Hi Dan and Iain,
First of all I should say i hae done very little rersearch on the Imperialists but I do think that we might have some interesting things t learn from them.
But first a few comments.
I think you will find that there were a number of firing systems available in every army. At the time there were any number of exercise regulations, public and private. Which one was used depended more on the regimental commander and the tactical situation than on any state policy. As you know, even Swedish exercise regulations discussed "platoon fire".
Yes I agree that was not as clear cut as often suggested. Indeed I also think that we have a problem in that we have no exact definition of what 'platoon fire' actually is. The term is often used in period source in less than a precise way.
But as I will argue below I still think that having some idea of what was actually used.
I don't want to rekindle any debate, but to my mind the importance and use of "platoon fire" has been greatly exaggerated.
I would certainly agree and that was part of the reason I asked.
Ok so first of all the one of the reasons I asked about this is because of a problem I have with the Russian. It is only recently that I realised that I had a problem. Iain informed me (in a private message) that it looked like the Imperialists, or at least some/most of them, were using platoon fire from the 1680's - basically as he has said here (thanks Iain).
This is a problem because you see in the mid/late 1690's a Russian general was sent to find good tactics for the Russian army to use. The general travelled round Europe and fought in a couple of the Imperialist campaigns. He then went back to Russia and wrote a report in 1698 on his recommendations for the new tactics to be used. He was very impressed by the Imperialists and recommended that the Russian start using the Imperialist systems. This meant no pikes and rank firing, in particular the firing method called “nederfallen”.
So obviously it was a big surprise that the Imperialists seem to be using platoon fire. But it is also perhaps an indication of what the Imperialists are actually doing in the mid/late 90's. Incidentally the Russian general wasn't too impressed with platoon fire.
It also seemed to cause other problems as it has been commonly thought that units fighting with the Imperialists, in the WSS, did not use platoon fire. This even in the case of say the Danes who had units with the Anglo-Dutch and which did use platoon fire. So this presumably means that we have to look again at the use of platoon fire by allied contingents with the Imperialists.
But I also think that perhaps this can also tell us more about the effectiveness, or lack of it, of platoon fire. Especially as evidence generally is in short supply. Say the Danes fighting with the Imperialist stuck to rank or some other kind of firing when their host army, and also other Danish units fighting with the Anglo-Dutch, were using platoon fire. Then obviously this would tell us a lot about platoon firing effectiveness. Now of course what we will learn depends a lot on what new evidence we can find. But I think that any new evidence can only help on this subject which is not going to get solved without more information.
I hope that makes sense as I am in severe need of 'medication' myself after a hard day