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Two or three lineformation?

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  • Two or three lineformation?

    Among Napoleon's marshals, there was a lively discussion going on concerning the line formations. There were some that found it was better to put their men in two-line formations on the battlefield while others preferred three-line formations ! In october 1813, Napoleon ended the discussion by stating that from then on, the troops were not allowed to be put in three lines deep anymore to get a maximum of firepower (but actually to get the most out of all his troops)...
    But still today many historians cannot agree...
    So, how about you? Would you put your men in two-lines deep or three-lines deep?



    Greets,
    Stratego
    10
    Two lines
    70.00%
    7
    Three lines
    30.00%
    3
    Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.- Napoleon

    It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.- Herman Melville

    Aut viam inveniam aut faciam

    BORG

  • #2
    Well as for me, I would prefer to put my men in a three line formation !
    Although it would lessen my frontage, it would automatically strenghten my line because it would be three deep instead of two ! The men in the back could serve as reserve for the men hit up front, but would also function as a moral booster if the formation comes in dire straits ! It is always nice to know that you have comrades behind you in the thick of the fight...



    Greets,
    Stratego
    Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.- Napoleon

    It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.- Herman Melville

    Aut viam inveniam aut faciam

    BORG

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    • #3
      I have to go with the two man line frontage being someone that participates in it monthly (reenacting ). It would put all your fire power out in front. even if the front rank knelt the rear rank still couldn't fire because the muzzle blasts would be right above their heads.

      it would automatically strenghten my line because it would be three deep instead of two !
      I know during the Civil War the units often fought with a half company front for just this reason. As well as to be able to cycle in men to fill in the holes in the line. Not sure if that occurred in the Napoleonic though.

      but would also function as a moral booster if the formation comes in dire straits
      That's what the sergeants, sergeant major, and Lts were for!!
      "We Will Stay Here, If We Must All Go to Hell Together"
      -Col. John R. Cooke, 27th NC

      Avatar: My Grandfather on the right. His twin on the left. Their older brother in the middle. In their Navy Blues

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      • #4
        How about between the Enmass advance and what I like to call a "super square" (partially between enmass and a regular square). THey will really strengthen your line.......unless you are attacking then you are screwed

        Matt
        Last edited by Airchallenged; 14 Sep 07, 19:17.
        "We Will Stay Here, If We Must All Go to Hell Together"
        -Col. John R. Cooke, 27th NC

        Avatar: My Grandfather on the right. His twin on the left. Their older brother in the middle. In their Navy Blues

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        • #5
          A two man line gives superior firepower and a wider frontage. Ideal for dealing with a French column...
          "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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          • #6
            Originally posted by AIrchallenged View Post
            I have to go with the two man line frontage being someone that participates in it monthly (reenacting ). It would put all your fire power out in front. even if the front rank knelt the rear rank still couldn't fire because the muzzle blasts would be right above their heads.
            Two line for me based on the above & I'd also add that a 3 deep formation is a better target. The denser the formation the more likely that shots will find a target. If very simplistically a pair of 600 man battalions are shooting it out & one if generating 600 shots firing at a 3 deep frontage of 200 men whilst the other is generating 400 shots firing at a 2 deep frontage of 300 men I know where my money is going.

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            • #7
              I voted for two lines, the third rank used by the French was responsible for injuries to the front rank, many a time soldiers came out of battle with wounds to their hands, it got so bad that i think it was either Larrey or Ney studied several injuries to soldiers in the front rank, which at first was thought to be self-inflicted, so much so that some were under sentence of death, but it soon became obvious that the third rank was doing the damage, so thus saved some soldiers from an unjustified execution.
              The French Reglement of 1791 specifies three ranks. The tallest men were placed in the first rank and the smallest in the second, the remainder made up the third rank.
              The Reglement also specified two rank firing, in which all three stood, the third rank loading muskets for the other two.
              The only real advantage i can see to the third rank would be plugging the gaps to the front two.
              Last edited by Post Captain; 15 Sep 07, 10:46.
              Never Fear the Event

              Admiral Lord Nelson

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              • #8
                Two lines for firing, because I too have read about the potential ineffectiveness of the third firing rank. However, I did read somewhere about the idea of having the third rank not firing, but instead simply reloading muskets and passing them back to the front two ranks. In this case, I might be tempted in some cases (although it means that you effectively lose 1/3 firepower per volley, you might make up for it with increased rate of fire?).

                Good question, as always.
                "I am not an atomic playboy."
                Vice Admiral William P. Blandy

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