A couple more questions on war

I. Marc Carlson IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu
Sun Jul 23 16:32:47 PDT 1995

<rferrell at bga.com (Robert G. Ferrell)>
>><Duncan<kmv at abm.austin.tx.us (Kevin Varner)>>
>>>On a slightly different note regarding drums on the field and "good D&C".
>>>Drums early on tended to be used as signaling devices rather than
>>>cadence setters.  A flurry of drum to get sub-commanders attention
>>>and signal flags used to send the orders.  The concept of "wide scale
>>>D&C" as we know it in European armies come about after 1700.
>>Hmm.  Not to sound arguementative, but can you document that?
>>Certainly. I'll grant that their use is late in period, perhaps even so
>>much as post-1500, but certainly not 1700.
>I'll guarantee that the use of percussion in signalling and as a
>psychological weapon before and during battle dates to at least Roman times,
>possibly much earlier....

I wasn't debating that they were used in signalling, but rather since all
I've ever run across is assertions to that fact, as opposed to any documentation
supporting it, and I would like to see some for a change.  Duncan has, unless
I am mistaken, indicated that he will provide some.  What I *was* arguing was
the use of D&C for large organized movement of troops in warfare and the
use of drums as cadencing.

>...Drums were the first musical instrument other than
>the human voice, and their use in conflict is quite ancient. Certainly wind
>instruments have been in use in battle for a long time; Alexander the Great
>used trumpets to signal his charges (Ancient and Medieval Warfare, U.S.
>Military Academy, West Point, 1984, p. 31). There is no reason to conclude
>that drums were not in use throughout this period, as well.

I'm afraid that there's no reason to conclude that they were, either (based
on the antiquity of the item and Alexander's use of trumpets).  I'm sorry if
this sounds like I don't believe you, or don't think that you know what you
are talking about.  I suspect that you are perfectly well versed in the
history of militaria, however I would be remiss to just blindly accept these
things as facts, based on the word of someone I don't know, without some
idea of the authority of your sources.

>Drums were used by the Norse and other seafaring peoples such as the Greeks 
>to regulate the rate at which oarsmen stroked. The rhythmic nature of 
>percussion instruments, combined with their ability to be heard over long 
>distances, have made drums ideal adjuncts to military discipline and manuever
>throughout virtually the entire histroy of organized warfare.

Then why have they fallen out of use as a standard item?  I vividly recall
being taught the basics of formation movement and drill in Basic Training, but
we never once used a drum for cadence in routine formation movement.

"Mihi Satis Apparet Propter     Diarmuit Ui Dhuinn
  Se Ipsum Appetenda Sapientia"	University of Northkeep
 -- St. Dunstan			Northkeepshire, Ansteorra
				(I. Marc Carlson/IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu)

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