Moving 17th Century Soldiers

Order - in the Ranks

Order in the ranks is the appropriate spacing in ranks for soldiers when assembling or receiving instruction from their superiors.  It also is good for maneuvering and may be used in the march.  Soldiers are sufficiently separated to go through the motions with their weapons without undue risk to one another.  OrderInRank_HS

The space for Order in the ranks is easy to determine.  Should two soldiers in a rank rest their hands on their hips to have their elbows crooked (akimbo), the elbows of the two should almost touch.  Granted it's easier to poise the left arm rather than the right, which must hold the weapon, but even with only one arm akimbo, simply visualize double the distance from the elbow to the person at the left.

Colonel Barriffe provides commands for going to Order in the ranks and which depend on the initial status of the ranks:

  • "Files open to your right (or left) to your Order!" (if the initial status was Close Order)
  • "Files close to your right (or left) to your Order!" (if the initial status was Open Order or wider)
  • "Files open (or close) to your right AND left to your Order!" (instead of files shifting to one side or the other, soldiers orient to the rank's midline)

Some illustrated examples of distancing commands

(Remember, a rank is 90 degrees to a file and consists of one soldier from each of several files.)