Instructions for the warres. Amply, learnedly, and politiquely, discoursing the method of militarie discipline. Originally written in French by that rare and worthy generall, Monsieur William de Bellay, Lord of Langey, Knight of the order of Fraunce, and the Kings lieutenant in Thurin. Translated by Paule Iue, Gent.
Fourquevaux, Raimond de Beccarie de Pavie, baron de, 1509-1574., Ive, Paul., Du Bellay, Guillaume, 1491-1543,
Page  81

How from poynt to poynt to raunge foure Legions in battayle, wherein, the Author doth giue the best order that may be obserued

The 11. Chapter.

SIth we haue instructed the Legions seuerally, it followeth that we should now speake of the man∣ner of raunging of one whole Battaile together. And for to do this, it were necessary in this passage to declare amply after what manner the Greekes and the Romanes ordered their Battailes, but sith that their manner may be found and considered of by euery man in the auncient Authors that do write thereof: I will leaue many per∣ticulars of their fashions, and will speake only of the most ne∣cessaryest, and of that which we ought to borrow of them, to giue some little perfection vnto the Militarie Discipline of our time. This doing, I will shew all vnder one, how an Army must be ordered vpon a day of Battaile, and in what order one Hoast doth approach and assayle another, being their enemyes, and the manner how to exercise them in fayned Battailes. We must vnderstand, that in an ordinary Hoast of the Ro∣manes which they called Consularis, there were but two Le∣gions of the Citizens of Rome, which were in number 600. horssemen, and 10000. footemen: besides, they had as many of their assistants, as of their owne, who were deuided into two parts, the one was called the right corner, the other the left. They would neuer suffer that theyr assistants should be more in number then theyr Legionaries, but as for the horssemen, they made no great accompt, although they were more in number then theirs. With such an army of 20000 footemen, and about 1500. horsse of seruice at the vttermost, a Consull of Rome did enterprise all factions, and did execute them. True it is, that when as they were to deale with a verye great force of theyr enemyes, they assembled two Consuls, and caused the two Hoastes Consulares, to ioyne together. Page  82 We must note moreouer that in all the thrée principall actions that an army doth, as in marching, lodging, and fighting, the aforesaid Romanes did put theyr Legions in the middest, be∣cause they would that the force which they trusted most, should be most vnited: yet their confederates were not inferiours vn∣to them, because of the great practise that they had together: for in truth they were practised and raunged after one manner. As they had two Legions of their owne Citizens, and two of their assistants in euery one of their hoasts, so likewise I will take foure Legions of Frenchmen, or two at the least, and they shall be of 6100. footemen, for this number liketh me best, for that Vegetius hath vsed it in the framing of his Le∣gions, and of the two abouesaid Legions I will make my principall force. If so be that we would haue strange souldyers amongst them, I would place the sayd strangers at the two corners of the army as the Romanes did their assistants. But I suppose that there shall be no strangers in the hoast that I will make at this present, or if there should be, I would not haue the number of the Legions which I require to be dimini∣shed: but that there should alwayes be foure: by the ordering of which foure, may easily be vnderstoode how a greater ar∣mye should be raunged: for if there should be a greater number of people then the sayd foure Legions, there were no more to do but to make many small Batailons, and to place them be∣hinde and at the sides of the Bataile, in forme of Subsides, to succour any part of the Batailon that might be oppressed: of which Subsides it shall be necessary to vse for the diuers formes of Batailons that enemyes oftentimes do make, to the intent that without changing or taking any thing out of place, we might at all times haue wherewithall to resist them: as if any of the enemyes Batailons should be raunged in Point, that is, with a narrow strong battaile, we might immediatly bring forward those that are behinde, and those vpon the flanks, and range them in the forme of two vnited forces, to receiue and inclose betwixt them the enemyes Point when it shall approch: or if the said enemyes should march with their front of great breadth, they then might march in Point, and force to breake Page  83 into them. These people would be also good to repulse those that should sodainely charge vpon the flanks of the Batailon or behind, they may also serue to relieue those that are in danger, or to strike downe those yt runne away: and for many other good actions (which I leaue to speake of) wherein we might employ those that might be in our Camps ouer and aboue the said four Legions: notwithstanding for these purposes there néede none to be leuied, sith the Forlorne hope, & those of the flanks might serue the turne. Furthermore, I thinke that it shall not be néed∣full to recite againe the number of people that I haue appointed for euery Legion, nor that there are tenne ordenary bands, and two extraordinary: nor what armes and weapons they should carry, nor the diuersitie of Pikemen, nor what officers & Chiefs there should be in euery Legion: because that I haue before re∣cited them perticularly, wherefore without any more repeti∣tion, I say that the first Legion (for they must all be distingui∣shed by degrées) ought at all times to be raunged in the Ba∣tailon in one place, and the others likewise. Therefore I would that the first Legion should keepe the right side, and the second the left, and that the first rankes of the Hastaries of these two Legions should be raunged as farre forward the one as the o∣ther, and all the other rankes following. And for a more ma∣nifest demonstration, suppose that the enemyes be towards the East, and that we do raunge the fronts of our battailes towards them, the first Legion being vpon the right hand on the South side, the second Legion vpon the left hand on the North side, and their backs towards the West: and the Hastaries one right against another, & one as far forward as an other, and ye Princes & Triaries of both these two Legions, must likewise kéepe one and the selfe-same order, ranks, spaces, & distances: there must a space be left betwixt the two Legions from the front vnto the tayle, which must be thirty paces broade: these two Legions shall occupy the place that the two Legions of the Citizens of Rome did occupy. I would haue the third Legion to be placed on the right corner, & the fourth on the left, and raunged in the selfe-same order that ye two Legions betwixt thē are, with spa∣ces betwixt thē of 30. paces broade: so that the foure Legions Page  84 should occupy in breadth a thousand pases or more. The Forlorne hope shall be at the head, and the horssemen of the first and third Legion shall be on the right wing: and the horse∣men of the second and fourth Legion vppon the left wing. And for to gouerne this army well, it would be necessary to haue certayne principall Chiefes; and Officers, who should be subiect and obedient vnto one Lieutenant Generall. There shall be therefore two Chiefes, to wéet, one Captaine generall of the horssemen, vnto whome, all the Captaynes that haue charge of horssemen, must be obedient. The other shall be Captayne generall ouer the footemen, vnto whome, all the Colonels and Captaines that haue charge of footemen shall be obedient. The dignitie of these two Chiefes is equall, be∣cause that the one commaundeth ouer the one kinde of Soul∣dyers, and the other ouer the other: and they are the highest degrées that are in an army (excepting the Generall chiefe) and vnto which estates all other degrées may aspire, each one in his facultie, as he that is a horsseman, may attaine to be Cap∣tayne generall ouer horssemen: and he that is a footeman, may attayne to be Captayne generall ouer the footemen: to arise vnto which dignities, there must be as many degrées passed in the one facultie, as in the other: for I make twelue degrées in either of them. First amongst the footemen there is ye Forlorne hope, amongst whom, I would place all those which I would inrowle to fill a Legion. The second place is to be of ye flanks, & in these two places they should passe through all offices ex∣cept the Corporals, before that they should be of the Bat∣tailon, & being of ye Battailon, they should first be Pikemen or Halbardiers amongst the Hastaries which is the third place, the fourth, are the Princes, the fift, Triaries, the sixt to be Dece∣nier, the seauenth to be chiefe of Squadron, the eight to be Cor∣porall, the ninth to be Ensigne-bearer, whether it were of the Batailon, or of the Forlorne hope, the tenth Lieutenant, the eleuenth Captaine, the twelfth Colonell. And for the Horsse∣men, the first point is to be Harquebusiers, the second Har∣goletiers, the third light horssemen, the fourth a man of Armes, the fift a Decurion of Harquebusiers, the sixt Page  85 a Decurion of Hargoletiers: the 7. a Decurion of light horse∣men, the eight, a Decurion of men of armes, or conductors of hargoletiers or Harquebusiers, the ninth Guydon, ye tenth En∣signe, the eleuenth Lieutenant, and the twelfth Captaine. Concerning the other places as Harbingers, Sergeants of Bands, Sergeants, Maiors, Marshals of Legions, Maisters of Campe, or Prouost (for it is all one) and others, theirs are offices, but not degrées, whereby a man ought to attaine vnto the estates of the two Soueraignes, except the King did ap∣point it to be so, who may alter and change all orders. As con∣cerning the officers that ought to be in an Hoast, besides these that I haue héere spoken of, there must be first of all some wise man who should execute the office of Chauncellor or Coun∣cellor, as you will tearme him: and a maister of the Ordinance, a Threasorer, and a Marshall of the Campe, we might appoint also a Prouost generall. Now to appoint vnto euery one of these principall Chiefe their places, the army being ready for the Combate, and likewise vnto the other officers heere aboue named, we must say that the Lieutenant Generall ought to be vpon the right side, betwixt the footemen and the horssemen, for that is the fittest place to gouerne an army. The Kings Lieu∣tenant Generall may haue in his company a 100. or 200. cho∣sen men, some a horssebacke, and some a foote, of which number there shall be some sufficient to execute a charge of importance, he himselfe must be a horssebacke, and so armed, that he might helpe himselfe both a horssebacke and a foote, according vnto the occasion that might be giuen. His Cornet must be by him, which is the Ensigne of those that are Chiefes of Armyes, and ye Kings Trompet, generally after whose sound, all the Trom∣pets of the army must gouerne themselues, and the souldyers likewise. The Lieutenant generall of the army ought then to be vpon the right side, for it is the fittest place to giue order vnto all parts of the battaile, and to ouer-looke them with least trouble, except the scituation of the place were fitter vpon the other side: but I suppose that this Hoast is raunged in some faire plaine. The Captaine generall of the footemen shall be at the head of that space, that is left betwixt the two middle Le∣gions, Page  70 to gouerne all the foure Legions, and to remedy the ac∣cidents that may happen: and therefore he shall haue about him certaine extraordinary footemen, or may vse certaine Pike∣men and harquebusiers of the flanks if he will: specially those of the flanks betwixt the two middle Legions, for it will be long before that they should be assayled there. The Captaine Generall of the horssemen shall be vpon the left side to gouerne there as the Lieutenant Generall doth gouerne the right side: and may haue about him certaine footemen, Pikes, and Har∣quebusiers, which he shall take from the Forlorne hope, and shall cause them to fight amongst the horssemen without kée∣ping order. The Ordnance ought to be placed at the front of the Army, except the ground were such that it might be placed vpon the flanks, or else-where in some sure place where the ene∣myes might not easily come to it. The maister of the Ord∣nance ought to be with his charge, and his Officers and Gun∣ners with him: a good number of the chiefe Officers ought to be about the King his Lieutenant Generall, and the rest behinde the Battailes, to haue a regard vnto that might happen there. As for the Baggage, it should be placed in some place either strong by nature or by arte, and the seruaunts of the Hoast may kéepe it, and for this purpose I required that they should be chosen to be such as might serue for souldyers at a néede. And an Hoast ranged after this manner héere spo∣ken of, might in fight do asmutch as the Greekes Phalanges, or as the Romane Legions might do, because that there are Pikemen in the front, and vpon the sides: and moreouer, the Souldyers are ranged in sutch sort, that if the first ranke should be slaine or beaten downe in fight, then those that are in the second, might presently supply theyr places, and fill theyr ranks, according vnto the vse of the Phalanges. On the other part, if the first ranks of Hastaries were so violently charged, that they should be enforced to breake, they might then retire vnto the Princes which are at their backs, and range them∣selues anew betwixt their ranks, who are not so thicke placed as the Hastaries, for they are two bands lesse then they. More∣ouer, there is a greater distance from the first ranke of the Page  71 Princes vnto the last, then the said Hastaries do occupie in their order, and therefore they may fight anew, and shew their faces being ranged with the Princes. And when as this would not serue the turne, they might retyre the second time, as they did the first, and enter betwixt the Triaries, and fight the third time, so that this manner of relieuing, & furnishing of the pla∣ces of those that are striken downe, is both according vnto the Greekes and Romanes manner. Furthermore, it were not possible to frame a more stronger forme of Battaile then this, because that all the sides of the Battailes are most excelently well furnished with Chiefes and good armes, so that they can not be assayled at any part that is not strong and well gouer∣ned, héerewith considered that the enemyes are verie seldome so great a number as they might assayle those with whome they should haue to do alike vpon all partes. And if it were so that they were strong ynough to do it, I would neuer coun∣saile the weaker to offer the Battaile, nor to accept it, nor to goe out of his Fort into an open Countrey. But if the enemy were so strong, that he had three times as mutch people as you, and as good Souldyers as yours, and should assayle you in diuers places, if you could repulse but the one part, the o∣thers would do no great deede: for who so should assayle hys enemyes vpon diuers sides, must of necessitie weaken and di∣minish his Battayles, and be constrained to range them so farre asunder, that if one part should be repulsed, hauing no body to succour it, the other parts would be dismayed, or at least would but weakely resist. And as for the enemy his horse∣men, if they were stronger then you, yet are you assured from them, by meanes of the Pikes which enuiron your Bat∣tayles vppon euery side: for what side so euer should be as∣sayled, you haue Pikemen to defend the same: moreouer, the officers, numbers, & Chiefes, are distributed into sutch places, yt they may easily commaund their people, & obey their Captain generall. The distances betwixt ye ranks, bands, & battailes, do not only serue for to receiue one another, but also to make place for those that come and goe, to carry & re-carry the commaunds Page  88 of the Chiefes. Furthermore I haue said that the Romanes had in foure of their Legions the number of 21000. footemen, which were all the people that they commonly had in one of their armyes. This Hoast which I frame heere, hath 25000. not accompting the principall Chiefes, and Officers, who also haue some followers. Finally, they had horssemen, so likewise mine haue a good number, who are better armed and furnished then theirs were: wherefore sith the battailes are raunged in all points readie to fight, there resteth nothing but to set these people aworke. I do require therefore that I may be héere permitted to giue battaile with these foure Legions, against another great Hoast of Enemyes, to the intent to shewe af∣ter what manner I would haue them to fight: afterward, I will giue a reason for that I cause them to do during the bat∣taile, which battaile I do fayne by imagination.