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Thread: Food for thought, nothing more: discourage or abolish "hit taking"?

  1. #31
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    The Civil War was not all about contolled company fire. Just a few examples would include the fight atop Little Round Top, Devils Den, Shiloh, Franklin, Chickamauga, Alatoona Pass, Bentonville and countless other smaller actions. These did involve company fire but also individuals firing at individuals firing more than a few rounds. "Triggger Time" is a very valid part of a historic reenactment or recreation of a historic battle.
    Andrew L. Bresnan
    Victory Thru Rapid Fire
    National Henry Rifle Company http://44henryrifle.webs.com/index.htm
    LBL Tactical 1991 7th Illinois Veteran Volunteer Infantry Henry Company
    Bentonville 2010

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Weaver View Post
    Company fire was much more controlled in the Civil War, and less individualized.
    Ummm, no. And you list yourself as "Pine River Boys, Co I, 7th Wisconsin". Shame on you Rob. Start with Brawner's Farm and let me know where and when the firings of the boys was controlled......thanks. All of the diaries I've read for the Iron Brigade talk about South Mountain (2nd WVI) firing several volleys and that was the most 'controlled' the BRIGADE was were during the entire war.....the rest of the time they fired one volley and then it was Load. Load at Will. Fire by File in the Iron Brigade meant "fire on your own crook".....and everyone simply blazed away as fast as they could load.....
    RJ Samp
    Horniste! Blas das Signal zum Angriffe!
    "But in the end, it's the history, stupid. If you can't document it, forget about it. And no amount of 'tomfoolery' can explain away conduct that in the end makes history (and living historians) look stupid and wrong. "

  3. #33

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    Yeah - I understand what you mean, and I agree with you. But that's not what I meant by controlled. Their fire was still, at least initially, directed by a direct command, and even though the individuals are firing independently,, they're still in a fairly concentrated and controlled area. Modern communication makes dispersion possible, and a greater emphasis on the initiative of the individual soldier.
    Rob Weaver
    Pine River Boys, Co I, 7th Wisconsin
    "We're... Christians, what read the Bible and foller what it says about lovin' your enemies and carin' for them what despitefully use you -- that is, after you've downed 'em good and hard."
    -Si Klegg and His Pard Shorty

  4. #34
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    That brings up another good point. We do way too much volley firing. It may be impressive for the spectators, but it wasn't what happened during the Civil War; when basically, it was fire one volley, then shoot as fast as you can until someone yells cease fire. They haven't yet invented the soldier who will stand there, with his thumb up his butt, while people are shooting at him.
    Bill Rodman, If you need a really bad example.
    King of Prussia, PA
    wrodman1@aol.com

  5. #35
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    You could always just match the actual reports in movement, distance, causality rates, and munitions expended at the engagement you are "re-enacting". Anything else and you are doing a tactical or just making smoke and noise to entertain rather than educate the public.
    Boyd Miles

    I dream of a world where a chicken can cross a road without having its motives called into question.

  6. #36
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    The other thing that's being overlooked by you partisans of "trigger time" is fouling.

    CW muskets became unfire-able very quickly do to the build-up of black powder residue. I have read numerous accounts of where weapons became hopelessly unusable and were discarded as fellers picked up the guns of the dead & wounded. One NJ unit's commander was court-martialed after Chancellorsville for retiring his company to the rear, only to be later vindicated once he proved to the court that his men's weapons were so badly-fouled that they were trying to force bullets down the barrel by pushing the rammer against trees.

    Yet most units I see at events are blazing away, going through, what? 50 rounds/scenario? What of events where participants are told to bring 100, 200 or more rounds?

    This just isn't historical. I agree that "hits" should be taken, that they should be taken gradually, and that most of them should be WIA heading for the rear (as the boys of 186X would have done). I am less-inclined to dismiss out-of-hand the notion of firing by volleys, as these soldiers were often highly-trained and battle-hardened. This question seems to deserve its own thread and only posts linked to historical accounts should be tolerated by our esteemed mods.

    A related infamnia is the rapid fire of CW reenactor units, belying the longer time it takes to load a round into a musket than it does to pour powder down the barrel, tamp and prime. But one anachronism to discuss at a time.
    Bill Cross
    Treasurer, The Rowdy Pards

    'In the end, it's the history, stupid. If you can't document it, forget about it. And no amount of tomfoolery can explain away anything that makes history (and living historians) look stupid and wrong."

  7. #37
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    Fouling would have been a definate problem. Maybe a question for those that do fire their musket with projectiles is how many shots does it take for a musket to foul out.

    It is interesting in a battle reenactment when a man armed with a muzzle-loader manages to fire 3 or more rounds per minute. It was not likely to happen, maybe 3 but no more. 4 or 5 rounds was just not historically corrector really possible. However those armed with a Spencer, during the Civil War or today, are able to fire 14 rounds per minute and those armed with a Henry repeating rifle, during the Civil War or today, were/are able to fire around 30 rounds per minute. So while a man armed with a repeater, whether in the Civil War or today, could have fired that many rounds. A man with a muzzle-loader was not likely or possible to fire more than 3 shots per minute in a battle situation but today at reenactments many try to shoot as fast as they can pour powder. Many times the amount of hits taken is dictated by the amount of fire power by the enemy, both real and recreated.

    Just an observation.
    Andrew L. Bresnan
    Victory Thru Rapid Fire
    National Henry Rifle Company http://44henryrifle.webs.com/index.htm
    LBL Tactical 1991 7th Illinois Veteran Volunteer Infantry Henry Company
    Bentonville 2010

  8. #38
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    While those with repeating rifles could, conceiveably pump out a comparatively massive amount of fire, it still leaves one problem; that of ammunition supply. Yes, there would be times when they would pump out as much lead as they could during a particular crisis, but that would be the exception rather than the rule, just a it would be for the men armed with muzzleloaders. Yes, they carried more rounds per man than those with single shot weapons, but it was not endless, and the distance back to the supply wagons was the same for both.

    One thing we almost never do at reenactments is to demonstrate the exchange of one unit in the line by another, and the replaced unit assembling behind the lines to regroup/rearm/take on water, etc. Usually when it is done, it is by some parade ground maneouver, or worse, by some reenactorism maneouver.

    Having been in this hobby now for coming up on 10 years, I'm willing to trade accuracy for trigger time any day. Movement on the field, units advancing and falling back, being replaced in the line, breaking and rallying on the colors. Standing there for an hour just pounding away at each other, with rare exception, is a pisspoor way of showing how things got done, and generally bores the bejesus out of the spectators.
    Bernard Biederman
    30th OVI
    Co. B

  9. #39
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    At noon of the 15th we were ordered in the action at Resaca. We took position to the left of the 111th PVV, our right reating opposite to a small redoubt occuoied by the enemy and manned by four brass pieces. Our regiment, in connection with the 111th PVV, kept up a continuous fire and drove the enemy from this redoubt.
    Report of Capt. Barent Van Buren
    A form 9 return shows that Co. F expended 500 rounds on the 15th.
    I am sure one of you can provide the exact number of men in Co. F at the time but a guess based on the strength of the 102nd at other times would make an average strength of 20 per company, subtract a couple of officers and let's for fun call it 18 men using 500 rounds for something near 28 rounds fired per man on average in what was described as continuous fire.
    Boyd Miles

    I dream of a world where a chicken can cross a road without having its motives called into question.

  10. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by flattop32355 View Post
    One thing we almost never do at reenactments is to demonstrate the exchange of one unit in the line by another, and the replaced unit assembling behind the lines to regroup/rearm/take on water, etc. Usually when it is done, it is by some parade ground maneouver, or worse, by some reenactorism maneouver.
    I haven't seen units relieved on the line in 20 years, about the same time that the extreme rate of fire and "powder burning" rose in popularity. I'd like to see em again, too.
    Rob Weaver
    Pine River Boys, Co I, 7th Wisconsin
    "We're... Christians, what read the Bible and foller what it says about lovin' your enemies and carin' for them what despitefully use you -- that is, after you've downed 'em good and hard."
    -Si Klegg and His Pard Shorty

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