close order

Close order formation

Close order formation is a military tactical formation. It refers to the placing of soldiers in close proximity, regularly arranged, for tactical purposes. Such formations were formerly necessary to achieve concentration of force. They became unnecessary, and even a liability, about the time of the American Civil War, when improved ranges of small arms made it possible to concentrate fire without concentrating men, improved rates of fire, obsoleted the massed bayonet charge, and improvements on both small arms and artillery turned large formations on open ground into death traps. Close order tactics were succeeded by enfilade and defilade.

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Explains "close order" as it relates to pike and musket formation from the English Civil War era:

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