User avatar
Gray Fox
AGEod Guard of Honor
Posts: 1520
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:48 pm
Location: Englewood, OH

What if...?

Fri May 15, 2015 5:32 pm

One of the great what if...? scenarios of the CW was the possible wide-spread use of so called repeating rifles like the Henry. Perhaps an optional event could be designed that allowed the Union to equip all infantry elements with these instead of muskets. I suppose the stats for the cavalry elements already so equipped could be substituted for the musket's stats. Perhaps the cost would be increased and a need for greater supply added to these infantry. Anyone think this would be interesting?
I'm the 51st shade of gray. Eat, pray, Charge!

Rod Smart
Colonel
Posts: 326
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2014 3:32 pm

Fri May 15, 2015 5:55 pm

the cost would be astronomical

If your interested in reliving the Civil War that way, there is that game that allows you to purchase rifles for each brigade. I forget the name, but its the one where you fight all the major battles of the war, but do nothing strategically.

User avatar
Pocus
Posts: 25418
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2005 7:37 am
Location: Lyon (France)

Mon May 18, 2015 8:38 am

Load it on Sunday, shoot with it all week, right? :)

The common opinion if I recall well was that anyway logistic could not have kept up with massive use of the most advanced weapons, if the infantrymen were largely equipped with it (Spencer carbines, Henry repeating Rifle and so on).

The game Rod Smart refers to is Forge of Freedom, from Western Civ games, published by Matrix.
Image


Hofstadter's Law: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's law."

User avatar
FightingBuckeye
Lieutenant Colonel
Posts: 280
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:27 am
Location: Englewood, CO

Mon May 18, 2015 10:18 am

There was also this baby
The attachment 266512-robertel_004.jpg is no longer available


Robert E Lee: Civil War General. It shows it's age, but man that's still a fun game to play every once in awhile.
Attachments
266512-robertel_004.jpg

Rod Smart
Colonel
Posts: 326
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2014 3:32 pm

Mon May 18, 2015 5:24 pm

FightingBuckeye wrote:There was also this baby
[ATTACH=CONFIG]33588[/ATTACH]

Robert E Lee: Civil War General. It shows it's age, but man that's still a fun game to play every once in awhile.


That's the one I was thinking of.

You get resources by capturing and killing enemy troops, and spend that money on buying guns for your men. Which ends up in failure if you start buying the expensive stuff, because supplying your men with 10 times more bullets (because they shoot 10 times as much) is stupid expensive- so you end up with divisions with no ammunition. Which isn't unrealistic..

User avatar
FightingBuckeye
Lieutenant Colonel
Posts: 280
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:27 am
Location: Englewood, CO

Mon May 18, 2015 5:46 pm

This was the first computer civil war game I ever played. It was a blast back then and I'll still dust it off every now and then for nostalgia purposes. It was pretty advanced and cutting edge back then; taking into account terrain, morale, supply, etc. Nothing better than attacking from two different directions to send the enemy running.

User avatar
Straight Arrow
Brigadier General
Posts: 476
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2014 5:44 pm
Location: Washington State

Mon May 18, 2015 10:12 pm

The army, in its infinite wisdom, surplused repeating rifles after the Civil war and went back to single shot rifles. Many of the discarded repeaters were sold to Native Americans.

This lead to some crazy scenarios like Little Big Horn, where on Custer's Field there is archeological evidence of at least 134 Indian firearms versus 81 for the soldiers. It appears that the Army was outgunned as well as outnumbered.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.

User avatar
BattleVonWar
Major
Posts: 221
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:22 am

Tue May 19, 2015 12:39 am

You got me reading : ) Wonderful to imagine the power of a repeating rifle in Civil War terms ... I saw $2300 MSRP on a Spencer. Okay like everyone else I can guess why we never saw them much in use.(thats expensive for today for a firearm)



http://www.aotc.net/Spencer.htm


~Personally I would have died with a single shot weapon. I'd rather run the few yards distance and shoot.
For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not yet two o'clock on that July afternoon in 1863 ~~~

khbynum
Major
Posts: 225
Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 8:00 pm

Tue May 19, 2015 5:13 am

From Nosworthy, Brent. 2003. The Bloody Crucible of Courage. In late 1862, Springfield rifle muskets cost $18.50 in quantity (wish I could get one for that). Sharps, Colt and other breechloading rifles ran $42.50 - $45. The Union could have afforded it, but the Confederacy had neither the means to make them nor the money to buy them. The common complaint among establishment officers was that soldiers would shoot off their entire ammo load in a few minutes and then would be unsupplied. Well, we know that lengthy firefights often occurred, especially in wooded terrain where the troops couldn't see each other. We also know that many times the fight was decided by a few volleys at close range, a scenario in which rapid fire weapons would make all the difference. If soldiers could be trained to fire by files, surely they could have been trained to use single-shot breechloaders or magazine rifles efficiently.

I attended the Bentonville re-enactment this Spring and some of the Union re-enactors had Henrys. I don't like guns, myself, but they sure were pretty.

BattleVonWar, you're probably referring to what an original Spencer rifle is worth today. I donated one to a museum (see below) and that's about what it was appraised.

User avatar
Gray Fox
AGEod Guard of Honor
Posts: 1520
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:48 pm
Location: Englewood, OH

Tue May 19, 2015 12:53 pm

Some artillery officers admonished their gun crews for firing too fast. So if you have X amount of ammo that is a constraint no matter what weapon you man. The Union cavalry had repeaters. I don't know of a cavalry engagement where the men ran out of ammo. It seems to me that infantry troops in a line don't pull the trigger until the guy with the sword commands "Fire!". Even then, it's one volley and seldom fire at will. The real advantages of these rifles was that the troops could reload without standing up. So a Division with muskets would form a human wall 5 to 6 feet tall and a mile long as a target. It would be half that surface area if the men with repeating rifles could remain kneeling to fire. Men firing while prone would present a fraction of that. A trooper with a musket uses a lot less ammo if he is dead or wounded.
I'm the 51st shade of gray. Eat, pray, Charge!

User avatar
Captain_Orso
Posts: 5766
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:02 pm
Location: Stuttgart, Germany

Tue May 19, 2015 1:51 pm

As with everything military, the biggest challenge is command and control. Up through The Great War™ the company was the largest formation able to be controlled by one man --the company commander/captain-- by voice alone. Beyond this and commands can only be issued by currier and coordinated actions with a formation lager than a company required pre-planning. The better trained the larger formation is --battalion, regiment-- the easier it is to control, because everybody knows what to expect and what is expected of them.

I think that troops when they first got their hands on repeating rifles probably did fire off most of their ammo pretty quickly, because they were not used to the freedom of basically aim-shoot-aim-shoot-aim-shoot... If they were intelligent --which most of them were-- and intended on staying in the fight --which most of them also did-- they would learn very quickly to conserve their ammo and only use rapid firing when it was advantageous or necessary.

The men on the firing line most certainly did not only firing when they were specifically given an order to do so. Unless they were told to not fire they would fire at targets of opportunity readily. Firing volleys is only interesting if the enemy is in-line, in the open and within a certain range. Probably with the advent of the rifle it was already out-dated.

Originally when everybody was firing fat, smooth-bore muskets which couldn't hit anything beyond about 50-100 yards at the most, the affects of the volley was more shock than anything else. Try standing in front of 500-1000 men firing .50 - .65 bore muskets with black power in unison. The thunder of the volley will shake your bones and knowing that one of those fat lead balls just might shatter you leg or rip through your belly was certainly not the best for the nerves.

BTW, you can reload a muzzle loader while in the prone. It's just very awkward and difficult.
Image

User avatar
Gray Fox
AGEod Guard of Honor
Posts: 1520
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:48 pm
Location: Englewood, OH

Tue May 19, 2015 2:42 pm

In a military unit of the CW, some of the men don't charge forward on their own. A command is given and everyone charges together. It just works better that way. Similarly, an entire unit fires on command in a volley. A regiment of less than a thousand men can easily be arrayed so that they can hear or at least see their regimental commander's orders. Ready, Aim and Fire are not part of Hollywood. It's called a Unit because the men are trained to work together. A man with a musket may be able to reload lying down, but not as quickly as a man with a breechloader. Germany was united by an army equipped with single action breechloaders, using the tactics I posted. All of this was knowable to the military of our CW.
I'm the 51st shade of gray. Eat, pray, Charge!

veji1
AGEod Guard of Honor
Posts: 1271
Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2006 6:27 pm

Tue May 19, 2015 3:27 pm

Gray Fox wrote:In a military unit of the CW, some of the men don't charge forward on their own. A command is given and everyone charges together. It just works better that way. Similarly, an entire unit fires on command in a volley. A regiment of less than a thousand men can easily be arrayed so that they can hear or at least see their regimental commander's orders. Ready, Aim and Fire are not part of Hollywood. It's called a Unit because the men are trained to work together. A man with a musket may be able to reload lying down, but not as quickly as a man with a breechloader. Germany was united by an army equipped with single action breechloaders, using the tactics I posted. All of this was knowable to the military of our CW.


yeah right, I wouldn't compare the armies in the civil war with the OCD prussian army, with its obsessive training regime and long military service... It would have taken them quite a bit longer to get organised that way plus the battle fields of the ACW tended to be a lot more fractionned/wooded than in the austro-prussian and franco-prussian wars in good ol Europe, so having your regiment all organised in a nice line to shoot wasn't as easy. So in theory sure, in practice while your militiamen are being transformed into something like an army on the fly.. Not sure.

User avatar
Gray Fox
AGEod Guard of Honor
Posts: 1520
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:48 pm
Location: Englewood, OH

Tue May 19, 2015 4:16 pm

Militia armed with muskets form in a line and fire one volley on command.

Militia armed with repeating rifles form in a line kneeling or prone and fire one volley on command.

I suppose that would be an enormous difference requiring elite troops.

:)
I'm the 51st shade of gray. Eat, pray, Charge!

Rod Smart
Colonel
Posts: 326
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2014 3:32 pm

Tue May 19, 2015 5:28 pm

Gray Fox wrote:Militia armed with muskets form in a line and fire one volley on command.

Militia armed with repeating rifles form in a line kneeling or prone and fire one volley on command.

I suppose that would be an enormous difference requiring elite troops.

:)


I'm reminded of Red Badge of Courage, when he was shooting at shadows in the smoke.

----------------------------------------

Just like everything else in the Civil War (and all wars), the procurement agents were fighting the last war.

veji1
AGEod Guard of Honor
Posts: 1271
Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2006 6:27 pm

Tue May 19, 2015 6:47 pm

Gray Fox wrote:Militia armed with muskets form in a line and fire one volley on command.

Militia armed with repeating rifles form in a line kneeling or prone and fire one volley on command.

I suppose that would be an enormous difference requiring elite troops.

:)


at the regimental level ? You sure are an optimistic !

User avatar
Captain_Orso
Posts: 5766
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:02 pm
Location: Stuttgart, Germany

Tue May 19, 2015 7:18 pm

Gray Fox wrote:In a military unit of the CW, some of the men don't charge forward on their own. A command is given and everyone charges together. It just works better that way. Similarly, an entire unit fires on command in a volley. A regiment of less than a thousand men can easily be arrayed so that they can hear or at least see their regimental commander's orders. Ready, Aim and Fire are not part of Hollywood. It's called a Unit because the men are trained to work together. A man with a musket may be able to reload lying down, but not as quickly as a man with a breechloader. Germany was united by an army equipped with single action breechloaders, using the tactics I posted. All of this was knowable to the military of our CW.


Who was talking about charging? Changing position is something you were only supposed to do under orders.

Where are you getting your information that seems to be saying that soldiers would only fire their weapons under direct orders?
Image

User avatar
BattleVonWar
Major
Posts: 221
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:22 am

Tue May 19, 2015 11:46 pm

Remember "The Red Badge of Courage," Great Book. I could see how leadership thought during the day line your men up in formation and drill them as such. They will lose cohesion at the first sight of enemy fire and turn tail and run.. (that description of a meat shield even makes the bravest men lose their bowels)

~Even a frightened soldier with a repeater close up at least has a more simple action to perform ... It's a game changer ...
For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not yet two o'clock on that July afternoon in 1863 ~~~

User avatar
Gray Fox
AGEod Guard of Honor
Posts: 1520
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:48 pm
Location: Englewood, OH

Wed May 20, 2015 12:33 pm

Captain Orso, if we can both agree that men don't charge on their own, my hope was that you would realize the men don't just start or stop firing on their own either. "Fire at will!" is the command that directs them to do that. Drill isn't the practice of moving men around. It is the practice of drilling into their heads that they must follow orders. A private may think he knows when the enemy is in range, but his commander darn sure will know. So privates fire when their commanders order them. If privates start acting on their own, then the General Order of the Union army during the CW was that their sergeants should beat them or if necessary even kill them. Of course they can see or hear their regimental commander. How do you think that they know when to march forward or do anything else as a unit. Veji1 if a Division has a one mile frontage and four brigades, then a brigade occupies 1320 feet in line and a regiment about 400. It's not impossible to communicate with trumpet, drum, voice or unit flag a command over 400 feet.

The question of the use of repeating rifles in the CW is a classic military proposal. I think that it would be an interesting additional option to the game.
I'm the 51st shade of gray. Eat, pray, Charge!

User avatar
Captain_Orso
Posts: 5766
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:02 pm
Location: Stuttgart, Germany

Wed May 20, 2015 6:56 pm

Drill most certainly was more than just training the soldiers to obey orders. Getting a formation to move how and to where the officers wanted them had to be trained for not only the men, but also the officers and non-coms to be able to execute in an orderly and timely manner. It doesn't just come from obeying an order. It has to be practiced. I know, I've been at both ends of those orders in NCO training.

I am very certain that if the commander of a regiment wished is formation to behave in a specific way --to fire or not to fire at a certain times-- he would issue those orders. I have read many accounts of sections of a battle like being ordered to hold their fire until ordered to do so, because the commander sees that their position is being advanced upon and he wishes to affect a specific firing order. To do this, his battle line first needs to be prepared --all weapons loaded and at the ready-- and know what is expected of them.

If the default stance of a formation were never to fire unless specifically ordered to do so, when the commander ordered his formation to fire a volley, then the commander would never have to intervene in his firing line to prepare them to fire a volley; they would per default always be waiting for that order. I'll admit that it's within the realm of possibilities that at some time a commander may order his formation to fire-at-will, but I'm just as certain that in most battle situation, even without orders men are not going to wait for a firing order while their position is being advanced on and threated to be over-run. Self preservation is alway one of a soldier's highest priorities.

BTW even under the best of conditions --in other words, no battle noise-- hearing orders from over a football field away is almost impossible. Been there, done that when Fort McClellan AL paraded for the changing of the colors when the base commander turned over his command and retired in 1978. Without training the ceremony several hours the day before, there would have little chance for our formation of about 10,000 men and women to understand the marching orders being given. It only worked because we knew what orders to expect and while actually marching we were listing directly to our own NCO's and not the battalion and regimental commanders, who were issuing their orders to the echelons directly below them -- regimental commander to battalion commander, battalion commander to company commander and so on.
Image

User avatar
BattleVonWar
Major
Posts: 221
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:22 am

Thu May 21, 2015 1:28 am

I am sorry but you have to be crazy Gray Fox. The Army investing in a revolutionary weapon that may cost them less casualties at the time period? 600k dead nearly puts up the fact that the cost of human life vs the cost of Gold was not priority. The South could never had competed with an Army outfitted with reliable repeaters. The one instance I read about them used turned an entire position in Tennessee. (all the slaves in all the South were worth more financially then all the factories of the North, the War was about Money)

A hostile native band approached a couple of guys in a canyon in the Territories with repeaters, they beat off a big Indian raid with repeaters...maybe what 2 guys?

Soldiers obeyed well. Orso was right, I have spent my entire life around Army Bases. All the Army does is train. They have great NCOs too, often better than their uppercrust.(I'd say that rings true till today as I know a lot of crazy Majors and Colonels but their NCOs are the cream of the crop) The American Army is a disciplined machine and was then as it is now. Trained well, perhaps not enough soldiers in uniform at the onset. How many instances of Privates in a formation of men do you think would disobey a firing order while they were Cohesive and had a living Commander. I would shoot you in the head if I was your NCO/Officer if you fired out of turn. (I could easily for see many soldiers doing the same) The reason being as that could compromise your situation or position. That is not done! Most of the time...
For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not yet two o'clock on that July afternoon in 1863 ~~~

User avatar
FightingBuckeye
Lieutenant Colonel
Posts: 280
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:27 am
Location: Englewood, CO

Thu May 21, 2015 1:52 am

Captain_Orso wrote:BTW even under the best of conditions --in other words, no battle noise-- hearing orders from over a football field away is almost impossible.


Sub-unit leaders wouldn't echo the command? That was one of the functions of lower level officers, to ensure their soldiers knew the orders. If you served time in the Army, you know it as the preparatory command and the command of execution. Present (delay & echo) arms. Forward (delay & echo) march. The delay allows everyone to prepare for the actual order while the echo helps ensure everyone's tracking on what the actual order will be.

And hooah Army. I served 6 years active duty and 2 years in the Colorado Guard starting from 2005-2013.

User avatar
Captain_Orso
Posts: 5766
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:02 pm
Location: Stuttgart, Germany

Thu May 21, 2015 11:14 am

Yes!! LOL that's exactly how it was done :thumbsup: .

Think about the length of the frontage of a brigade. A brigade commander just cannot make his voice heard above the roar of battle at any such distance, when you'd have to shout for the man next to you to understand what you're saying.

Most definitely orders were relayed. But in battle the only viable method would be through runners.

I think the only thing that improving in this over the length of the war was the frontage allocated to a regiment; it would have gotten smaller and smaller along with the regiment's size getting smaller and smaller, which is pretty macabre :non: .
Image

User avatar
Gray Fox
AGEod Guard of Honor
Posts: 1520
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:48 pm
Location: Englewood, OH

Thu May 21, 2015 12:23 pm

I pointed out that the Regimental commander, not the Brigade commander, has a formation that was 400 feet long, right? He would be at the center, so 200 feet from the first and the last man. You're posting that it is impossible to exert command over that distance? A QB can throw a football farther than that to a receiver, who I guess would be waiting for it. I know that cell phones have spoiled some people, but you have to be kidding.

Again, the possible use of repeating rifles in the CW is a classic What if...? The argumemt that troops lacked the command and control to use them is really absurd. Cavalry had these guns and most Union cavalry could barely ride their horses.
I'm the 51st shade of gray. Eat, pray, Charge!

User avatar
Captain_Orso
Posts: 5766
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:02 pm
Location: Stuttgart, Germany

Thu May 21, 2015 1:47 pm

Okay, if you say so... Image
Image

khbynum
Major
Posts: 225
Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 8:00 pm

Thu May 21, 2015 3:06 pm

Gray Fox wrote:Again, the possible use of repeating rifles in the CW is a classic What if...? The argumemt that troops lacked the command and control to use them is really absurd. Cavalry had these guns and most Union cavalry could barely ride their horses.


That was your original question, before the thread derailed. Only Rod Smart and Pocus (and I, indirectly) actually addressed it. So, yes, I think it would be a good idea to allow such weapons to be purchased. The cost in money to purchase a unit armed with them would need to be higher, as would war supply cost to reflect the more complex manufacture of both the rifle and the fixed ammo. You'd have to make provisions for the Rebels to capture them, since the few breechloading carbines they produced during the war were seriously inferior. It's an interesting what-if and one that was debated throughout the war. It would add some spice to the game, but could be seriously imbalancing.

User avatar
Gray Fox
AGEod Guard of Honor
Posts: 1520
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:48 pm
Location: Englewood, OH

Thu May 21, 2015 4:15 pm

From Hardee's manual of infantry tactics used by both sides:

"1. Fire by squad. 2. Squad. 3. READY. 4. AIM. 5. FIRE. 6. LOAD.

261. These, several commands will be executed as has been proscribed in the Manual of Arms. At the third command, the men will come to the position of ready as heretofore explained. At the fourth they will aim according to the rank in which each may find himself placed, the rear rank men inclining forward a little the upper part of the body, in order that their pieces may reach as much beyond the front rank as possible.

262. At the sixth command, they will load their pieces and return immediately to the position of ready.

263. The instructor will recommence the firing by the command :

1. Squad. 2. AIM. 3. FIRE. 4. LOAD.

264. When the instructor wishes the firing to cease he will command :

Cease firing.

265. At this command, the men will cease firing but will load their pieces if unloaded, and afterwards bring them to a shoulder. "

Dear Captain, if you bang a closed box on your head and perceive a hollow sound, it doesn't necessarily follow that the box is empty.
:)
I'm the 51st shade of gray. Eat, pray, Charge!

minipol
General
Posts: 560
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:24 pm

Thu May 21, 2015 6:18 pm

In regards to command. Image that the commander is at the center, and indeed 200 yards from a soldier in his line as GF says.
If that soldier doesn't hear the command, he will actually see what the command is by watching the soldier next to him or the unit commander.
If you visualize it: a command to kneel is shouted, he doesn't hear it, but he sees the men starting to kneel. What is he going to do? Right, kneel.
The command will go through the line like a domino effect, just like a route would.
The first soldier in the line who hasn't heard the signal will look at the soldier next to him who has heard it, and will act accordingly. Or as I said
to the commander. So yes, it is possible, but will resemble a domino effect.

That's where the game actually models artillery in a very good way. The unit's cohesion is affected by the cannons.
These units don't fight as well portraying the shell exploding, lines being broken, dead, wounded, in short, gaps in the line and thus communication.
Even fighting in woods which would seriously affect this command and communication is modeled because of the cohesion hits difference to walk and fight in certain areas.

User avatar
Mickey3D
Posts: 1569
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2008 9:09 pm
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

Thu May 21, 2015 9:29 pm

For those who might be interested, here is an infrantry tactics book. Starting on page 6 there is an explanation how a brigade commander will pass his orders to the regiments.

Here the same for batallion (= regiment ?). From page 14 the various fire commands are explained.

And finally a wealth of links on manuals here.

User avatar
Cardinal Ape
General of the Army
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:59 am

Thu May 21, 2015 10:48 pm

Adding a 'what if' or two could add some fun to the game. One would need to find a 'what if' for the Confederacy to pursue for game balance. Possibly something involving an upgrade to their artillery - I know they did develop a shell mid-war to produce more reliable fragmentation patterns.

Return to “Civil War II”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests