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riflemen tactics

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  • James Yaworsky
    Kind of odd that the musketmen were used as skirmishers while the rifle where kept back. Would you assume that they were proficient, or at least comfortable
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 2, 2002
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      "Kind of odd that the musketmen were used as skirmishers while the rifle
      where kept back. Would you assume that they were proficient, or at least
      comfortable in a close order role? "

      Actually, from everything I've read, I believe this was standard British
      "official" rifle tactics, as well, though the 60th & 95th ended up in many a
      hand-to-hand scrap and were certainly proficient in that role as well.
      The fact is, rifles are only at an advantage at long range where their
      greater accuracy gives them an important edge. At short range, where a
      musket is almost as accurate, speed of loading is more important. Riflemen
      were valuable assets to be kept back - still within their range, but
      outside of effective enemy musket range - & used as "sharpshooters" picking
      off enemy officers etc.
      Riflemen were always supposed to be supported by formed troops - preferably
      regular musket-equipped infantry - in case the enemy attempted to get to
      close quarters with them.
      British riflemen were also issued with smaller-diameter ball, so that they
      could re-load fast if they had to - in effect, turning their rifle in to a
      regular musket... But a Baker rifle loaded with a smaller ball is less
      accurate than a regular musket because of the shorter barrel.

      Jim Yaworsky
      41st R of F


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