How it is necessary to deuide euery Batailon into three Battiles, the one seperated from the other
The .9 Chapter.
SIth the Legion is assembled and lodged, we must proceed vnto the practising of the bands together, aswell the footmen as the horsemen, to the intent to haue seruice of them against our enemies: which is the in∣tent, for which this discipline is ordained, & for whose well ordering we take all these paines. To speake that I thinke, we must vnderstand that the greatest disorder that those that frame a Batailon can make, is that they haue no other regard but to make a good head, wherein they place the Captaines, and all the most valiantest men, and the best armed of their bands, ma∣king no reckoning of the backs, flankes, nor ranks in the midst, as if the first rankes were all the hope of the victorie, and that the other serued but to make number. For by this meanes they make all the hazard of the Battaile subiect vnto two or three rankes, as if they were immortall, or sufficient of themselues to resist an enemie, without the helpe of those that are behinde them: which is directly contrarie vnto the order that the ancient men of war did vse; for they ordered their men so that one ranke might be receaued within another, and one Batailon within an∣other, Page 70 and so to fight resolutely vntill the verie last man. For without this maner it is not possible to succour the first rankes or to defend them, nor likewise to retire them within the other rankes to come to the fight in their places. With which maner of combat, the Romanes helped themselues oftentimes, and for this purpose they deuided their Legions into three sorts of people, which were called Hastaries, Princes, and Triaries. The Hastaries made the front or first battaile, and their rankes were furnished thicke with men. The Princes made the second battaile, and their rankes were opener then the first. And the Triaries who made the third and last battaile, had their men ranged so wide, that at a neede they could receiue the two first battailes. Moreouer their Velites, who were light armed, did the same seruice that our Harquebusiers do at this present, and were placed vpon the wings betwixt the Batailon and the Horssemen; and they began the battell. And if it were so that they ouercame their enemies, they followed the victorie, and if they were driuen backe, they retired vnto the flankes of the Battailon. After whose retreat the Hastaries came to fight with their enemies, & if they felt themselues to weake to resist their enemies, they retired by little and little betwixt the open rankes of the Princes, and renued the battaile with them: and if they were then too weake, they both retyred vnto the Triaries, with whome they began the combat againe. And if these three sorts were ouerthrowne, there was then no remedye to helpe them. Me thinkes that this manner of releeuing three times is inuincible, because that fortune must thrise abandon you: and moreouer your enemie must of necessitie fight, and van∣quish you thrice. The Greeks vsed not this maner of relieueng with their Phalanges, for although they had manye rankes and many Chiefes in their rankes; notwithstanding there was made but one onely head, and one onely body of them all. And the maner which they vsed to succour one another, was not to retyre one ranke within another as the Romanes did: but that one Souldier should enter into anothers place, which they did after this maner. The Phalange was ranged by rankes, as our Batailons are, but it was not so confusedly as ours are: for Page 71 euery band did know his place. The Decuries (that is the Deceins or Squadrons) were so ranged that the Souldiers followed one another in rowes, and not in fronte as we place ours. The first man of euery row was called the Doien or De∣curion, (but I will terme him the Dicenier) and the last man was called the Guide behind. The second man of euery rowe was called Substes & he that followed him was called Prestes, and so throughout they were Substes & Prestes, vntill the sayde Guide which was ye last mā. Of these rowes they had so many, that one Phalange had 256. men in fronte, or more, and 64. rankes in length. True it is that they were distributed vnto foure Colonels, but they marched all in front with a little di∣stance betwixt them. Let vs suppose that euerye ranke hath 256 men, and let vs say that they come to ioyne battaile with their enemies. If it happened that either in going or fighting that anye one of them was slaine or ouerthrowne, he that be∣fore I haue termed Substes, put himselfe presently into the first mans place: so that by that meanes the Souldiers of the first ranke were alwayes their full number. And to fill the second ranke, they of the third ranke which were called Prestes, put forward themselues into their emptied places; and those of the fourth ranke did furnish the third, and so following: so that the last rankes did furnish the first, in such sort that the first rankes were alwaies entier. And there was no place left emptie but in the last ranke, which wasted because theee was no man to sup∣plie it, so that the losse that the first rankes suffered, was cause of the consuming of the last. By this meanes the Phalanges might sooner be consumed then disordred, for to ouerthrowe them was impossible, because of their great number. The Ro∣manes at ye first vsed Phalanges, & instructed their people after the Greekes manner, but it is long sithence that they misliked of their order: and therfore they deuided their people into many bodies: to wit, into Cohortes, & Manipules: for they thought, as I haue said before, that that bodie which had many soules, & was compounded of many partes, ought also to haue manie liues. The Batailons of the Switzers, Almaignes, ours, and others do somewhat imitate the Phalanges, aswell for that wée Page 72 doe range a great number of people together: as also that wee doe place them in such sort that they may enter one into another his place. But why this manner should not be so good as the Romanes, many examples of the Romane Legions do shew: for that as often as the Romanes fought against the Greekes their Phalanges were ouerthrowne and consumed by the Legi∣ons: for the difference of their armes, and the manner of relee∣uing thrée times, had a more force in it then the great number, or the diligence of the Phalanges. Being therefore to frame a Batailon after all these examples, I haue thought it good to imitate partly the fashions of the Greekes Phalanges, and partly the Romane Legions, and partly these that we doe vse at this instant: and therefore I would that in euery one of our Legions there should be 3600, ordinarie Pikes for the body of the Batailon, 420. for the flankes, and 170. extraordinarie Pikes for the forlorne hope, which are armes that the Phalan∣ges did vse. Besides I would haue 600. Halbards, 420. Har∣quebusiers for the flankes, and 680. for the forlorne hope, all which are armes inuented in our time.
I haue deuided the body of the Batailon into 10. bandes, as the Romanes did theirs into 10. Cohortes, and haue appoin∣ted the Harquebusiers, and the forlorne hope to begin the Bat∣tell, and for skirmishes, as the Romanes did their Velites, and haue giuen them two Captaines, and two Ensignes, to the in∣tent to haue better seruice of them then if they had none: and also for to imploye them in the labours of the warres, as the o∣ther bands. And for that the armes are borrowed of diuers nations, the bandes must also bee perticipants of the orders of diuers nations: and therefore I haue ordained, that euery one of the ten bandes should haue 8 rankes of Pikes before the En∣signe, and 8 behinde, and 4 rankes of Halbardes in the mid∣dest: so that by that meanes euery band dooth make 20 rankes, and euery ranke hath 21. men. The Pikes doe serue for to re∣sist Horssemen, to breake into the footmen, and to withstand the first assaults of their enemies: which Pikes I will vse onelye to defend my selfe, and afterwards vse the Targets (which the Pikemen doo carry at their backes) and Halbards to vanquish Page 73 myne enemies. And who so would consider of the force of this order, shall finde that euerye sort of armes shall doo his office thoughlye; for the Pikes are profitable against the Horsse∣men: and when the footmen doe meete Batailon against Ba∣tailon, they serue to a good vse before that the rankes are throng together, but after that they are once at the close, the Pikes can doe no more seruice. Wherefore the Switzers, to auoide this inconuenience, after euerye three rankes of Pikes do place one ranke of Halbardes, which they doo to the intent to giue their Pikemen space and place to fight in a prease; but yet this is not ynough, but as for vs, we will haue our Pikemen both before the Ensigne and behinde to carrye Targets: and there shall be Halbardes in the middest, by meanes of this order, to resist bothe Horssemen and footmen, and to breake into an eni∣mie: for you know that Pikes may serue no turne after that the rankes are preassed together, because that the Souldiers are then as it were one in anothers necke: and therefore if the Pikemen had nothing but their Pikes and Swordes the Pike being abandoned they should be naked: for which cause I haue giuen them Targets to couer themselues from blowes, and to fight in all places, what prease soeuer there were. Moreouer the Halbardiers maye also fight better in a prease then the Pikemen, which Halbardiers are expressely appointted for this purpose, and likewise they may followe the sayde Targets at the heeles, who are heauily laden, to reskue them with their Halbards. And as for the Target men, I would haue them but onely to thrust at the face and legges, or at any other parte that were vnarmed. But leauing these small things. I will goe range the ten bands in one whole Batailon.