Musket

 

History


By the time of the English Civil Wars, the musket was the main range weapon of choice and was a key feature of any foot regiment. The musket was an inaccurate weapon, often fired en masse, either as a salvo (volley) or by one of the many tactics used around this time, such as firing by introduction or by forlorn file. The effects of these tactics could be devastating if such a volley hit its mark.

The musketeer was equipped with a muzzle- loading matchlock musket, a coat or suit of clothes which often included a montairo (a soft hat similar to a balaclava), a bandolier, bullet bag & powder flask and a sword for close combat.

Often a musketeer would also carry a bullet mould to make his own shot from plundered lead or even his own coat buttons if things got desperate.  At Basing House the besieging Parliamentarian musketeers melted down the lead coffins from the family crypt to fire back at the defenders in the house.

The skilled musketeer could fire two or three times a minute; given the slow reload time the musketeer would turn his musket around and use it as a club when the enemy was upon him before he could reload. This was such a powerful use that musketeers often favoured this in hand to hand combat over the poor quality swords issued as a side-arm.

 

Musketeers Today

Though the musket is a lot easier to handle than a pike and there is no pushing to gain ground, there is a lot more hand to hand action involved; in keeping with one of the roles played by musket during the Civil Wars, musketeers are often sent out in advance of the main army as a skirmish unit.

On the modern SK battlefield, the musketeers often work as smaller regimental units, but sometimes as part of a larger unit at battalion strength at some of the larger events. In any battle, the musketeers will split time between firing and hand to hand.

In all regiments within the SK (and by law), you will require a shotgun certificate to handle a live musket due to their classification under this firearm type; you will also require an explosives certificate allowing you to handle the Black Powder used to fire the musket. Both of these items are required in order to take your Musket Test, which you must pass before you can draw powder and
fire on the field.

 

Joining the Musket

When joining our Musket Division within the regiment, you will be kitted out with the items you’ll need to take the field as a musketeer and shown some of the basics by another musketeer. You will also be brought into drill sessions with the rest of the musket block to get used to some of the things you’ll be doing on the field later on. Initially, you’ll be handling a ‘dummy’ musket until you can legally carry a ‘live’ one.

Once you hold the shotgun and explosives certificates needed to handle muskets and black powder, you’ll have the opportunity to learn to load and fire a musket in a controlled environment, which will help with the experience needed to take the Musket Test. Once you’re ready, an officer will present you for testing with one of the SK’s Musket Inspectors – once you pass your test, you’ll be a fully-fledged musketeer and able to draw powder!

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What if I don’t have a shotgun licence or explosive certificate when I first join?

A: You can still take to the field; by law you must hold the shotgun licence to handle any musket which can be fired – we can issue a ‘dummy’ musket from our regimental stock which you can borrow.

Q: What sort of muskets do you use?

A: We mainly use the matchlock musket as this was the main type used during the Civil Wars, but there are some members who do use flintlock/doglock muskets modelled on the ones from the period.

Q: Is there any requirement for me to pass my musket test within a set period of time?

A: None at all! The end to end timescale between first joining and taking the test varies from person to person, depending on how often they can make events, how quickly they can get their licenses (which depends on the issuing authority), etc.

Q: What happens if I pass my musket test but don’t have my own musket?

A: We have a small supply of regimentally owned muskets which you can borrow, subject to availability.

Q: Can I use a sword on the field?

A: Yes, however you must pass your musket test before you can take your sword test.

Q: Will I need to buy all my own kit?

A: At first we’ll loan you out what you need till you can get your own; ideally however (with the exception of musket specific equipment) you should aim to buy or make all of your basic kit by the end of your first season.