The Fight for Tangier
DOI link for The Fight for Tangier
The Fight for Tangier book
THE Moors of Barbary were a resourceful enemy. Although they had no organised standing army but fought as a feudal mass, their tactics were so different to anything which the British had encountered before that they were a formidable foe. There were no sub-divisions in the Moorish army; their foot operated as an entire body and their horse as another. The cavalry formed ahead of the infantry and in all set battles the horse opened the action with a general charge,1 leaving the foot to either exploit their success or cover their withdrawal. Lances and pikes were the main weapons, although they had some muskets, but the proper use of artillery was beyond them. During the Great Siege of Tangier in 1680 the Moorish artillery was ineffectual and caused little damage to the British fortifications. As with the feudal levies in England, an army organised on an ad hoc basis could not long remain in the field. Whenever the Moors brought their considerable weight to bear on Tangier they were incapable of sustaining their pressure for very long, and this, added to the fact that the Moors were unable to blockade Tangier by sea, rendered a serious siege impossible. Faced with these difficulties the Moors had to discover alternative methods.