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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Cavalry Formation


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Dear Members

Could someone help me interpret the following formation:

In their advance on Scimitar Hill, Gallipoli the order of advance for the Dorset Yeomanry (who were dismounted) was described as 'half column of squadrons, files at 2 paces intervals'. There were 2 squadrons involved.

Would I be right in interpreting this as having 4 rows of around 80 men - that is to say each line being along the x axis rather than the y axis? Would the 2 paces have been between each man in his row, or between each row? The only contemporary photo seems to show just one long line of men, line abreast.

Look forward to your guidance


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If it is any help the terms 'rank' and 'file' have a specific and a general meaning. Generally soldiers as opposed to officers, as officers on parade stand or march to the front rear or sides of a formed body of soldiers, are/were called 'rank and file'. Specifically, in the days of forming fours, taking as an example a unit of 40 soldiers on parade in four lines i.e 4 ranks of 10 men facing in the same direction with an arms length between each man, in other words 10 files each of 4 men one behind the other one pace apart. Such a unit would be 'in line' and if each man turns 90 degrees left, or right, the unit would be in column.

I have no knowledge of how dismounted yeomanry drilled, but would suggest that in the case you have cited squadrons would be one behind the other (as if going along a road) and that there would be 2 paces between each file of 4 men shoulder to shoulder. It does not seen very tactical, but could apply to a move from a rest area to an assembly area.

Old Tom

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Sounds like a case of the Yeomanry using mounted formations even when advancing on foot.....old habits and traditions etc

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