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US Army with "Assault Rifles" in the 19th Century....

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
    So according to this definition, the M1Garand was an (heh, heh, hahahahaha! ROFLMAO) "assault rifle", too. And here I thought the M14 was the first credible attempt.
    The first credible attempt was the STG43.

    Comment


    • #17
      Going with the consensus (which IMHO I don't necessarily agree with) of the Spencer as the primary issue, let's compare a hypothetical Infantry Company in the early 1870s, 6-8 years after the ACW.

      Presuming an equal size company of 250 men or so, you could anticipate putting around 220 riflemen into the line. And this is barring the US taking the initiative on the Gatling.

      British Colonial Foot Company: 220 Martini-Henry rifles. Approx. 12rpm rate of fire.

      US Infantry Company Historical: 220 Springfield Trapdoors. Advertised as 15rpm....I call BS and will assume 10-12 at best.

      US Infantry Company Spencer: 220 Spencer Rifles. Approx 20 rpm.

      So at what could be considered relatively long combat ranges of around 300yds, the Spencer has a slightly higher rate of fire, though that's probably irrelevant due to the need to take more precise aim.

      The difference would come in the assault. For short 'bursts' of activity, the Spencers could dump out a rate of fire of around 30-40rpm or so. That IMHO would make a difference stopping a charge from either of the two other variations, or overwhelming a formation with fire.

      If you were to add in a Gatling, as a Battalion Asset pushed down to the company level, then you start seeing some crazy levels of firepower for 1871 or so.
      Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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      • #18
        If you put just two Gatling guns with a 200 rifleman strong company, spreading that over about 500 yards, and the two Gatlings anchor the front at the ends of the company for cross fire, the riflemen at 300 yards are largely irrelevant. They would kneel or even lie down when defending or halted.

        The two Gatling guns could deliver 350 to 500 rpm each and equipped with a basic stadia-type telescopic sight (these did exist at the time) say one of x3 power with a relatively wide view, they would put out as much fire power as the entire company. But, they would also be doing that from relatively steady mounts.

        The big issue with these would be barrel fouling using black powder. The way to deal with that is every magazine loaded has as the last say five rounds, ones that are blank heavy wads instead of live ammo so you clear the barrel (somewhat) of powder fouling to keep things working relatively well and accurate.

        On the offensive, the Gatlings provide the base of fire for the company to advance under. By being on the ends of the formation, they can fire up to almost contact allowing the company's riflemen to then assault using their rifles with full magazines or a fresh round chambered in a relatively clean and cool gun.

        Martini-Henry's for example were infamous for cartridge jams after they fired about 20 rounds due to the combination of the gun heating up and powder fouling. This really isn't that uncommon with black powder weapons.

        So, the big difference comes with adoption of a machinegun, not a slightly better rifle. Sure, a Spencer would be much more vicious on the offensive-- assuming the survivors can manage the assault-- but a pair of machineguns blasting the enemy with hundreds of rounds a minute-- about equal to the totality of the infantry's firepower-- while they advance or covering their defense is a massive force multiplier.

        In other words, the repeating rifle arithmetically increases the unit's firepower. The machinegun exponentially increases it.

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        • #19
          I agree fully with your assessment TAG. And with the Gatling adopted concurrently, the Spencer becomes even more practical. IMHO if you're not adopting the Gatling, then the Winchester-type (the Henry advanced a notch) has a leg up because the individual can reload in stages, which might be necessary over a long engagement, being able to top off in momentary breaks or single-fire at range with immediate topping off of the magazine.

          As for 'cleaning' the Gatlings in battle, they already had various 'cleaner' bullets at the time. I think that something similar would work for the Gatlings under combat conditions. two hard-cast lead nesting projectiles with grease between them....put them as the last 7 rounds in the magazine, one for each barrel. Firing crushes out the grease from between them into the rifling, and the hard-cast projectiles act as scrapers pulling out some of the powder fouling with them.
          Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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          • #20
            Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
            Going with the consensus (which IMHO I don't necessarily agree with) of the Spencer as the primary issue, let's compare a hypothetical Infantry Company in the early 1870s, 6-8 years after the ACW.

            Presuming an equal size company of 250 men or so, you could anticipate putting around 220 riflemen into the line. And this is barring the US taking the initiative on the Gatling.

            British Colonial Foot Company: 220 Martini-Henry rifles. Approx. 12rpm rate of fire.

            US Infantry Company Historical: 220 Springfield Trapdoors. Advertised as 15rpm....I call BS and will assume 10-12 at best.

            US Infantry Company Spencer: 220 Spencer Rifles. Approx 20 rpm.

            So at what could be considered relatively long combat ranges of around 300yds, the Spencer has a slightly higher rate of fire, though that's probably irrelevant due to the need to take more precise aim.

            The difference would come in the assault. For short 'bursts' of activity, the Spencers could dump out a rate of fire of around 30-40rpm or so. That IMHO would make a difference stopping a charge from either of the two other variations, or overwhelming a formation with fire.

            If you were to add in a Gatling, as a Battalion Asset pushed down to the company level, then you start seeing some crazy levels of firepower for 1871 or so.
            An excellent assessment.

            Comment


            • #21
              The problem with this scenario is the Line Infantry had nowhere near 250 men. I would offer 100 and only able to take about 75 to 80 into the field.

              Pruitt
              Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

              Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

              by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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              • #22
                Interesting Ian and Karl have put out a vid on what about the Spencer
                While it dose not deal with the points made by TA, it dose deal with why they did not really consider it.

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8eQmTUHzeU

                To put it simply most it seems have not used a Spencer...
                The Spencer is simply a clunky system, sure it's perhaps reliable,
                but compared to the Henry which can put about 2 or 3 rounds down range by the time it the Spencer is ready to fire it's second round.
                The Henry took 9 seconds to fire 7 rounds the Spencer took 24 to fire the same amount.

                On the flip side with the Blakeslee tubes you could reload thoughs 10 rounds in about 5 seconds (plus about 5 more for putting it back into the box), so about 7 rounds in about 30 or so seconds, now if their not available or not working right, it will take about 20-30 seconds to reload by hand, the Henry of cores took 30 to 40 seconds.
                Though they did not really do much with the reloading aspect.
                Though they did mention the Blakeslee tubes but dismissed them as not the best solution, as the ones they had where not working, and it dose seem that they never caught on as well.

                In any case they even out in that department, assuming you had working speed loaders for the Spencer.

                Comment


                • #23




                  I see a second huge advantage in the Spencer system using black powder. This comes from my own extensive shooting of black powder (mostly single shot Sharps and a Ballard high wall in .40 Maynard).
                  That is, once you've blown through 20 to 30 rounds, the Spencer looks far easier to clean out, particularly in the field, than a Henry.

                  The Henry's breech isn't readily accessible to having a cleaning rod shoved through and back, whereas the Spencer is. This means I can take a little water from my canteen, and a couple of cloth patches and run through the Spencer, then splash a bit on the breech block and wipe things down and am good to go (yes, ignore the scent of @$$ present afterwards... ). With the Henry, most of the breech mechanism is internal and difficult to get at. Once it fouls and you are where you have to clean it, you have problems.
                  Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 20 Apr 18, 22:29.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
                    Not really. The M1 fires a full-power cartridge, as does the M14. Really, by the definition, both of those would be 'battle rifles'.

                    The keys would be magazine fed, rapid fire, Intermediate Cartridge.
                    Not according to the original definition, and BTW - the M14 met all of your requirements as well. So did the German FG44. Which is why I disagree with the entire premise to begin with. The original definition is far too broad and nonspecific.

                    Meanwhile, back at the armory, the Army's total dog - the .45 cal Greasegun - would also be an "assault weapon", despite it's miserable performance. Rapid fire, magazine fed and a pistol cartridge, but if you have ever fired one you know how totally crappy it was.
                    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      1895....

                      So, presuming that the Army has gone with a Repeater in 1866 and by 1870 or so is working on 'continuous repeaters' at the infantry battalion level, here's my thought.

                      1) The 1895 Colt gets quicker and wider adoption as a gun for the battalion's Machine Gun Company....say 8 per battalion, with thoughts to 12.

                      2) The 1895 Lee is seen to have significant advantages over the Krag, with disposable clips feeding a magazine nearly the size of the Spencer's, ammo more compact and able to carry more of it, 700 yard performance seen as irrelevant and the purview of Machine guns anyway. Rate of fire better than a turn-bolt rifle, and reasonably easy to retrain.

                      3) With MGs being so prevalent and a supply system for them long being in place, the US Army goes to a 2 ammo policy, with rifles and MGs in 6mm, but also going with a large 30 cal round as well.
                      Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
                        So, presuming that the Army has gone with a Repeater in 1866 and by 1870 or so is working on 'continuous repeaters' at the infantry battalion level, here's my thought.

                        1) The 1895 Colt gets quicker and wider adoption as a gun for the battalion's Machine Gun Company....say 8 per battalion, with thoughts to 12.

                        2) The 1895 Lee is seen to have significant advantages over the Krag, with disposable clips feeding a magazine nearly the size of the Spencer's, ammo more compact and able to carry more of it, 700 yard performance seen as irrelevant and the purview of Machine guns anyway. Rate of fire better than a turn-bolt rifle, and reasonably easy to retrain.

                        3) With MGs being so prevalent and a supply system for them long being in place, the US Army goes to a 2 ammo policy, with rifles and MGs in 6mm, but also going with a large 30 cal round as well.
                        I disagree on the Krag. It had several useful features, not the least of whicjh being it could be reloaded while keeping a round ready in the chamber.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          While interesting I think that the clumsiness of the loading process and the ammo storage would counteract that.
                          Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
                            While interesting I think that the clumsiness of the loading process and the ammo storage would counteract that.
                            I've shot a Krag, and it's not (to me) clumsy. You flip open the loading gate and load cartridges much like any bolt-action weapon, except for the bolt is closed and you can have one 'in the pipe' ready to fire.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
                              I've shot a Krag, and it's not (to me) clumsy. You flip open the loading gate and load cartridges much like any bolt-action weapon, except for the bolt is closed and you can have one 'in the pipe' ready to fire.
                              I just find single loading, and holding single rounds on a uniform in combat conditions to be much more problematic than loading an en-bloc clip into a magazine. True you can have one in the pipe. But as someone pointed out to me, the military isn't as worried about that because the individual soldier has a squad of buddies to be shooting while he's reloading, and vice versa.

                              Plus, I think it's a testament that no other major military adopted the magazine system, and that all major militaries, including the US, adopted a top-loading stripper or en bloc clip system.

                              Though thinking along the lines of the Lee-Navy getting general adoption, what would be the chances of the Army taking the opportunity to start running their big fixed machine guns on even heavier ammunition. Historically there was the ability to make essentially a Magnum load which would give heightened performance at range and penetration. Something akin to a .33-.34 caliber round which would out-perform other nations which are using a very standard rifle caliber, rather than a light and fast 6mm rifle round and a heavy and hot loaded 8mm Machine Gun round.
                              Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
                                Plus, I think it's a testament that no other major military adopted the magazine system, and that all major militaries, including the US, adopted a top-loading stripper or en bloc clip system.
                                First, what do you qualify as "major military"? Because three countries adopt the Krag as their main rifle: Denmark, Norway and the US.

                                Second, it wasn't the feeding system of the Krag that caused the US to drop the Krag for a more "modern" rifle. It was because Mauser-derived actions were just superior overall.
                                The First Amendment applies to SMS, Emails, Blogs, online news, the Fourth applies to your cell phone, computer, and your car, but the Second only applies to muskets?

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