The great effects that Stradiots, Archers on horsbacke, and Crosbowers on horsback, are to performe in the field, both against horsmen and footmen, with also, the great ad∣•antage that they haue against Carabins, and against Reistres, and all other weapons of fire on horsebacke, in seruices of the field.
STradiots before mentioned are a kinde of light horsemen that haue beene vsed of many yeares both in Italie, Fraunce, Spaine and Germanie, although in their weapons & manner of arming, euery Nation hath differd one from another more or lesse.* Amongst the Pagans, the Arabians and Persians, the Turks and the Tartars, in such ages as they conquered the grea∣test part of Europe, Affricke and Asia, vsed almost no other souldiors and weapons on horsebacke but light horsemen Launciers with long launces, Stradiots with Launceza∣gaias headed with two steeled heades, Archers with their bowes; and Crosbowers, and al those with their Cemete∣ries and straight or crooked daggers, and other weapons in vse with them.*
Now these light horsemen stradiots that haue been vsed by so many Nations are of great execution and seruice in Page 175 the fielde, both against horsemen and footmen disordered, and very excellent to enter into and maintaine skirmishe, chieflie if they be incorporated with Archers on horsback, and Crosbowers on horsebacke: The difference of which armors, weapons, horses, and other furniture belonging to those three sorts of weapons I omit, because I haue verie particularlie set down mine opinion of those matters in my forementioned book, entituled; Certen Military discourses, Arithmeticall Tables, formes and demonstrations, &c. by me Composed 1585. not yet printed. Now therefore I will make mention of nothing else but how they shoulde be∣haue themselues in the field against their enemies, and that I would haue them to performe in this sort.
Stradiots,* archers on horsebacke, and Crosbowers on horseback, being incorporated into bandes, euery band of 100. of the which I would haue 40. stradiots, 30. archers, and 30. Crosbowers all on horseback, and all those redu∣ced into Cameradas or societies of tennes, or fifteenes I would wish that they should not fight in squadrons nor in great troupes as men at armes and dimilaunces should do; but that they should fight in many little troupes of tennes, or fifteens, or twenties, and not aboue; and that they should charge a squadron or troupe, or diuers squadrons or troups of Launces in frunt, flanks and backe, in many little troups some aduanced, and some retired, in such sort, as all the troupes next vnto the squadron of their enemies horse, might haue other troupes in wing more retired to second and succour them; and that the troupes of archers & Cros∣bowers should giue their volees of arrowes and quarrels at the squadrons or troupes of their Enemies both in frunt, flankes and backe, all at one time, and that the little troups of Stradiots should remaine in winges somewhat retired, readie vppon all occasions of any disorder of their enemies to giue in, by flankes, and backe, and to kill, or wound the horses of their enemies; and that incase the Launces being in great squadrons, or troupes, should charge them; that then they should presentlie cast about and flie in their little Page 176 troupes, and that they should disperse their troupes all ouer the large fieldes, in such sort, that the squadrons of launces should not well know which troupes to followe; and that vpon the Launces pursuing of those troupes; that other lit∣tle troupes and societies should charge them againe both in backe and flankes, and that with terrible shoutes and vo∣lees of quarrels and arrowes, the Stradiots at the same time galloping in their troups by the hinder corners of the squa∣dron, should wound their horses with their Launcezagay∣as, and giue them occasion to stay their pursuit, & to make head against them; which if the Launces doo without dis∣ordering themselues; then I would wish those troupes that charged the backe and flankes presently likewise to disperse and flie: and that the other little troupes that they had fol∣lowed before, should vppon some extraordinarie shoute or hubabub, (whereto they should bee inured) returne a∣gaine vppon them with new charges and volees both in backe and flankes with terrible shoutes and cries as afore∣said: In such sort that although all the little troupes of Stra∣diots, and shot, doo not exceed the number of the launces in their great squadrons; yet that their false charges should be such, so many, and so continuall in giuing their volees in frunt, flankes, and backe, as that by continuall molesting of them, they should put them in hazard to disorder them∣selues and disperse: which if it shoulde happen; then that the Stradiots should enter pelle melle amongest the Laun∣ces, and striking both forwarde and backwarde with their Launces that haue double heades, should kill or wounde their horses; and so by the aduauntage of their weapons, should doo execution vppon their Enemies to their vtter ouerthrow.
Now peraduenture some wil saie that there are no squa∣drons of Launces that wilbee without some companies of Carabins, and Argolettiers, or else of Reistres to succour them, which should greatlie trouble the archers and Cros∣bowers to worke the effect before declared. To the which I answer, that I am perswaded that if the Stradiots, archers Page 177 and Crosbowers, bee as many in number, as the Launces,* and Argolettiers, or Reistres; that the Argolettiers or Rei∣stres will bee of small succour to the Launces against those kindes of weapons, but that they would vpon three or fo∣wer volees of quarrels and arrowes turne their backes, and leaue the launces to defend themselues: For Argolettiers, or Reistres in true experience, are not to discharge their peeces and work any effect aboue 6. 8. or 10. paces distant,* and yet that too farre, considering the vncertentie of those weapons caused through the motion of their horses: wher∣as Crosbowers and chiefelie archers, may worke very cer∣ten and great effect to the mischiefe both of men and hor∣ses a great deale greater distance off; which with diuers o∣ther reasons that for breuities sake I omit, do perswade me to thinke that 2000. Carabins or Reistres, are not able in the fielde to abide the charge and volee of 1000. stradiots, Archers and Crosbowers.
Now the effectes that bandes of stradiots, archers and Crosbowers on horsebacke may worke against footmen,* vpon diuers opportunities are, that they may giue their vo∣lees of quarrels, and arrowes at randon into the squadron of piquers or into the winges, or sleeues of shot, to the di∣sturbing and molesting of their orders; and vpon the ouer∣throw of horsmen or footmen be they armed men or shot, the stradiots in following the chase may doo great executi∣on and slaughter by striking both forward and backewarde with their double headed launces. And these actions be∣fore declared are in mine opinion the chiefe effectes of those three sortes of weapons in corporated in bandes, as a∣foresaid.
And thus hauing now finished all such instructions, and aduertisements militarie as haue at this time fallen into my remembrance, that doo concern the ordering, forming and exercising of single bandes and companies aswell of horsemen as of footmen, as also of reducing and sorming of squadrons into al the chiefe formes of battles •y are requisit for armies to march or fight withal in the open fields, with Page 178 manie other important particularities: I wil now (with the helpe of Almightie God) proceed to the setting downe of mine opinion how new bands and companies that should be elected and enrolled for defence of the Realme, or for forren inuasion, are to be elected, inrolled, armed and wea∣poned, with diuers other particularities. For as for the mustering of olde bandes that haue either serued long in Armies, or in Garrisons, they are matters so cōmon in vse, as it might be holden but for superfluous to set downe the orders and proceedings concerning the same; considering that the most of all Warrelike Nations doo obserue almost all one sort of proceedings and obserua∣tions in viewing and mustering of armies and Garrisons that haue of long time serued.