Firepower: Weapons Effectiveness On The Battlefield, 1630- 1750

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CrossRef Google Scholar. Google Scholar. Hill, Celtic Warfare , pp. John H.

Firepower: Weapons Effectiveness On The Battlefield, 1630- 1750

Beeler Ithaca, NY and London, , pp. Hayes-McCoy, Irish Battles , pp. Richard Butler Dublin, , p. William H. Howard, War in European History , pp. Hale et al. Rogers, Weapons of the British Soldier London, , pp. George Gush, Renaissance Armies, — Cambridge, , pp. Carter ed. Gush, Renaissance Armies , p. Roberts, Military Revolution , pp. Maitland Club Edinburgh, , pp. Thus warfare stimulated cultural transfer not only directly but also through the movement of texts and images.

The development of printing after the midth century had an explosive effect on the speed and scale of such circulation, the lower cost and increased ease of ownership encouraging the publication of new literature and allowing professional soldiers to put their experiences into print. Studies of military literature in England between and have shown that, even at this time of relative peace, large numbers of books and pamphlets circulated. Gauging the reception of such works is, of course, more difficult. They continued to be produced throughout this period, suggesting that a strong market remained, and surviving copies frequently contain marginalia or annotations that indicate they were consulted.

British army officers during the American Revolutionary War have been shown to have possessed in some cases extensive libraries of English, French and German works. In 17th- and 18th-century England, the drill book rather than the military treatise remained the most common form of literature, and although treatises helped to standardise infantry tactics and disseminate new ones, it seems that many soldiers found drill books more useful and relevant than more theoretical works.

Given their complexity, such works may have been primarily aspirational and restricted to a small technical elite, but works by figures such as Vauban would have enabled even a conscientious and reasonably educated officer to gain some understanding of the principles of fortification and siege warfare. The outpouring of military books, treatises and pamphlets after the 16th century was of course part of a wider revolution in print culture, as the falling costs of printing, the rising rate of literacy and the increased ease of postal communication created a series of public spheres within which literature could circulate and ideas be disseminated.

Numerous officers serving abroad wrote letters to friends and family at home, often including details of military engagements, tactics and technology, where they might serve as the basis either for direct discussion or further circulation.


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The rise of pamphlet and newspaper literature during the 17th century, especially as government censorship either eased up or disappeared, created further channels for cultural transfer. Military engagements were widely reported, with growing sophistication, to an increasingly educated and discerning public, and might be copied for further circulation beyond the main centres of consumption.

The early 17th century saw the creation of a highly active public sphere in England, where news of warfare abroad and then at home was eagerly consumed, and to which writers responded by providing increasingly high standards of proof, including falsifiable details and multiple independent sources.

During the early modern period, warfare therefore acted as a powerful driver of cultural transfer, but it will have become obvious how far its most visible aspects — larger and more professional armies and navies, and more complex fortifications and ships — were sustained by the new capacities of European states.

A consistent flow of money and a strong and stable state with adequate administrative resources were therefore essential requirements for the conduct of early modern European warfare. One important respect in which newly empowered states created the structures needed for wider processes of cultural transfer was in the support, for the first time, of permanent educational institutions that could effect the transmission of military culture and knowledge not just across space but also across time, to new generations of officers and soldiers.

The French state led the way in this, and its military academies inspired imitations across Europe, such as the naval and military academies founded by the Danish crown in and respectively. In Britain, political fears of standing armies delayed the process, although from artillery and engineer officers could be trained in both theoretical and practical skills at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich , and the Royal Hospital School at Greenwich was founded in for the more acceptable naval education.

Because most military education still took place within individual units, perhaps of even greater importance was the growing ability of states to maintain permanent cadres of professional officers, and the standing armies and navies that acted as repositories of such skills. Some states maintained household troops or cadet companies specifically intended for training and education, such as the nine cadet companies set up in France by Louis XIV, although in practice the experiment provided anything but a seedbed for a new military elite.

The British system of half-pay, for example, allowed military and naval officers to be pensioned off when war ended and the army and navy shrunk, and to be recalled when war broke out again and these forces grew again in size, where they could staff and train new regiments of recruits. States also began to sponsor the professional education of key officials, as shown in the exemplary case of the brothers Jacob, John and Michael Richards, who were all sent abroad by the British Ordnance Office in the late 17th century to train as artillery and engineering officers.

Finally, the growing power of the state could also be used to support intellectual innovation and cultural transfer through the sponsorship of scientific research. For example, in the British Isles, the Admiralty and Ordnance Office sponsored research into mathematics and astronomy needed for cartography and maritime navigation, both directly — including the foundation of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich , in — and in collaboration with the Royal Society, founded in The Academie royale des sciences was set up in France in with a similar remit.

The Spanish, French, Dutch and British states all sponsored prizes and research into the problem of discovering longitude at sea, leading to the development of lunar tables and the marine chronometer in the midth century. From the 17th century, states also sponsored cartographic research intended to build up a stock of maps and charts required for military campaigning and maritime navigation, with obvious benefits for civilian navigation, surveying and engineering.

The sheer ubiquity of warfare in all its forms between and meant that it had a profoundly important role in stimulating myriad sorts of cultural transfers in Europe during this period. Warfare broke up settled patterns of thought and created new technological and organisational demands, even if these continued to reflect their own specific circumstances and needs. There was no single, definitive "Western way of war" during this period.

There were, instead, simply a set of overlapping principles and techniques rooted in and evolving out of the political, economic and cultural conditions in which states found themselves. Neither was it distinctly European, since other states could chose to adopt them.


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  • Change, and cultural transfer, was also mediated through several channels and was frequently a product of human agency, as people consulted their own economic and ideological needs and made choices accordingly. It proceeded both by direct and indirect contact, and was determined in part by the changing intellectual and cultural circumstances of early modern Europe, as well as the increasingly secure foundation provided by the growing power and resources of early modern European states.

    There may not have been a "Military Revolution" between and , but the process of warfare was revolutionary in other respects. Aaron Graham. Arnold, Thomas F. Rogers ed. Davies, J.

    Napoleon on the Battlefield 19th C. Miniature painting on Plaque -Signed

    Houlding, J. Lawrence, David R. Lynn, John A. Ralston, David B. Rodger, Nicholas A. Rogers, Clifford J. Stradling, Robert A. Wood, James B. Fachherausgeber: Editor: Peter H. When quoting this article please add the date of your last retrieval in brackets after the url. When quoting a certain passage from the article please also insert the corresponding number s , for example 2 or Introduction Warfare was one of the few experiences between and that almost every European had in common.

    Incidences and Consequences The ubiquity of warfare reflected, in part, the high incidence of low-intensity conflicts such as raiding and its reprisals, typical in peripheral regions as diverse as the English and Scottish Borders before or of the Long War conducted on the Habsburg and Ottoman frontiers in south-eastern Europe between and His book, "A Treatise of Artillery," had been published in and was the standard text of the day, and a pirate copy was published in Philadelphia in , which became the handbook of the American artillerymen.

    In this book Muller had published plans of cannon based on sundry theories of his own, and as a result the few cannon which were ever built to Muller's ideas were made in America. You can tell an American cast tube by looking for a liberty cap on a pole and a sunburst design cast into the metal. The letters "U. The French supplied thirty-one 4-pounders which Knox found very useful as field pieces.

    Guns in Close Combat & Stopping Power

    These were of the Swedish design. They also sent other guns of the Valliere system in the four pound size. These guns Knox found to be so heavy and over cast that he had them melted down and recast into light 6-pounders. Each four-pounder made three light 6-pounders.


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    • Prior to the Revolution, guns were actually operated in battle by soldiers, but they were transported by civilian teamsters and carters working on contracts. And as they were not slow to point out, their contracts were solely to move guns to and from the scene of action, and didn't extend to risking their lives under enemy fire. As a result, the first people to make themselves scarce when the bullets began to fly were the artillery teamsters, taking their precious horses with them, and if the hard-pressed gunners needed to move their guns there was no means of doing so other than manpower.

      This problem of civilian teamsters was one which afflicted every army of the age, since owners of armies were reluctant to foot the bill, in peacetime, for a host of non-combatants.

      Warfare (–) — EGO

      During the Revolution both the British and American artillery relied upon contract teamsters for movement, but for the British, with a limited amount of horseflesh available, and with contractors reluctant to ally themselves with the Redcoats, much of the transportation capacity had to be shipped across the Atlantic. On the other hand the American teamsters, while distinct from the Army, still had a fellow-feeling for "their" soldiers and were more inclined to risk their lives and those of their horses for the "cause". After the Revolution, more and more armies began to reorganize their artillery to do away with the contractor and bring the entire force into uniform.

      Matrosses first appeared on the establishment in the British Army in Originally, they were Gunners Assistants, i. Unlike their predecessors they were all on the same rate of pay, somewhat lower than the Gunner's. The word comes from the German "matrossen," meaning "sailors," since the tasks allotted them in action, such as traversing, loading, firing, sponging, manning dragropes, etc, were deemed to be sailors' work. They were less highly trained technically than Gunners.