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The Landsknecht: His Recruitment and Organization, With Some Reference to the Reign of

Henry VIII
Author(s): Gilbert John Millar
Source: Military Affairs, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Oct., 1971), pp. 95-99
Published by: Society for Military History
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command not too many years ago. I make any amelioratingcase for the it-did not obtain. Butlercontinued:
also discussedthe incidentwithtwo of primitive,brutishactions of the North The threatNorth Korea perceived
the key officersin Pueblo. I feel that Korean hierarchy. However, we to its defense establishmentmay
Bucher did a great job in keeping the should not overlookthe possible valid- have been as imminent as theCuban
crew togetherand keeping morale up ity of the actions a small nation may missile threat was to us. North
while theywere in prison. But had he take in defendingits securityagainst Korea was confrontedby vessels
carried out normal precautionswhile electronic snooping. This was the which penetratedthe heart of its
defense networkand which were
in command of a vessel at sea, that point made by ProfessorWilliam But- operatedby itsprimnary adversaryin
need would neverhave arisen. ler of Harvard at the Washington theKoreanconflict. To concludethe
One point in the Davis commentary meeting of the American Society of Pueblo posed no threat begs the
and its referenceto the Schumacher InternationalLaw in April of 1969: question.Its threatwas acquistionof
and Wilson book, Bridge of No Re- Electronics intelligence consti- data that could renderthe coastal
turn: The Ordeal of the U.S.S. Pueb- tutesa revolutionary departureover state defenseestablishment vulner-
lo, needs furtherdiscussion. This is previoustechnology. . . [A Pueblo able.*
the "tradition" of giving in captivity or EC-121] not only carries away North Korea made no statementto
and presumably as required by the visual impressionsof the external this effectnor any claim based on any
MilitaryCode of Conduct, only one's appearanceof a countryalong the concept of internationallaw, nor am I
"name, rank and serial number."This coast; it piercesthe veryinterstices trying to establish a North Korean
of thedefenseestablishment by mon-
widespread concept of the Code is itoringinland communications, by defense in internationallaw. But the
quite erroneous. The Code, and the identifying-perhaps jamming- Pueblo attack and the attack on the
amplifyingdirective from the Secre- inland radar installations,and by electronic EC-121 aircraft shortly
tary of Defense, is a restatementof performing a varietyof othertasks. thereafterwere both deliberate,care-
the 1949 Geneva Convention, that a . . . It is hardlyunexpected forsmall fully planned and carefullyexecuted.
prisonermustgive his name, rank and coastal countriesto questionthe ap- The skillful planning and execution
serial number. He may give volumi- propriatenessof grantingabsolute only accented the naive understanding
nous other informationsubject only immunity to electronicsintelligence of internationalrelations and lack of
vessels or to seek othermeans for
that it does not hazard his comrades, redressing theircomparativetechno- imaginationin planningand execution
or is not critical or harmful to the logicaldisadvantage.. . . Technolog- on our part. I would thereforesuggest
United States or its allies. The regula- ical superiority allows majorpowers three additional conclusions: first,the
tion, in other words, is a mandate for to gatherintelligence whileclaiming North Koreans may be tryingto tell
what he must give as much as for immunityfrom coastal [state] re- us something;second, Pete Bucher is a
what he may not. Here, I believe, sponse by invokingprinciplesof reflectionof the "Peter Principle"that
ProfessorDavis shares the misconcep- maritimelaw predatingthe electron- "in the hierarchy, every employee
tion of Schumacher,his ghost writer, ics revolution.** tends to rise to the level of his incom-
his captain, his 80 fellow crewmen, In 1962 the US invoked the princi- petence. The cream rises until it
and the five admirals on the court of ple of self-defenseto establisha naval sours;" and third,the organizationis
inquiry. quarantinearound Cuba, althoughthe rarelyself-regulating when a patsycan
Lastly, one additional point needs accepted rationale of self-defense- be found in whom to sublimate the
to be aired. I would be the last to armed attack or immediate threat of blame.
*Capt. Paul R. Schratz,U.S.N. (Ret.) Butler,WilliamE. "The Pueblo Crisis: Defect in Training," Philadelphia In-
is directorof the Officeof International Some Critical Reflections,"Address, quirer,6 April 1969; "ExpertsShip a Lot
Studiesat the Universityof Missouriat AmericanSocietyof InternationalLaw, of Bilge on Conductof Pueblo Crew,"
St. Louis. Washington, D.C., 24 April1969. Philadelphia Inquirer, 2 March 1969;
Code of the U.S. FightingMan, De- letterto New York Times, 23 March
partment of DefensePamphlet,GEN-11, 1969.
Armbrister,Trevor. A Matter of Ac- DA Pam 360-512, Nav Pers 92483A, Schumacher,F. Carl and George C.
countability:the True Story of the Pueb- AFP 34-10-10dated 23 December 1964. Wilson. Bridgeof No Return:The Or-
lo Afair (New York: Coward McCann, Interviews,Peter Langenbergand F. deal of the U.S.S. Pueblo (New York:
1970). Carl Schumacher,St. Louis, September Harcourt,Brace,Javanovich, 1971).
Bucher,Lloyd M., CommanderUSN, 1970 and April1971. U.S. Naval Courtof Inquiryas report-
with Mark Rascovich. Bucher: My Story Marshall,BrigadierGeneral S. L. A. ed in New York Times and Washington
(GardenCity;Doubelday,1970). "Pueblo Crew's BreakdownPoints Up Post.

GILBERTJOHN MILLAR* ly a consistentlysuccessfulcommand-

Longwood College er-in-chief,Maximilian was neverthe-
less capable of learningfromhis ene-
mies. This was demonstratedto good

The Landsknecht:
His Recruitment
and effect early in his career when, as
acting Duke of Burgundy,he adopted
the Swiss tactics of the Netherlandish
WithSome Reference
Organization, rebelsto defeatthem.
Heretofore Hapsburg armies had
to theReignof HenryVilI been "the laughing stock of Germany
and of Europe." Now a new army
was born, with a nucleus of infantry
W HILE theoriginof theGerman ultimatelythe creation of that famous pikemen recruitedfromthe Hapsburg
landsknectis somewhat obscure, King of the Romans and later Holy dominions in South Germany.1 In
it is generally agreed that he was Roman Emperor,Maximilian I. Hard- 1486 Maximilian had two regiments

OCTOBER 1971 95

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skilledin theSwisstacticsin thefield, as it may, throughout the sixteenth mally had to be contentwith the rank
each numbering betweenthreethou- century thelureof foreign pay proved of captain. This business out of the
sand and four thousand.They had foreverirresistible. But in the land- way, the ruler next issued a letter
been trainedby a Swiss captain,and sknecht's defenselet it be said thathis patent authorizinghis new officerto
in thisyearfor the first lack of nationalconsciencewas but a raise the numberof troopsspecifiedin
timethe name landsknecht appeared mirrorof the stateof thingsin Ger- the contract.
to describe them. They were not many,a nationwhichat thistimeand If he were to earn his pay, the
"lance soldiers."Rather they were forcenturies to comewas amongst the mercenary leader had his work cut
"servantsof the land" so-called,at most heterogeneous in Europe. Rent out for him. First, to be on the safe
least by some, to distinguishthem by political factionand divided in side, he obtained writtenpermission
from the Swiss gebirgsknechten,the faith,itwas bothunwilling and unable and passports from the princes in
"servants ofthemountains." to providea place forthelandsknecht whose states he planned to recruit.
In copyingthe arms and to some as a nationalsoldier.Small wonder, This was only good business practice,
extentthe organization of the Swiss, then,that his ultimatecommitment for if he were to retain his contract,
Maximilian laid thefoundation of that wasgenerally to himself. he had to convince his employerthat
awesomeGermaninfantry whichdid As the mercenaryhabit was so he was capable of delivering the
such effective servicein Italyforhis deeplyingrainedin the landsknechts, goods. And what betterway than to
grandson, CharlesV. Yet thecreation it was comparatively easy-providing be able to demonstratethathe had the
of the landsknechts was not without one had the resources-to recruit goodwill and cooperation of the au-
its disadvantages. Once theyachieved them.In fact any sixteenthcentury thorities from whose territorieshis
theefficiency of theSwiss,they-like rulerengagedin war could expectto men would be drawn and through
the Swiss-foundthemselves in great be delugedby offers to providetroops which they would have to travel be-
demand.Theyadoptedthemercenary fromGermancaptainswho were ei- fore reaching their theatre of oper-
habits of the Swiss and frequently therunemployed or dissatisfied with ation. Mercenary captains, however,
tookservicewiththeenemiesof their their current assignments.Henry did not always seek such cooperation.
country. Too, therecruitment of land- VIII's courtin Englandand his agents Let us assume for clarity'ssake that
sknechtswas neverthe sole privilege on the Continentduringthe "enter- we have a landsknecht colonel who
of the Emperor.Except when there priseat Boulogne"(1544) and later has been hired by Henry VIII to
was an imperial pronouncement to the attractedmercenariesin droves,not recruit a regimentsomewhere in the
contrary, thosesubjectswho held di- all of themGermans,forHenryalso Empire. Once the colonel obtained
rectlyof the Emperorclaimed the hired Spaniards,Italians,Albanians, permissionto recruitfromthe Emper-
right-byancientcustomand thecon- Greeks, Burgundians,Clevelanders,3 or and the local magnates, his next
stitutionof theReich-to enterforeign and even the occasionalFrenchman.4 step was to choose-usually from
employment and to recruitunlimited True were the words of Sebastian amongst his acquaintances-his sen-
numbersfor the same service.But Franck, the contemporary German ior officers.A lieutenant-colonelwas
imperialpronouncement or no, the chroniclerand despiserof mercen- appointed second-in-command, and
mercenarypredilection of the land- aries: "Wheneverthe devil offers beneath him the requisite number of
sknechts was suchthatwar invariably [them]pay, thenthereis a humming captains.6 This done, the actual re-
foundthemin the ranksof the be- and crowdingtogether like of fliesin cruitmentof landsknechtscould begin.
ligerents. thesummer, so thatyouwillbe com- This functionwas the primaryre-
More so thantheSwiss,theirmost pletelybaffled and wonderwhere. . . sponsibilityof the captains, each of
seriouscompetitors in the mercenary this swarmcame fromand how it whom was delegated the task of re-
market, thelandsknechts lackeda per- survived thewinter."5 cruitinghis own company. After the
manentpoliticalcommitment. At least The firststepin hiringlandsknechts countrysidehad been informedin ad-
the Swiss after1516 tendedto serve was to finda leader,one in whomthe vance, theyset offwith fifeand drum
but one master,France. The land- eventual recruitscould place their and copies of their commissions in
sknechts,however, remained free trust.Not anyman woulddo. Ideally search of volunteers. Their efforts
agents,boundto no one in particular the mercenary leaderwas an experi- were rarelyfutileand one can imagine
and to all who could affordthem.In encedwarrior, a manof somereputa- the desperate characters which such
this respecttheirname takes on an tionand accomplishment. This leader, calls to arms attracted: "unchristian,
additionalsignificance. They were- afterhe had been found,enteredinto God-forsakenfolk," robbers,burners,
one mightsay-soliders of the Ger- negotiationswithhis prospective em- slayers,gamers, "who delightin win-
man land,not of the Reich,tiedper- ployerto argreeupon the termsof bibbing,whoring,blaspheming,and in
haps to a particular but not
territory, service.Once thesehad beenmutually makingwidows and orphans."7Faced
to a politicalcommunity. Unlikethe approved,a contract was drawnup in with a collection like this, it took a
the landsknechtswere
gebirgsknechten the formof "capitularies"or-as it hardened man with a veteran's apti-
"singularly abouttheirna-
indifferent was also known-letterof articlesin tude to selectwisely.
tionality."Only in unusual circum- whichthe obligationsof bothparties Fortunatelyentrance into the ranks
stances-suchas in civilwar-did the weresetforth. of the landsknecht companies was
Swisstake up armsagainsteach oth- never automatic. Certain rules, spec-
er, forit was theofficial
policyof the ified in the contracts, governingthe
confederated cantonsthattheirtroops arming and condition of the men,
neverbe contractedto both sides in existed which made the captains'
any conflict.2 Time and again Max- If severalcompanies("ensigns"or choices easier. In the letterof articles
imilianand CharlesV decreedthat "standards"in 16thcentury parlance) agreed upon between Henry VIII and
landsknechts could not take service were contractedfor, the normal Maximilian, Count of Buren, who in
abroad.Thosewho ignoredtheorders procedurewas fortherulerto appoint 1544 contracted to bring two thou-
and were unlucky enough to be theirleader his colonel. But if the sand footmento serve the king in the
caught suffered-and expected to contractcalled forbut a singlecom- Boulogne campaign, it was stipulated
suffer-theextremepenalty.Be that pany,the officerwho suppliedit nor- that the troops be "well disciplined


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and equipped for war . . . And that muster.They were the final assessors bearers, the latter swearing a special
for each ensign therewill be so many of how well the captains had done oath to defendtheirflagsunto death.
pikemen, halberdeers and small shot theirdutyin selectingthe men. This concluded the common busi-
up to the number of 400." Buren's In an open place where all the men ness of the regiment.The community
captains in this particular instance could be gathered, a gateway was of warriors separated, each ensign
were chargedto sign on no more than constructed"by plantingtwo halberds gathering around its captain to be
fiftyor sixty arquebusiers,"up to 30 into the ground and laying a pike presentedto the men whose appoint-
halberdeers,and the restpikemen." across them."'0 The landsknechts ments formed part of his patronage
Of course a monarch like Henry were then ordered by the muster and who would assist him in the man-
VIII was not likelyto take for granted masterto arrangethemselvesby com- agement of the ensign. A lieutenant,
that his admonitionswould be com- panies in double ranks facing each chaplain, company quartermaster
piled within a foreignland by foreign other behind the gate. Next the men ("harbinger"), and surgeon were in-
soldiers who were as quick as he to filed through the gate singly, their troduced in that order.Then followed
turn a situation to their gain. To persons and weapons subjected to a the election of the non-commissioned
protecthis interestsand to oversee the last inspection.Unscrupulous captains officersby the men themselves.This
proceedings surroundingthe recruit- were the order of the day, and ficti- was presided over by the colonel's
mentof the mercenaries,he appointed tious names for non-existent men appointee, the Feldweibel, or ser-
native English commissionersof the meant extra pays in their pockets. geant. Under his directionvotingtook
musters.Their finely-detailedinstruc- Therefore,in accord with the letterof place for two corporals [Gemein-
tions were designed to prevent any articles and the instructionsof the weibel, a Fiihrer, and a Fourier
misunderstandingor misconstruction English commissioners,great care was ("furrier"). Finally, the ensign was
of the letter of articles. Note for taken thatthe full complimentof each divided into files of sixteen,each file
instance their charge regarding the company was provided and that no electing its own leader [Rottenmeis-
musteringof the eight thousand land- weaklingsor crippleswere recordedin ter)."1 This election completed the
sknechts of Friedrich von Reiffen- the finalmusterbook. Every man was companyhierarchy.
berg: sharply watched that he might not At regimental staff level another
pass muster twice, or pass through hierarchy existed, comprised of a
They shall firstdiligentlysee that
every Standard be furnishedwith with deficientweapons, or weapons colonel, lieutenant-colonel, bailiff
fourhundredof good personssound borrowedfroma fellowlandsknecht. [Schultheiss or Justizamptmann],
and able, and to musterout of them On completion of the muster,the watchmaster,regimental quartermas-
thosethatbe crookedlame,or faul- men were called togetheras a regi- ter, paymaster, master of supplies
ty,and to see thattheirfurniture of mentfor the firsttime.They formeda [Proviantmeister],and provost. In a
harness,weapons,etc.,be according circle around their colonel, who read memorandumentitled"precautionsto
to their covenants,and the whole aloud the letter of articles in which be taken by [King Henry VIII] in
ensign be well appointed and in were definedthe conditionsof service. retainingGerman soldiers,"12the rec-
good order.. . theyshallnotmuster
nor let pass any thatis reportedto Also, agreementwas reached on the ommendationmade is that "thesehigh
be a strifemaker, wrangler, or quar- common points of discipline,for in a officers . . . must be men highly
reler,or that is of any inordinate war community,which the regiment experienced in the art of war." The
fashion.They shall also refusethem had now become, rules and regulations colonel, as commander-in-chief, bore
that be wounded and especiallyin governingthe soldiers' conduct in the final responsibility for the per-
thehand . . . diligentheed shall they field,on the march, and in camp were formance of his regiment,which re-
take thatin Mustering,one Soldier essential. Loyalty to the king and the sponsibilitywas assumed by the lieu-
not borrowany otherSoldier'shar-
ness,weapon,Morrispike,or gun.8
officersservinghim was expected.The tenant-colonelduring his chief's ab-
violation of women, clerics, and sence. The bailiffwas a man skilledin
From these instructionsit is obvious churches was forbidden. Cowardice martial law. He was a seasoned
that the type of man sought was and desertion were punishable by veteran,and when the martiallaw was
expected to be experienced,physically death. Private feuds were to be laid contravened,his was the dutyto select
fit,properlyarmed, and conformable aside until the completion of the the jury, appoint the officersof the
to discipline.This ideal was not always campaign. Quarreling with fellow court martial,and pronouncesentence
possible to fulfill,but even unscrupu- landsknechts,or allied troopswas pro- on the accused. The master of the
lous officerslike Reiffenberg,who in hibited, as was gambling, drukeness, watch "was in charge of the proper
the end managed to escape his obliga- the selling of spirits during divine ordering of guards . . . rounds and
tion to Henry completely, seem to service, and womanizing. It was an patrols,"while the regimentalquarter-
have done their best to select good unfulfilled hope, particularly when master, travellingin advance of the
men. large numberswere involved,that the troops, was accountable for finding
If a landsknecht met the require- men would carry with them none but lodgings for the men on the march.
ments of a recruiting captain, his their legitimatewives. The paymaster,assisted by a staffof
name, place of birth,age, and special- clerks, was in charge of the financial
ty (i.e. halberdeer, arquebusier, or business of the regiment.He acted as
pikeman) were enteredon a tentative chief banker. All wages and debts
musterroll. He was then given some incurred on behalf of the regiment
money ("conduct money"), informed Following the reading of the letter were paid out of his treasure chests.
of the place of assembly of the regi- of articles and agreementupon disci- The master of supplies, aided by the
ment,and instructedto be there by a pline, an oath was administeredbind- company harbingers,had the task of
specificdate. Afterhe and his fellow ing the mercenaries to obey that securingand dispensingvictuals. Last-
recruits had assembled, the actual which they had heard and to which ly, police power was in the hands of
mustering9of the troops took place they had given their consent. Finally, the provost. In many respects this
under the watchful eye of the regi- the principal officersof the regiment officer'sfunctionparalleled thatof the
mental muster master (Musterherrn) were introduced and the company English justice of the peace. He had
and the English commissionersof the standards entrusted to the ensign- the power to arrest and prosecute

OCTOBER 1971 97

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offendersof the law and to establish Europe. It made its firstappearance purification,dedicating themselvesto
marketsand fix prices. It was a most around the middle of the fifteenth death and the gods of war. The land-
lucrative post, for he was entitledto century,and fromthe firstlandsknecht sknechtswere now ready to give bat-
demand a fee from every prisoner companies included a certain propor- tle.
released from his jail, and returnfor tion of handgunners in their ranks. The widespread use of landsknecht
the protectiongrantedto the sellersin Arquebusiers were utilized as skir- and other mercenary troops in the
his marketand for the ratingof food- mishers and to protect the flanks of 16th centurydemonstratestwo obvi-
stuffs, he levied a share.The tongueof the regimentor company in retreator ous facts. First, the governmentsof
every slaughteredanimal was his, and on the march. In massed formations the period lacked sufficientnumbers
from every cask of wine or beer he they were interspersedwith the pike- of experienced national troops and
drew a litreor two. men and their firepowerused to thin were unable to functioneffectivelyas
The principal weapon of the lands- the ranksof the advancingenemy. belligerentswithout recourse to sti-
knechtwas the pike, though the com- Almost without exception German pendiaries. Second, by hiringmercen-
plexity of the developing art of war infantryconfrontedthe foe in defense aries governmentswere at least par-
requiredhim to be proficientin sever- and offense in masses of enormous tiallyable to overcomethese problems,
al others, notably the halberd and depth. The usual formationemployed they were able to wage war, though
arquebus. The pike, like much else in by the landsknechts in battle array not always effectively.It would be
the landsknechts"sstore, was bor- was the gevierteOrdnung,or square, wrong,however,to assume that mer-
rowed from the Swiss. It was an which formation had been copied cenaries were recruitedas mere can-
eighteenfoot long ashen shaftwith a fromthe Swiss and which in prototype non-fodder. With some duplication
steel spearhead. Sir Charles Oman, was traceable to the Macedonian and overlapping of talents, each na-
following Montluc's commentaryon Phalanx. Whole regiments,some of tional group of mercenarieswas able
the battle of Ceresole (1544), gives them containing as many as 10,000 to provide a certain type of special-
an account of how differentlythe men, were occasionally arranged in ized serviceof which it was the recog-
weapon was employed on that occa- thisfashion,thoughthe Swiss tactic of nized master. Thus, in the early six-
sion by the opposing German and dividingthe regimentinto three "bat- teenth century, the French men-at-
Swiss forces: tles" in echelon was more commonly arms were adjudged the best heavy
. . . the differencebetween the adopted. Discipline was the key to cavalry in Europe; the Albanian stra-
landsknechts and theSwissis thatthe success, as "victorycould only be won diotsl6 the best light cavalry until,
formerhold thepike verylow down if submissionto the unit were perfect, towards the middle of the century,
[i.e. towardsthe blunt end of the if the advance was irresistible."15 northernEuropeans learned to imitate
shaft] and always keep the point Failure to act in concertinviteddisas- them;Spaniards and Italians made the
down,whichis muchbetterin 'push ter, and for this reason cowards and best handgunners;Gascons were the
of pikes,'whenthestavesare crossed. deserterswere cut down with impuni- best crossbowmen. To this list one
. . . I presumethattheadvantagewas
tyby theirfellowlandsknechts. may add the landsknechtswho, with
that, when two pike-columnshad
clashed,menwhosepointswereheld The square, or hedgehog (Igel), as the Swiss, ranked as the finestfoot
highwerelikelyto findthemshoved it was variously termed,was formed soldiers. They had done something
up well over the heads of the ene- by arrangingthe men at regularinter- which no other infantryin Europe
my,while those whose pointswere vals in equal numbers of ranks and could do; they had combined shock
down would get a betterchance of files. Around it, guarding the four with mobility. In these troops were
thrustingat the body of an op- sides exposed to the enemy, were united the attributeswhich had made
ponent."3 the mounted knight the prince of
ranged three rows of the best armed
Whatever the advantages or disad- pikemen,weapons extended and with medieval battlefields. The compact
vantages of holding the pike-pointup gaps between into which could step mass and serried pikes of the land-
or down, that weapon-before the the reserve,or "rear rank men," in the sknecht regimentgave it the solidity
perfectionof firearms-was the surest eventof casualities.Behind the wall of and weightheretoforeonly enjoyed by
defense against heavy cavalry, and in pikes in special units stood the men men-at-arms.Coupled with this was
massed formation against infantry with shorter weapons, the halber- rapidityof movement,the ability to
withlesser arms,the shock of the pike deers, arquebusiers, and the wielders execute maneuvers coolly, and disci-
chargewas irresistible. of the terrible Zweihanders, great pline, which medieval horsemen
The second most useful weapon of two-handedswordswhich,in the press lacked. The pikeman's competence in
the landsknecht was the halberd. In of the pikes, were employed in hack- meeting and defeating heavy horse
fact before the development of the ingthe way intothe enemyranks. had in fact establishedhis reputation,
pike the halberd had been the favorite and it was thissingularskillwhichfirst
weapon of the Swiss. It was a combi- broughthim into favor with the pay-
nation short pike and battle-axe. -~~~~~ masters of Europe.
About eight feet in length, it was Perhaps unfortunately for the land-
tipped by a sharp stabbing point, sknechtwho bore the bruntof many a
beneath which was a blade like a If it were possible, before a fight brave fight,it was not fullyappreciat-
hatchet. A curious feature was the the chaplains led the men in prayer ed that by the middle of the sixteenth
iron hook attachedto the blade, which and, in the case of the Protestant century,his supremacy as the most
hook was used to drag armoredhorse- landsknechts,in the singingof hymns, effectiveinfantrymanwas being suc-
men fromtheirsaddles. "If the enemy a custom which the Italian historian, cessfullychallenged by a new power,
succeeded in checkingthe onset of the Jovius,foolishlyattributedto thelands- the infantryof Spain. The father of
pikemen, it was [the harlberdeer's] knechts' fear of cannonballs. This this force was the "Great Captain,"
duty to pass between the frontranks done the men performed a more Gonsalvo de Cordova. During the
and throw themselves into the primitiverite. They shook the dust Italian Wars which spanned the first
fray."'4 from their doublets, or scooped up quarter of the century,he developed
The arquebus ("hackbut") was clods of earth and threw them over the rudiments of the tactics which
relatively new to the battlefieldsof their shoulders as a sign of symbolic would end forever the paramountcy


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of the pikemen.17To do so, he not Swiss contingents,a larger proportion ing a cavalry charge [and] the pike
only followed Maximilian I's example of Spanish infantrymen carried weap- continuedto be used for that purpose
by including pikemen in his forma- ons which were far more manageable. [until]the inventionof the bayonet at
tion; he increasedhis infantry'smobil- This meant that in close fightingpike- the end of the seventeenthcentury."''8
ityby armingthemwithshorterweap- men and halberdeerswere at a disad- Even Machiavelli, who had little
ons; for defense he issued them vantage. The instant a breech was confidencein pikes or in the men who
shields,and to increasetheirfirepower made in a German or Swiss square, wielded them,was obliged to concede
he added more handgunners.Half of the great lengthof theirweapons be- that,for those ideal armies for whose
his infantrywas armed with pikes, came their undoing. Without shields instructionhe intended his Art of
one-sixth with firearms,and the re- they were at the mercy of the sword War, large numbers of pikemen had
mainder,afterthe fashion of the Ro- and buckler men, and theironly hope to be retained.As has been noted,this
man legions, with short thrusting of safetywas in flight. was the view of the Spaniards, who
swordsand bucklers.Except for a few In the light of these developments succeeded the landsknechtas Europe's
bodyguards attached to principal one mightask why the pike was not finestinfantrymen. Therefore,as long
officers,the halberd was not adopted, abandoned. The answer is simple: as the need for pikes existed, there
so in comparison with German or "the sword was not suited for repuls- were Germans to use them.

* GilbertJohnMillar is AssistantPro- Brown, 1815-16), I, appendix; J. S. 8. British Museum Additional MS.
fessorof Historyat Longwood College, Brewer,et al., eds., Lettersand Papers, 6362, ff.8-9.
Farmville,Virginia.He spenttwo years Foreignand Domestic,of the Reign of 9. From the old French monstre,to
in England (1969-70), on a Louisiana HenryVIII (21 vols. and Addenda;Lon- show,i.e. "to pass inspection."
StateUniversity GraduateSchool Disser- don: H. M. Stationery Office, 10. J. W. Fortescue, A History of the
tationFellowship,researching a disserta- 1862-1932), XIX, pt. i, 68, 275, and BritishArmy(13 vols. London: Macmil-
tion on the role of mercenarytroopsin 471, and XX, pt. i, xii-xiii,and pt. ii, No lan and Company,Ltd., 1910-19),I, 86.
thearmiesof HenryVIII. This articleis 283; Public Record Office documents 11. The functionsof the company
an outgrowth of that research.Another (hereaftercitedas PRO) E 351/43,S.P. hierarchy were: Feldweibel-drillingand
articleof Mr. Millar's-"The Albanians: 1/135, S.P. 1/135, S.P. 1/212, 1/135, trainingthe men and theirarrangement
16th Century Mercenaries"-has been S.P. 1/203,S.P. 1/203;and Elis Grufyd, in battle; Gemeinweibel-assistantsto
accepted by the London-basedJournal a Welsh soldierattachedto the garrison the Feldweibeland liaisonsbetweenhim
for Army Historical Research. at Calais, who participatedin many of and the rankand file;Fuhrer-a typeof
the eventswhich led to the captureof scout or reconnoiterer, seekingout the
1. Chiefsourcesforthedescriptionof Boulogneby Henry VIII in 19544. His bestrouteson themarch;Fourier-assist-
the Landsknechte,its origins,develop- accountof the Boulognecampaignis in ant to the companyquartermaster, and
ment, and organization are: Giinter "BoulogneandCalais from1545to 1550," among his dutieswas the assignment of
Franz,Von Ursprungand Brauchtum der trans. M. B. Davis, Bulletin of the livingquartersin camp; Rottenmeister-
Landsknechte," Mitteilungen des Insti- Facultyof Arts,Fouad I University, XII enjoyedno special privileges, exceptthat
tutes fiur Osterreichische Geschichtsfor- (1950), 14-15. His account of the cap- in crowdedconditions, if a bed was avail-
schung, LXI (1953); and Friedrich Blau, tureof Boulogneby HenryVIII in 1544 able, he was entitledto it. The Rotten-
Die deutschen Landsknechte (G6rlitz: appears as "The 'Enterprises'of Paris meisterwould seemto have been respon-
C. U. Starke,1882). In most instances, and Boulogne,"ibid.,XI (1949), 37-95. sible for the distribution of food and
individualpage referencesin these vol- Grufydalso servedin the 1523 campaign ammunition if his menwerearquebusiers.
umeswillnotbe cited. and his impressionsof that fiasco have 12. PRO S.P. 1/212,f. 171.
2. References to the Swiss ge- been publishedas "Suffolk'sExpedition 13. Sir Charles Oman, A Historyof
birgsknechtenare based on GabrielDan- to Montdidier,1523," ibid.,VII (1944), the Art of War in the Sixteenth Century
iel, Histoire de la Milice Francoise (2 33-43. These works, part of larger (London: Metheun and Company,
vols.; Paris: Jean-BaptisteCoignard, "chronicle,"are comparatively unknown 1937), pp. 76-77.
1721), II, 278-90; Sir Sibbald David and littleused by historians,militaryor 14. Oman, The Art of War in the
Scott, The British Army (3 vols.; London otherwise.The author wishes to thank Middle Ages [LothianEssay Prize], rev.
and New York: Cassell, Petterand Gal- Dr. C. G. Cruickshank forbringing them and ed. John H. Beeler (Ithaca, New
pin, 1868-80), I, 324; and Anthony to his attention. York: Great Seal Books, 1960), pp.
Mockler,Mercenaries(London: Macdon- 5. Quotedin Blau, p. 13. 97-98.
ald and CompanyLtd., 1970), p. 103. 6. One captain was appointed for 15. Franz,p. 97.
3. Inhabitants of the Duchy of each company,the strengthof which 16. These strangehorsemenwerefirst
Cleves. could varyconsiderably. Generally,how- recruitedin theBalkansby theVenetian
4. The referencesto HenryVIII's use ever,thosemercenary companiesof foot Republicin thelate 15thcentury.
of mercenaries,including the Land- soldiers contractedfor by Henry VIII 17. The development of Spanishtactics
sknechte,are based on several sources numbered400. is treatedat some lengthin F. L. Tay-
includingG. F. Nott, The Works of 7. SebastianFranck.Quotedin E. Bel- lor's Art of War in Italy (Cambridge:
Henry Howard Earl of Surrey and of Sir fortBax. GermanSocietyat theClose of Press,1921), passim.
Thomas Wyatt the Elder (2 vols.; Lon- the Middle Ages, (London: Swan Son- 18. Oman, The A rt of War in the
don: Longman,Hurst,Rees, Orme and nenschein& Co., 1894), p. 158. Middle Ages, p. 110.

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