Why were soldiers so willing to die in the 17-18th century?

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HucktheForde
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#1
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#1
Imagine you were conscripted into the army around the 17-18th century, there were no barrel rifles so wars were fought with muskets and battle is 2 lines of infantry lining up and take turn to shoot at one another, no dodging, no taking cover, you stand straight and stare into the white of the enemies eyes and watch him point his musket at you at a range of 100-200 yards. Who the hell wouldnt **** their pants?

If you are a cavalry man , your weapon is melee. cavalry tactics often rely on them soaking the first salvo, and then use your speed to close in for the kill when the infantry is reloading. So if you ride in the front , its pretty much a death sentence.

The french mutinied during the first WW when ordered to carry out suicide charges. And yet a few centuries ago they were marching in fully exposed suicidal formations, knowing full well that death is just another trigger away, with no protests, no complaints. Do they not have any instinct of self preservation?
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Napp
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#2
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in fairness, depending on whom was fighting there was a bit of rifling around

either way, that is the job of a soldier, to obey orders without question.. especially when the alternative is to be beaten to death by your own side. As the other user noted though honour was doubtless a factor, fealty to the monarch/leader/country, lack of alternative options, career (plenty of people used the military to get a leg up)

As a side note though, werent battles in the latter period fought in squares as opposed to lines?
And as a second aside, unless you're within spitting distance of the enemy the chances of being hit were simply due to luck back then :lol: aiming wasnt really a thing after all.
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HucktheForde
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#3
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(Original post by Napp)
in fairness, depending on whom was fighting there was a bit of rifling around

either way, that is the job of a soldier, to obey orders without question.. especially when the alternative is to be beaten to death by your own side. As the other user noted though honour was doubtless a factor, fealty to the monarch/leader/country, lack of alternative options, career (plenty of people used the military to get a leg up)

As a side note though, werent battles in the latter period fought in squares as opposed to lines?
And as a second aside, unless you're within spitting distance of the enemy the chances of being hit were simply due to luck back then :lol: aiming wasnt really a thing after all.
muskets are actually pretty accurate up to 100 yards, not so much after that, which is why infantry fight in lines and fire together. If one misses another might hit. Nonetheless its still playing russian roulette if you are standing in front of a line of infantry firing at you.
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Napp
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#4
Report 5 days ago
#4
(Original post by HucktheForde)
muskets are actually pretty accurate up to 100 yards, not so much after that, which is why infantry fight in lines and fire together. If one misses another might hit. Nonetheless its still playing russian roulette if you are standing in front of a line of infantry firing at you.
You're not wrong, although a 100 yards is not exactly far.
What was the general point though, sorry, vis-a-vis my post?
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