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So I knew my Napoleonic drill was patchy. I have been confusing drill postures.
The position that I thought was called Order in Wellington's time was actually Present - with the musket butt held in the palm of the left hand and the musket vertical between the left arm and the left side of the body.
In actual fact Order is the same as I know it in the 17thC, the butt of the musket rests on the floor beside the right foot, with the right hand gripping the muzzle end of the stock.
Sorry about my confusion. Any other comments about the importance or the functions of drill, and whether there is a difference between parade ground and battlefield still apply.
"....you know what's going to happen and you know it's not going to be pleasant. "
Reminds me of an impending visit from the in-laws! :sweat_smile:
Order Arms goes back to the 18th century (when the command was "order your - FIRELOCKS", and before that. From the 'order' position, the command to 'rest' 'at ease' or 'parade rest' given as required.
The command "present - ARMS!" was used because as well as the firelock or musket, there was the bayonet and also edged weapons such as swords and the half pikes carried by Serjeants and officers.
Presenting arms was done as a salute - the weapon held out so that it could be taken and inspected by the commander, should he choose to do so; with the advent of shorter breech loading weapons, the 'inspection' was changed to a port arms (rifle held diagonally across the body) stance and present arms retained for salutes.
Every musket drill I have worked with has the soldier return his musket to the shoulder once loaded, both for safety and as a visual signal that he has loaded.
Thank you for all the additional information gents. The Steelers order arms figures are lovely, and it’s good to know there’s a further use for them beyond parade ground or camp scenes.
Very cool story Wayne. Not to hijack my own thread, but I was actually watching a WW2 movie the other day with American paratroopers who had both the 101st Airborne spade on their helmet and the 82nd Airborne shoulder patch and thought to myself, any paratrooper from either division wouldn’t like that!