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Technology and people in the war

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In the Thirty Years´ War, armed confrontations took the form of battles in the open filed and, even more frequently, sieges of fortified cities in advantageous strategic positions.

 

Officers and war theorists had recognised that a regimental commander did not only need profound knowledge in mathematics, geometry, tactics and engineering. The ability to keep up the discipline of his own regiment with an iron hand in order to avoid disorder in the battle and violence against the native population was no less important.

 

As a rule, armies consisted of three branches of arms. The infantry, drawing on pikemen and musketeers, was the most important tactical unit in battle. The cavallery served to surprise the enemy with swift manoeuvring and rapid movements. The artillery had only got very heavy cannons in the 17th century, which had to be drawn by horses. When a battle had begun it was impossible to move the cannons. In siege warfare the artillery made sure that city walls were damaged and the population was demoralised by deafening roar of guns.

 

Low-ranking soldiers had little chances of surviving a battle or a siege. In battle the greatest risk was being wounded by musket bullets or blade weapons. Such wounds were difficult to heal. During a siege the soldiers suffered hunger no less than the inhabitants of the beleaguered city.