Vikings, for example, were known for both raiding shorelines and for serving as hired fighters. Later on, privateers are another famous example of mercenaries who started out as pirates before becoming legitimised as a legal part of a nation’s army. The British loved privateers.
However, there were other famous mercenary companies who didn’t start out as pirates or hostile raiders. In fact, many nations used armies that were mainly comprised of mercenaries. Let’s look at the Landsknecht company.
In case the name hadn’t given it away, these mercenaries primarily spoke German. They were formerly established during the late medieval period, in 1486. They were partially formed in response to another famous mercenary group, the Swiss Pikemen (known as the Reislaufer).
The Landsknecht company were mercenaries recruited from the general public. These recruits were then trained to an exacting standard and organised under captains. So, these certainly weren’t random bandits who were extorted funds. Rather, they were professional soldiers, and quite well regarded at that. This particular company primarily served the Holy Roman Empire.
They were primarily an infantry group, much like the Swiss Pikemen. They were arranged into groups of 400 men, 300 of which would wield pikes. The other 100 men were better paid and 50 of them wielded either halberds or zweihanders, while the other 50 were armed with crossbows or arquebuses (an early firearm).
The technical specifications of the landsknecht shirt are as follows:
- Material: Cotton fabric.
- Fittings: Cotton and brass.
- Colour Options: Black with red/ Black with white/ Green with white.
The shirt comes in sizes ranging from Small to XX-Large. The measurements of these sizes are as follows:
- Small: 42 inches chest, 26 inches length.
- Medium: 46 inches chest, 29.5 inches length.
- Large: 54 inches chest, 32 inches length.
- X-Large: 60 inches chest, 35 inches length.
- XX-Large: 66 inches chest, 39 inches length.