We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Being a Colonial soldier against native insurrectionists who did not know the exacting Rules of European Warfare, such as standing shoulder-to-shoulder in precise targets lines and taking turns at firing group volleys at one another, must have been most unnerving.A single shot in volley took 56 precise steps, usually on the command of a sergeant (who must have needed one of those little wrist things that footfall quarterbacks have today!Imagine if the savages redskins IndiansNative Americans indigenous insurrectionistscharged when you were laying down your musket at step 51!Read Philbrick’s fabulous Mayflower to see how they barely survived.
Here are the orders, or words of command, under the 1668 title of "The Compleat Body of the Art Military," laid down for the practice of the manual of arms (i.e. for such as used the muskets).
1. Stand to your arms 2. Take up your bandoleers 3. Put on your bandoleers 4. Take up your match 5. Place your match 6. Take up your rest 7. Put the string of your rest about your left wrist 8. Take up your musket 9. Rest your musket 10. Poise your musket 11. Shoulder your musket 12. Unshoulder your musket and poise 13. Join your rest to the outside of your musket 14. Open your pan 15. Clear your pan
16. Prime your pan 17. Shut your pan 18. Cast off your loose corns 19. Blow off your loose corns and bring about your musket to the left side 20. Trail your rest 21. Balance your musket in your left hand 22. Find out your charge 23. Open your charge 24. Charge with powder 25. Draw forth your scouring stick 26. Turn and shorten him to an inch 27. Charge with bullet 28. Put your scouring stick into your musket 29. Ram home your charge 30. Withdraw your scouring stick 31. Turn and shorten him to a handfull 32. Return your scouring stick 33. Bring forward your musket and rest 34. Join your rest to the outside of your musket 35. Draw forth your match 36. Blow your coal 37. Cock your match 38. Fit your match 39. Guard your pan 40. Blow the ashes from your coal 41. Open your pan 42. Present upon your rest 43. Give fire, breast high 44. Dismount your musket joining the rest to the outside of the musket 45. Uncock and return your match 46. Clear your pan 47. Shut your pan 48. Poise your musket 49. Rest your musket 50. Set your musket off the rest and set the butt end on the ground 51. Lay down your musket 52. Lay down your match 53. Take your rest into your right hand clearing the string from your left wrist 54. Lay down your rest 55. Take off your bandoleers 56. Lay down your bandoleers
Image: Easy to see why the flintlocks replaced the matchlocks: you could eliminate a few firing steps.
I suspect that in practice it was far easier to do than explain. It must have worked, because there were many bloody battles fought with matchlocks. like so many clumsy looking weapons, it was far more deadly when handeled by an expert than it at first appears.
You are correct Mark, I think. The experts/professionals get their rhythm, so to speak. Long sword vs short, long bow vs short, etc... It is serious men doing serious business that take the weapon beyond its inventor.