The fire by rank tactic used by Europeans in the 18th and 19th centuries had surprising beginnings, as we learn in this episode. While key military thinkers like Maurice of Nassau in the Netherlands played a pivotal role in changing how infantry were viewed and used on the battlefield, it is highly likely that he acquired inspiration for these ideas not just from Europe’s Ancient past, but also from Asian innovations many thousands of miles away.The adoption of the musket on a wide scale and its incorporation into the infantry-based armies of the 1500s was a process made into legend by the Spanish, who achieved their supremacy on the continent with the tercio formations – pikemen squares surrounded by musketmen, with a secure centre and the capacity to meet any challenge, be it man or beast, on the field. This tercio formation granted the Spanish stunning victories, from Pavia in 1525, all the way up to Nordlingen in 1634. Yet, as a tactic, it was gradually dying, to be replaced by Maurice of Nassau’s innovations in the fire by rank approach. In this tactic, men would line up as a group of musketmen several ranks deep. The front rank would discharge their weapons and march to the back of their unit to reload, with the second rank following suit, and so on. In this way, a constant volley of fire would be poured into the enemy – in this case the vaunted Spanish tercio formations, with devastating results. This tactic harnessed the potential for superior firepower which the musket could boast, and it ensured that further innovations were possible. In this episode we trace the development of this idea from its unlikely beginnings, and in the next episode, we will see it in action for the first time. Make sure you join us for this fascinating look at European warfare in the 17th century history friends! Thanksss! SPONSORS1) Use the code WDF15 to get 15% off your stylish new pair of headphones/earphones/listening things2) To access some fascinating books, nerd out with like minded enthusiasts, further your knowledge of some classical works, get 25% off your first three months AND help the show, head on over to onlinegreatbooks.com!Remember to BEFIT!B is for blogE is for email firstname.lastname@example.orgF is for Facebook, the Page and the GroupI is for iTunes, please rate, review and subscribeT is for TELL ANYONE!1) Pre-order our book on the Thirty Years War 2) Are you TeamFerdinand or TeamFrederick ? It's time to pick a side, and a t-shirt! 3) Don't forget of course to support WDF on Patreon to access ad-free episodes with the scripts attached, as well an hour of extra content every month, and so much more! - $1, $2 & $5 memberships available! 4) Of course, make sure you also follow us on Twitter, visit our.... . .
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