Regiment

Around 1500 A.D. Fernandez Gonzalo de Cordoba organized companies of matchlockmen and pikemen into units called columns.  In which the pikemen protected the matchlocks against cavalry and while they reloaded.  The French adopted this and renamed it a regiment.  In the French army there were 500 men in a company and three companies in a regiment.  Drill or the timed action of reloading in standardized steps meant that volley fire was possible.  Massed volley fire was much more effective than sporadic individual fire and made the pikemen’s job much easier.  By 1650 with the adoption of the plug bayonet armies could dispense with pikemen completely.  Cannons were also organized into units, only these were called batteries.  What differentiated the European regiments from other 17th and 18th century units around the world was its incessant drill.  Roll call became a part of the routine and soldiers also practiced marching which developed into the military parade.  Barracks separated soldiers from the general population as a whole, which fostered discipline and developed a distinct military culture.  Regiments had names and/or numbers, and a sense of competition with other regiments was fostered.  While loyalty to the Monarch or State was stressed through oaths and ceremonies, distinctive regimental flags and uniforms, as well as tradition and song, developed.

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