The practice, proceedings, and lawes of armes described out of the doings of most valiant and expert captaines, and confirmed both by ancient, and moderne examples, and præcedents, by Matthevv Sutcliffe.
Sutcliffe, Matthew, 1550?-1629.
Page  181

CHAP. XII. Part. 2. Wherein the vse of horsemen, pikes, halberdes, and other such wea∣pons, also of targets, small shotte, archers, and great ordonance is declared.

THat which before I promised concerning the vse of horsemen, and diuers weapons, that is nowe to be performed. A matter of great importance, and ad∣uantage, if it be well considered: and therefore not to be omitted. You that knowe the traine of armes, yeelde here the testimonie of your experience to this discourse, and if you heare any cauill against it, yet let not such as neuer marched further, then out of the kitchin, or from the dresser into the hall, or parlour, censure that which they vnderstand not.

Horsemen among the Romanes were al of one sort: barded horses with men all armed mounted on them they vsed not. If they vsed any archers on horsebacke, they were beholding to other natiōs for them. Nowe vse of late times hath brought in diuers sortes of them, which according to their armes and furniture haue diuers names. Some horse are barded, others without bardes. The Frenchmen of armes in time past vsed barded horses for feare of our arrowes. Nowe since archerie is not so much reckoned of, and bardes are but a weake de∣fence against shotte, lanciers leauing their bardes, are armed much like to the Albanian stradiots. Vpon the borders betwixt vs, and the Scots, horsemen haue staues for ye purpose, and for their armes iackes of male. The Dutch Reitres although well armed for the most part, yet seldome vse lances, or staues, or other weapon, then pistoles, and mazes at their saddle bowe. Beside these, there is an other sort of horsemen lately come in vse. We call them carbines, pedrinals, or ar∣goletiers, which vse firelocke peeces on horsebacke, and are cōmonly armed to the proofe of their piece.

Horsemen in warres are most necessary in diuers respects. With them we range and spoile the enemies countrey: with them we fetch in victuals for our selues: with them we discouer ye enemies procee∣dings: with them we bridle his courses, and stop his forragers: with them we both helpe to foyle him in open fielde, and pursue him flying from vs.aCaesar by the enemies horse alwayes coasting him, and ready to charge his forragers, was driuen to great extremitie for want of victuals. InbAfrike likewise being a plaine countrey, he Page  182suffered many algaradaes by the enemies horsemen, often char∣ging him and cutting off his victuals. If Pompey had not rashly ad∣uentured to fight with Caesar: by his horsemen, wherein he farre pas∣sed him, he had famished his armie. The Greekes in their returne frō their voyage with Cyrus, by experience learned what incommodities followe them, that march without horse in ye enemies countrey. And this is the vse of horsemen out of fight, to witte, to cut off the enemie from victuals, to keepe him short, to discouer his proceedings, to cut off straglers; and to fetche in victuals, and prouision for our owne ar∣mie. Which he that is strong in horsemen cannot want.

In fighting with the enemie, there are diuers vses of horsemen. If we charge him on the sides, or backe: we stop his march, as before I haue shewed. With a fewe horsemen any number of shotte taken in open fielde may be disordered. The Protestants in the encounter at S. Gemme inaPoitou, with a few horsemen, defeated diuers olde companies of shotte led by Puigalliard. That was the ruine of the Prince of Parmaes ayde sent to the Duke of Mayne, by the horsemen of the present French king by Dreux an. 1589. No number of short weapons can resist the carriere of horse in a plaine ground. The Sa∣bines, saithbLiuy, were put out of their araie being suddenly char∣ged by the Romane horsemen. The Volscians andcAequians after long fight, beganne to giue ground after that the horesemen had broken their array by charging them in the midbattell. The force of horesemen for their violence is called adtempest. The RomaneeGenerall perceiuing the weakenes of the enemies battel, by char∣ging them with his horsemen, did disorder all to the ensignes, after which entrance made, he cut the rest in pieces with his armed men. The Corinthians in a certaine battell, hauing put thefAthenian footemen to flight, were accoyled, and ouerthrowen by a fewe horsemen. The reason that the horsemen preuailed so much in time past were two: first they seldome vsed any long weapons, but targets and iauelins for the most part: secondly they did then vse to charge with their horsemen, when they sawe the footemen out of array, and not otherwise, if they did wisely,g This is therefore an other vse of horsemen in the battel, to charge those that are already disordred. The fourth and last vse of them is to execute, andhpursue those that are put to flight. But those yt leade horsemen are to proceede with great caution: they may not charge pikemen standing resolutely together. Page  183The price of their folly that did otherwise, our men did somewhat vn∣derstand at Muscleborough field. Neither may they charge shot, or archers that haue a defence, either of a trench, or a hedge, or a wall, or certaine rankes of pikes before them. For in ye case they make them selues markes to the enemie, whom they cannot come at. Further, they had better charge the enemie disarrayed by shotte, or other wea∣pons, then when the armie standeth close together. For against an armie well empaled with pikes, yea with halberds close set, and well backed with shotte, horse cannot preuaile, whatsoeuer a certaineaFrench man in his glorious stile vaunteth of the strength of the French men of armes. Against men out of order in open fielde horse∣men worke great effectes, and so no doubt they haue done in these late disorderly braules of France, and did alwayes amongbbarba∣rous nations, which fought out of order. But against an army well ordered, they can do but little. And any small impediment doth make them vnseruiceable. The Romanes although their pikes were not halfe so long as ours: yet did they not feare any numbers of horse. Against the Macedonian pikes, the Persian horse could doe no ser∣uice. Neither will the French horsemen looke vpon our pikes well backed with musquets, if they be wise, notwithstanding their great crakes. Nay our archers at Agincourt fielde, founde them not so rough in handling as they would seeme. Horsemen therefore in all expeditions I accompt very requisite for the causes aboue rehearsed, and for that without them, albeit we could foyle the enemie, yet we cannot kill many, nor preuaile against him, that is swifter of foote then we, ascClearchus both said, and proued by experience in the warres against Artaxerxes. At ye bridge of Burgos in Galicia, where the Spaniards ranne so lightly before vs, we felt what want we had of horse. Of horsemen I thinke it requisite also to haue some part lan∣ces, some light armed like to our borderers, and some carbines. The barded horsemē both for their heauines, & great charge, I thinke not very needefull. When Lucullus his men were much afraide of Ty∣granes his bardeddhorses, he willed them to be of good cheere, for that there was more labour in spoyling them being so armed, then in foyling thē: they were so vnweldy. And so it came to passe. For I neuer read yt euer they did any seruice: but in diuers places, that they were foiled.eCyrus had diuers barded horses in his iourney against his brother, but there is not any mentiō of any seruice that they did. Page  184Darius had multitudes of them in the encounter betwixt him and Alexandera at Arbela, and Antiochus in the battell againstbScipio: but scarce did they giue one blowe to hinder the course of the ene∣mies victorie. The armour of thecman and the horse is so heauie, and so boisterous, that if they fall, there they lye, stopping the way to those that come after. Neither can they auoide it, but many shall lye vpon the ground, especially if the pikes stand close, and be well flanked, or backed with mosquettiers shooting ouer their heades.

If we haue fewe horsemen, or not so many, that wee may there∣with match the enemie: we are then to followe the prudent deuise of Caesar, both here in Briteine, and in Afrike, and Greece, shewed him by valiant men before him. Before Capua, the Romanes not being able to match the enemie with horse, seconded their men with certeine lusty young men armed lightly, and weaponed with short pikes. Which while their men were at the charge, did so gall the enemie with their pikes, that presently they turned visage. Caesar by reason that his shippes wherein his horse were, helde not their course, com∣ming into this Iland had onely 30. horse, yet foyling the enemie with his footemen, with those fewe horses, and the lustiest of his young men he so pursued them, that many remained behinde their company. In Afrike likewise he susteined the charge of the enemies horsemen with his footemen, and after that he had made them turne their backes, did so charge them with some fewe horsemen which he had, that they had no desire to returne thither againe. Secon∣ding his horsemen with certaine halfe pikes lightly armed, he not only repelled Pompeis horsemen in Albany, and Scipioes in Afrike; but also vanquished their forces. By the sameddeuise before time, he foyled 7000. Gaules well horsed, with a very fewe of his owne ayded and seconded by his footemen.eXenophon charging the enemie that would haue fled from him with a few carriage horses, shewed vnto vs, that bad horses serue for a shift to follow ye chace, and run better then good footemen. In the warres of Naples, 12. Italian horsemen fighting in steccato, as they call it, with so many Frenchmen: ye Italiansf preuailed by this meanes: In the place where they met, the Italians let fal certain iauelins, which those that were first vnhorsed, by the French tooke vp, & ioyning with their com∣panions, & striking the French in the faces, preuailed against them. The Admirall of France, at ye encounter of S. Denis by Paris, beingPage  185ouermatched by the enemy in horsemen, placed behinde euery com∣pany, a company of shot, which following the horsemen going an easy trot to the charge, vpon the approch of the enemy auanced them∣selues forward, and discharged so thicke and full vpon him: that all his companie came not to the charge, and those that came, were more gentle in handling, then otherwise they would haue beene. This may serue those that are inferior to the enemy, in horsemen. For this nation I trust this discourse is needelesse. For albeit we haue hi∣therto had great want of horsemen in our expeditions in France, Flanders, and Portugal: yet there is no reason, that this land should want hereafter, hauing such meanes. There onely wanteth liberall mindes, and good order, that some part of that is now spent in sur∣fet, silkes, golden laces, and other vanities, may be employed in kee∣ping horses for seruice.

Lances, and Carbines haue like vse in following the victory, and chase. But while the enemy standeth, lances are best employed a∣gainst shot, and carbines against pikes. But yet must they take heed, how they do inuest them. In discouering the enemy, and fetching in of victualles, and brideling the enemies forragers, both lances, and carbins, and archebuziers on horsebacke would be ioyned toge∣ther. But carbins, and argoletiers are to take heede that they come not neere the lances of the enemy, lest they make holes in their hor∣ses sides, if no worse. Where the enemy is in disorder there al sorts of horsemen may do seruice. At Cerisoles after that the shot had made way in the enemies battell, the French entred with their horse a∣mong them, and ouerthrew them.

Pikes are the onely defence of footemen against horsemen, if they be taken in plaine ground. Yet doe I not thinke it good, that there should be such numbers of pikes in our armies, as is vsed. For that vse excepted, which I spake of, I see no other great profite they haue. For execution is seldome doone by pikes. Sometime I grant pikes do charge other pikes, but it is not the piquier, that maketh the slaughter. In woodes and shrubbie or brushie groundes, these kinde of long weapons are vnprofitable, and vnweldie. The Germanes by the disaduantage of their long pikes, d being taken in such ground were ouerthrowen by Germanicus, and the Romane targettiers. In straites likewise when souldiers come to lay handes, and haue prize ech on other, long pikes can∣not*Page  186not bea managed; as the experience of the Romanes fighting a∣gainst the Germanes, and Macedonians armed with long weapons teacheth vs. Further the assailants in assaults of townes, and forts haue small vse of them. For there is no vse of horsemen there great∣ly; against which pikes are good: neither do the defendants great∣ly vse them, saue in the breach. Pikemen are too heauie armed to pursue others, and without shot they cannot well garde themselues, either against shot, or targets. At Muscleborough field a fewe shot opened the Scottish squadrons of pikes, for those that folowing af∣ter inuested them. And likewise did the French arquebuziers at Cerisoles deale with the lancequenets, among whose battelles ma∣king lanes, they gaue entrance to the horsemen, that presently charged them. And so little defence there is in that weapon, that not onely the Biscaine buckelers entred within them at the battaile ofbRauenna, where they made a foule tailliada and slaughter, but also the Counte of Carmignola, dismounting himselfe and his company, entred among the squadrons of the Switzers pikes, and cut them in peeces in an other encounter in Lombardie. The Romanes dealing with thecMacedonian pikes both in the warres with Philip, and Perseus kings of Macedonia, and of Antiochus king of a great part of Asia, neuer feared to enter vpon them with their targets, nor made reckoning of that weapon. And not with∣out cause. For who seeth not, the strength and effect of the pike being in the point, that as soone as targettiers, or other armed men enter among pikes; the piquiers throwe downe their pikes, and take them to their other weapons? the Portugalles did perceiue by the experience of that fight with the Moores where Sebastian their king was slaine, that fewer pikes would haue serued, and o∣ther weapons done better effects.

The Switzers that are for the most part piquiers, will not march anie whither without their companies of shot attending on them, for their garde. At Moncontour the Almaine piquiers abando∣ned of their shot, were miserably shot to death most of them. For this cause I would haue onely so many pikes as woulde serue for the defence of the army against the enemies horse. The French∣men haue but ten pikes to euery companie of shot, which is too lit∣tle; yea and sometimes they haue no pikes at all. But he is abused that maketh the French precedentes, and examples to followe Page  187in any practice of warre.

The first rankes of pikes woulde bee armed with corsalets of caliuer proofe on the breast: from the twelfth ranke backeward and inward it is sufficient, if they haue anie armes or iackes of male. Brassats, and other peeces of armes, except the head-peece, gor∣geron, and corsalet, I thinke to be more, then they can eyther wel march with, or fight with. The Frenchmen in time past had some (calledaCruppellarii by Tacitus) that were armed, as they saie, de cap en pied. at which the Romane souldiers laughed. For that they were vnable by reason of the weight of their armes, eyther to strike the enemie, or to defend themselues. Therefore did they hew them downe with billes, and pollaxes. The pike I would haue, if it might be, of Spanish Ash, and betwixt twentie and two and twentie foote long, and by his side euerie piquier would haue sword and dagger, and a dagge at his girdle, especially in the vtmost ranks.

The number of targettiers I woulde haue encreased. Not one∣ly of such as haue targets of proofe, which are vsed of those that stand in the first rankes, but also of those that haue light targets. These would be made of wood either hooped, or barred with yron. It would be three foote and a halfe in length, (for that was the measure of the Romane shield) & two foot & a half in breadth, in forme ouall. A kinde of armes now disused, but most excellent, in all seruices, saue against horsemen in the plaine field. Against archers targets are a sure defence, and dangerous to the enemy, after that men come to close.

bScipio with his targetters cut the Carthaginian archers, and slingars in peeces.cTargets are a good defence against stones in an assault, and whatsoeuer is throwen from hand. The same are very effectuall against shot. A small number of targetters if once they come to reach shot with their swordes, put great numbers of them out of the field. Put case that some come shorte; yet sure not manie, considering that onely the first rankes of shot can discharge, and that all doe not hit, and few mortally, especially if the first tar∣gets be of proofe, and the men march resolutely to the charge. Nei∣ther can shot retire where many of them are in the field, nor saue thē∣selues in any place, but targetters wil come to them. Targetters also are mortall to the pikemen, as not onely the Romanes dealing with the Macodonian and Germane pikes, but also the BiskainesPage  188with their bucklers in the battell of Rauenna, and Cirignola de∣clared.

Targettiers in execution are singular, and ready, and light, if their targets be light, in following the chase. They may be vsed in all seruices and all groundes. In assaults of townes, and in sal∣lies: in fighting in open field, and in streites, in woodes and in hils: in retraites, and in chases there is vse of them. Pikes and horse∣men of which the French make such reckoning, are but for plaine ground, and for some few vses: shot can doe nothing in the crowde; for that they want defensiue armes, onely targettiers armed haue this priuiledge, that in all places, and at all times they may be em∣ployed of iudicious leaders. The Romanes with their great tar∣gets, and swordes, and iauelins which they called Pila subdued the worlde. Other armes as corsalets, and iackets plated, and morions were common to others, these were proper to the Ro∣manes, and those that folowed their vse of warres.aThe aduantage of their armes experience prooueth to haue beene great. The Ger∣manes excelled them in strength of bodie and stature, thebBrytaines, Gaules and Spaniards, were superior to them in number, and equall in courage: but in their furniture, and armes, and manner of fight they were inferior. All Romane souldiers both on horse, and foote for the most part vsed a kinde of targets. But the light armed wanted maled iackets, and had lighter targets; as not onely ap∣peareth by their images in marble yet to be seene at Rome: but also in theirc histories. So would I haue our targetters, some armed with light corsalets, and morions, & heauy targets, other onelie with light targets & plated doublets sufficiēt to beare ye thrust of a sword. And if thereto some had short halfe pikes also, the same woulde bee effectuall to throwe at footemen, and good to stand against horse∣men.

Halberds and blacke billes, pertisans, borespeares, and pollaxes, and all such like weapons to be vsed in hand, haue one and the same vse with swordes and targets. But neither are the men that vse them so well defended against shot and pikes, nor is that sort of wea∣pon so effectuall. If the enemy giue ground they are proper for exe∣cution; and may be employed in open field, in straites, in woodes, in assaultes, sallies, and many seruices. Their armes are eyther corsalets, and gorgerons, or plated doublets, or iackes with skirts Page  189for defence of the thighes, and morrions on their heades. The Ro∣manes vsed few of these weapons. The Dutch place diuers rankes of them among their pikes, and commonly they are planted by the ensignes.

The shot is diuided into mosquetters, caliuers, and archers. The vse of shot is diuers. In open field therewith wee defend our pikes, and with the same offend the enemies pikes. Where the same hath a defence against the force of horsemen, it is verie profitably em∣ployed against them. In the defence of a towne, forte, or passage, it is excellent. Likewise for the assailantes therewith to cleare the walles while their armed men mount by breach, or by scale. But the same must take heede of the force of the horse, and charge of ar∣med men, which without defence of pikes, or other naturall wall, or banke, the same cannot sustaine. The force of shot is greater in skirmish, then in set battelles. For shot if they bee driuen to stand thicke haue no vse. As the vnprofitable number of shot at the battell of Moncontour, and Dreux: and other incounters in the late warres of France, declare sufficiently. As oft as the enemies shot make coūtenance to charge our armed men, so oft must our shot encounter them: and driuing away the enemies shot, are mortall, if they strike right & thicke, among the enemies pikes. For pikes against shot & arrowes, being heauy armed haue no defence. As the disastre of theaLacedemonians at Pylos, of the Romanes atbTrebia, of thecA∣thenians compassed by the light armed Aetolians, of Titurius Sa∣binus and hisdcompany at Vatuca of the Almanes ateMoncon∣tour, where heauie armed men destitute of shot and light armed were compassed about and slaine by shot, archers, and slingars, doth declare. In rainie weather they cannot doe almost anie ser∣uice. Yet some say, that at Rocheabeille firelockes did I know not what seruice in the raine. But neither in raine nor out of raine are shot assured against horse, or targets, or armed men, but where they haue a defence and retrait. So that I maruell what the French meane to bring into the field so many shot, and so few armed men. At the incounter of Rocheabeille the Protestants had 14000. shot, andfscarce anie pikes. But percase they could not otherwise do.

Archers in assaults, and defence of townes cannot do like seruice to mosquetiers, and caliuers. For neyther can they hit so right, nor so mortally. In pight fields I thinke them nothing inferiour to them. Page  190For being armed with iackes, as they shoulde bee, when they come to gripes, they driue the shot to his feete: and shooting ma∣nie rankes one ouer an others head twelue arrowes shall fall be∣fore one boullet. For onely the first rankes of shot discharge vn∣lesse they meane to pierce their fellowes. Nowe then that the shot are disarmed, and archers armed: who seeth not that two thousand archers in open field may preuaile against three thousand shot? espe∣cially seeing as archers may keepe ranke, and not shot, and archers may fight standing thicke, but shot cannot file their rankes, if they stand thick. Archers therefore in open field may be employed against shot, and likewise against horsemen, and pikes. But if against horsemen; they must haue a defence of stakes, or trenches, or pikes. And likewise dealing against armed men, they had neede to haue a front of armed men.

The archers at Agincourt field, and at manie other battelles haue made the name of this nation famous for the seruice they did a∣gainst the enemie. But then they had a defence of stakes and tren∣ches.aCyrus in his array placed behinde euerie dozen rankes of armed men certaine archers: by which deuise when his enemies came to ioyne battell with him hee preuailed against them, not being able to abide the arrowes that comming ouer the formost rankes light in their faces, and other bare places. And therefore whatsoeuer some say of the vse of bowes and arrowes, which they haue not seene tried, I woulde that among others, our Gene∣ralles that goe in seruice into other countries woulde also employ some archers.

Great artillery against troupes standing thicke and in euen ground worketh great effectes. But in other places, and against men ranged otherwise, the sound is greater then the hurte. At Moncontour the Kings ordonance beating among the horsemen ranged hedge-wise, did not in twentie shot hit once. Neither did it anie hurte to the footemen by reason of the vneuenesse of the ground. For eyther it fell lowe, or high. If the same be placed in the front of our armie, yet can not the same be employed past one or two volies. For at the ioyning of the battell, it ceaseth. And if our men march forward it breaketh their arrayes. If the same be placed vpon some hill, yet lying out of leuell and shooting downe∣ward, it doth no great hurt.

Page  191

But let it doe the vtmost that it may, being employed by iudici∣ous gunners: yet neuer was victorie obtained by great ordonance in open field, nor the force of the enemy comming resolutely to the charge thereby stopped.aGaston de Fois sallying out of the Ca∣stell, tooke the towne of Brescia notwithstanding the number of great peeces that in euery streete were bracked against him. And little did the Spaniardes that sacked Antwerpe Anno 1576. sally∣ing out of the cittadell esteeme the peeces, that barked against them at their first sally. The Frenchmen although they had two and twen∣tie peeces of ordonance in their campe at Nouara, wherewith they thought themselues safely garded, all the wayes and accesses be∣ing by them flanked and beaten: yetbwere they broken and put out of their lodging by the Suitzers which came against them with∣out eyther ordonance, of shot. If then in streetes, and waies where artillery hath greatest force, the same notwithstanding cannot re∣pel the force of a resolute enemy, much lesse vse hath it in open field. The Admirall after the vnhappy encounter at Moncontour with the reliques of his army,ctrauersed the greatest part of France, without any one peece of great ordonance. Neither did his com∣pany being diuers times encountred by the way, therefore lesse ser∣uice. Very troublesome it is in carriage, and no lesse chargeable. Guicciardin reporteth that the breach of the wheele of a canon did so long incomber the whole army, that it lost a good opportunitie, by that delay. The vse of great ordonance therefore is first in garde∣ing of towns, or passages: some litle vse it hath in flanking the sides of our campe, or defending the streets, if we lodge in villages: se∣condly in battering of walles, or opening of passages. For without ordonance sufficient euery petit castle or town wil scorne vs, or braue vs. In our battery at Coronna wee felt the want of it, but more at Lisbon. The last vse is in the field either in the front of the battell, or vpon some hill vpon the sides. Where if we can see the enemies troupes, & hit amongst them, we shal make them change the ground. The great artillery of the French beating amōg the Italian horse in their campe at Rauenna, made thē come to fight with disaduantage. The which paine the French themselues suffered in their campe at Landresie being beaten by the imperials from a hill, where they had placed their great ordonance, as before I haue shewed.

Thus you may see, how as al weapons may be profitably imploied Page  190〈1 page duplicate〉Page  191〈1 page duplicate〉Page  192with good iudgement: so without iudgement they serue for no∣thing, but to make a shewe. Now forasmuch as Stratagemes doe worke as much as weapons, and make weapons more effectuall, and because the enemy maketh least resistance, when he is most so∣dainly surprised: let vs speake of Stratagems, and ambushes, which tend also to the obtaining of victorie.