About Napoleon vs Hannibal Page 2
|February 20th, 2008||#11|
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I'm all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters. Frank Lloyd Wright
|February 20th, 2008||#12|
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"My center is giving way, my right is in retreat situation excellent. I shall attack." -Foch
I am from NYC. I fly a French flag because I work in Paris.
|March 16th, 2008||#13|
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The range of a musket was reduced in comparison to a long bow, therefore it dictated the tactics used. It would be a case of moving to close the distance as quick as possible. Once the distance was closed to approx 60 yards the rate of effective musket fire from a well trained unit (eg. British line infantry) would have overwhelmed archery easily. Plus you need to also account for the accuracy and range of riflemen (eg. 95th Rifles).
Cavalry could not break an ancient "phalanx".... Horses won't charge into an obstacle like that. Just as 1800's cavalry would not charge an infantry square. Simple
Cannon would still work in the rain, and muskets could be used if they had percussion caps.
Look at it this way, technology would not have evolved unless it was an improvement. Something worse does not replace something better.
Note: I've addressed my answer towards the British Army of the Napoleonic era as I'm not a great devotee of the Napoleonic army, but the issues remain the same.
|March 16th, 2008||#14|
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Muskets would have a loading rate of around 3 shots per minute verses, an experienced military longbowman that was expected to shoot 20 aimed shots per minute. It is difficult to see the musket prevailing in this situation unless the arrow wounds were relatively insignificant. Perhaps more lines of 'infantry' could be set up as well in the case of the bow due to the plunging nature of the projectile.
The percussion cap was only introduced around 1830, although I think damp also rendered the twine on bows less effective as well.
I agree the use of shot from cannon would be devastating, but cannon could be rendered ineffective by a simple nail, or even towed away. If Ney had used cavalry correctly he could have charged and rendered the Allied canon useless whilst the infantry were congregated in squares. I am surprised that a mobile directional fragmentation device wasn't used in the Napoleonic era (like a Claymore mine that could be moved).
My understanding is that bows were replaced by muskets in view of the improvement in armour in the 15th century. However, then armour is rendered redundant, so bows become effective again. I think this is an interesting situation analogous to natural selection in nature where a population can oscillate. Perhaps the optimum weaponry is a mixture of muskets and bows, at least until the fast breech loading weapons became available?
|September 26th, 2008||#15|
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|September 27th, 2008||#16|
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The development of gunpowder, muskets, and the growing size of armies (and their consequent demand for less-trained levies) slowly led to the replacement of bows as weapons of war, supplanted by firearms, which were simpler for conscripts to learn and use, causing bows to be relegated to sport and hobby use.
The article of the musket is interesting as well, since it sounds complex
The initial role of the musket was as a specialist armour piercing weapon .....
Upon the command "Prime and load", the soldier would make a quarter turn to the right at the same time bringing the musket to the priming position. The pan would be open following the discharge of the previous shot, meaning that the frizzen would already be up.
Upon the command "Handle Cartridge", the soldier would draw a cartridge. Cartridges consisted of a spherical lead bullet wrapped in a paper cartridge which also held the gunpowder propellant. The other end of the cartridge away from the ball would be sealed with a twist of paper.
The soldier then ripped off the paper end of the cartridge and threw it away, keeping the main end with the bullet in his right hand. (The idea that the ball itself was somehow bitten off the top of the cartridge and held in the mouth is a myth invented by modern historical novels).
Upon the command "Prime", the soldier then pulled the dogshead back to half-cock and poured a small pinch of the powder from the cartridge into the priming pan. He then closed the frizzen so that the priming powder was trapped.
Upon the command "About", the butt of the musket was then dropped to the ground and the soldier poured the rest of the powder from the cartridge, followed by the ball and paper cartridge case into the barrel. This paper acted as wadding to stop the ball and powder from falling out if the muzzle was declined. (The myth of spitting the ball into the end of the barrel from the mouth is easily disproved - as soon as it is fired, the barrel becomes extremely hot; it would be extremely painful to place the lips anywhere near the hot metal.)
Upon the command "Draw ramrods", the soldier drew his ramrod from below the barrel. First forcing it half out before seizing it backhanded in the middle, followed by drawing it entirely out simultaneously turning it to the front and placing it one inch into the barrel
Upon the command "Ram down the cartridge", he then used the ramrod to firmly ram the wadding, bullet, and powder down to the bottom followed by tamping it down with two quick strokes. The ramrod was then returned to its hoops under the barrel.
Upon the command "Present", the butt was brought back up to the shoulder. The soldier pulled the cock back and the musket was ready to fire, which he would do on hearing the command "Fire". When the men fired they usually didn't hit a specific target, but the volume of fire was deadly within 20 meters.
This process was drilled into troops until they could do it by instinct and feel. The main advantage of the British Redcoat was that he trained at this procedure almost every day using live ammunition. A skilled unit of musketeers was able to fire three rounds per minute. This was the limit whilst loading to order as above, however an experienced individual could manage four rounds a minute if firing at will, such as in a skirmish situation.
Another interesting afterthought, if you can fire a bow 7 times as fast as a musket does this mean you need to train only 1/7th of the men?
Last edited by perseus; September 27th, 2008 at 08:42..