- "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.
41st R of F
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