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Alex's fascination with the Seven Years' War dates from his elementary school days, and that initial interest sparked a lifelong study of this pivotal conflict. Growing up in Indiana, he received his MA in history from Ball State University, where he wrote on Hessian troops in the Seven Years' War and American Revolution. He is currently a Ph.D Candidate at West Virginia University. His research focuses on the British and Prussian armies of 1740-1815. Alex just published his third article, "A Matter of Doing it Quickly:" Essential Qualities of North Germanic Infantrymen, 1740-1783" in the Spring Issue of the Journal of the Seven Years' War Association. 

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  1. Very interesting article, but I have a couple of questions/concerns. 1. How do you arrive at 200 paces being 150 yards? A pace is not the same as a foot. Some sources list a yard as equal to 5 paces. 2. Many of your examples are from Prussian engagements. To the best of my knowledge Prussia did not use the yard, but rather the "elle" a measure closer to 2 feet, not 3. Is it possible that the translator use "yard" for "elle?" 3. You argue that lack of practice at close-range firing is indicative of infrequent use, which is questionable. If you are aiming at a line 50 yards away and half a mile long, you could hardly miss.

    1. Unknown- thanks for the comment! I think you meant to place this on the most recent post, regarding firepower ranges. After responding, I am going to remove this comment in one week (2/9/2019)

      In converting paces to feet, I have [by and large] followed the guidelines laid out by Christopher Duffy on page 208 of "Military Experience in the Age of Reason." You are correct that Prussia did not use the yard, however, they did have a similar measurement, the "schritte" which I have translated as "pace" in these sources. All Prussia examples I have used in the post employ "schritte" rather than any other form of measurement.

      A schritte is generally reckoned at 29 English inches, which is how Duffy arrives at his conversion. [See "The Eclaireur: a Military Journal, Devoted to the Interests of the Military Forces of the State of New York", Volume 3, as evidence of this conversion.] As with all descriptions of range on the battlefield, I take these to be estimates made by soldiers at the time, rather than exact measured distances.

      I would agree with your final point: lack of evidence that soldiers practiced firing at close range is not evidence that close range firefights did not occur. That is why I have included a number of eyewitness accounts in the post.