The Weapons of War
The weapons available to military forces determines the tactic used. Weapon development in this period appears to be virtually static; however warfare was transformed by significant improvements to the existing weapons of muskets and artillery at the end of the seventeenth century.
The greatest change in the weaponry of land warfare in Europe at this time was the disappearance of the pike, the long, trusting spear used by the foot soldier to repel attack by cavalry and opposing infantry. This simple device represented a significant military breakthrough by expanding both the attacking and defensive capabilities of the infantry. Every infantry man was now both a pikeman and musketeer, therefore this meant that they could defend against themselves. In defence there was no need for a pikeman to defend the musketeer against cavalry attack as each musket, now fitted with its own bayonet, enabled the infantryman to defend himself. The offensive capability was also increased as pikeman were now transformed into musketeers, which increased firepower; and with bayonets fixed they could take part in deadly bayonet charges.
Slow burning fuse was replaced by the more reliable and faster, flintlock musket, which produced its own spark. The flintlock muskets were lighter and therefore needed no prop or rest for the barrel. They could fire three rounds a minute, which represented a boule rate of fire. The effect of this development was that the commander could make use of this greater firepower with longer lines of infantry on the battlefield to deliver it. As a result there was a increase in casualty rate, which majority of injuries were from gun fire rather than hand to hand combat.
However there were still limitations on the effictiveness and realiability.