The " Dutch Method" continued
Category : C17th History
Though this new way of fighting was an improvement, it was far from perfect.
After victories such as the conquest of Geertruidenburg in 1593 and victory at Nieuport in 1600 the Dutch were feeling quite happy with their new "method" and its reputation soon spread.
Advisors were sent from the United Provinces to spread the word to their allies in the various realms in Germany. Sweden was another Protestant ally whose army was led by their king Gustav 11 Adolf, more commonly known as Gustavus Adolfus. He inspected German military organizations in 1620 and adopted the "Dutch Method" for the Swedish Army.
However his successes using this way of fighting in Germany during the Thirty Years War were far from impressive.
Lessons were learnt through crushing defeats against highly trained Polish Cavalry who devastated his infantry.
The problem here was due to the way the cavalry operated still using the "Caracole", which basically involved several ranks of horsemen trotting towards the enemies foot and discharging their pistols and then retiring to reload as another rank trotted up to do the same. This it was hoped would disrupt the enemy infantry enough for the cavalry to close in with sword.
The Polish Cavalry were experts in charging with Lance or Sabre at the trot. Gustav Adolf copied the cavalry tactics of the Poles and revised his foot by thinning his Battalions from ten ranks to six and introduced the "Salve" or volley firing. The effects of these vollies would have been devastating and were usually delivered as the prelude to a "Push of Pike".
The battlefield tactics of the English Civil War has its origins in mainland europe some years earlier and are a result of a long learning curve. Learning from your mistakes, from your enemy and fully utilising the latest weapons at the time. A thoroughly bloodstained learning curve at that!