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522
[HISTORY
INFANTRY


the arquebuses and corselets of the right wing came a Swiss monster of the old type. On the imperial side of the Landsknechts, Spanish and Italian infantry were drawn up in seven or eight battalions, each with its due proportion of pikes and “ shot." The course of the battle demonstrated both the active tactical power of the new form of fire-action and the solidity of the pike nucleus, the former in the attack and defence of hills, woods and localities, the latter in an episode in which a Spanish battalion, after being ridden through from corner to corner by the French gendarmes, continued on its way almost unchecked and quite unbroken. This combination of arquebusiers supported by corselets in first line and corselets with a few ar uebusiers in second, reappeared at Renty (1554), and St Quentin (ZISS7), and was in fact the typical disposition of infantry from about 1530 to 1600.

By 1 5 50, then, infantry had entirely ceased to be an auxiliary arm. It contained within itself, and (what is more important) within its regimental units, the power of fighting effectively and decisively both at close quarters and at a distance-the principal characteristic of the arm to-day. It had, further, developed a permanent regimental existence, both in Spain and in France, and in the former country it had progressed so far from the “ residue ” state that young nobles preferred to trail a pike in the ranks of the foot to service in the gendarmerie or light horse. The service battalions were kept up to war strength by the establishment of depots and the preliminary training there of recruits. In France, apart from Picardie and the other old regiments, every temporary regiment, on disbandment, threw off a depot company of the best soldiers, on which nucleus the regiment was reconstituted for the next campaign. Moreover, the permanent establishment was augmented from time to time by the colonel-general of the foot “ giving his white fiag ” to temporary regiments. The organization of the French infantry in 1570 presents some points of interest. The former broad classification of au deld and en dega des ments or “ Picardie " and “ Piedmont, " repre-Elin” senting the home and Italian armies, had disappeared, and “fanny instead the whole of the infantry, under one colonel-general, in, 5m was divided into the re iments of Picardie Piedm g, ont

and French Guards, each of which had its own colonel and its own colours. Besides these, three newer corps were entretenus par le Roy-“ Champagne, " practically belonging to the Guisel family, and two others formed out of the onceenormous regiment of Marshal de Cossé-Brissac. At the end of a campaign all temporary regiments were disbanded, but in imitation of the Spanish depot system, each, on disbandment, threw off a depot company of picked men who formed the nucleus for the next year's augmentation. The regiment consisted of 10-16 “ ensigns ” or companies, each of about 150 pikemen and 50 arquebusiers. Each company had a proprietary captain, the owners of the first two companies being the colonegeneral and the colonel (meslre de camp). The senior captain was called the sergeant-major, and performed the duties of a second in command and an adjutant or brigade-ma'or. Unlike the regimental commander, the sergeant-major was always mounted, and it is recorded that one officer newly appointed to the post incurred the ridicule of the army by dismounting to speak to the king! “ Some veteran officers, " wrote a contemporary, ' are inclined to think that the regimental commander should be mounted as well as the sergeant major." The regiment was as a rule formed for parade and battle either in line IO deep or in “ battalion " (Le. mass), Swiss fashion. The captain occupied the front, the eusigns with the company colours the centre, and the lieutenants the rear place in the file. The sergeants, armed with the halbert, marched on each side of the battalion or company. Though the musket was gradually being introduced, and had powerful advocates in Marshal Strozzi and the duke of Guise, the bulk of the “ shot " still carried the arquebus, the calibre of which had been, thanks to Strozzi's efforts, standardized (see CALIVER) so that all the arms .took the same sizes of ball. The pikeman had half-armour and a I4-ft. pike, the arquebusier beside the fire-arm a sword which he was trained to use in the manner of the former Spanish light infantry. The arquebusiers were iairralyed in 3 ranks in front of the pikes or in 10 deep files on either an

The wars in which this system was evolved were wars for prestige and aggrandizement. They were waged, therefore, by mercenary soldiers, whose main- object was to live, and who were office red either by men of their own stamp, or by nobles eager to win military glory. But the Wars of Religion raised 1 This practice of “ maintenance ” on a large scale continued to exist in France long afterwards. As late as the battle of Lens (1648) we find figuring in the king of France's army three “ regiments of the House of Condé."

questions of life and death for the Frenchmen of either faith, and such public opinion as there was influenced the method of operations so far that -a decision and not a prolongation of the struggle began to be the desired end of operations. Hence in those wars the relatively immobile “ battalion ” of pikes diminishes in importance and the arquebusiers and musketeers grow more and more efhcient. Armies, too, became smaller, and marched more rapidly. Encountenbattles became more frequent than “pitched” battles, and in these the musketeer was at a great advantage. Thus by' 1600 the proportions between pikes and musketeers in the French army had come to be 6 pikes to 4 muskets or arquebuses, and the bdtaillon de combat or brigade was normally no more than rzoo strong. In the Netherlands, however, the war of consciences was fought out between the best regular army in the world and burgher militias. Even the French fantassins were second in importance to the Spanish soldados. The latter continued to hold the pre-eminent position they had gained at Pavia.” They improved the arquebus into the musket, a heavier and much more powerful weapon (fired from a rest) which could disable a horse at 500 paces.

At this moment the professional soldier was at the high-water mark of his supremacy. The musket was too complicated to be rapidly and efficiently used by any but a highly Alva; trained man; the pike, probably because it had now to protect two or three ranks of “ shot ” in front of the leading rank of pikemen, as well as the pikemen themselves, had grown longer (up to 18 ft.); and drill and manoeuvre had become more important than ever, for in the meantime cavalry had mostly abandoned the' massive armour and the long lance in favour of half-armour and the pistol, and their new tactics made them both swifter to charge groups of musketeers and more deadly to the solid masses of pikemen. This superiority of the regular over the irregular was most conspicuously shown in Alva's war against the Netherlands patriots. Desperately as the latter fought, Spanish captains did not hesitate to attack patriot armies ten, times their own strength. If once or twice this contempt led them to disaster, as at Heiligerlee in 1568 (though here, after all, Louis of Nassau's army was chiefly composed of trained mercenaries), the normal battle was of the Jemmingen typifseven soldados dead and seven thousand rebels. *

As regards battles in the open field, such results as these naturally confirmed the “ Spanish system ” of tactics. The Dutch themselves, when they evolved reliable field armies, copied it with few modifications, and by degrees it was spread over Europe by the professional soldiers on both sides. 'There was plenty of discussion and readjustment of details. For example, the French, with their smaller battalions and more rapid movements, were inclined to disparage both the cuirass and the pike, and only unwillingly hampered themselves with the long heavy Spanish musket, which had to be fired from a rest. In 1600, nearly fifty years after the introduction of the musket, this most progressive army st.ill deliberately preferred the old light arquebus, and only armed a few selected men with the larger weapons. On the other hand, the Spaniards, though supreme in the open, had for the most part to 'deal with desperate men behind fortifications. Fighting, 'therefore, chiefly at close quarters with a fierce enemy, and not disposing either of the space or of the opportunity for “manoeuvre-battles, ” they sacrificed all their former lightness and speed, and clungto armour, the long pike and the heavy 2% oz. bullet. But the principles* first put into practice by Gonsalvo de Cordoba, the combination, in the proportions required in each case, offire and shock elements in every body of organized infantry however "small, were maintained in full vigour, and by now the superiority of the infantry arm in method, discipline and technique, which had long before made the Spanish nobles proud to trail a pike in the ranks, began to impress itself on other nations. The relative value of horse and foot became' a subject for expert Z Even as late'as IQ45 a battalion of infantry in England was called

a tercio or tertia " (see ARMY; Spanish army). '