At the start of scene fourteen in the movie Barry Lyndon, we witness the British army walking unto the battlefield. They walk with poise and confidence, showing no fear and readiness to fight. On the other side, we see the French, positioned and prepared for the oncoming attack. As the British army comes ever closer, the French launch their first round of shots. Many men from the British infantry fall, but the army continues forward, almost unfazed by the events that have occurred. The French fire more shots, and more British men fall. Finally, during the third round of shots, the captain of the troops (Grogan) is shot and falls to the ground. Only Redmond Barry seems to recognize what has occurred, and takes the fallen captain outside the battlefield. The rest of the troops continue forward, and engage in the battle. When one witnesses this scene, it is very easy to wonder why men would go into a battle in such a way; why soldiers would walk into a battlefield unprotected, and continue to walk forward even after being fired upon numerous times. But when you examine the technology of the time, and the mentality of the men, it becomes understandable why soldiers would engage in such combat. Within this paper, the reasons for such battle strategies will be examined, and why men would fight in this manner.
Though from our current perspective, the way that the British and the French battled seems illogical, and even suicidal, but for them, it was the more strategic and tactical form of battle. The strategy that their infantry would use, called line infantry, would have many benefits on the battlefield. One of the first benefits was displayed by the French in the movie. Due to the limited range, accuracy, and time of the musket, troops had no other choice but to line up, and fire all at the same time. This method, called massed fire, would be the best way to result in the most damage, and to bring down opposing troops quicker. The second benefit of the...
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