Source: Red Coat and Brown Bess. Museum Restoration Service, Bloomfield, Ontario. 1970. Anthony Darling. pp.10-11.
"Originating in France, linear tactics developed gradually during the second half of the 17th Century. Led by its great commander Turenne and promoted by the war minister, Louvois, considered by many historians as the "father of modern war," the army of Louis XIV for a time became nearly invincible. By 1700, linear tactics were universally accepted in all European armies.,â€¦
Linear tactics required the deployment of an army into two or three ranks for volley firing with an additional rank at two paces behind to use, if the necessary manpower was available, to replace casualties suffered in the front ranks. Loading and firing was done in precision by word of command with as many as 12 separate motions required to accomplish this. With bayonets fixed, the attacking force would advance to beat of drum, if necessary the alignment of its ranks straightened or evenly spaced by the sergeantsâ€™ halberds. On account of the inaccuracy of the smooth-bore musket, the attackers were relatively free of casualties until they reached a point 80 to 100 yards from their objective. Now came the first crucial test of the foot soldier: the ability to hold his fire for the next 15 seconds or so needed to negotiate the advance to a point 50 yards or less from the enemy. Here, at point-blank range, the order to fire was given. Then, as one synchronized machine and without breaking stride, the men reloaded and delivered a second volley, and if the distance allowed, a third. At the moment of impact, as it closed in upon its opponent, the attacking force turned to the bayonet.,â€¦
In this manner of warfare, rate of fire became more valuable than accuracy; speed and precision had to be combined with iron discipline, factors necessary for the soldiers to continue loading and firing among the heaped-up bodies of their motionless or writhing comrades. Precision and discipline had become as important elements of linear tactics as the rapidity of fire; they were acquired only through constant and repetitive drill on the parade ground.,â€¦
Linear tactics existed only as long as the smooth-bore musket was the primary weapon of the foot soldier. They became outmoded after the introduction, and final acceptance as the standard infantry arm, of the rifle whose long-range rendered these intricate manoeuvres unnecessary."