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Three Times a Minute - five minutes vs. five hours

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  • Larry Lozon
    From: How fast troop formations could fire was largely a function of training. I think the truly important part of the equation in terms
    Message 1 of 22 , Oct 5, 2004
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      From: <yawors1@...>

      How fast troop formations could fire was largely a function of training.

      I think the truly important part of the equation in terms of
      battlefield tactics is, how *long* could they fire three or four or
      even five rounds a minute.
      .............

      Very interesting.

      I was informed over the weekend that a re-enactor from
      Fort Erie, Ontario actually reached a rate of "SIX" shots a minute !!!!


      Yrs.,

      L2
    • Peter Monahan
      Our own Dave Brunelle has done 6 a minute on several occasions, but not for long and with a couple shortcuts
      Message 2 of 22 , Oct 5, 2004
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        Our own Dave Brunelle has done 6 a minute on several occasions, but not for long and with a couple "shortcuts"
        ============================================================
        From: "Larry Lozon" <lalozon@...>
        Date: 2004/10/05 Tue PM 01:45:28 EST
        To: <WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com>
        Subject: [WarOf1812] Three Times a Minute - five minutes vs. five hours


        From: <yawors1@...>

        How fast troop formations could fire was largely a function of training.

        I think the truly important part of the equation in terms of
        battlefield tactics is, how *long* could they fire three or four or
        even five rounds a minute.
        .............

        Very interesting.

        I was informed over the weekend that a re-enactor from
        Fort Erie, Ontario actually reached a rate of "SIX" shots a minute !!!!


        Yrs.,

        L2













        The War of 1812: In Europe, thousands fought over the fate of hundreds of square miles: in North America, hundreds determined the fate of THOUSANDS of square miles...

        Unit Contact information for North America:
        ---------------------------------
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        ============================================================


        Peter Monahan
      • Mark Dickerson
        I hear the surgeon may some newer medications for those short cuts for those 6 per minute occasions! opps ....was that outloud? ... From: Peter Monahan
        Message 3 of 22 , Oct 5, 2004
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          I hear the surgeon may some newer medications for those short cuts for those
          "6 per minute" occasions! opps ....was that outloud?
          :)



          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Peter Monahan" <petemonahan@...>
          To: <WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Tuesday, October 05, 2004 2:43 PM
          Subject: Re: [WarOf1812] Three Times a Minute - five minutes vs. five hours


          >
          > Our own Dave Brunelle has done 6 a minute on several occasions, but not
          for long and with a couple "shortcuts"
          > ============================================================
        • hm95thfoot
          ... training. ... four or ... minute !!!! ... With a rammer, and ball cartridge, as they would have done it back then? That would be quite an accomplishment.
          Message 4 of 22 , Oct 5, 2004
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            --- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, "Larry Lozon" <lalozon@n...> wrote:
            > From: <yawors1@u...>
            >
            > How fast troop formations could fire was largely a function of
            training.
            >
            > I think the truly important part of the equation in terms of
            > battlefield tactics is, how *long* could they fire three or
            four or
            > even five rounds a minute.
            > .............
            >
            > Very interesting.
            >
            > I was informed over the weekend that a re-enactor from
            > Fort Erie, Ontario actually reached a rate of "SIX" shots a
            minute !!!!
            >
            >
            > Yrs.,
            >
            > L2

            With a rammer, and ball cartridge, as they would have done it back
            then? That would be quite an accomplishment.

            RWF
          • Larry Lozon
            From: hm95thfoot ... = = = = = = Rog Apparently some Napoleonic Re-enactors made a line of musketmen and had cavalry 80 yards
            Message 5 of 22 , Oct 5, 2004
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              From: "hm95thfoot" <fullerfamily@...>

              > With a rammer, and ball cartridge, as they would have done it back
              > then? That would be quite an accomplishment.

              = = = = = =

              Rog

              Apparently some Napoleonic Re-enactors made a line of musketmen
              and had cavalry 80 yards in front of them

              the experiment was:

              the line fired ...

              the horses then attacked.....

              the muskets could not get loaded and fired
              by the time the Hussars were on them

              So at three or four shots a minute, with a rammer, and ball cartridge
              they could not load fast enough to keep the horses away .......



              L2
            • Kevin Windsor
              yeah one of the short cuts is loading while on full cock! Not too safe! ... From: Peter Monahan
              Message 6 of 22 , Oct 5, 2004
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                yeah one of the short cuts is loading while on full cock! Not too safe!


                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Peter Monahan"


                >
                > Our own Dave Brunelle has done 6 a minute on several occasions, but not
                > for long and with a couple "shortcuts"
                >
              • hm95thfoot
                ... back ... musketmen ... cartridge ... Then fix swords/bayonets, and form square, my good man! :^) RWF
                Message 7 of 22 , Oct 5, 2004
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                  --- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, "Larry Lozon" <lalozon@n...> wrote:
                  > From: "hm95thfoot" <fullerfamily@s...>
                  >
                  > > With a rammer, and ball cartridge, as they would have done it
                  back
                  > > then? That would be quite an accomplishment.
                  >
                  > = = = = = =
                  >
                  > Rog
                  >
                  > Apparently some Napoleonic Re-enactors made a line of
                  musketmen
                  > and had cavalry 80 yards in front of them
                  >
                  > the experiment was:
                  >
                  > the line fired ...
                  >
                  > the horses then attacked.....
                  >
                  > the muskets could not get loaded and fired
                  > by the time the Hussars were on them
                  >
                  > So at three or four shots a minute, with a rammer, and ball
                  cartridge
                  > they could not load fast enough to keep the horses away .......
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > L2

                  Then fix swords/bayonets, and form square, my good man! :^)

                  RWF
                • hm95thfoot
                  ... safe! Hold my beer, watch this! Darwin Awards candidate.... RWF
                  Message 8 of 22 , Oct 5, 2004
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                    --- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, "Kevin Windsor"
                    <kevin.windsor@s...> wrote:
                    > yeah one of the short cuts is loading while on full cock! Not too
                    safe!


                    "Hold my beer, watch this!"

                    Darwin Awards candidate....

                    RWF
                  • Larry Lozon
                    From: hm95thfoot Then fix swords/bayonets, and form square, my good man! :^) ========= At 80 yards they apparently could
                    Message 9 of 22 , Oct 5, 2004
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                      From: "hm95thfoot" <fullerfamily@...>

                      Then fix swords/bayonets, and form square, my good man! :^)


                      =========

                      At 80 yards they apparently could neither load fast enough
                      nor form square by the time the horses were upon them.





                      L2
                    • Larry Lozon
                      Kevin Windsor wrote yeah one of the short cuts is loading while on full cock! From: hm95thfoot RWFuller Hold my beer, watch this! Darwin Awards
                      Message 10 of 22 , Oct 5, 2004
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                        "Kevin Windsor" wrote
                        yeah one of the short cuts is loading while on full cock!

                        From: "hm95thfoot" RWFuller

                        "Hold my beer, watch this!"
                        Darwin Awards candidate....
                        ------------------------




                        ...but does he spit the balls down the barrel while loading on full
                        cock? :-)
                      • BritcomHMP@aol.com
                        In a message dated 05/10/2004 17:19:13 Central Standard Time, lalozon@netrover.com writes: Then fix swords/bayonets, and form square, my good man! :^)
                        Message 11 of 22 , Oct 5, 2004
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                          In a message dated 05/10/2004 17:19:13 Central Standard Time,
                          lalozon@... writes:

                          Then fix swords/bayonets, and form square, my good man! :^)


                          =========

                          At 80 yards they apparently could neither load fast enough
                          nor form square by the time the horses were upon them.




                          --------------------
                          -------------------

                          Quite, which is why the officer will have them in that formation (or some
                          other defensice position) before the cavalry gets that close!
                          The other point of course is that the volleyagainst cavalry would usualy be
                          held until they were closer in order to be more efective and the fact that the
                          infantry were loaded could put off the cavalry. This is why judging the
                          timing of the cavalry charge was such a delicare thing.

                          Of course if one let charging cavalry get too close one could risk what
                          happened to the KGL at Busaco where a dead horse became a projectile and broke
                          the square.

                          Cheers

                          Tim


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Peter Monahan
                          ============================================================ From: Kevin Windsor Date: 2004/10/05 Tue PM 06:05:11 EST To:
                          Message 12 of 22 , Oct 5, 2004
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                            ============================================================
                            From: "Kevin Windsor" <kevin.windsor@...>
                            Date: 2004/10/05 Tue PM 06:05:11 EST
                            To: <WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com>
                            Subject: Re: [WarOf1812] Three Times a Minute - five minutes vs. five hours


                            yeah one of the short cuts is loading while on full cock! Not too safe!

                            I couldn't agree more!

                            PM
                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: "Peter Monahan"


                            >
                            > Our own Dave Brunelle has done 6 a minute on several occasions, but not
                            > for long and with a couple "shortcuts"
                            >




                            The War of 1812: In Europe, thousands fought over the fate of hundreds of square miles: in North America, hundreds determined the fate of THOUSANDS of square miles...

                            Unit Contact information for North America:
                            ---------------------------------
                            Crown Forces Unit Listing:
                            http://1812crownforces.tripod.com

                            American Forces Unit Lisiting
                            http://usforces1812.tripod.com
                            Yahoo! Groups Links







                            ============================================================


                            Peter Monahan
                          • hm95thfoot
                            ... Lar, then do what the 5th Foot and 77th Foot did at El Bodon in 1811 in just such a close situation- Charge Bayonets! They drove the French cavalry off the
                            Message 13 of 22 , Oct 5, 2004
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                              --- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, "Larry Lozon" <lalozon@n...> wrote:
                              > From: "hm95thfoot" <fullerfamily@s...>
                              >
                              > Then fix swords/bayonets, and form square, my good man! :^)
                              >
                              >
                              > =========
                              >
                              > At 80 yards they apparently could neither load fast enough
                              > nor form square by the time the horses were upon them.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > L2

                              Lar,

                              then do what the 5th Foot and 77th Foot did at El Bodon in 1811 in
                              just such a close situation- Charge Bayonets! They drove the French
                              cavalry off the field by relying on the attack instead of defense.

                              RWF
                            • craig w
                              Some thoughts on Jim s thoughts, and the question at hand, I am trying to find the original reference for three rounds a minute and will post it as soon as I
                              Message 14 of 22 , Oct 6, 2004
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                                Some thoughts on Jim's thoughts, and the question at hand,

                                I am trying to find the original reference for three rounds a minute
                                and will post it as soon as I do. In the meanwhile, in response to the
                                rest of the dialogue.

                                In large battles it takes time for troops to come within effective
                                firing distances so manuevering took awhile, while actual exchanges of
                                fire could be quite short and sharp, (unless the battle has one side
                                "entrenched" {eg,Hougamont}). A cartridge box can go quite a long time
                                before it needs refilling.
                                Having said that I'd like to point out that the issue cartridge box for
                                the british army at this time was designed to hold 60 rounds of
                                ammunition.One box full could last quite some time.

                                Having fired a musket with live rounds, I'd like to point out that
                                whereas yes the lock does get more and more fouled the barrel reaches a
                                peek fouling point and then each successive round tends to scour or
                                clear the barrel to a certain degree.
                                The 3rd round doesn't go down as fast as the first but the 10th goes
                                down as easily as the 3rd.
                                Malfunctions on the field are usually related to ignition, dull flint,
                                fouled touch-hole, fouled frizzen etc.
                                I have yet to read an account of anyone pissing down the barrel, I'm
                                not saying it didn't happen, I'm saying show me a primary source
                                reference.

                                The importance of "three rounds a minute" is that the line can only
                                fire efficiently or with the most impact in volleys.
                                The slowest loader in the company would therefore control the rate of
                                fire. Three rounds was a great rate of fire when you think that your
                                counting on 40 to 60* men to deliver them at company level and of
                                course 600 to 1000* at battalion level.
                                This becomes very important when faced with an attacking column. The
                                column, impressive though it is, has a small frontage and is densely
                                packed. It can only deliver small amounts of fire. A line can deliver
                                an almost constant rain of lead when the regiment is given the order to
                                fire by company from the left/right/centre (you pick). A Grand
                                Battalion of 1500 to 1600 men are launching in the neighborhood of 100
                                pounds of soft lead every volley.
                                With training, an individual can load and fire five rounds a minute,
                                but those people are the exception. Three is an acceptable norm.

                                As to the comment about individuals firing 6 times a minute by
                                "editing" the process. I feel that if your not using the drill, you're
                                not functioning correctly and therefore records set without the full
                                and proper drill are curiosities nothing more.
                                Three or four rounds rammed and fired using the prescribed drill are
                                impressive. Doing six by cutting corners in my opinion proves nothing
                                if not that the person is flirting with serous injury.

                                Tuppence,

                                Craig W

                                *the actual strength of units is almost always a fraction of what they
                                warranted to have
                              • HQ93rd@aol.com
                                ... We ve got one of those in the 93rd....even hunts deer with his Brown Bess.... B 93rd SHRoFLHU www.93rdhighlanders.com THE Thin Red Line [Non-text portions
                                Message 15 of 22 , Oct 7, 2004
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                                  In a message dated 6/10/2004 6:35:25 PM, sgtwarner@... writes:


                                  > With training, an individual can load and fire five rounds a minute,
                                  > but those people are the exception.
                                  >

                                  We've got one of those in the 93rd....even hunts deer with his Brown Bess....


                                  B
                                  93rd SHRoFLHU
                                  www.93rdhighlanders.com
                                  THE Thin Red Line


                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • HQ93rd@aol.com
                                  All right already. All this talk about slicing melons at 20 yards and firing in square... So what melons were set up on the ridge at Waterloo in 1815, eh? The
                                  Message 16 of 22 , Oct 7, 2004
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                                    All right already. All this talk about slicing melons at 20 yards and firing
                                    in square...
                                    So what melons were set up on the ridge at Waterloo in 1815, eh? The French
                                    cav got blasted by the artillery and the infantry in square. Fact. No melons to
                                    be seen.
                                    Previously, at Quatre Bras, the 42nd lost almost an entire company and a
                                    colonel when French lancers jumped them. The "however" to the story (of course you
                                    knew it was coming!) was these same lancers then attempted to pounce upon the
                                    rest of the 42nd as they were still trying to form and close up their square.
                                    A number of them galloped into the forming ranks obviously thinking, "Aha! We
                                    have these saucy Eccosais types!", only to find themselves trapped inside
                                    when the 42nd continued to close square, and themselves Cav types subsequently
                                    extinguished.

                                    Personal revelation from the 1995 Waterloo event -- The Highland Brigade had
                                    our pipers take turns recreating the 79th's Piper. Kenneth McKay's feat of
                                    marching about and playing his pipes outside his square at Waterloo. Whilst our
                                    pipers did so, not one French horse could even be coerced to get anywhere near
                                    our square.
                                    So bring on the melons.
                                    We've got bagpipes.


                                    B
                                    93rd SHRoFLHU
                                    www.93rdhighlanders.com
                                    THE Thin Red Line


                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • HQ93rd@aol.com
                                    ... Which is why they would fire by files or by sections. B 93rd SHRoFLHU www.93rdhighlanders.com THE Thin Red Line [Non-text portions of this message have
                                    Message 17 of 22 , Oct 7, 2004
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                                      In a message dated 5/10/2004 3:19:17 PM, lalozon@... writes:


                                      >
                                      > From: "hm95thfoot" <fullerfamily@...>
                                      >
                                      > Then fix swords/bayonets, and form square, my good man! :^)
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > =========
                                      >
                                      >    At 80 yards they apparently could neither load fast enough
                                      > nor form square by the time the horses were upon them.
                                      >
                                      > L2
                                      >


                                      Which is why they would fire by files or by sections.

                                      B
                                      93rd SHRoFLHU
                                      www.93rdhighlanders.com
                                      THE Thin Red Line


                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    • ray.hobbs@sympatico.ca
                                      Some additional thoughts on the rate of fire of a musket and other stuff. Just to get one thing out of the way - I brought the six shots a minute thing up,
                                      Message 18 of 22 , Oct 7, 2004
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                                        Some additional thoughts on the rate of fire of a musket and other stuff.

                                        Just to get one thing out of the way - I brought the "six shots a minute" thing up, and am surprised that
                                        the immediate reaction of some was that it must have been done by cheating. I have no indication that
                                        this was the case, and in fact, my sources tell me that it was in a controlled competition.

                                        As a comment on an ordered battle line, firing volleys by company etc. according to the best period drill
                                        manual I offer the following eye-witness account:

                                        “What precision of fire can be expected from soldiers when firing in line? One man is priming; another
                                        coming to the present; taking, what is called aim; a fourth ramming down his cartridge. After a few shots
                                        the whole body is closely enveloped in smoke, and the enemy is totally inviisble; some of the soldiers
                                        step out a pace or two, in order to get a better shot; others kneel down; and some have no objection to
                                        retire a step or two. the doomed begin to fall, dreadfully mutilated perhaps, and even bold men shrink
                                        from the sight; others are wounded, and assisted to the rear by their comrades, so that the whole
                                        becomes a line of utter confusion, in which the mass only think of getting heir shots fired, they hardly
                                        care how, or in what direction”.
                                        Maj. Gen. John Mitchell, cited in R. Muir, Tactics and the Experience of Battle in the Age of Napoleon,
                                        p. 85.

                                        Now, of course, this was not necessarily typical, but it did happen to a well-drilled line on occasion.
                                        This particular chapter in Muir's book (Ch. 5 Infantry Combat) contains many similar observations by
                                        eye-witnesses, and is a realistic counter to the notion of a rigidly inflexible line of redcoats keeping up
                                        sustained rates of fire. The fog of battle often dictates otherwise.

                                        On the suggestion of pissing down the barrel to clean it - just think, who would want to place his
                                        member anywhere near a metal tube that is difficult to hold because of its raised temperature? Seems
                                        like a most foolhardy thing, to threaten with danger the one appendage the soldier prized most ;->)

                                        My thoughts for the moment
                                        Ray Hobbs
                                        41st Regt.



                                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      • glifencible
                                        ... There is a reference in Red Coat and Brown Bess by Anthony Darling: On parade he was expected to deliver by word of command one shot every fifteen
                                        Message 19 of 22 , Oct 9, 2004
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                                          > I am trying to find the original reference for three rounds a minute

                                          There is a reference in "Red Coat and Brown Bess" by Anthony Darling:

                                          "On parade he was expected to deliver by word of command one shot
                                          every fifteen seconds."

                                          There is a footnote:

                                          Simes, Thomas The Military Medly,p.23 London 1768. Cited in Peterson,
                                          Op. Cit. P 160. On the battlefield, three shots a minute would
                                          probably be average for a well-trained and disciplined body of men
                                          while advancing.

                                          Regards
                                          Bill
                                        • dancingbobd@webtv.net
                                          Symes The Military Medley is available from Kings Arms Press. Bob Dorian
                                          Message 20 of 22 , Oct 11, 2004
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                                            Symes' The Military Medley is available from Kings Arms Press.

                                            Bob Dorian
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