History Strelets troops
There is a map of the world is a country that lies on the very edge of Europe. Distant, mysterious and terrible for civilized Europeans. Rumor has it that it was one of those edges brave merchants brought all the furs in which runs the European nobility, and the wax used to make almost half of candles for Catholic churches. And they say that they live there some bearded men, which is abysmal and only the Polish Crown will of our Lord saves them the entire known world of their armies myriad that teeming cavalry thousandth and archers, to whom do not have an account .
Instead of preface
Okay, he jokes aside. Propaganda cliches about Russia the Livonian War started with the help of Russian defectors, deserve special consideration. Today's talk a little about what was the forerunner of the regular Russian infantry fire fight - army Streltsi. Since the first Slavic principalities whole retinue of princes consisted of cavalry. The infantry is almost never used. There were "militia", Pososhniye lyudi, which was collected from men and was armed, usually with anything. In most cases, it served the convoy and entered into battle, only in extreme cases.
The lack of regular infantry in the armies of antiquity, was due to objective reasons. First, the conventional "poverty" public entities (zone of risk farming, lack of metal) and the consequent inability to contain an army. Second, the economic structure - early feudalism in principle, not very much has the use of the armies of the ancient format. Thirdly, a man with a spear absolutely helpless before hazarinom with a bow and a horse. Therefore, almost all of the Middle Ages, emphasis was placed on the cavalry, consisting of representatives of the military aristocracy. However, progress is not standing still, and it was a firearm in Europe. While clad in armor warriors took, was to be replaced by the era of fire fighting and light cavalry steppe type.
The hat and musket
Creating Strelets troops dates back to 1540 mi for years. Up to this point in Russia were arrows - Pishalnikov, fighters who were firing (as is not difficult to guess) of arquebuses. They are very quickly able to prove its effectiveness as a support unit. Especially valuable Pishalnikov were besieged cities. And since medieval war - a 6 out of 10 cases, the siege of the city, the value of a new kind of soldiers was undeniable. It is because of Pishalnikov and scored the first archers. According to the papers, there were 3,000 thousand people, 6 regiments, "orders", 500 people in each. Of course, God loves the big battalions, but it should be understood that in practice the number of units has always been lower than in securities. Losses in combat and bloody diarrhea has not been canceled in the campaign.
This is interesting: in order to shoot from the food, while 20 had to be done to manipulate the weapon! Everything had to be done so that the weapon did not explode during the shot and not misfired. Also shoot should turn away at the last moment that sparks from damaging the eyes. An experienced archer did 2-3 shots per minute. The rate in early infantry fire fight was not on the accuracy of individual soldiers, and fire a volley.
All archers are servitors of the device. They were recruited from a personally free the townspeople - the townspeople. Archers settled in those same cities, in some regions, "Sloboda". Initially armed archers wick guns, they were subsequently replaced by silicon. Contrary to the stereotype, at first there were no archers hammers. Melee used swords.
The first clear statement archers began a campaign to Kazan, which without them is unlikely we would have to take. Also excellent archers showed themselves on the capture of Astrakhan. Very quickly, the archers began to turn into a privileged group. Russian kings cherished and took care of his infantry. The salary of 4-5 rubles per year (the money it was possible to build a house), medical care, benefits - this is what could count got into the new army. In war, the musketeers were not forbidden to collect trophies and looting, when it was given to the team.
Interesting fact: during a campaign carnal Ivan the Terrible banned looting troops, including foraging at the expense of the peasants in enemy territory. Troops came with an unusually large wagon train. This was done in order to "not to irritate the local population" and the maximum delay time when the Lithuanians have learned about the approaching army.
Archers were exempted from "taxes" - the payment of all kinds of taxes. It was a privilege of the strong, because in peacetime, they were allowed to engage in including crafts. Here are just kids archers are automatically enrolled in the army, and in the very life of Archer was alone, and had to fight a lot.
The archers were abolished by the decree of Peter I. Contrary to popular stereotype, it happened not because of the rebellion in 1698. In fact, it was done due to the fact that the semiregular army of archers to lose in the first place in its organization the armies of the new format. Despite this, the archers had to war even under Peter the Great Northern War. After the abolition of the remaining archers simply transferred to the army of the new format.