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militia flank companies

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  • Larry Lozon
    From: cplwattie Would militia have had formal flank companies? ...I had the impression that the flankers from the embodied
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 3, 2002
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      From: "cplwattie" <cwattie@...>

      " Would militia have had formal flank companies?
      ...I had the impression that the flankers from the embodied militia
      were pulled together in 1813 to form the Inc. Militia of Upper Canada "
      .....................

      According to documentation:

      The 1st Regiment Kent Militia

      contained:
      a

      Flank Company
      Rifle Company
      Troop of Cavalry
      and a trained Artillery crew

      after the Battle of the Thames
      a portion of the Kent Militia moved
      to the Niagara Area but a large contingent
      stayed in Kent county (Chatham Ontario)
      and kept harassing the American troops
      and captured a troop of American Dragoons.
    • falange36
      Hello, Popped back on the list to add my two cents to this interesting thread. I did not see where the determination that Flank Companies were not used as
      Message 2 of 7 , Jul 9, 2002
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        Hello,

        Popped back on the list to add my two cents to this interesting
        thread.

        I did not see where the determination that 'Flank Companies' were not
        used as lights in the screening modes. My research has shown this to
        be their main purpose. You folks called these companies 'Flank' and
        we called them 'Light' or 'Rifle'. Your militia Articles called for
        two per regiment (8 coy + two flanks = 10) and we had one per
        battalion (2 battalions per regiment meant 2 lights as well). US
        standing militia wore civilian uniforms yet the 'Lights' wore
        uniforms and were subject to fine for not having one. The uniform
        style varied per each state's law. The purpose of the uniform was
        identification and a sense of elite status.

        Our 'Lights' and I bet your 'Flanks' performed the duties of
        screening the remaining 8 coys and/or protecting the flanks. When
        not in front the 'Flanks' assume a position on the ends of the line
        or fell in on the rear as a reserve. Their training was not to make
        them a steady unit for the regiment, but to enable them to operate in
        extended order. This was not as easy a task as standing in a line.
        The 'Flank' soldier had to be able to work in a small two or three
        man group and understand a whole new series of bugle and/or whislte
        calls. He also had to learn bounding maneuvers in the advance and
        fall-back. I believe this is why the unit had to train more often
        than the 'Standing' line units.

        The reason for more than the token two was the growing need for more
        screening forces. Also, there was the practise of pulling
        the 'Flanks from units to form a 'Light'or 'Flank' Battalion to
        operate as lights for a brigade. Therefore a smart commander liked
        to have more than one trained 'Flank' coy. The regulars tended to
        train extra companies as lights as well.

        The soldier would switch out of the unit because service in
        the 'Flanks' was a lot of work. it required far more running than
        the standing coy. Your system may have wanted all to have a chance at
        it, The US militia 'Lights' were a separate coy that recruited its
        own volunteer from the standing coys. It tended to be a popularity
        contest. The uniform and physical requirements tended to make them
        elitest or snobish to the standing folks. They carried company
        banners and the Maine (Massachusetts) 'Lights" favored the jockey
        style cap with the bear comb from front to back.

        Like your 'Articles' The US had Fedaral and State laws regarding the
        size and appearance, etc. of the boys

        Tom
      • R Feltoe
        Tom, In regards to your comments, all you say is generally correct in regards to the functional duties of Flankers but the reality of the system in Upper
        Message 3 of 7 , Jul 9, 2002
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          Tom,
          In regards to your comments, all you say is generally correct in regards to
          the functional duties of "Flankers" but the reality of the system in Upper
          Canada did not match the "theory" or practice of the regulars. There may
          well have been the intent to utilize the "Flankers" as you state, but the
          relatively short time they were in existence as an entity and the documented
          events they were involved in seem to show otherwise.
          Regards
          richard Feltoe
        • falange36
          Richard, That being the situation, what did the regiments do for a light infantry screen. Certainly the formation would have one, it would be very dangerous
          Message 4 of 7 , Jul 10, 2002
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            Richard,

            That being the situation, what did the regiments do for a light
            infantry screen. Certainly the formation would have one, it would be
            very dangerous for unit to move on its own without one. Or were the
            units always part of a brigade with a larger screen?

            Was this the practice of the militia regiments of Lower Canada?

            Tom
          • R Feltoe
            Tom, The work of the flank companies (both regular and militia) varied considerably during the war as the tide of combat altered and supplies of men shifted.
            Message 5 of 7 , Jul 10, 2002
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              Tom,
              The work of the flank companies (both regular and militia) varied
              considerably during the war as the tide of combat altered and supplies of
              men shifted. For example, at one point flank company regulars from the 41st
              were used as Marines on the British fleet on Lake Erie, while other units of
              that sort crewed gunboats on the St Lawrence. However, they also acted on
              land in the 'traditional' manner as both advance and rearguard troops during
              most of the main repositionings of the army as the campaigns progressed.

              By 1814 and the Niagara campaign, the usefulness of the 'Light' force led to
              the Flank companies from several regiments being brigaded together as
              composite effective "Light" battalions and numerous instances can be found
              of their use in both smaller skirmishes and during larger battles such as
              the Battle of Chippawa (where a composite force of the Light companies of
              the 1st, 8th, 100th, the main body of the 2nd Lincoln Regiment and a
              substantial number of Western Indian allies acted as a separate force in
              pushing through the woods on the American Left flank and fighting an entire
              battle with Porter's militia and Indians.

              On the other hand the best example of where the "Light" troops acted
              exclusively as "Line" can be seen at Lundys Lane where these same regular
              regiment detachments remained fixed in line throughout the battle and
              suffered the casualties of point-blank volleys in the hilltop fighting.

              It is also perhaps the best example of the failure of the British
              leadership (Lt Gen Drummond) to make best use of his 'Light' troops, for
              although the Glengarrys acted in an extended skirmish role on the British
              right flank and did considerable damage to Scott's 1st Brigade, its fellow
              unit The Incorporated Militia were restricted to staying in line and were
              thus outflanked by the US 25th in the woods on the British left flank and
              forced to wheel back 90 degrees to secure the entire line.

              Worst of all, despite having all these experienced "Light" troops, not a
              single skirmisher was sent out from the British line to secure the front of
              the hill after darkness fell and provide advance warning of American
              movements. As a result, Miller's 21st Regiment was able to sneak up the
              hill and unload a volley into the Artillerists manning the battery in the
              churchyard before closing with the bayonet and taking the guns.

              Needless to say, by the time the siege of Fort Erie rolled round , the
              pendulum had swung the other way and there were daily instances of the use
              of "Light" troops to cover the British construction parties and to probe the
              American defences.

              This is a huge topic and might perhaps be best kept for use as a reenactors
              conference seminar session, so 'nuff said for now.

              Regards Richard Feltoe
            • falange36@aol.com
              Thanks you for the reply. I have a question that has kept me guessing for some time. You mentioned the well known practice for converging light companies
              Message 6 of 7 , Jul 11, 2002
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                Thanks you for the reply.

                I have a question that has kept me guessing for some time. You mentioned the well known practice for converging light companies together. Were Grenadiers generally converged with these 'Light' Battalion. If so, did the grenadiers act as lights or add muscle to the converged battalion?

                I have slipped from the militia topic to regulars.

                Most cases I have seen converged them separately.

                I am trying to understand the tactics a converged battalion of 3 lights, 3 grenadiers, 1 rifle, 1 sailor and 1 marines would used on the attack. In the case I'm bewildered on, the marines, rifles and a light formed the vanguard.

                A main body is hinted at so it seems like the converged battalion acted as a standard battalion, only as an elite groups. To thicken the plot, a LTC of the 7/60th Rifle was brought in special to lead the unit.

                Has anyone read about or any thoughts on such a convergence. I would really like to hear any and all ideas.

                Tom
              • Scott Jeznach
                I am trying to understand the tactics a converged battalion of 3 lights, 3 grenadiers, 1 rifle, 1 sailor and 1 marines would used on the attack. In the case
                Message 7 of 7 , Jul 11, 2002
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                  I am trying to understand the tactics a converged battalion of 3 lights, 3 grenadiers, 1 rifle, 1 sailor and 1 marines would used on the attack. In the case I'm bewildered on, the marines, rifles and a light formed the vanguard.

                  A main body is hinted at so it seems like the converged battalion acted as a standard battalion, only as an elite groups. To thicken the plot, a LTC of the 7/60th Rifle was brought in special to lead the unit.

                  Has anyone read about or any thoughts on such a convergence. I would really like to hear any and all ideas.

                  SJ: Ross' Brigade in the Chesapeake included army regulars, Royal Navy Landing Party sailors, and Royal Marines. If I remember correctly, a company of Marines was part of the vanguard acting as Light Infantry along with the army lights companies. The rest were divided into two battalions, with the RN and RM making up the bulk of one battalion and the Army making up the bulk of the other.

                  Scott J.
                  Royal Marines


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