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Delectable Drill Display for the Dutiful Officer

 

What is a drill display? What do we need? How can it be achieved?

 

Hopefully, all the above can be answered.

  • What is a drill display?

  • What do we need?

  • How can it be achieved?

  • The Stage

  • The Cast

  • The Script

  • The Commentary

  • Summary

 

What is a drill display?

A drill display is a means of showing off our skills to an audience of potential recruits. It should attract, entertain and impress the spectators. It is a means of gaining interest in ourselves, of gaining funds, of gaining recruits. All the above means that Drill Displays are important - we need people there as much as we need them at musters. Displays should be planned out beforehand, the officers should know exactly what is to happen. We should be providing movement, noise and action all the time. We should not be providing indecision and long pauses.

 

What do we need?

Ideally we would work on three external 'officers' plus the two block sergeants, a pike block and two musket blocks. One officer acts as 'customer liaison' - they are away from the action, they are explaining to the crowd who we are, what we are doing and why they should join us. As customer liaison, this need not be a military officer, if a pikeman or campfollower has enough presence and confidence, then this could be their role through enjoyment. If not this will fall on an officer through duty. Second officer is 'officer commanding' - they are with the block, overseeing the sergeants and making sure the script is followed. Third officer is 'safety officer' - they are there to cover misfires etc. Musketeers who misfire will port their musket towards the centre of the arena and march to the safety officer to clear - at no time must the muzzle of the musket point toward the crowd. The safety officer should have access to water - for misfires and for exploding musketeers, a pricker, spare match and a lighter. Again this need not be an officer but it is essential that they are well trained in musketry and misfire procedures - I would rather lose an experienced musketeer from the block than have a casualty in the crowd.

 

Much as it hurts to say it, the musket will be the most visually obvious block, they will provide most of the spectacle - so they will have to be good. Preferably we would operate two blocks, flanking the pike - the absolute minimum would be six per block - three files of two. We cannot afford many dummy musketeers - those accepted must be placed carefully. They must be spread between the ranks - including using them as file leaders and in the two blocks it should be avoided placing more than one dummy in the mirroring files, i.e.:

 

m d m p p p m m m m m m p p p d m d

 

There should be a maximum of 1 / 4 dummys, preferably less, any more should be left as a static display in the camp or, if acceptable, should take up the pike for the display. Conversely, pikemen who are fully S K licensed would be more than welcome in the Musket Block. The aims of the display are safety, entertainment and education. The musket should be able to demonstrate the full loading procedure - 'speed loading' leads to sloppy and unsafe procedures - it makes little sense to the modern observer and historically is relatively unimportant as the skill is in organising and manoeuvring the block.

 

Pike - a block of four looks small but could be used if necessary.

 

Drums - be realistic in proportions - pike block of nine, total musket block of twelve - two drums would be pushing it. Displays with large numbers - brigade level - maximum of four. Do not group the drummers in one mess. They should be positioned between, or on the flanks of the blocks.

 

Campfollowers - maximum of one on the field carrying water with the safety officer - it does not matter if in male or female kit. The rest should not congregate - work through the crowd, distribute leaflets, talk to people.

 

All participants should be sufficiently well drilled and dressed appropriately to their station - preferably musketeers with matchlock and rest, pikemen with back, breast and tassets.

 

How can it be achieved?

Observe the ground:

  • Where is the entrance?

  • Does a barrier need moving?

  • Rope fence need laying down?

  • Where is the audience - four sides or three?

  • Where is a safe point for recovery of misfires?

  • How many participants do you have?

  • Will people have to change roles?

  • Do people know what they are doing?

Fail to plan = Plan to fail

 

The Stage

For this performance we are assuming a square arena, the audience is mainly along one side, as you face them the side to your left will be referred to as the left side, the side to your right as the right side and the side behind you, which has no crowd will be referred to as the blind side.

The entrance is on the left side next to the audience, there is a break in the inner safety barrier but not in the outer rope fence.

The site you have picked for the safety officer is the middle of the blind side - well away from the public.

 

The Cast

Let us be generous, a pike block of twelve, inclusive of sergeant, two musket blocks, each of nine plus a musket sergeant, two drummers, three officers and a campfollower. The pike block contains a surplus officer, a dummy musketeer, and a campfollower - all have drilled in pike and are dressed appropriately as pikemen, two further dummy musketeers have been positioned in the musket block, the final dummy musketeer together with the third drummer and two campfollowers is manning a static display away from the arena. Two other campfollowers are wandering throughout the crowd handing out leaflets and giving any explanations called for.

 

The Script
Form-up
  • The officers drew straws and the ensign has ended up as the commentator.

  • Officer commanding and Ensign are at the head of the body.

  • The first musket block is drawn up in three files, the musket sergeant to their right.

  • The first drummer is between the musket and the pike.

  • The pike block is drawn up in three files, the sergeant being the front right corner.

  • The second drummer is between the pike and the musket.

  • The second musket block is at the rear, also drawn up in three files.

  • The musketeers will be loaded with their match lit and at port.

  • The pike can march at shoulder but will advance their pike at the arena - if a gateway or entrance has to be passed through to enter the arena - the pike will high port.

  • The safety officer and campfollower will be at the entrance - they will ensure a clear passage for the regiment through the crowd and take down the rope barrier, when the regiment is passed them, they will replace the barrier and move to the 'safe zone'

 

The Entrance

The regiment will march on, wheeling to march down the left side, the blind, the right, the audience, the left again and on to the blind

The commentator will leave the regiment and approach the crowd.

When the regiment is on the blind side the Officer Commanding will order;

 

The drummers will take up positions ranking even with the second rank of the pike

  • OC: Wheel by divisions to the left hand side - Wheel
    Block Sergeants will command
    PS/MS: To the left hand - Wheel
    Pike Sergeant: Stand
    Musket Sergeant: March On

The Officer Commanding and Musket Sergeant will take up positions on the outside flanks of the musket blocks.

When the musket are clear of the pike;

  • MS: Stand
    MS: Bring your files to open order from the Outside
    PS: Bring your files to open order from the Midst
    This should create one block of musket in front of the pike
    OC: Prepare to fire by Salvee
    MS: First Rank Kneel, Second and Third Close up
    PS: High Port your Pike
    PS: March On
    to close to the rear of the musket PS: Stand
    MS: Present
    MS: Check your Scouring Stick
    MS: Prepare to Give Fire
    MS: Give Fire!
    MS: Dismount
    MS: Second and Third Ranks Recover the Body, Front Rank Stand
    PS: March On

 

When front rank is even with the front rank of the musket


 

  • PS: Charge your Pike
    when rear rank is clear of the musket PS: Stand
    Commentator: Ladies and Gentleman I give you The Blew Regiment of the Cittie of London Trayned Bandes. OC: Prepare to fire by Forlorn Files
    PS: Bring your files to order on the midst
    PS: Order your Pike
    MS: Bring your files to order to the outside
    This should open the musket to two blocks
    MS: Make Ready
    OC & MS will march forward to one pace in front of the pike.
    When all are made ready
    MS: March On
    The files will march on starting with the outside file under the command of their individual file leaders FL: March On
    FL: Left hand / Right hand wheel
    FL: Stand
    FL: Right hand / Left hand face
    FL: Present
    MS: Check your scouring sticks
    MS: Prepare to Give Fire
    MS: Give Fire!
    FL: Dismount
    FL: Left hand / Right hand face
    FL: March On

Marching round the front of the block, around the OC / MS and round to become the inner file, making ready as they march.

Each file moving to the position of the outside file when it has marched clear.

 

When all files have fired


 

  • MS: March On, Ranking Even with the Pike
    When the musket blocks are level with the front rank of the pike
    PS: March On
    The regiment will march to the middle of the drill field
    PS: Blew Regiment - Stand
    OC: Blew Regiment will Wheel about the midst to the Left Hand
    PS: Blew Regiment - Left Hand Wheel
    PS: Stand
    If there is insufficient width in the drill field for the musket to fire safely from the centre of the field, the regiment should now retire to give a safe firing distance
    OC: Prepare to fire by Forlorn Ranks
    PS: Charge your Pikes
    PS: March On
    The pikes will march clear of the Muskets, the drums staying even with the second rank of pikes
    OC & MS will march out one pace ahead of the pikes
    PS: Stand
    MS: March On
    The ranks will march on under the command of their right / left hand markers
    When the first rank is level with the first rank of the pikes
    PS: High Port your pike
    R/LM: March On
    R/LM: Stand
    R/LM: Present
    MS: Check your scouring sticks
    MS: Prepare to Give Fire
    MS: Give Fire!
    R/LM: Dismount
    R/LM: Left hand / Right hand face
    R/LM: March On

Marching round the front of the block, around the OC / MS and round to become the rear rank, making ready as they march.

Each rank moving to the position of the front rank when it has marched clear

 

When the last rank has fired

  • PS: Charge your pike
    When the last rank has regained its position and completed making ready
    PS: Retire
    The pike and officers retiring to form even with the musket
    PS: Stand
    PS: Advance your Pike
    OC: Prepare to Countermarch, maintaining ground
    Again, if there is insufficient room for the musket to fire safely, the officer will march the regiment on first before countermarching.
    PS: Blew Regiment - Files to the Left - Countermarch
    After the regiment has countermarched MS: Stand
    PS: March On
    PS: Charge your Pikes

 

The pikes will march clear of the Muskets, the drums staying even with the second rank of pikes


 

  • PS: Stand
    OC: Prepare to fire the Street Way
    PS: Advance your Pike
    PS: Bring your files to open order from the midst
    PS: Ranks to the Right Double
    PS: Charge your Pike
    MS: Face Inwards
    MS: March On
    MS: Face Front

This will form two blocks roughly the same size, the pike block in front covering the one musket block.

MS will move to just in front of PS

The musketeers will march on as combined ranks from the block under the command of the right hand markers


 

  • RM: Right Hand Face
    RM: March On
    RM will lead up the right side of the pike block, between the PS and MS and across the front of the pike block
    PS: High Port your Pike
    RM: Stand
    RM: Right Hand Face
    RM: Present
    MS: Check your scouring stick
    MS: Prepare to Give Fire
    MS: Give Fire!
    RM: Dismount
    RM: Left Hand Face
    RM: March On

Marching round to the rear of the block becoming the rear rank – NOT MAKING READY

Each rank moving to take the position of the front rank when it has marched clear

When the last Rank has fired and marched clear


 

  • PS: Charge your Pike
    When the last rank has regained their position
    OC: Recover the Body
    PS: Advance your Pike
    PS: Ranks recover
    PS: Bring your files to order on the midst
    MS: Face Outwards
    MS: March On
    MS: Face Front
    MS: March On
    To rank even with the pike
    MS: Stand
    OC: Blew Regiment will wheel by Division to the left hand
    PS / MS: To the left hand - Wheel

When the regiment is in column, facing to the audience, the drummers remaining on the flanks of the pikes


 

  • PS / MS: Stand
    OC: Draw forth your musketeers
    MS: Bring your files to open order from the midst
    The musket being in three ranks
    MS: By the Entire, Ranks to the Right Double
    MS: By the Entire, Ranks to the Left Double
    This will bring the second rank to the right hand side and the third rank to the left hand side MS: Rear division, to the left hand about face
    MS: Rear division, half ranks wheel outwards
    If the musket were in two ranks

    MS: Forward Musket division - Ranks to the Right Double
    Rearward Musket division – To the Left hand about face
    Rearward musket division, Front rank to the right hand, Wheel
    Second rank to the left hand Wheel

    This will result in three single ranks of musket the largest facing the main body of the audience and the two others facing the two sides
    MS: March on

The musketeers will march out to the crowd line, spacing themselves out evenly, stopping at the safety barrier.

Pike sergeant will make any adjustments necessary to centre the block in the arena


 

  • PS: Order your Pikes
    When the musket are at the crowd line
    MS: Stand
    MS: Order your Musket

The Musketeers will then make ready under the full set of orders for using rest and matchlock musket as these are the preferred weapons for the musket block


 

  • MS: Give your rest to your musket
    MS: Open your Pan
    MS: Clear your pan
    MS: Prime your Pan
    MS: Shut your Pan
    MS: Cast off your loose powder
    MS: Blow off your loose powder
    MS: Cast about your musket
    MS: Trail your rest
    MS: Open your charge
    MS: Charge with powder
    MS: Charge with bullet
    MS: Draw forth your scouring stick
    MS: Shorten your scouring stick
    MS: Ram home
    MS: Withdraw your scouring stick
    MS: Shorten your scouring stick
    MS: Return your scouring stick
    MS: Recover your musket
    MS: Poise your Musket and recover your rest
    MS: Give your rest to your musket
    MS: Draw forth your match
    MS: Blow your coal
    MS: Cock your match
    MS: Try your match
    MS: Guard your pan and blow
    MS: To the left hand about face
    MS: Present
    MS: Check your scouring stick
    MS: Open your pan
    MS: Give fire
    MS: Dismount your musket
    MS: Uncock your match
    MS: Return your Match
    MS: Order your musket
    PS: Advance your Pike
    PS: Bring your Ranks and Files to open order
    PS: Charge your Pike
    PS: Half Files to the Right, Double the Frontage
    Third rank followed by fourth rank move forward
    PS: Recover the Body
    PS: Advance your Pike
    PS: Right Hand Face
    PS: Charge your Pike
    PS: Ranks to the Right Double
    Second 'rank' moves forward
    PS: Recover the Body
    PS: Advance your Pike
    PS: Right Hand Face
    PS: Charge your Pike
    PS: By the Entire Outwards, Half Files Double the Frontage
    'Third and fourth rank' move forward, right & middle files to the right outside the block, left file to the left
    PS: Recover the Body
    PS: Advance your Pike
    PS: Right Hand Face
    PS: Charge your Pike
    PS: Bringers up Double the Frontage to the Right
    Rear 'rank' moves forward
    PS: Recover the Body
    PS: Advance your Pike
    PS: Right hand Face
    PS: Charge for horse
    All charging forwards, the front two ranks at charge for horse, the remaining at charge
    PS: Advance your Pike
    PS: Shoulder your Pike
    PS: Advance your Pike
    PS: Bring your ranks and files to order
    PS: Order your Pike
    OC: Blew Regiment, Form Circle
    MS / PS: Form Circle
    OC: Blew Regiment, Reform
    MS / PS: Reform

The regiment to reform in a line facing the crowd, ranks and files at order, the pike advanced, the muskets ordered


 

  • PS: High Port your Pike
    MS: Shoulder your Musket
    PS: Blew Regiment, March on
    PS: Charge your Pike and Club your Musket
    PS: Increase the Pace When at the safety Line PS: Stand
    PS: Retire
    MS: Make Ready
    Whilst marching backwards
    PS: Stand
    OC: Prepare to fire by Salvee
    MS: First Rank Kneel, Second and Third Close up
    MS: Present
    MS: Check your Scouring Stick
    MS: Prepare to Give Fire
    MS: Give Fire !
    MS: Dismount
    MS: Second and Third Ranks Recover the Body, Front Rank Stand
    PS: Advance your Pike
    MS: Shoulder your Musket
    Commentator: Ladies and Gentleman I give you The Blew Regiment of the Cittie of London Trayned Bandes.
    OC: March on by Divisions from the right
    MS: Right Wing, March On
    PS: March On, Right Hand Incline
    MS: Left Wing, March On, Right Hand Incline

The drummers taking up station between the blocks as at first

The Safety Officer and campfollower move to the entrance ready to remove the barrier and clear crowd if necessary

The regiment marches forward wheeling along the crowd line, along the left side, the blind, the right and again past the crowd to the entrance to the sound of rapturous applause and the throwing of coin of the realm and damp undergarments.

March back to the static display or other dispersal point to break ranks and talk to the public.

All aspects of the arena and bodies available must be considered before the event - if there is audience on the fourth side an extra firing may be needed - if there are insufficient firing musket only form one block - plan it all out beforehand and let the participants know

 

The Commentary

The Commentator is one of the most vital parts of our display. They are the only way that the public can know who we are and what we are doing. They are our contact with the audience to give them a better appreciation of us and hopefully to make them want to know more or even to join us.

The commentary need not be continuous but should be used to keep the crowds attention and let them know what is going on. The following is not a definitive script to be learned but should give pointers and topics for the commentator, some of it will be tied in to the action, some won’t. Know what the blocks are doing and when they are firing so that you do not get lost under the sound of gunfire. The regiment will march on, when they start to deploy from column to line, the commentator will leave the block and approach the crowd.

 

The regiment will fire volley

 

Ladies and Gentleman I give you The Blew Regiment of the Cittie of London Trayned Bandes. We are members of the Sealed Knot, a society that was set up to re-enact the life and times of the English Civil Wars

 

i. what is the Sealed Knot?

The Sealed Knot is a voluntary organisation formed in 1968 by Brigadier Peter Young. Its purpose and aims are:

  • to re-awaken interest in the English Civil War and act as an educational charity by public re-enactment of Battles, sieges and other events of the period.

  • to raise money for charity

  • to publish books and leaflets and to place plaques on sites of English Civil War battles

  • as a remembrance and to commemorate events and peoples of our past

 

ii. what are we doing?

The Blew Regt attempt to recreate a regiment of foot of the seventeenth century. Our regiment as a London Trayned Bande regiment would have consisted of up to 1400 men divided as one third pike, two thirds musket. The theoretical strength of most Civil War regiments would have been up to 1200 men. The pike block forms a solid defensive heart of the regiment guarding the ensign and providing a solid base for the musket to operate from. As the musket was fairly slow to load and fire, they were formed up in a body of up to six deep, with the rear ranks loading and using different manoeuvres to get the loaded musketeers to the front to give a continuous fire. They never moved far from the pike block so that if they were attacked when unloaded they could shelter under and within the pikes. The muskets had an effective range of 50 to 100 metres. They did not need to be very accurate as they depended on a large mass of people firing at another large mass – if you did not hit the man you were aiming at you might hit the man next to or behind him.

 

We portray the Blew Regiment of the Cittie of London Trayned Bandes, which fought on the side of Parliament in the English Civil Wars. Contrary to popular belief there would have been little difference in the appearance of the men of either side. In this civil war both sides were drawn from one country and from all different classes. Lords tradesmen and labourers formed both armies, the long haired fashionable rake and the crop headed sober apprentice boy could both have fought for the King as for Parliament.

 

iii. what were the London Trayned Bandes?

In the Seventeenth Century there was no standing army as there is today. From Saxon times, each county was defended by a general call out of all able bodied men between 15 and 60. This continued through medieval times with everybody expected to practise using the longbow. In 1573 it was recognised that with the development of weapons and warfare a new policy was required. The government ordered that a “convenient and sufficient number of the most able to be chosen and collected then tried, armed and weaponed, and so consequently taught and trained. This was the start of the Trayned Bandes.

 

Originally the men were to be trained 4 days at Easter, 4 days at Whit and 2 days at Michaelmas or after the harvest. In the !7th C they were supposed to be trained 1 or 2 days per month. The efficiency and usefulness was dependant on the input of the officers and the upkeep of the equipment. As the capital city, London was fortunate in both. Many of the officers would learn their skills on Mondays and Thursdays at the artillery grounds - a luxury neglected or unavailable in the counties.

 

In 1616 the London Trayned Bands were organised into four regiments, each of 5 companies. These were increased by the Common Council of London in 1642 to 40 companies of 200 men in each organised into 6 regiments named for the colour of their flags - the Blew, Red, Orange, White, Yellow and Green. We represent the Blew Regiment.

 

The London Trayned Bandes were well armed, well trained and a useful reserve for the southern field armies of Parliament. However they wouldn't travel far or for long as they were still only part time soldiers with their businesses calling them back to London. The Blew Regiment were at Turnham Green when the King was prevented from nearing London after the battle of Edgehill and took part in the Earl of Essex's relief of the siege of Gloucester and the battle of Newbury. Whilst the London Trayned Bandes might not have won the war for Parliament, they were a major contribution to the war not being lost.

 

iv. history and causes of the English Civil War

The English Civil Wars were a series of wars which took place in the three Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland between 1639 and 1660.

What were they about? They have been seen as religious conflict between Anglican and Puritan, constitutional conflict between Divine Right and Parliamentary control, a conflict between court and country. Both King and Parliament saw themselves as defending England's rights and traditions.

In 1640 after 11 years of sole rule the King was forced to call parliament to pay for his disastrous war against the Scots in an attempt to impose a change to their religious practises. After an Irish Catholic rising in 1641, King and Parliament start to argue as to who should be able to raise and control the country's armed forces.

 

Gradually more and more divisions between the two arise and the country is split apart into war which will not end till one king is executed for treason and another is forced to live in exile for many years.

 

v. ... when the musket march out to the crowd line ...

The musket will now go through all the motions required in loading and firing a musket

The musketeers are equipped with matchlock musket firing twelve balls to the pound, a rest to support the weight of the musket in firing, collar of charges – a leather cross belt supporting twelve wooden tubes each holding sufficient powder for one shot and a bag containing bullets - when in action the musketeer may hold the musket balls in his mouth so that he could load more quickly, a length of match which was cord soaked in saltpetre which was lit at both ends to fire the musket, a powder flask holding more powder and a sword.

On the battlefield, the commands would be reduced to Make Ready, Present, Give Fire.

 

vi. ... after the musket have fired ...

The pike will now demonstrate pike handling

The full defensive armour of the pikeman should comprise of a simple morion or helmet, a corslet comprising of the back and breast plate to which were attached tassets to protect the thigh and a gorget to protect the throat. As the wars went on the amount of armour would get less, the gorget and tassets as they are detachable would probably be quickly discarded. Heavy leather gloves complete the defensive armour.

The offensive arms comprise of a fairly cheap sword, often just used for cutting wood and the noble pike – a 16-18 foot ash shaft, but again, as time went on it could be shortened to as little as 12 foot. The pike was tapered to the head, being protected by two langets or metal plates about two foot long to stop the head being broken or cut.

 

vii. Final volley

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you The Blew Regiment of the Cittie of London Trayned Bandes.

If you wish to see more the next events are: .............

If you have any questions or wish to join us please feel free to approach any member of the regiment, we will be ? encampment / bar / etc?

As stated before, this is not the be all and end all of scripts and displays - use your own knowledge, investigate further - is there local interest - share information with others - describe the action - leave pauses for the action to describe itself - be happy with what you are doing.

This format has not yet been run through for time, it will need practising by the officers and men to make it look professional. If it is too long for the sponsors requirements - lose one of the firings, if it is too short, add in another firing - keep firing by files / ranks for two shots each or if sufficient clearance to the crowd load when kneeling and fire from Form Circle. If there are only a few can both be fielded as one block - either pike or musket? Drill with one weapon then the other, if there only a few, they are probably dedicated enough to put in the effort. I come from an era when the thought was that LTB wore red, I would prefer to see one coat colour plus armour for pikemen and matchlock and rest for musketeers. Look at the arena and number of participants, work out what can be done and what can be done safely, above all: 

let everyone know what is expected of them

 

Summary

  • march on - march all round crowd line

  • wheel by division to form up on blind side

  • musket advance and form one block

  • fire volley

  • pike march through

  • intro - we are the blews

  • musket divide to form two wings

  • musket fire by files

  • when all fired, march even to pike

  • regt marches to middle of arena

  • wheel about midst to left

  • pike advance clear of block

  • musket fire by ranks

  • when all fired, pike retire

  • countermarch

  • pike advance clear of block

  • musket form one block behind the pike

  • musket fire by street way

  • when all fired, musket divide to two blocks and advance, wheel by division to left (column facing audience), musket march out to crowd line

  • FULL loading procedure

  • give fire to centre

  • pike charge x 4

  • charge for horse

  • shoulder

  • regt form circle

  • reform - line facing audience

  • march on audience

  • charge & club

  • retire

  • make ready while retiring

  • fire volley

  • extro - this was the blew

  • march off - all round crowd line

Article contributed by Sam Johnson