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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The essence of this book is Maurits' military achievements", 7 May 2011
By 
Mr. Mice Guy (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Exercise of Arms: Warfare in the Dutch Revolt (1568-1648) (History of Warfare) (Hardcover)
From the editor's Introduction: "This work is intended as a presentation of recent research on various military aspects of the Age of Maurits".
Some essays are good, some are very good.

The contents are as follows. I have included section headings from the articles to give you a better idea of the contents:

FOREWORD by Geoffrey Parker - 3pp.
INTRODUCTION - M. van der Hoeven - p1: War in Dutch history; The war against Spain.
01. EXPERIENCE AND EXPERIMENT: SOME REFLECTIONS UPON THE MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS IN 16TH AND 17TH CENTURY WESTERN EUROPE - JA de Moor - p17: A New Method of Waging War?; The Thesis of the `Military Revolution'; The `Birth of Modern Warfare' Examined in More Detail; The Contribution of Gustavus Adolphus; Military Practice; Conclusion.
02. THE EIGHTY YEARS WAR - HL Zwitzer - 33: The Army of the States-General; The Military Reforms of Count Willem Lodewijk and Maurits; Further reforms and reorganisation of the army; The development of the Eighty Years War after the 1590s; The War till 1648; The Rank and File; The Officer Corps; Army and Society; Bibliography.
03. "THE DAY THE NATION WAS BORN." THE BATTLE OF HEILIGERLEE 1568 - LL Doedens - p57: Origins and cause of Willem van Oranje's armed resistance; Oranje as a soldier; Oranje's army; The preparations for Lodewijk's northern campaign; Alva's countermeasures; Alva's response; Conclusion; Bibliography.
04. VICTORY AT NIEUPOORT 2 July 1600 - JP Puype - p69: Introduction; political and strategic situation, 1580-1600; The Dutch offensive of the 1590s; The Battle of Turnhout, 1597; The strategic situation in Flanders; military opposition against the Flanders campaign; The opponents -the Spanish army; Quality of the Spanish soldier; The opponents - the Dutch army; The Dutch drill in detail; Musket drill; Pike drill; The shield-bearer's drill; Tactics; Tactical infantry formations in the field; The words of command; Cavalry exercise and drill; Formation tactics; Cavalry weapons; Dutch pistoleers at Nieupoort; The Dutch harquebusiers at Nieupoort; dragoons; The cavalry attack; The caracole attack in formation; The charge; Discipline; The campaign; The plan; Change in plan; landing; Intelligence; The march; Spanish countermeasures; Maurits learns about the enemy army; Measurements taken by Maurits; Disaster at Leffinghe; Preparations for the battle; The Spanish advance towards the battlefield; The opponents move towards the dunes; The lull prior to the battle; order of battle; The Dutch deployment; Dutch advance-guard; (Topographical plan after Cox); Dutch main-guard; Dutch rear-guard; The Spanish deployment; Spanish advance-guard; Spanish main-guard; Spanish rear-guard; The battle is joined; The turning-point; The casualties; The booty; Remarks and conclusions; Bibliography.
05. MAURITZ VAN NASSAU AND SIEGE WARFARE (1590-1597) - O van Nimwegen - p113: The components of a fortress in the Netherlands; Siege warfare.
06. DUTCH PUBLIC FINANCE DURING THE EIGHTY YEARS WAR: THE CAUSE OF THE PROVINCE OF ZEELAND 1568-1621 - MAG de Jong - p133: Introduction; Organization of public finance; Expenditures of Zeeland; Revenues and debt of Zeeland; Generality; General role of merchants in public expenditures; Conclusion; Bibliography.
07. FOUNDATION, ORGANIZATION AND EFFECTS OF THE DUTCH NAVY (1568-1648) - AP van Vliet - p153: Introduction; Foundation and organization of the admiralties; Blockade of the Flemish coast; Convoying; Cruise squadrons; Protection of the coast and inland waterways; Crews; Materials; Strategy and tactics; Battles on inland waterways; Fight against the Spanish Armadas; Fight against the Flemish war fleet; Fleet actions outside the North Sea; Summary.
08. FOR FREEDOM AND FORTUNE. THE RISE OF DUTCH PRIVATEERING IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE DUTCH REVOLT, 1568-1609 - IJ van Loo - p173: Introduction; Protestant plunder: the Seabeggars as freebooters, 1568-1572; From Seabeggars to provincial privateers, 1572-1576; Privateering and trade embargoes, 1584-1587; The States-General and the rise of Dutch privateering; Privateering and Dutch colonial expansion; The Anglo-Spanish Peace-Treaty of 1604; Flourishing years of privateering and piracy, 1605-1607; Conclusion; Bibliography.
09. ARMS PRODUCTION AND EXPORTS IN THE DUTCH REPUBLIC 1600-1650 - HPh Vogel - p197: The arms industry; The arms market; The arms trade; Main customers.
10. THE 'WAARDGELDERS' OF DEN HAAG - FP Wagenar - p211
INDEX - p231: Den Haag 1230-1748; The government of Den Haag; The defence of Den Haag; The civic militia; Waardgelders; The employment of waardgelders; length of service; Numbers; Ranks; Equipment; Discipline; Requirements; pay; Conclusion.
The book also has 41 plates of illustrations.

My comments on some of the articles:

Foreword by Geoffrey Parker: looking at the 'school of war' of the Netherlands.

Introduction - M. van der Hoeven.
This has the editor expounding on the 'Western Way of War', and uses Geoffrey Parker's 5-point definition to build his essay on:
1. Superior Technology - Dutch gunsmiths and their work and influence.
2. Superior Discipline - Maurits' reforms.
3. Aggressive military tradition - Dutch history!
4. Ability to change or conserve military practice as need arises (Maurits' reforms again).
5. Power to finance these changes - "a flourishing arms trade, colonial expansion, and the world's first stock exchange".
He then follows with a survey of Dutch military history.
P15:
"The essence of this book is Maurits' military achievements".
"...Something Napoleonic in his way of manoeuvring. The legs of his soldiers formed three quarters of his success."
"The mainspring of the Mauritian reforms was an intellectual approach to the art of war".
"...the reforms that bear Maurits' name were to have a lasting impression on warfare in Europe and beyond".

EXPERIENCE AND EXPERIMENT: some reflections upon the military developments in 16th and 17th century Western Europe - JA de Moor.
This is a look at the Military revolution debate, with an examination of the Dutch/Swedish reforms.
P28: "In this essay it has already been pointed out that the ultimate outcome of the battle was made during the combat of man against man, in the midst of a general melee of troops. No matter how advanced the army might be in other matters, however subtle the manoeuvres of Gustavus Adolphus' line were in the face of Tilly's advancing infantry, the battle was ultimately decided in chaotic man-to-man fighting. This was to remain the case until into the nineteenth century. Physical combat continued to be as indispensable in determining the battle as firing-power. Even after Breitenfeld, victories were won using columns of rectangular formations."
P32: "Apart from these considerations, the practical effects and results of this modernization were limited. The reality of warfare, of logistics, and above all of the battle itself continued to be determined by ancient constants and knowledge of the terrain, climate and the steadfastness of troops under difficult conditions, leadership and morale, surprise and clever manoeuvres, and the size of the army. Taking all this into consideration the question of whether or not there was a "military revolution" in the seventeenth century has to be answered in the negative."

THE EIGHTY YEARS WAR - HL Zwitzer:
P39: "Willem Lodewijk mainly has been forgotten as one of the leading military reformers". "For later generations the part which the Frisian Stadholder played in the military reforms was lost from sight due to mythologizing and the epic invention of the role of Prince Maurits."
"Maurits can chiefly be credited for his siege tactics, the improvement of the siege train, employing engineers and pioneers during sieges, the organisation of the logistic support of the army, and the standardizing of the artillery".
P42: "...The conquest of a town meant the acquisition of a valuable asset, in financial, economic and demographic terms. It also meant that one controlled the surrounding area, while a fortified town could serve as a base for plundering expeditions into enemy territory. Maurits' most important task was to capture as many towns as possible, and this policy dictated his strategy of focusing on siege warfare, an art of which he had a thorough command".
P54: "Summing up, one can say that the financing and the leadership of the Army of the States-General showed remarkable differences with those of the European monarchies...".

03. "THE DAY THE NATION WAS BORN." THE BATTLE OF HEILIGERLEE 1568 - LL Doedens - p57. Although the description of the battle is quite short, there is a lot of detail on the campaign and surrounding events.

AT NIEUPOORT 2 July 1600 - JP Puype - p69.
As you can see from the Contents above, this is an exhaustive study of the battle and the surrounding events. The description of the battle is quite short, and if you want more detail, I can recommend The Commentaries of Sir Francis Vere, who was there, and at Turnhout. Although from his narrative you'd hardly realise Maurits was there, his description of the fighting (and of that at Turnhout) does agree with the author's contention that the Mauritsian reforms were an important factor - Vere describes (from my memory, and it is 20 years since I read him) a long firefight with the Spanish, with fresh musketeers being brought up from the Dutch reserves to replace the exhausted ones. Vere has Maurits then leading the cavalry charge that routed the worn-down Spanish troops to complete the victory. There is a sketch map of the battle, but the illustrations from Vere's Memoirs should really have been included; they have excellent details of the battle and of Turnhout.

MAURITZ VAN NASSAU AND SIEGE WARFARE (1590-1597) - O van Nimwegen - p113:
"His major contribution to the success of the Dutch struggle for independence, however, was not so much his ability to win battles, but as part of his military reforms, the perfection and reorganisation of siege warfare. Maurits was first and foremost a conqueror of towns. During his thirty-seven-year career he captured 38 towns and 45 forts; five towns and ten forts he took by surprise; and twelve times he relieved a town besieged by Spaniards". See Vere again for at least one of those surprises.
"Battles were fought, but their strategic results were always translated into the conquest of towns".

DUTCH PUBLIC FINANCE DURING THE EIGHTY YEARS WAR: THE CAUSE OF THE PROVINCE OF ZEELAND 1568-1621 - MAG de Jong - p133.
P150: "The expenditures, revenues and provincial and public debt of the generality related to the province of Zeeland give us a good idea of how the Dutch Republic organised its war finance during the years 1585-1621".
P151: "The province of Zeeland as well as the Dutch Republic, did not stagnate its army operations due to the severe arrears in payments and immunities. The Dutch state and the Dutch province could fall back in several stages and places on a well-developed network of merchants and domestic investors... the financiers, and officials who advanced and transferred large subsidies and loans, fulfilled a very important role in preventing anything like state bankruptcy."

ARMS PRODUCTION AND EXPORTS IN THE DUTCH REPUBLIC 1600-1650 - HPh Vogel - p197.
Some interesting details on the breakdown of equipment for formations; an example being Christian of Brunswick's army of 7000 men: 3000 muskets, 3000 suits of armour, 3000 pikes, 1000 suits of armour for cavalry, 1000 harquebuses with bandoliers, 10,000 pounds of gunpowder, 20,000 pounds of match, 200,000 musket balls and 1000 hand grenades, along with five hundred shovels, axes and picks. "Interestingly, the sale of digging tools proves that the modern practices introduced by Prince Maurits into the Dutch army were gaining acceptance abroad." (p201).
"in 1638, the English ambassador at Den Haag ordered equipment for a force of 6000 men intended for the campaign then underway in Ireland... namely 4000 muskets with furquets and bandoliers, 4000 swords with belts (for 4000 musketeers); 2000 complete saddles, 2000 swords with belts, 2000 suits of armour, 2000 carbines, and 2000 pairs of pistols with extras (for 2000 heavy cavalry), and also 12 pieces of bronze guns and their carriages, four mortars, and 500 grenades" (p202).
Maurice also used foreign sales to get rid of older equipment and reequip his troops with modern production, and also to sell off gunpowder "that had gone bad" .

Language
Not all the contributors are fluent in English, so there are a few words and sentences you have to look at twice to get their meaning, but it is worth it for a Dutch view of the military side of the Dutch Revolt.

Further reading:
The Commentaries of Sr. Francis Vere Being Diverse Pieces of Service, Wherein He Had Command / Written by Himself in Way of Commentary; Published by W
STUART TRACTS 1603 - 1693
The Dutch Navy of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Understanding Contemporary American Literature)

I borrowed this from my local library via Inter-Library loan.
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