By Michael Howard
This reissue of Howard's vintage textual content encompasses a brief new afterword by means of the writer. "Wars have usually decided the nature of society. Society in alternate has made up our minds the nature of wars. this can be the subject of Michael Howard's stimulating booklet. it really is written with all his traditional ability and in its small compass might be the main unique ebook he has written. notwithstanding he surveys 1000 years of heritage, he does so with no sinking in a slough of proof and attracts a large define of advancements to be able to satisfaction the overall reader."--A.J.P. Taylor, Observer
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This reissue of Howard's vintage textual content features a brief new afterword by way of the writer. "Wars have frequently made up our minds the nature of society. Society in alternate has decided the nature of wars. this can be the subject of Michael Howard's stimulating e-book. it really is written with all his ordinary ability and in its small compass might be the main unique ebook he has written.
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Extra resources for War in European History
Foot soldiers were simply despised auxiliaries. But the limitations on its effectiveness which had appeared in the thirteenth century when the house of Plantagenet tried to extend its rule into the mountains of Wales became yet more evident a hundred years later when the house of Austria tried to do the same in the mountains of Switzerland. -14- The original weapon of the Swiss mountaineers was not the pike which made them famous, but a simple axe, a halberd some eight foot long, with which they slaughtered the Austrian knights, hacking through their armour, not only when they trapped them in the defiles at Morgarten in 1315, but in the open field at Laupen in 1339 and Sempach in 1386; which bears out the view that the revival of infantry was due far more to moral, and thus social, factors than to any technical changes.
By the twelfth century the raiders had been repulsed from the Italian peninsula for good, except for the Normans who had imposed their stern and effective rule in Sicily and southern Italy. But the military habits of five hundred years died hard. The conflict between Pope and Emperor at the end of the eleventh century polarized Italian society in a continuing feud which divided city against city, family against family, in a civil war which provided a paradise for the free-lance soldier of fortune without, providentially, inhibiting the economic growth which made it possible for his employers to go on paying him.
In a clash between mounted forces—as later in tank or in naval warfare— advantage came from a combination of range, protection, and speed. Range came from longer and thus heavier lances. Protection was provided by armour. In the first instance this consisted of a coat of mail reaching from neck to knee; an expensive item of equipment and, after the horse itself, the knight's most valuable possession. Speed had to be balanced, in the horse, against the weight necessary to bear an increas- ingly heavy load; so horses were specially bred for their carrying and staying power and the momentum they could engender in the charge.