Archive for 2/95th Rifles Forum Forum site for 2nd Battalion 95th Rifles Re-enactment Society
 


       2/95th Rifles Forum Forum Index -> General Forum
Iain Dubh

Present Arms with a Pike

Riflemen,
I fear that this mere Highlander must again call on your collective spiral-bored aid, as I have come up empty on my own, and on other forums geared more towards "line" infantry.
I am looking for period documentation on some sort of "Present Arms" for a Serjeants Pike. I am familiar with the Pike Drill listed in a few books of the time (and on Robert Henderson's website, http://www.militaryheritage.com/pike.htm ), but there is no reference to what was done when the rest of the battalion was called to present... or even if ANYTHING was done by the Serjeants at this point.
I found it interesting that "Discipline for the Norfolk Militia" from the mid 1700's (http://books.google.com/books?id=B0EIAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false , see pages 27 for the "Halbert" and 23 for "Fusee") is also mute in this area, having a Fusil "Salute" for Officers, but no equivalant "Salute" or "Present" in the Halbred exercise... the Halbred, of course, being the arm carried by Serjeants of the time rather than a Pike. The fact that neither of these widely spread manuals have a Present, my assumption was that there IS NO movement of Present for a Sergeant's Pike, possibly since the Pike (or, in earlier times, the Halbred)was supposed to be used as a marker of the ranks and therefore needed to be upright at all times?
Privatecannon (as he is known on this board) did point me in the direction of a salute to be rendered by a Serjeant with a Pike (taken from a period "Standing Orders" book; slimply raising the free arm and placing the hand flat upon the Pike shaft at approximately the height of the shoulder), but I feel there was a difference in connotation between Salute and Present... but I may be wrong on this...
While I have had answers given in other places, none were documented; the only answers I got started "Well, this is what we do in the ...", and generally involved rather flamboyant adaptions of an earlier Officer's movement by Espontoon. I would much appreciate being pointed to a period source that I could point to if asked, and from which I could get the gist of waving the bull-luddy thing around..
Yours aye,
Iain
Obadiah

Hi Iain. If Ben doesn't know then it's doubtful anyone else will either. However I'll pass on your request to Si Love of the 33rd as he carrys a long spikey thing.

Just chucking in my own thoughts. To me the Halbred is carried like the musket at the Advance, so would the salute be the same as in bringing the left arm across the chest with the hand flat {kncukle up and plam down} and the fingers extended and just touching the halbred? Just a thought.

Will get back soon.

Regards

Dave
Iain Dubh

Hullo Dave, and thanks for chiming in...
I'm editing this because I mis-read your post...
What you describe is the method I meant that I got from Chris (Privatecannon), quoted from the Standing Orders of the 85th. The 85th, being Light Infantry, does not mention the Pike, but only the Fusee. My read is that the hand is flat against the fusee (flat of the palm to the fusee), as this would be a better method to "set the fusee firm against the shoulder".

http://books.google.com/books?id=...cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false , page 34
Aye,
Iain
Ben Townsend

By way of diversion, heres another version of present from a german exercise of 1794 (?) published in The British Military Library or Journal from 1799.



Perhaps more pertinently, heres an extract from, 'Military Instructions including each particular motion of the manual and platoon exercises 1798' David Roberts. Roberts states in his preface that it follows the 1788 Dundas to all intents and purposes, so one might hope for an expression of actual practice. On 'instructions for serjeants' he details the pike movements for the manual exercise and omits a present or salute movement, instead detailing that, "Serjeants remain at the shoulder during the performance of the other parts of the exercise...'
Iain Dubh

Thanks, Ben... that is exactly the kind of quote I was looking for. I knew I (finally!) came to the right place for an answer...

Aye,
Iain
Greg Renault

Although Roberts's 1798 work features few movements for the pike during the manual exercise, Anthony Suasso's 1816 A Treatise on the British Drill describes a number of movements in his section on The Exercise of the Pike (pp. 269-271).  Besides Shoulder/Order Arms, these include descriptions of Port Arms, Charge Bayonets, Recover Arms, Trail Arms, and Pile Arms.

Suasso served in a number of regular regiments, so is a strong source for the state of British infantry drill at the end of the Napoleonic Wars.  He appears to be the source for Henderson's article on pike drill.

While Suasso has no movement for Present Arms, he does describe Recover Arms, which is also a salute motion (e.g., privates under arms come to Recover Arms when addressing an officer).



I suspect that when the others in the ranks came to Present Arms, sergeants with pikes saluted with Recover Arms, just as officers saluted with their swords.  The two motions for Recover Arms can be performed on the second and third motions of Present Arms, as with the sword salute.
Iain Dubh

Thanks for chiming in, Greg...
I do not think that Recover is exactly equivalent to a Salute, as it is specifically mentioned that you preform it when either being spoken to by an officer, or having occasion to speak to one... it's a special position for a special case.
If Present and Recover were the same, why wouldn't a man with a musket Recover rather than saluting if both motions are available? It would seem to me that the Present is redundant if that were the case.
Again, my contention is that there is no documentable Present for a Pike; nor was there one for the earlier Sergeant's weapon, the Halbred... and I have a hard time believing that this Manual ommission went on for 50 years if there really was a prescribed position.
That is not to say that I couldn't have missed it somewhere, but until someone is able to point me towards something that sets it out, I think the best thing to do is follow what Ben quoted; that is, that Sergeants remain at the Shoulder (what would be Advance for a musket) for all other positions not described.
As long as the subject is revived, anyone ever come across anything for Rest on Arms, Reversed for a Pike? I'd hate to run into the fellow who could bow his head ABOVE the end of a Pike!  q12

Aye,
Iain
PS: were you up at Stoney Point a few weekends ago?
Radford

Dear Iain and List-

Iain Dubh wrote:

Again, my contention is that there is no documentable Present for a Pike; nor was there one for the earlier Sergeant's weapon, the Halbred... and I have a hard time believing that this Manual ommission went on for 50 years if there really was a prescribed position.
That is not to say that I couldn't have missed it somewhere, but until someone is able to point me towards something that sets it out, I think the best thing to do is follow what Ben quoted; that is, that Sergeants remain at the Shoulder (what would be Advance for a musket) for all other positions not described.


When "Present Arms!" is called for as I am armed with my Halberd, I charge my Halberd. I base this on an instruction in Thomas Simes' 1768 "A Military Medley", in the directions to Sending for the Colours:

"When the Ensigns receive their Colours, the Captain gives the word; Present your Arms.
Upon which the Grenadiers present their arms; Serjeants charge their halberds; and the drummers and fifers beat and play a point of war:"

I do not have a 19th Century version of Sending for the Colours - perhaps there is similar language for the pike?
Iain Dubh

Hullo Radford...

Thanks for the reference. I know I am going to sound negative (again?) but this sounds very specific to receiving Colours, and not a general thing to do when the rest of the mob is at Present. It certainly isn't very practical to Salute to an Officer who might be in front of you... unless you REALLY didn't like him! q21  

On the other hand, it seems like it's an attempt to simplify (if not replicate) the ornate Spontoon Salute that an Officer would go through using an existing motion.... at least (again) when Colours are involved. Maybe it would be a compromise for that one evolution...

BTW, when are you and Rafael going to come East for an event? The Thames is coming up in October...

Aye,
Iain

       2/95th Rifles Forum Forum Index -> General Forum
Page 1 of 1
Create your own free forum | Buy a domain to use with your forum
Link back to main web site