The Military Revolution Debate: Readings on the Military Transformation of Early Modern Europe

By Clifford J. Rogers | Go to book overview

is little evidence to support a division into 'progressives' and 'conservatives' in matters of unit size and formations. Improvements in weaponry and the methods of combining the three arms merely consolidated the already imposing preeminence of the army drawn up on the defensive. The partial solution to the problem of reestablishing a balance between offensive and defensive came from a systematic resumption of close-quarter cavalry engagements.

While it might be too sweeping to suggest that commanders in the Thirty Years' War were entirely uninfluenced by strategic considerations, their freedom to act in accordance with any overall strategy was almost completely curtailed. The growing size of armies initially reflected political considerations and ambitions; subsequently it became a necessary response to the commitment of other powers. Forced to increase beyond the resources available to the state, the insoluble problems of pay and supply became progressively all-embracing as the war moved into its final crisis. Tactics and strategy in the Thirty Years' War are perhaps best characterised as being undermined by two persistent failures: in the one case, to break the dominance of the defensive; in the other, to cope with logistical inadequacy.


Notes
1.
M. Roberts: ' "The Military Revolution, 1560-1660."' Belfast 1955, reprinted above, chapter 1; id.: "Gustav Adolf and the Art of War." Belfast 1955, see also in id.: Essays in Swedish History. London 1967, pp. 56-81. Roberts: Gustavus Adolphus. A History of Sweden 1611-32. Vol. 1. 2. London 1953-58, here vol. 2, pp. 169-271.
2.
G. Parker: The "Military Revolution", 1560-1660 -- a Myth? In: Journal of Modern History 48 ( 1976) 195-214, reprinted above, chapter 2.
3.
G. Parker: Spain and the Netherlands, 1559-1659. London, 1979, 85.
4.
Parker, "Military Revolution" (see Fn. 2), pp. 38-40.
5.
Roberts: "Military Revolution" (see Fn. 1), pp. 18-20.
6.
Parker: "Military Revolution" (see Fn. 2), pp. 41-43.
7.
Roberts: Essays in Swedish History (see Fn. 1), pp. 60-62, 65-67; "Military Revolution", 13 f.
8.
Parker: "Military Revolution" (see Fn. 2), p. 39.
9.
R. J. Knecht: Francis I Cambridge 1982, pp. 246-248; P. G. Daniel: Histoire de la Milice Française. Vol. 1. 2. Paris 1721, here Vol. 2, pp. 331-333.
10.
H. Schneider: Der Langspiess. Wien 1976 (= Schriften des Heeresgeschichtlichen Museums in Wien. Militärwissenschaftliches Institut. Bd 7.), pp. 7-24, p. 14.
11.
W. Schaufelberger: Der Alte Schweizer und sein Krieg. Zürich2 1966, pp. 7-24, p. 18.
12.
By the second half of the sixteenth century the proportion of halberds had stabilized at around 10% of an infantry unit ( J. R. Hale: War and Society in Renaissance Europe, 1450- 1620. London 1985, p. 52).
13.
Jacobi of Wallhausen stresses that 'presque tous les pais ont leur faqon de mousquet', and suggests that although the 'musket'shot was meant to weigh 2 ounces, this was rarely the case since it required a weapon too heavy for most soldiers ( id.: L'Art Militaire pour l'Infanterie. Paris 1615, p. 35). Jacob de Gheyn's distinction between the musket and the spe-

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