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Pike and Shot Tactics 1590-1660 (Elite) Paperback – March 23, 2010

3.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Keith Roberts presents a very useful overview of the typical battlefield small unit and large army tactics employed by generals and commanders during the war-torn pike and musket period of the late 16th century through the late 17th century. Well illustrated by Adam Hook, the book is typical of recent fine efforts of the Osprey Elite series, and is a fine addition to the bookshelves of miniature wargamers in particular, as well as to anyone wanting a good overview of European military tactics from the period.” ―Charge! Civil War Wargaming

About the Author

Keith Roberts was born in 1955 and was educated at Highgate School. He graduated in History from Leicester University in 1977 and is currently employed by one of the major clearing banks. He is a military analyst and lecturer on the theory and practice of war in Europe and England between 1590 and 1660 and has published widely in this field. His previous work for Osprey includes Elite 25: Soldiers of the English Civil War (1) Infantry.
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Product Details

  • Series: Elite (Book 179)
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing; First Edition edition (March 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846034698
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846034695
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.1 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #803,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By W. Bluemle on April 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sometimes in history it is not the general progress being made that is the most striking, but the re-discovery of things old and the impression that they can have on modern thinking. With the "Pike and Shot Tactics" you see how the classical education of some of the military thinkers of the time wandered back to ancient times, and how tactical adaptions of the Romans and to an extent the Greeks were rebuilt using the advanced weaponry of the period. The Dutch, the Swedes and the Spaniards all took lessons from one of the most successful armies of antiquity and produced successful systems of their own with various additions to adapt them to the times in which they were used. I, needless to say, enjoyed the book because of its general information, but also for its insight into the base tactics which took the great captains of this period to glory. It will be interesting to see what is next in the Elite series. This one is worth having.
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The concept for this book was great, and the raw material was also excellent. The diagrams, primary sources, and pictures were all excellent.

And that is where it stops being a good book.

Here are my critiques, all of which are equally important, so they are not in any order of priority:

1) The material was not organized. If you want to know how Gustavus Adolphus conducted military tactics, you would have to read about 10 different spots in the book. Why? Because the author would use a term of art in one spot, but no explanation for what it meant. In another spot, you'd see him quote directly from a primary source, but give no interpretation of half the words that all have unique meanings. In another spot, when reading about the Spanish Tercios, you would find 3 definitions explained for words that were used in primary sources earlier in the book involving the Swedish King, Adolphus. Then, in a fourth spot, you would find a marching order, reproduced, for Gustavus, but you would have no explanation whatsover as to the nomenclature or notations. Then, in a fifth spot, when reading about the English Civil War (nothing to do with Gustavus) you would find explanations for SOME of the nomeclanture. In other words -- not easy to read.

2) As mentioned above, some of the diagrams had some explanations. But most had none. There is a diagram of a field artillery piece, with some narrative on the surrounding pages about the general importance of field artillery and how one general used it once to assist the pike. But in the diagram itself, there are the letters A-M, corresponding to each different piece of the field artillery and some barrels next to it. But NO EXPLANATION OF WHAT A, B, C, etc actually are. None.
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Format: Paperback
Several military intellectuals and especially Maurice, Prince d'Orange and Nassau, managed to interpret and adapt the old but very efficient roman lines of battle, discipline, organization and logistics. The effort was considerable but they managed to adapt those teachings to modern warfare and weapons. It's impressive the similarity between several battle plans shown in this books and the quinqunx!

The author makes a quick survey on the Dutch reforms (including the Brigade and the firing methods), the thirty years war, the Swedish military reforms (including the three line volley firing system, greater standardization of artillery calibers and contact cavalry), the Spanish army (that continued to favor big units) and snapshots of the English civil wars.

For its small size it has a surprising amount of information and could be an interesting title for Field of Glory Renaissance gamers.

The illustrations by Adam Hook are very clarifying being a great complement to the prose.

Recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good information but poorly organized. I found the book helpful for my purposes of learning quite a bit about tactics of the period, but I had to work for the information I wanted due to the rather poor organization of the work.
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Format: Paperback
I was really looking forward to this book. I am very familiar with the Osprey series of military history. Pike and Shot is an area I know little about. Drawings are OK, pictures and wood engravings are first rate. However, the text leaves much to be desired.
Firstly, the author is no doubt a scholar. This title is well researched, but having said that, it is not for the beginner. Much of the text is written in first hand accounts by contemporary military men. This is fine, but the author for some odd reason, writes in the period english which at least for me, is almost incomprehensible:

"Messirs (saith hee) now you have had all your desires & now you have fought a Battel, nay more, you have gained a Battel. But lett mee tell you herewithall that the State hath not gotten so much as a Quart d'escu by it; and had wee lost the Day, we had lost all by it:", ect, ect.

Much of the text is like this. Contemporary thoughts are great, but the author could have distilled it somewhat for modern readers. Also, the book is not organized very well. Very little on the evoulution of tactics and too much detail on micro concepts, such as, how the men retired not through the ranks, but rather to one side. He goes on and on about this. To me, a more broad stroke overview would have been better.

Well researched, but definately not for the beginner in Pike and Shot tactics.
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