County Brochure Mansfield(6) - Flipbook - Page 2
"Fording the Alma" by Lewis H. Johns
Rifle regiments have a long tradition in the British Army. The normal, ‘line’ infantry
was armed with powerful but inaccurate muskets. They wore red jackets and generally
fought shoulder to shoulder so they could fire their muskets all together, in volleys.
From the 1750s onwards in North America, the Army began to use some lightlyequipped infantry soldiers dressed in camouflage. Line Regiments began to form
Light Companies and it was from these origins that Rifle Regiments developed. In
1800, when the Baker Rifle was invented, the Army created an Experimental Corps of
Riflemen to make best use of this revolutionary new weapon. The Army saw that the
new rifle needed to be used by a force that would be quite different to the rest of the
infantry. The lighter and far more accurate rifle allowed the riflemen - dressed in dark
green - to spread out.
Because of the way they fought, the early rifle and light infantry regiments needed
to develop a special way of working - an ethos. This ethos was based around
marksmanship, independence, self-discipline and initiative. Riflemen needed to be led
by very capable and independent junior officers and non-commissioned officers, who
would communicate with their men by voice, bugles and whistles.
The Rifles carries forward this ethos into the modern Army and every soldier and
officer in the Regiment is proud to say “I am a rifleman”.