Al Nofi's CIC
| || Issue #02, July 21, 1998
| ||This Issue...
- Infinite Wisdom
- la Triviata
- Short Rounds
- Infantry Missile Weapons in the Renaissance
- Napoleon III Bridges the Ticino
- Officer’s Compensation, the U.S. Army, 1821
- James A. Garfield: Soldier, Spymaster, President
- US Maritime Commission Ship Designations
- Old Soldier’s Stories: An Incident During the Naval Battle of Santiago, 1898.
"Let trifles go; march!"
Darius N. Couch, Major General, U.S. Volunteers, 1861-1865
- Chaplains in the Austro-Hungarian kaiserlich-und-koniglich Army were required, as officers, to wear swords when in uniform, but had, in compensation, the privilege of engaging in duels.
- During the early part of World War I Germany had considerable success smuggling arms to Turkey by concealing them inside beer barrels which could then be shipped across neutral Romania, until one day when a thirsty Romanian railroad employee attempted to wet his whistle.
- The Order of Victory of the soi disant Soviet Union, created on November 8, 1943, for award to senior Allied and Russian military personnel, was undoubtedly the most expensive military decoration in history, consisting as it did of a two-inch platinum star enameled in blue and red and studded with 135 diamonds.
- During the Swedish attempt to storm the fortified Russian village of Veprik, on January 7, 1709, the fighting grew so intense that the defenders resorted to pouring their boiling breakfast porridge on their assailants.
- When the German submarine U-459 shot down an RAF "Wellington" bomber in the Bay of Biscay on July 24, 1943, the stricken airplane crashed on its deck, which detonated one of the depth charges it was carrying, thus causing the u-boat to sink.
- Having received from his king, Frederick the Great, an ill-conceived order at the Battle of Zorndorf (August 25, 1768), Prussian General Friedrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz replied "Tell His Majesty that my head will be at his disposal after the battle, but that so long as the battle lasts I intend to use it in his service," and did what he thought best, thereby winning the battle.
- The year 183 B.C. was a bad one for generals; Not only did Hannibal of Carthage, greatest general of the age, die, but also the Roman Scipio Africanus, the only man who ever beat him, and Philopoemon, the greatest Greek general of the time.
- Although blimps only accounted for two enemy submarines no blimp-escorted convoy in either world war ever lost a ship to submarine attack.>Between 1914 and 1918 the number of machine guns in the German Army increased by 2,000 percent, rising from approximately 4,000 to over 80,000.
Infantry Missile Weapons in the Renaissance
By 1500 infantrymen had three different missile weapons available to them. There was the arquebus, a relatively light firearm manageable by one man, as well as the very common crossbow, and the longbow, which was mostly limited to use by the English. Technically the arquebus was inferior to both the other two weapons in range, accuracy, and rate of fire, while the longbow was generally superior to the crossbow.
|Characteristics of Infantry Missile Weapons, c. 1500|
|Crossbow||3.5||125||45||127||1 - 2||50|
|Longbow||3.0||75||45||76||2 - 6||50|
|Notes: Actual figures would have varied greatly from piece to piece due to the very serious lack of standardization that existed. Weight is that of the weapon proper, in kilograms, without ancillary equipment. In the case of the arquebus, such equipment frequently included a light stand in addition to tools for servicing the weapon. Proj Wt, is the weight of the missile, in grams. "MV", is the "muzzle velocity", or speed of the projectile as it leaves the weapon, expressed in meters per second. The higher this figure, the more accurate the weapon is likely to be. KE, is the kinetic energy possessed by the projectile as it leaves the weapon, expressed in joules, which suggests its hitting power . RPM is the number of rounds it was possible to fire per minute, with the lower figure being the sustainable rate of fire and the higher, the maximum. Range is the distance at which the weapon could reasonably be expected to be effective, expressed in meters. Maximum range was many times that given, though accuracy would deteriorate markedly.|
The inferiority of the arquebus to the other two weapons was actually even greater than the data suggest. Since it was subject to fouling due to the build up of unburnt powder in the barrel, the effective range of the arquebus tended to decay after a few rounds. So it would certainly be reasonable to conclude that the arquebus was in every way inferior to the two older weapons. Technically, this was precisely the case.
But the arquebus possessed several advantages over its two rivals.
Relatively speaking the arquebus was cheaper than either the longbow, which had to be meticulously handcrafted from yew, and the crossbow, which required equally meticulous workmanship and rather expensive steel as well. The arquebus could be mass-produced by a foundry in fairly cheap cast iron. In addition, while the range, accuracy, and effectiveness of an arquebus round were inferior to those of the other weapons, an arquebusier could carry more ammunition than either of his competitors. Arquebus ammo weighed less than arrows or crossbow bolts, even after adding in the powder charge.
|Rounds in Three Kilograms of Ammunition|
As a result of this difference in ammunition weight, an arquebusier could sustain fire longer than either a crossbowman or a longbowman. And ultimately it was sustained fire that won battles, more than accurate fire.