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Gatlings change the American Civil War

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  • #16
    Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
    You seem to know the gun, so let me ask;
    That's a weird caliber, did they have .... or rather, could they have had, an explosive shell for it?
    Otherwise, it seems just the wrong size for any practical use.
    With black powder as the only explosive available, and no contact fusing a shell would have been pretty much worthless.
    But a 1.57" barreled shotgun firing say 10 to 15 rounds a minute from one or two hundred yards using shot the size of musket balls would have been devastating.
    Two guns could deliver the firepower of 100+ rifled muskets at that range. Accuracy wouldn't be a major problem either.
    Against light works (piled up wood, loose rocks, etc.) using solid shot at several hundred yards it could break them up and cause casualties.

    While militaries of the time used Gatlings, Mitrailluses, and other volley guns as artillery they shouldn't have been employed that way. Even on an artillery-like carriage they have to be used in enfilade rather than head on like actual cannon.
    The gunners also have to realize that the effective range is only about 500 yards at most and that they might shoot a bit further using proper sights to allow a plunging fire.
    All that means what today would be called an RMA needed to occur to make them really effective. That wasn't going to happen immediately. Instead it would either take a stroke of brilliance on someone's part or slow development of new tactics.

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    • #17
      http://chab-belgium.com/pdf/english/...%20bullets.pdf

      The second category of explosive projectiles was conceived with the ignition of the charge achieved by percussion. An igniter made of metallic fulminate, typically fulminate of mercury, caused the explosion of the charge contained in the bullet (usually black powder). This detonator generally consisted in a small metallic stem, more often a simple nail. Upon hitting the target, the nail pierced a brass or copper capsule containing the fulminate. As the percussion caps of the rifles and revolvers of the period contained the same substance, they were often used as the detonating device to trigger the explosion of the main bullet charge. The most common explosive bullet of the Civil War was the Gardner, in caliber .54 and .58

      The Federal war department archives assert that 33,350 explosive bullets were supplied to northern troops in 1863.

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      • #18
        There are a lot of things that could have been different about the way the war was fought. For example if one side had mounted their 12 lb napoleon on a high angle carriage and utilized spotters at some distance with semaphore and runners and even limited telegraph it would have radically changed how artillery was employed, not to mention how troops arrayed in rear areas. Time fuzes weren't perfect but we're relatively decent. And they had tables and slide rules. Shells exploding with shrapnel between 10 and 30 feet off the ground above a massing regiment would certainly ruin their formation.

        Or if the relatively ineffective hale rocket launcher had been made with a stock for shoulder firing by a team of 3 men.....could have been an effective piece of assault gear for busting buildings in street and Fort fighting.
        Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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        • #19
          Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
          There are a lot of things that could have been different about the way the war was fought. For example if one side had mounted their 12 lb napoleon on a high angle carriage

          Until you get active recoil cylinders, you need terrible heavily built carriages, akin to the mortar beds, to stand up to the recoil.

          That would kill the mobility, the whole point of the battlefield cannons.

          Black powder rocketry is a bit fiddly, temperature and humidity changes in storage make the Hale and Congreve types unreliable, and sometimes downright dangerous to the crews

          Now an earlier recoilless gun built on the Davis method could have worked with the tech of the dayhttp://www.big-ordnance.com/Davis/davis_ammunition.htm

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          • #20
            Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
            There are a lot of things that could have been different about the way the war was fought. For example if one side had mounted their 12 lb napoleon on a high angle carriage and utilized spotters at some distance with semaphore and runners and even limited telegraph it would have radically changed how artillery was employed, not to mention how troops arrayed in rear areas. Time fuzes weren't perfect but we're relatively decent. And they had tables and slide rules. Shells exploding with shrapnel between 10 and 30 feet off the ground above a massing regiment would certainly ruin their formation.

            Or if the relatively ineffective hale rocket launcher had been made with a stock for shoulder firing by a team of 3 men.....could have been an effective piece of assault gear for busting buildings in street and Fort fighting.
            Actually, a 1" Gatling gun used in "indirect" fire would be effective and vicious. Since it could easily fire to a thousand yards on a trajectory with some sort of fire controls and direction using say, heliographs it could put down a rain of fire on an enemy unit even over the heads of friendly troops
            No need for time fuses or canister rounds, just spraying the target with 1" lead bullets would be sufficient.
            Use of a pair of compass table sights and trig charts would be sufficient along with a simple rangefinder.

            Compass table


            Civil War rangefinder


            Heliograph with telegraphic shutter


            The spotter could tell the battery where the target was relative to the them. The gun crews already know their position relative to the spotters. The battery command staff can with trig tables calculate the position of the target to the battery on a large piece of paper and call out the aiming of the guns.
            Corrections could be called from the spotters once fire is opened using one gun.

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            • #21
              It is interesting stuff, especially the technical aspect of it.

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