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"Haversacks. Which shoulder?" Topic


4 Posts

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Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP16 Jul 2017 3:03 a.m. PST

A minor issue but grateful for any advice. British Infantry, Light, Line, Fusiliers, Kilted or Rifles other ranks. Seems for Private soldiers all are agreed that haversack and waterbottle was worn at left hip, with the strap over the right shoulder. Franklin tells us that NCOs reversed this; at least those that carried swords were obliged to. So my question is…at what level of seniority would this apply?
Perrys certainly in the plastics range give us an NCO, with the reversed arrangement and Victrix Plastics haven't missed out either. But then Front Rank has Light Infantry NCOs with the traditional arrangement.
Mind you, Franklin also says the reversed arrangement also applied to cavalry, which I have never seen in illustrations or models. I hope that he is wrong there

Extrabio1947 Supporting Member of TMP16 Jul 2017 3:39 a.m. PST

I would guess that – especially for infantry – the reversed arrangement would coincide with when the NCO started carrying a polearm as opposed to a musket. It would almost be impossible to effectively wear the haversack and water bottle on the same side as the cartridge box.

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP16 Jul 2017 8:40 a.m. PST

As Extrabio says, but also anyone wearing a sword would find life difficult with a haversack on the same hip, especially when he came to draw said weapon. So the rule of thumb is if a sword is worn by a British infantryman of whatever rank (Including musicians), the haversack goes to the right hip where there should not be a cartridge box anyway. Light infantry NCOs carried a musket and not a sword and pike so their haversack was on the left. I have never seen cavalry with any other mode than the wearing the haversack on the left. As their swords were on long slings, they would not have suffered the same problem as their infantry bretheren.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP16 Jul 2017 9:58 a.m. PST

This is brilliant….it all makes sense.

It is like so much on this forum. Even two replies have added so much to the sum of human (well mine anyway) knowledge…

But how accessible is this wisdom in two years' time?

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