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Old January 11th, 2013, 10:51 AM   #1

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The Dreyse needle gun and the Second Schleswig War, 1864


The following is an excerpt of my article: THE PRUSSIAN NEEDLE GUN MAKES ITS DEBUT – THE SKIRMISH AT LUNDBY 1864" The full article can be found at historyman.dk:

The village of Lundby near Aalborg, Denmark 3 July 1864 – early morning.
Heymann, a young Prussian corporal, is nervous. For the first time in his life, he is facing the enemy, and his heart is beating fast. A few minutes ago, a Danish company appeared on the top of a hill south of the small Danish village of Lundby where Heymann was enjoying a cup of breakfast coffee together with the rest of his company. Hastily, his company was assembled and sent on a forced march; first to collect their rifles which had been arranged in pyramids in a field to the north of the village, then hurried back to a low drystone wall at the southern outskirts of the village.
Behind this drystone wall, Heymann is now watching the enemy, trotting straight towards him. The Danish soldiers quickly approach the nervous Prussian soldiers, quickly closing the gap between them – now they are only 500 paces away … 450 paces … 400 paces. In a strained voice, Heymann asks his superior, Hauptmann (i.e. Captain) von Schlutterbach, “Herr Hauptmann, may we serve them some breakfast?”, but von Schlutterbach shakes his head, “Wait – let them get closer; I shall let you know when to fire at them”. Von Schlutterbach has full confidence in their new weapon, the needle gun which can be re-loaded considerably quicker than the rifles of the Danish soldiers. Coolly, he therefore lets the Danish soldiers advance till they are only 250 paces away, and then in a firm and calm voice commands his soldiers, “250 paces rear sight, but aim true and well, my children; now, in the name of God, “ Fire!”
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