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"Brunswick muskets question" Topic

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Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP04 Aug 2022 3:03 a.m. PST

Did the Brunswick troops in 1815 have blackened muskets?

I have no source at all that says they did. But: they seem to have blackened literally everything else except for their facings, and I note that Austrians and some Prussians had blackened muskets. Has this possibility ever come up?

Mark J Wilson06 Aug 2022 8:40 a.m. PST

Do you mean the barrels or the stocks or both. I've not come across Austrians with blackened muskets so if you have any references I'd appreciate the information. I'm afraid I know nothing about Brunswickers.

Michman06 Aug 2022 10:09 a.m. PST

I think our colleague from the cuirassiers means the woodwork.

I looked at a (very) few more or less contemporary images of Brunswickers and saw nothing but medium brown shown. Hardly definitive. I was hoping one the collegues with more knowledge of German-speaking units would answer.

I dont know about Austrians and Prussians, but Russians often used either very dark brown (almost black) or actually black glaze/stain after treatment with iron oxide, especially when the woodwork was birch (common, especiallly for Model 1805 jäger rifles and Model 1808 muskets) or beech (rarer). When they could get walnut, they typically used an oil finish leaving a medium brown tone.

Oliver Schmidt06 Aug 2022 11:56 a.m. PST

The regimental history of the later German 92nd regiment by Kortzfleisch says (vol. 2, pp. 11 f.) that the first muskets used in 1813, for the 1st light battalion, were French ones and British ones. The barrels of the French muskets were shortened by 4 inches and bored out to match the Britsh caliber. All barrels ("Läufe"), not the stocks, were blackened.

In January 1814, the light battalions received French, the line battalions British muskets (vol. 2, p. 19). He doesn't say whether the 1st light battalion exchanged its weapons or not. Probably they kept them, as "the greater part" of the troops was still unarmed on 29 February 1814, and it wouldn't make much sense to deprive a fully operative unit of a part of of its weapons. In March 1814, Britsh muskets were used to complete the armament (vol. 2, p. 26).

That's all I found. Kortzfleisch doesn't tell whether the barrels of the other battalions were blackened as well, and doesn't mention any blackened musket stocks at all. Blackening the barrels served as a precaution against rust, it wasn't done to match the black uniforms. Also Kortzfleisch doesn't tell whether the French muskets had been replaced with British ones or changed to British caliber by 1815.

von Winterfeldt07 Aug 2022 8:07 a.m. PST

wow it is very difficult to immagine to bore out the caliber of a fusil d'infantry to a Brown Bess one, the barrels must have been paper thin at the end of it.

Oliver Schmidt07 Aug 2022 11:10 a.m. PST

Götz, Militärgewehre der deutschen Staaten 1800-1870, says that this was the reason why the French muskets were shortened. Otherwise they would have been too thin at the muzzle.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP07 Aug 2022 11:26 a.m. PST

Thanks all. I wanted to check this point before I paint a load of them wrong.

My source for that blackened Austrian woodwork was something Hollins wrote here years ago. I believe it is known that Prussian fusiliers had blackened stocks so I was thinking German…Austrian…light infantry….

Erzherzog Johann07 Aug 2022 1:30 p.m. PST

I've definitely seen the reference to Austrian muskets being blackened, so it's highly likely that the original issue muskets would have been. It's far from implausible that they would have continued with that.

StillSenneffe09 Aug 2022 7:07 a.m. PST

There is a reference to the Austrians staining the stocks of Fusilier muskets black in the c18th in Duffy's 'Army of Maria Theresa'. Grenadier muskets by contrast had stocks of natural polished walnut wood. P74 in my edition.

von Winterfeldt09 Aug 2022 11:56 a.m. PST

one would to have to check out Austrian sources to say anything solid, authors like Dolleczek or Gabriel, as far as I remember the wood was stained balck with the exceptions from those made in Brescia (before it was taken by the French) – also from 1807 onwards it seems that not all wooden stock was still stained black any longer.

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