For France's army of the period of Jean Martinet (d1672) in the Early modern, how and why were cavalry used instead of infantry?

In European warfare the default company is the infantry company. This may be of varying grades of weight from royal guards through militia. But regardless of grade the infantry face the campaign and engagement in a common form. ^1^

In contrast cavalry squadrons face the strategy of campaign and the tactics of engagement quite differently from infantry. ^1^

How and why were cavalry employed differently to infantry?

The ideal answer will cover differential strategic mobility, independent march columns, screening scouting and anti-civilian actions; social policing and class; tactical mobility, manoeuvre, shock, lance armour and sword; and, cost of mobilisation, training and deployment.

^1^ with the exception of the dragoons

  • I’ve previously read extensively in this field and know the answer. It is being asked because we’ve had this question circled repeatedly and because Wikipedia and quora are rather bad at explaining principles of historical military science. Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 1:15
  • Effective infantry requires regular training, discipline, etc which is hard to do if the army is mostly comming from peasants. The professional part of medieval armies were the nobility, who preferred to fight in heavy cavalry, not on the foot, while the lightly trained soldiers could be still useful in infantry, This changed with times when professional soldiers, mercenaries, became common, and they formed very effective heavy foot soldiers troops.
    – Greg
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 7:19
  • I don’t see how the medieval is relevant to the early modern. Consider Martinet. Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 7:25
  • 2
    This seems awfully broad to me, covering early modern European warfare, and looking at differences in over a dozen things. Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 17:24
  • It is acceptable, and even encouraged, to answer your own question if you know the answer and want to share that knowledge, Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 1:01


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