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 Posted: Sat May 26th, 2012 03:28 pm
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gnoman
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I am new to the group and would be interested in finding someone who can answer a couple of questions concerning cavalry formations and signals.
Specifically,

If a regiment was was formed up four across by companies, each company divided into two squads , what would that formation be called? Column of fours, column of fours by squad two by two, or what?

A related question. If that formation were preparing to attack an advisary, what would the sequence of bugle calls be if beginning from a stationary position? Advance, then charge or would there be something in between?

Thanks so much for anyone who can assit or direct me towards someone who can.

gnoman



 Posted: Sat May 26th, 2012 04:33 pm
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Mark
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I'm afraid I don't quite understand the formation you describe, but here is the information in the original format. I'll give it a scan and see if I can figure out an answer for you.

http://books.google.com/books?id=LPAxAQAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=cavalry+tactics&hl=en&sa=X&ei=UAXBT-ffKMOC2AWpyMSBAQ&ved=0CEAQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=cavalry%20tactics&f=false

Mark



 Posted: Sat May 26th, 2012 04:39 pm
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Mark
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pg. 181 has the sequence of orders for the "charge." It looks something like this:
From a Stationary Position:
1) Forward, Guide Center, March

After 20 paces
2) Trot, March

After 60 more paces
3) Gallop, March

After 80 more paces
4) Charge

Hope that helps a bit
Mark



 Posted: Sat May 26th, 2012 06:05 pm
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gnoman
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Mark:

Thanks for both replys, sorry I wasn't very clear with the description. What I'm tryiing to describe is a mounted column/regiment made up of say 4 companies. They are organized by company order, call them company A, followed by B, then C, and finally company D.

Each company is organized into two squads. The members of each squad are riding in twos (side by side) so overall the column is four men wide; ie. the first row would be two men from first squad, company A, riding next to two men from second squad, company A. That coninues through Company A and then repeats for each company in return.

If I were riding in that formation how would I describe it after the fact to someone and reflect the fact that we were organized by comany and squad and four wide?

Company Company Company Company
D C B A
********** ********** ********** **********
Squad 1
********** ********** ********** **********
>>>>>>>
********** ********** ********** **********
Squad 2
********** ********** ********** **********

I don't know if the graphic will come thru as I created it but maybe a picture is worth a thousand words.

Thanks again for your assistance

gnoman



 Posted: Sat May 26th, 2012 06:44 pm
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Mark
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If I understand you correctly, I think you are talking about a series of platoons marching in column of files by four (see pg. 107). There doesn't appear to be a regimental formation as you described, but a regiment might look like that as it deployed from a march column into a line of battle. Just a note, in the 1864 version of cavalry tactics, mounted companies are designated as "squadrons" and are made up of several "platoons" each commanded by a Lieutenant. The "squad" as an official unit designation did not come into being until the early 20th century. I'm still not entirely sure that what I gave you is the right answer, but hopefully you can find what you are looking for at the link I sent.

Mark



 Posted: Sat May 26th, 2012 08:46 pm
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gnoman
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Mark:

Thanks again for the reply. My period of interest is actually the mid-1870's western cavalry. Would the manual you referenced apply to that period as well?
Everything I've read so far seems to refer to Companies during that period and I've seen the terms squad and platoon used interchangably for sub-divisions of companies but I'm guessing one is more correct than the other. Was there a newer cavalry manual in use in the mid 1870's that you are aware of?

gary



 Posted: Sun May 27th, 2012 04:26 am
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Think I got the Stackpole Books reproduction of the book Mark linked to. It's definately something I'd recommend looking into purchasing where you're re-enacting or not as it gives you an idea on what the regulations of the time were.



 Posted: Sun May 27th, 2012 04:09 pm
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Mark
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gnoman, I've searched through my books and I can't find a definitive answer to your question about the change in regulations between 1865 and the 1870s. There was definitely a new series of regulations that came out in the early 1890s and that was updated again in 1911. It also appears that formation names are dependent on the drill manual a unit was using. For instance, in the version I quoted earlier it talks in terms of squadrons instead of companies. However, in the 1855 and 1861 versions, they refer to cavalry companies. By the 1890 version, the term "troop" had replaced company and so it remains today. Also interesting is that the word "squad" appears once in the 1861 version, none in the 1864 version but by 1890 it appears more than 200 times in the drill manual. The plains Indian wars seem to have really emphasized the need for more decentralized tactics. I know that doesn't answer your questions, but I hope that helps somewhat!

Mark



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