Literate? Educated? Second, third, fourth or fifth born? Aristocrat? Well, perhaps the British officer corps is for you!
Do you have what it takes to be an officer? Check your
18th Century British Officers do not work for a living wage, so if you have any want for money, you're out of luck. The pay is ceremonial, as it is expected that you have significant personal assets-after all, you did just blow anywhere from £200-£9000 for this commission, (most of which will fall into the hands of corrupt bureaucrats.) However, there are tremendous opportunities for fiscal gain through plunder, and other prizes of war. (Sheppard, 1-2)
The officer corps is a noble and adventurous occupation in wartime for men of class and means, but no significant inheritance.
Of course, buying a commission is not the only way to an officership. Through distinguished and disciplined service or battlefield necessity, an enlisted man can rise through the ranks to a lower-officer posts. These non-commissioned officers bear a great deal of responsibility, as commissioned officers will most often delegate these most routine and tedious responsibilities of their posts, including most training drills, to sergeants and ensigns. (Frey, 99)
This non-participation in training estranges majors, lieutenants and captains from their troops, but it reinforces class distinction-an important component to the disciplined military hierarchy of the 18th Century army. Consequently, the leadership of simple troops is commonly remote, but usually revered.(Frey, 99)
Thus when officers boldly gallop through the ranks of their troops, charging bravely at the enemy, infantrymen are instilled with tremendous courage and energy. A distinctive characteristic of the British officer corps, the exceptional valor and charisma of commissioned officers in battle is one of the greatest strengths of the army. It also accounts for the extremely high casualty rate of officers in combat. (Barnett, 220)
Worried that you lack expertise? Relax. It is extremely uncommon that a newly commissioned officer will have any experience in standardized military science. Military schools are practically unheard of, and won't appear in England for another century.
However, across the century, officers have been developing a keen interest in military science, and have been working to coordinate the method of their drills with those of other commanders. A number of treatises have been published in the last few decades on the art of discipline, complex maneuvers and other topics. (Frey, 99)
Check out The Officers' Guide to Knowledge, a short, facetious treatise by F. Grose on most effective habits of commissioned officers.
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