Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Disorder drill & musketery

In adapting Sharpe Practice to the period we have to consider every thing I have read so far on the period about manoeuvring infantry in the period suggests that it was rather more difficult than it became later in the horse and musket period. I am taking a wild guess that the cause of this was connected to the level of training of the troops and in particular the rather primitive systems of drill used.

So I am first going to use a set of characteristics for each unit based on the expanded  ones introduced in Terrible Sharp Sword where troops are rated for Musketry, Drill, Experience  & belief, here I am only really interested in Drill as the others I will consider separately and some like belief work as they are.

Rabble:- have no training or experience  at all, little better then Walllahs can be made to form line with difficulty but doing any thing with them other than them having stand and wait will be difficult and require a lot of  Officer & NCO effort.
Trained band:- Have had limited training often in out of date patterns of drill or limited sections of more modern drill from poor trainers, never used it or practised it out of the environs of a parade square or village green, can be relied on to stand in line, in well dressed ranks and files, to do basic formation changes, such as rotational fire, advancing pikes fitting bayonets but not with the alacrity of better trained troops and   change form column of march to line eventually if with difficulty and command input
Regular:-  This is the standard bench mark of professional soldiery they can stand in line and are likely to maintain correct dressing  when moving & can deploy from column of march to line with some efficiency and relatively little confusion, can carry out basic drill evolutions such as those outlined above well and with alacrity are capable of managing some sort of volley on command even they usually use rotational fire drill
Good:- Pretty much the best you can expect for most troops they can do every thing regulars above can in addition they will deploy from line to column with no confusion and maintain dressing and formation in most circumstances without needing constant input from their commanders

Polished:- Perfect but rarely found only the best of the best could do this in the period this lot could drill with the men of Fredrick the greats army without looking too shabby

I feel that in order to properly model the behaviour of the troops of the period I need to add an additional factor which I will call DISORDER  this works like shock and effects all groups in a formation like shock except that it has a maximum value of six and does not have any of the morale effects that shock does.However if a group in a formation or a formation has a Disorder of Six and suffers any further causes of disorder then this becomes shock as beyond a certain point being a milling mob will also  have adverse morale effects. It is important to note that disorder is independent of events which might break up a formation. such as cavalry charging too long at the gallop, or poorly drilled troops trying to manurer through difficult terrain.

Causes of Disorder 
These are many and various and depends on the troop types involved but for infantry my thoughts are as follow, I am thinking that single groups should not suffer disorder but suffer a penalty of being unformed, unless lead personally by a big man of status two or higher.

1 Changing form column of march to line or back again
2 Manoeuvring in line-expanding or contracting frontage
3 Firing 
4 Advancing your pike fixing & unfixing bayonets 
5 Moving in Line
6 Other causes -here just to remind me that other things might generate disorder that I have not thought of yet.

This is not a finished article but a WIP expect more shortly but work calls.....

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