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By G. A Shepperd

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Sample text

Three troops squadron and two or three squadrons a regiment. Dragoons were armed very much like the infantry with matchlocks, long straight swords and bayonets, and they often fought on foot. At an earlier period each troop had included some halberdiers who were really porals, made a French dragoons 1695 29 Rise of National Armies mobile pikemen. In 1687, however, the EngHsh dragoons carried 'snaphaunce muskets, strapped with bright barrels, of three feet eight inches long, cartouche-boxes, granado bayonets, pouches, buckets and hammer- hatchets; also good, broad cutting swords with three- barred hilts'.

Consequently, there was a tendency to avoid a battle that was likely to result in heavy casualties. With armies restricted both as regards size and employment and with few developments in weapons, there was a premium on generalship. Some improvements in weapons and equipment, however, deserve our attention before we discuss the tactical innovations of the great captains of this age. THE BROWN BESS By the beginning of the eighteenth century the flint-lock musket was in common use and it remained in use in every European army for 150 years.

Desertions in the Prussian Army were as high as twenty per cent each year and raiding parties were sent into neighbouring countries to kidnap suitable men to make up the deficiencies that the draft could were enrolled for life drafting peasants into the army. 44 Great Captains Feared and despised by the community as a common soldier lived in isolation, and his welfare received little thought. This attitude was reflected in the scant attention given to any kind of improvement in his weapons and equipment, except in the matter of uniforms which could reflect the power and prestige of his royal master.

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