The Signal Policy chapter of the Stormwind Army Field Manual covers the use of bugles, war horns, bells, and other standard instruments for all standardized signals on regimental military installations.
Soldiers must be at least of the rank of Banner Corporal to be entrusted with the duties of a bugle or war horn. Each base will have a bugler assigned to it, and every regimental force in the field will have a bugler assigned in order to handle scheduled calls if and when the unit makes camp. War horns are assigned as described above - every commanding officer will have a war horn assigned to one of the staff on their command squad and the unit officers of cavalry squadrons and infantry platoons will do the same.
Garion Valens, Private of the Elwynn Brigade.
Lelrollin Rainer, Private of the Elwynn Brigade.
Note:This page was last updated on 11/11/2018.
The use of horns, trumpets, and bugles in human military organization dates back to the race’s origins with the vrykul. Horns occupy a central space within vrykul culture - they were blown to signal the beginnings of battle as well as by the victors afterwards in celebration. They’re used as drinking vessels and passed down from generation to generation within families. Horns of great providence are said to be able to call back the spirits of the valorous dead from Odyn’s halls.
This cultural impact has then been passed on to their descendants in humanity, and archaeologists have found ritualistically decorated horns in the ruins and burial sites of early human civilizations in Arathi and Alterac.
As humanity began to codify the use of the Light taught to them by Tyr, building it into a religion over the generations, the impact of these horns began to be transferred from barbaric warlords to the rising knightly orders. Knights of the Silver Hand, as the order took shape, were entrusted with Light-infused war horns in addition to their hammers and librams as tools of their trade. Rather than signalling a charge of savage warriors, the clarion calls of these horns began to signal an impending charge of lance and barded warhorse.
This transition has continued to develop their place in modern human militaries, even as some of these armies are no longer dominated by those of the knightly class. The knightly ideal is still held high among such soldiers, whether they serve alongside true knights or not. The tradition survives - war horns are inscribed with the histories and victories of the military units that carry them, and those entrusted with their use in the field view it with a similar honor to carrying the unit’s banners. Individual knights and nobles also often pass war horns down through the generations, and take great pride in remembering every victorious charge in which the horn was blown.
Due to the impracticalities of shouting complex instructions across entire military installations, timekeeping and other situational announcements are made using musical calls in fixed, recognizable patterns. Horns are also used in the field to signal maneuvers, usually from cavalry formations. There are two primary forms of bugle calls, scheduled and unscheduled.
Scheduled calls are made throughout the day on regimental military bases to announce the schedule to the soldiers stationed there. They tell the soldiers of the base when to wake up, eat, assemble to receive their mail, change the guard rotation, and bunk down for the night.
There are two standard schedules followed for bugle calls within the Royal Army. The first is used for soldiers within an established, fully functional Alliance military base such as the various keeps within the kingdom. The second is used to keep schedule when regimental forces are encamped in the field.
There are also unscheduled bugle calls used to announce events occurring on military installations that are determined by the commanding officer and used as necessary. They are as follows.
Parade Call - Signals all soldiers on the base to form up for parade.
War horns are also used in the field to signal troop maneuvers, most commonly for cavalry. The commanding officer of a field engagement will have, within their command squad, a soldier equipped with a war horn for signaling purposes. Each cavalry squadron in the field will also have a soldier equipped with a war horn. When the commanding officer wishes to signal cavalry in the field to undertake certain maneuvers, they will order the appropriate signal - their command squad will issue it, and each cavalry squadron will return the signal to acknowledge it.
Each signal is sounded twice to ensure it isn’t mistaken for another - squadrons in the field are to wait for the repetition of the signal, and are to repeat it in their acknowledgement as well.
To ensure that units are focused and ready to receive signals when they are issued, soldiers are broadly instructed to speak only when necessary in the field. A notable exception to this rule is that when the signal for cavalry units to charge is given and acknowledged, combat discipline is lifted and cavalrymen are encouraged to give war cries in order to increase the morale impact of the charge. War cries involving profanity are, of course, beneath the dignity of soldiers of the House of Wrynn and are prohibited.
In the case of infantry units operating far enough away from command positions in the field that voice signals and runners are impractical, horns may also be used. The commanding officers of infantry platoons are to have a soldier amongst their staff equipped with a horn to respond to the following signals.
Cavalry Maneuver Signals
Hold Position: Two long blasts.
Outflank the Enemy: One short and one long blast.
Charge: Three short blasts.
Retreat to Friendly Lines: Two short blasts and one long blast.
Infantry Maneuver Signals
Hold Position: Two long blasts and one short blast.
Advance Against Nearest Enemy: Two short blasts.
Fall Back to Friendly Lines: One long blast and one short blast.
One of the most notable alternate forms of musical signal used in Alliance forces (as well as more broadly in human culture) is that of bells. The use of bells largely ties into the Church of the Holy Light, to the point where every proper chapel of the faith includes a bell tower for making such announcements. Scholars believe the sacredness of bells in the human faith is built on a remarkably simple concept - early practitioners of the Light noted that the power often created cascading, bell-like resonance as it was used.
Bells are rung by churches in human culture to signal high noon, the time when the light shines most brightly over the face of the world, as well as to mark weddings and funerals in order to call the Light’s blessing on such times of joy and sorrow. Different bells are used for each of these occasions - the smallest and lightest for weddings, the largest and heaviest for funerals. Their uses within the military largely mirror these more civic uses, taking the form of the following signals.
Chapel Call: Bells are rung on Stormwind Army bases to call the soldiers to prayer at the base’s chapel. These are done at high noon, and as such this signal is combined with the traditional noon announcements of civic churches.
Funeral Call: Bells are rung from the chapel to announce the death of Army personnel on base. Funeral processions are accompanied by the playing of Taps on bugles as they leave the chapel and progress to the burial.
Celebratory Call: Used for multiple occasions, the celebratory bells are rung after the completion of ceremonies for military promotion or of a knighting, as well as when Army personnel are wedded on-base.
Signal Flags are used to communicate with naval vessels. They are usually hoisted up the mizzenmast, but to convey a whole message, they may be hoisted up each mast simultaneously. The information below is well distributed to allow naval vessels to communicate easily with others. In some circumstances, special meanings will be distributed to sailors on specific missions to allow for encoded messages. Below each flag shall be the letters they represent, followed by the message they give when hoisted alone.
A - Affirmative
B - Negative
C - Munitions Onboard
D - Wish to Communicate
E - Stop Immediately and Communicate (Order by Naval Vessel)
F - Require Aid
G - Man Overboard
H - Keep Clear
I - Stop Immediately (Order by Naval Vessel)
Dressing Order Below is the dressing order used when dressing overall, with the foremost flags being on the left and the aft most being on the right. On schooners, two sets of signal flags will be used. On all other ships, four sets will be used.
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