Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 33

Thread: Shako Advantage

  1. #1

    Default Shako Advantage

    Were there any tactical advances for the shako over the bicorne?
    Nobody expects the Imperial Inquisition

  2. #2

    Default Re: Shako Advantage

    Uniforms in general were designed to look good rather than give their soldiers tactical advantages (with the exception of riflemen). Shakos made the soldiers look a little taller and gave them a place to put regimental badges and other decorations but were otherwise clumsy heavy things that gave them no addition protection.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Shako Advantage

    Would the added height maybe make the soldiers looks scarier?
    Nobody expects the Imperial Inquisition

  4. #4

    Default Re: Shako Advantage

    Quote Originally Posted by brucedickenson View Post
    Would the added height maybe make the soldiers looks scarier?
    Not if, like the French, you put pompoms on them
    "Forget Jesus, the stars died so that you could be here" - Lawrence Krauss

  5. #5

    Default Re: Shako Advantage

    Quote Originally Posted by brucedickenson View Post
    Would the added height maybe make the soldiers looks scarier?
    Yes the uniforms of this period had the dual purpose of reinforcing the morale of their own men while intimidating the enemy. This was also arguably the case with breast plates for cavalry (cuirass) although armor could help in melee fighting.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Shako Advantage

    Quote Originally Posted by HalfAssHorse View Post
    Not if, like the French, you put pompoms on them
    I'll let that pass, for now...
    'Truth...which is not a beautiful shape living in a well, but a shy bird best caught by a stratagem.' -Joseph Conrad.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Shako Advantage

    Would the frontplates provide a little protection from shots?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Shako Advantage

    Quote Originally Posted by IAB1789 View Post
    I'll let that pass, for now...
    I just don't see how intimidating a hat can be. Unless it's sentient and has teeth I'd be far more worried about the musket that's about to be pointed at my face.

    Would the frontplates provide a little protection from shots?
    Maybe shot that's already traveled a fair distance but wasn't the introduction of gunpowder weapons one of the main reasons that the use of plate armour fell into decline? I'd imagine a cuirass would only be much good at blocking swords and bayonets.
    "Forget Jesus, the stars died so that you could be here" - Lawrence Krauss

  9. #9

    Default Re: Shako Advantage

    It's my general understanding that soldiers preferred bicorns or tricorns to shakos. The problem with shakos is that they're heavy, awkward to wear and don't stay on the head as well as a cloth cap. They also provided less protection from rain and sun, and got hot as well. Bicorns were easier to care for, breathed better and were lighter.

    Hence why the shako fell out of favor so quickly as warfare got more mobile after the Napoleonic period.

  10. #10
    Foederatus
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    The Hague
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Shako Advantage

    Quote Originally Posted by Swerg View Post
    It's my general understanding that soldiers preferred bicorns or tricorns to shakos. The problem with shakos is that they're heavy, awkward to wear and don't stay on the head as well as a cloth cap. They also provided less protection from rain and sun, and got hot as well. Bicorns were easier to care for, breathed better and were lighter.

    Hence why the shako fell out of favor so quickly as warfare got more mobile after the Napoleonic period.
    I have to disagree with you on this.

    Uniforms have several functions beyond the actual protection from the elements. As all uniforms, past or present, they have to be "uniform" so troops feel part of an organization while at the same time offering troops the feeling that they belong to a special unit within that organization; hence the multitude of unit badges and regimental distinctions.

    Bicorns and tricorns were esentially civilian hats and offered very little military advantages. They weren't very good in the rain and soon lost their shape under campaign conditions. Without a metal skullcap to protect against sword cuts, they had very little to offer beyond their cheapness and ready availability.

    The shako offered a few advantages over the bicorne. For one, it was indeed taller, thereby distorting the image of an advancing troop of soldiers. Like most period headwear, taller was better for that reason as it made it difficult to aim volleys. Due to the ballistic characteristics of muskets, troops had to aim high to hit troops at a distance. The shako's made it more difficult to determine the aiming point for inexperienced troops.

    Beyond this tactical advantage, shako's could also be used (and often were) as a bucket and could also be used to store items on the march! And don't forget it had a visor (to offer shade) and often a neck flap too.

    Finally, shako's remained in general use until the mid 1860s in most countries (and in others like Austria-Hungary until WWI) until replaced by kepi's and pickelhaube's. And that wasn't because they had lost their usefelness but rather because armies like to be fashionable and copied the kepi (because the French were universally succesful between 1854 and 1870) and then the pickelhaube after the Prussians crushed the French in 1870-1871. Even the British and the American armies then adopted the pickelhaube.....

  11. #11
    Foederatus
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    The Hague
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Shako Advantage

    Quote Originally Posted by HalfAssHorse View Post
    I just don't see how intimidating a hat can be. Unless it's sentient and has teeth I'd be far more worried about the musket that's about to be pointed at my face.



    Maybe shot that's already traveled a fair distance but wasn't the introduction of gunpowder weapons one of the main reasons that the use of plate armour fell into decline? I'd imagine a cuirass would only be much good at blocking swords and bayonets.

    It seems unlikely that clothes can make one scary but that's the way it is. Since the dawn of time, warriors have used certain additions to appear more scary. Obviously, those additions have changed over time but that doesn't invalidate the purpose. Or its success.

    Regarding cuirasses, they could indeed stop bullets from pistols. Each French cuirass was tested against penetration by pistol shots before being accepted in service and they were also known to stop "spent" musket rounds, although pretty much anything could stop a "spent" round according to period writings.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Shako Advantage

    As i understand, one of the primary reasons for vivid, distinctive uniforms was to ease battlefield communications and maneuver, reduced friendly fire etc. Wouldn't the taller shako also help with that?

  13. #13
    Foederatus
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    The Hague
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Shako Advantage

    Quote Originally Posted by ne'er-do-well View Post
    As i understand, one of the primary reasons for vivid, distinctive uniforms was to ease battlefield communications and maneuver, reduced friendly fire etc. Wouldn't the taller shako also help with that?
    I don't think a taller shako would help with identification. In fact, there are many different views on the whole concept of colours and shapes beyond their morale factor.

    There are many recorded incidents in which troops were fired upon by their own side because they wore the "wrong" colour e.g. the same as the opponents. A good example is Swiss regiments wearing red being fired upon by fellow French troops when engaged against the British. Other famous examples from the ACW are grey clad Union troops being shot by fellow Union troops or blue clad CS troops getting shot by their fellows. It soon led to troops ditching their fantasy outfits for uniforms less likely to be taken for the enemy.

    On the other hand, Wellington said that colours are totally unimportant as they quickly fade in campaign conditions and uniforms wear out and are replaced by whatever is available (often the same cloth used by the enemy). What matters is the shape of a uniform/headgear (compare a WWII German to a British Tommy and you know what he means). Although this does not explain why British dragoons and light dragoons with their distinctive uniforms/headgear switched to French copies circa 1812, with dragoons getting a helmet very similar to the French dragoon helmet and the light dragoons becoming virtual copies of French chasseurs a cheval.......

  14. #14
    maxsim666's Avatar Miles
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Ancona Italy
    Posts
    329

    Default Re: Shako Advantage

    hi guys
    some years ago I saw a documentary about waterloo, in it were described weapons, uniforms and equipment, and I rember well that many shako were, on the contrary of bicorn and other cloth hats, inside reinforced, akin to a little leather elm, to provide protection against sword and sabre slash, something like metal epaulettes function. Imagine a sword slash stopped through the mass of cloth and leather it should trespass to meat the head of soldiers. This was one of the function of the tall and clumsy shako hats.
    cheers
    Last edited by maxsim666; April 12, 2010 at 07:57 AM.
    "In hostem celerrime volant"


    - Voloire -

  15. #15

    Default Re: Shako Advantage

    They look cooler...

    Shoot coward! You are only going to kill a man!

  16. #16
    Bobby the Huntsman's Avatar Civis
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    England .:god save the queen:.
    Posts
    102

    Default Re: Shako Advantage

    Correct me if i am wrong, but did not a british unit steel the hats off the old guard once they were dead and it was how we ended up with our beefeaters today wearing those elongated furry hats

  17. #17

    Default Re: Shako Advantage

    The story is that the grenadier guards (who at the time were known as guards and not the grenadier guards) took the hats off the Grenadiers of the old guards at Waterloo. Its now thought that they may actually have defeated a different unit in fact, but that's the story.

    The Beefeaters are the guard of the tower of London, they don't wear shakos and are called beefeaters I believe because they used to be paid with a ration of beef yum). Although I do quite like the idea that they maybe got the name after defeating a unit of cattle...

  18. #18

    Default Re: Shako Advantage

    The Grenadier guards beat a single battalion of Middle Guard Chasseurs, not really scaling up agaisnt the regiment of Old Guard Grenadiers at all...

    Shoot coward! You are only going to kill a man!

  19. #19
    EmperorBatman999's Avatar I say, what, what?
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Why do you want to know?
    Posts
    11,418

    Default Re: Shako Advantage

    I prefer the bicorn's look better.
    For the greater part of the Napoleonic Wars, the shako was not in service for most countries. Only around 1809 most nations were making the switchover.

    I've also heard stories that the Old Guard at Waterloo on their final, fateful advance wore bicornes instead of their bearskins contrary to popular media. Image marching in a heavy, clunky, hot fur cap, the air warm from death and smoke. Suposedly they were saving them for their victory march through Brussels.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Shako Advantage

    Quote Originally Posted by ranoncles View Post
    Although this does not explain why British dragoons and light dragoons with their distinctive uniforms/headgear switched to French copies circa 1812, with dragoons getting a helmet very similar to the French dragoon helmet and the light dragoons becoming virtual copies of French chasseurs a cheval.......
    This was very much thanks to the prince regent, who although never taking the field, was colonel of a hussar regiment (google "the princes dolls", great read!), imagined himself the supreme commander by way of designing uniforms based on his own notions of what he deemed stylish and "warriorlike". A slightly overweight army-themed Gok Kwan of his age....

    Wellington and others (as you might know, since you comment both on this and the helmets) commented on it at the time, not very pleased.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •