'Nemo me impune lacessit'
(None shall provoke me with impunity)

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The Musketeer 1690 - 1715


 

End of the Pikeman

Between the 1680's and 1700's the drill changed dramatically with the cessation of the Pikeman and the introduction of the bayonet. The prototype bayonet, being 'plugged' into the barrel of the musket, made the soldier's functions limited, for it prevented the firing of the musket making a unit vulnerable to enemy charges. A battle in Ireland against James II was famously lost this way, as the glint of the bayonets told him that the troops of William III were unable to fire. However, other parts of the musket drill remained little changed since English Civil War times, with the additional drill added for the new arm of service of Grenadiers.

The Bayonet

A couple of examples of English Plug Bayonets, now stored at the Tower of London. The top one is standard soldier's issue, and the bottom fancy one would have been an officer's or Gentlemen volunteer's own purchase. One of the last recorded use of this form of Bayonet in the British Army was at the Battle of Killiekrankie in 1689, and at a skirmish in Ireland around the same time. One problem with the plug bayonet, as was found to the horror of the English Soldiers in at Killiekrankie in 1689, is that by fixing it into the musket barrel the musketeers became terribly vulnerable to a surprise charge. Plug bayonets have been found on the battlefield of Blenheim showing that some soldiers were using out of date equipment in 1704.
bayonets2.JPG (14931 bytes) Line drawings showing the evolution of the bayonet from plug, ring to expanding socket, all within the period of the Wars of the Spanish Succession. The ring was issued between 1692-1704. When the ring bayonet was demonstrated to Louis XIV one morning all the bayonets fell off in one loud clatter  during the salute. The King was not amused, so, in 1704-1709  the expanding socket replaced it. Both expanding socket and plug bayonets have been found at the battlefield of Blenheim. Notice how the blade gets longer with each bayonet.

The Firelock

Qannemusket2.jpg (10500 bytes) The Firelock consisted of a flintlock musket with new engineering advances with the firing mechanism and improved metals for the barrel. During the English Civil War misfires with flintlocks occurred often, and the makers hoped that the new firelock would reduce this. It did not.

Forming a Square

form_square.jpg (49495 bytes)With Pikemen becoming obsolete after many centuries of use an alternative means of protecting the musketeers from a cavalry charge needed to be found. The solution was simple and effective, and was still in use by the Napoleonic period. By forming a Square, the men were protected from all sides, and with the Grenadiers becoming vital for the corners a strong and protective 'box' was formed.

As Grenadiers are a separate entity from musketeers their drill and details shall be on a different page found here. 
 

Foreign Service

camp.JPG (239882 bytes)Foreign service, a feature of the War, meant that the British Army and its Allies were constantly on the move from town to town and city to city. Winter quarters were usually enforced upon a luckless town somewhere in Germany, Holland and even France. On campaign the off duty musketeer had a selection of tasks to carry out for the regiment, be it in a camp or at a siege. This mainly involved the foraging and procuring of supplies from the surrounding countryside (and giving the local farmers and landowners promissory notes that were rarely honoured) , putting up and  dismantling the tents of both the infantry and the officers and other menial but important tasks. If he was lucky to have spare time on his hands, then he would either visit the Sutler and his wife for alcohol and food (and perhaps a prostitute), gamble with dice or cards with his fellow off-duty colleagues, or simply recover from the march and go to sleep. The picture on the bottom right, drawn around 1703, shows how soldiers could be packed into a tent to save space and for warmth (bringing to mind images of slave ships). Note the fully dressed sentry near the door,sleeping.JPG (315779 bytes) sleeping on his musket.  Although looting and poaching for personal or exclusive use was punishable with death by hanging, many actively engaged in this pastime too,  taking the risk as the men would often bribe witnesses within the army with a share of the loot  for silence. The French and German Royalty received many letters of complaints whenever an army (of both sides) were on the move. The countryside invariably showed the signs of pilfering wherever the army went. Musketeers on duty were even tasked to keep an eye on fellow men off duty to prevent crime, so that one half of the army was always watching the other!

Drill

The drill for the musket, now with added bayonet drill, had become longer and more stylised since the disappearance of the pikeman, with the addition of new movements including Draw your Bayonet, Fix you Bayonet and Charge your Bayonet. Other new movements included Rest your Arms, where the musket is held with the elbows held up. All these movements had to be learned quickly by the new recruit  for correct drill and combat. A Queen Anne period drill book is available to view on our old site here, complete with the original illustrations of the postures. It's a complete drill book, so the page is quite large. If you wish to return to these pages, don't forget to click your browser's 'back' button.

An_Orkney.jpg (30241 bytes)

Please note, the drill book owner has placed copyright restrictions to the drill book so please ask for permission from us first before using it within your own group, publications or lecture handouts. Thanks.

 

 

 

 


2002 - 2007 Lord Orkney's Regiment and M. Cotton

 No part may be reproduced without prior written permission of either the siteowner or Orkney's Regt or other copyright holders whose materials appear on these pages. The opinions contained herein are not necessarily those of the members of Orkneys Regt.

 
 
 

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