Why was small arms fire so ineffective in the 19th century? - Page 6




 
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December 12th, 2009  
Gary of CA
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by perseus
Care to give us a short summary?
Normal people are reluctant to kill. Until recently, military training did little to overcome that reluctance. Shooting at a bullseye is different from shooting a human being. A paper target doesn't scream, bleed or impose any burden of guilt on the soldier. So, soldiers don't associate them with humans.

Thus, in many battles of the 18th-19th century, when ordered to shoot, soldiers often feigned fighting. They went through the motions without any killing as a result. This was in hope that the enemy would do the same. Read virtually any Civil War regimental history and at the start of the war, the history will record how the regiment was fired upon and missed. Instead, of bullets, branches and leaves fell on them. Feigned fighting was also evidenced by loading weapons for those who could fight. You passed your loaded musket up to the guy who actually fired it into the enemy's ranks. He then passed back his empty musket in exchange for a loaded one.

Now, there was always a group of men who could kill. Frontiersmen who were inured to killing. They've seen the elephant before and so it didn't bother them when they donned the uniform. Seasoned soldiers who have been in battle long enough can become desensitized such that they will kill just to preserve their own life and the life of their buddies. While some will gleefully kill out of hatred, others do it just for survival. Desire for revenge for a buddy or relative can also help overcome any reluctance to kill.

In another work, Grossman talked about how today's juvenile could readily kill someone. He states that the desensitization taught today by the armed forces are taught to kids today by the media (music, television, cinema) and that the skills are acquired through video games where they can learn to operate a weapon and receive positive reinforcement in the form of points for stacking up the bodies. Younger generation of Americans had better parenting and if he hurt our playmate, we were punished. Today's parent either don't have the time, don't care or "my baby didn't do nuth'n."
December 12th, 2009  
George
 
Seems to be evidence of Yankees shooting high a lot. There is speculation of blank firing by some Ark. regiments @ Pea Ridge. The P53 Enfield had good sights that allowed very long distance shooting vs the Springfield.
December 12th, 2009  
Gary of CA
 
George, both sides missed a lot and I've found no evidence that either side was superior to the other. One thing many tend to forget is that many Yankees came from the midwest (Ohio, Illinois, Indian, Michigan, Minnesota, Kentucky, Tennessee, Kansas, Misery. Those states contributed a lot of farm boys who were equally adept with the firearm as their southern counterpart. Additionally, there were a lot of farm boys in the New England states and upstate New York. Look at where Berdan's Sharp Shooters were recruited from.

You're on the mark about the Enfield and many sources I've read stated that the Enfield was superior to the Springfield and any other rifle musket in terms of long range shooting (500-1000 yards). While not equal to a Whitworth, an Enfield in good hands could fetch a man at 900-1000 yards. Even by today's standard, that's nothing to laugh at. That's why the Confederate sharpshooters in the Army of Northern Virginia were given preference on available Enfields.

Still, there's a lot to be said about training and the Confederate approach was based on the Hythe (British Musketry School) Manuals. Ol' Pat Cleburne, the father of the Confederate Sharpshooter, used one to teach his men (though I haven't figured out which edition he used).
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December 13th, 2009  
perseus
 
 
Gary, yeah that what I thought you were referring to. Interesting stuff, it seems humans have a natural tendency not to kill, yet we now go to extreme measures to overcome that instinct. I wonder if all that training fully switches off when returning to civilian life? The need to train to kill is obvious if we want effective armies, but still worrying non the less.
December 15th, 2009  
Gary of CA
 
In the military, the have an off switch as given in the command, cease fire! That's the check system. However, some are so traumatized that they get flashbacks and go into the survival mode. I know one ex-ranger who snapped when his wife attacked him with a knife. He flashed back to 'Nam and in defending himself, broke her leg. He did some time for that.

One big difference between the military and the gang bangers is that there is no restraint as provided by the command cease fire!
July 15th, 2010  
Akeela
 
Enfield v. Springfield Rifle Muskets

The Colt 1861 Special Rifle Muskets were built on Enfield machines in America (Whitney mfg. system). The equipment was intended to supply British contracts that dried up when the Crimean War proved shorter than anticipated. Internally, they were largely Enfields. Of the 1861 Rifle Muskets issued, close to one in three was the Colt Special (or so I’ve read — it was a bit before my time.)

The 1863 Springfield incorporated the Colt Special's improvements.

The .58 and .577 arms early on in the War of the Rebellion started using .575 rounds to ease supply difficulties.

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July 19th, 2010  
Akeela
 
Supersonic buck and ball smoothbore shoots flatter than subsonic rifle muskets
100 musketeers put 1200 rounds down range per min. That's 300 shots
100 riflemen put 300 rounds per min.
(three shots per min. standing up — slower lying down)
Muskets put more holes in targets (out to 200 yards) than rifle muskets
B&B Muskets hit 98% of shots at 200 yds. 210% at 100 yds.
Rifle Muskets hit 78% and 99% at the same ranges.
American practice was to dump the powder down the bore and load buck and ball still in the cartridge — giving a gas seal wad and something to keep balls in place for shooting down hill.

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July 21st, 2010  
George
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akeela
Supersonic buck and ball smoothbore shoots flatter than subsonic rifle muskets
100 musketeers put 1200 rounds down range per min. That's 300 shots
100 riflemen put 300 rounds per min.
(three shots per min. standing up — slower lying down)
Muskets put more holes in targets (out to 200 yards) than rifle muskets
B&B Muskets hit 98% of shots at 200 yds. 210% at 100 yds.
Rifle Muskets hit 78% and 99% at the same ranges.
American practice was to dump the powder down the bore and load buck and ball still in the cartridge — giving a gas seal wad and something to keep balls in place for shooting down hill.

A
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Some of your conclusions seem to be way off. The Buck part of BnB isn't going to be effective much over 50 yds & smoothbore Muskets simply aren't accurate @ 100 yds, much less 200. That's why they had to have troops shoulder to shoulder, lack of accuracy. Muskets are faster to load if you dump powder & ball down the barrel, but if you ram, it won't be much faster than a Minie. No idea what you're saying with those hit numbers, 210% hit rate? HUH? There's no way a smoothbore is more accurate than a rifle. The round ball literaly bounces down the bore & without spin stabilizing it'll go who knows where.
The .69 round ball has a M/V of 1500 FPS with a 412 gr ball, but loses velocity rapidly resulting in a rapid sink rate. By 200 yds it has lost 50% of velosity. In direct comparison the .69 Rifled-Musket has a M/V of 950 FPS with a 740 Gr.ball & is still going 800 FPS (84%)@ 200 yds + is accurate from spin.
The .58 Springfield has a M/V of 1,000, & it still going over 800 FPS @ 200 yds with 80% of M/V retained for a flatter trajectory.
July 22nd, 2010  
perseus
 
 
Quote:
The .69 round ball has a M/V of 1500 FPS with a 412 gr ball, but loses velocity rapidly resulting in a rapid sink rate. By 200 yds it has lost 50% of velosity. In direct comparison the .69 Rifled-Musket has a M/V of 950 FPS with a 740 Gr.ball & is still going 800 FPS (84%)@ 200 yds + is accurate from spin.
Looking at these figures surely the density of the ball is different in either case, which partly explains the different deceleration rates? I can't help thinking that with ballistics the projectile is as important as the implement which fires it.

Here's a question why were the projectiles themselves not rifled instead of the bores of rifles?
July 22nd, 2010  
George
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by perseus
Looking at these figures surely the density of the ball is different in either case, which partly explains the different deceleration rates? I can't help thinking that with ballistics the projectile is as important as the implement which fires it.

Here's a question why were the projectiles themselves not rifled instead of the bores of rifles?
The shape & stabilty has a lot to do with range & accuracy, but a 500 gr round ball dropped straight down will hit the ground @ the same time a 500 gr ball fired from a gun hits the ground. Rifling:Efficientcy I'd say. Modern "rifled slugs" used in shotguns are rifled to impart spin, but it can't be as effective as lead engraving itself into rifling in the barrel. Of course there is a danger of a lead bullet stripping out of the rifling if to powerfull a load is used. That was the concept behind the Whitworth octagon bore & bullet, to make it impossible to strip the bullet out of the rifling
 


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