21eme Regiment de Ligne
  Ecole de Peloton

Section III

Discipline of the Platoon

Ecole de Peloton

The instruction of the platoon necessarily preceding that of the battalion, and having for its object the preparation of the soldiers for acting in battalion, the progressive method and principles about to be laid down, shall be applied to the exercise and discipline of companies considered relatively regulated by the course of instruction to be herein given; and with reference to their detail.

The platoon, or squad, which has acquired the 'discipline of the soldier', shall likewise be instructed according to the system entering on; it shall be formed, three deep, under the command of a chief of the platoon; with a covering sergeant and fourth rank. They shall be arranged, as has been directed for the formation of platoons in line. There shall be, besides, an officer, or non-commissioned officer, appointed to exercise the platoon. He is to be termed the 'instructor'.

The discipline of the platoon shall be divided into six lessons, and each lesson will include five articles, as follows.

Lesson I

Lecon I

1.To open ranks.                         (Ouvrir les rangs.)

2.Alignment of open ranks.         (Alignement a rangs ouverts.)

3.The Manual Exercise.                (Maniement des armes.)

4.To close ranks.                         (Serrez les rangs.)

5.Alignment of closed ranks.     (Alignemens a rangs serres.)

Lesson II

Lecon II

1.Loading in quick time.         (Charge precipitee.)

2.Loading in quickest time.    (Charge a volonte.)

3.Direct and oblique firings of the platoon. (Feu de peloton direct et oblique.)

4.Independent file-firing.             (Feu de rangs.)

5.Firing to the rear.                     (Feu en arriere.)

Lesson III

Lecon III

1.March in line.                     (Marche en bataille par le premier rang.)

2.To halt the platoon marching in line. (Arreter le peloton, marchant
en bataille

3.Oblique marching in line.                 (Marche oblique en bataille.)

4.To mark time; to march in quick time, (Marquer le pas, marcher le
                                                                        pas accelere,

and the back step.                                 et le pas en arriere.)

5.To march in line,                              (Marche en bataille par le
                                                                    troisieme rang

with the rear rank leading.

Lesson IV


1. March to a flank.                     (Marche de flanc.)

2. Wheeling in file                        (Change de direction par file.)

3. To halt the platoon marching        (Arreter le peloton marchant par

to a flank, and to form it to a flank.    et le remettre de front.)

4. To form from file to either flank. (Se former sur la droite, ou sur

                                                                la gauche, par file en bataille.)

5. Forming to the front from file.     (Etant en marche par le flanc,
                                                               former le peloton et les sections

Lesson V


1. Wheeling forward by subdivisions from line.     (Rompre par

2. March in open column                                     (Marcher en colonne.)

3. To change the direction on a moveable pivot.     (Changer de

4. To halt the column.                                         (Arreter la colonne.)

5. Wheeling into line.                                 (Se former en bataille.)

Lesson VI


1.To break off files,                         (Etant en colonne, mettre des files

and to make them move up again to the front.     en arriere et les faire
                                                                                        rentrer en ligne

2. To march in column of route;         (Marcher au pas de route, executer                                                                            ainsi des changemens de
to change direction, thus, marching at ease;  direction; mettre des

to break off files, and to make them form up again. files en arriere, et les

                                                                                            faire rentrer en ligne.)

3. Increasing and diminishing the front     (Rompre et former le peloton)

of an open column on the march.

4.Countermarch by files.             (La contre-marche.)

5.To form to either flank                     (Etant en colonne par section, se
from open column of subdivisions   former
sur la droite, ou sur
                                                                   la gauche en bataille.)

Whatever the number of files the platoon may be composed of, it must be always formed three deep, when going through the detail of the first and second lessons.

When the number of files is under twelve, the platoon must be formed two deep, when executing the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth lessons.

In both cases, the instructor shall number the files from right to left, in order that each man may know his own number, according to his rank, in which he stands.

The instructor must study to be clear and concise in his explanations; and he shall make the chief of the platoon rectify the errors in the detail of the exercise, as far as they relate to the soldiers, after pointing out such faults if observed, he himself not rectifying them, unless he is not well comprehended, or that his orders have been imperfectly executed.

Steadiness and coolness being the essential requisites in those who command and obey, the instructor shall exemplify these in his own conduct, and habituate the men he disciplines to act under their constant influence.

Lesson I

Lecon I

Article I

To open ranks.

Ouvrir les rangs

1.  The platoon being drawn up with ordered arms, as also the fourth rank  in order to oprn ranks, the instructor shall order the fourth rank men nearest the left, to post themselves, one of the left of the front, and the other on the left of the rear rank

2. He shall then command,

1. Attention.                 (Garde a vous.)

2. Platoon                     (=Peloton.)

3. Shoulder=Arms.     (Portez=vos armes.)

4. Rear ranks, take open order.     (En arriere, ouvrez vos rangs.)

3. At the fourth word of command, the chief of platoon , his covering sergeant, and the two fourth rank men placed on the left of the first and third ranks, shall nimbly step to the rear, in order to mark out the alignment to which the centre and rear ranks are to step back afterwards.

4. The chief of platoon and the fourth rank man on the left of the front rank, shall conduct themselves to the fourth rank, and shall align themselves on those officers and non-commissioned officers composing it.

5. The covering sergeant, and the fourth rank man stationed on the left of the rear rank, where he had been first placed, shall proceed four places to the rear of the fourth rank; judging the distance by eye, without counting the steps.

6. The instructor shall, at the same time, proceed to the right flank, in order to verify, successively, the respective positions of those stationed, and to ascertain whether or not they may be on lines parallel to that of the front rank; and if necessary, he shall quickly adjust their positions, giving afterwards, the word,

                        5. =March.                 (=Marche.)

7. At this word, the front rank shall not stir from its place.

8. The centre and rear ranks shall step back, in ordinary time, without counting the steps, and shall dress on the alignment marked out for them, conforming to what has been laid down in the Ecole de Soldat, number 242.

9. The chief of platoon shall dress the centre rank, and the covering sergeant, the rear rank, on the fourth rank man on the left of their respective ranks, which fourth rank men are now on the left of the centre and rear ranks.

10. The fourth rank men, or supernumerary rank, behind the rear rank, shall step back also, at the word march, (marche); and shall dress at their proper distance from the rear rank when aligned.

11. The chief of platoon and the covering sergeant having dressed their respective ranks, the instructor will command,

                                =Front                     (=Fixe.)

12. At this word, the chief of platoon, and the fourth rank man on the left of the centre rank, shall occupy their former situations in the front rank.

13. The instructor seeing the ranks dressed, shall inspect the position of the body, and that of shouldered arms of the men composing the front rank; and shall direct the chief of platoon, and the covering sergeant, if the platoon is one acquiring elementary discipline, to examine these relative positions, in the centre and rear ranks.

Article II

Alignment at open ranks.

Alignemens a rangs ouverts.

14. The ranks being opened, the instructor shall, in this stage of the discipline, cause the men of each rank to dress, one by one, in order the better to inculcate the principles.

15.He shall order the three men on the right, or left of each rank, to march three or four paces to the front, and having aligned, or dressed them, he will command,

        By file, by the right forward (or by the left forward)= dress.

            (Par file a droite (ou a gauche) = alignement.)

At this word, the soldiers of each rank in open file shall dress up, successively, to the alignment, each of them allowing the man next to him, on the side to which the alignment is made, to be advanced two paces, before he quits the original ground.

Alignments by succession, having habituated the soldiers to dress correctly, the instructor shall cause entire ranks to align to the front and to the rear, in parallel and oblique positions and directions, always placing three men as a base line of alignment of each rank. For this purpose, he will command,

By the right (or left) forward=dress         (A droite (ou a gauche)

By the right (or left) backward=dress     (En arriere a droite =alignement)

                                                    (or En arriere a gauche =aligement)

18. In oblique alignments at open order, the second and third ranks need not endeavour to move by the file leader in dressing, since the object in view in this species of instruction is to exercise the soldiers in aligning themselves correctly in their respective ranks in every direction.

19. In these various alignments, the instructor shall superintend the front, the chief of platoon the second, and the covering sergeant the rear rank, placing themselves, for that purpose, on the flank to which the dressing is made.

20. In oblique alignments, the soldiers shall conform the line of the shoulders to the new direction of their rank, and shall place themselves on the alignment, regulating themselves by the detail laid down in numbers 233and 242 of the Ecole de Soldat, according as the new direction may be to the front, or rear of the original position of the rank.

21. After each alignment, the instructor, the chief of platoon, and the covering sergeant, shall, in passing along the rank, inspect the position of the body, and that of the arms, in order to accustom the soldiers not to be negligent in these respects.

Article III

The Manual Exercise.

Maniement des Armes.

22. The ranks being open, the instructor shall place himself before the right flank, so as to see the three ranks, and shall order the manual exercise to be gone through as follows:

Present arms.           (Presenter les armes.)
Shoulder arms.         (Porter les armes.)
Order arms.                (Reposer sur les armes.)
Ground arms.            (Poser les armes a terre.)

Take up arms.           (Relever les armes.)
Shoulder arms.         (Porter les armes.)
Support arms.            (Porter l'arme au bras.)
Carry arms.                 (Porter les armes.)
Unfix bayonets.           (Remettre la bayonnette.)

Shoulder arms.          (Porter les armes.)
Secure arms.              (Passer l'arme sous le bras gauche.)
Shoulder arms.          (Porter les armes.)
Fix bayonets.              (Bayonnette au cannon.)
Shoulder arms.         (Porter les armes.)

Prime and load by twelve words of command (Charge en douze temps.)

23. The instructor shall strictly observe, that the positions of the body, feet, and arms, are always exact; that the motions are lively and close; and that they are not slurred over, as by slight of hand.

Observations on the motion of charging bayonets, and to that of trailing arms.

Observations relatives au movement de croisez=a la bayonnette, et celui de descendre=vos armes.

24. Circumstances may arise which will require the use of fixed bayonets, in attack or defence.

25. In other cases, such as passing through a thick wood, shouldered arms are impracticable; a soldier has sometimes recourse to his firelock as a necessary support, as in climbing the steep sides of an eminence, or in crossing ditches; it becomes, therefore, necessary that the instructor should sometimes make the soldiers practise the motions of charging bayonets and of trailing arms, to teach them to avail themselves, most advantageously, of their arms, under different circumstances.

Article IV

To Close Ranks.

Serrer les rangs.

26. Having gone through the manual exercise, the instructor will proceed to close the ranks. To effect this he shall order,

1. Rear ranks take close order         (Serrez vos rangs.)

2.= March                                                (=Marche.)

27. At the word march, (marche), the centre and rear ranks shall close in ordinary time, each man covering his file leader; and the covering sergeant, and chief of platoon, shall resume their respective places in line.

Article V

Alignment of closed ranks.

Alignemens a rangs serres.

28. The ranks being closed, the instructor will exercise the platoon in taking parallel and oblique alignments to the right and to the left, to the front and to the rear, always previously placing three files as a base line of alignment in the new direction. He will give the words of command directed in number 17.

29. In aligning at close order, the chief of platoon shall superintend the alignment of the front rank, and the covering sergeant that of the centre and rear ranks; and they will accustom themselves to judge accurately of forming a good alignment; from the line of the eyes and shoulders, and by glancing along the front and rear of the rank.

30. When the chief of platoon sees the whole, nearly, of the front rank aligned, he shall give the word (eyes) front (fixe), rectifying, afterwards, the dressing of such as requires it, according to the mode laid down in the Ecole de Soldat, number 240. The centre and rear ranks will conform to the alignment of the front rank, and the covering sergeant will see, that this shall be accomplished.

31. The ranks being steady, the instructor proceeds to the flank, to ascertain the accuracy, or the reverse, of the alignment of the three ranks; and he will observe whether or not the men of the centre and rear ranks correctly cover their file-leaders.

32. In taking oblique alignments, the instructor regulates the procedure by what has been laid down above, number 20.

33. The officers and non-commissioned officers composing the fourth rank, shall always post themselves two paces in rear of the third rank.

34. To stand at ease, the instructor shall order,

1. Support=arms.                             (L'arme=au bras.)


   Order=arms.                         (Repossez vous=sur vos armes.)

2. Stand at=ease.                     (=Repos.)

This shall take place at the conclusion of each lesson.

35. After the word, stand at ease, (repos), is given, the men are not required either to be steady, or to maintain their position.

36. When the intention is to permit the soldiers to rest themselves, but without losing their dressing; after ordering arms to be supported, the further word will be,

On your ground stand at=ease (En place=repos.)

37. When this command is given, the soldiers are not required to keep the body steady or immoveable, but they must keep either heel exactly in its place.

Lesson II

Lecon II

38. The instructor proceeding to the second lesson, shall give the words of command,

1. Attention.                 (Garde a vous.)

2. =Platoon.                 (=Peloton.)

3. Shoulder=arms.     (Portez=vos armes.)

He shall, then, exercise the platoon in the loadings and firings, in the following order:

Article I

Loading in quick time.

Charge Precipitee.

39. Loading in quick time, shall be executed by the words of command, and in the manner prescribed in the Ecole de Soldat, number 146, and following ones. The instructor will cause this to be repeatedly practised, before he proceeds to loading in the quickest time.

Article II

Loading in quickest time.

Charge a volonte.

40. Shall be executed from the manner practised in the Ecole de Soldat, number 152.

41. In loading in quick time, and quickest time, when, at the commencement, the troops come down to the priming position, the chief of platoon, and the covering sergeant, will half face to the right with them; and when the troops, in loading, cast round, they will front.

42. The instructor shall bestow the most particular attention in seeing that in the loadings, the soldiers conform to the principles laid down in the Ecole de Soldat numbers 153 and 154, where observations are made relative to the loadings.

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Commanding Officer
Chris Perko
Algrave Hall
Hassock Lane North
Derbyshire DE75 7JB
The Adjutant
Chris Durkin
7 Lowcroft Crescent
Oldham OL9 9UU
Position of the Regiment
25th May
1790 Regiment Guyenne at Lyon
1792: Journal militaire:1st battalion arrived Besancon
1793 Landau, siege until 28th December.
1794 At Nice, General Kellerman formed a Polish battalion with men found in the 21eme demi-brigade, 9 companies of 3 officers and 70 men.
1796 Evening, Massena's division (21e) along left bank of the Ellero, from Mondovi to the Tanaro.
1798 Into garrison at Amiens, 2nd battalion at Nantes (formed March 1797), 3rd at Dunkirk
1799 Magnano, towards Brescia.
1800 Pas de Suse, and town of Suse.
1801 Battalion expeditionnaire formed on the Ile de Re, with 140 of the 21eme, 106 56th Line, 59 5th Light, 58 Colonial depot Ile de re, 28 legion Loire, 119 cannoniers 5th Foot artillery, on the frigate l'Africaine.
1803 Bruges Camp/Ostend, 3/4 battalions Flessigne until July 1804.
1804 3rd and 4th battalions to Cologne.
1805 Crossed the Danube at Pressberg, one battalion at Bruick, other in villages of Regelbrun, Arbestal, Collesbrunn, Willfersnauer, and Schadendorf, until 5th January 1806.
1806 Division Kreus Munster
1807 Division at the Hohenstein camp until 5th June.
1808 Juliers
1809 Division left Ebersdorf for Vienna
1810 Brunswick, until October.
1811 Stade
1812 Division Thorn
1813 Order to form 1st Corps, 1st division, 33rd Provisional demi-brigade (2/12, 2/21) forming near Erfurth, united into corps at Wittenberg.
1814 Bergen op Zoom
1815 Lille

1815 Between Quatre-Bras and Waterloo.
Waterloo 1985
Boulogne 1991 on the Video page.

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