Rifleman Impact

Discussion in 'Revolutionary War' started by Loyalist Dave, Nov 6, 2017.

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  1. Aug 7, 2018 #61

    yulzari

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    I enjoyed the story of Lt. Colonel Webster. A lovely example of the opposite to stories where rifleman 'X' fires one shot and hit person 'Y' at 400 yards but you rarely hear the stories of when 40 riflemen fired 5 rounds each at person 'Y' and all missed him. Even though the expenditures of ammunition against casualties show that the vast majority of even rifle shots missed their targets.

    Well done Lt. Colonel Webster in displaying his courage and leadership.
     
  2. Aug 8, 2018 #62

    Artificer

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    Don't forget the British also employed Hessian Riflemen. I think it was at the Siege of Yorktown where they shot as well or even better than the American riflemen.

    One thing the Rebels did do well was when the rifles of the Americans became damaged or lost, they grabbed the Riflemen for use in the Artillery, as it was said the Riflemen were much better at estimating range than most other soldiers.

    I also believe the British learned far more about the use of Rifles in that war than the U.S. did. This is evident in two rifles that came into usage by both armies at the beginning of the 19th century. The U.S. M 1803 Harpers Ferry Rifle was FAR inferior to the Baker Rifle as a military rifle.

    Gus
     
  3. Aug 8, 2018 #63

    yulzari

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    Indeed Gus. I treat German troops as part of the British army in which they were integrated under their own officers.
     
  4. Aug 8, 2018 #64

    Artificer

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    After Dan Morgan was exchanged from a year in prison in Quebec and perhaps where he thought up the idea, he was the first American Commander to integrate Riflemen and Light Infantry at Saratoga. I am not absolutely sure about this, but I think he was the first Commander to have done that in the AWI, as I have not come across an account where the British Army had done that, at least up to that time.

    Have you come across an account of such large scale Riflemen/Light Infantry integration by the British Army before that battle/campaign?

    At the time of the incident of Lt. Colonel Webster in leading his men by crossing the river/large stream on horseback under fire, I believe he was a Major. (I used military courtesy in writing the highest rank I know he obtained as LT. Colonel.) Yes, that was remarkable courage under fire.

    Gus
     
  5. Aug 8, 2018 #65

    yulzari

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    Possibly one might look at German experiences as they were asked to support the Prince Elector of Hannover aka King George of England (etc. etc.) with light infantry which in Germany meant rifle armed troops.

    The British army had fought alongside Germans for generations before the ARW and must have assimilated many things from them. Even in my days they were still using Hindi, Urdu and Arabic terms in daily colloquial use e.g. dhobi, jaldi, bunduq etc.
     
  6. Aug 8, 2018 #66

    Artificer

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    Good tip to look more at the period German troops.

    I knew King George I never learned English in his life and that must have been "fun" at His Court.

    Gus
     
  7. Aug 9, 2018 #67

    Loyalist Dave

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    The Diary of Johann Ewald, (some spell it Edwald) a jaeger officer, gives some good insight into the Germanic riflemen of the AWI. Ewald penned a manual for Jaeger officers just prior to the AWI, and his work Essay on Partisan Warfare, published in 1785 showed that he had learned quite a lot from serving in the AWI in North America. I'm not sure he took away much from the British, except examples of what not to do. :wink:

    LD
     
  8. Nov 24, 2018 #68

    FlinterNick

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    The 1803 was not a great military design due to the heavy weight, lack of sling swivels and the middle rod pipe was too small (not flared). However the skills of the 1803 user were far exceeding that of any British riflemen. Also very few baker rifles made to America in the war of 1812.
     
  9. Nov 24, 2018 #69

    FlinterNick

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    The Hessian Jaegers were not deployed in the best use during the AWI. The American rifles often outmatched them on the battlefield due to their lower personal morals in regards to how and when then took a shot at someone. Hessians and British riflemen often followed a code of honor, Americans simply just wanted to make their wives widows.

    Hessians were also trained to use their rifles with tripods and it often took two men to work that station.

    British riflemen were armed with the much lighter short barred 1776 rifle. This was a very nice rifle that still required the British soldier to be in around 75 - 100 yards of its intended target; the larger caliber bored rifles at .62 were not nearly as accurate and had a shorter range than the longer barrled smaller caliber, Lancaster and Virginia rifles.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
  10. Nov 24, 2018 #70

    FlinterNick

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    I'm in the process of gearing up for an 1817 common rife kit from TRS. I'm waiting on the patterns and a few books before I send over my request. I've handled a few originals, the balance is superb for hunting, the gun has a deep drop in the heal and the trigger guard has a unique pistol grip feel to it. the caliber is .54 with deep cut rifling grooves (7). Its set up very similar to a French Charleville Carbine with a longer barrel at 36 inches. I can also convert the rifle with a drum and nipple for rainy days.

    Of the most desirable feature is that the gun can easily be broken down for hard cleaning.
     
  11. Nov 24, 2018 #71

    Loyalist Dave

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    I'd like to see why you make this claim, as the British Issue rifle of the 19th century was a .62 caliber with a very short 30" barrel, and they were to qualify with them out to 300 yards. I've seen Germanic jaeger rifles of the period with adjustable sights that flip up rear sight leaves, with ranges as far as 200 yards. I know that it's documented that the German riflemen often ran out of ammunition. Never seen any claims that they or the few British with the 1776 Ordinance rifle couldn't reach out past 100 yards on a regular basis.

    LD
     
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  12. Nov 24, 2018 #72

    FlinterNick

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    I was at a rifle demo a few years back; .54-.62 caliber rifles were used. Most aimed shots were were near center hits at 100 yards. At 150 the targets were hit but not at intended locations .... 200 yards out there were a few hits but more missed. The .44-50 Cal long barreled rifled we’re hitting targets with more efficiency at 100-150 yards. The shorter barreled rifled I believe we’re Pedersoli made. The American rifles used were mostly custom made .45-.54 cal rifles; granted the rifling made today is better than it was 300 years ago.

    On the battlefield conditions often limited the quality of shots fired; fog of water? Topography and weather conditions would limit range effectiveness. At Yorktown British sharp shooters and hessian jaegers were noted taking out French and American artillerymen 200 yards out.

    My claim is only as good as what I’ve observed ... I don’t doubt that in training British and hessian riflemen could hit targets as far as 300 yards.... but I doubt that most could on the battlefield.

    Respectfully NG
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
  13. Nov 24, 2018 #73

    tenngun

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    I think it interesting that the Brits would adopt rifelman and go on to develop a fine battlefield rifle for use during the napoleonic war. While the French who saw them used well would discard them during that war.
    And knowing how well they did in Spain and in America would deploy so few to America in 1812.
     
  14. Nov 25, 2018 #74

    yulzari

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    I think that they may have been rather busy elsewhere and equipping the armies of their allies. The Portuguese alone took many of the produced rifles for their Cacadores. Not to mention aiding Russia which was being invaded. British North America was a minor military event by comparison and it was successfully defended. Job done and home for tea and medals.
     
  15. Nov 25, 2018 #75

    Loyalist Dave

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    On the Battlefield the fog of war works BOTH ways
    I was unaware that there were records of who was killed and with what on the Franco-American side at Yorktown..., or is that conjecture on your part as well?

    As for what a Jaeger rifle will do, I've seen an extant piece actually test fired and chronographed....and it reached a muzzle velocity of 1500 fps. Quite capable of reaching out past 100 yards, in spite of your assertion. ODD that you think training doesn't equate to combat capabilities.

    LD
     
  16. Nov 25, 2018 #76

    Rockvillerich

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    As much as I like rifles, other than Saratoga and King's mountain, I've not seen much to suggest that the outcome of battles, or the war would have been any different without them.
     
  17. Nov 25, 2018 #77

    FlinterNick

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    Why did British rifle untis and hessian jaeger untis sustain heavy losses at brandywine, Monmouth and Saratoga ?

    There was a difference on the battlefield; it wasn’t capabilities of the users; as hessian jaegers and British rangers were very highly trained the Americans relied on personal experiences with rifles.

    Probably the most accurate gun of the entire was the Ferguson capable of hitting a bulls eye at 100 yards
    Official riflemen units only accounted for around 5-7% of total continental army foot soldiers during the War.

    Unaccounted militia armed with rifles potentially accounted for much more, but we will never know.

    Other than Saratoga and some smaller battles Kings Mountain, Oriskany and the northern and western ranger battles there were no major riflemen units used. However there is some documented evidence that riflemen were covering the American retreat from New York, Brandywine.

    Nicholas Genda
     
  18. Nov 25, 2018 #78

    tenngun

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    That’s all true, but I wonder that the French didnt get on board... it’s easy to explore the logic of a situation long after the fact when at the time there was no concrete reason.
    I wonder if even the outcomes at the big riflemans victories would have been different had it not been rifles. How much of the victory could be effected by the woodsmans knowledge base and not by the weapon used.
    The RedBarrons teacher ( Blucher, Ithink, would have to look it up) said ‘it’s not the machine, it’s the man”. Would a company of frontiersman armed with knowledge and a well made fusil have preformed so much worse?
    I don’t know and only asking, not making an argument. I can only point out French Canidians and ranging groups like Rodgers Rangers did well with smoothies.
     
  19. Nov 26, 2018 #79

    Tim L

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    Another good resorce is The Frontier Riflemsn by Richard B LaCrosse Jr. ISBN:0-913150-57-6
     
  20. Nov 26, 2018 #80

    Loyalist Dave

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    You don't think both sides rifles could hit a "bullseye" at 100 yards? On a regular basis?

    And the heavy Jaeger losses at Brandywine were recorded as being the result of being under artillery fire from grape shot....

    You still haven't explained why the Germans would create entire units around a weapon system that you assert was good to 75 yards, when after all musket fire becomes effective at 50 yards... would 25 yards with the line tactics of the day warrant more than 600 men armed in such manner?


    LD
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2018

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