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The Drill Taught to the 95th (Rifle) Regt.
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Eddie
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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 6:18 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

CHAIN ORDER


We rarely form Chain Order but when we do it seems a bit of a jumble.

Campbell states that Double files is known as Chain Order but he does not explain how it is done. Later manuals however explain the movement.

Torrens in the 1824 drill revision 'Filed Exercise and Evolutions of the Army' Light Infantry section  para 11:

'The caution being passed to 'Form Chain Order' the left files face to the right and close upon the right files without further word of command. The whole line now stands extended in double files ready to advance by alternate files if required. Light troops are never to remain halted and exposed unnecessarily at Chain Order, neither is any firing allowed in this formation. It is to be used only preparatory to the advance by files'


Major  Leslie 'Application of Light Drill'  1831  p 30 :

'17. When skirmishers are extended in single files , on the sound "form chain" the left files face to the right and close upon the right files.
18. When in chain order, if the "extend" be sounded , left files face to the left, and take up their former situations.

The description in Torrens is obviously not a movement from close order. Very odd that firing was not allowed in chain though.

Leslie makes it crystal clear that it is formed from extended order. Its easy to do that and the resulting gaps are also double. Easy to go back to ordinary extend as well. All that is required is that files are numbered off one, two  one two,down the line beforehand. There's is no confusion over which of the four counts the spacing. Simples

OK - its not strictly from a period manual but my bet is that it had not changed - just explained in detail.   Leslie btw was a 60th Rilfes officer.

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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds very much the way Si suggested - we extend as normal, then the files close up. Interesting.

Peculiar instructions though...about the not firing.
(Torrens, btw, makes it clear in the forward that the 1823 was merely formalising the new practices that had been developed in the Peninsula.)

The translation from DeRottenburg describes it thus:
"...The detachment extends in divisions of two files at ten paces distant from each other...If the chain is to fire, the signal is made to 'commence firing'; on which the right flugelman of each division takes three paces to the front and fires, falls back into his place again and loads: the other three men perform the same singly..." (Regs for the Exercise of Riflemen & Light Inf. War Office 1803)

So perhaps on campaign they see very little difference between aimed shots from a chain division and that of the aimed shots from the extended single files - or they just find it a bit of a jumble!

I'm wondering, when they're saying (in Torrens) that the chain is "preparatory to the advance by files", is that the equivalent to Campbell's 'Alternate files'?; "In firing advancing or retiring by 'alternative files' (which are numbered off right and left) the right file advances or retires as the front rank man does in No2 [single files advancing] and the files...marching alternatively."
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Eddie
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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

De Rottenburg often seems to vary from other drill manuals and I think we need to be aware this was an earlier manual translated from German - I don't know what date the original would have been.
That they used De Rott as a basis for Shorncliffe training I think is recorded somewhere.

( I wonder how much De Rott was actually used? The Present Arms for instance always seems to me peculiar as compared with the whole of the rest of the infantry using a different 'Present' as detailed in the later drill books ( 1811? )
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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Francis Baron de Rottenburg presented his work to the HRH in 1798 apparently. In 1803 Moore, writing to William Fawcett, the Adj. Gen. said, "I mean to make De Rottenburg the groundwork, noting in the margin whatever changes we make from him."
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Eddie
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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul
I too am puzzled by Torrens, not by how it is formed but the envisaged purpose of it ?

I anticipated it to concentrate fire in pockets of four - to act as mini sections.
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The Sarge!
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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now I have had time to look at the manuals.

In Campbell in extended order you advance and retire in double order of files.

The only time chain is mentioned is as a chain of sentries and of course you wouldn't fire in this unless in warning.

So to use the term chain in double order of files is incorrect, but you can understand why used as formation for chain is basically the same, it's just a case of whether skirmishing or doing sentry.

Most likely the formation over time called chain for both, hence the difference methods of using them.
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Here's to the Bloody Fighting 95th, the first into the fray and the last out of it!

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Eddie
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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chain is mentioned in Campbell p58:
' No 3  By the whole moving together, firing  occasionally and the man of each file who is loaded always in front, which is called chain order'

and also

p59  'In advancing or retiring, and  in this order which is called chain order the two files keep together, etc '
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The Sarge!
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 3:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aye, but it is stating that is what it is called, but it's not the order given for forming it.

Simple interpretation is that you have a Chain of Skirmishers and a Chain of Sentries.

One you can fire in, one you generally don't unless warning shot in that duty.

I don't have access to Torrens at moment, so am unable to comment on what is written there.

But on looking at the comments on Torrens it is likely the later manual is defining the two as being separate from each other, hence why no instructions or orders in Campbell, you either form double order of files to skirmish and when conducting sentry duty you form the Chain of Sentries.
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C/Sjt Blake
2nd 95th (Rifles) Regt. of Foot, 4th Coy.

Here's to the Bloody Fighting 95th, the first into the fray and the last out of it!

Stau Und Fest. (Stauch and Steadfast)
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Eddie
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A chain of sentries is just a general term and nothing to do with the movement of skirmishers.
According to Campbell the skirmishing in double files is specifically 'called Chain Order' .

How it is formed, and going a step further, how it is actually used is what I am interested in.

There is a specific bugle call "Form the chain" in two period manuals and also " Skirmishers and Chain may engage" in Potter. These can only refer of a movement on the field not to Chains of Sentries.
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The Sarge!
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From our period point of view I would be bold as to suggest the chain for Skirmishers is the normal mode of advancing and retiring, as this allows each block of double files to maintain a constant rate of fire, as opposed to advancing and firing in single order of files.

So the chain is simply used for skirmishing. Simples, nought fancy. To form it, you simply extend in double order of files and crack on from there.

Just we don't get to experience it as we simply don't have the numbers to follow the period manuals fully in that respect, but in all others I believe we do.
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C/Sjt Blake
2nd 95th (Rifles) Regt. of Foot, 4th Coy.

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OJM
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what's been presented here, I'd lean towards Eddies POV.

I've wondered why "chain" as a term hasn't been used in the 2/95th commands since it is one of the most common and distinctive terms applied both in the german works of the time, and, directly translated, into danish as well.

To me it seems almost as odd as if we were to import the concept of line infantry without using the term "rank".

In german has the same distinction between any chain of vanguards (vorpost-kette) in general and specific commands or the professional/descriptive terms for formations (kleine kette/grosse kette/jaegerkette).

I wonder if it's due to chain having different connotations in english today? Would you for instance say "chain" if you were to describe a search party going across a moor?
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The Sarge!
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have the evolution of the Rifles Drill from De Rotenburg, to Weddeburn, the finally to Campbell of which there are 2 version, one Anon and one named.

You the have Col Fullers book on the subject, who at the time had access to original material which is now sadly lost due to bombing in the WWII.

So using Campbell as the accepted works for our period you have two modes of Skirmishing in extended order. By order of single files and double order of files, of which the second is referred to as Chain order.

This in its very essence is detailing that when extended in double order of files and skirmishing this is Chain Order, though no word of command is used for this, as to get to the Chain a number of other orders take place prior to getting there, this is something that is addressed in the later manuals by being a single order to get there by carrying out the motions required to get to it.

But back to our period, the mention of Chain Order is mentioned in Tarbes book, as being the method the Rifles attack the French in their usual fashion.

So to the men of the time the engaging of the enemy in double order of files and skirmishing, was simply to them using Chain Order, however the writers have no need to mention the movements required to get to them, much as modern writers do today in describing how they took the fight to the enemy, they never mentioned the commands they were given.

The purpose of the bugle call might be for use when the men have extended in single order of files and now it is required they form double order of files and this can be done by the voice supported by the bugle, rather than being used initially to form the double order of files, and as the files have already been counted off 1, 2, 1, 2 etc, then the 2s simply close to the 1s, as described later in manuals, forming the chain.

The interpretation of drill never an easy thing, even when it is written, as you need the experience of following the drill from day one of joining the Army and living with it daily and being a part of going to war to cement it and war has a habit of developing better method, saw that only too well in Afgan when on one tour you would have one method of drills, to then amend them as the enemy changed their tactics.  And the Rifles were a new type of soldier and was learning all the time how best to use its skills in defeating the enemy, as after all that was their whole point of existing, and boy didn't they do good.
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C/Sjt Blake
2nd 95th (Rifles) Regt. of Foot, 4th Coy.

Here's to the Bloody Fighting 95th, the first into the fray and the last out of it!

Stau Und Fest. (Stauch and Steadfast)
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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please read Chapter V, 'Regs for the Exercise of Riflemen & LI':

"The object of this branch of light troops is to scour a tract of country by means of numerous and detached bodies, clearing the woods and enclosures of the enemies posts, and in a word, to establish a complete chain of your own troops, by occupying, as far as circumstances will permit, every advantageous spot;..."

Campbell states that unless you are ordered to extend in double order of files, the default is single skirmishers;
"When no distance is specified, six paces will be left between each file, when extended either in single or double files; - and if no particular mode is specified it will be single files."
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hence the bugle call to form double order of files, as default single.

It is clear that an extended line of troops is termed a Chain and through engagements with the enemy it was found the double order of files was the best method, hence the later version in follow on drill manuals.

What we have in the manuals is what was taught, then you have what was done in the field using what was taught.

For me the term Chain Order is used to denote the extension of files across a front, whether this is to clear ground, woods, or engage with the enemy and is simply the term used to denote that type of employment, just as close order is the simple term for what line troops do.

The words of command used will be what we know, however you could surmise that they had the skills, ability and training to form straight into double order of files, but without a time machine we will never know, though the later manuals can give you a feeling of where they got to.
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C/Sjt Blake
2nd 95th (Rifles) Regt. of Foot, 4th Coy.

Here's to the Bloody Fighting 95th, the first into the fray and the last out of it!

Stau Und Fest. (Stauch and Steadfast)
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

we recount off files '1,2...' And such. For many reasons but one such is to form double order of files. To extend in double order of files negates the point of recounting off files in that sense.
Default extend is single file. I'm convinced forming chain/double order of files would take place after we've extended initially in single file.
To extend is to cover a front of a certain distance but not necessarily to engage in combat. If you extend the men in single file 5 paces and there are 12 files that's 60 paces. The body of men advances covering that specific frontage.
You extend in double order of files, each block of four taking 5 paces, that's half the distance covered yes? Of course you could extend them 10 to account for it but as the default is single file......
If you form chain/double order of files from single file, sure there will be gaps where the right files have closed in on the left but the frontage remains the same. Enemy are sighted, form chain, have at 'em.
Thats my take on it anyhoo.


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