Fighting Muskets

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Andy R
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Re: Fighting Muskets

Post by Andy R »

steve stanley wrote:Bayonet fencing has been tried with VERY experienced people with LOTS of practice......Easier to do for Lace Wars against Targes,but still calls for a lot of work..thrust tend to go under the arm on the 'anti-public' side...Equally tomahawk against clubbed musket happens....main point is,it's theatrical,not competitive.....I died beautifully when charged by a french marine last year...It's called falling over a low wall.......... :wink:
years back at Audley End we had the opposite - in hindsite it could have been a potential disaster but it did actually work well.

NF&OE in the early years pulled enactors from different periods. We moved up and others moved down.

When the script called for the militia to charge the Marines but be vollied off, the joy of having a sword in their hand was too much for these boys (the late lamented "Pirates of Penzance" as they were known) and they followed on. As we were used to fighting with bills etc we stood our ground and fenced them to the back of the field. Okay, we were in our 20's then and now I realise that risk potential, but it was done safely, and then never tried it on again.

We also had to clear the field with bayonets at Waltham Abbey a couple of years ago when the rangers didn't leave the field, but that was just a way to end the battle




Wasn't Malplaquet another hand to hand blood bath with no quarter being given on either side?
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Re: Fighting Muskets

Post by Neibelungen »

I've followed this topic with interest as it raised a number of interesting points, vis Re-enactorism and historical accuracy.

Outside of the role of HtH in mid 18th C warfare I think however the 'fighting-musket' misses the point on one big aspect or reenactment battles.

Where the hell do you keep it ?

Having a cheap, fairly convincing 'dummy' you can put a bayonette on and parry with makes sense in that a £400, potentially loaded, musket doesn't really want to get smacked with a blunt sword. But in practical terms, on the battlefield you have no place to keep a second HTH one with you.

Ohh, hold up for a minite while we all stack arms and go get these. !! , or alternatively I just happen to have a second slung over my shoulder. Neither of which would be convincing or truely practical.

For something to train HTH with. Sparring or WMA it makes a lot of sense, However, drill really doesn't need anything that a £5.00 length of pole can't supply. Or you already have a musket.

You need to educate and train the people in safe methods and controlled actions in a battle field action lasting a for a few exchanges while the script plays out.
People should already know the storyline and who's dead and who advances. Once it progresses beyond that to a 'contest' between two people as to who get's 'killed' . That's when safety tends to fall apart and injuries occur. People get carried away all too often and suplying them with the means for that invites trouble. Thinking you have something safe to 'fight' with isn't the same as being 'safe to fight'.

As a prop for WMA and bayonette sparring it's a good product. But for re-enactment it's an impracticality on the battlefield, and drill wise a 'real' musket is already available.

It's not a criticism of the workmanship or concept. Rather that outside a training or sparing role it's not really practical on a formal battlefield where you need to go ' bang'!!
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Re: Fighting Muskets

Post by cannontickler »

Nice reply Mr. Neibelungen...........but i think the Todmeisters reply is the one to which anyone that doesn't usually play with the 18th century can most easily relate to in terms of a ' reason why not ' answer.
We certainly don't get 7000 / 10,000 / 20,000 / 50,000 / 100.000 men in ranks at NFOE or Lace Wars re-enactments, in fact we're sometimes lucky to get 3 men and their dog if its a difficult weekend ( especially if your car blows up :cry: )
I've read the accounts of us Brits hitting the French and " the Frenchmans coat blowing outwards with the force of the shotte entering his body as his chest did collapse inside, him being so close upon my bayonet, and indeed nearly killed by that as well, myself unable to escape the advance as i was so crushed in by the bodies of men to my sides, too many at times as did kill our own men within the crushing as we moved ". blah, blah, blah..........we have no hope of ever truely recreating this part of history without recruiting 50.000 students from a local University by telling them it was a free beer weekend at the local rugby field if they wear this nice red uniform thingy.......!
I would suggest that Mr. Joolz best interest would be to come and one day play with the German Indians ( when next over ) as these chaps really are good at the hand to hand impression of full on with a Tomahawk, they miss your ears by millimeters, serious suggestion i recon you'd like the Germans Joolz...........
it was a quick process until they made it efficient .

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Re: Fighting Muskets

Post by Phil the Grips »

Neibelungen wrote:Where the hell do you keep it ?
Propped ready against a wall, or a ship's rail, or in the boat, or inside a doorway, leaning against a tree. Not all C18th reenactment is open battlefield stuff between ranked professional soldiers.
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Re: Fighting Muskets

Post by Tod »

Agreed, but I think the open battlefield fighting is not the place to do it. Would you agree its three hits and your out as my I think it is for swords etc?

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Re: Fighting Muskets

Post by Andy R »

Tod wrote:Agreed, but I think the open battlefield fighting is not the place to do it. Would you agree its three hits and your out as my I think it is for swords etc?
Sorry, is that three actual hits, or three strikes before melee is concluded?

We went through this in the NA and they have the three strike rule and a hit combo that means that the aggressor will always win.

Agreed, more than three strikes and you have the crappy Errol Flynn look which so exasperated me when looking at the video of Pots'n'pans last year with the chap fighting on despite being thwonked several times and having a swarm of tartan chappies covering him - looks very poor to the public.
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Re: Fighting Muskets

Post by Tod »

Three strikes.

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Re: Fighting Muskets

Post by Andy R »

Tod wrote:Three strikes.
:thumbup:
Young men have often been ruined through owning horses, or through backing them, but never through riding them: unless of course they break their necks, which, taken at a gallop, is a very good death to die

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Re: Fighting Muskets

Post by cannontickler »

This thread has now become one very large ' reenactorism ' .
people are putting forward their opinions rather than basing the converstaion around the original points .

Three strikes and your out with smartly dressed Redcoats or Highlanders acting out a staged set of moves looks just as silly as an Errol Flynn doing a four hour rehearsal for the next film.............as soon as it becomes at all "Am Dram Darlinks", it starts to look pathetic.
The facts here are that we are lucky enough to NOT have to be anywhere near a real battlefield of the 17th / 18th century,
the very sight of such real horrors would, i'm sure, make all of us pooh our pants, and this of course is where the empathy is lost in regard to our enterpretation of the way ' it really was '..........!!!!
Also without such first hand knowledge the readings of whichever books can then be put across to todays generations in the opinionated view of whoever is relaying the words of the books to the public, unless the person relaying the information has a real empathy for the period and is willing to consider multiple points of view in order to translate the ' most likely ' way it really was.
This happens a vast amount on reenactment forums as well, people get half way through a thread and start to speculate and chuck in their opinion rather than sticking to the original point of a thread such as this, which was to find out the facts to best ability.
As ( serious ) reenactors we have a duty of responsibility to relay the facts as we learn them to any member of the public that asks us for information, not to mention the fact that we don't portray war as a hobby of tin pot generals and toy soldiers, but as something that no sane person would ever want to go near if they had the choice.

To these ends it is irresponsible to ignore ANY possibility of what may have taken place at close quarters on a real battlefield in confusing and frightening circumstances with cannon being fired at you, musket being fired at you, chocking smoke so thick you really couldn't tell how far away a man was in front of you, people dying around you, people dying a fair distance from you but it felt closer due to the screams, half ton horses missing you by feet and shuddering the ground under you, your sweaty stinking woolen clothes so heavy as they are now soaked, the adrenaline being the only thing keeping you upright or you would collapse with exhaustion..........to give just a few points............so to suggest they did it in any form of set manner in the thick of war is a mistake i feel.
it was a quick process until they made it efficient .

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Re: Fighting Muskets

Post by Tod »

I think they cleared the field in line but as for fighting I'd agree. On another forum it was said that 10 would fight 10 like 1000 would fight 1000. I don't think so, it would be a push and hacking match. I'm trying to think of a way to replicate it to prove a point with out actually killing some one.

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Re: Fighting Muskets

Post by cannontickler »

Oh i can think of a couple of over enthusiastic self important little fools that i could quite happily stab through the eye with a bayonet for real ( by accident of course )..........that would give an air of authenticity to proceedings i'm sure.....?

However, i quite agree with you on this point.........." it would be a push and hacking match " .

as there are not the mass numbers within LW's or NFOE to represent a proper army of the day, surely it might be better to use the total opposite approach of having the ( singular ) reenactor doing a display in front of the public to represent whichever specific point you are trying to show to the public.
So for example, you get one Redcoat and one member of the cavelry to do a display right in front of the public to represent what a fellow defending against a horse would do with his bayonet in order to defend himself against attack.
You get one soldier with a musket and bayonet against one Highlander with a sword and demonstrate possible defense against each weapon from both points of view, your commentator gives the public all the gumph as they do the displays............that kind of idea.
You make these displays ( very ) quick and simple though, so as not to bore the crowd, or all the other reenactors stood at the back waiting about....... five mins max is a good way of judging it usually.
after these quick displays are done in front of the public the crowd has a greater idea of what would have actually happened in mass lines of a battle attack in a large battle or skirmish of a campaign as you then get on with the battle / skirmish proper.
it was a quick process until they made it efficient .

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Re: Fighting Muskets

Post by Joolz »

Good Lord! I jump ship for a few days, and when I get back on board, look at what I find. I’m pleased to have stirred up such a fiery debate!

Let’s get one thing clear first – these ‘muskets’ are a ‘reenactorism’ through and through: they were designed and built by a re-enactor, at the request of other re-enactors, for the purpose of re-enacting. Their very reason for being is for re-enactors to use in hand to hand combat (in front of MOPs) instead of a live-firing equivalent, and they are robust enough, cheap enough, and realistic enough at 20 paces, for them to be used without worry! If I have created a re-enactorism, then it was purely intentional. After all, in the real heat of battle, an infantryman of the period would care more for saving his own neck than getting a few dings in his pretty musket!

You could use it for drill, you could use it in bayonet practice, if you wanted. But for drill, why not use your real musket (just don’t drop it on concrete!). For practicing your bayonet skills, use a broomshank with a tennis ball on the end (hateful things – I ditched mine after one session and made myself a proper sprung bayonet fencing rifle – much better ‘feel’ to it).

But this ‘musket’ was specifically created for ‘fighting’ (hence the title of the thread).

The original context was maritime combat, up close and confined, where picking up a weapon that was lying around was not an issue. Of course, on an open field, you can’t carry two muskets into the fray. And you guys from what you are saying, don’t appear to have the numbers to have ‘bayonet men’ hidden amongst your ranks specifically for this aspect of public show, to reveal their skills at a given point in the ‘battle’ - which is what CT appears to be advocating.

As for the separate issue of the actual way in which infantry was trained how to use their bayonets, my view is coloured somewhat by my experience of 19thC bayonet fencing as a martial art. If one were to take the exploits of John Churchill, Frederick the Great, Aleksandr Suvorov (and the anecdotal accounts of actions involving the men they led) to heart, then you could believe that emphasis was given in the 18thC to training in bayonet fighting techniques. But other than the ubiquitous drill (and much of that was French), off the top of my head there leaves only a brief mention in Girard. From that, is it safe to assume that for over 100 years, a weapons system was issued to practically every infantryman, and no formal training was given in its use until Anthony Gordon or Alex Muller stepped in to ‘fill the void’? That hardly seems credible. And were lessons from the past in hand-to-hand fighting (Walhausen, for instance) simply discarded and forgotten?

Are we to assume that the professional soldier of the 18thC did not train at all for hand-to-hand combat? That’s not really a safe assumption to make. How many of you out there, after your set-piece battle, return to camp, strip to shirtsleeves and pick up a stick, a quarterstaff or raise your fists, and wager your prowess for a few shillings? Not many? Well, that’s certainly one ‘period’ way in which you would have honed your skills.

And so we’ve come full circle, as what I’ve described above is nowadays thought of as Western Martial Arts, hence my original assertion that WMA has a part to play in re-enactment. For one thing, like all forms of training and drill, it teaches a way of reacting and moving (some call it a ‘muscle memory’) which is counter intuitive to the ‘fight and flight’ panic one may encounter in a confrontative, confusing and unfamiliar situation, that is designed to help you survive (in a real battle) or win (in a competition) - the very scenario you describe, CT.

This may not have been vocalised as such in period, but the value of formalised drill in focusing the attention of the ordinary soldier in the heat of battle certainly was, and I believe it stands to reason that informal training amongst the troops themselves was also similarly valued.

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Re: Fighting Muskets

Post by cannontickler »

Theres one very important factor that must always be considered when dealing with 18th century though, and that is that we are now looking at the true regimentation of troop lines in government forces .
you've got the beginnings of red coated armies coming out of the London trayned bands in the 17th century under Cromwell, moving into the Marlburian forces, moving into Georgian forces........all pretty obvious i know and i'm not going to patronize anyone on here...........but as you move into Georgian warfare you see a real ( set ) programme of drills being brought in to drill troops in a standard fashion in order that they all behave in a certain manner in order to move a mass of men in controlled ways. to ignore your drill was to invite serious punishment from your sergeant or colonel and you just didn't want to go in that direction in the 18th century..........your looking at a flogging at the very least for getting things wrong in government forces.
in light of this the thinking is that an entire Redcoat force would have become a machine of war in its approach on a battlefield.
If we ask him nicely, Mr. Grymm might show us the Dutch drill plates he has, in which you'll see an entire set of drill maneuvers of the day from just one exacting drill exercise of just one army of just one point within the 18th century period, there are MANY drill exercises being written and put forward for practice for Redcoats during the period, all of which are variations on a standardized pattern of moves that worked for mass lines of men.
it was a quick process until they made it efficient .

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Re: Fighting Muskets

Post by Tym »

Go on then how how much are they?

Could you do a matchlock version?

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Re: Fighting Muskets

Post by Joolz »

Tym,

I don't really do 'retail' as such - I don't have the time what with the dayjob and the crafts business. If I get fired up over a project, then I make a batch for myself and a couple of interested parties, and flog the rest word of mouth. There are none of these left, although I have the parts for making more (stock blanks/barrels/metalwork etc.) but that probably won't be before Xmas.....and I may yet make them up into 'proper' replicas for my own collection.

As for matchlocks (you interested in doing some Walhausen?), well, I've got a huge piece of beech put aside for some fish-tail stocks and some wheellock pistol stocks (possibly a petronel, too), again for my own collection, but I haven't even cut the templates for those (maybe this evening?).

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Re: Fighting Muskets

Post by Fox »

Oh. I wish I'd caught this thread earlier.

I believe I am the owner of the first of these muskets, and probably the reason it exists in this form at all.

It is almost exactly the same in form to the early 18thC trade musket that I have.
In fact, it is sufficiently alike that I quick sleight of hand allows me to swap the one I've just been firing for one I can engage in hand to hand.

Given that what I'm re-enacting is not large military unit engagements, then this type of fighting seems completely consistent to me; although I'm always ready to be educated.

Having tried it out successfully in an environment where it's visual limitations were adequately obscured from the audience, I plan to add some of the missing features (lock, trigger guard, possibly even trigger and butt plate) from items recovered from broken or defective muskets.

As Jewels says, this will raise the price to pretty much that of my working Indian copy, but with significantly more durability for the task at hand, and with most of the parts recyclable into a replacement.

This will allow me to use it in situations closer to the audience.

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Re: Fighting Muskets

Post by IagotheHungry »

These look rather neat, I'd love to have one, they beat our dummy muskets into the the cold, cold ground :D

I must admit, I've been more sceptical about the SK tradition of fighting with a musket in one hand and a sword in the other, seems a bit implausible to me...
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