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ARMY

obtained the best even of the soldiers of fortune. But the national regiments were raised on the Indelta system. Each officer and man, under this scheme, received a land grant within the territorial district of his corps, and each of these districts supplied recruits in numbers proportionate to its population. This curious mixture of feudal and modern methods produced the best elements of an army, which, aided by the tactical and technical improvements introduced by Gustavus, proved itself incomparably superior to its rivals. Of course the long and bloody campaigns of 1630-34 led to the admission of great numbers of mercenaries even into the Swedish corps; and German, Scottish and other regiments figured largely, not only in the armies of Duke Bernhard and his successors, but in the army of Gustavus’ own lifetime. As early as 1632 one brigade of the army was distinguished by the title “Swedish,” as alone containing no foreigners. Yet the framework was much the same as it had been in 1630. The battle-organization of two lines and two wings, which was typical of the later “linear” tactics, began to supplant the system of the tercios. How cumbrous the latter had become by 1630 may be judged from any battle-plan of the period, and notably from that of Lützen. Gustavus’ cavalry fought four or three deep only, and depended as little as possible on the pistol. The work of riding down the pikes was indeed rendered easier by the improved tactical handiness of the musketeers, but it was fiery leading which alone compelled victory, for there were relatively few Swedish horse and many squadrons of Germans and others, who in themselves were far less likely to charge boldly than the “Pappenheimers” and other crack corps of the enemy. The infantry was of the highest class, and only on that condition could loose and supple lines be trusted to oppose the solid tercios of Tilly and Wallenstein. Cumbrous indeed these were, but by long practice they had acquired no small manœuvring power, of which Breitenfeld affords a striking example. The Swedes, however, completely surpassed them. The progress thus made may be gauged from the fact that under Gustavus the largest closed body of infantry was less than 300 strong. Briefly, the genius of a great commander, the ardour of a born cavalry leader, better arms and better organization, carried the Swedes to the end of their career of victory, but how personal was the vis viva which inspired the army was quickly noticeable after the death of Gustavus. Even a Bernhard could, in the end, evoke no more heroism from a Swedish army than from any other, and the real Swedish troops fought their last battle at Nördlingen (1634). After this, little distinguished the “Swedish” forces from the general mass of the armies of the time, save their system, to which, and to its influence on the training of such leaders as Banér, Torstensson and Wrangel, all their later victories were due. So much of Gustavus’ work survived even the carnage of Nördlingen, and his system always obtained better results, even with the heterogeneous troops of this later period, than any other of the time.

27. The English Civil War (see Great Rebellion).—The armies on either side which, about the same time, were fighting out the constitutional quarrel in England were essentially different from all those of the continent, though their formal organization was similar to that of the Swedes. The military expression of a national conscience had appeared rarely indeed in the Thirty Years’ War, which was a means of livelihood for, rather than an assertion of principle by, those who engaged in it. In England, on the other hand, there were no mercenaries, and the whole character of the operations was settled by the burning desire of a true “nation in arms” to decide at once, by the arbitrament of battle, the vital points at issue. A German critic (Fritz Hoenig) has indicated Worcester as the prototype of Sedan; at any rate, battles of this kind invariably resulted in failure when entrusted to a “standing” army of the 18th century. But the national armies disappeared at the end of the struggle; after the Restoration, English political aims became, so far as military activity was concerned, similar in scope and execution to those of the continent; and the example of Cromwell and the “New Model,” which might have revolutionized military Europe, passed away without having any marked influence on the armies of other nations.

28. Standing Armies.—Nine years after Nördlingen, the old Spanish army fought its last and most honourable battle at Rocroi. Its conquerors were the new French troops, whose victory created as great a sensation as Pavia and Creçy had done. Infusing a new military spirit into the formal organization of Gustavus’ system, the French army was now to “set the fashion” for a century. France had been the first power to revive regular forces, and the famous “Picardie” regiment disputed for precedence even with the old tercios. The country had emerged from the confusion of the past century with the foreign and domestic strength of a practically absolute central power. The Fronde continued the military history of the army from the end of the Thirty Years’ War; and when the period of consolidation was finally closed, all was prepared for the introduction of a “standing army,” practically always at war strength, and entirely at the disposal of the sovereign. The reorganization of the military establishments by Louvois may be taken as the formal date at which standing armies came into prominence (see historical sketch of the French army below). Other powers rapidly followed the lead of France, for the defects of enlisted troops had become very clear, and the possession of an army always ready for war was an obvious advantage in dynastic politics. The French proprietary system of regiments, and the general scheme of army administration which replaced it, may be taken as typical of the armies of other great powers in the time of Louis XIV.

29. Character of the Standing Armies.—A peculiar character was from the first imparted to the new organizations by the results of the Thirty Years’ War. A well-founded horror of military barbarity had the effect of separating the soldier from the civilian by an impassable gulf. The drain of thirty years on the population, resources and finances of almost every country in middle Europe, everywhere limited the size of the new armies; and the decision in 1648 of all questions save those of dynastic interest dictated the nature of their employment. The best soldiers of the time pronounced in favour of small field armies, for in the then state of communications and agriculture large forces proved in practice too cumbrous for good work. In every country, therefore, the army took the form of a professional body, nearly though not quite independent of extra recruits for war, set apart entirely from all contact with civil life, rigidly restricted as to conduct in peace and war, and employed mostly in the “maintenance” of their superiors’ private quarrels. Iron discipline produced splendid tenacity in action, and wholesale desertion at all times. In the Seven Years’ War, for instance, the Austrians stated one-fifth of their total loss as due to desertion, and Thackeray’s Barry Lyndon gives no untrue picture of the life of a soldier under the old régime. Further, since men were costly, rigid economy of their lives in action, and minute care for their feeding and shelter on the march, occupied a disproportionate amount of the attention of their generals. Armies necessarily moved slowly and remained concentrated to facilitate supply and to check desertion, and thus, when a commander had every unit of his troops within a short ride of his headquarters, there was little need for intermediate general officers, and still less for a highly trained staff.

30. Organization in the 18th Century.—All armies were now almost equal in fighting value, and war was consequently reduced to a set of rules (not principles), since superiority was only to be gained by methods, not by men. Soldiers such as Marlborough, who were superior to these jejune prescriptions, met indeed with uniform success. But the methods of the 18th century failed to receive full illustration, save by the accident of a great captain’s direction, even amidst the circumstances for which they were designed. It is hardly to be wondered at, therefore, that they failed, when forced by a new phase of development to cope with events completely beyond their element. The inner organization was not markedly altered. Artillery was still outside the normal organization of the line of battle, though in the period 1660-1740 much was done in all countries to improve