Why were medieval armies mostly militias?

Wars in the Middle Ages: the diabolical tricks of the elite mercenaries

After the end of the Cold War, a species is celebrating its resurrection that seemed to have disappeared with the great wars of the 20th century: the mercenaries. Or better still: the war entrepreneur. In Iraq alone, the number of private security specialists was estimated at 100,000. Models for real armies, which each served against payment, can be found in history in abundance. If the money was right, they did not degenerate into a soldiery, as it attacked and plundered Rome around 1527, but instead developed their own tactics that traditional troops had a hard time with.

One of these private armies was the "White Company" of the British knight John Hawkwood, which achieved fame and fortune in Italy in the 14th century. The means by which it successfully asserted itself in the numerous wars of the rival states on the peninsula was shown by the information channel N24 on Tuesday night in its series "Warriors of the Past".

John Hawkwood (around 1320-1394) made his military experience in the first years of the Hundred Years War between England and France. The later son of a British landowner had joined the army of Edward III. worked high and participated in the Battle of Poitiers, in which the English, although clearly outnumbered, destroyed the French knights. Having become unemployed through the ensuing peace treaty, Hawkwood joined the mercenary troops of the "White Company" of the German Albert Sterz in 1361, whom he soon replaced in leadership.