I just know them from their costumes (slash-and-puffed doublets, etc.) and their funky shoes. This is all "Ren Faire" info of course. But using the Ren Faire as an historical guide is like using National Public Radio as your only source for news.
Yea but the slashed dublets are accurate. They give greater mobility, while still being flamboyant, to the swordsman. They often used flamberges, large flame bladed swords, some of them close to 70 inches long. The flame pattern was thought to inflict more serious injuries, but modern tests show no variance.
If we're bringing up NPR then we mustn't forget FOX NEWS. Haha.
I seem to recall they had an ongoing feud with the Swiss. It was apparently not unkown for Swiss and Landsknecht units to attack each other on sight, regardless of what each army's generals had in mind.
The Landsknecht was the Holy Roman Empires response to the Swiss pikesman formations. They did dress flamboyantly and they used for the most part halberds. The most experienced soldiers would use "Zweihaender" or doublt handed swords. They Zweisoldat (who often were the ones weilding Zweihaender) would be given double pay than the rest of the company but would be the ones leading assaults. The Landsknecht formations were often hired as mercenaries to protect another nations musketeers from cavalry and infantry.
They fought as well with muskets, and shorter swords called Katzbalger. A one handed straight sword worn on the hip. The Doppelsoldner indeed where called so because of their double pay (8 marks per month)
Which was a huge amount of money, a farmer would earn 2 marks per year.
Disadvantage was, the avarage life expectancy of a soldier was 1 year. If you managed to survive 2 or three years, you could retire as a wealthy man indeed!
A quote: Landsknechts fight as good as there is money, and will stay as long as there is beer.
They are renowned for their rawdy behaviour and drinking. The pike was also a weapon used by them.