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"Rifle use in the SYW" Topic


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von Schwartz01 Sep 2019 5:07 p.m. PST

Does anyone have any reliable information regarding the use of rifled muskets by light troops in the SYW. Specifically, were the Austrian Grenz sharpshooter detachments rifle armed? Also, what was the extent of use of rifled muskets in the other SYW armies such as Prussian Freikorps jaegers, and French Chasseurs?

MajorB02 Sep 2019 10:24 a.m. PST

Since the idea of rifling was not introduced until the 19th century, I doubt there were any at all.

spontoon02 Sep 2019 10:47 a.m. PST

Major B;
Where on earth did you get that idea?

MajorB02 Sep 2019 11:40 a.m. PST

"At around the time flint lock systems were first being developed, two improvements were introduced that dramatically increased the accuracy of firearms.

Archers had found that if the fletching feathers on the rear of their arrow were at a slight angle, causing the arrow to rotate in flight, their ability to hit the target was improved. This concept was applied to gun barrels by cutting slowly twisting grooves down the interior length of the barrel, imparting a spin to the bullet as it left the muzzle."

link

MajorB02 Sep 2019 11:45 a.m. PST

"The transition to rifled muskets during the Civil War allowed soldiers on both sides to shoot more accurately from greater distances."

link

MajorB02 Sep 2019 11:50 a.m. PST

"There were no rifled muskets in the Revolutionary War. In fact, some rifles had their rifling bored out so they were smooth bore rifles."
link

See also:
link

Rifles, yes. Rifled muskets, no.

Personal logo Cardinal Hawkwood Supporting Member of TMP02 Sep 2019 2:57 p.m. PST

it is all semantics

Garde de Paris02 Sep 2019 3:15 p.m. PST

The French huge cavalry regiment of Carabiniers did not carry a true rifle. It may well have been a rifled musketoon, called a "carabine." Kronoskapf says the Carabiniers, as the dragoons, could fight mounted or dismounted.

I do not recall ever reading about any French infantry in th 7YW armed with rifles. Would be glad to learn of them!

For Austria, Duffy wrote a lot about Grenzers – Croats – in his two books by the Emperor's Press, but I do not recall mention of "rifles." Osprey says the FOLLOWING the 7YW, the Croat regiment's 2 grenadier companies were converted to riflemen, a double-barreled affair of one musket, one rifled barrel.

There were true rifle-armed jagers in gray uniforms. At first just 2 companies, they were lager raised to 10, disbanded in 1763.

Also small frei units like Lacey's Jager Corps on white with yellow lapels and cuffs, cap much like regular jagers in style; and Otto's (former in Saxony) with green coat, waistcoat ?and gaiters?, black cuffs, ?yellow breeches? No mention of headgear.

GdeP

von Schwartz02 Sep 2019 5:03 p.m. PST

OK, so I guess I should've been more specific, RIFLES, not rifled muskets. Semantics is right, either way, there were "rifles" in use during the SYW, ask the Prussian jaegers.
GdeP, I have Company Lacy's jaegers, do you have any info not already noted in Kronoskaf? I found a color drawing in Greenwood and Ball and thought they looked really nice. Don't know if there was more than one company or anything other than what they have in Kronoskaf, or if they were more than a training cadre.

Garde de Paris03 Sep 2019 3:29 a.m. PST

Hello Von Schwartz:

I seem to recall first seeing them in Pengel & Hurt black&white 8 1/2 X 11" publication; and also in the Army of Maria… Specialists, by Osprey. I don't recall more than just suggesting they might have been organized for Saxon service. All I have.

GdeP

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP03 Sep 2019 5:41 a.m. PST

"A rifled musket is a type of firearm made in the mid-19th century. The term referred only to muskets that had been produced as a smoothbore weapon and later had their barrels rifled. The term 'rifle musket' refers to musket length firearms that were manufactured with rifled barrels."

Or so says Wikipedia.

So it's all in the 'd'. :)

von Winterfeldt03 Sep 2019 5:59 a.m. PST

ok rifles or rifled muskets / carbines, the difference usually was that rifles were loaded with patched balls, and also had hairtrigers and other delicate features – on the other hand you had the rifled musket or rifled carbine, the fields and grooves were not cut as deep as on the rifle and you did usually load with a paper cartridge as for a musket, the windage however much smaller, the barrel was round at the end – so you could fix bayonets, also a sturdier lock, iron ramrod.
The rifled muskets for example were introduced for Prussian NCOs in about 1743 and also the Jäger got them for a while after the 7YW and needless to say, the Schützen when introduced in the Prussian Army of 1787 fame, about 10.000 of them were produced.
So rifles – yes and rifled muskets yes indeed, the rest is poor research and ignoring sources.

von Winterfeldt03 Sep 2019 8:06 a.m. PST

I meant for most of the Prussian grenadier NCOs, three retained the pike,musketeer NCOs retained the pike as well.

4DJones03 Sep 2019 9:41 a.m. PST

A small number of rifled fowling pieces were used during the English Civil Wars (1642-46/48/51). The Perrys do a nice figure carrying one such piece. I'd rather believe the Perrys over MajorBumsore.

olicana03 Sep 2019 1:26 p.m. PST

Grenz troops used muskets. Their effectiveness was a result of their 'frontier' upbringing in the wilder regions of the Balkans. Think of the American West in the pioneering days, of one room cabins, of Davy Crocket, and you have a pretty good impression of a Croat / Grenzer living on the frontier with Turkey before joining the army of Maria Theresa to fight the Prussians in the civilised west.

If your rules include positive bonuses for being 'Native Americans', such as for movement and for hiding, give those same bonuses to your Grenzer troops.

Frederick experimented with rifle armed troops (one battalion at a time) and it didn't turn out well.

von Schwartz03 Sep 2019 3:11 p.m. PST

Yeah, they started with 3 companies, increased that to 10, they got nearly wiped out near Spandau by Cossacks, and the Prussians rebuilt their jaegers to 3 companies.

@olicana
If your rules include positive bonuses for being 'Native Americans', such as for movement and for hiding, give those same bonuses to your Grenzer troops.

Good idea!

von Schwartz03 Sep 2019 5:32 p.m. PST

Don't know where MajorB got the notion that rifling wasn't introduced until the 19th century when the Austrian Jaegers were all issued rifles in 1759. They had them before, but then they were using their own personal rifles, in 1759 they got them issued by the government. He also did not notice that he contradicted himself:

"There were no rifled muskets in the Revolutionary War. In fact, some rifles had their rifling bored out so they were smooth bore rifles."

If they had no rifles, how, and why, did they bore out the
non-existent rifles? And if these non-existent "rifles" were, bored out, would they still be called rifles?

von Winterfeldt03 Sep 2019 10:34 p.m. PST

Frederick experimented with rifle armed troops (one battalion at a time) and it didn't turn out well.

On the contrary it worked very well – the Prussian Jäger had an excellent reputation, if it did not work well – why did he increase the Jäger Corps to 10 companies after the 7YW – and after his death another two companies were added, so in the French Revolution – 12 Jäger companies with rifles (the rifled carbines were replaced then) – existed – the Brits were still dreaming about such a strength of rifled armed soldiers.

By the way in the AWI – the Hessian Jäger, the original two companies of Hessen Kassel were armed with rifles as well and did by no means fear the rifled armed rebels to the crown.


Additional to that there were 10 Schützen in each company of musketeers, grenadiers or fusiliers (from 1787 onwards light infantry and differently uniformed as before) – armed with a rifled musket / carbine – 10,000 were produced, in Prussia.

The French chasseurs à pied – had muskets, but the 6 best shots in the company, the original carabiners à pied – got originally armed with rifles.

I never ever read the rifled barrels were re bored to a smooth bore rifle, in case I would like to read up on this.

von Schwartz04 Sep 2019 4:08 p.m. PST

I think that olicana was referring to the engagement near Spandau in 1760 where the Prussian jaegers, with their numbers increased from 2 to 10 companies the previous winter, found themselves out in the open with a horde of Russian Cossacks descending upon them. Not having bayonets to more effectively defend themselves against cavalry the 10 company battalion was nearly wiped out.

von Winterfeldt04 Sep 2019 10:08 p.m. PST

for more of this see

Großer Generalstab, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II, Der Siebenjährige Krieg, 1756 – 1763, volume 13: Torgau, Berlin, Mittler und Sohn, 1914 pp 257 – 258

This action was used later to equip, to rhe regret of the Jäger, after the 7YW, them with rifled guns, where a bayonet could be fixed.

But this was only one incident otherwise there was good performance of the Jäger who were 4 companies strong in the 7YW

olicana06 Sep 2019 8:35 a.m. PST

I think that olicana was referring to the engagement near Spandau in 1760 where the Prussian jaegers, with their numbers increased from 2 to 10 companies the previous winter, found themselves out in the open with a horde of Russian Cossacks descending upon them. Not having bayonets to more effectively defend themselves against cavalry the 10 company battalion was nearly wiped out.

Indeed. That was the incident that springs to mind. Not having bayonets certainly didn't work out well for the poor blokes without them.

He also experimented with horse artillery, and that didn't turn out well either, for similar reasons – they got wiped out [twice?].

That's not to say that neither was a good idea once the basic tactics for both 'new-fangled formations' were worked out.

I even have a unit of Prussian Jager in my SYW collection.

Lowtech409 Sep 2019 12:36 p.m. PST

Then there was the Ferguson's Ordnance Rifle. A breechloading rifled musket.

spontoon25 Sep 2019 1:24 p.m. PST

Gustavus Adolphus had rifle armed troops, in small quantities in the Thirty Years war. 200 years before Major B's supposed adoption of rifles.

Also, the fletching on arrows is purposely done to prevent spinning. Spinning would require a perfectly straight shaft, which ain't going to happen before extruded fibre glass shafts of the late 20th. century. I don't know where Major B gets his info, but it's wrong!!!

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