CHAP. VIII. Of ordering the Cavallrie in battel.
THe forms of battel used among the horse (presupposing such as are made by election, in a free and spacious champain, and not such as are forced through discommoditie of place, or other respects)a are many; and do varie according to the ground and strength both of your own side and the enemies, accidents, and occasions. In all forms a principall care must be had, that the troops be drawn up from an even front, that so they may be free from disturbing each other in the retreat.
Basta reduceth these forms to foure sorts, and Melzo to three, (making the second and third to be as one and the same) which are these:
The first is, when the troops are ordered as in one file, every troop following each other in a single order: which form is utterly disallowed, because it bringeth but few hands to fight, and the disordering of the first troop must needs endanger all the rest.
The second is, when all the troops are placed as inb one rank, or one front; the one troop be∣ing placed on the flank of the other in a single order or straight line. Which form is also disap∣proved, because in it all the Cavallrie is engaged at once, the one not being able to succour the other, and having no troops ofc reserve.
The third is, when the troops are ordered checquer-wise, in squadrous, enterchangeaby placed one behind another: so as three or foure squadrons being in front, such distances are left between each, as others behind them may come up to the front, without hindering the former.d This form may well be allowed of, and is retained by the best Commanders in the present warres of Christendome: yet the forenamed authours have this exception to it, because the Harquebusiers having taken up the said distances would hinder the Lances then in use. And if they should be drawn from those intervalles, and placed on the wings, they must be exposed to the first assaults of the enemie.
The fourth kind of forms, they make the Lunarie, resembling a half moon: but in this they differ from each other in the manner. That which they call single, must needs be weak, their double form is better. But both these last forms (the Checquer, and the Lunarie form) shall be more fully represented in figure.
Walhausen maketh six sorts of battels: namely, 1. The Lunarie. 2. The checquer. 3. The Broad-fronted. 4. The Embowed. 5. The Sharp-pointed. 6. The Divided.
The Lunarie (as he makes it, and the figure, Fig. 8. Part 4. cap. 8. sheweth it) is good, and indeed better then that of Basta; but is improperly called the Lunarie form: for it is rather a Hollow, or Open-fronted wedge, like AelianseCoelembolos.
His Checquer is as the forementioned; and allowable.
His Broad-fronted is also not to be rejected.
His Embowed (which by the name should be a Convex half moon, likefAelians Cyrte) he maketh a meer wedge. The form is not the worse, though the name be not so proper.
The Sharp-pointed (in regard there is but one troop in front, and that seconded but by two troops on the rear angles; then but one troop again, seconded as the first) seemeth not to be so Page 47 good as the former, because it bringeth few hands to fight, and is very subject to beg overwinged or overfronted by the enemie, and so to be charged on the flanks.
The Divided, especially at so large a distance, I hold to be dangerous. True it is, that here the Dragons are used as foot, but whether so single and so extended an order be the best for them to be placed in, I referre to the judicious.
Now concerning these six kinds of battels, they are in deed and in effect but two: that is, the Checquer and the Lunarie, as he calleth them; and from these grounds the rest be formed.
But these forms being onely imaginarie, and withall wanting that perfection (in many respects) which is required in reall battels, I shall now (to give fuller satisfaction to such as are lovers of militarie knowledge) communicate some forms of embattelings, which never yet were published by any.
These are true delineations of divers battels really ordered and performed by the absolutest Commanders of our times, according to the exactest rules of art; and such as experience hath ap∣proved to be fittest for the modern warres.
For the better understanding whereof, I have thought fit first to put down these directions fol∣lowing.
All the forces of the whole armie (both horse and foot) are usually distinguished and divided intoh three parts; namely, the Vanguard, Battel, and Rear. (as hath been shewed Part 2. Chap. 3.) Each of which parts is governed by its particular Officer or Chief; yet so as the abso∣lute command belongeth to the Generall. These distinctions are alwayes so understood, in the order of marching, to avoid disputes about precedencie; so as they which march formost are said to have the Vanguard, they which march in the middle, the Battel, and they which come last the rear. And these divisions alter their names according to the place they march in, wherein they observe a diurnall change, as hath been shewed in the chapter above mentioned. But if we shall take the meaning of these words (according to their proprietie and usuall acceptation) in matter of fight or battel, conceiving that that part of the armie which is called the Vanguard shall give the first charge; and that which is called the Battel, shall give the second charge, and the Rearward, the last; it will prove a meer mistake. For we are to know that the first charge must be given by the first troop, or foremost orders of companies which are in front placed as in one rank, extended from the one front-angle of the whole armie, to the other: and so it were impossible for them to be commanded or directed by one Commander, or Chief of one particu∣lar squadron of the armie, by reason of the large extent thereof: for we see that the front of the armie embattelled before Dornick. Figure 14. (which was farre inferiour to that of late, employed at the siedge of the Bossch) took upi 6380 foot of ground (being in their close order prepared for fight) which is above a mile and a quarter of our measure.
Besides, if the Vanguard (as it is called) should give the first charge, the Battel (which then must second them) may chance to be of a nation not onely differing from the Vanguard, but at variance with them, or else some grudge or disgust between the Chiefs. And in that respect they might either neglect or slacken the seconding or relieving of those of the Vanguard, and not use that diligence which is required. In consideration therefore of these and other inconveniences, it is best that every squadron of the army be so ordered as each of them may have their first second, and third troops: by which means every division shall both be commanded by their own Chiefs, and shall also be seconded by those of their own squadron, or division, which will give them the more courage and assurance. The manner therefore for the ordering of an army for battel, is as followeth; That squadron which is called the Battel, is placed in the middle, the Vanguard on the right hand of it, and the Rear on the left: and all these (usually) in one front and single order; one regiment (or sometimes one company, especially among the horse, as Figure 10.) flanking the other, as in Figure 12.
From hence the first troop of every division is drawn up, and placed in an even front or straight line, from one angle of the body to the other. At a convenientk distance behind these, the second troop of every squadron is placed, in an even rank, as the former; but so as thel first troop (which are to give the first charge) being to retreat, and this second troop to advance, they disturb not each other: for which reason, convenient spaces are left in the first order or troop, for the second to come up into. The third troop is placed just behind the first, but at twice as large am distance from the second, as the second is from the first; that so the first troop retreating behind the second, they may have convenient room to make their retreat in good order. All this will appear in the figures following, among the rest in Figure 9.
If the Infantery and Cavallry be joyned together, the manner is to place half the horse on the right flank of the foot, and the other half on the left, as appeareth in Figure 12. 14, and 15. But upon occasion either of the enemy his ordering of horse within the body of foot, whereby he might annoy your Infantery; or for other respects of moment, some of the horse may be placed within the body of the army, as is shewed in Figure 16.Page [unnumbered]
Par: 4 [woodcut depicting cavalry movements] Page [unnumbered]
What distances be observable between Regiment and Regiment, between Squadron and Squa∣dron, between each Troop, the second from the first, and the third from the second, the figures will sufficiently shew, and especially the scales of measure in every figure. For the more easie under∣standing of them, observe that every body of pikes is single hatched, thus