War for the Every Day: Generals, Knowledge, and Warfare in Early Modern Europe, 1680-1740

Synopsis

A study of operational warfare in the Habsburg old regime, 1683-1740, which recreates everyday warfare and the lives of the generals conducting it, this book goes beyond the battlefield to examine the practical skills of war needed in an agricultural landscape of pastures, woods, and water. Although sieges, forages, marches, and raids are universally considered crucial aspects of old regime warfare, no study of operational or maneuver warfare in this period has ever been published. Early modern warfare had an operational component which required that soldiers possess or learn many skills grounded in the agricultural economy, and this requirement led to an "economy of knowledge" in which the civil and military sectors exchanged skilled labor. Many features of "scientific warfare" thought to be initiated by Enlightenment reformers were actually implicit in the informal structures of early modern armies.