nikgaukroger wrote:Erm, no.
Battle groups already cover a whole range of ratios and I don't believe you are correct in saying battlefield units were kept as close to the ideal ratio as possible as (IIRC) the figures on the Swedish brigades at Lutzen show for example (way more musketeers than they should have had).
In the specific case of Lutzen, "as close as possible" wasn't really that close, but that's really beside the point. The point is that when you are talking about battlefield (as opposed to organizational) formations, there is an ideal unit size and an ideal force mix that the commander is trying to achieve... in order for a Swedish Brigade to BE a Swedish Brigade, or a Catholic League Squadron to BE a Catholic League squadron, the component companies need to add up to something within some loose tolerance of the tactical system you are trying to practice. If you're a bit thin on pikes, you compensate by running them in less files or ranks... to a reasonable point... beyond which you are forced to re-organize your units to get a more acceptable ratio.
And given that, most armies (Swedes or no) had more shot than their battlefield pike/shot formations could use.
But I suppose it really doesn't matter if we agree on the actual mechanism for their existence (as you say below).
However, after saying that the Swedes should probably have what you are suggesting as they did deploy such bodies as support for the brigades (again see Lutzen and, I think, Breitenfeld) as well as the commanded shot.
Tilly did pretty regularly as well, but I think his list already gets them. Late Imperial Spanish List don't get any, even though they had one prominent body at Fleurus (not to mention all the independently running Mangas at Nordlingen, etc). I suppose the detached shot rule could cover some of this for that list, though I'd argue they should get some anyway, as a number of the German Garrison regiments available to them were entirely shot (I've seen at least one hypothesis that these made up the third line at Rocroi).
As far as lists that get commanded shot go, Later 30YW Germans and all the ECW lists already have the option of taking all-shot units, so It looks mainly like we're talking early Swedes anyway.