When a fortification needed to be quickly breached a team carrying a petard – a wooden box filled with explosives – would be called on to blow open the defences.
A petard team would be accompanied by other troops whose task it was to clear the way for the explosives to be placed and to protect the team from the enemy while they went about their dangerous task.
This petard team is accompanied by a troop of dismounted cavalrymen. Clad in stiff buff coats, back and breast armour and helmet, the troopers run forward – as fast as their high cavalry boots will allow. They are well-equipped to take enemy fire, but they are able to dish it out too, most carrying a brace of pistols and a stout sword. The corporals have their carbines to keep the enemy’s heads down, and some have been issued by the Firemaster with grenades – simple hand-hurled bombs that may be as dangerous to the thrower as the enemy!
When the Firemaster lights the fuse he slaps the team on the back and shouts “Run like the devil!”. Too many are slow on the uptake and are ‘hoist by their own petard’...
Box contains 8 metal dismounted cavalrymen and two-man petard team.