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Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

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  • #61
    Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

    Your argument should simply state that it is important to read where feet are moved. Therefore if you are doing an older style and stepping forward or to the left, then firing through the left interval is correct. If you are using a manual like Hardee's Revised or Casey's or Gilham's you must follow their foot placements which always have the soldier stepping 8 inches towards the right heel of the man to the RIGHT of their file partner. In these cases, firing is done in the usual way (over the right interval). The vast majority of reenactors use one of these manuals and therefore they are correct in firing over the usual interval instead of the left. You end up with something of an apples and oranges argument because the foot placement is so different for the left interval manuals. A final point to consider is when using using the Ready as seen in H. Revised or Casey's, a musket properly held at eye level would have to be lifted over the head of a file partner which is very inefficient when trying to aim at a 90 bpm pace. Awesome that you spent all this time with the early manuals, but like flintlocks, triple ranks, and readied muskets held vertically, many features of earlier manuals did not carry over to all CW manuals. At least you have inspired more people to read carefully.

    Sam Cathey

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    • #62
      Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

      Originally posted by john duffer View Post
      He just changed to a musket stack and manual of arms insread of rifles with saber bayonets. The stack seems to have come from Ellsworth or whoever Ellsworth got his from. I came across his same manual of arms in a slightly prewar New York State National Guard manual, not sure if that's original or secondary source.
      What is clear to me is that everyone "writing"drill books are copying from each other. Both inside the US and in Europe.

      Not a big surprise. When carrying some sort of musket there is really only that many ways to do things that make anatomically sense.

      Hardee's revised is not just the musket manual of arms. It is a mix that you don't find in any of the official US military drill books.

      So unlike his original 1855 book, that was just a translation, this time he did update it to fit the arms actual in use by the relevant army.
      Thomas Aagaard

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      • #63
        Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

        Originally posted by thomas aagaard View Post
        So unlike his original 1855 book, that was just a translation, this time he did update it to fit the arms actual in use by the relevant army.
        Correct, he replaced the rifle manual of arms and stack with a musket manual of arms and stack. I meant to say that in my earlier post but must have been unclear.

        If you've come across some other difference I'd be interested in learning them.
        John Duffer
        Independence Mess
        MOOCOWS
        WIG
        "There lies $1000 and a cow."

        Comment


        • #64
          Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

          Originally posted by john duffer View Post
          Correct, he replaced the rifle manual of arms and stack with a musket manual of arms and stack. I meant to say that in my earlier post but must have been unclear.

          If you've come across some other difference I'd be interested in learning them.
          He used a mixed manual of arms.
          The first part of Load and how you fix bayonets are from the musket manual.
          But Shoulder arms is from the rifle manual.

          Musket manual of arms: Taken from the US Infantry tactics 1861
          Shoulder arms in the left hands. (U.S. Tactics, 415. "The piece is held in the left hand")
          during load the musket is to the left of the left foot. (U.S. tactics 441 "With the right hand carry the piece directly downwards along the left thigh, seizing it with the left hand above the right, and letting the butt come to the ground without shock, so that the piece shall touch the left thigh ;")

          Rifle manual of arms: Taken from the US Infantry tactics 1861
          Shoulder arms is in the right hand, (U.S. tactics 121. "The piece in the right hand")
          During load the rifle is between the feet. (156. "and bring it vertically opposite the middle of the body, shift the right hand to the upper band, place the butt between the feet,")

          Hardee's revised:
          Shoulder arms: 121. "The piece in the right hand"
          Load: 156. "Carry the piece to the left side with the left hand—butt upon the ground—barrel to the front—piece inclined to the right and front resting along the left thigh, muzzle six inches in front of the center of the body"

          that is what I mean about modifying the manual to fit the conditions. He stuck to the right hand shoulder arms, that is useful for the faster movements.(compared to Scotts manuals)
          But went back to the left side load that is better suited for the long muskets. (compared to the short rifles that he had expected to be in use)

          Personally the two versions of load make no difference to me. but Iam 180cm tall.
          I got one of our short members who is something like 165cm tall to try the musket version. It was much easier for him, than the rifle manual.
          (We are a union units, so we have always used Casey)
          Last edited by thomas aagaard; 09-03-2018, 04:26 PM. Reason: typo and layout
          Thomas Aagaard

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          • #65
            Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

            Thanks Thomas, I get it now - he replaced the manual of arms for rifles with one more suitable for muskets. Don't know why I couldn't grasp that.:confused_
            John Duffer
            Independence Mess
            MOOCOWS
            WIG
            "There lies $1000 and a cow."

            Comment


            • #66
              Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

              Originally posted by thomas aagaard View Post
              He used a mixed manual of arms.
              The first part of Load and how you fix bayonets are from the musket manual.
              But Shoulder arms is from the rifle manual.


              that is what I mean about modifying the manual to fit the conditions. He stuck to the right hand shoulder arms, that is useful for the faster movements.(compared to Scotts manuals)
              But went back to the left side load that is better suited for the long muskets. (compared to the short rifles that he had expected to be in use)
              Not 100% sure he mixed and matched to create something new.STATE OF NEW YORK 1858.pdf
              John Duffer
              Independence Mess
              MOOCOWS
              WIG
              "There lies $1000 and a cow."

              Comment


              • #67
                Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

                Not a official manual used by the US military.
                Thomas Aagaard

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                • #68
                  Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

                  Originally posted by thomas aagaard View Post
                  Not a official manual used by the US military.
                  I think you missed the point. Neither was ELLSWORT'H'S but Hardee switched to his stack or whoever Ellsworth got it from. Notice Hardee uses number two and number one in the stack section but odd numbered and even numbered elsewhere. There were a number of musket manual of arms not a THE musket manual of arms and seems far more likely he just borrowed one of those instead of starting from scratch. Of course the first three muskets could be stacked ala ELLSWORTH but the man leaning his on the stack is using 1835 SCOTTS :sarcastic
                  John Duffer
                  Independence Mess
                  MOOCOWS
                  WIG
                  "There lies $1000 and a cow."

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

                    Originally posted by SyLibby View Post
                    One minor comment. The USSM question/answer at least implies that there was some discrepency over how Left oblique was being performed in the field. I am personally a supporter of the Left interval. However, clearly some commands were using or advocating the Right interval, hence the question to the USSM. So, although I believe the Left interval is correct, I would not view it as in unauthentic representation to do it over the Right.
                    There are two good reasons why the question would be asked (A) what to do is unclear to the questioner who is there at the time (B) both possible answers have been observed and there is a request for the generally accepted practice to be stated.

                    From the perspective of the historian, we have a primary source - the point in question is being directly answered. While we don't know why the question is being asked, it had been answered definitively by someone in a better position to have that knowledge than we do.

                    As to the lack of qualification of the editor to comment on the subject due to lack of combat experience in the war in question, it would seem that the same limitation should apply to all of the commenters in this forum, but we carry on anyway.
                    Tommy Attaway

                    Company of Military Historians, & etc.

                    Knox-Corinthian #851, A. F. & A. M. of Texas

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

                      Originally posted by rake View Post
                      There are two good reasons why the question would be asked (A) what to do is unclear to the questioner who is there at the time (B) both possible answers have been observed and there is a request for the generally accepted practice to be stated.

                      From the perspective of the historian, we have a primary source - the point in question is being directly answered. While we don't know why the question is being asked, it had been answered definitively by someone in a better position to have that knowledge than we do.

                      As to the lack of qualification of the editor to comment on the subject due to lack of combat experience in the war in question, it would seem that the same limitation should apply to all of the commenters in this forum, but we carry on anyway.
                      Right, we're not combat-qualified either, and we don't know which manual either the questioner or the editor were looking at, but we do know that if you use either Hardee's, the '61 Tactics, Casey's, or the USCT manual and place your feet according to their directions, firing over the left shoulder is impossible unless your front rank man has the courtesy to remove his head before you execute the command "aim."
                      Michael A. Schaffner

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                      • #71
                        Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

                        Once again, just so everybody knows, the United States Service Magazine that everybody cites as being the "official" answer to the left oblique question was not any sort of official military publication. It was, in fact, a short lived literary magazine that spent more time reviewing the latest edition of the dictionary than it did discussing military matters. The person who stated that left oblique is over the left shoulder was not a Civil War officer--he was in fact Henry Coppee, Professor of English Literature at the University of Pennsylvania. He had been in the Army once, but had not seen active service since the Mexican War. Certainly he was writing from his understanding of Scott's manual. He also answered questions about artillery drill in his magazine that reflected earlier drill and contradicted the latest instruction just the same.
                        Craig Schneider

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                        • #72
                          Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

                          That someone asked which side was correct shows there was a discrepancy even then. If only William Pace had watched the video on facebook, he would have known (1) that the instruction in his 1865 manual was impossible and (2) that the right interval is the only correct interval for firing.
                          Silas Tackitt,
                          one of the moderators.

                          Click here for a link to forum rules - or don't at your own peril.

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

                            Originally posted by Silas View Post
                            That someone asked which side was correct shows there was a discrepancy even then. If only William Pace had watched the video on facebook, he would have known (1) that the instruction in his 1865 manual was impossible and (2) that the right interval is the only correct interval for firing.
                            Or if he had read the tactical manuals in actual use at the time...

                            Granted there were readers of the US Service Magazine who had questions, including the fellow who asked if regimental adjutants could wear gold trouser stripes. But the existence of "discrepancies" didn't mean that there was no correct answer,
                            whether it was the one the editor knew or not.

                            And while the Tactics of the Nauvoo Legion certainly have some historical interest, I don't know which army of the United or Confederate States adopted them for general use...

                            The fatal flaw in your argument about which shoulder to fire over is that it simply doesn't work if you follow the steps in the manuals actually in wartime service. The LR's video shows that, and the fact that it appears on Facebook simply shows they know how to use social media. It doesn't lessen the value of their analysis; quite the opposite.

                            I have a feeling that if you could have made a video showing why the LR's was wrong you'd have posted it by now. I have an even stronger feeling that if you had, it would simply have underscored the correctness of theirs.

                            That option's still available...
                            Michael A. Schaffner

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

                              Originally posted by Silas View Post
                              That someone asked which side was correct shows there was a discrepancy even then. If only William Pace had watched the video on facebook, he would have known (1) that the instruction in his 1865 manual was impossible and (2) that the right interval is the only correct interval for firing.
                              I admit I 'm not familiar with William Pace's 1865 manual but I assume this post is a bit tongue in cheek. I don't think Facebook was available at that time and even if it was he couldn't watch a video that didn't exist until the 21st century (similar to how I don't see officers training their men with booklets prepared in the 21st century).

                              I have seen folks on here that conclude that left interval was the only correct way no matter what your manual indicates for some reason but I personally feel you followed the instructions in the manual you were training with and sometimes left was correct and sometimes right was correct. You follow the text and the foot positions.
                              John Duffer
                              Independence Mess
                              MOOCOWS
                              WIG
                              "There lies $1000 and a cow."

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Re: Debunked: Left Oblique Aiming Over Right Shoulders

                                People who haven't read any of my booklets condemn me for changing original text. And then others pile on with the same gripe. Problem is, I don't change text. I value primary sources. When I add text to one manual from another or when I add text from a different part of the manual, I site the source like this : [Upton] or [SoC xxx] and then I include the outside text. "But, what about left oblique?" you might ask. Glad you asked.

                                For my booklets on Gilham, Hardee and Casey, I include text as it was written in those manuals without change. Although I have included left interval in each of the booklets, it has always been in a section immediately following the original text on left oblique under the heading, "Remarks on Oblique Firing" or some header like that.

                                You can see both texts side by side with the different text clearly marked with source. I haven't changed what's already there. I add perspective from other period sources when there is discrepancy, ambiguity or a solid idea. For example, when forming ranks, who goes first when both men have the same height at the head and at the shoulder? It's not in the big three, but I've included it in my booklet on Hardee's Revised and noted the source immediately before the text so there is no confusion as to source.

                                John, text from William Pace's manual is quoted in my article on Left Oblique. He published a drill manual in early 1865. It's been on my links page forever. Shouldered arms is in the right hand. His instruction on manual of arms reads very much like any other manual of the period with the exception of him specifically instructing that the weapon be placed through the left interval after advancing forward the right foot a mere eight inches. His manual of arms is based upon Hardee and Casey in the same manner that Baxter is based on Scott.
                                Silas Tackitt,
                                one of the moderators.

                                Click here for a link to forum rules - or don't at your own peril.

                                Comment

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