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Manner, Mechanic & Manoeuver for the Modish Musketeer

 

The Musket of the Blew Regiment L T B pride themselves on turning out a smart well drilled unit that can often be found in the front line of the Parliament Army. Along with the rest of the Regiment the Musket seek to portray a company of infantry setting out for the Spring campaign of 1643, that will eventually lead them to the relief of the Siege of Gloucester and the glory of standing steadfast at the Battle of Newbury.

 

  • Kit

  • Status

  • Expectations

  • Drill

  • Places of Dignity in the Block

  • Positions in the Block

  • Commands for Basic Postures

    • Order Your Musket

    • Shoulder Your Musket

    • Trail Your Musket

    • Make Ready

    • Port Your Musket

    • Present Your Musket

    • Check Your Scouring Stick

    • Prepare to Give Fire

    • Give Fire

    • Dismount

    • Club Musket

    • Form Circle

  • Distancing Between Individuals

    • Close Order

    • Order

    • Open Order

    • Double Distance

    • Twice Double Distance

    • Bring Your Files to Open Order

    • Bring Your Files to Open Order from the Left

    • Bring Your Files to Open Order from the Midst

    • Bring Your Ranks to Open Order

    • Bring Your Ranks to Open Order from the Rear

    • Ranks and Files to Open Order

  • Facings

    • Right Hand Incline & Left Hand Incline

    • Face to the Front and Rear & Face to Both Flanks

  • Dressings

  • Doublings

    • Doubling by Half Files

    • Half Files to the Left (or Right) Double

    • Half Files Recover

    • By the Entire, Half Files to the Left / Right / Outwards Double

    • By the Entire, Half Files to the Left (or Right) Double

    • Half Files Recover

    • By the Entire, Half Files to the Outwards Double

    • Doubling by Ranks

    • Ranks to Right (or Left) Double

    • Ranks Recover

    • Doubling by Bringers Up

    • Bringers Up, Double the Frontage to the Left (or Right) Hand

    • Bringers Up Recover

    • By the Entire

  • Countermarching

    • Prepare to Countermarch Maintaining Ground

    • Prepare to Countermarch Losing Ground

    • Prepare to Countermarch Gaining Ground

  • Wheeling

    • Left Hand Wheel, Right Hand Wheel, & Wheel about the Midst to the Left (or Right) Hand

    • Wheel about the Midst to the Left (or Right) Hand

  • Reforms

  • Firings

    • Fire by Forlorn Files

    • Fire by Forlorn Ranks

    • Firing by Two Ranks

    • Firing by Salvee

  • Muskets

    • Safety

    • Misfires

    • Cleaning

  • Regimental Structure

    • File Leader

    • Corporal

    • Sergeant

  • Finally, Some Pearls of Wisdom

 

With these aims in mind, our regiment dresses accordingly and below is a breakdown on the equipment needed and the approximate costs involved:

 

Footwear

‘Authenti-Boot’ - Latchet or soldier’s shoe or start-up. Desert boots may be used as a stop gap until a pair of authentic shoes can be afforded. They should have no metal eyelets or hooks and can easily be converted to resemble a latchet shoe. The laces should be replaced by leather thong.

 

Hose/socks

Thick, knee length woollen socks or sewn fabric hose in dull colours. 

 

Breeches

Plain grey breeches which we recommend are lined. You'll soon see why. 

 

Shirt

Preferably linen but cotton is acceptable with a small collar. Lace up shirts are not authentic and can be converted with a button or two.

 

Coat

Regimental issue, red, lined white 

 

Gloves

If worn, use a well fitting pair of leather gloves in a natural colour

 

Buff Coat

Can only be worn as L T B. Battlefield-protection and very handy raincoat and groundsheet  (Useful in explosions)

 

Headgear

Black felt hat - stylish wind trap

Monmouth cap - Benny from Crossroads or Compo from Last of the Summer Wine

Helmet - rain protection and stays on in strong winds 

 

Musket

Matchlock - main purpose of this book - get licensed, buy one, go bang 

 

Bandolier

Thick leather strap with twelve wooden boxes hanging from it, each would contain enough gunpowder for one shot 

 

Powder Flask

Contains extra powder for priming or for refilling the collar if all charges are used 

 

Rest

Used to support the musket while firing - only used as L T B 

 

Cleaning Kit

A musket costs a fair bit of money and should last for many years - make sure you look after it well 

 

Shotgun Certificate

A musket is a working gun and needs a licence

 

Certificate to acquire explosives

No charge at present

 

We strongly recommend that you grab an old salt in the Regiment or consult an officer if you are off shopping. There are one or two of the officers that like being grabbed rather than being consulted but I’ll let you find out who for yourselves. For a first muster try to get hold of some reasonable footwear and socks. You will normally be able to borrow the rest from existing members in the Regiment. Look after any borrowed kit - if lost or ruined, neither you nor anyone else will be able to borrow it next time

 

The Regiment also participates in living history events. If you are coming along try and bring a bowl and spoon which can be made from wood, pewter, pottery or horn. A drinking vessel is always a good idea, a pottery jug or pewter tankard. Try and keep them plain, ‘darts champion’ and ‘best dad in the world’ inscriptions tended to be a bit rare in the seventeenth century. No cans or glasses.

 

No watches, spectacles or cigarettes. Smokers should take a clay pipe with a small bowl

 

Status

It’s a dirty word to some and a Holy Grail to others. We personally hold little faith with members of the latter faction as they often forget just what it is all about. This is a voluntary organisation where people command through commitment to the hobby, length of service, but chiefly through respect. In this Army, if a commander is disliked, he has few followers and this attitude should stay with you if you are a lofty officer or a lowly musketeer. Don’t forget the people standing around you, as one day they could be pulling you out of the mud or pushing you in. Which would you prefer?

 

Expectations

Mainly mine, but the Society gets to have a word first. If you are promoted up to any sort of position recognised by the Society, you will have various responsibilities thrust upon your broad shoulders. This means a certain code of behaviour is expected of you. If you see someone wilfully damaging someone’s property or someone’s actions are disturbing some other member’s enjoyment, tell an officer of the Regiment, or a member of the Camp Guard who will deal with the matter. We are all ambassadors for the Society and while we are here to have fun, if the horseplay gets out of hand, pack it in.

 

So what do I expect? Simply a bit of commitment to the Regiment and a sense of pride for who we are and what we are doing. This Regiment has set standards that others have had to follow and over the last decade many have fallen out of step, unable to keep pace. Not us, we have gone through as much hardship and hair pulling as you are ever likely to see in a hobby such as this and we are still going strong.

 

Firstly, all NCO’s, that is Sergeants, Corporals and File Leaders should have a spare coat to hand out to new recruits to keep the block in uniform. If you can stretch to supplying other kit too that is great. If you replace any piece of your kit, keep bringing the old piece as you can lend it out to a new kid in the Block.

 

Any other members of the block inclined to follow the above example would be appreciated. It would of course be a feather in your cap should you wish to proceed to the front ranks and beyond.

 

Generally standards of dress needs tightening up. The numbers of musket wearing snapsacks on the field must be increased. Mainly we need only concentrate on trivial items to improve further.

 

Drill

Now who said drill sessions aren’t fun? Our drill sessions follow three basic principles:

 

Firstly, drill is always in full kit. As you have to fight the battle in it, you may as well get used to the idea and wear it for drill. If your equipment breaks, fix it as soon as you finish the battle. It won’t repair itself so get the beer out, get your kit off and get down to it. You will need it for the following day and the more you take care of it the more it takes care of you.

 

Secondly, drill is always at 10:00 am. You should be in full kit with your musket and rest in hand by 9:59 am ready to go. Drill generally lasts one hour unless there is a special event like practising pre-battle standing about drill. If you are late, we start late which means we finish late. If we finish late, you have less time in the middle of the day to eat, drink and do whatever else you want to do. Be Prompt, Look Smart.

 

Thirdly, if you do not make drill, you had better have a fool proof, stainless steel excuse lined up. Drill is important! You may miss something and if your ignorance causes an accident I will not be a happy man. You can also expect a frosty reception from the rest of the block. Why should they all do drill when they could be nursing a hangover in more sympathetic surroundings. We are a close knit team who depend on each other on the battle field and every one knows when you are not giving 100%. Don’t think they won’t blame you if we get kicked about on the battle field.

 

Now for the real reason for this pamphlet. The following pages contain the drill for the Blew Regiment Musket Block, the finest fighting machine in the Sealed Knot. Some may be bigger but none better, Get it right we look great - get it wrong we will be dog dirt - so do the 3 R’s

  • Read it

  • Remember it

  • Ruddy well do it

 

Places of dignity in the Block

File leaders F1 F3 F4 F2 M2 M2 M2 M2 M3 M3 M3 M3 Half-file leaders H H H H M5 M5 M5 M5 Bringers up B B B C

The diagram above is a plan view of the musket block as used on the field of battle. The musket block have taken the role of the junior wing of musket of the regiment and internally dresses on the left but will take their external position from the right

 

Positions in the block

The Sergeant - senior NCO - stands in the front right position which would historically have been filled by the Corporal. All orders are given by an officer to the sergeant, the sergeant will then make sense of them and relay them to the block - take orders from the sergeant not from the officer.

 

The Corporal - second NCO - takes the rear left corner position of the block. His roll is to ensure that ranks and files are dressed correctly and that the block is speedily reformed.

 

 

 

Commands for Basic Postures

Everyone should be familiar with the postures, these are the key words to listen out for:

 

Order Your Musket

Butt of musket on the ground just outside the right foot, the right hand holding barrel at about shoulder height. Left hand holding the rest a little below the fork. The match is held in a loop by the left hand, the lit end between the index and middle finger, the other end between ring and little. Historically, the match should be lit at both ends but for safety end economy, only one end is now left lit. Only used when not loaded

 

Shoulder Your Musket

Musket balanced on the left shoulder, left hand holding the looped match and the stock of the musket. The rest being in the right hand. Only used when not loaded. Care must be taken not to allow the muzzle of the musket to interfere with the musketeer behind you.

 

Trail Your Musket

Held one handed at balance point in right hand

 

Make Ready

The long bit - take your time and do it properly and safely -at all times the muzzle must be up and away from people.

Hold musket and rest angled across the body in the left hand together with the looped match. Right hand opens pan and cleans any debris out of it. Fill pan with powder, close pan, shake off and then blow off loose powder.

Cast about musket - hold musket and rest by left hand at balance point, rest and butt not touching ground, muzzle angled up. Pour charge of gunpowder down barrel, place wadding down the barrel and ram home. Replace scouring stick below barrel then Port Your Musket

 

Port Your Musket

Normally used when the musket is loaded. Musket is held across the body together with the rest, from right hip to left shoulder, muzzle pointing upwards on the left hand side keeping the muzzle well away from other musketeers. Match looped in left hand

 

Present Your Musket

Match in the swan, butt end of the musket in right shoulder, right hand holding musket in the thumbhole. Musket sitting in the rest just below where the scouring stick enters the stock, left hand holding the rest, left leg forwards. Lean into musket and rest. Pan should be shut and muzzle pointing above potential targets.

 

Check Your Scouring Stick

Make sure that your scouring stick is where it should be and is not a potential missile. Look, feel and show your sergeant/officer.

 

Prepare to Give Fire

Make sure match is glowing, open pan.

 

Give Fire

Easy - pull the trigger and go BANG

After firing - make sure that smoke comes out of the touch hole

 

Dismount

Uncock match, bring musket and rest together and hold angled across body - very similar to port but unloaded

 

Club Musket

Lay rest and match by left foot, hold musket by the barrel, butt facing to the enemy. Use a prodding motion but pull all blows - the butt end of the musket is the same now as when it was used in the seventeenth century.

 

Form Circle

The pike will have formed a defensive circle facing outwards. Musketeers should get to the pike block as fast as possible and should take up positions evenly all round the circle, crouching with clubbed muskets under the sheltering pike.

 

New recruits - don’t just sit around, take any opportunity to grab an old hand and force them to show you the musket drill.

 
Distancing Between Individuals

Distances are an important part of the tactics we use to fight and move on the battlefield. Knowing the distances that go with the key words is the next step to learn. The following pages explain all the distances you will need to know and how they are applied while ordering the block.

 

Close Order

Shoulder to shoulder, just enough room to front and rear of each person to move or change facing, Used for going through narrow gaps or getting served at the bar.

 

Order

Standard distance between ranks and files, which is approximately three feet in all directions.

 

Open Order

Six feet between each musketeer. Used to allow the doubling of the frontage, or counter marching, or other manoeuvering.

 

Double Distance

Twelve feet between each musketeer, rarely used.

 

Twice Double Distance

Twenty four feet between each man, very rarely used but put in for completeness.

 

All distance changes are from right and front unless otherwise ordered. These distances can apply to ranks only, files only or both. So if you hear the following orders, it will affect the block in the following ways:

 

Bring Your Files to Open Order

Your senior file leader and his file will not move but all other files will move sideways away from the senior file leader to a distance of six feet between them and the next man to the left or right

 

Bring Your Files to Open Order from the Left

The senior file leader and his file will not move, but all other file leaders will move sideways away from his file to a distance of six feet. The second file leader’s file moving the furthest

 

Bring Your Files to Open Order from the Midst

The midst or middle of the block would be the space between the second and third file leaders therefore everyone would move away from that imaginary file.

 

As only Files to Open Order was ordered in each of the above examples, the depth of the body would not alter. The ranks would still be three feet apart. This would make the body a wide rectangle but not alter its depth in any way. It is used to allow another unit (normally out own pike block) to interpenetrate us and pass to the front or rear of the body, as a preparation for doubling the body or for countermarching.

 

Bring Your Ranks to Open Order

The depth of the body is increased without widening the body. The entire front rank would not move. All ranks would fall back a distance of six feet from the man in front.

 

Bring Your Ranks to Open Order from the Rear

The corporals rank would not move. All other ranks would move forward to a distance of six feet

 

Ranks and Files to Open Order

From the senior file leader the body would space out so that everyone is six foot from everyone else. If From the Right is added, second file leader does not move and everyone else does. If From the Midst is added the mid point would be between the second and third file leaders.

 

Facings

Facing the right way may seem an obvious point but you will be surprised how flexible you need to be when the heat of battle sets in. If you are not listening or don’t understand, confusion can quickly set in and disorder beats us before the enemy get anywhere near us.

 

Listen for the key orders:

  • Left Hand Face

  • Right Hand Face

  • Left Hand About Face

  • Face to the Front

 

These four are the most common one you are liable to hear on the battlefield. The Left Hand About Face should have you turning 180 degrees to the left to face the way you just came from, this is also the way we turn when countermarching. Face to the Front is facing to where the file leaders are.

 

Right Hand Incline & Left Hand Incline

This manoeuver is done on the march and allows the block to move forward but moving gradually to the left or right, handy if we have to take ground not directly ahead of us or to avoid obstructions.

 

Face to the Front and Rear & Face to Both Flanks

In the first instance the front ranks remain as they are but from the half file leaders and behind, all musketeers Left Hand About Face. They are then ready to defend against attacks from the rear. In the second instance the right two files do a Right Hand Face and the left files do a Left Hand Face.

These manoeuvers are used in special situations such as ‘bugger we are surrounded’ ‘ let’s break out of here but I’m not sure which way is out’

Learn the facings, they are important. If you feel unsure, practice them in the garden, it will give the neighbours something to look at.

 

Dressings

 

Important - which ever way the block is facing, if there is a gap in front of you always step forward and fill it

I f the person is slow on the reform, you can always step back when he turns up but as everyone is super fit and makes Linford Christie look slow on a reform this rarely happens. Another occasion when it is important to remember to dress up is when facings change. On many battles some files will have more musketeers than others therefore when we change face the front rank would be uneven.

e. g. Left Hand About Face - the new front rank which would normally be the back rank would have a gap, therefore everybody in the short files would step forward to form even ranks:

 

front F1 F3 F4 F2 F1 F2 M2 M2 M2 M2 M2 F3 F4 M2 H H H H H M2 M2 H M4 M4 M4 M4 M4 H H M4 B C B M4 M4 C front

 

Always keep an even frontage & keep your ranks and files in position

If we are in control of ourselves we stand a better chance of beating the enemy

 

Doublings

 

We use certain orders to double the blocks frontage which allows us to put as many fighting men in the front rank as we feel necessary. There are two main types of order and each order can be done in at least two ways. They all rely on the ranks and files being kept straight with distances and dressings being spot on.

 

Doubling by Half Files

The Half File Leader and his rear half file march quickly to rank even with the front rank

 

Half Files to the Left (or Right) Double

This is the standard form of half file doubling where the half file leader and his rear half file march to the left (or right) of their original file leader. The example below shows Half Files to the Left Double

F1 F3 F4 F2 M2 M2 M2 M2 M3 M3 M3 M3 H H H H M5 M5 M5 M5 B B B C H F1 H F3 H F4 H F2 M5 M2 M5 M2 M5 M2 M5 M2 B M3 B M3 B M3 C M3

 

Half Files Recover

Will reverse the above order

 

By the Entire, Half Files to the Left / Right / Outwards Double

The key words to listen for in this order is By the Entire. This order is not in a no-Blew Regiment musketeers universe. If you can get to grips with this one you are well on your way to being an old hand so please read on and experience an officer’s delight and a musketeers nightmare.

 

By the Entire, Half Files to the Left (or Right) Double

The difference here is that the half file leaders and their rear half files march out as a separate block. The diagram below shows By the Entire, Half

 

Files to the Left Double

F1 F3 F4 F2 M2 M2 M2 M2 M3 M3 M3 M3 H H H H M5 M5 M5 M5 B B B C H H H H F1 F3 F4 F2 M5 M5 M5 M5 M2 M2 M2 M2 B B B C M3 M3 M3 M3

The end result is similar but imagine the effect that another musket block appearing out of thin air to out flank them has on an enemys morale

 

Half Files Recover

Will reverse the above order

 

By the Entire, Half Files to the Outwards Double

This is a little more complicated but the effect is far more rewarding, when this order is given, the rear half files do a Face to Both Flanks and march in their respective directions to take position on each flank of the original front rank.

H H F1 F3 F4 F2 H H M5 M5 M2 M2 M2 M2 M5 M5 B B M3 M3 M3 M3 B C

Two musket blocks to reinforce us - the enemy will have to call for support

 

Doubling by Ranks

The more common method of doubling frontage is using ranks not half files because of its speed. This order relies on the even numbered ranks marching forward into the odd ranks. This should leave twice the original distance between the new ranks.

 

Ranks to Right (or Left) Double

This is like Half Files to the Left (or Right) Double but less than half the distance is covered by each musketeer - it is twice as fast. Each musketeer steps out to the left or right then steps into the space between the rank in front.

F1 F3 F4 F2 M2 M2 M2 M2 M3 M3 M3 M3 H H H H M5 M5 M5 M5 B B B C F1 M2 F3 M2 F4 M2 F2 M2 M3 H M3 H M3 H M3 H M5 B M5 B M5 B M5 C

 

Ranks Recover

Will reverse the above order

The benefits of Rank over Half File are the speed in which it can be executed and that you do not rely on designated half file leaders

The benefit of Half File over Rank is that if need be the rear half files can operate as a separate block

 

Doubling by Bringers Up

An order that exists but will probably never be used on the battlefield. The rear rank would have been the next most experienced after the front rank, this doubling would have brought together the best of the regiment to the front. Now it just shakes the cobwebs off the corporal.

 

Bringers Up, Double the Frontage to the Left (or Right) Hand

The rear rank would march through the body to the left (or right) ranking even with the front, the files following successively.

B F1 B F3 B F4 C F2 M5 M2 M5 M2 M5 M2 M5 M2 H M3 H M3 H M3 H M3

 

Bringers Up Recover

Will reverse the above order, the half file leaders moving first

 

By the Entire

Involves about facing and wheeling and would make your ears bleed and your brain explode so is left out on the grounds of health and safety.

 

Inversion /Filing On

How many times has the Army’ already slow advance been delayed still further by a well placed gate or a narrow pathway. We prefer to rise above the norm and navigate the obstacle with style in the following manner:

 

Files, File On

With the senior file leaders file leading and the next tagging on behind the first files last man, followed by the other files to leave the coporal bringing up the rear. The block would reform to its normal state when there is sufficient space and the order Recover the Body is given.

 

Double Files, File On

As above save that the senior file leader and next file, lead on together. The next two files follow, side by side. Allows a faster recovery but depends on the gap available.

 

Ranks, from the Left (or Right), File On

This time the front rank marches off first in single file lead(if from the left) by the senior file leader with the senior file leaders second man following the second file leader and so on.

 

Files to the Left Double

The senior file leader and fourth file stand, the third and second move back to create two files.

F1 F3 F4 F2 F1 F4 M2 M2 M2 M2 F3 F2 M3 M3 M3 M3 M2 M2 H H H H M2 M2 M5 M5 M5 M5 M3 M3 C B B B M3 M3 H H H H M5 M5 M5 M5 C B B B

Files to the Left Double and Ranks File On are to be preferred as a fighting front can be formed much quicker

 

Countermarching

This order allows us, as a block, to easily change our direction of march. The most important factor involved is the correct distancing and discipline between the ranks and files to avoid any individuals colliding with each other.

 

The order takes two parts - a preparative telling you what to do and the command telling you to do it.

 

Prepare to Countermarch Maintaining Ground
Files to the Left - Countermarch

Maintaining ground means the block turning in the same space. On the word -Countermarch the first rank Left Hand About Face and march back through the block, everybody keeps marching till they reach the spot where the man in front turns. Always keep a look out for your dressings and keep your ranks and files straight.

 

Prepare to Countermarch Losing Ground
Files to the Left - Countermarch

The ground lost is the ground that the block is standing on - after the, manoeuver the block will be in a position behind where the rear rank started from. This countermarch starts from stationary and can continue into motion.

On the word - Countermarch the first rank Left Hand About Face and march back through the block. When the file leader passes the second man they also Left Hand About Face and follow on. Ranks do not move till the man in front has passed through, marching to the rear of the starting position.

 

Prepare to Countermarch Gaining Ground
Files to the Left - Countermarch

The ground gained is the ground in front of the musket block. The countermarch ends with the block stationary.

On the word - Countermarch the first rank Left Hand About Face and march back through the block and stands, the block marches to the right past them and Left Hand About Face to take up their dressings behind the file leader.

 

Wheeling

There are three basic types that we use to turn to face a threat on the battlefield or to manoeuver

Left Hand Wheel, Right Hand Wheel, & Wheel about the Midst to the Left (or Right) Hand

The first two are fairly obvious. A wheel, like a facing change is made to change direction but unlike a facing it can only be made while the musket block is in motion. When the wheel order is given, the inside man (second file leader for Right, senior file leader for Left) stands still and acts as a pivot for the whole block. The block swings round on that point with the furthest file dictating the speed of the turn. Keep looking sideways and forwards to ensure correct dressings.

The wheel is continued until the order to March On, the block then continues in the direction the front rank is facing with the rest of the block following as normal.

 

Wheel about the Midst to the Left (or Right) Hand

This manoeuver allows the block to wheel on the same patch of ground. The same rules as above apply only this time the pivot point is the centre of the block between the middle file leaders. The direction is the original flank that the new frontage will occupy. To the Right means that the right hand files will move backwards and the left hands forwards. It is a difficult manoeuver to get perfect but if done slowly and carefully it can look very impressive.

 

Reforms

The present policy for the reform is to form up at Order Your Musket and dressings at Order. From this we can either Make Ready, Club or manoeuver. Do not assume what you will be doing and listen to orders.

For the Reform, make for the drummer who will mark the front right of the block, further back will be the Corporal ready to get you into place. Anybody standing within the Corporals reach will be pushed into the block. If people are missing from the block - dress forwards.

If you are injured and cannot back into the block - let someone know.

 

Firings

As the musket have taken the role of the junior wing of musket the sergeant should stand to the left of block and all motion will take place at the left unless ordered otherwise - the right hand side being protected / obstructed by that most glorious of things - a pike block.

 

Fire by Forlorn Files

Forlorn meaning away from the main block.

All musketeers starting loaded, the senior file leader leads his file from the left to the sergeant / officer, when reaching this point the file is lead across the front of the body. File leader gives command to Face the enemy and Present. The sergeant / officer will command to Prepare, Check Scouring Sticks, and Give Fire. File leader will Dismount and lead the file back across the front, round the sergeant / officer and behind the body to form as a file on the opposite side of the block, making ready if appropriate. Subsequent files will follow on. When a file is clear of the body, the other file leaders will move their files sideways to occupy the same ground.

 

Fire by Forlorn Ranks

As above, but done by ranks marching straight forward. The rank reforming behind the body, each in their correct file.

Can also be used when not marching forward but firing from the body.

 

Firing by Two Ranks

First two ranks march forward to officer / sergeant. First rank Presents and Fires on command, then marches to the rear of the block. When the second rank presents, the next two ranks march forward.

Needs four or more ranks to look good - start recruiting!

 

Firing by Salvee

First rank kneels, second rank closes up and stoops behind them, third rank closes up and stands. All fire ‘together’ on command. Used in desperation - lots of instant firepower but no technique skill or effort.

 

 

Muskets
 

Safety

  1. You must have passed the S K Musket Test

  2. Never point the musket directly at any person or animal

  3. Never exceed the safe charge:

    • 5 / 8 bore 2 dram charge

    • 3 / 4 bore 3 dram charge

  4. Always make sure scouring stick is removed from barrel

  5. When loaded carry at Port

  6. Never fire within twenty yards of target

  7. Never take loaded muskets into hand to hand combat

  8. Always check that musket has fired correctly

  9. Always clean after use

  10. Store securely

  11. Enjoy yourself but be careful

 

Misfires

After you have fired, smoke should come out of the touch hole - if not you will have had a misfire and there will be an unfired charge down your musket

Shout ‘Misfire’ make sure that the officer has heard, hold gun up and away - similar to port, march clear of the back of the body to open space, an officer or camp follower should accompany you.

 

There are three types of misfire:

Hangfire

The rarest type of misfire, if there are smouldering embers or a glow in the pan do not reprime, wait for it to fire. If nothing happens after a minute, pour water in the pan then carefully down the barrel.

Flash in the pan

Priming has ignited but not the main charge. Ensure there is a clear passage with the pricker and gloved hand, reprime and fire. If not successful, try cleaning and repriming again - if this again fails - Blockage

Blockage

If nothing works, pour water in the pan to extinguish any embers then carefully pour water down the barrel to dampen the main charge. After the battle, worm out and clean thoroughly

 

 

Cleaning

Your musket has cost a lot of money and can quickly become dangerous through lack of maintenance. Your musket should be cleaned after every battle - it is also a good excuse to put on a kettle and make a pikeman some tea

The best method to remove all corrosive residue from the gun is to use a blackpowder solvent, then wipe out and oil the musket. Check that no parts are damaged, splintered or loose. Occasionally the stock should be treated with linseed oil.

 

Company Structure
 

File Leader

Experienced and dependable member of the Regiment. First point of contact for the people allocated to the file. Finds out who is going to each muster and advises the block sergeant accordingly. Should have spare kit to lend out to new members.

Relays news of forthcoming events to the file. Responsible for ensuring that members of the file know basic drill.

 

Corporal

Responsible for correct dressing of ranks and files and that orders are correctly and speedily carried out. Ensures quick reforms and adjusts positions as necessary. Ready to take over duties as sergeant if needed.

Off the battlefield the corporal is ultimately responsible for ensuring that members know the correct drill and are safe to go on the field.

 

Sergeant

Command of the block, making sure that everything happens and that everyone is in the right place at the right time. Co-ordinator between the block and the higher command structure

 

 
Finally, Some Pearls of Wisdom
 

Remember - officers and sergeants are giving orders to make a more effective fighting unit and keep you relatively safe.

If you do the following you will have a fun day, a successful battle and all your body parts should be in the same place so you can enjoy the evenings delights.

  • Listen to the sergeant

  • Try to stay aware of what is happening

  • Listen to the sergeant

  • Keep chat in the block to a minimum

  • Above all else -LISTEN TO THE SERGEANT

 

Article contributed by Sam Johnson