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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Fri 08 Aug, 2008 2:28 am    Post subject: More caracole silliness         Reply with quote

Having recently read Cruso's cavalry manual--particularly the section on marshaling the cavalry for battle--I was struck by something I noticed in the text. Cruso named the "caracoll" only as a Cuirassier maneuver and doesn't seem to make any mention of it whatsoever in the section about Harquebusiers. Conversely, he mentioned firing by advanced rank as an anti-infantry method in the Harquebusier section without mentioning it in the Cuirassier section. But the two sections are separated only by a single period--no paragraph breaks or anything of that sort--and I can't help thinking that it would be very easy for a careless reader to mix the two different sections up. Maybe this is one of the things that made so many historians think the caracole was a lot more important/universal/whatever than it really was.

Am I heading in the right direction, or am I way off base? And is there a published professional work (read: not mine, because I'm 100% sure that I couldn't have been the first to have conceived this idea) where I can see this line of argument pursued in more detail?
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Fri 08 Aug, 2008 8:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cruso's use of the term Caracoll is erronous, he has copied the manouver in question from the French edition of Wallhausen's Kriegskunst zu Pferd and has misstaken the name for the one of the movements used to split the company for the name of the entire manouver

A caracol is a 90 or 180 degree turn in place, it was one of manouvers used by the ranks which had just fired tto manover to the rear The term caracole is actually seldom used in German works, the German name of the manouver is "wenden". Over the years it has been confused with the actual action of firing pistols&carbines from circulating ranks by cavalry.

The reason that he does not mention it in the Cuirassier section is that cuirassiers didn't fire at a distance in 1632., close range fire as part of a charge was their tactics. (See page 41-42)

I doubt misreading Cruso contributed a lot to the myths and misunderstandings surrounding the caracole. Few non-English historians used Cruso as his manual had no significance outside England. Continental Europe relied on the manuals quoted and copied by Cruso, Basta & Wallhausen.
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Sat 09 Aug, 2008 10:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It certainly wouldn't surprise me that English historians may have misread Cruso's comments as to the actual use of the Caracole, though. I know that reading Brig. Peter Young's preface to my own copy of Cruso, he has a lot of misinformation based upon both the later use of Cavalry in the English Civil War, and a basic misreading of what Cruso meant regarding contemporary European practice. And since much of Cruso is simply taken from Walhausen and Basta (and oddly enough he even gives them credit, and unusual thing for a 17th Century writer!), I make the leap that much of it actually was in use in the early 17th Century, at least on the Continent.

Daniel, thanks for the information on the German word "Wenden" for the maneuver. I wasn't aware of this, though I assumed that they didn't actually use a French term for one of their own tactics! Big Grin

Cheers!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Sat 09 Aug, 2008 11:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Staberg wrote:
Cruso's use of the term Caracoll is erronous, he has copied the manouver in question from the French edition of Wallhausen's Kriegskunst zu Pferd and has misstaken the name for the one of the movements used to split the company for the name of the entire manouver


Interesting. I really should check the copy of Wallhausen that I've got from you--I've been procrastinating on that for way too long.


Quote:
I doubt misreading Cruso contributed a lot to the myths and misunderstandings surrounding the caracole. Few non-English historians used Cruso as his manual had no significance outside England. Continental Europe relied on the manuals quoted and copied by Cruso, Basta & Wallhausen.


Where did the Continental misconceptions come from, then, and how did they differ from the ones seen in English-language works? I'm certainly going to try looking it up in the primary sources myself, but it'd help if I have a framework to go with so that I'd know what to expect.


Gordon Frye wrote:
I know that reading Brig. Peter Young's preface to my own copy of Cruso, he has a lot of misinformation based upon both the later use of Cavalry in the English Civil War, and a basic misreading of what Cruso meant regarding contemporary European practice.


Are you referring to the out-of-print 1970s edition?
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Sun 10 Aug, 2008 9:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Are you referring to the out-of-print 1970s edition?


Yes. I need to re-read it again, but I was rather taken aback when first reading Brig. Young's introduction by his ignorance in the history of Cavalry during the late-16th and early-17th Centuries, and his complete reliance on how things developed after Cruso, rather than anything of any substance leading up to the publication. It was rather sloppy in that regard, I'm afraid. On the other hand, his history of Cavalry during the English Civil Wars was of course quite well done. He also did a good job of ferreting out just who this John Cruso was, as many authorities have assumed that it was the son, who was later an Oxford Don, but in fact it was the father, who was a soldier and somewhat a scholar in his own right, who is the author.

Cheers!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Mon 11 Aug, 2008 7:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interestingly, the Wikipedia article on John Cruso seems to treat only with the elder, making practically no mentions whatsoever of the younger...
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Mon 11 Aug, 2008 9:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah. There was an article which I read recently, in JSTOR, which was written in the late 1930's claiming that the author was a mere college freshman, and had completely mistaken the younger John Cruso for the elder, who had actually seen some service. Thus for whatever other faults Young's account may contain, at least he cleared that mystery up.

Cheers!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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