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May 12th, 2006, 07:07 PM
In my story I have a force of law-upholders called Legionnaires. They wear guns, and work for the king. The story is set in about renaisance times, in a fantasy world, but their weapons are somewhat advanced. They use revolvers and other artilery. What I'm having a problem with is, I'm not sure how to describe their training methods. I know that they are part gunslingers, part rangers/trackers, but how did militiamen train in the old days? What kinds of drills did they do?

If anyone offer anything of help, i'd appreciate it.

May 13th, 2006, 03:12 AM
I would take a look at either the British civil war, or maybe better, the War against the French in America cira mid to late 1700's. In the latter you have the formal training of the British/French troops plus the Colonists/Indian trackers/skirmishers

Depends how deep into the research you want to go. A good re-enactment group of that period would be a great help.

Oh there were guns about during the Renaissance

The first record of the actual use of gunpowder in Europe is a statement by Bishop Albertus Magnus in 1280 that it was used at the Siege of Seville in 1247

Hand guns were known in Italy in 1397, and in England they appear to have been used as early as 1375

Henry VII organized the corps of Yeomen of the Guard, half of whom were to carry bows and arrows while the other half were equipped with harquebuses. This represents the first introduction of firearms as an official weapon of the Royal Guard

May 13th, 2006, 04:49 PM
wow, thanks for that. I had no idea guns had been around for so long. I found this site with some interesting information, in case anyone else is interested. But I still haven't found any information on drills and tactics that were used to train militia back then.


ironchef texmex
May 14th, 2006, 11:22 AM
wow, thanks for that. I had no idea guns had been around for so long. I found this site with some interesting information, in case anyone else is interested. But I still haven't found any information on drills and tactics that were used to train militia back then.


Pen, drills from the renaissance probably won't help you.

Rennaissance period combat was based on large scale movements, so most of the training was focussed on getting the soldiers to move in lock step. Not the kind of thing that one would expect from pistol-toting rangers.

But don't worry, the essence of training methods don't really seem to change that much throughout history. Modern soldiers drill at a shooting range; medieval English longbowmen did same.

I think there's a pretty short list of determining factors for training styles.

The biggest is probably equiptment. Pistol-gunners will need range practice. If they use horses they will need drills for mounting/dismounting, care and grooming, etc. You might also want to put them in a courtyard and let them wrestle around and take slashes at each other with wooden practice (melee) weapons.

The other major ingredient is culture. What kind of monarchy is this? If your society is a loose conglomerate of land barons, then training might be a more informal, learn-from-the-veterans, sort of thing. If it's a tighter society, you might want to work in elements from something like Bushido.

Assuming this is a work of fantasy, it's your call. It's your world. Think about any world culture that has some elements you want to draw from and study that. Then, feel free to mix and match elements. Heck, you might invent something totally new.

Like I said, it's your call.

Oh, and if you're still looking for books on the topic, I recommend an author by the name of Stephen Turnbull. He's got good stuff on both European Renaissance warfare and Medieval Japanese warfare and tactics.

May 14th, 2006, 03:12 PM
thanks, chef

May 15th, 2006, 12:04 PM
Also consider this though... your force is using a sidearm (pistols)

Most "old time" militaries, even modern ones, use the rifle as the standard weapon... And "old time" drill consisted of moving a large unit of men (a regiment) to direct their fire.
Obviously, you are not trying to move an entire regiment, so these guys work more... alone.

Obviously, for them to be weilding pistols they must be fairly accurate. I would look more towards modern police drills such as pop-up targets, or ranges that you move up and seek cover, or a range that you walk through with pop ups.

May 15th, 2006, 06:25 PM
You might want to also consider the necessities of their style of combat as it relates to their drilling, if they are on horse and with less force to bring to bear their tactics would be hit and run, something at odds with militia arguably, and they'd need to be well drilled in potential fall-back scenarios.

Pistols and artillery are an odd mix tbh, as TEC said the rifle would be more a much more likely weapon in the larger scale fights suggested by artillery, whereas pistols are short-range, personal weapons congruent with mobility and relatively small stopping forces over distance. I'd think about your use of the term militia aswell - your group sounds more like a special army unit than 'militia' which were either ordinary citizens who formed an army in times of need or called to serve as auxiliaries to a main army. The level of drilling you seem to be talking about speaks of professional soldiers. Just my two :)

May 15th, 2006, 07:39 PM
To add to that... I guess I ignored artillery the first time.

Artillery means guns (like cannons)... Fixed gun emplacements... I am imagining these guys as bodyguards, maybe on a slow day a local police force. What you are saying with artillery is that if the cops have a problem, they unleash an artillery barrage like an invading army?

And to add to the term militia... Think of it like the National Guard. Militia might as well be a regular army in your mind - the only difference is that they typically have inferior training and equipment (they don't do it full time...). The further back in history you go, the less of an organized fighting force it becomes and the more of a group of citizens with weapons trying to defend their homes it becomes.

Legionnaires implies that they are part of a legion... just be aware of that.

If ANYTHING, I would equate these guys to a police force or a band of vigilantes, but not a milita.

May 22nd, 2006, 01:22 PM
The level of tactics isn't always dictated by the technology available. Look at the American civil war- they were still using the old 'Continental' style of combat (everyone lines up to fire), even though the weapons in use were much more accurate. This is one of the big reasons such hienous casualties were taken by both sides. Of course, armies tend to be trained to fight the last war, not the current one (just something to think about)

If your revolvers use rounds of ammunition, there's no reason that long guns wouldn't use the same type, leading to breach loading or multiple shot rifles and such. Again this would change the tactics, and how your troops are trained. Another thing to consider is communication- radios allowed for smaller units to fight large battles in WWII and beyond. If your militia has access to long range communication, this would change how they fought.

As someone pointed out already, some things wouldn't change. Modern armies still do formation drills and such to teach self-discipline, determination and espirit de corps. Your soldiers could conduct outdated drills and exercises just to teach everyone to stick together and foster comradarie.

Another thing to think about is the composition of your troops. That is, I've always thought of militia to be the local guard- "weekend" warriors. Rangers suggests (again, to me) that these are experienced bushmen- who may not be too keen on learning military discipline, and already know how to fight. I guess my point is that different types of soldiers would use different tactics and training.

May 22nd, 2006, 01:42 PM
Thank you all. I guess I was a little too free in using the term militia, when you're right, this is a sort of personal Legion, serving the king. You guys have given me much to consider and help me. Thanks, guys.