McNeill, William H.
January 1996
Reader's Companion to Military History;1996, p141
Book Chapter
Marching in step multiplied the battle effectiveness of shield-carrying spearmen, allowing them to move about the battlefield, support one another, and maintain an unbroken shield wall as long as they fought in open, more or less flat terrain. Close-order drill and effective soldiering are likely to remain closely associated, even though marching erect into battle ceased to be feasible after 1866, when the Prussians introduced breech-loading rifles, and permitted their soldiers to crawl across the battlefield and fire from a prone position.


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