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Old 12-21-2009, 05:29 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twopenny View Post
I see so many do not know the history of what happened. Sabers were put up because of the noise they make when riding. Second Custer split his small force into 3 different units sending Reno on the south end of the encampment and leaving Benteen with the pack horses while Custer rode to catch what he though would be Indians escaping out of the valley. Custer was also trying to gain one more victory over the supposed Indian wars to make a run for President, wow another bush avoided. Custer was supposed to wait for Gen. Terries forces to arrive and they were supposed to make a coordinated attack, instead Reno was routed when his Indian guide’s brains were splattered on him and he lost his wit’s and retreated in disarray, Custer rode into the heart of a bees nest with Indians that had Winchester rifles or repeating rifles and the troopers has trap door Springfield’s that were basically single shot. The Government had just changed to copper cases and they tended to jam and not eject properly as they expanded to much in the breach. Custer was out gunned and out maneuvered and he did half of it himself. He got what he deserved and as for you P51 Mustang, what if the Indians had AK47s, they would have been able to walk to Washington and burn it to the ground.
I do not know the source of your information, but your post is littered with factual errors...this following your expressing contempt for the ignorance of others.

I suggest you do your homework first and then shoot off your mouth about matters,
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Old 12-22-2009, 05:10 PM
 
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Sabers were never carried in the field West of the MS. Some Sioux had repeating weapons although I have never seen a solid source on how many (its likely unknown). Movies have repeatedly suggested that Custer was trying to win political office by winning a great victory. No source at the time of his death supports this, it was nearly certainly to late by the summer of 1876 to win a nomination for president as some have suggested he was interested in.

I have never seen any evidence any political party was seriously considering him for a nomination. Or that he was actively seeking support for such.
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Old 12-22-2009, 06:59 PM
 
Location: St. Augustine
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Originally Posted by noetsi View Post
Sabers were never carried in the field West of the MS.
"Never" is too strong a term, though sabers often were left behind they were sometimes carried, especially before and during the Civil War.

In addition both Utley and Connell say the 7th left Fort Abraham Lincoln with their sabers and it was when they were at the Powder River Camp that the decision was made (by Terry according to Utley) to leave them behind.
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Old 12-22-2009, 10:22 PM
 
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My understanding is that military regulation forbade them being carried in the field there (formally they were not authorized) at least after the civil war.
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Old 12-22-2009, 10:44 PM
 
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Although repeating rifles such as the Spencer, Winchester and Henry had been available, particularly in the post-Civil War years, the Ordnance Department decided to use a single-shot system. It was selected instead of a repeating system because of manufacturing economy, ruggedness, reliability, efficient use of ammunition and similarity to European weapons systems. Ironically, the board of officers involved in the final selection included Major Marcus A. Reno, who would survive the 7th Cavalry’s 1876 debacle on the Little Bighorn.
Can anyone say cheap?

This is interesting...

Quote:
Although most of the men drew the standard-issue weapons, it was their prerogative to purchase their own arms. George Custer carried a Remington .50-caliber sporting rifle with octagonal barrel and two revolvers that were not standard issue–possibly Webley British Bulldog, double-action, white-handled revolvers. Captain Thomas A. French of Company M carried a .50-caliber Springfield that his men called ‘Long Tom.’ Sergeant John Ryan, also of Company M, used a .45-caliber, 15-pound Sharps telescopic rifle, specially made for him. Private Henry A. Bailey of Company I had a preference for a Dexter Smith, breechloading, single-barreled shotgun.
It would make amunition resuply a problem.

Quote:
Bows and arrows played a part in the fight. Some warriors said they lofted high-trajectory arrows to fall among the troopers while remaining hidden behind hill and vale. The dead soldiers found pincushioned with arrows, however, were undoubtedly riddled at close range after they were already dead or badly wounded. The long range at which most of the fighting occurred did not allow the bow and arrow a prominent role.
There is disagreement on how far the range the battle took place at occured.

Quote:
There were 2,361 cartridges, cases and bullets recovered from the entire battlefield, which reportedly came from 45 different firearms types (including the Army Springfields and Colts, of course) and represented at least 371 individual guns. The evidence indicated that the Indians used Sharps, Smith & Wessons, Evans, Henrys, Winchesters, Remingtons, Ballards, Maynards, Starrs, Spencers, Enfields and Forehand & Wadworths, as well as Colts and Springfields of other calibers. There was evidence of 69 individual Army Springfields on Custer’s Field (the square-mile section where Custer’s five companies died), but there was also evidence of 62 Indian .44-caliber Henry repeaters and 27 Sharps .50-caliber weapons. In all, on Custer’s Field there was evidence of at least 134 Indian firearms versus 81 for the soldiers. It appears that the Army was outgunned as well as outnumbered.
Capitalism beats government cost cutting once more.

Quote:
Although some white survivors claimed to be heavily outgunned, Private Charles Windolph of Company H was probably closest to the truth when he estimated that half the warriors carried bows and arrows, one-quarter of them carried a variety of old muzzleloaders and single-shot rifles, and one-quarter carried modern repeaters.
Its interesting that the calvary had repeating rifles on the frontier and had abandoned them (cost and range seems to have been decisive in the decision to do so).

Quote:
Overall, the pluses and minuses probably canceled each other out. It has been said that the 7th Cavalry might have won had it still used the seven-shot Spencers it carried at the Wa****a battle in 1868, but the Spencers were no better in range or accuracy than the Henrys or Winchesters, and they carried fewer bullets. The contention that the Springfields suffered from a significant number of extractor failures was not borne out. Only about 2 percent of the recovered specimens showed evidence of extractor problems.
Oops...

Quote:
What, then, was the reason that the soldiers made such a poor showing during the West’s most famous Army-Indian battle? While Custer’s immediate command of 210 men was wiped out and more than 250 troopers and scouts were killed in the fighting on June 25-26, the Indians lost only about 40 or 50 men. The explanation appears to lie in the fact that weapons are no better than the men who use them. Marksmanship training in the frontier Army prior to the 1880s was almost nil. An Army officer recalled the 1870s with nostalgia. ‘Those were the good old days,’ he said. ‘Target practice was practically unknown.’ A penurious government allowed only about 20 rounds per year for training–a situation altered only because of the Custer disaster.
http://www.historynet.com/battle-of-little-bighorn-were-the-weapons-the-deciding-factor.htm/2
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Old 12-23-2009, 11:33 AM
 
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An interesting article that argues that the lack of sabers was partially responsible for Custer's demise.

For Want of a Saber the Battle was Lost – Little Bighorn, 1876 » Armchair General
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Old 12-23-2009, 12:25 PM
 
Location: St. Augustine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ovcatto View Post
An interesting article that argues that the lack of sabers was partially responsible for Custer's demise.

For Want of a Saber the Battle was Lost – Little Bighorn, 1876 » Armchair General

I tend to agree or at least be openminded. Americans tend to underrate the value of shock weapons like swords and lances; they're just not the kind of weapons we enjoy.

Note that Texas Rangers though armed with revolvers used the revolvers as shock weapons; the idea was to close with the Comanches and "burn powder" on them at close range. The Rangers were quite willing to attack and close with Comanche bands that had them heavily outnumbered. And Rangers usually carried several revolvers so there would be no need to reload. And during the Civil War it was not unusual for late war (when Federal cavalry were finally being used as shock troops) Federal cavalry to be armed with three revolvers as well as saber and carbine.

When talking about the supposed Indian firepower at the Little Big Horn one must question how much ammunition the Indians actually had and how quickly they would've fired it away. Generally hostile Plains Indians were short on ammunition.

When Reno stopped and dismounted he showed weakness and encouraged the Indians. When fighting undisciplined "warriors" it was important for soldiers to keep the initiative and press the issue as warriors are often discouraged and even panicked by well handled and aggressive soldiers. Like Romans fighting Gauls.

Of course it was also possible to be too aggressive when fighting Indians and get drawn into an ambush as happened at the Fetterman fight and at Blue Licks and Oriskany. But in those fights the ambushed American forces were primarily infantry and it was an Irishman, Caldwell, who set the trap at Blue Licks.
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Old 12-23-2009, 12:36 PM
 
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Shock is less tied to the type of weapon you use and more to how you use them as the Rangers example reflects. The cavalry (which probably would have had a tough time charging in the wooded, sloped area the Big Horn consisted of) could have moved to close range and used their revolvers or their rifles as clubs and achieved shock. But its doubtful if the sioux defending their village and their women and children would have broken easily regardless, and the depth of the village would have made retaining cohesion very difficult if Custer had managed to reach it.

The attacks were by the Indians not the cavalry, who appear to have been consistantly surprised and on the defensive at the Big Horn.
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Old 12-23-2009, 04:17 PM
 
Location: On a Long Island in NY
3,688 posts, read 3,612,999 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishtom29 View Post
I tend to agree or at least be openminded. Americans tend to underrate the value of shock weapons like swords and lances; they're just not the kind of weapons we enjoy.

Note that Texas Rangers though armed with revolvers used the revolvers as shock weapons; the idea was to close with the Comanches and "burn powder" on them at close range. The Rangers were quite willing to attack and close with Comanche bands that had them heavily outnumbered. And Rangers usually carried several revolvers so there would be no need to reload. And during the Civil War it was not unusual for late war (when Federal cavalry were finally being used as shock troops) Federal cavalry to be armed with three revolvers as well as saber and carbine.

When talking about the supposed Indian firepower at the Little Big Horn one must question how much ammunition the Indians actually had and how quickly they would've fired it away. Generally hostile Plains Indians were short on ammunition.

When Reno stopped and dismounted he showed weakness and encouraged the Indians. When fighting undisciplined "warriors" it was important for soldiers to keep the initiative and press the issue as warriors are often discouraged and even panicked by well handled and aggressive soldiers. Like Romans fighting Gauls.

Of course it was also possible to be too aggressive when fighting Indians and get drawn into an ambush as happened at the Fetterman fight and at Blue Licks and Oriskany. But in those fights the ambushed American forces were primarily infantry and it was an Irishman, Caldwell, who set the trap at Blue Licks.
The thing is that US Army cavalry; from the creation of the first cavalry regiments during the Revolutionary War, until the mechanization and "de-horsing" of the last cavalry regiments in the late 1940s - were never intended to perform in a shock role but rather as mounted infantry. US cavalry were never intended to act in the role of heavy cavalry like the French Cuirassiers at Waterloo. This is evident in that until the late 1850s, our cavalry regiments were called either Dragoons or Mounted Rifles. Even during the Civil War they were mostly used as mounted infantry and in reconnaissance roles, only on rare occasions did they charge home with the saber (ex. at Brandy Station and the 3rd day cavalry battles at Gettysburg).
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Old 12-23-2009, 04:54 PM
 
Location: St. Augustine
9,258 posts, read 11,195,806 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WIHS2006 View Post
The thing is that US Army cavalry; from the creation of the first cavalry regiments during the Revolutionary War, until the mechanization and "de-horsing" of the last cavalry regiments in the late 1940s - were never intended to perform in a shock role but rather as mounted infantry.
Yes, not many "Death or Glory Boys" in the American cavalry.

I once put the question of what Reno should've done to Paddy Griffith (who thinks it a shame Meade didn't have a division of curassiers to launch at the remants of Pickett's Charge) but he demurred saying he lacked the familiarity with the battle to have an opinion. Would that more had such an attitude.
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