Jean Martinet (d. 1672) was a lieutenant-colonel and Inspector General of the armies of Louis XIV.

Martinet is famous for being an extremely strict drillmaster--so much so, in fact, that his name has come to mean "a rigid disciplinarian, someone who demands strict adherence to rules." His military training policies set the pace for the armies of the late 17th-18th century. Martinet created out of the French army a well-oiled military machine, one which fired and operated with extreme discipline.

Martinet introduced several important innovations. The first was the bayonet, taken from an old tactic used by hunters in Bayonne (hence the name). This was a revolutionary weapon, because it allowed the French armies to dispense entirely with the pikemen that had hitherto to be included in all groups of musketeers. The function of pikemen was to protect musketeers and arquebusiers from enemy cavalry and in close-range combat, and while they reloaded. The bayonet allowed firearms-using soldiers to protect themselves, especially with the introduction of a version which fit over the barrel, allowing the gun to be fired with the bayonet still fixed.

Martinet's second innovation was the depot system. In other armies, and in virtually all armies of the past, the soldiers foraged off the land, often forcibly taking food and supplies from the inhabitants. This reached a peak in the early part of the seventeenth century with the Thirty Years' War, where large tracts of Germany were completely depopulated, and numerous cities burned to the ground. Martinet put a stop to foraging off the land and looting, replacing it with a system of storehouses, placed along the sides of roads and the like, which would supply armies on campaign. This greatly simplified logistics. As an unintentional side effect, war became much more humane--the Thirty Years War nightmare of Magdeburg was never to be repeated. Martinet did not have any sort of humanitarian purposes in mind, however. His only mission was to make the machine more efficient.

Martinet was aided in his enterprises by Louisian Minister of Finance Jean-Baptiste Colbert, whose trade reforms curbed corruption and brought a huge amount of money into the treasury. Colbert also ordered the construction of a vast network of roads--built with forced peasant labor--that, combined with depots, made possible rapid and flexible troop deployment, much like the railroad in the nineteenth century.

The efforts of Martinet on behalf of the French military helped establish the base for the Sun King's many conquests. They were one of the most important engines of military innovation of the time.

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