Schwedische Protestierende Kräfte
Die Armee des Emperor
The Wesphalian Baggage Train
zur kunst des Krieges
Conscripted or wagered into the army you could expect to see some drill. This drill was either formal or informal depending on the outfit one was with. In Stockholm the King of Sweden ordered that all soldiers conscripted into their county regiments “Be wise in the ways of their arms.” Officers instructed their NCO’s to begin formalized drilling.
This was not the case with John George of Saxony, who’s well paid and extremely well equipped army rarely ever drilled. By all accounts his men were inexperienced in the art of war and a mere shell of that which they proposed to represent. In the Imperial army the same inconsistencies were noticeable.
Octavio Picolmino’s troops were some of the best trained in the entire Imperial army. These men even trained on the day of the Sabbath, which drew criticism from the Holy Roman Church. By comparison the same could not be said for the Croats who served under Albrecht Wallenstein and Johanas Tserclaes Tilly. While in combat they proved to be extremely fierce, but once the combat ceased it was ever difficult to rein them in.
The advent of drill was born of necessity. The complexity of the 17th century military rivals that of our current military. The basic infantry model was manifested out of two separate weapons systems; the pike and the musket. To make these weapons systems work the infantry model was separated into its individual parts and drilled independent of each other in a process known as “Weapons Handling Drill.” This allowed the NCO to pull aside his newest recruits and keep their minds focused on their weapon. The difference in the complexity of each weapons system was drastic.
The pike, was the revered and honored weapon, which was simple but very personal to use. It required a great deal of physical strength to wield a 15’ ash pike and an equal amount of strength to bear the armor needed to protect the ranks. Yet with all of its illustrious history the pike was an antiquated weapon. It was merely an over grown spear, which could only be wielded into a few select postures. What made the pike truly deadly was when it was combined with the second weapons system the musket.
The matchlock musket was the predominant infantry firearm of the Thirty Years War. While other types of longarms were employed; such as, wheelock, snaphaunce, and dog lock muskets, the vast majority of the firearms made for the infantry during the 30 Years War were matchlocks. Why? The simple answer is “simplicity.” The matchlock mechanism was a proofed ignition system, it had existed in its current form (meaning during the 30 Years War) since the late 15th century. Yet the means of creating gunpowder had significantly improved, with the process of corning powder revolutionized this weapons system to the point where it virtually ruled the battlefield. The problem with the matchlock was that it was inherently unsafe and down right dangerous to use if one were not trained. Thus the importance of weapons handling drill was born.
Musketeers (yes they are called this because they actually use a musket) were expected to conduct the weapons handling drill in concert with the rest of their fellow musketeers. This was done under the watchful eye of a corporal.