A couple more questions on war

Robert G. Ferrell rferrell at bga.com
Sun Jul 23 15:52:20 PDT 1995

><Duncan<kmv at abm.austin.tx.us (Kevin Varner)>>
>>On a slightly different note regarding drums on the field and "good D&C".
>>Drums early on tended to be used as signaling devices rather than
>>cadence setters.  A flurry of drum to get sub-commanders attention
>>and signal flags used to send the orders.  The concept of "wide scale
>>D&C" as we know it in European armies come about after 1700.
>Hmm.  Not to sound arguementative, but can you document that?
>Certainly. I'll grant that their use is late in period, perhaps even so
>much as post-1500, but certainly not 1700.
>My evidence is fairly simple, it's true.  With it I shall try and establish
>that *some* armies in "Period" (600-1600) were in fact using "Large Scale
>D&C"; as well as make a clear suggestion that Drums might have had a part
>in maintaining what we today would refer to as a cadence for troop movement.
>1.	Hale, John R.  The Art of War and Renaissance England, 1961.
>	Facing page 36 is a reprint of the Frontispiece for Niccolo 
>	Machiavelli's The Art of War, translated into English in 1560,
>	showing a drummer as one of the supporters of the title.
>2.	Ibid.  Page 42 discusses the French attempts to begin using units
>	based on the "Roman" system, and on the facing page is a reprint of
>	a page from Raimond de Beccarie de Pavie, Sieur de Fourquevaux, 
>	Instructions for the Wars, trans. Paul Ive, 1589; showing a unit
>	in a complex formation.  True no drummers are mentioned are shown,
>	but I'm more concerned about the formation in this case.
>3.	Ibid.  Facing page 48 is a picture reprinted from Thomas Styward,
>	The Pathway to Martial Discipline. 1581, clearly diagraming the
>	author's "ideal" unit formation.  In the center are two ranks of
>	Fife and Drummer, one ahead of the captains, sergeants and surgeons,
>	the other behind.
>4.	Machiavelli, Nicolo.  The Art of War. (First published in Italian, 1521)
>	Book 2, [physical training for soldiers]  "third, he must learn to
>	keep his proper place, both in marching, in fighting and encamping."
>5.	Ibid.  Book 2 [Forms of the solid double square; a second method for
>	forming the solid double square] "... the Constable with the color 
>	bearer and the musician stand in the space between the five ranks of
>	pikemen and the fifteen of shieldmen..." (as well as a description of
>	some fairly nice, simple battalion scale D&C).
>6.	Ibid.  Book 2 [Military Music]  "When well handled, this music
>	regulates the army, which by moving in paces that corresponds to its
>	beats, easily keeps in rank.  Thence it is that the ancients had
>	whistles and fifes...  But today military music generally yeilds
>	no other benefit than the making of a noise"  (Hey, I'm at least
>	honest in my evidence :); however: )
>6.	OED, 2d Ed.  "Drummer"...1. One who beats a drum for public or 
>	military purposes; one who plays the drum in a band....
>	1573/80  Baret, Avl. D 1309 "A drummer or plaier on the drumme"
>	1580     Nottingham rec. IV 196 "Payed to the drummer, xvj d."
>	1593     Shakespeare, 3 Henry VI, iv vii 50 "Drummer strike vp,
>                 and let us march away."
>"Mihi Satis Apparet Propter     Diarmuit Ui Dhuinn
>  Se Ipsum Appetenda Sapientia"	University of Northkeep
> -- St. Dunstan			Northkeepshire, Ansteorra
>				(I. Marc Carlson/IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu)
I'll guarantee that the use of percussion in signalling and as a
psychological weapon before and during battle dates to at least Roman times,
possibly much earlier.  Drums were the first musical instrument other than
the human voice, and their use in conflict is quite ancient. Certainly wind
instruments have been in use in battle for a long time; Alexander the Great
used trumpets to signal his charges (Ancient and Medieval Warfare, U.S.
Military Academy, West Point, 1984, p. 31). There is no reason to conclude
that drums were not in use throughout this period, as well.  Drums were used
by the Norse and other seafaring peoples such as the Greeks to regulate the
rate at which oarsmen stroked. The rhythmic nature of percussion
instruments, combined with their ability to be heard over long distances,
have made drums ideal adjuncts to military discipline and manuever
throughout virtually the entire histroy of organized warfare.

                                 ] Tamquam Refert [


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