Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Deadly British Brown Bess Musket

Army and Weapons | Deadly British Brown Bess Musket | Brown Bess is a nickname of uncertain origin for the British Army Land Pattern Musket and its derivatives. This musket was used in the era of the expansion of the British Empire and acquired symbolic importance at least as important as the physical sense. It was in use for more than one hundred years with many incremental changes in design. These versions are the Long Land Pattern, Short Land Pattern, India Pattern, New Land Pattern Musket, Sea Service Musket and others.

The Long Land Pattern musket and its derivatives, all .75 caliber flintlock muskets, were the standard long guns in the country of the British Empire forces from 1722 to 1838 when they were replaced by a percussion cap musket smooth. The British Ordnance System converted many guns to the new percussion known as the Pattern 1839 Musket. A fire in 1841 in the Tower of London destroyed many guns before they could be converted. Still, the Brown Bess saw service until the mid-nineteenth century. Some were used by Maori warriors during the Musket Wars 1820-1830, by purchasing them from European traders at that time, some were still in service during the Indian rebellion of 1857, and also by Zulu warriors, who had them purchased from European traders during the Anglo-Zulu war in 1879, and some were sold to the Mexican army, which they used during the Texas Revolution of 1836 and the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. One was even used in the Battle of Shiloh in 1862.
Most male citizens of the American colonies were legally required to own weapons and ammunition for militia duty. The Long Land pattern was a common firearm in use by both sides in the American Revolutionary War.
One hypothesis is that the "Brown Bess" was named after Elizabeth I of England, but it lacks support. It is believed that this name was used simultaneously with the beginning of the long land pattern musket, but that the name originated in the late years of the 18th century, when the Short Pattern and India Pattern were widely used.
Popular explanations of the use of the word "Brown" is a reference to the color of the walnut stocks either, or to the characteristic brown color that was produced by russeting, an early form of metal treatment. Others argue that mass-produced weapons of the time were coated with brown paint on metal parts as a rust-proof and wood as a sealer (or in the case of unscrupulous contractors, to poor or non-regulation woods disguise). However, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) notes that "Browning" was only introduced in the early 19th century, long after the term had come into general use.
Even the word "Bess" commonly kept either from the word arquebus or blunderbuss (predecessors of the musket), or a reference to Elizabeth I, possibly given to commemorate her death. More likely is that the term Brown Bess derived from the German words "Brawn buss" or "braun bus", meaning "strong gun" or "brown gun", King George I, who commissioned its use was from Germany. The OED has citations for "brown musket" dating back to the early 18th century, referring to the same weapon. Another suggestion is that the name is simply the counterpart of the previous Bill Brown.
From the 17th to the early years of the 18th century, most countries do not specify standards for military firearms. Firearms were purchased by individual officers or regiments as late as the 1740s, and were often tailored to the tastes of the buyer. If the firearm was superiority on the battlefield, this lack of standardization led to increasing difficulties in the supply of ammunition and repair materials. To address these problems, armies began to standardized "patterns" to take. A military service opted for a "pattern musket" to be stored in a "pattern room", where it served as a reference for gun manufacturers, which could make comparisons and measurements to ensure that their products matched the standard.
Stress-bearing parts of the Brown Bess, such as the barrel, lock work, and sling swivels, were usually made of iron, while other pieces of furniture, such as the butt plate, trigger guard and ramrod pipe were found in both iron and brass. It weighed about 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) and can be equipped with a 17 inch (430 mm) diameter triangular bayonet. The weapon had no sights, but the bayonet lug on the barrel are used in this way, similar to the bead on a shotgun.
The first models had iron fittings, but these were replaced by copper in the models built after 1736. Wooden Ramrod with the first guns were used, but were replaced by iron, although guns with wooden Ramrod is given to troops in the American service until 1765 and later to loyalist units in the American Revolution. Wooden Ramrod were also used in the Dragoon version produced for 1744-1771 and the Navy and Marine use.
Accuracy of the Brown Bess was honest, like most other muskets. The effective range is often cited as 175 yards (160 meters), but the Brown Bess was often massively fired at 50 meters (46 m) to the most damage to the enemy cause. The combination of a high caliber of the projectile and the heavy weight of the iron construction contributed to the low effective range. Military tactics of the period stressed mass volleys and mass bayonet charges, rather than individual marksmanship. The large soft projectile could inflict a lot of damage when it hit, and the great length of the weapon allowed longer reach in bayonet appointments.
Of all the versions, the India pattern was supposed to be the most accurate with a range of 175 meters and 75 to 95 percent accuracy at the most would be about 4 inches (10 cm) target. As used by British regiments of the Napoleonic era, the weapons were fairly reliable. Because it took about 43 seconds to fire three shots, it was useful for both hunting and fighting. The weapon also had a thicker loop than most contemporary firearms to blow his chances as a result of reduced powder overloading.