Use of ramrod

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use of ramrod

Post  Dansoui on Wed Nov 18, 2009 2:52 am

It has been widely discussed during the event, but I do want to make a point here about the use of ramrods during a battle/skirmish. An event as this LBE needs to be as historic as possible I do understand, but the use of a ramrod for loading a musket during the event I think must be banned.

We have had a ramrod fired at us this year, and I can tell you that was not a pleasant experience. The man that did this, forgot his ramrod in the confusion of battle, and has been punished enough for this by having to carry his ramrod on his backpack the rest of the event. And of course he has made his deepest apologies, and we have accepted them.

But please.... no more using ramrods during a battle, its unsafe, not necessary, ....and saves you time for more firing.
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Re: Use of ramrod

Post  Marc on Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:27 pm

Dansoui,

Thank you for your post. Just so that everything is clear, I'd like to point out that the "camp/field living-history etiquette" rules do touch upon ramming:

O) Ramming charges in muskets/rifles/carbines is left at the discretion of the individual groups.


Now, I appreciate your position and comments regarding the unfortunate incident this year (the guy has seen his ramming accrediation within our association withdrawal for the start of the 2010-season until he passes it again) and would reassure you and others that it was an accident (the first in that unit's 6-year history) and has been put down indeed to confusion and a momentarily lapse of concentration from both his unit official and himself.

As for a all-out ban...I'm not entirely sure at the moment. For me the danger of a flying ramrod is less than the danger of, say, hand-to-hand combat where most re-enactement injuries happen. This is why the LBE event's rules of engagement read as follows:

Situation 3 - Infantry VS. Infantry

Skirmishers retreat infront of a line charge.
Skirmishers cannot charge formed infantry.
In charging formed units, the lower numbering force must break BEFORE contact.
If in numerical inferiority, one cannot initiate a charge.

As well as:

Situation 4 - Cavalry VS. Infantry

Infantry always breaks against charging cavalry.
Cavalry cannot attack and must retreat against wooden/entrenched infantry.

I read in your feedback that there was hand-to-hand combat on the Sunday (this worries me) and that reports from the French participants mention a square being formed against charging cavalry instead of breaking and taking refuge (with the waggon out of action, this could only mean taking cover in a ditch, a wood or a house).

What are other participants opinon on the question?
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Post  Dansoui on Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:15 am

The hand to hand combat in the little wood was perhaps overexerturated by me (in good 19th century bias order), in practice it was good fun infantry in skirmish order trying both sides to push forward or outflank each other. The fun part was in moving to the right (French left side) the French lost contact with the gun on their right flank and so we managed to get behind the gun, that could not turn in the hollow road....victoire

No actual fighting took place, but the story sound more heroic this way clown

As for not breaking up under cavalry attack, I will try to sketch the situation. On arriving on the open field in front of the village there was some French cavalry awaiting us, we scared them off, near the bush edges, but had to move for quit a bit through open field and because there was no other way to approach capt. Stavros infantry on the other side of the field, and no possible cover we moved slowly forward in a square while the highlanders were giving covering fire, we thus managed to reach a bridge over a ditch, and used that as an means to block the French cavalry with half of the unit facing backward and using the rest of the infantry to challenge capt Stavros. This is when the ramrod incident took place. In the confusion of that I noticed the Scotts taking cover behind us in the woods because the cavalry somehow flanked them and we had to give up then.

Hope that answers your questions a bit. No offense to the guy who fired the ramrod by accident, it has been spoken off with him, and he deeply apologized. It is just a worry from me that I want to bring up because it is the 3th time in a year we have a ramrod fired at us in confusion of battle, and therefore a safety issue that has brought a lot off discussions in the 7th line and finally made us decide: first load before battle propped up with ramrod, rest of the battle no more. Further just use ramrods in a demonstration (12 steps loading) More control.
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Re: Use of ramrod

Post  Marc on Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:05 am

Thanks for these precisions. It acutally clears up alot of things (now that I have both sides of the story). I guess that if I had been there, I probably would have pointed out that the way to attack would be to have the Dutch hussars on your flank seperating you from the French cavalry...but if they were to pierce through, then it would be a mad scramble back to the woods. That's abit what happened to Stavros on Saturday and he was forced to surrender.

No worries with me about bringing up such a safety issue. I must say that for myself, I've only witness 3 ramrod firing incidents in my 11-year re-enactement career so when I read that you've had 3 incidents alone in 2009: WOW!

As you can see in Point O of the participation rules, each unit can decide or not whether they want to ram their charges within their policies. It is the group members that really know which members can be trusted to do this and which can't really.

Mind you, I think that saying that ramming could be put aside when skirmishing and put back in place whilst in line might well be a good idea. I don't really want to put it as a rule because some groups will always want to ram whilst others will never want to, but it can be recommended.
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Re: Use of ramrod

Post  Derk on Sat Nov 28, 2009 10:52 am

Except that at the time of that incident (if I understand correctly) we (Dutch hussars) were scouting the village BEHIND the french, having just executed an outflanking maneuver. Wink

Which did lead, us 15 minutes later, to charge down the road just as the French artillery was limbering up their gun to pull back. For safety reasons (risk of limber horses panicking) we stopped the charge and let them through.
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Re: Use of ramrod

Post  Marc on Tue Dec 01, 2009 4:08 pm

I find that that is within the rules of engagment (and using one's head). cheers
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