Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Spanish infantry tactics Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Tianhong Yu





Joined: 12 Jul 2016

Posts: 10

PostPosted: Sat 07 Apr, 2018 12:55 pm    Post subject: Spanish infantry tactics         Reply with quote

Hello everyone!

I happened to find Pierre Picouet's website and there's some information on Spanish infantry tactics
http://tercio1617.0catch.com/TactiqueUk.html#Ta52

Here are my questions.

Are the "Escuadrón Cuadro de Terreno" and "Escuadrón Cuadro de Gente" the oldest and the most typical escuadrones in Spanish Army? Do these 2 type of escuadrones have different strengths and weaknesses?

I haven't found any sources with regard to the effectiveness of different infantry formations and when these formations were invented. Picouet's website seems to me that it mainly focuses on XVII century military. I assume Spanish infantry had then been going through some changes and its tactics and formations might be quite different from early in XVI century.

The website lists other escuadrones as well. I really want to know the difference between "Escuadrón Prolongado" and ""Escuadrón Prolongado de Gran Frente" and terms mentioned elsewhere for example "Escuadrón de Doble Frente".When were these escuadrones introduced and how well did they perform?

There are also some other names of different escuadrones that I'm afraid are not mentioned on Picouet's website.
I found this probably from a Facebook page whose name I can't recall
Quote:

Las Banderas, formando también su cuadrado propio, y rodeadas de su Guardia de las Banderas , ocupaban el centro de los escuadrones.

Las formaciones básicas de las que todas las demás partían pueden reducirse a estas:

El Escuadrón cuadrado, el Triángulo y la Media Luna. Las combinaciones posibles era variadísimas, siguiendose los criterios tácticos de cada general.

Las formaciones más corrientes eran:

El Escuadrón Cuadrado: es decir, del mismo frente que fondo. Con la fuerza repartida por igual, esta formación era ideal cuando se temía un ataque enemigo por cualquiera de los lados y cuando la inferioridad propia era patente, debiendo apoyarse en este caso el escuadrón en el terreno ( río, peñascos, viñas, etc ) por los flancos y la retaguardia.

Era eficaz contra Escuadrones prolongados y en Media Luna, siempre que contase con buenas mangas o flancos que evitasen que fuera cercado.

El Escuadrón Prolongado: es formado por 3 cuadrados unidos, y tenía la ventaja de aparentar más fuerza de la real cuando presentaba su lado mayor, siendo corriente para proteger los bagajes en las marchas.

El Prolongado en forma de Media Luna o Cornuto era una modalidad del anterior al que se alabeaban las alas a fin de que fueran éstas las que entrasen en contacto con el enemigo, mientras que el centro convenía que se mantuviese alejado.

Se adoptaba cuando el centro o batalla contrario era más fuerte que el propio, y frente al Escuadrón Oval.

El Escuadrón de Tres Medias Lunas se utilizaba para proteger por separado un bagaje.

Con sólo Dos Medias Lunas se denominaba Escuadrón Oval.

El Escuadrón Triángular, o en Cuña o Cuneo, se formaba colocando 1 hombre al frente, seguido de 3 y aumentando 2 más en cada hilera.

Era aplicable frente al Escuadrón Cuadrado, al Prolongado y al de Media Luna, ya que el número de gente de sus alas era superior a la que presenta el enemigo en vanguardia.

El Escuadrón en Tenaza, estaba compuesto por 2 Esc. Triángulares acodados por la base.

Se empleaba frente al Romboidal y frente al de Cuña, ya que podía dirigir ataques en mas sentidos y coger enmedio al escuadrón enemigo. La formación podía presentar un mayor número de dientes, con sólo dividir los efectivos totales por el número deseado, en este caso recibía el nombre de Escuadrón en Sierra, cuya modalidad de 3 dientes era la empleada contra El Escuadrón en Tenaza.

El Escuadrón en Rombo estaba formado por 2 cuñas unidas por la base y con puntas opuestas.

Muy utilizado contra la Caballería por su facilidad de volverse en cualquier dirección. Colocando un mando en cada punta se gobernaba con toda facilidad.

Para que las bajas no causasen huecos en la formación que debilitasen la fila y por donde pudiera abrir cuña el enemigo, cada soldado, excepto los de la 1ª fila, tenía instrucciones de adelantar su puesto cuando el anterior quedaba vacío, guardando siempre las distancias ordenadas para poder combatir sin embarazo y que el escuadrón presentase una masa unitaria en la que todos se apoyaban en todos, con su retaguardia y flancos cubiertos.


Does anybody know if there exists a complete list of all types of escuadrones? I'm interested not only in the nomenclature but also their roles in a combat.Also I'm wondering if there are some good examples that show how different infantry formations are deployed on the battlefield and if some of those escuadrones only existed on paper.

I'm a bit confused by the relationship between guarniciones and mangas and infantes perdidos. I guess arquebusiers in guarniciones never stood far away from main body of the pike.But I really don't know what's the difference between mangas and infantes perdidos since both of them are said to fight in vanguard and in detachments. By the way, were musketeers deployed differently from arquebusiers and did they take different tasks on the battlefield or in a siege?

Some halberdiers fought with infantry armed with firearms as they were too far away from pikemen.How were they exactly deployed on the battlefield? Halberdiers unlike pikemen weren't so numerous, is it possible for them to form a core as pikemen and provide enough protection for the missile troops?Did they stand like pikemen to stop the charge of enemy cavalry or did they basically let cavalry charge in and dismount them in a melee? Is it more effective to let musketeers be accompanied by halberdiers or targeteers in a siege rather than on the open field? Are there any examples of soldiers fighting with spears or pikes assaulting ramparts in a siege?

Quote:
On the field, the squadron was organised by the Sargento Mayor (major Sergeant) who organised the companies taking account of the tactic situation, the number of men, the field, the enemy etc...


So what are Maestres de Campo doing while their Sargento Mayor are organizing escuadrones?

I know there are some members who are very familiar with this topic on the forum.I'm looking forward to your posts.

And thanks in advance.
View user's profile Send private message
Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Sun 08 Apr, 2018 11:09 am    Post subject: Re: Spanish infantry tactics         Reply with quote

Tianhong Yu wrote:
Are the "Escuadrón Cuadro de Terreno" and "Escuadrón Cuadro de Gente" the oldest and the most typical escuadrones in Spanish Army? Do these 2 type of escuadrones have different strengths and weaknesses?


"Escuadron" is the name o the unit, not the formation. It can deploy in various formations such as the "cuadro de gente" (square of men -- equal numbers of ranks and files, but deeper than it is wide since Spanish drill in the era provided for greater intervals between the ranks than between the files) or the "cuadro de terreno" (with slightly more than twice as many files as ranks, but square-shaped on the ground because the greater spacing between the ranks doesn't change).


Quote:
I haven't found any sources with regard to the effectiveness of different infantry formations and when these formations were invented. Picouet's website seems to me that it mainly focuses on XVII century military. I assume Spanish infantry had then been going through some changes and its tactics and formations might be quite different from early in XVI century.


This is because the formations for the tercio were not really well-documented until the end of the 16th or the beginning of the 17th century -- when alternative models had already begun to emerge (and the tercio itself had already begun to change in nature). If you really want to do serious research into this you should start learning Spanish so that you can check out the primary sources listed here (although Bernardino de Mendoza might have an English translation out there somewhere): http://ejercitodeflandes.blogspot.co.id/searc...%20Tercios


Quote:
The website lists other escuadrones as well. I really want to know the difference between "Escuadrón Prolongado" and ""Escuadrón Prolongado de Gran Frente" and terms mentioned elsewhere for example "Escuadrón de Doble Frente".When were these escuadrones introduced and how well did they perform?


All of these were only documented in the late 17th century -- which could be decades after they were originally developed, or just a few years. The treatises don't always go into in-depth explanations into the individual strengths and weaknesses of these formations either.

Quote:
Las Banderas, formando también su cuadrado propio, y rodeadas de su Guardia de las Banderas , ocupaban el centro de los escuadrones.


This is just the colour guard.


Quote:
El Escuadrón cuadrado, el Triángulo y la Media Luna. Las combinaciones posibles era variadísimas, siguiendose los criterios tácticos de cada general.

Las formaciones más corrientes eran:

El Escuadrón Cuadrado: es decir, del mismo frente que fondo. Con la fuerza repartida por igual, esta formación era ideal cuando se temía un ataque enemigo por cualquiera de los lados y cuando la inferioridad propia era patente, debiendo apoyarse en este caso el escuadrón en el terreno ( río, peñascos, viñas, etc ) por los flancos y la retaguardia.

Era eficaz contra Escuadrones prolongados y en Media Luna, siempre que contase con buenas mangas o flancos que evitasen que fuera cercado.

El Escuadrón Prolongado: es formado por 3 cuadrados unidos, y tenía la ventaja de aparentar más fuerza de la real cuando presentaba su lado mayor, siendo corriente para proteger los bagajes en las marchas.

El Prolongado en forma de Media Luna o Cornuto era una modalidad del anterior al que se alabeaban las alas a fin de que fueran éstas las que entrasen en contacto con el enemigo, mientras que el centro convenía que se mantuviese alejado.

Se adoptaba cuando el centro o batalla contrario era más fuerte que el propio, y frente al Escuadrón Oval.

El Escuadrón de Tres Medias Lunas se utilizaba para proteger por separado un bagaje.

Con sólo Dos Medias Lunas se denominaba Escuadrón Oval.

El Escuadrón Triángular, o en Cuña o Cuneo, se formaba colocando 1 hombre al frente, seguido de 3 y aumentando 2 más en cada hilera.

Era aplicable frente al Escuadrón Cuadrado, al Prolongado y al de Media Luna, ya que el número de gente de sus alas era superior a la que presenta el enemigo en vanguardia.

El Escuadrón en Tenaza, estaba compuesto por 2 Esc. Triángulares acodados por la base.

Se empleaba frente al Romboidal y frente al de Cuña, ya que podía dirigir ataques en mas sentidos y coger enmedio al escuadrón enemigo. La formación podía presentar un mayor número de dientes, con sólo dividir los efectivos totales por el número deseado, en este caso recibía el nombre de Escuadrón en Sierra, cuya modalidad de 3 dientes era la empleada contra El Escuadrón en Tenaza.

El Escuadrón en Rombo estaba formado por 2 cuñas unidas por la base y con puntas opuestas.

Muy utilizado contra la Caballería por su facilidad de volverse en cualquier dirección. Colocando un mando en cada punta se gobernaba con toda facilidad.

Para que las bajas no causasen huecos en la formación que debilitasen la fila y por donde pudiera abrir cuña el enemigo, cada soldado, excepto los de la 1ª fila, tenía instrucciones de adelantar su puesto cuando el anterior quedaba vacío, guardando siempre las distancias ordenadas para poder combatir sin embarazo y que el escuadrón presentase una masa unitaria en la que todos se apoyaban en todos, con su retaguardia y flancos cubiertos.


I'm not sure these are descriptions of Renaissance Spanish infantry formations because they sound more like paraphrases of Aelian's or Asclepiodotus' work on the Macedonian phalanx and cavalry. The most obvious sign is the Thessalian rhomboidal cavalry formation (although the explanation here echoes Arrian rather than the two authors I've mentioned before). Of course the classicising spirit was very strong in Renaissance military thought and the one of the first modern military manuals written in English was Bingham's translation of Aelian anyway, so it's not surprising that there might be something similar in Spanish.


Quote:
Does anybody know if there exists a complete list of all types of escuadrones? I'm interested not only in the nomenclature but also their roles in a combat.Also I'm wondering if there are some good examples that show how different infantry formations are deployed on the battlefield and if some of those escuadrones only existed on paper.


Complete list of all types is kind of useless since different authors present different sets of formations and often used the same name for different formations.


Quote:
I'm a bit confused by the relationship between guarniciones and mangas and infantes perdidos. I guess arquebusiers in guarniciones never stood far away from main body of the pike.But I really don't know what's the difference between mangas and infantes perdidos since both of them are said to fight in vanguard and in detachments. By the way, were musketeers deployed differently from arquebusiers and did they take different tasks on the battlefield or in a siege?


As with the others, this would be so much easier if you read Spanish. Because if you did it'd be immediately obvious that "guarniciones" and "mangas" are oblique references to the relationship between the shoulder wing/trim (guarnicion) and sleeve (manga) on a doublet. Sleeves are sometimes detachable but the wings generally stay with the body of the doublet even when the wings are detached.

Mangas seem to have been permanent formations -- arquebusiers who drilled as part of a specific manga in a colunela or tercio would always deploy in/with that manga except in highly unusual circumstances. On the other hand, infantes perdidos were ad hoc bodies of volunteers (or voluntolds!) sent to undertake a particularly dangerous mission. It's the exact equivalent of the "forlorn hope" in English ("enfants perdus" in French, "verlorene Haufe" in German).

Musketeers were somewhat more likely to get assigned to specialist detachments but there's no hard-and-fast distinctions between their role and the arquebusiers'.


Quote:
Some halberdiers fought with infantry armed with firearms as they were too far away from pikemen.How were they exactly deployed on the battlefield? Halberdiers unlike pikemen weren't so numerous, is it possible for them to form a core as pikemen and provide enough protection for the missile troops?Did they stand like pikemen to stop the charge of enemy cavalry or did they basically let cavalry charge in and dismount them in a melee? Is it more effective to let musketeers be accompanied by halberdiers or targeteers in a siege rather than on the open field?


For this you'd have to read contemporary military memoirs. Montluc, for example, recounted several cases where he led small squad- or platoon-sized reconnaissance detachments made up of a mixture of pike, shot, and halberds. In practice they rarely ever had to fight cavalry in melee since such detachments naturally sought advantage of terrain that would shelter them from cavalry -- and on the (admittedly many) occasions when they faced cavalry in the open, the affair was usually decided by shooting.


Quote:
Are there any examples of soldiers fighting with spears or pikes assaulting ramparts in a siege?


Depends on how you define "siege." At Cerignola the Swiss definitely assaulted the Spanish field fortifications and were thrown back because these field defences broke up their formations and allowed small groups of Spanish rodeleros to penetrate deep into the unarmoured cores of their pike blocks. In "proper" sieges, assaults against unbroken ramparts weren't really that common but sending pikemen to rush breaches created in walls was a pretty common thing.


Quote:
Quote:
On the field, the squadron was organised by the Sargento Mayor (major Sergeant) who organised the companies taking account of the tactic situation, the number of men, the field, the enemy etc...


So what are Maestres de Campo doing while their Sargento Mayor are organizing escuadrones?


Plenty. Maintaining situational awareness of neighbouring units and of the army (and the battle) as a whole, maintaining communications with higher echelons of command, and so on.
View user's profile Send private message
Carlos Valenzuela Cordero




Location: Barcelona
Joined: 22 Feb 2018

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Fri 13 Apr, 2018 8:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Are the "Escuadrón Cuadro de Terreno" and "Escuadrón Cuadro de Gente" the oldest and the most typical escuadrones in Spanish Army?


The only spanish military treatise from the first half of the XVIth century is from Diego de Salazar [1536] and we know 1) it's an adaptation from Maquiavello, not a literal copy but and 2) the examples given insist in a proportion of 1 arquebusiers – 2 'rodeleros' – 3 pikemen, something we know it was only theoreticalm because by 1525 there were a proportion of firearms of 35%, not 1/6 = 17%, as Salazar proposed.

http://ejercitodeflandes.blogspot.com.es/2015...-1525.html

The first squadron in his treaty is a 'cuadro de gente' 20 x 20.

There are of course somo chronicles, accounts and even letters, but they don't go in such details, except a short excerpt in Pedro de Salazar's Conquest of Africa [1550] in which describes a 17 pikemen wide squadron with two 'mangas' or sleeves of 4 ranks of 17 arquebusiers each.

Going to books from second half of XVIth century you find a variety of opinions, but Bernardino de Escalante [1583] pointed that even there were a lot of squadrons – cross, triangular, half moon, and so on -and they were used and useful to stand in a place and resist the enemy, they were useless when they have to advance, because it was impossible to mantain the formation. So you have to form rectangular squadrons to fight the enemy.

The most used then were:
Cuadro de terreno – square of terrain – 2300 pikes = 74 x 31 [proportion of 7:3]
Cuadro de gente – square of people 1600 pikes = 40 x 40 [proportion of 1:1]
Prolongado – prolonged: 1200 pikes = 20 x 60 [proportion of 1:3]
De gran frente – 'big front': 1200 pikes = 60 x 20 [proportion of 3:1]
'Doblado de frente' – Double front: 1000 pikes = 44 x 22 [proportion of 2:1]
Triple front, and so on


Quote:
Do these 2 type of escuadrones have different strengths and weaknesses?


The 'escuadrón prolongado' were weak in front an army with a lot of cavalry, so in front of cavalry they prefer to use 'cuadro de gente' or 'cuadro de terreno' in order to be able to defend the formation by his four sides.

The 'escuadrón de gran frente' it was widely used because this formation gave the option to have more combatants in front of the enemy, and it was difficult to sorround it, but didn't offer proper defense to an attack for their sides. Some authors preferred the 'doblete'.

The 'cuadro de gente' was good because you can fight the enemy for its four sides with the same strenght, the same number of fighters. Some authors considered that the sides were too short to offer proper defense bein attacked by their sides.

But the 'cuadro de terreno' was the most used, but some authors considered it too narrow, and then recommended more wide squadrons, like the 'doblete', in order to have more combatants in the front. .

Some authors point the problem in spanish tercios in front of german or swiss formations, due to the relative shortage of pikemen in spanish armies, so they recommend to exploit those elements of the orography useful, like ditches and others.

Quote:
I really want to know the difference between "Escuadrón Prolongado" and ""Escuadrón Prolongado de Gran Frente" and terms mentioned elsewhere for example "Escuadrón de Doble Frente".When were these escuadrones introduced and how well did they perform?


When it's a difficult question, because the treaties were only published after a long field experience of decades.

You can find a sort of 'escuadrón prolongado' in a italian treaty of 1528 and a 'cuadro de gente' too. I don't think there were too many innovations, because rectangular formations doesn't require a lot of creativity.

Quote:

Does anybody know if there exists a complete list of all types of escuadrones? I'm interested not only in the nomenclature but also their roles in a combat.Also I'm wondering if there are some good examples that show how different infantry formations are deployed on the battlefield and if some of those escuadrones only existed on paper.


I think that some squadrons described in treaties were of no use, and there were formed only during exercises in front of princes, to show how the men and their officers could perform, but as Escalante pointed, some squadrons - cross, triangular, half moon – were used, but they couldn't advance in the field, so subtracting offensive capacity due to lack of maneuverability



Quote:

I'm a bit confused by the relationship between guarniciones and mangas and infantes perdidos. I guess arquebusiers in guarniciones never stood far away from main body of the pike.But I really don't know what's the difference between mangas and infantes perdidos since both of them are said to fight in vanguard and in detachments.


The 'guarniciones' were a group of arquebusiers – usually of 5 men widht – that formed in the sides of the squadron.
The 'mangas' were deployed outside the squadron, in the corners. Usually there were only front 'mangas' but sometimes there were rear 'mangas' too.

The 'infantes perdidos' – according to Diego García de Palacio [1583] – formed inside the squadron, armed with pikes or throwing arms + 'rodela' and sword, and were deployed to the front when both squadrons stay in touch. This 'infantes perdidos' had to support the first rank of the squadron.

The 'mangas' of arquebusiers play this own role, and they could be dettached far away of the squadron, to attack the enemy only using their firearms. When they were threatened – by cavalry – the returned near to the squadron, and even they can enter inside it, and so protected by the pikes.


Quote:
By the way, were musketeers deployed differently from arquebusiers and did they take different tasks on the battlefield or in a siege?
Some halberdiers fought with infantry armed with firearms as they were too far away from pikemen.How were they exactly deployed on the battlefield? Halberdiers unlike pikemen weren't so numerous, is it possible for them to form a core as pikemen and provide enough protection for the missile troops?Did they stand like pikemen to stop the charge of enemy cavalry or did they basically let cavalry charge in and dismount them in a melee? Is it more effective to let musketeers be accompanied by halberdiers or targeteers in a siege rather than on the open field? Are there any examples of soldiers fighting with spears or pikes assaulting ramparts in a siege?


I'll try to answer this later..


Quote:

Quote:
On the field, the squadron was organised by the Sargento Mayor (major Sergeant) who organised the companies taking account of the tactic situation, the number of men, the field, the enemy etc...


So what are Maestres de Campo doing while their Sargento Mayor are organizing escuadrones?


The 'maestre de campo' gave order to the segeant major, and after that he had to lead the attack, serving with a pike in the first rank of the squadron with the captains and giving example to their men. The squadron was organized by the 'sargento mayor' with the help of the sergeants of the companies following the instructions of the 'maestre de campo' of every tercio and the 'maestre de campo general' of the army.
In 1536, there were 4 tercios in Italy and only two 'sargentos mayores', but advancing the XVIth century there were one sergean major in every tercio.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Joined: 14 Mar 2015

Posts: 258

PostPosted: Mon 16 Apr, 2018 2:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Carlos Valenzuela Cordero wrote:
Quote:
Are the "Escuadrón Cuadro de Terreno" and "Escuadrón Cuadro de Gente" the oldest and the most typical escuadrones in Spanish Army?


The only spanish military treatise from the first half of the XVIth century is from Diego de Salazar [1536] and we know 1) it's an adaptation from Maquiavello, not a literal copy but and 2) the examples given insist in a proportion of 1 arquebusiers – 2 'rodeleros' – 3 pikemen, something we know it was only theoretical because by 1525 there were a proportion of firearms of 35%, not 1/6 = 17%, as Salazar proposed.


The proportion of 1/3 pike, 1/3 sword and 1/3 crossbow and arquebus came from Salazar or it's earlier, with Gonzálo Fernandes de Córdoba or perhaps the Constabulary Troops of the Catholic Kings? As far as I'm concerned, the pike was introduced in "Spain" (i.e. Castile and Arágon) when Fernando and Isabela created this small army composed of pikes, sword and shield armed men and crossbow+arquebuses troops by 1470-80's. Portugal had pikes at least since from the 1380's Wars, but I didn't find the reference to either side using pikemen at Toro (though a friend of mine said the Afonso V's center was composed of portuguese pikemen in the foremost ranks) or any other battles in the period (though I also heard of them being used at Morroco in the siege and defenses of Ceuta and Arzila).

In regards to military reforms and updates, the more decisive ones were being made by 1500-1530's due to the Italian Wars; i.e. the Ordinances specificating that more and more men should be armed like the Swiss. Rodeleros were certainly used in Arágon since the 15th century, but the Portuguese had a similar troop called "Adargueiros" with were soldiers armed with sword and a leather adarga, I don't know if the Castillians actually had Adargueiros too or simply adopted Aragonese equipment by the formation of the Constabulary troops. The portuguese started imitating the Spanish and the Italian Wars' tactics due to some visionary commanders in Africa already by 1510-20's.

Lafayette wrote:

Depends on how you define "siege." At Cerignola the Swiss definitely assaulted the Spanish field fortifications and were thrown back because these field defences broke up their formations and allowed small groups of Spanish rodeleros to penetrate deep into the unarmoured cores of their pike blocks. In "proper" sieges, assaults against unbroken ramparts weren't really that common but sending pikemen to rush breaches created in walls was a pretty common thing.


I saw some pictures from the "Ejercito de Flandres" blog. There were pictures of the spanish-imperial army at North-Africa with pikemen fighting in the streets inside the besieged town AND in the walls, trying to hurt the enemies from the lower level. I don't know how common was that usage of pikemen.

Btw, why exactly sending pikemen into ramparts wasn't so common?

“Burn old wood, read old books, drink old wines, have old friends.”
Alfonso X, King of Castile (1221-84)
View user's profile Send private message
Carlos Valenzuela Cordero




Location: Barcelona
Joined: 22 Feb 2018

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr, 2018 6:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
By the way, were musketeers deployed differently from arquebusiers and did they take different tasks on the battlefield or in a siege?


As there were more musketeers with the time, from 15 per company of 250 men in 1568 to 40 musketeers per company of 200 men in 1632 there were some evolution too. In treaties of late XVIth century you can watch only a manga of musketeers per squadron, and in 1632 treaties – Miguel Pérez de Egea – you can watch a squadron with four mangas of musketeers, one per every corner of the squadron at a distance of 50-60 steps and no more of 100.

Lechuga said [1603] that if there were enough musketeers they form two 'mangas' of them.

The mangas of arquebusiers used to have a more dinamic role, as they had to 'escaramuzar' – skirmish – leave their place in the corners of the squadron and advance against the enemy and shot to them. They used to be of 300 arquebusiers, but some authors recommended the half of it with to captains. With time, the 'mangas' of muketeers also had to skirmish. As they had a longer range, the skirmishes were not so closed as before fighting alone with arquebuses, and the halberdiers of the companies of arquebusiers lost their traditional role, and were of no use.

With 450 musketeers, Brancaccio [1610] proposed a theoretical Tercio of 16 companies and 2500 men – 1000 pikes, 1050 arquebusiers, 450 muskets – and recommended the formation of 4 'mangas' of 112 musketeers, 'guarniciones' of 360 arquebusiers – 32 ranks x 5 men x 2 sides – and 4 'mangas' of 182 arquebusiers.

It's supposed that arquebusiers shot faster than mumsketeers, but some authors [Egea, 1632] recommended for both arquebuses and musketeers retire after 5-6 shots amd advance together, 35 arquebusiers and 25 musketeers.


Quote:

Some halberdiers fought with infantry armed with firearms as they were too far away from pikemen.How were they exactly deployed on the battlefield?


O think you are refering to those halberdiers who fought in arquebusiers companies... If it's not the case, I encourage you to explain the case you are talking about.

According to Lelio Brancaccio, de 25-30 halberdiers armed with corslets, had problems to follow and fight with the arquebusiers of their company, especially in those times [around 1610] when the use of muskets avoid closed combat - skirmishes. So he proposed that they used not halberds or half pikes, but entire pikes, and, even more, suprise those type. He considered halberds of no use in front of pikes.


Quote:

Halberdiers unlike pikemen weren't so numerous, is it possible for them to form a core as pikemen and provide enough protection for the missile troops?


Those 25 halberdiers served in files of 5 accompanying the banner of the company. According to Eguiluz [1595] they have to fight in the squadron serving with pikes. He said that halberds, spears and two hand swords were only useful in 'baterías' - assaults, and they were of no use in squadrons.
But we know for accounts - Cereceda - that spanish formed squadrons of halberdiers and men armed with partisans - Koroni 1534, but in 1538, the marquis del Vasto give an ordinnance for the Tercio of Milán, and stablished that no corslet served with partisan or halberd, except 8 per company, who had to guard the banner/flag of the company.
We know the order of disambarkation in Cascais [Portugal] in 1580: 1500 german pikemen forming and squadron, accompanied - guarded by three spanish arquebusiers companies - two from the Tercio of Naples, and one from Lombardy - and they stablished that the halberdiers and flags had to disembark later, so I assume that they think that they were of no use, apart of guarding the flags.

Quote:

Did they stand like pikemen to stop the charge of enemy cavalry or did they basically let cavalry charge in and dismount them in a melee?

I don't remember examples of its use.

Quote:

Is it more effective to let musketeers be accompanied by halberdiers or targeteers in a siege rather than on the open field?


During assaults they used the while panoply, from swords to muskets. In may 1572, they assaulted Middleburg, with 410 arquebusiers, 50 musketeers, 50 pikemen, 30 spanish halberdiers and 200 valloons.

During 'encamisadas' - night assaults to enemy encampment - we found examples of group of halberdiers accompanying arquebusiers [Mendoza, 1567-1577] so of course they use halberds when they considered it was useful.

Quote:

Are there any examples of soldiers fighting with spears or pikes assaulting ramparts in a siege?


It's supposed that one of the duties of 'picas secas' – disarmed pikemen [they wore only a morion and sometimes a gorget] – was assaulting a stronghold after overtrhowing the walls by the artillerý. The rampart was formed in part from the pieces of the wall, but advancing the XVIth century was difficult to make those assaults, because after the wall the defenders use to built a second line of defense.

It's supposed that they sent two or four men in order to recognize the rampart – they called it 'batería', the same word for the groups of canons or battery – but they only could recognize the external part of the walls, because it was impossible to achieve the 'curtain' of the walls.

In assaults they also used rodelas and swords and spears like 'chuzos', half pikes and others.

Bernardino de Mendoza give some accounts of these kind of assaults. For example: one successful – june 1575 – to the castle of Buren – with pikemen and halberdiers of the companies of captains don Manuel Cabeza de Vaca and Gaspar Ortiz and other one disastrous – 31 januar 1573 in Harlem – when the rebels blew up a mine which was under the rampart and almost 50 soldiers died, and this explosion make the rampart uneasy to hike.

You can also watch these graphic examples of late XVIth century:
http://tapices.flandesenhispania.org/index.ph..._de_Calais
http://tapices.flandesenhispania.org/index.ph...a_de_Hulst

Carlos Coloma describes the plan to assault Cambrai - october 1595 - occupied by the french with some detail:

The assault was made by 5 captains – 2 spaniards, 1 waloon, 1 borgognon and 1 german – everyone with 20 pikemen and 20 musketeers, a total of 200 men and 24 more men of every nation – so 112 – armed with bombs and 'pikes of fire' followed of 400 men of those four nations. In case they could advance, they will be followed by 2000 men more that were in the trenches leaded by the 'maestre de campo' Agustín de Mesía. Then, 1000 more men had to replace this 2000 men and occupy their place in the trenches, and from there, shot against the defenders. If the assault was successful, the 'entretenidos' – veteran soldiers with special wages – had to prevent all disorders of soldiers, anxious to commit the sack, and mantain guard corps in every place need to secure the control of the city.

They didn't need to assault the city, because the citizens – loyal to the king of Spain – took the control of some doors and gave entry to the spanish troops, and the french – 1400 infantrymen and 240 horses - retired to the castle where they nogotiated the conditions of rendition.








Quote:

The proportion of 1/3 pike, 1/3 sword and 1/3 crossbow and arquebus came from Salazar or it's earlier, with Gonzálo Fernandes de Córdoba or perhaps the Constabulary Troops of the Catholic Kings? As far as I'm concerned, the pike was introduced in "Spain" (i.e. Castile and Arágon) when Fernando and Isabela created this small army composed of pikes, sword and shield armed men and crossbow+arquebuses troops by 1470-80's.



There were no such proportion of 1/3 pike, 1/3 sword and 1/3 crossbow/arquebus. We have discussed this in other thread:
http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=363...p;start=20


Quote:
As I said before, there were three - four types of infantry soldiers during these time:

1490-1503: Espingardero [gunner] / Ballestero [crossbowman] / Lancero [lancer] / Escudado [Paviser]. There were also "hombres del campo", literally countrymen, whose panoply I dont' know.

From 1503 to 1508, there were Espingardero / Piquero - pikeman / Ballestero. but you can find in Italy the remains of the Escudados from Galicia and Asturas that came to Italy in 1503.

From 1508 onwards, we have also the Escopetero - also a gunner with a different type of gun or arquebus precursor.

From 1520's onwards, the crossbowman disappear - not in Spain or North Africa - and we have the Arcabucero [Arquebusier], the Escopetero, the Coselete [literally Corselet, pikeman equpped with corselet] and the Pica Seca [pikeman witth no corselet] and we have also Alabardero - Hallberdier, but they were mustered as corselets. There were no rodeleros at all in any muster or official account.


But of course there were soldiers fighting with rodelas and swords, and they had a determinant role in battles like Ravenna [1512].


Quote:

Portugal had pikes at least since from the 1380's Wars, but I didn't find the reference to either side using pikemen at Toro (though a friend of mine said the Afonso V's center was composed of portuguese pikemen in the foremost ranks) or any other battles in the period (though I also heard of them being used at Morroco in the siege and defenses of Ceuta and Arzila.

That's interesting. Maybe you can write more about this, because I thin portuguese military history has not been properly widespread.


Quote:
In regards to military reforms and updates, the more decisive ones were being made by 1500-1530's due to the Italian Wars; i.e. the Ordinances specificating that more and more men should be armed like the Swiss. Rodeleros were certainly used in Arágon since the 15th century, but the Portuguese had a similar troop called "Adargueiros" with were soldiers armed with sword and a leather adarga, I don't know if the Castillians actually had Adargueiros too or simply adopted Aragonese equipment by the formation of the Constabulary troops. The portuguese started imitating the Spanish and the Italian Wars' tactics due to some visionary commanders in Africa already by 1510-20's.
).


The swiss model, copying the role of pikemen, was oficially adopted in 1503, but I don't know the tactic differences between the use of 'lances' and 'pikes'...


Quote:

I saw some pictures from the "Ejercito de Flandres" blog. There were pictures of the spanish-imperial army at North-Africa with pikemen fighting in the streets inside the besieged town AND in the walls, trying to hurt the enemies from the lower level. I don't know how common was that usage of pikemen.

Btw, why exactly sending pikemen into ramparts wasn't so common?


Assaults whith pikes were common in XVIth century. You can see my answer for Tianhong Yu
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Henry O.





Joined: 18 Jun 2016

Posts: 145

PostPosted: Fri 20 Apr, 2018 7:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Spanish infantry tactics         Reply with quote

Pike tactic theory for most of the 16th century were primarily based on mathematics and geometrically perfect "squares". In english, the two most popular formations in the 16th century known the "square of men"/"just square" which had an equal number of ranks as files, (but because soldiers needed 3 feet for every file and 7 feet for every rank it would end up looking more like a column than a square in practice) and the "square of ground" which had 7 files for every 3 ranks (resulting in a geometric square even while on the march). You would also often see various "broad squares"/'bastard squares"/"base squares" which were much wider than they were deep, but were still usually described as a ratio of length to width rather than having a fixed number of ranks like later armies.

How useful and how important this was really isn't clear. Even by the mid 17th century people would have been baffled by their forefathers' apparent obsession with square roots. And to be honest a lot of it probably does just have to do with the fact that it was the renaissance and educated men at the time all thought math was super cool. Although there are a number of other possible factors

One possibility is that large squares greatly improved mobility and command and control when it came to very large armies. A square with a narrow front can advance more easily and more quickly without losing cohesion than the same number of troops deployed in a long, thin line. This is the explanation usually given for why the swiss first adopted the square and were able to turn pikemen into an extremely aggressive and offensive arm.

Another factor might be that thinkers in the 16th century still took the threat of cavalry much more seriously. Even large, solid pike squares were still defeated by cavalry charges or flank attacks from time to time. So the thinking may have been that if even an extremely deep formation was at best resistant to flanking, not impervious to flanking, only a mathematically perfect square had the best chance to survive attacks to the flank or being surrounded. This seems to be the explanation Robert Barret gives: the square of men is best in an open field, the broad square is better when you are fighting infantry or can anchor your flanks on the terrain, while the square of ground is the "jack of all trades" formation which is most flexible reasonably effective in multiple situations:

Quote:

Gent.

Which of these do you hold for most assured and strong?

Capt.

I hold them all for sufficient strong, but the difference which may hap∣pen,* is to be iudged according to the situation and disposition of the ground, and occasions to fight, and by the order that the campe shall obserue. For in some oc∣casions the square of men would be best, as in open field, without aduantage of hedge, ditch, water, marish or wood, or where the enemie is strong in horse, to charge on euerie side: the which iust square of men, in euerie part is found to be Page 95 equally strong, and apt euery way to receiue the charge: the which could not be so,* were the battell ouerlong afront, & narrow in flank, as is the bastard, broad, or base square; but yet in other occasions, where these aduantages are to be found, it were better to fight in broad front, for that thereby, many hands do come to fight at once together in the vantguard, and with more difficultie to be compassed by the enemie, hauing any of the aduantages before spoken of to friend: but most cōmonly, if necessitie, occasion, or situation do not constraine otherwise, the qua∣drat of ground [square of ground] is best, and most vsed, as best proportioned with equall strength in vantguard and reareward (especially against footemen) and also flanked suffici∣ently strong: and which of all other doth occupie least quantitie of ground.


A couple decades earlier Barnabe Rich seems to give a somewhat similar conclusion while discussing the formations of the ancients. He thought that broad squares were most useful only when on the defensive and when the ground permitted,

Quote:
THese wt many other proportions which they vsed as their halfe moone, their worme, ther D. their G theyr S. with such like are not worth ye fyguring foorth as the seruice now standeth. Their hearse battailes, their broad squares, their baase squares theyr bastard squares are very good, but best to be vsed vppon aduauntage of ground. . .

. . . THere bée other fourmes of battailes framed of many battalions, impaide with sléeues and fillets of Pikes, which as they are very excellent a∣gainst the enemie, so they are most daungerous for that they are quickly disordered, where Souldiours be not most exquisitely trained. But the fight now one∣lie consisting in Shot and Pikes, there is no fourme of imbatteling to be preferred before the iust square, or if your numbers be sufficient to order them into 2. 3. or 4. squadrons according to these figures. . .

. . .if you will néedes haue short weapons placed in your squa∣drous, let them be impald euery way a like as well with pikes as with shot. And that the iust square is especially to be preferred, may easely appeare by these considerations.

First it is not very curious in placyng, second it is easie for Souldiers to march, especially if they haue to passe any straights through the which they may bee drawne by 5. or 3. in a ranck (if the place will affoorde no greater scope) and be suddainly brought againe in∣to their first proportions without any manner of con∣fusion: but especially the iust square is most defencible and strong, both against horsemen and footemen, wher there is no aduauntage to be taken of ground, either of hedge or dytch, ryuer, hyll, or other like.


There also seems to have been a psychological element when it came to deep pike formations. Aside from the soldiers in the rear perhaps providing a sense of extra comfort and security to those in front, the tall pikes held upright by the rear ranks made the entire depth of the formation very visibile, even from the ground and would greatly intimidate the enemy. This the explaination Thomas Digges gave for why a square armed entirely with uniform pikes was much stronger than a square where only a few ranks had pikes while the rest were given short weapons like halberds and billhooks, even though it was only the first few ranks who actually did any physical fighting.

Over time though you do tend to see less and less reliance on squares of men as armies switch to relying on squares of ground, and later much smaller, thinner battalions during the 17th century. The main nail in the coffin seems to have been the gradual shift from the deployment of a handful of large "battles" to many smaller "battalions" arranged in roman-quincrux-inspired checkerboard formations, most famously used by the dutch. Despite the gaps in the checkerboard formation, the idea seems to have been that these small battalions were more flexible could instead rely on their layers of reserves and overlapping fields of fire to protect their flanks and rear rather than their depth, leading to formations that started to become more shallow and broad over time.

I'll try to get to how the detachments of shot were used in a later post, but for now I want to add that for the 16th century there weren't really concrete doctrines or rules the way their were in later centuries. The few treatises we have are really more suggestions written by private soldiers rather than official manuals. The actual formations and deployment of troops were typically left up to the discretion of the general, colonel, or sergent major and might not even be finalized until the day of battle or involve a great deal of new innovation or experimentation. William Garrard includes a few examples of interesting newly invented formations which he came across at one point, including this one which he saw being used by the Spanish to march along a river. It features many small troupes of skirmishers in front, a large hollow square of pikemen surrounding the whole army, two solid squares of pikemen, and then a wedge for some reason:

View user's profile Send private message
Henry O.





Joined: 18 Jun 2016

Posts: 145

PostPosted: Fri 20 Apr, 2018 11:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anyways here's the translation of Mendoza I've been using: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A07432.0001.001?rgn=main;view=toc;q1=Military+art+and+science+--++Early+works+to+1800

Tianhong Yu wrote:


I'm a bit confused by the relationship between guarniciones and mangas and infantes perdidos. I guess arquebusiers in guarniciones never stood far away from main body of the pike.But I really don't know what's the difference between mangas and infantes perdidos since both of them are said to fight in vanguard and in detachments. By the way, were musketeers deployed differently from arquebusiers and did they take different tasks on the battlefield or in a siege?


Again this going to be based more on what i've picked up from english sources and the terminology is far from consistent. While you sometimes see separate units of shot each given a specific role, other times you'll see shot expected to multitask and switch between roles depending on the situation. i.e. if the enemy is far off the shot would be deployed in front of the pikes and fight as a forlorn hope, as enemy infantry approached they would fall back and form two solid wings on either side of the pike square firing volleys, and when threatened by cavalry the shot would need to closely surround the pike square on all four sides, forming an impalement.

Over time an impalement of shot on all sides became more and more important to keep the pikemen safe from charging cavalry armed with pistols or carbines. But while earlier in the century you can find examples like the battle of Ceresole where ranks of pikes and shot were combined to fight against infantry, by the late 1500s the general consensus seems to have been that in an actual push of pike having ranks of unarmored shot in front of the pikemen hurt much more than it helped. By forming the shot into two, deep sleeves or wings on either side of the pikemen firing constant volleys while cycling ranks however, they can continue delivering a constant, close range fire without actually getting in the pikemens' way.

Anyways, regarding the use of mobile detachments of shot like the tercio's "mangas" there seems to have been some disagreement over which was more effective: large bodies of shot firing powerful, concentrated volleys, or much smaller detachments of shot who could more easily spread out into a skirmish line or take advantage of cover. The four sleeves of the tercio seem to have been sort of a middle ground. Four sleeves were certainly more flexible than just two much larger sleeves, but Mendoza felt that even these bodies of 300 arquebusiers were a bit too inflexible and burned through ammunition a bit to quickly for his liking and thought that it would be better to divide them into even smaller troupes.

The use of many small flexible detachments also gets proposed by a number of english authors, with Robert Barret being a particularly strong proponent.





For comparison, here's his illustration of what he claims were the two most common formations in use at the time:



"But (in mine opinion) this order is not so good, as if the shot were deuided in∣to sundry small troupes, trouping round about the battell the one to second the other: placed in forme as hereafter shall follow thus. First, your graund square (or more battailions if you will) being set,* then impale or girdle the same round about with shot, by 3, 5, or 7, or more, in a rank (according to the proportiō of the battell, neare adioyning vnto the armed pikes, to be by them guarded from the horse, if neede were; The rest of the shot deuide into many small troupes by 30 40, or 50 in a troupe, to troupe round about the battell, with some reasonable di∣stance from the same, to maintaine skirmish or fight which way soeuer the ene∣mie approch: Prouided that the same troupes be still maintained, one to second another, that the battell may be by them shadowed, to the end that the skirmishes or troupes of the enemies may not haue that aduantage, to play with their shot vpon your battell: for hee is but a foolish shot, that shooteth at, or among light skirmishers, where he may discharge vpon the body of his enemies battell, which standes thick together, and is a fayre marke to shoot at; for the armed pikes once ouerthrowen, which is the strength of the field, the victorie by all likelyhood is like to ensue."

"The shot appertaining vnto euery of these battels and battallions ought to be deuided (in mine opinion) into sundry small troupes; trouping about the said battels and battallions to maintaine skirmish, and some to be placed vpon bankes,* ditches, and ground of aduantage (the situation yeelding such) according to the direction of the Sergeant Maior generall"

So these smaller troupes would be more flexible, able to skirmish in any direction and keep the main battle safe from enemy shot, keep up a constant skirmish by continually replacing each other as they get worn out. Barret is also critical of the type of volley fire which was used by Maurice of Nassau and instead describes some sort of fire-by-file drill which he claims was more effective, but the description isn't entirely clear.

Anyways, it doesn't seem that this specific type of deployment was actually used much. More often, when small troupes of skirmishers were needed they were probably just formed out of some of the best shooters available, while the rest of the shot was kept in much larger formations for delivering volleys. Describing his experiences in the low countries in "A Martial Conference", Barnabe Rich claims that especially with the musket, many loose skirmishers were skilled enough to be dangerous from as far as 600 yards away and might decide the outcome of an encounter before it even began. The rest of the shot however was still kept nearby in sleeves or wings to deliver powerful close range vollies in case the enemy decided to charge.

". . . when such meetings do happen, captains that be of experience are accustomed to place the stand of pikes (wherein consisteth their strength) upon some ground of advantage, and as neere as they can will bring some hedge, some ditch, some shrubbes or bushes, ors some other like helpes, betweene them and the enemy, because they would not lie open to the musket shot, that the other will then thrust out, (if they can be suffered) to play upon these squadrons or armed men 24. and 30. scores off. Loose shot being thus shaken off, oportunities and advantages are watched on both sides, as well by horsemen as footmen to take their times and occasions, their squandrons standing stil a good distance the one from the other, with wings, fillets, and troupes of shot, to give those volies at hand (that you speake of) if they should be charged, and many times it falleth out, that squadrons be broken and put to a retrait, by advantages taken and procured by these skirmishes. . ."
View user's profile Send private message
Tianhong Yu





Joined: 12 Jul 2016

Posts: 10

PostPosted: Tue 10 Jul, 2018 5:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for your replies. I find them helpful.

Quote:
The 'escuadrón prolongado' were weak in front an army with a lot of cavalry, so in front of cavalry they prefer to use 'cuadro de gente' or 'cuadro de terreno' in order to be able to defend the formation by his four sides.


Does anyone know how exactly this formation stands up against cavalry? It's clearly different from squares during 18th century.Are there any specific details?

Quote:
According to Lelio Brancaccio, de 25-30 halberdiers armed with corslets, had problems to follow and fight with the arquebusiers of their company, especially in those times [around 1610] when the use of muskets avoid closed combat - skirmishes. So he proposed that they used not halberds or half pikes, but entire pikes, and, even more, suprise those type.


So the halberdiers had trouble keeping up with the arquebusiers.I don't understand how the pike improve the situation.Do pikemen move faster than halberdiers?
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Spanish infantry tactics
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum