Subject: cavalry cuirassier
Culture: Dutch Protestant
Setting: Spanish war, Netherlands late 16th - mid-17thc
Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)
* de Groot ill. Embleton 2017 p6
"Although most attention is usually focused on the infantry arm, cavalry continued to be the decisive weapon. During peacetime, it policed territories; on campaign it reconnoitred routes and guarded convoys, and in battle it screened deployments, saw off enemy cavalry, and might rout enemy infantry. John of Nassau stated that the foundation of victory rested on strong 'shock' cavalry, and in fact most battles of the war were won or lost because of cavalry. The prospect of being charged by cavalry meant that it was always the infantry which adapted its weapons, tactics and formation to those of cavalry, never the other way around; the cavalry merely had to wait until infantry wheeled, or pikes wobbled, or musketeers ran in for cover, and then attack. When cavalry did adapt its ways, it was in response to technological or economic trends that affected them (e.g. development of pistols, or shorter available training-time, respectively)."
* Vuksic & Grbasic 1993 p120
"After 41 years of war, peace was made between Spain and the Netherlands in 1609. Part of the rich Dutch provinces had liberated themselves from Spanish rule and gained independence: the small professional Dutch army, commanded by Maurice of Nassau, stood against a world power. The most significant changes in the Dutch War of Independence were implemented in the cavalry. In 1597, out of a total of 11 ensigns of lancers (1,200 men in all), eight were converted to pistol-armed cuirassiers, and three to arquebusiers. The heaviest cavalry units rejected the lance in favour of firearms. The same year, at the Battle of Turnhout, the Dutch cavalry, practically on their own, routed Spanish cuirassiers armed with lances and infantry with long pikes."
* de Groot ill. Embleton 2017 p13 caption
"Cuirassier armour was the same [as lancer armour] but for the absence of the lance rest ..., and before 1623, under Maurice's regulations, the mid-rank troopers did not wear the thigh and knee armour. The weight of shot-proof helmets and cuirasses was exhausting; a man hired to walk in full armour at the head of Admiral Michael de Ruyter's four-hour funeral procession later collapsed and died. Nevertheless, a trooper was supposed to be able to mount his horse after a jog, pistols in hand."