The organisation and economics of an infantry regiment of 1775 – 1777, The British, Part 4:
So our company of 1776 is at field strength of around thirty eight of all ranks! Our company is also performing manouevres in two ranks owing to the changes implemented by the army commander General William Howe.
The company has now been split into two platoons each of 16 soldiers and then sub-dived into two sections! The section is the sub unit for movement and forming up. The lead platoon has two Corporals forming on the right and left, the second platoon has the third Corporal formed up on the left, when the company is formed into line there are three Corporals formed in the same rank, the Sergeants take post ready to coerce the enlisted men to carry out the given command.
These orders are given by the Company Officers which were then passed on to the rank and file by the Sergeants with the assistance of the company drummer and Corporals, all maneuvering was done in two ranks by the sub-sections, it has been mentioned in some books that owing to the class system of the time the officers did not directly speak with the common soldier, they communicated through the Nco’s.
The 18th Century battlefield is a noisy and hectic place, two bodies of soldiers would march and maneuver to bring about a solid front to face off against one another to deliver a steady disciplined volley, the idea was to force the other body to break either by being forced to retire or run and rout.
A steady wall of soldiers advancing with bayonets leveled after delivering steady fire could be quite unnerving to inexperienced soldiers, as time went by during the war the opposing regulars would virtually become on an even par with one another.
The current plan then is to form a complete regiment on 1:1 based on the information that I have stated in the previous post’s, the time given for painting the figures is quite time consuming and we want to be able to get on the table to game, we have two companies completed for this purpose.
Moving forward we have decided to game using smaller formations, the 1:1 project will come to pass as time goes by and as the figures slowly get painted. Phase 1 will be to field a Brigade on the table, our main period of interest is between 1775-1777 and the war in the northern states and seeing as we have the 37th Foot as our main core unit we are looking at the New York campaign of 1776.
New York 1776, the 37th were formed up into a brigade of four line regiments under the command of Major General Valentine Jones, the 3rd brigade consisted of the foot regiments of the 10th, 37th, 38th and the 52nd, these other three line regiments had already been in the colonies for some months, either all or part of these regiments had already seen some action, the flanks companies had already been in the fight against those rebellious colonists, the 38th and 52nd Foot had even been at the battle at Bunker Hill the previous year.
Also with the 10th & 38th Foot Regiments having yellow facing’s will help in our ultimute goal of a complete 1:1 37th Foot, although the 38th facings were designated a darker (more orange) yellow in the 1768 Royal Warrant, we will use a darker colour when painting up this unit, the other slight problem being that the 37th yellow has been described as canary yellow in clothing returns that we have seen from the PRO (National Archives) at Kew, either way I am pretty sure we can live with this.