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Military history. How the army system before the French revolution developed?

They say that new is almost forgotten old. And history really develops cyclically. But not just repeating, and extending. Not circles, but spiral. It is applicable to military science too. However, with small “deviations“ from the beautiful theory.

And history really develops cyclically. But not just repeating, and extending. Not circles, but spiral.

It is applicable to military science too. However, with small “deviations“ from the beautiful theory: not always the new stage begins from “expansion filched“, developments. The military science does not exist in itself. Society is at war. Society not always progresses, sometimes the new stage begins with some “kickback“. Then catch up and overtake, including and in military science.

In Europe, with fall of the Western Roman Empire, “kickback“ was powerful. Not so, as often consider. And “dark centuries“ are not so dark. But decline was, and in military science - very serious.

All “civilized“ people faced with (very conditional) barbarians. Against whom won at the expense of the organization: social and military. Military custom of conditional “barbarians“ - attack together, but not together. Group, but not a solid system. For the certain participant it is important to show personal valor. In different forms Germans have such tactics, francs and other barbarians of times of Rome. And at Samurais and the European knights. Over time that and others got many best equipment and preparation. Between the soldier - the barbarian and the knight rather not qualitative, but quantitative distinction. More developed culture is both technologies, and military skill.

The individual soldiers dominating on fields of battles, perfectly prepared and equipped - knights not really perceived infantry as opponent. The natural opponent of the soldier - the soldier. And the infantry - prevents to pass to it … And at its serious danger it is possible just to throw and run away. There is no loss of honor.

Somehow and was. Until the Swiss citizens and peasants in the 14th century guessed to be constructed in a dense pedestrian system, having armed with long peaks. What turned out? On structure, idea of use and tactics it is Greek (more precisely Macedonian) a phalanx. Large tactical unit from hundreds (more, it depends on specific conditions) the soldiers acting at the same time. - their actions it is much simpler to coordinate pedestrian soldiers. And technically - to hold a system. And socially - habitual to work collectively peasants and citizens can be rallied; noblemen... When it works well moreover and coordinating their actions with infantries / shooters from common people, Kressi and Ayzenkur turn out.

But full interaction of types of military forces ahead. And Greeks had a cavalry, and at Romans. Even consisting of representatives of social elite. But the main striking power - nevertheless infantry.

Swisses direct horror at knights not only fighting efficiency, but also unprecedented cruelty. Knights were not even taken prisoner, this rule existed at the level of instructions / orders. Punishment - the neighbor has to kill the one who will spare the knight.

Later they as mercenaries, are at war across all Europe. There are followers - landsknechts, the idea of a phalanx takes roots everywhere. Time of individual soldiers gradually leaves. And, it seems, more they in the history do not appear. And the idea of a phalanx reaches perfection. Refuse it, having only faced the surpassing tactics.

How and when - that the Greek phalanx, with more mobile system. It is also borrowed, using instead of or together with a phalanx.

Classical example: Roman legion. In the beginning it is the phalanx divided into infantry maniples. After - on cohorts from 3 - x types of military forces: heavy and easy infantry and cavalry. Rather independent tactical units, legion in a miniature.

Infantry - in dense construction, the same phalanx with bigger or smaller specifics.

At all distinctions, these principles repeated in military history three times (the speech about large reforms of the European scale). A phalanx basis - heavy infantry in a solid system; ahead - shooters / throwers; from flanks - cover / support by a cavalry... The reality depended on the level of military technologies.

Actually and the infantry operating at the same time, sometimes, and before beats knights. But usually such victories are not systematic or the infantry used very advantageous defensive position. Really and systematically feudal cavalry suffers a defeat from the Swisses organized in massive (6-10 thousand) phalanxes of pikiner.

In general, revival of infantry in Europe begins with it. The cavalry keeps even of century former anarchy. Force of organization is realized also by governors, trying to organize feudal lords somehow. While those were at war astride, it was almost impossible. At least, seriously.

And here when knights it was possible to hurry, having united with infantry or shooters, it gave effect. United for support in fight against knights. At the same time horses were taken away far away. Not that aggressive feudal lords did not rush ahead of time in fight and that could not run away, having thrown infantry … a phalanx - barbarians the good organization and unity give to

In counteraction advantage over individual skill. And even many best equipment.

Over time the phalanx is accepted by all armies of Europe. Also dominates in wars till 16 century. By this time Spaniards form a third, small in comparison with the Swiss phalanx (2-3 thousand) tactical unit with the interacting shooters, pikiner and swordsmen. The bulk was made by pikiner. Them also there has to be much for creation of an impact at entry into direct contact with the opponent. It is the main striking force of that time. Based on the same principle of a phalanx. As well as divisions of pikiner across all Europe studying at Swisses.

In fact, thirds revive the Roman kogortny system. They are also built to several lines with intervals, giving to shooters the chance to move forward and take cover between and behind small mobile phalanxes.

At a boundary of 15 - 16 centuries the phalanx is “opened“ by the Spanish swordsmen - shchitonosets, having managed to pass under peaks. And there … As falangist long were the best in front good mood, so Spaniards surpassed rivals in near fight.

In the movie “Captain Alatriste“ there is an episode: the representative of the surrounded Spanish group responds to the offer to be given: “Forgive, the sir, but is the Spanish infantry!“ Generally, the similar relation is not characteristic of an era of hired armies in any way. With one exception: the Spanish infantry …

But psychology of different eras and the people, as well as compliance of historical movies to historical realities - subjects separate.

Now it is important that at this time Spaniards - really one of the best fighters of Europe who got used to win.

Then, in 15 - m, and especially 16 century, power of field artillery begins to affect seriously. In 16 century the role of musketeers grows. Promptly their share in groups increases. Shooters gradually force out pikiner, but not absolutely. Pikinera are still necessary - first of all, for protection against a cavalry.

And the knightly cavalry gives way to reytara, horse shooters - probably, the first regular cavalry. Which should hold a system and to maneuver in common - so firing much more effectively. The cavalry for the first time managed to be disciplined!

In the 16th century a lot of things in tactics change thanks to new decisions in an equipment. The beginning of the century. Sweden gives a sample: simplification of tools. The harness allowing soldiers to drag guns across the field of fight without horses on itself is specially developed. It is possible to grin, but it gave mobility unprecedented before. Probably, the real field artillery for the first time develops! It, plus the disciplined cavalry, allowed to come for original interaction of types of military forces.

Still so continuously the firearms role grows. In the middle of 16 century there was a way to refuse pikiner - the bayonet is invented - bagint, the turning musket in peak. In the beginning it is inserted into a trunk, to the end of the century fastens on it outside.

From a cavalry the king Gustav - Adolf demands not firing, but attack in blades a solid system.

In infantry Swedes pass to linear tactics which will be the main tactics more than one and a half centuries. And it is similar to a phalanx! Instead of the dense, massive, creating a pressure square - the dense line from several rows. Instead of the pricking pushes a solid wall peak - so dense wall of fire. And continuous, measured advance forward.

And a caret - some kind of phalanx twisted on four parties motionless … Though is not present, just mobile. Only the caret is more for defense and retreat. For attack - the line, it is more rational with ognestrely.

The line “drove“ before the French revolution. Which … is not present, did not revive a kogortny system. But again, as once a legion a phalanx, began to beat slow and not really mobile line with smaller and more maneuverable divisions. Columns - option of a dense system of phalanxes - cohorts. The purpose of columns - fast rapprochement. And there also the bayonet assault is possible, but it is rather - deployment to the shooting line. More precisely, in a loose system of shooters, more mobile. It is again not new, this revival of easy infantry known long since.

And here the cavalry and artillery flexibly interact with infantry. But it is separate history.