Did the Minie Ball really change warfare that much?

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,654
#31
This makes the most sense to me.

Would you say that ACW armies were inferior to their contemporary Europeans counterparts?
Overall? Certainly. The artillery schools of Europe were quite a bit better not to mention the more numerous military schools where in the CW only a small fraction of the officers were graduates of any military school.

By the end of the CW there was a vast amount of practical experience gained and certainly, many of the regiments on both sides were the equal or even superior to standard European line infantries and actually had more experience with a few of the newer technological innovation but as a whole the Northern and Southern armies were still somewhat ad hoc compared to the better European armies.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,260
Dispargum
#32
In the Crimean War the British and French infantry were armed with rifles while the Russians were mostly armed with smooth bores. The Russians lost just about every battle. The Russians preferred bayonnet fighting but could never close enough. The British and French always mowed them down while still at a distance.
 

Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,262
here
#33
In the Crimean War the British and French infantry were armed with rifles while the Russians were mostly armed with smooth bores. The Russians lost just about every battle. The Russians preferred bayonnet fighting but could never close enough. The British and French always mowed them down while still at a distance.
So, French and British armies were concerned with marksmanship? They understood and could appreciate the new technology?
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,260
Dispargum
#34
So, French and British armies were concerned with marksmanship? They understood and could appreciate the new technology?
That could be. I know the British strongly emphasized marksmanship in the late 19th century and they may have earlier. In the opening battles of WW1 British marksmanship was so good the Germans were convinced they were receiving machinegun fire. Most European armies drafted soldiers for two years. The Victorian British Army was all volunteer and they enlisted for six or 12 years at a time which resulted in the British having a more professional and more highly trained army.
 

Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,262
here
#35
That could be. I know the British strongly emphasized marksmanship in the late 19th century and they may have earlier. In the opening battles of WW1 British marksmanship was so good the Germans were convinced they were receiving machinegun fire. Most European armies drafted soldiers for two years. The Victorian British Army was all volunteer and they enlisted for six or 12 years at a time which resulted in the British having a more professional and more highly trained army.
IN regards to the highlighted part, I thought that was more due to the fact that the Enfield had a ten round magazine as opposed to the Mauser that only had five?
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,778
Sydney
#36
If you cannot teach good shooting to a conscript in two years , you will never EVER improve his shooting for an enlistment term
the British had a gun which favored fast re-loading and practiced the " mad minute " of frantic shooting
while the continental armies were more concerned with units maneuvering and steady marksmanship

on the whole I would think the British were in the right ,
they had learned during their colonial wars that when the chips are down and a screaming mass is charging ,
the properly timed volume of fire is more important than picking down choice target
 
Sep 2012
1,067
Tarkington, Texas
#37
Keep in mind the effect of terrain on the battlefields. Almost all the battles were fought in wooded terrain or among hills. There were very few cleared areas up to 400 yards.Most units tended to shoot high. The training levels could and did affect casualties. After the war, one officer was reviewing a battlefield, noted all the straight lines of graves. He was heard to say :"I see all those Damned Militia Regiments finally got their lines straight!". At Antietam we watched a Reenactment Artillery unit. I asked the guy giving the speech how close the Infantry could be to hit the artillery and It was almost as far as the cannon could shoot!

Keep in mind that Rifled Muskets could fire at about three rounds per minute, Smoothbores could fire up to six rounds per minute and Repeaters up to twice that. Breechloaders were maybe twice as fast as Smoothbores. Spensers and Henrys used tubed ammo. Confederates under fire thought they were under fire from a unit three times their size.

Pruitt
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,340
#38
IN regards to the highlighted part, I thought that was more due to the fact that the Enfield had a ten round magazine as opposed to the Mauser that only had five?
I don;t think so, it more abut the philosophy the two armies were built around. Doctrine and training is often more influential than equipment.

Enfield SMLE is loaded form two 5 round stripper clips, so overall there is not a huge distance between loading twice (SMLE 10 rounds 2 * 5 round stripper clips) ) as long or twice as often with Mauser.

The British had long service professionals were theGerman army was much more geared around reserves system. The British expericcene in colonial conmflicts also tended to focus of small unit tactics and initiative. The Germans emphasis is on larger formation like Corps, and Artillary.

The British also were shaped by the experince of the boer war, were the long range sharp shooting was important. This also lead to Britihs cavalry moving very much to being mounted infantry.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,778
Sydney
#39
During the Boer war the Australian volunteers were classified as "mounted infantry " with some old england sneering
this turned to be the way to fight over open country

by 1901 the mostly Australian bushweld carabineers were a mounted anti guerilla force
they applied the standard anti guerilla tactic of whipping out the civilian support of the fighters

they got condemned and shot for it by the ungrateful British in spite of having , while locked up under arrest ,fought off a Boer attack

breaker Morant last words to the firing squad " shoot straight , you bastards"
 

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