Special Research Features

Hand to hand struggle

The Research and Recommendations sections of the SRS are based upon ongoing original research and presented in a scholarly manner. Although these sections embody our primary approach, not all topics can be dealt with in this way.

The Special Features section allows our researchers to present their work in a more approachable, less rigid manner. The emphasis here is on lively, educational topics, presented in an interactive way. These special features encourage the viewer to explore the topic at their own pace, and be entertained as they are enlightened.

Although the special features are not based solely on primary material, our researchers do draw their inspiration from a collection of the best available and authoritative works.

Battle of Breitenfeld, 1631

Considered a pivotal battle during the 30 Years War and an unqualified success for the Swedish forces, this battle offers re-enactors today as well as historians an example of the first large-scale use of the Swedish salvé - along with use of small-bore cannon strictly for anti-personnel and the return to hard-charging cavalry. Plus, the battle shot up (literally) and obliterated the 16th century-style of infantry formation of the deep pike division with corners of shot and An experienced general with 11 years of an unbroken string of victories lost to an upstart army whose leader, the King of Sweden, became a name on the lips of tens of thousands of Europeans. This set of Web pages animates the movements across the entire battle and points out small but crucial details such as weather conditions and the personality of a high-ranking officer who lied to his commander. Barry Siler

Siege Warfare 1494-1648

Although usually skimmed over by military historians, siege warfare dominated most theaters of war from the 1494 French invasion of Italy to the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Superficially appearing as protracted and bloody grinds, sieges of the time yanked military concepts and practices out of the Middle Ages into the modern era, and were so structured and nuanced as to earn the term "siege craft." In three parts, this set of Web pages presents an overview of the way siege warfare shaped the history of that time. Barry Siler

From Lance to Pistol

"From Lance to Pistol" is a brief discourse on the tactical evolution of Heavy Cavalry during the later half of the 16th Century from Lancers to Pistoliers. It discusses the abandonment of the lance, which had served the Heavy Cavalryman so well for centuries, and the wholesale adoption of the relatively new pistol, along with the reasons for this drastic change. The article hopes to illuminate what for many is a great mystery: "Why did the knights discard their cherished lance?" Gordon Frye

Moving 17th Century Soldiers

Military theorists of the 16th and 17th centuries drew upon classical Roman sources to restructure military maneuver. For historians and re-enactors of those two centuries, the writings of these men offer detailed insight into military development and practice. One of the most comprehensive works was by Colonel William Barriffe, "Militarie Discipline or the Young Artillery-Man," first printed in 1635 and reprinted several times, and Colonel Barriffe used words and diagrams to explain infantry drill as best as static print can. Using early 21st century computer technology, select drill instructions have had added the element of time, and with it motion, to demonstrate ways a unit of early 17th-century infantry may position itself from start to finish. On this set of Web pages, Colonel Barriffe's drill is interpreted and animated. Barry Siler

Middlesex Village Trading Company Doglock Pistol

This is a review of the English-lock (AKA "Doglock") pistol of the style used by cavalrymen in the first half of the 17th Century, as offered by Middlesex Village Trading Companie of New Hampshire. An inexpensive and faithful reproduction of the "munitions-grade" weapons produced by the thousands during the English Civil War and earlier, this review discusses both the good points and shortcomings of the reproduction as presently produced and offered. Gordon Frye