Originally Posted by jeroenrottgering
For example was the Franco-Prussian war still fought on the old way with man still standing in open fields or did already became a dirty war with man seeking cover and entrenching themselfs?
In the opening stages of the war, the French troops fought almost exclusively from shallow trenches dug for protection. They'd crouch low in their slit trenches trying to shelter from Krupp shells. The Prussians would quickly approach the area of combat in a column no larger than a company. Often they'd be under sporadic fire from the long reaching chassepot rifles of the French veterens, most of whom were good shots. Then the Prussians would break into platoons and spread out before dashing forward close enough to bring their inferior rifles in range of the French. Then they'd fire from kneeling or prone. Sometimes using the bodies of their dead friends for cover. Eventually the French cannon and mitrailleuses would be dismounted by Krupp shells and the French positions outflanked. Then the French broke. That was the average battle.
It wasn't too glorious. The chassepot caused especially painful wounds. From descriptions it sounds like the chassepot was worse than the Martini-Henry for the carnage it caused. The Mitrailleuse would turn men into chunks of meat. The Germans murder Algerian and Moroccan soldiers they captured as a matter of habit. The Prussians would use lies and deceit to try to get as close to the French positions as possible before making a bayonet charge. Like pretending to surrender.
As the war continued the Prussians refined their use of their superior artillery. The French were blasted to dust at Sedan.
Later the French army was almost completely captured so the French had to rely on barely trained, badly equipped, often openly anti-government Garde Mobile reservists who made mass charges against the Bavarians outside of Orleans. It was like Crécy. Bloody, futile charge after bloody, futile charge. I can only assume that the fighting around Paris would have been much like Grant's siege of Petersburg during the American Civil War.
People didn't fight standing up because of how it made them felt. As soon as soldiers had guns that let them load and fire from a low crouch or prone they started fighting that way.
I'll admit that Ney standing upright on his horse, screaming at people redfaced while bullets zip around him and carry off parts of his uniform is badassed. But when you're talking about breechloading rifles you have to get close to the dirt.
At one particular battle the Prussians couldn't go prone because the field was flooded and the water would soak through their cartridges, which were paper. The took horrible casualties kneeling in front of Frenchmen with chassepot rifles.