Moving 17th Century Soldiers

Wheeling to Make a Turn


"To the right from the right file leader, wheel!"
or "To the left from the left file leader, wheel.")

By 'Wheeling,' a unit changes its direction, not simply each soldier.  That is, everyone could  in the end be facing 90o to their former orientation, even 180o, but there would be no "Accidental" Front, only the "Proper" Front.

Before beginning this or any Wheel, Colonel Barriffe urges: "...close both ranks and files to their Order, which is Three foot both in rank and file...Musquetiers being all either poysed or shouldred; your Pikes ought to be Advanced."

Observe in the example that this motion shifts the unit from its original ground.  While simple to see here, on the field the actual result may not be quite as intended when the command is given.  Unlike other 'Reducements,' should the commander wish to return the unit to its beginning configuration or "reduce" the wheeling, the soldiers would NOT end up on the same ground on which they began the exercise.  (But the Front Proper would be maintained!)

Sergeant Subtlelus says:
Does 'to wheel' mean a 90-degree turn unless ordered otherwise or continued wheeling until told to stop?  On this, different heads sport different opinions, like hats.  Rather than opinion, the adept soldier will rely upon his ears, which he has keenly focused on the words of his officer or sergeant.  Should an officer wish his soldiers to continue their wheel beyond 90 degrees, he may do well to reassure them as they approach that mark with, "Keep wheeling!"

To refresh your knowledge of the various places of 'Dignitie' in the file, drag your mouse over these terms:
  1. File Leader
  2. Bringer-Up
  3. Half File Leader
  4. Half File Bringer-Up
Let's use musketeers instead of pikemen.