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Ramrods are for tricks muscle dril

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We all have our pet peeves. Others are upset that field commanders have no idea of proper tactics. My pet peeves include all of the above and much more, hence this Ramrods are for tricks muscle dril. Do to suit yourself, but it serves no purpose other than to cater to an overdeveloped and non-reality-based fear of blistering the other guys with powder.

At a event we hung a sheet and fired right at it from a variety of distances. We shot loose powder and we shot with rammed paper. We finally, at four yardsput two specks of powder on the sheet.

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In exchange for shooting down another reenacting canard, I offer you an actual checklist of things not done at most events that can actually save you some grief and some minor bloodshed.

For the basic, I mean really, utterly basic, purpose of making sure nobody shows up loaded with either a decrepit wad of powder from the last event or, even worse, with a projectile from target shooting or hunting?

Second, the lack of real oversight on the firing line is simply amazing, as is the lack of adherence to drill in firing. This is the stuff file closers are supposed to address, not only Ramrods are for tricks muscle dril problems on the spot, but also noting chronic offenders and taking them aside later for intense instruction. Finally, how about a weapons inspection on the company street that actually means something? Yes, the barrel needs to be clean on the inside.

It’s pointless and looks silly

But did you ever look at your hammer? It should be dead center. If it is too Ramrods are for tricks muscle dril to an edge, guess what? The hammer may have been bent slightly due to the inevitable hard use over the years, or it may have worn where it pivots, or it may actually be over or under tightened. But it needs to be fixed. And besides, if you are shooting at each other at 30 to 40 yards, you are unrealistically close for that kind of thing.

A hundred yards or more, a football field, and you are not ridiculously anachronistic.

Commands we often get wrong

But at 40 yards, you need to be running. At them or away from them, either one is fine, but running. No physical effort, no financial output, just a string around your finger when you take to the field to remind yourself what to stop saying and doing. Or multiple strings …. It IS necessary for captains to give additional orders sometimes to effect a battalion maneuver. More in a later post. And a fully dressed line is a stylish line.

This actually orders a battalion to march to the rear in open order which, if you are in a battlefront to begin with, is clearly impossible. To be sure, if every man on the roll was present, all would be accounted for, but this is a rare thing indeed.

Not egregious but useful to know: Route step is the best way to go more than a couple of hundred feet. You lean in when ordered to wheel from the halt. You lean OUT when ordered to wheel from a formation on the move.

Right or left wheel. At the second command, Ramrods are for tricks muscle dril wheel will be executed in the same manner as from a halt, except that the touch of the elbow will remain toward the marching flank or side of the guide instead of the side of the actual pivot; that the pivot man, instead of merely turning in his place, will conform himself to the movement of the marching flank, feel lightly the elbow of the next man, take steps of full nine inches, and thus gain ground forward in describing a small curve so as to clear the point of the wheel.

The middle of the rank will bend slightly to the rear. As soon as the movement shall commence, the man who conducts the marching flank will cast his eyes on the ground over which he will have to pass. The wheel being ended, the instructor will command: The first command will be pronounced when four paces are yet required to complete the change of direction.

At the command march, which will be given at the instant of completing the wheel, the man who conducts the marching flank will direct himself straight-forward; the pivot man and all the rank will retake the step of twenty-eight inches, and bring the head direct to the front. Probably not, because it can get confusing, especially the part about taking the touch to the side of the guide.

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Just to set you straight: HOWEVER, when I take to the field, I am as occasionally forgetful as the next guy, to the point where, for example, I had to ask my first sergeant Jeff Myzie what the command was to let the men not march in lockstep on the icy road we were following. No posts until Jan. Those things do matter — units that can maneuver well, like the Mifflin Guard, take an enormous amount of pride in their skill. Make my heart flutter.

No tricks, reenactorisms or anything else. Just, perhaps, an epiphany induced by a teensy bit more knowledge than we knew was there. One a week, just to keep it manageable. It is usually a real mess. Look at the bottom of the image; the men are still in fours. There is no command to do that. We all seem to know the double quick and the right shoulder shift, but somewhere in the years sincewhen reenacting took off, we lost the undoubling.

We just have a mob, usually. There are learning steps to make this easier to master. First time you do it, 1. Second time, walk, but have the first sergeant take little steps, like nine inches or so.

Third time, first sergeant continues at a marching pace and the rank and file double quick, at right Ramrods are for tricks muscle dril, to get into line. Try it at your first drill and you will be amazed at how this troubling maneuver is reduced to piffledom even raw Ramrods are for tricks muscle dril can handle.

Also, though, some of the questions are intended mostly to remind all of us what they were concerned with at the time, rather than as a practical thing we need to incorporate: When our first sergeants take the roll, they often also set up the company for the first time in two ranks, and tell the captain, with a salute, that the company is ready.

As you discovered in the quiz, the first sergeant during the Civil War, upon taking the roll, f irst informs the captain which soldiers are absent, because sickness and desertion were huge concerns and so was the absence of personnel necessary for daily operations — noncoms, cooks, etc. Noncommissioned officers are the core of a military unit, even a reenacting one. So what does it take to be a reenacting sergeant?

I mean, actually, a functional, useful, experience-enhancing reenacting sergeant? And before you take it, you might want to check out a couple of earlier posts on the subject, here and here. Notice they are in a double file and have blue uniforms?

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From the Web site of the 64th Illinois. From the University of Michigan, the U.

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Army Regulations of And it could be worse. You could have these fellows in your company. Someone recently asked for a column on light infantry vs line infantry.

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Second, we can use the distinction to our advantage, differentiating among reenactors according to age, agility, physical conditioning, etc. We are all using manuals that imply we are light infantry. A lot of what we do is line infantry.

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What they did was also a mix, starting the war with certain ideas and shifting to re-adapt guidelines from earlier eras while simultaneously introducing some innovations while simultaneously refusing to adapt line infantry even after an entire regiment had replaced muskets with rifle muskets. Going in every direction, pretty much. And note that this is closely related to target practice, which we covered in the last two essays Ramrods are for tricks muscle dril, and to the Outpost essay.

In this system, the light company is the designated skirmish company, with the men working in pairs — one loaded at all times — to form a screen in front of the battalion as it advances.

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The light company could function as line infantry, but line infantry normally was not expected to function as skirmishers. Even at the beginning, however, there were specialized units, men who were, or claimed to be, excellent shooters.

Much of this came from tradition — riflemen who were good shots, who pegged the British from behind trees, starts as a tradition right after Concord Bridge.

Also, initially, these were men who came to the army as good shots already. It seems manuals and reports used sharpshooters, skirmishers and light infantry somewhat interchangeably.

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Note the bugler, on the line, sounding the maneuver call just given to him by the officer, also on the line. Sketch by Augustus Metzner. Records show that sometimes regiments would call for companies to send their best shots to form an ad hoc skirmish company. Confederates seem to have been more innovative than the United States armies. Union forces seem to have stopped at the level where good shots routinely were Ramrods are for tricks muscle dril in a company within a regiment, which acted as skirmishers for the regiment and then, when full battle was joined, became another company of line infantry.

Even though the United States army early-on fielded two battalions of sharpshooters Berdans, which became the 1st and 2nd Ramrods are for tricks muscle dril. Sharpshooter regiments there is little history showing them used as full battalions with special missions. They were instead parceled out, one company serving with each regiment in a division, for instance. The same with other specialized units, including sharpshooter companies recruited in Massachusetts and Michigan.

And there is some evidence that some regiments, especially smaller, veteran ones, advanced and attacked as skirmishers, in a fairly dense line but without the rigidity of linear tactics, making them somewhat more elusive targets.

More on that in the future. Confederates took an innovative approach to light infantry, as they did with so many aspects of the war. In brief, though, the Confederate armies early-on used sharpshooters in battalions, which had screening missions in an advance, delaying missions in retreat, and, late in the war, even more training in what approached German shock troop training of World War I.

Very small groups of Confederate sharpshooters, late in the war, would have specific objectives beyond screening and delay, including capturing batteries, seizing debouchements into earthworks, and even seizing forts.

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