Book Review: The Armies of Philip IV of Spain, 1621-1665: The Fight for European Supremacy


by Pierre Picouet

Warwick, Eng.: Helion / Philadelphia: Casemate 2019. . Pp. 312. Illus., maps, tables, appends. $45.00 paper. ISBN: 1911628615

The Spanish Army from The Thirty Years’ War to the Wars of Louis XIV

Picouet, author of several works in Spanish military history in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, gives us what is both a handbook and a history of the Spanish armed forces during the reign of Philip IV, from the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) through the eve of Louis XIV of France’s first efforts to conquer the Spanish Netherlands (1667-1678). While Spain had a global empire, Picouet concentrates on its European-Mediterranean core. The book is quite well written, and quite readable.

After a brief account of the political and strategic background, Picouet takes us through the several branches of the army, with looks at arms and equipment, tactics, command, troops, the inner life of the army, and even finance. About a quarter of the text is devoted to an overview of the principal campaigns of the Spanish army in the period, one in which Spanish military supremacy was challenged and waned, is supported by extensive data in a large number of appendices.

A volume in the Helion series “Century of the Soldier”, which now runs to some 50 titles covering various aspects of the military history of what might be termed the “long” seventeeth century (c. 1618-c. 1721), The Armies of Philip IV of Spain, is a good treatment of an interesting, if largely overlooked – or at best denigrated – military establishment in the seventeenth century


Note: The Armies of Philip IV of Spain is also available in several e-editions.

StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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