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The Drill Taught to the 95th (Rifle) Regt.
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Paul Durrant
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Joined: 04 Jun 2007
Posts: 1438


Location: Walthamstow, NE London

PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2016 1:16 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

Wheeling into formations is very much the Line way. He also says of that, shortly afterwards, in the 'Remarks' at the bottom of page 7;

"The first mode shown in No7* and No10* is the best, as being more comfortable to the other formations and applying more literally to the word of command."

*To the Right/Left Form

"The leading file faces to the right about, and every other file wheels round in succession, and forms to its left." Prt1 Sect.1 No7 p6
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Greg Renault
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Joined: 23 Jun 2010
Posts: 86


Location: Toronto, Ontario

PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some musings on the street firing manoeuvre.

Street firing seems to be one of those “customary practices" that persisted throughout the period of smoothbore musket warfare, but was never included in any of the official drill manuals.  Campbell’s is the closest we get to official inclusion, inasmuch as it was used for training British and Portuguese lights in the Peninsula, but note the manoeuvre is omitted when Campbell’s work is absorbed into Torrens’ 1824 manual.

The earliest description of street firing I’ve seen is in Humphrey Bland’s 1727 A Treatise of Military Discipline.  Bland specifies a column of platoons (equalized firing units) at wheeling distance; has the platoons file to the rear by right and left flanks; and has them form in the rear of the column—same as Campbell does when firing retreating or upon the same ground.  Bland also notes that space must be left on the flanks to allow those who have fired to file to the rear [86-7].  It’s all there, 90 years before Campbell; I have no doubt the movement was commonly practiced well before Bland described it.

I’ve found the manoeuvre in a number of other unofficial period sources:

H. Dickinson, in his work on the eighteen manoeuvres (1798) has subdivisions wheel outwards, as Campbell does when advancing [127-133].

The Complete Drill Sergeant (1798) observes that when street firing, subdivisions may either wheel outwards or file down the flanks of the column [32].  As noted, Campbell uses both of these options.

Suasso deems street firing important enough to include in his Treatise on the British Drill (1814) “notwithstanding the silence of the Regulations”; he has the subdivisions file to the rear [264n-265n].

I have even seen a description of street firing, unchanged from any of the above, included as an appendix the U.S. Infantry Tactics (1862); platoons file down each flank [491-3].  This version also notes that a mounted howitzer can also be quite useful for clearing streets, providing it does not damage property.


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Greg Renault
A soldier should be as attached to, and careful of, his musket, as his mistress. (G.O. 31st December 1788, Bombay Army)
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