• Interesting Quora about military firepower

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    XPost: alt.war.vietnam, tx.guns

    Interesting Quora about military firepower

    Craig Weiler
    July 18, 2018
    Interested in warfare

    What if the Henry repeating rifle was used at a greater capacity by the
    Union Army during the American Civil War? Would it have made any difference? The Henry repeating rifle was a sixteen shot rimfire rifle. (Seventeen
    if you also loaded one in the chamber.)

    Your average muzzle loading rifle could fire on average about 3 times a
    minute with training, the Henry could get off sixteen shots in that time
    making it a little over 5 times more effective in sheer firepower. (And
    also consuming a little over 5 times more bullets in the process.)

    The Union generals took one look at that and took a hard pass. Why? They already had trouble with having enough bullets for everyone and the
    muzzle loaders had fire discipline built in.

    By their way of thinking, if you ran out of bullets it wasn’t going to
    matter how great your rifle was. They weren’t wrong about this. Bringing absolutely huge stockpiles of bullets everywhere you go is a logistical nightmare.

    They couldn’t conceptualize at the time what a huge game changer this
    weapon was. There is the claim that it was logistically impossible to
    supply enough bullets, but this isn’t actually true. Using this weapon
    would have made logistics easier, not harder.

    That’s because you can still have superior firepower with half the
    troops. And because they can fire prone, you’ll have less than 1/4 the casualties. The troops you’re not using for battle you use for logistics
    and you have the beginnings of modern warfighting where logistics and
    support outnumber combat soldiers.

    Given two opposing forces, one of 50 men with Henry repeaters and the
    other with 100 men with muzzle loaders, the latter will be cut to pieces
    and chased off the battlefield in short order. It’s simple math. The
    muzzle loaders combined might get off 300 shots in a minute. The men
    with Henry repeaters will have fired 800 times in that span. In five
    minutes the muzzle loaders can get off 1,500 rounds while the repeaters
    will have fired 4,000 rounds. It’s almost like a machine gun. That, my friends, is the math of war.

    Now imagine that the Union line is thinner and more widely spaced. With
    that much firepower you can spread your troops out a little bit, which
    will greatly reduce casualties from solid shot cannon balls and canister
    as well as not providing bunched up targets. Spreading out makes the
    bunched up troops all firing together far less effective as well.

    So yes, widespread adoption of this rifle by the Union would have made a
    huge difference. The Confederates would have been forced to avoid all
    direct confrontation with Union forces or be slaughtered. It’s yet
    another thing that would have been a harbinger of modern warfare.

    Bear in mind that the Union won the war anyway. They didn’t have to completely re-think tactics and re-train their troops or completely re-structure the army either.

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    Tom Wilson
    November 23, 2018 · 11 upvotes including
    Craig Weiler
    As far as I know, George Thomas was the only Union officer to fully
    appreciate the repeating rifle, He has a unit armed with Spencers, I
    think, at Chicamauga and the Confederates were impressed be their
    firepower., to wit: the yankees could load on Sunday and shoot all week,
    or words to that effect. … (more)
    effect. Catton mentions it but at some point in the Wilderness. My dad
    told me Thomas developed the initial Firepower theories we employ today.
    If you are a “Call of Duty” gamer, thank the Henry and Spencer repeating rifles.

    Lloyd Willey
    November 28, 2018 · 7 upvotes including
    Craig Weiler
    The myth of the “well-aimed shot” continued until after WWII when a
    review of weaponry showed that firepower was far more important than
    accuracy. Conserving ammo due to expense was behind infantry weapons for generations of the 5-shot Kraig, the 1903 Springfield. The world armies
    all followed this … (more)
    world armies all followed this doctrine. “Men will shoot up all their ammunition in minutes, and the what?” Restriction of firepower was
    universal. As you pointed out, the Henry would have made a big
    difference but it ran counter to dogma.

    Charles Souza
    July 11
    Maybe I was in the minority during service in Vietnam, but I was always concerned with ammunition supply. U.S. troops wasted tremendous amounts
    of ammunition with the issue of the M16 rifle. I was briefed that I
    would be resupplied with ammo when needed, but never learned who,
    exactly, would bring i … (more)
    it to me, especially when taking enemy fire.Reply

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