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The Drill Taught to the 95th (Rifle) Regt.
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Eddie
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:19 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

I have been trying to understand what chain was used for :

De Rottenburg has a section, "Chains and Advanced guards" which says:
'The object of this branch of the duty of Light troops is to scour a tract of country by means of numerous and determined bodies"

Hmmm  - as clear as mud. But then as usual the post period 1831 manual by Major Leslie comes to the rescue:

System of Light Drill p 73 'The advantage of double files' :

para 7."Chain Order consists of the men being extended in double files, by being thus the parties of four men each, a certain degree of strength is given to a very extended line and the men more easily formed into stronger parties, or thrown into squares to resist a sudden attack of Cavalry, besides the increased confidence given to the men when exploring suspicious or dangerous places, because, while one man or file is on the out look, the others are at hand to cover and protect him '  ..........if the chain is to engage when halted the left files extend six paces to the left"

So there you have it nicely explained. Good old Leslie.  Chain is thus a mode of patrolling and feeling forward, feeling for the enemy - and is reminiscent of the modern 'brick of four' infantrymen that patrolled that way in Northern Ireland - with other supporting bricks near at hand.

As in the earlier 'Torrens' quote, Chain was a method of advancing in double files but were not to remain halted - thus bigger target for artillery? And it seems they opened out into extended order to fire.  De Rott has the chain firing by each man in turn going forward 3 paces and then falling back to his place. Either way you are not firing in a tight block of four.

To recall the running fight at Ickworth, the ideal time for us to have used chain order was when we were feeling forward into the woods, etc. I don't see it as a normal mode of fighting when the enemy is in clear view.
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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's how I read it. Double files for probing forward, scouring an area, enemy unseen. I think if the enemy is a visible fronted mass, then a single skirmish line.

If we were to form chain in the single extended, then close our 'twos' on to the 'ones' method, then a larger gap appears as Simon points out. This would likely be unsuitable for a massed fronted enemy I presume. However, that method of extending allows you to break the chain and resume single file extension with more order.

Also, fwiw;
De Rottenburg (Regs for Exc. Rifmn & LI) shows a diagram for both single skirmshing and chain, viz:

For single file extending: Of a 4 section company, half (2 section) will go forward, dividing again into two leaving one section in first reserve and the last section going forward to the point for extending.

For double/Chain: 3 sections go forward and extend.


Last edited by Paul Durrant on Fri Jun 05, 2015 4:19 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Hagman's roadie
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well it's usage is far clearer but I'm afraid it's execution is still somewhat of a conundrum to me.
I guess it all relies on the situation at hand but the question still stands. Do we extend in double order or form double order once extended?
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Eddie
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes Si - the question still remains how we as a unit will get into Chain and that is a matter for you NCOs  - as always based on the interpretation of the manuals available.

That there is a direct connection with extend in single files is indicated by the size of the gap specified for Chain -  De Rott  12 paces,  Cooper 10 paces.
Leslie " In chain order 12 paces will be the regulated distance between double files, unless otherwise ordered."  

Campbell - somewhat ambiguously - 'When no distance is specified , six paces will be left between each file, when extended either in single or double files ; and if no mode is specified it will be in single files

It is not by chance that the expected distance for chain order is generally twice the distance of the standard six pace extended gap. It means that the skirmishers can flick in and out as necessary- as Si says -  without a change in the width of the frontage.

Thus to me it seems sensible to form chain not from close order  but from the normal extend as your distances are already in place.   On 'form chain' being ordered left files close on right, on 'extend' then being ordered the left files return to their place and take up the gap.

Simples?
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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And on to the next puzzle.

Does anyone know of a stated distance between ranks for the 'Locking Up' procedure?

Going through 1807 Rules and Regs (for NCOs), there are numerous refs to 'Locking up/Lock up/Locked up', but seemingly no ref to the distance. eg:

Wheeling from the Halt (p47)
"...On the word Right (or left) Wheel, the rear ranks, if at one pace distance, lock up..."


In Open Column of Sub-divisions wheeling into an Alignment p60-61:
"...on which the rear ranks, if at one pace distance, lock up..."


Marching in File to a Front p43-44:
"The same position of feet, as above, takes place in all marching in front, where the ranks are close, and locked up."


Movements of the Battalion p93:
"In marching in line, each man must preserve his body square...and the rear ranks to be well locked up, particularly when firing."


And so on.

So, ideas please...

R&R 1807 for NCOs;
https://books.google.co.uk/books?...pet&q=locked%20up&f=false
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Eddie
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the locking up is done from a one pace gap there is not much you can do other than get as tight as you can and still be able to move your arms and firelock. If everyone is wearing knapsacks that restricts how close you can get. I can't see that there can be a specified distance.
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Ben Townsend
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WO1123/134, p.305

Meddling from on high, or helpful explanation?


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Greg Renault
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ben asks
Quote:
Meddling from on high, or helpful explanation?


Helpful explanation.  I think this opening phrase is key:

"...the application of the Order of the 10th Sept 1803 relative to an Alteration in the Exercise has in some Instances been misunderstood."

The GO Ben posted (19 March 1804) refers to a previous order (10 Sept 1803).  From the context of Ben's GO, it appears the earlier one refered to the pause stipulated in the Manual & Platoon Exercise that occurs after firing, and before reloading.

Here is the relevant section from the 1795 M&PE (p 9):

"After firing, drop the firelock briskly to the priming position."  No pause.

In the 1804 version this has been changed to:

"Pull the trigger firmly, and remain on the present, looking steadily along the piece until the next word of command."  Now we pause until ordered to reload.  Language unchanged in the 1807 version.

It looks to me like the 10 Sept 1803 GO introduced the pause, and the 19 March 1804 GO is an attempt to clarify the change.

As Richard Glover points out in Peninsular Preparation, this was a period of significant reform in the British Army, which included major revision of the drill regulations.  Glover notes that due to local customary practice and interpretation, the new regulations were not always promptly or consistently adopted, requiring some promptings from Horse Guards.  For example see the introductory note from the 1804 General Orders and Observations on the Movements and Field Exercises of the Infantry:

His Royal Highness the Commander in Chief, in consequence of his late Inspection, having thought it necessary, for the future Guidance of the Generals, Officers, and Soldiers, to give out the following Orders....

In other words, so many units did so poorly at their annual inspection that Horse Guards issued this 1804 compilation of corrective pointers.  I think that the GO Ben posted is part of this project of reform of the army's tactical system.

Addendum (24 February 2016).  Today I reviewed a version of the Rules and Regulations (available on Google Books) that is an 1815 printing of a 1812 edition.  Besides the usual 1792 adaptation of Dundas, it contains six general orders pertaining to drill matters that were issued between 1804 and 1814.  Besides the three general orders discussed above, there is an interesting one on proper care of flints (14 July 1809), and an even more interesting one on teaching soldiers to aim their musket  (25 May 1814).  So clearly these GOs were intended as sorts of supplements to the manual.
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Greg Renault
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul asks
Quote:
Does anyone know of a stated distance between ranks for the 'Locking Up' procedure?

Often wondered myself, so thought I'd try to find out.  As Paul points out, the 1807 sergeant's manual tells us to lock the rear rank(s) up to the front rank when (1) advancing in line, (2) wheeling forward in line, and (3) firing in close order.  But no distance is provided.  Another one of those "customary practices", I suspect.

When marching while locked up, soldiers need to use the "lock step", in which they slightly overstep their file leader's footprint.  But the lock step is also used when file marching, which I thought might provide a clue.

I found one in Anthony Suasso’s commentary on the 1807 sergeants manual, A Treatise on the British Drill (1816).  Suasso states that in file marching, files are 22 inches apart when faced to either flank (the manual presumes files to be 22 inches wide; this space opens up when files face to the right or left--distances are heel-to-heel).  When file marching the lock step must therefore overstep by eight inches the footprint of the guy in front in order to maintain the ordinary 30 inch pace and prevent the distance between files from opening up.  (pp.56, 57, 58, 61, 140, 180)

At one point Suasso states the same applies when ranks locked up are marching in line:

In addition to the attention required while marching, the men in the rear ranks are to be careful to cover exactly their file leaders, and preserve the proper distance from them, which latter will be effected on the same principle as the locking up in marching by files, viz., by placing the advancing foot always in front of the spot left by the person posted immediately before.  (p. 129)

So there's our distance:  when locked up, distance between ranks is 22 inches, heel-to-heel.

Suasso also points out that there is not an express command to lock up, but that it should be done at the last word of the cautionary portion of the order:
Q.  Is it usual for an express command to be given in those instances [ie, advancing, wheeling, firing] to the rear ranks to lock up?
A.  No; the last words of the caution, viz., Advance, Wheel, Fire, are to be considered as the commands of execution for the rear ranks to lock up….
(p.  349)

Suasso does not say, but my inference is that once the advance/wheel/firing ceases, the rear rank resumes the normal 30 inch distance from the front rank.

A handy guide I discovered while trying this all out with a colleague:

Normal distance between ranks (one pace):  extended arm.

Locked up:  forearm only extended,  elbow against the side.
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Last edited by Greg Renault on Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice stuff Greg. It had always puzzled me, the 30" distance and 30" heel to heel - but then there was the 'overstep' stuff...

The other problem it may solve...

I'd expect, when marching in column, you'd be touching in to your file partner, yes?
But before forming, when in line/rank and you're 30" heel to heel from your front man, then you right/left face to march in column, you're not touching your partner. If you instantly take one foot length forward (approx 8"?) then turned...

Will have to experiment.
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Greg Renault
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul,
I assume when you say "column" you mean file marching.  Yes, when ranks at the regular one pace distance from each other are faced to either the right or the left,  file partners should have approximately 8 inches between their shoulders (results may vary, depending on the girth of the file occupants).

The rule when file marching is the front rank files are the guide, so (except for any minor adjustment required to cover the guy in front of them) they should not move after facing.  Rear rank files are to touch towards their front rank file partner, each file acting similar to a rank marhing in line (MPE 44; R&R 28.).  To preserve the alignment, when executing this from the halt I prefer my rear rank guys to face first, then shift slightly sideways to touch their front rank file leader ( the shifting can be done either before or after the "March" command is given).  Same sequence when done on the move, via a right or left turn: change direction first, then pick up the dressing towards the front rank.  Applies equally when files are doubled to "form fours".

Of course what you suggest gets us to the same place by reversing the order of movements: rear rank locks up, then faces, which leaves them touching their file partner.  Might be awkward on the move, though.  Probably just Drill Nerd nitpicking, but I figure the rule to touch towards the front rank file only applies after the formation for file marching is assumed, so the sideways shifting should occur after facing, not before.
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Billfred
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just flicking through Campbell (this is how busy I was today) to fire upon the same Ground (p 29 Street Fighting)

I don’t think there is a neat and tidy way of reforming to the rear – even in fire and retire through a street/defile it doesn’t give any orders or commands. Yet the firing upon the same ground refers to “as in the preceding” (i.e. To Fire Retreating)

It describes that the files would outward face (it does mention “and march in files”) and reform at the rear as quickly as possible. “when the divisions reach the rear they instantly form to their proper front at wheeling distance and follow the companies in front, loading on the march”.

To me this is a pretty fast paced manoeuvre – each front section only have to fire, outwards face and form to the rear of the column. As soon as the front rank have cleared – the new front rank should be moving forward and then firing. “As soon as the first division has cleared the front the second division advances quickly to the spot occupied by the former (having previously made ready), fires, and proceeds to the rear in the same way".

This is a fast-paced manoeuvre with a matter of 20/30 seconds between firing and moving out the way. The second set of files/section are on their toes made ready to move forward.

But that's my interpretation.
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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Billfred wrote:
I don’t think there is a neat and tidy way of reforming to the rear

I tend to agree Billy. You fire, get round, load - then sort yourself out if needs be. Doesn’t matter if you’re inverted as the point is to keep pouring fire down the street. As long as you’re loaded and pointing in the right direction!

With that in mind, I guess it does’t matter which flank you turn to. Splitting roughly from the middle will clear the front faster - maybe that’s what he’s saying when he simply calls for an "outward face” (Get the f*** out of the way quickly 'cos the next section is stepping up/about to fire.)

Ben reckoned there would have probably been a gap on either flank to go down, which is correct. Campbell states that in the first para of that section. He says to leave a gap of one or two paces. So basically if the defile/street is as wide as say, 10 files, you’d make a line of 6-8.

Interesting to note the distance of a wheel to be made when reforming. You may then get the order two advance…
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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2016 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Billfred wrote:
when the divisions reach the rear they instantly form to their proper front at wheeling distance and follow the companies in front, loading on the march”.


Also, being a street or narrow defile, there's only a handful of files to re-organise as they come to the rear. So if markers go to their places on the right and left, the rest just head straight for theirs and about face. No need to about form or anything.
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Billfred
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2016 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We're in agreement then!

Another maneuver I picked up on was the left and right about forms where, as a second option, the order would be given to halt and right or left wheel.

The version we do, we have down do a T so I don't envisage the need to change it, but it was interesting that he'd put in that second option.

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