During century XVII the infantry reigns of the battlefield. It was not possible for a general to win a battle until he was not able to end with the blocks of enemy infants. These, in the course of the century, had been assuming combat formation of smaller depth progressively, improving therefore the effectiveness of their firepower. At the end of century the appearance of the bayonet completely removes the pike, giving the infant the capacity to defend itself of the cavalry and shoot without changing of weapon.






The combat formation of the infantry was the battalion, of approximately 600 men in 3 to 5 ranks of depth. The armies were organized in regiments of one or two battalions each which in the battlefield were located in two separated lines of about 300 steps, effective distance of the musket.




In the infantry duels this one marched in formation until fire distance and from there they punished their enemy with fast burst firings. In order to maintain the rate of fire, the French and Spanish armies shot rank to rank, kneeling down first to let shoot to the ranks of back. Dutch and English preferred to shoot in platoons, dividing the battalion in 4 sub-groups that alternated themselves while they shot with all its rows simultaneously.


Due to the low precision of the weapons of the time, that only reached 5%, all the effort was put in concentrating the greater number of shoots simultaneously on a point, being more important the speed of cadence than the aim. The combat was decided in most of the cases when the elevated number of losses ended up demoralizing one of the contenders. The bayonet charges were seldom.


The cavalry arranged itself in smaller formations denominated squadrons, of about 150 riders, whom in four ranks fire to the trot with their pistols before colliding with the enemy, or fire using the carbine, a musket of shorter gun. Its main use was to clean the battlefield of enemy cavalry, to threaten flanks or to charge against disordered battalions, the only moment at which they could impose over infantry.











As mounted infantry were used the dragoons, with mounts of smaller quality than the line cavalry, but that often they acted of way very similar to this.





The artillery was used to harass the enemy to greater distance, but its use not yet was decisive in the battlefield.













The bodies of elite were the grenadiers for the infantry and the carabineers for the cavalry. Although each regiment counted on its own companies of elite, these were often regrouped in battalions of their own.




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