By the mid 17th century the ideal ratio of musketeers to pike was 2:1, though in some armies that proportion of musketeers was not always achieved. An ideal infantry regiment was 1200 strong and consisting of 10 companies, giving 400 pike to 800 musketeers. Most regiments were well under strength for most of the time and so frequently a battalion comprised troops from a number of regiments. A battalion would typically deploy 6 deep, the pike block in the centre with two equal sized blocks of musketeers on either side. The pike provided effective protection for the foot against cavalry attack and so were particularly important when the infantry fought in open ground.


Commanded musketeers, drawn from one or more regiments, were also often deployed as a forlorn hope a hundred metres or more forward of the main infantry deployment, to disrupt the enemy’s formation with musket fire as the main bodies closed to engage. Other companies of musketeers would be allocated for the defence of the baggage train, which was typically left at a distance of up to a mile or so from the action.


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