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ECWS Rules of Engagement and Ordinances of Warre.

Rules of Engagement and Ordinances of Warre for The Roundhead Association and The King’s Army

1. The English Civil War Society Ltd (ECWS) is an umbrella organisation providing central organisation for two constituent societies, The Roundhead Association (RA) and The King’s Army (KA). The Committee of Safetie (CofS) and Council of Warre (CofW) govern respectively the RA and KA. The Board of Directors of the ECWS is responsible for providing assurance to Sponsors and civil authorities that effective Health and Safety (H&S) management is in place in the ECWS.

2. The ECWS has a Health and Safety Policy Statement (Reference 1), agreed by the CofS and CofW. The Policy Statement sets out the general arrangements for Health and Safety (H&S) within the ECWS and identifies the key hazards. This document is a supporting document to the ECWS safety documentation and sets out the rules for military action during battles, skirmishes and displays controlled by Officers holding commissions in the KA or RA, during events organised by the ECWS. The military commands of the KA and RA are responsible for ensuring that effective control by commissioned officers and non-commissioned officers is exercised in both
Armies. These Rules of Engagement are issued for observance by all members of the KA and RA and for the information of relevant civil authorities.

3. Reference is to be made to the detailed generic risk assessments for activities undertaken during engagements for specific safety procedures and safety justification for combat activities (References 2 to 4).

1.1 All combatants must be over the age of 16. King’s Army Musicians of fewer summers may be recruited at the discretion of the Army Council and for RA members the permission of the Committee of Safetie.

1.2 Drums and Colours are to be treated with proper respect and are not to be damaged, torn or mishandled, or captured except by prior agreement.

1.3 No soldier is to use any weapon that has not been issued to him without the permission of a Field Officer (1).

1.4 Officers are responsible for ensuring that weapons carried by their men are appropriate and safe. All edged weapons used in combat are to be blunt and all points rounded (e.g. the radius of a 5 p coin).

1.5 Follow the directions of officers for the conduct of engagements. React to artillery and musketry and take theatrical casualties.

(1) Commissioned Officer of the rank of Serjeant-Major or above.

1.6 No violent act is permitted that is deliberately intended to cause physical harm to any person.

1.7 No person deemed by their Commanding or General Officer to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs (2) is allowed to take the field.

1.8 Appropriate training in seventeenth century drill, use of weapons and safety on the field is to be given, recorded and controlled by Officers.

2.1 Company Officers (3) shall carry a partisan or similar weapon. Sergeants shall carry a halberd or similar weapon. Officers shall be distinguishable by the wearing of a sash.

3.1 There will be no comport pushes of pike in the vicinity of casualties be they real or theatrical.

3.2 When pike blocks have engaged other formed units should not enter the melee.

3.3 Bodies of pike should not attack unformed bodies using the comport method of engagement.

3.4 All initial contact between pike divisions should be at point.

3.5 Individual pikemen shall not enter an ongoing comport press with pike ‘Charged’.

4.1 Field Officers, Staff Officers and Cavalrymen are permitted to draw swords. Swords drawn for combat are to have steel blades of an appropriate quality.

4.2 Others may only draw swords with the express permission of Field Officers, and as directed for drill.

4.3 Swords may be worn in camp, or on the Field of Battle by all. They must be carried in a scabbard. It is usually forbidden to take swords into town, or any public place(4).

(2) This includes any member whose physical and/or mental capability is judged to be impaired by a prescribed drug.

(3) Commissioned Officer in charge of a division of foot soldiers (e.g. Captain, Captaine-Lieutenant, Lieutenant).

(4) Except when taking part as a formed body in a march, parade or display.

4.4 Knives or other sharp weapons will not be carried on the battlefield.

5.1 It is the responsibility of all Musket Officers to ensure that all Muskets are safe.

5.2 Great care should be taken regarding the direction and angle of firing of muskets.

5.3 No firearms may be discharged directly at a person or horse. Muskets are not to be discharged towards other members at less than 6 m (20 feet), or towards the public at less than 9 m (30 feet).

5.4 All musketeers shall possess a valid Shotgun Certificate and a Black Powder Certificate.

5.5 Pistols that are operable shall not be used on the battlefield without the permission of the appropriate Army Council.

5.6 No metal ramrods, or wooden ones with metal tips, should be used. Only loose fitting, untipped wooden ramrods are allowed.

5.7 During events all muskets should be locked in vehicles when not in use. It is recommended that security cable secured through trigger guards to cars be used.

5.8 Musketeers should not use short lengths of slowmatch. It is recommended that issued slowmatch should be 450 mm to 610 mm (18” to 24”) long at the start of a battle.

5.9 Loaded muskets are not to be taken into a melee.

5.10 Musketeers with loaded muskets who cannot fire safely or who are loading must retreat if attacked. They must be allowed to retreat.

5.11 Musket Divisions and Artillery crews should not claim to be loaded when they are not. Such deception only encourages disbelief and possible dangerous actions.

6.1 No cannon may be discharged if a person or horse is in front within a distance of 45 m (50 yards).

6.2 Gloves must be worn by gunners at all times when working on the gun using black powder.

6.3 Loading cannon with loose powder should be avoided. Cartridges should be used whenever possible.

6.4 Care should be taken with cannon tools to ensure that material, such as grit, is not accidentally placed down the barrel.

6.5 Great care should be taken regarding the direction and angle of firing of cannon.

6.6 Cannon barrels should be placed at maximum elevation before firing so that any accidentally left material will be fired over the heads of the opposing forces.

6.7 Cannon, in battery, should be positioned at a safe distance from each other. Batteries should be further protected by an artillery guard where appropriate.

6.8 Misfires should be indicated by a tool held horizontally above the head by a crew member standing behind the gun during the waiting period. A loaded gun is indicated by crossed tools over the barrel when a melee develops near the gun.

6.9 Cannon should not be moved when loaded.

7.1 All Musket Officers and Gunners are to keep a record of any incidents involving black powder so that evidence can be compiled regarding accidents and their causes.

7.2 All regiments using black powder must drill on the battlefield or other agreed place before taking part in a battle, skirmish or drill display.

8.1 Units attacked by cavalry should form an appropriate formation. Under no circumstances should anyone detach themselves from a unit to engage in single combat.

8.2 It is not permitted to attempt to unhorse a rider.

8.3 Pikemen in formation, when being attacked by cavalry, should either remain static and keep their pikes (and standards etc) still in the “Charge for horse” position with the points aimed to just above the riders’ heads, or if advancing or retiring, keep their pikes level (horizontal) in the “Charge” position.

8.4 Casualties should not be left in long grass without standing soldiers or objects very close by (to avoid being trodden on by horses).

9.1 Only persons approved by the Army Council or the Committee of Safetie may set and operate special effects using explosives.

9.2 Special effects buried in the ground are to be marked with yellow markers or screened (e.g. by brushwood) to prevent cavalry or infantry from approaching them too closely.

9.3 No thunderflashes, effects or smoke canisters are to be thrown around the field. If you find one on the ground, leave it where it is and retire to a safe distance!

9.4 Mobile telephones and radios are not to be brought to within 10 m of any special effect using explosives or its control systems.

10.1 During a pike engagement, at the “push of pike” the term “MAN DOWN” means a soldier has fallen and is likely to be injured if the fighting is not terminated, or some other incident has occurred which requires the immediate end of the push. On hearing this all soldiers are IMMEDIATELY to break off action without further orders.

10.2 All persons involved in the handling of black powder should wear clothes, including undergarments, which are made of natural fibres.

10.3 The wearing a white sash or a white sign denotes that that person is a qualified First Aider and that appropriate notice should be taken of their instructions.

10.4 Cannon crews and musket companies must have supplies of medically usable water in close proximity.

10.5 All pikemen and pike sergeants are to wear appropriate headgear.

11.1 Serious Incidents are to be reported via the chain of command to the Lord General. If immediate action is required the Lord Generals will confer on the field or after the battle as appropriate. Details are to be passed to the ECWS Safety Officer for statutory reporting.

11.2 Dangerous Incident or Accident Investigation Report Forms are to be completed by anyone party to an incident with a view to rectification action or amendment of practices, if required, and sent, via Commanding Officers, to the Army Council Secretary for action.

12.1 Officers should ensure that it is not necessary for soldiers to urinate in public.

12.2 There should be no spectators on the battlefield or between the safety barriers5.

12.3 Photographers are only permitted on the battlefield at a spectator event in exceptional circumstances with the permission of the Senior Officer present. They are to be attired in seventeenth century costume and accompanied by a minder who is responsible for their safety.

Agreed by the General of The King’s Army and the Lord General of The Roundhead Association,
1. ECWS Health and Safety Statement Issue 1 Amendment 6 dated April 2006.
2. ECWS Pike Safety Case Issue 1 dated April 2006.
3. ECWS Muskets and Musketeers Safety Case Issue 1 dated November 2006.
4. ECWS Children’s Drill Safety Case Issue 1 dated November 2006.
[Note: Cavalry, Artillery, Musicians and Edged Weapons safety cases in course of
preparation – see drafts]