Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 21

Thread: The weapons of the Tirailleurs Corses and du Po?

  1. #1
    Prince of Darkness's Avatar Campidoctor
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Taipei, ROC
    Posts
    1,956

    Default The weapons of the Tirailleurs Corses and du Po?

    These two foreign French regiments were raised from Corsica and Piedmont respectively, and I wonder were they equipped with rifles or muskets? French riflemen were rare in the Nap wars, but the Tirailleurs in ETW were riflemen ?

  2. #2
    Jom's Avatar A Place of Greater Safety
    Civitate Content Emeritus

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    18,395

    Default Re: The weapons of the Tirailleurs Corses and du Po?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prince Francesca View Post
    These two foreign French regiments were raised from Corsica and Piedmont respectively, and I wonder were they equipped with rifles or muskets? French riflemen were rare in the Nap wars, but the Tirailleurs in ETW were riflemen ?
    Napoleon simply did not believe in the value of the rifle. His doctrine was all about concentration: concentration of artillery and concentration of infantry in columns for attacking. Rifles simply did not fit into his strategies as they were slow to reload and did not lend themselves to fire en masse.

    "For what itís worth: itís never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life youíre proud of, and if you find that youíre not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again."

  3. #3

    Default Re: The weapons of the Tirailleurs Corses and du Po?

    Muskets.
    The french experimented with rifles, but found the cost + long reload time too stiff, and it also made the troops tactically unflexible, directly opposed to much of french military thinking in the period. The (very small scale) experiments were dropped around 1806 AFAIK.

    For all the (modern) hype about rifles, they were hopelessly slow to reload (one shot every two - five minutes, as opposed to the theoretical 3-4 shots a minute of elite musket armed troops), very expensive (until the industrial revolution progressed), demanded more training, and could fire fewer shots before a thorough cleaning was necessary. The bullets also grated on the rifle grooves, so the barrels had to be re-bored after a certain amount of shots, leading to weapons with different calibers (= logistical problems) within the unit.

    Some lights were given dragoon muskets (shorter than the ordinary Charleville) to aid reloading and firing while prone (and theoretically, to increase movement speed, while deemed more suitable for lights, who in theory were shorter than line infantry), but these were smoothbore.

  4. #4

    Default Re: The weapons of the Tirailleurs Corses and du Po?

    Agreed that all French light infantry regiments carried muskets apart from a few specialist individual snipers attached to them.

    Its not that the French authorities were unaware that the rifle was more accurate - it's that the voltigeurs and tirailleurs themselves did not consider the extra accuracy worth the much slower reloading speed.

    And as French infantry tactics were primarily offensive the skirmishers rate of fire was more important than their range or accuracy.

    Plus as any French infantryman could serve as a skirmisher if needed there wasn't the same strict divide between light and line.

    Countries that favoured the defensive found rather more use for riflemen as these could take out targets from a longer distance and pick off officers, colour bearers etc and thus disrupt enemy attacks.

  5. #5

    Default Re: The weapons of the Tirailleurs Corses and du Po?

    Quote Originally Posted by VonEwald View Post
    Muskets.

    For all the (modern) hype about rifles, they were hopelessly slow to reload (one shot every two - five minutes, as opposed to the theoretical 3-4 shots a minute of elite musket armed troops),
    I've seen this rate of fire quoted several times and it is completely wrong - an infantry unit that could fire only once every five minutes would have been useless on the Napoleonic battlefield.

    The Baker Rifle could in fact fire twice or even three times a minute in the hands of a well-trained man - although as with all muzzle loading black powder weapons rates of fire declined as the barrels got fouled and the shooters got tired.

    As in optimal conditions a smoothbore musket could fire 4 rounds per minute (although 2-3 rounds was a more normal ROF on the battlefield) there was a significant difference - but nowhere near as dramatic as sometimes presented.

  6. #6

    Default Re: The weapons of the Tirailleurs Corses and du Po?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clodius View Post
    The Baker Rifle could in fact fire twice or even three times a minute in the hands of a well-trained man
    Whilst this is true, it was a feature of the design of the Baker rifle that this was possible. It does not follow that the rifles experimented with by France, or indeed those emlpoyed by other armies were capable of this.

  7. #7
    Prince of Darkness's Avatar Campidoctor
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Taipei, ROC
    Posts
    1,956

    Default Re: The weapons of the Tirailleurs Corses and du Po?

    So the British riflemen are, theoretically, the best riflemen in the Napoleonic Wars?

  8. #8

    Default Re: The weapons of the Tirailleurs Corses and du Po?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prince Francesca View Post
    So the British riflemen are, theoretically, the best riflemen in the Napoleonic Wars?
    It's actually diffcult to compare them. The Tyrolean Jager were supposedly an excellent unit, though I'm not sure how their weapon compared with the Baker Rifle performance and flexibility wise. The Nassau Jagers behaved admirably in the defence of Hougoumont at Waterloo of course, but were armed with Baker rifles I believe.

    The Prussian's had Shutzen Kompanies armed with rifles attached to some of their regiments which were probably armed with baker rifles supplied by Britain, but the quality of these units is difficult to judge as their operation was sub-ordinate to the parent battalions and not recorded seperately.

    The Portuguese were said to be excellent riflemen, but again armed with the Baker rifle.

    As far as the French are concerned the rifle never features in their strategy, whether they made any proper use of those units they inhereted from subject states is less certain. Indeed one wonders how the French Army managed to integrate the tactic's and training of foriegn troops into their culture.

  9. #9

    Default Re: The weapons of the Tirailleurs Corses and du Po?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clodius View Post
    I've seen this rate of fire quoted several times and it is completely wrong - an infantry unit that could fire only once every five minutes would have been useless on the Napoleonic battlefield.

    The Baker Rifle could in fact fire twice or even three times a minute in the hands of a well-trained man - although as with all muzzle loading black powder weapons rates of fire declined as the barrels got fouled and the shooters got tired.

    I would very much like to see your sources for the increased R-O-F of the Baker Rifle, and what made this possible, if there really is a design feature that makes this possible.

    I suspect you might be mixing this up with the concept of speedloading the rifle, that is using pre-made cartridges and sending the ball down the barrel without the grease patch that makes it tight to the riflegrooves. Yes, this increases the R-O-F to something close to musket fire, but:

    1) the standard powder measure means no adjustment to range/wind etc.
    2) the bullet will "sling loose" in the barrel on its way out
    Which in effect makes the rifleman into a very, very expensively equipped and trained musketman.


    As for uselessness; what on earth could make you think this? First of all, rifle armed troops were not meant to form the main part of the battle line, but act as avant-, flank- and rearguard and skirmisher-screens for the main line formations. Which means that they, if used correctly, will have a role that on the one hand doesn't require the increased R-O-F, and on the other hand, and on the other hand bases their tactical meaning on the superior range of the rifle and the speed/mobility of the open order formations.

    Explained differently: A line battalion in close order advances on a skirmish-screen consisting of riflemen. The riflemen can open fire on 2-300 meters (some maybe even longer), while the musket-armed line infantry will have to get close to, and preferably under 100 meters to give effective fire with their smoothbores. The riflemen can, due to their cohesion, training and open formation, withdraw quicker than the line can advance, always keeping just out of reach of the muskets.

    This gives more time to make measured shots with custom amounts of gunpowder to compensate for distance/wind, and also take aim.


    Out of curiosity, I might also ask wether you have loaded/fired a flintlock musket AND a rifle with live ball?

  10. #10

    Default Re: The weapons of the Tirailleurs Corses and du Po?

    Quote Originally Posted by VonEwald View Post
    I would very much like to see your sources for the increased R-O-F of the Baker Rifle, and what made this possible, if there really is a design feature that makes this possible.
    I would recommend 'The Book of the Gun' by Harold Peterson. He describes the process in detail along with the pro's and cons of most other firearms including Fergusons Rifle.




    The design features of the Baker Rifle that impressed the Ordinance Board during the tests in 1800 and won Ezekiel Baker it the contract were:
    • Its accuracy up to 200 yards, which was the maximum range consider necessary, although it was slightly less accurate than other rifles at the extreme ranges.
    • Its seven groove rifling only made a quarter turn in the length of the bore reducing the friction when loading and the rate at which the barrel became fouled. In other rifles tested the rifling had a sharper twist, but this was found to cause the soldier to exert a lot more effort to ram the charge home, and that in turn caused his hands to shake when taking aim afterwards.
    • The slower twist was also found to give the ball a much flatter flight trajectory and reduced the skill needed to hit targets at long distances, in that the firer did not need to compensate for so much drop. Making it much easier to train new recruits.
    • The ball of the Baker rifle was designed so that it would simply drop down the barrel of its own weight if loaded without the greased patch. With the patch, it would take the rifling, without it the Baker Rifle could be loaded as fast as a standard musket and fire with equal effect at close range. Though both accuracy and range were sacrificed this was not important in the closing moments of an engagement when the enemy were close at hand and the longer range targets were obscured by battle smoke anyway.
    • The original shipments of Baker Rifles came with a small wooden mallet to assist the rifleman to seat the ball when it was wrapped in its patch. But these were soon discarded as unecessary and later shipments did not include them.
    • The Baker rifle also came equipped with a bayonet which not all the other models tested could accept.
    The accuracy of the greased patch story is further supported by the testimony of the riflemen featured in Mark Urbans book, in that one account states that it became common practice to omit the patch even when skirmishing at long ranges. The reason given is that with the patch the rifle not only fired more accurately and over a longer distance but apparently it also gave the firer much more of a kick in the shoulder when discharged. It seems many of the Riflemen found this continued battering painful and began leaving the patch out when loading to avoid it. Those who were caught doing so when skirmishing were given punishment.
    Last edited by Didz; May 31, 2010 at 12:18 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: The weapons of the Tirailleurs Corses and du Po?

    Quote Originally Posted by Didz View Post
    I would recommend 'The Book of the Gun' by Harold Peterson. He describes the process in detail along with the pro's and cons of most other firearms including Fergusons Rifle.


    • Its seven groove rifling only made a quarter turn in the length of the bore reducing the friction when loading and the rate at which the barrel became fouled. In other rifles tested the rifling had a sharper twist, but this was found to cause the soldier to exert a lot more effort to ram the charge home, and that in turn caused his hands to shake when taking aim afterwards.
    • The slower twist was also found to give the ball a much flatter flight trajectory and reduced the skill needed to hit targets at long distances, in that the firer did not need to compensate for so much drop. Making it much easier to train new recruits.
    • The ball of the Baker rifle was designed so that it would simply drop down the barrel of its own weight if loaded without the greased patch. With the patch, it would take the rifling, without it the Baker Rifle could be loaded as fast as a standard musket and fire with equal effect at close range. Though both accuracy and range were sacrificed this was not important in the closing moments of an engagement when the enemy were close at hand and the longer range targets were obscured by battle smoke anyway.
    • The Baker rifle also came equipped with a bayonet which not all the other models tested could accept.
    Thanks for the reference Didz!

    I'll check the rifling of originals I have access to, and try and compare, if anything gives the Baker a higher rate of fire compared to other nations rifles (remember, Britain was quite late in introducing them for widespread military use), without sacrificing accuracy, it's this point.

    Regarding the point about ball and loading without patch, I also mentioned this, and this is in no way unique to the Baker, and the point about a very expensively trained and equipped musketman still stands as I see it.

    The Baker bayonet (sword) is not unique either, and as in all other cases I have heard of, the sword bayonets were a pretty futile attempt at compensating for the riflemans lack of h-t-h reach, primarily against cavalry, but also against musket-armed troops.

    The Baker bayonet may possibly have had a more solid attachment mechanism than other countries rifles, however the british books I have read still give the impression that they ended up being used as hatchets and pokers instead of fighting weapons in many cases.

    Regarding mallets: why the British decided to equip their riflemen with it so late is something of a mystery to me. Danish-Norwegian riflemen seem never to have been equipped with them (at least post 1750, which is "my" period).

  12. #12
    Prince of Essling's Avatar Napoleonic Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Surrey, England
    Posts
    2,387

    Default Re: The weapons of the Tirailleurs Corses and du Po?

    For more info on the Baker rifle see http://www.historyofwar.org/articles...ker_rifle.html which has links to other useful info including loading process etc....

  13. #13

    Default Re: The weapons of the Tirailleurs Corses and du Po?

    Quote Originally Posted by VonEwald View Post
    I'll check the rifling of originals I have access to, and try and compare, if anything gives the Baker a higher rate of fire compared to other nations rifles (remember, Britain was quite late in introducing them for widespread military use), without sacrificing accuracy, it's this point.
    I'd be interested to see the results although I wasn't suggesting that it was necessarily faster to load with the patch than other rifles, although it was clearly faster than the others tested most of which were said to be of German manufacture.

    The only ready reference I have dates back to the American Revolution and quotes the following:

    Ferguson Rifle (6 shots per minute)
    Jaegar Rifle (2 shots per minute)
    Pennsylvannia Long Rifle (2 shots per minute)

    But these all pre-date the Baker.
    Quote Originally Posted by VonEwald View Post
    Regarding the point about ball and loading without patch, I also mentioned this, and this is in no way unique to the Baker, and the point about a very expensively trained and equipped musketman still stands as I see it.
    Well again it seems to have been the only one tested that allowed itself to be fired as rapidly as a musket but there may have been others that for some reason were not included in the tests.

    I know at least one of the others had a similar system based upon the existence of a brass band around the ball which allowed it to either be loaded sideways to avoid the rifling or flat so that it engaged, but that was rejected on the grounds that the shot could not be massed produced.

    To be honest I'm not sure what point you are trying to make, so perhaps I'm wasting your time. I thought you were questioning why the Baker rifle could be fired faster than other rifles, and the reason as far as I'm aware is that it could be loaded without the greased patch and only had a quarter turn in the rifling. Thats why it was selected by the British Army at the time. If other rifles were capable of outperforming it in both respects then one can only assume that their manufacturers never bothered tendering for the contract.
    Last edited by Didz; June 01, 2010 at 02:33 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: The weapons of the Tirailleurs Corses and du Po?

    The Ferguson's ROF was so high because it was a breechloader.

    Muzzle-loading rifles all took roughly the same time to load and fire and could at best achieve 2-3 rounds per minute because a rifled barrel offers more resistance to a ball being rammed down it than a smoothbore one.

    If you refuse to believe me look at this article from the the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford:

    The Baker Rifle and its pattern variations was in service with the British Army between 1801 and 1838. The weapon was a standard rifle with a calibre (ammunition size) of 0.625 inches (15.9 mm) or 'carbine bore'. It weighed about nine pounds (4.08 kg). Designed between 1798 and 1800 it was 43 and three quarter inches in total length (1162 mm) but the camouflage browned barrel was only some 30 inches (762 mm) long. The Pitt Rivers Baker Rifle measures 1165 mm in total length. Muzzle-loaded, it fired by flintlock ignition a lead ball of 0.615 inches diameter (hence the need for greased linen or leather patches), but later ammunition supplied was ball cartridge. Ignition was provided by a TOWER marked lock (firing mechanism) which was also marked with a crown over GR forward of the lock. A proficient rifleman could achieve a rate of three rounds per minute, and a semi-skilled man could be credited with two rounds per minute.....

    Rifle Corps officers permitted their men to load their rifles after their own fashion or preference. This allowed on the condition that they could demonstrate it was accurate to set standards. Live ammunition was used in practise and riflemen could achieve ranges of 150 to 200 yards firing twice a minute. This is a previously unknown level of accuracy compared to the standard issue musket's unreliability beyond 75 yards. Rifle accuracy was required in order to strike an enemy soldier, at a distance greater than that of the enemy musket, somewhere about his person. Certainly with the intention of rendering him hors de combat, if not dead or mortally wounded. The rifleman, who could accurately shoot birds and rabbits for food at some range were naturally expected to shoot moving French, or other troops, with a good measure of accuracy and regularity. For this purpose the Baker Rifle had brazed to its barrel two sights, front and rear. The rear sight consisted of a block situated 7 inches forward of the breach and which was cut with a V notch. The front sight was made from an iron blade on a thin rectangular base. The front sight of the Pitt Rivers Museum example appears to be made of brass. The barrel shows the camouflage browning that was intended to prevent glare from exposing the positions of sharpshooter riflemen. [end quote]

    If you have actually any evidence for the ridiculous assertion that it could only fire one round 'every two to five minutes' please share it with us....
    Last edited by Clodius; June 01, 2010 at 02:56 PM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: The weapons of the Tirailleurs Corses and du Po?

    And consider this: a French unit advancing to the attack would march at a rate of 100 paces per minute (1 pace=30 inches=0.83 yards or around 80 yards per minute)

    A British rifleman firing at a rate of 2 rounds per minute could open fire at 200 yards and fire approximately 5 rounds in the two and a half minutes it would take the French to cover that distance.

    A rifleman who could only fire once every 2-5 minutes and who did not have his rifle already loaded when the French entered his maximum effective range would unless he was one of the fastest 15% or so of shots still be fumbling with his ball and ramrod when the Frenchmen arrive to bayonet him.

    Alternatively if the French spend a minute and a half marching up to effective musket range of 75 yards (and they can take their time as its not as if anyone is shooting at them) they can then get off two full volleys before a single rifleman has fired back - and another 8 or so volleys before the slowest rifleman has fired his one round.

    As I said completely ridiculous....

    Oh and here's a random quote from Rifleman Harris - who unlike you or me fired Baker rifles countless times in action:

    "I remember a fellow named Jackman getting close up to the walls at Flushing (During the Walcheren Expedition 1809), and working a hole in the earth with his sword, into which he laid himself, and remained there alone, spite of all the efforts of the enemy and their various missiles to dislodge him. He was known thus earthen, to have killed with the utmost coolness and deliberation, eleven of the French artillerymen, as they worked at their guns. As fast as they relieved each fallen comrade did Jackman pick them of."

    OK Rifleman Jackman was obviously too busy to use his stopwatch - but does this sound like a man firing once every 2-5 minutes? - in fact if the French knew where he was firing from (as they evidently did) they didn't even need to shoot back as one of them could have strolled over at a leisurely place and beaten Jackman to death with one those giant Q-tip thingies in the time between his first shot and his reloading for the second...
    Last edited by Clodius; June 01, 2010 at 03:28 PM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: The weapons of the Tirailleurs Corses and du Po?

    And a video of re-enactors firing 13 rounds in 5 minutes with replica Baker rifles.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eqz7XLkyx8Y

    What other evidence do you need?

  17. #17

    Default Re: The weapons of the Tirailleurs Corses and du Po?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clodius View Post
    The Ferguson's ROF was so high because it was a breechloader.
    Very true.
    Quote Originally Posted by Clodius View Post
    Muzzle-loading rifles all took roughly the same time to load and fire and could at best achieve 2-3 rounds per minute because a rifled barrel offers more resistance to a ball being rammed down it than a smoothbore one.

    If you refuse to believe me look at this article from the the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford:
    Not sure why you think I wouldn't believe you. Your reference clearly states "Rifle Corps officers permitted their men to load their rifles after their own fashion or preference. This allowed on the condition that they could demonstrate it was accurate to set standards. Live ammunition was used in practise and riflemen could achieve ranges of 150 to 200 yards firing twice a minute."

    The only point Peterson makes is that by omitting the patch the rifle could be fired as rapidly as a musket but with reduced range and accuracy.

    If you have actually any evidence for the ridiculous assertion that it could only fire one round 'every two to five minutes' please share it with us....
    Who said that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clodius View Post
    And a video of re-enactors firing 13 rounds in 5 minutes with replica Baker rifles.
    Sounds about right just over two rounds a minute, without taking time to choose a target and aim.
    Last edited by Didz; June 01, 2010 at 04:17 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: The weapons of the Tirailleurs Corses and du Po?

    Didz - I was addressing Von Ewald and not you!

    He said above:

    For all the (modern) hype about rifles, they were hopelessly slow to reload (one shot every two - five minutes, as opposed to the theoretical 3-4 shots a minute of elite musket armed troops),

    What I can't understand is how anyone could read that ROF and not see that it is an obvious typo....

  19. #19

    Default Re: The weapons of the Tirailleurs Corses and du Po?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clodius View Post
    And a video of re-enactors firing 13 rounds in 5 minutes with replica Baker rifles.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eqz7XLkyx8Y

    What other evidence do you need?
    You don't seem to take into consideration the part about AIMED shots, that have a chance of hitting something, which is the reason for me to operate with 2 - 5 minutes between shots. Riflemen did not volley fire unless in emergencies, and as far as I know, were stressed to make their shots count, no shooting just to make bangs.

    Regarding the video: yes, the guy is very, very skilled in loading, with my military flintlock rifle I would and have achieved roughly 10 shots during the same time in those conditions.

    However:
    1) That is ideal conditions, standing on a range, doing a drill demo. Nobody is shooting back, and the concept seems to be to demonstrate how quickly it is possible to make the gun go bang.

    2) We don't know if he's actually got a rifled Baker replica or a smoothbore Baker replica (or an original). Many reenactors choose the smoothbore replica, to save money.

    3) Aside from acknowledging his loading skills, I would have been very interested in seeing the target (how many hits?) and know the range.

    All the information you (and Didz) have given from other sources are correct, AFAIK, but you fail to take into account the chain of advancing/retreating, finding a good position, attempting to calculate distance, measure powder to correspond with distance, get the powder in the barrel, tap the bullet with patch down the fouled barrel, prime the pan, find a possible target, take aim, get the feeling that you will hit, pull the trigger, and then start over again.

    Then you have the concept of skirmish pairs, where the one soldier keeps his rifle loaded without firing until his mate has reloaded his rifle and reported "clear".

    Add stuff like fatigue, fear of the cavalry you know is circling somewhere to the left of your flank etc. to that, and I still say you get an effective shot every 2 - 5 minutes on average.

    And have you taken into consideration the amount of ammunition available to a rifleman and his company? And the consequences of sustaining such a high R-O-F?

    Of course, there are examples like the story told by Rfm Harris (most armies of the period have stories like that), but the exact reason he mentions it, is because it is something extraordinary, worth mentioning.

    Regarding the example you give of french marching speed and distance; what gave you the idea that the rifleman would still be standing there waiting to be bayonetted? As I have mentioned previously, rifle-equipped troops were never (unless they were intermingled with line troops) meant to hold positions ( stand to the last man) in the main battle line.

    The rifleman would either, along with his comrades have given such effective fire (hitting so many officers, standard bearers, NCOs, and men) that the enemy attack would either falter and go to ground or lose speed, or if not able to do this, retreat (with a higher speed than the attackers, without loosing cohesion) back to the main battle line, firing during the retreat, or possibly getting the support of nearby cavalry that would have been tasked with supporting the advanced light troops, and checking the attack that way.

    I suggest you check the ratio of Bakers to muskets in the light battalions of the KGL (which were rated very highly), and then explain that ratio in the context of rifle ROF.......
    Last edited by VonEwald; June 05, 2010 at 07:39 PM. Reason: Forgot a section

  20. #20

    Default Re: The weapons of the Tirailleurs Corses and du Po?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clodius View Post
    Didz - I was addressing Von Ewald and not you!

    He said above:
    For all the (modern) hype about rifles, they were hopelessly slow to reload (one shot every two - five minutes, as opposed to the theoretical 3-4 shots a minute of elite musket armed troops),
    What I can't understand is how anyone could read that ROF and not see that it is an obvious typo....
    Ah! well on that point I concur, most muzzle-loaded rifles could be fired at least twice per minute, as your video demonstrates.

    The only slight slowing factor would be the need to aim, and of course the 'buddy system' which required a rifleman to hold his fire until his buddy had finished reloading and the need to advance or retire a few paces between each shot.

    However, those factors are more to do with operational practicalities than the actual potential of the weapon itself.
    Quote Originally Posted by VonEwald View Post
    You don't seem to take into consideration the part about AIMED shots, that have a chance of hitting something, which is the reason for me to operate with 2 - 5 minutes between shots. Riflemen did not volley fire unless in emergencies, and as far as I know, were stressed to make their shots count, no shooting just to make bangs.
    Well again I think we are talking about a difference between weapon potential and operational practicalities. There is good reason to suppose that in actual battle average rates of fire were much lower than a weapons theoretical potential on the range. Not just for skirmishers but for all arms including artillery.

    The fact, is that battles involved a lot of waiting around when very little was going on, and both artillery and skirmishers tended to conserve their ammunition and energy for the moments of decision. Mark Urban's book confirms that there was a sort of unwritten code amongst opposing skirmish lines that pointless shooting and activity would be minimised at least until there was some need to gain or defend ground, usually when your supported troops were trying to advance or being advanced upon.

    The alternative would have been to fire off all the cartridges in your box (or all the shot in your caisson), and knacker yourself, within 30 minutes and then be forced to retire to replenshish or risk being short of ammunition when the real need for it arose.

    So, in that respect it would not surprise me to find that if one divided, the number of shots actually fired by the period in action, a skirmishers rate of fire might be as low as one shot every 2-5 minutes. But that clearly wasn't the limitation of the weapon.
    Last edited by Didz; June 06, 2010 at 05:59 AM.

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
  •