CHAP. XXIIII. Of the Distances to be obserued in Battell. And of their vse.
DIsorder is the confusion of a Battell, but good Order p•eu•nts ••is confusion. Therefore all Commanders, as much as in them lies, must studie to preuent this in time.
And this may be done by obseruing of Distance, for Distance is the rule that squares all. Distance is to the battell, as the soule to the body. The Battell may be called a body. Now take away Di∣stance from this body, and it falls to ruine for want of a soule.
Iphicrates the Athenian said, That in an Armie of men, the light horse-men resembled the hands, the men at Armes the feet, the battell of foot-men, the stomacke and brest, and the Captaine the head of the body.
See here a Millitary body proportioned to the body of a man: See how it receiues motion and life, Distance being the soule that makes it moue. Care then ought to be had in mouing: now this care is effected by the obseruing of Distances.
Three kinds of distances are mentioned by Aelian,* for the ope∣ning and shutting of a Phalange or Battell.
The first are large distances of foure Cubits, which amount to six foot.
The second are lesse, but of two Cubits, which amount to three foot.
The third are of a lesser kinde, but of a Cubit, which amounteth at the most but to a foot and a halfe.
These are all one and the same, with open Order, Order, and close Order.
Open Order, is when euery Souldier in the battell taketh six foot both in File and Ranke, and marcheth with their Pikes shoul∣dered. It is for ease in marching, being likewise of great vse going against a Fort or strong place of the enemies, for it giues way to the Cannon shot, and is of singular vse to saue your men. We vse to march thus when the enemy keepes aloofe off.
Order is when euery souldier in battell taketh three foot both in File and Ranke, and marcheth with their Pikes either aduanced or Ported.Page [unnumbered]
This is to prepare for skirmish when the enemie is neare.
Close Order, is when euery Souldier in the battell taketh a foot and a halfe in File, and a foot a foot and a halfe from the swords point, which is three foot in Ranke. And this is to endure the brunt of a Charge.
The first was vsed in Ancient times for march, Solemne pompes and shewes.
The second for their fights only before they did Ioyne.
*The third was the Sinaspisme of the Macedonians, so called, be∣cause therein they Ioyned Target to Target, which they neuer vsed but when either they gaue vpon, or receiued the charge of the ene∣mie. The Targets so knit together, serued for a wall, as it were, to the whole Phalange; and by them the souldier was defended from the Missiue weapons of the Enemie, and his body couered euen from the piercing of the sword.
This was formerly vsed by the Ancient Heroes at Troy, and re∣viued againe to new life, by Philip, King of Macedon, who first constituted the Macedonian Phalange, and inuented the distances of opening and shutting the same. From his discipline (as the learned Captaine Bingham obserues) sprung these distances in Ae∣lian,* of which I haue spoke.
And thus I haue briefly declared the vse of those distances which are to be obserued in Battell. The words of command for them may be these, viz.
Eiles and Rankes, open to six foot. Now they are at open order.
Rankes and Files, close to three foot. Now they are at order.
Files, close to a foot and a halfe. Now they are at close order.
Rankes and Flles, to your open order. That is, six foot euery way.
Thus if your Battell bee disioyned by too large distances, you may reduce it to good order by closing. If it be thronged vp, or pestered too close together, you may amend all by conuenient ope∣ning. Too much thronging bindeth the Souldiers hands, and ta∣keth away the vse of their weapons; and too farre standing a∣sunder breaketh the Battell, and maketh a passage for the Enemy, whereby he may enter. Therefore these three sorts of distances, Page [unnumbered] to wit, open Order, Order, and close Order, haue beene inuented as the onely meanes betweene both, to amend all, and to fit our turne as wee see occasion.
Thus much for Distances, of their vse, and the words of com∣mand giuen for them.
The words of command for doubling of the length and depth of a Battell next followeth.