the new King, Stefan Batory (Stephen Bathory), began reorganising
the army. He ensured the disappearance of the knight and halted the
hussars' increasing use of armour, keeping them a fast manoeuvrable
heavy cavalry. Batory increased the training of the hussars and so
laid down the basis of this superb cavalry. Batory was determined to
improve the Polish infantry and it received the greatest
reorganisation. He modelled the new infantry on Hungarian infantry
(90% arquebusiers, 10% spearmen) and also ended the use of armour.
He also formed the
wybraniecka infantry, literally translated as 'selected'
infantry, but a more accurate term being 'draughted'. His proposals
were for a peasant to serve in his new force for every 'lan' of
land, but this was cut by the Sejm
to apply only to leased Royal lands and so provided only a fraction
of Batory's intended force. The
Wybraniecka infantry were also organised on Hungarian lines;
they had to supply their own weapons, arquebus, sabre and axe, and
uniform to a specified colour. Batory introduced wooden cartridges
for the infantry as well as axes, which were mainly used in the
construction of fortifications.
Batory also made use of other infantry including
Germans, Cossacks, and Scots, and made an unsuccessful attempt to
form units of noble infantry which lasted only one year.
The expansion of both the artillery and the
infantry gave the Polish army an increased besieging capability,
illustrated by Batory's three successful campaigns against Muscovy.
Unfortunately Batory died in 1586, tired with his constant struggle
with the Sejm to obtain an army suitable in numbers for a country as
large and with as many aggressive neighbours as Poland. Soon after
his death the Polish army returned to its pre-Batory notions of
Batory was a brilliant organiser and had laid
down the basis for future successes (Byczyna, Kircholm, Kluszyn,
Chocim). He had lightened the infantryman's load by removing the use
of infantry armour and kept the cavalry mobile, giving the army a
powerful offensive capability.