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Old 05-16-2013, 08:07 AM
 
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I think it interesting that the Civil War has been considered by some Historians to be the first modern war; which leads me to the question, what was the politics of weapon procurement because on one hand you had some advanced weapons for that time such as
1. the Gatling Gun
2. Submersible Warships (an example of this is the Monitor and the Merrimack)
Yet in spite of these advancements of some what larger weapons systems, the average soldier, in the north as well as the south, carried one shot rifles and muskets. Yet the repeating rifle was developed as early as 1850.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:48 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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The delay in arming Federal troops with repeating rifles was largely the work of one stubborn man, General James Wolfe Ripley who was chief of ordinance at the time the war began. Ripley's thinking was that rapid firing weapons would cause soldiers to exhaust their ammunition early in a fight and have to pull out of the line as a consequence. He utterly ignored the other advantages these weapons brought which were the ability to reload them while protected in a prone or squatting position (muzzle loaders are extremely difficult to load unless you are standing) and the brass cartridges which the repeaters used were immune to being fouled by rain, unlike the powder and ball cartridges used by the muzzle loaders.

President Lincoln kept pressuring Ripley to modernize, but he ignored all suggestions, and when finally ordered, he complied at a glacial pace. He was an entrenched bureaucrat and hard to get rid of, he wasn't transferred until September of 1863, being made chief inspector of fortifications, a job more suited to his static way of thinking.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:47 AM
 
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Early in the war there was no way to arm all of the volunteers, so the army bought what it could from wherever it could.
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Old 05-17-2013, 01:45 PM
 
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Dear Joe from Dayton
thank you for your response.

your fact is only true because the army did not attempt to equip the average soldier with the most advanced weapons that was available at the time.
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Old 05-17-2013, 01:51 PM
 
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Dear Grandstander:
Thank you for your response!
burn 6675
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Old 05-17-2013, 01:54 PM
 
14,781 posts, read 37,950,743 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burn6675 View Post
Dear Joe from Dayton
thank you for your response.

your fact is only true because the army did not attempt to equip the average soldier with the most advanced weapons that was available at the time.
uummmm...his fact is true because there simply weren't enough weapons to equip the hundreds of thousands of troops being called up. There were purchasing agents from both the north and south scouring Europe and buying lots of weapons, often bidding against each other. The repeating rifles were really just coming out and were nowhere even close to being ready for the mass production needed to equip large numbers of troops quickly.
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Old 05-17-2013, 02:21 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
35,891 posts, read 46,052,879 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
The delay in arming Federal troops with repeating rifles was largely the work of one stubborn man, General James Wolfe Ripley who was chief of ordinance at the time the war began. Ripley's thinking was that rapid firing weapons would cause soldiers to exhaust their ammunition early in a fight and have to pull out of the line as a consequence. He utterly ignored the other advantages these weapons brought which were the ability to reload them while protected in a prone or squatting position (muzzle loaders are extremely difficult to load unless you are standing) and the brass cartridges which the repeaters used were immune to being fouled by rain, unlike the powder and ball cartridges used by the muzzle loaders.

President Lincoln kept pressuring Ripley to modernize, but he ignored all suggestions, and when finally ordered, he complied at a glacial pace. He was an entrenched bureaucrat and hard to get rid of, he wasn't transferred until September of 1863, being made chief inspector of fortifications, a job more suited to his static way of thinking.
What I bolded permeated the Army's thinking until WW II. Even then there were old Generals who opposed the adoption of the M-1.
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:20 PM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
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I imagine the procurement of weapons; transport and food were just a corrupt then as now. These things are not decided on military need but on how effective the supplier’s lobbyists are on Capitol Hill. Continuing this absurd spending is why we are in a Forever War with everyone everywhere. War makes money for the connected few and the profit is more important than any number of military or civilian causalities.

In contrast the North's confiscation of the Railroads during the Civil War and their expansion behind the Yankee Armies was instrumental in the mobility that won the War west of the Appalachian ridge. I do not know if the owners of the railroads ever got paid.
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:38 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Originally Posted by GregW View Post
In contrast the North's confiscation of the Railroads during the Civil War and their expansion behind the Yankee Armies was instrumental in the mobility that won the War west of the Appalachian ridge. I do not know if the owners of the railroads ever got paid.
Congress gave President Lincoln the authority to seize and operate railroads under the United States Military Railroad authority, the act passing in January of 1862. It was applied retroactively to the actions which Lincoln had taken the previous year when the railroads were seized in Maryland to counter the sabotage attempts by southern sympathizers who were attempting to prevent troops from reaching Washington. When the crisis passed, the railways were returned to their private ownership.

The authority from that act also was used in seizing all Confederate operated railroads which came under Federal control.

Beyond that I am unaware of any seizures or confiscations of northern railways. Recognizing that they government might seize them if they failed to cooperate, the railroads cooperated and they made lots and lots of money while doing so.
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Old 05-20-2013, 01:24 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
13,145 posts, read 20,154,272 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burn6675 View Post
I think it interesting that the Civil War has been considered by some Historians to be the first modern war; which leads me to the question, what was the politics of weapon procurement because on one hand you had some advanced weapons for that time such as
1. the Gatling Gun
2. Submersible Warships (an example of this is the Monitor and the Merrimack)
Yet in spite of these advancements of some what larger weapons systems, the average soldier, in the north as well as the south, carried one shot rifles and muskets. Yet the repeating rifle was developed as early as 1850.
You've gotta remember the improvements were not as great as they seem to us in hindsight. It wasn't like they had the option to go from muskets to M-16's and simply dropped the ball.

Most boys grew up shooting muzzleloaders and were very familiar with them. A .58 cal minie bullet made a very large mess and could be reloaded fairly quick too. Sure the 1860 Henry Rifle might have held 15 rds but they used a really anemic proprietary.44 rimfire round without much knockdown power, plus they were very expensive and more difficult to maintain/repair.

As for the gatling gun, you had to tow it around on a wagon and roads weren't all that great; it was also a very complex high maintenance machine for the era and the rounds still weren't really effective like modern cartridges. A regular mortar or cannon could do far more damage and was much cheaper as well.

And submarines? Well, all the civil war subs ended up sinking soon after they were launched, usually with all hands. Truly useful subs didn't come about until WW1.

When you are fighting a war, "the latest and greatest" tech isn't always the best way to go. In fact, it usually isn't.

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