Photography credits:  Rusty Aldwinkle, Steve Liddle, Tim Worrall, John Beardsworth and numerous members of the Scots Brigade.  Thank you!

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OFFICER

A brief overview

 

The Sealed Knot is run along the lines of two Armies; Royalist and Parliament. Each Armie has a Lord General in overall command who is elected every four years by Sealed Knot members.

Armies are further split into Tercios or Brigades which in turn are made up of individual regiments.

The Scots Brigade is commanded overall by a Brigade Commander who receives his orders from the respective Lord General.

Each Regiment has it's own Commanding Officer (CO) and Second-in-Command (2iC).  Further down the line, there will be Majors, Captains, Lieutenants, Sergeants and Corporals each with specific duties on the field to command the foote soldiers.

Sealed Knot ranks are earnt through merit.  Any member has the opportunity to rise from the bottom to the top position should they so desire. Officers usually wear a sash and for the Scots, a darker blue bonnet.

A brief history:

Before the Civil War, there was no regular standing army - just a few trained bands.  So it was left to the Gentry to raise local troops on demand for a specific purpose.  At the start of the Civil War, joining the local troop was on a voluntary basis but by the end of the war, conscription had been introduced by each Armie and was unanimously hated by both sides.

A solider with military experience - usually gained  from the wars in Europe (specifically the Spanish and Dutch) -  was highly prized. Traditionally however, officers would have come from Aristocracy and paid for their rank.  These inexperienced noblemen often heading up their own regiments therefore employed 'professionals' to act as their advisors to help overcome their own lack of military prowess.

As members of the gentry, one of the things they did have going for them was wealth.  The aristocratic officers were expected to pay to kit out their raised troops with clothing and weaponry.  The storage of powder and weapons would also be undertaken by the manor house, or if in a town, in the powered magazine and armoury.

The role of an Officer, then as now, is to evoke authority; give orders; to motivate; and lead from the front.  A good Officer commands respect (though that is often tinged with fear too) and is a figure whom, dependant upon their own aptitude, can either save a man's life or send him to his death!

Special skills or training required:

In the past, training of Officers would have occurred through war veterans passing on their knowledge in a mentoring system.  More often than not however, training was gained 'on the hoof'.  A trained officer was a highly prized man to have at your disposal.

In the SK, it's not much different - there is no formal training process as such. Our Officers earn their positions by passing through successive ranks, learning on the way with the support of fellow Officers.  As ranks are awarded on merit, potentially any member can rise to become a CO or even LG if they so desire.

Much like a real army, the SK employ a hierarchy of ranks:  Corporal, Sergeant, Elder Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Sergeant Major, General, General Colonel before the top job of Lord General.   A Regimental CO can be appointed to anyone achieving the rank of Lieutenant upwards.  The hierarchy and succession apply to both Royalist and Parliamentarian armies.

 


Cost of kit (excluding standard clothing):

Please note that the following costs are approximate for basic level kit.  Costs vary dependant upon supplier so the ones quoted below are intended as a guideline only.

  • Clothing:  An Officer is a gentlemen and so wears more distinguished clothes than those of his troops.  The wealthier the gentlemen, the more refined his clothes.  A Senior Officer would typically look to spend £300-£1000 on their basic clothes of breeches, doublet and shirt.  Fine lace collars are usually added to the outfit.

  • Silk Sash:  £40+  This is the Officers ID.  Royalists tend to wear reds with Parliament opting for Orange, brown or blue.

  • Gauntlets:  £60-70 for fine calves leather

  • Bucket boots:  £250-£300 + £50 for lace bucket tops

  • Hat:  £70 felt hat (English but Scots did wear too) 
              £40 dark blue/navy Scots bonnet  

  • Gourget*:  £100+  *An armoured neckpiece worn over the doublet but under the lace collar.

  • Armour (optional):  £150-250  consists of back and breast plate

  • Sword:  £200+

  • Halberd:  £100-ish This is a a two handed pole weapon.  Can be bought 'off the shelf' but a lot of Officers will  commission them especially. 

 


No of officers in Scots Brigade:

The Scots Brigade is overseen by a Brigade Commander (BC).  Each of the four Scots' Regiments are led by a Commanding Officer (CO).  The CO is often supported by a 2iC and an Adjutant both on and off the field. Each 'block' of musket and pike will also have at least one Officer each.  Drums and Colours will also usually have at least one Officer amongst them.  There is no limit to the number of Officers that can be appointed within any one Regiment but obvious it makes sense for the foote to outweigh them.

 


Where Found:

i) In troop line-up:  Senior Officers (BC, CO) will be at the head of the troops either on foot or horseback.  They are followed by the Colours, Drums then musket/pike blocks.  The Officer (Sergeant/Corporal) for each block, will be positioned in the front row in the right-hand corner.

ii) On field:  Senior Officers will be to the right of the blocks issuing orders.  Other Officers hold their position within the foote layout.

iii) Off the field: Before every battle, Senior Officers have to attend an on site 'field briefing'.  This is to ensure that the day's script is known and can be stuck to as much as possible.  However it should be noted that during battle, the LG for either side can recommend changes to the script and send a 'runner' to each Senior Officer to relay the new instructions which then will be implemented by the respective Senior Officers in situ.

After a battle, Senior Officers will often have a de-brief when points about the battle good and bad are fed back to the LG of each Armie.

iv) Outside of musters:
Senior Officers spend a good deal of personal time attending meetings and briefings outside of an event.  This can range from individual briefings to Regimental meetings, Health & Safety presentations as well as the annual Army Council.  In addition, a CO will devote a lot of time to behind-the-scenes activities to ensure the successful running of the Regiment.