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View Full Version : Firing in 3 Ranks!!!!????



sbl
08-04-2007, 06:15 AM
Please don't tell me it's because they're "French." ;)

From the American Museum of Photograghy

"Photograghic fictions"

http://www.photographymuseum.com/appertexecutionrlg.jpg


Eugene Appert: Execution of the Hostages at The Rocket Prison. Albumen cabinet card photocollage, 1871.


"..The photographer Eugene Appert made a series of pictures showing similar atrocities -- but only those committed by the forces of the Commune and not the bloody reprisals of the ultimate victors, the national troops loyal to Thiers. Perhaps if the fighting had gone the other way, Appert would have featured the crimes of the national forces against the Communards..."

Rob Weaver
08-04-2007, 08:16 AM
Wow - They really don't want to miss those 5 priests, do they! Wonder why anticlericalism runs so strong in the French? (Actually, I know the answer to that.) Chilling photo, really.

tompritchett
08-04-2007, 09:14 AM
Scott, unless you bring this thread around to discussing the firing in three ranks during the Civil War, I will move it to the Whine Thread. You have about 12 - 13 hours to do so.

sbl
08-04-2007, 10:52 AM
...let's see.

Thomas,
The incident was in 1871 (close) It's hard to tell but the Guard Mobile troops in the photo may still have percussion weapons. Some U.S. tactics were based on French models. The photo is period "photo shopped". (That's interesting) The folks that know weapons, photography, and tactics tend to hang out here. Good enough?


As always I defer to your judgement.

CameronsHighlander
08-04-2007, 11:50 AM
I've done it in Rev. War never Civil War but Front rank kneels, with 2nd and 3rd rank standing. It is incredibly Dangerous and even Rev war usually sticks with 2 ranks.

CivilWarBuff1863
08-04-2007, 01:51 PM
In the movie: "Last of the Mohicans" DVD I think there's a behind the scenes video of them firing in 3 ranks. They have 3 ranks, the front rank kneels and when the order is given to present arms the front and middle rank raise their muskets and fire at the command. After they have fired the rear rank moves up in front of the "now loading" 2 ranks. After they have fired the 2 other ranks moves in front of them. It just goes on and on. It's dangerous but it can be done in a safe manner.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Tsbg1NtWuU0

indguard
08-04-2007, 07:39 PM
I wonder if the photographer made the first rank stand so that they would show up in the photo? After all, if they were kneeling like they should be they could not be seen by the lens.

I remember when we first started paying lots of attention to photographs and reenactors started trying to wear their hats waaaay back on their heads because they saw it in original studio photos of soldiers. But, the reason they wore their hats that way in those studio photos is because the photographer told them to push the hat back so they could see their faces in the picture! NOT because the soldiers wore their hats waaaay back on their heads in the field.

I don't see how three ranks standing could fire safely, anyway.

7thNJcoA
08-04-2007, 08:39 PM
if you did that from the standing with black powder the front rank would be hit by the muzzle blast and burned unless there was a good gap between men which is not aparent here. I studied some older european tactics and have seen three ranks mentioned but the first was kneeling and 2nd and 3rd standing. I have also seen a painting of a front rank prone middle kneeling and rear standing it was a rev war painting during the battle of morristown

Justin Runyon
08-04-2007, 11:19 PM
There is a pre-war English manual (I forget who wrote it and am in hopes that someone can) that describes firing in three ranks, and firing in two while both are kneeling.

It goes like this...

In two ranks, both ranks kneel and load as we are familiar with in 1860's US manuals, on aim only the front rank sits on their heel, the rear rank remains kneeling as in load. This effectively moves the front rank down and over.

Three ranks is the same as above, but for the rear most rank remaining standing.

Rob Weaver
08-05-2007, 04:50 AM
I wonder how that third rank can hit anything (besides the front rank) in the configuration in the photo. Do you think the executioners were heartless enough to take a studio picture with everyone standing and pointing their rifles at the condemned, then did the whole thing over again with the front rank kneeling when they pulled the trigger?

tompritchett
08-05-2007, 07:41 AM
I wonder how that third rank can hit anything (besides the front rank) in the configuration in the photo. Do you think the executioners were heartless enough to take a studio picture with everyone standing and pointing their rifles at the condemned, then did the whole thing over again with the front rank kneeling when they pulled the trigger?

Looking closely, it looks like the second rank is firing over the left shoulder of first rank file leader and the third rank is firing over his right shoulder. However, it does look like several of the front rank file leaders are going to get severe powder burns on their right ears and be temporarily deaf in that ear after the execution.

johnduffer
08-05-2007, 12:26 PM
Scott's Tactics (1835) describes it and has illustrations. I got to do this with a company during downtime at a LH at the Carter House. We didn't actually fire, just went throught the motion, mainly to see how it was done at the left oblique. The 2nd & 3rd rank fire to the left of their kneeling front rank man and this is where some of the argument arises on firing to the left or right of your file leader in two ranks, the wording is left over from the three rank description.

John Duffer

jjack
08-05-2007, 12:40 PM
Think the photo could have been staged as a propaganda shot to cause a public outrage? John Jackson

Rob Weaver
08-05-2007, 03:41 PM
Think the photo could have been staged as a propaganda shot to cause a public outrage? John Jackson

I don't think so, as I alluded, the French have a long history of anticlericalism and are rabid about preventing an alliance between church and state. After the fall of the Third Empire and the mess the Communards made, there was a bloodbath of purges, arrests, kangaroo courts and executions. Ironically, the Germans hadn't left the country yet, and in some places were still garrisoning parts of the country watching this crazy stuff go on around them. They found it incomprehensible. Histories of the Franco-Prussian War in English can be a bit hard to come by, but Michael Howard's The Franco-Prussian War is quite comprehensive. If you like French literature, Emile Zola is your man for the FP War: Nana, The Debacle, etc. There's also a chapter early in The Debacle which describes two of the central characters putting up a tent d'abri which any reenactor will recognize.