Moving 17th Century Soldiers

Closest Order: Sealed Knot Version

Pictured above is a small practice session for Sealed Knot Closest Order.  This is the formation immediately prior to making contact with the enemy pike block.  Compare to a rugby scrum.

Everyone engaged MUST wear helmet and gloves.  The pike is carried into the Sealed Knot push of pike but it is not held at Charge nor Port - not even Advance but a modification of the Advance posture: the pike is held diagonally upright across the chest.  By pushing back with their legs, the men in front hold back the pikemen in the rear who are pushing forward.  Upon command, the front men release their hold and spring forward into the enemy block with their fellow pike pushing immediately behind.  Tactics may be employed, for example, one of those in front saying, "We'll push at the right, spin'em around and then when we're uphill, we push'em straight down!"

And, yes, injuries are a distinct possibility with every push.  It is an absolute requirement during a push that should anyone shout "Man down!" all action IMMEDIATELY stops.

Should any American re-enactment group contemplate a Sealed-Knot-style push of pike, bear in mind:

  • There are paramedics in attendance at a Sealed Knot event who know how to treat push-of-pike injuries.
  • The British have a government-sponsored health-care system, which means that the first question asked when medical assistance is required is NOT "Do you have health insurance?"
  • We Americans live in the most litigious society in present-day civilization.

Those pictured above are pikemen from Regiments of Col. Thomas Ballards and the Earl of Stamford, which are Parliamentarian and belong to the Western Association.  Little ol' me is in there - pushing in back with only my pointy black helmet showing.  Picture courtesy of David Luckhardt.