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War, Diplomacy, and Imperialism, 1618–1763 by Geoffrey Symcox

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By Geoffrey Symcox

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The Recruitment of Navies The recruitment of sailors was even more haphazard than the raising of soldiers under the Ancien Regime. Voluntary enlistment could provide only a certain proportion of the men required. Except in France-and to a lesser extent Spain in the eighteenth century-there was no form of compulsory enlistment to supplement the volunteers: the balance had to be made up by impress- INTRODUCTION ment. The problem was still further complicated by the conditions of naval service, which required a higher level of skills than an army.

Small-arms cartridges seem to have been used on a limited scale in the early seventeenth century: Gustavus Adolphus's musketeers may have had them, but their greater rate of fire was mainly the result of better weapon training. By the later years of the century, however, cartridges had come into general use in most European armies, with INTRODUCTION a resultant increase in the practicable rate of fire per man. Then the introduction of the socket bayonet-probably invented by V au ban about I 687, and soon adopted by west European armiesled to a further increase in total firepower, putting an end to the traditional division of infantry into pikemen and musketeers.

The chief reason for Frederick the Great's relative mobility compared to his enemies was that he was both general and king. He could make his decisions quickly and put them into effect at once, an INTRODUCTION 31 advantage denied his adversaries who were hampered by the need to wait for orders transmitted slowly from distant capitals. The development of the art of defense further slowed down the movements of armies. For a while, after the introduction of effective siege artillery at the end of the fifteenth century, the attack had enjoyed an ascendancy over the defense.

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