Category Archives: England

Armies on the move

The first sign of amateurish book about Early Modern warfare is its focus on battles instead of more important aspects of campaigns. (Second sign is an opinion about non-existence of consistent, fast and mobile strategy in that period).

A lot was written to challenge notions of primitive campaigns in last two decades. Here is a perfect example (footnotes omitted) from an excellent book War in England 1642-1649 by Barbara Donagan (hardcover 2008, paperback and kindle 2010):

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Filed under 17th century, England, Strategy

Not an unthinking cipher

A very good quote for understanding early modern soldier:

“The emergence of the modern European soldier, who was not required to know his reason why, but was required to obey without question the orders of his superiors is undoubtedly a significant phenomena. The Tudor soldier, perhaps, never quite reached that point; although with fewer and fewer soldiers raised on quasi-feudal lines there was an increased emphasis on obedience to orders as the underlying principle in the maintenance of discipline. The hungry, ragged, ill-paid, and ill-used soldier did not cease to grumble at his lot, to disappear when his captain’s back was turned, to organise and protest when his treatment became unbearable. In many respects, military indiscipline ran parallel to civilian popular protest. In both cases, the common man recognised that alongside power and privilege came responsibility and obligation, and he was swift to protest against those who failed in their duties. For all the insistence on obedience, the Tudor soldier was never reduced to an unthinking cipher”. (Gervase Phillips. To Cry “Home! Home!”: Mutiny, Morale, and Indiscipline in Tudor Armies // The Journal of Military History, Vol. 65, No. 2 (Apr., 2001), p.332)


Filed under 16th century, England