File Under: Didn’t get the memo
From a chapter on the early modern laws of war in an 2012 edited collection from Oxford University Press:
By 1700, siege warfare was managed according to a well-established ritual. Sieges were politico-military theatre on a grand scale, open-air stages where states could strut and demonstrate their prowess, huge advertisements of a monarch’s power, and the fate that awaited those who failed to take heed. Kings, queens, courts, and governments attended sieges as spectators – Louis XIV, his ladies and ministers watched the sieges of Lille in 1667 and Mastricht in 1673 – whereas they were not present at battles, unless by accident, and young gentlemen on a grand tour sought to widen their horizons by witnessing a great siege. …. The ‘siege in form’ achieved its full maturity at the siege of Maastricht in 1673. It was a deadly and sanguinary martial operation conducted according to a script and sequence of actions understood by all participants, similar to the popular court masques: everyone knew the course of events, the timetable, and the dénouement. It was said that the great Vauban could predict the length of a siege, almost to the day.*
* This was relatively simple task because Vauban designed and built many of the fortresses he subsequently captured. [Cites Reginald Bloomfield’s 1938 biography of Vauban]
I could go on and on (and on and on) about this – heck, feels like I already have – but if anyone ever wondered why I wrote my Vauban under Siege book, or whether I was creating a straw man, here ya go.