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emergence of line tactics
line tactics developed from the changes of the weapon technology toward end 17. Century. The stone lock rifle as well as the use of paper cartridges increased the fire effectiveness of the infantry considerably. The introduction of the bayonet made besides the Pike redundantly. This accelerated the gradual displacement of the Pikeniere by the Füsiliere, which in early 18. Century was final. Since the accuracy and range of the stone lock rifles were still small, it depended in the battle to bring as much as possible rifles at the same time to the employment. Therefore formerly the more deeply arranged formations of the foot people were replaced as for instance with a meeting tactics by flatter and broader battle formations. At the same time the list served the entire infantry in long, connected lines to prevent the desertion for the service of pressed soldiers.
the infantry was set up at first in lines to four, later usually to three members and delivered in closed formation a mass fire. Behind it second such formation, „the second meeting followed briefly “. The advance in the equal step and in aligned lines as well as fast shop and simultaneous shooting at command were reached by constant drilling. At first arrange-wise firing was usual, i.e., the first member fired a salvo and kniete themselves then down, in order to make the ballistic curve for the second member freely, and so on. Thus one could adjust the slow rate of fire of the front loaders. The disadvantage of this method was that the smoke of the previous salvo blocked the view. Therefore one went to the so-called „general salvo “of the first three members over (the term designates later also the simultaneous salvo of a whole battalion). The fourth member could serve only as reserve and was also soon abolished. That side, which could shoot more salvos in a certain time than the other one, now was in the advantage. With the Pelotonfeuer successively only all odd Pelotons went, then the straight Pelotons on the command of the Pelotonführers of fast three large steps forward and fired ever a salvo. In addition the first member fell on the knees, second unlocked, and third moved right into the gaps. In this way the battalion came in the minute approx. 10 to 12 meters in front. The fire opening took place with a distance from approximately 200 meters to the opponent. The high losses due to the relatively high fire concentration on limited area led finally nearly inevitably to the bayonet attack, since the soldiers saw therein a better chance to remain alive.
pro and cons of line tactics
the advantages of the list in lines were that half of all rifles could be used at the same time and that one did not offer large depth with hostile artillery fire. The weaknesses of line tactics existed in their stiffness and their vulnerability at the flanks, why Kavallerie was usually used for wing covering.
high point and end of line tactics
your high point reached line tactics during the seven-year-old of war (1756-1763). Here the Prussian king turned Friedrich II. the so-called inclined battle order on, with which the opposing wing was covered and struck with a strengthened attack wing. When example applies to the inclined battle order the battle with Leuthen (1757), in which the Austrians struck Prussia destroying. However with the battles of Kolin (1757) and Kunersdorf (1759) those were subject to Prussia, because the opponent recognized the marching-up for inclined battle order and in time strengthened the threatened wing.
Line tactics was replaced at present the French revolution, when the French army with the list changed into columns to a more mobile engagements guidance. It concerned in the long run an embarrassment solution, because the badly trained recruits of the French people army (see „Levée EN mass “) were not at all capable of past tactics of the correct list in lines and thus of application. But soon the advantages of new engagements tactics showed up: While a line torn up in a place had to give itself tactically struck, firepower remained large at an infantry set up in several columns, if individual columns came into disorder. Beyond that the column proved as more resistant in relation to attacks of the Kavallerie. For fire fight the Tirailleure became generally accepted , the line still another time long for the defense by infantry attacks and for list in the hostile cannon fire was at the same time used. Important it was also that reserves became to retain now and the brigades combined into army divisions independently operated. It gave with linear tactics a second meeting, but this followed too scarcely behind first, in order to be flexibly used. The weakness of line tactics showed up in particular in the battle with Jena and Auerstedt in the year 1806, with which the defeat of the Prussian army is attributed among other things to its application.
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- http://www.preussenweb.de/taktik.htm tactics of the Prussian army