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Battle tactics of the U.S. Civil war - Essay Example

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Battle tactics of the U.S. Civil war

War broke out and the rifles became a major tactical weapon of this war. (Dupuy, 82)
The military leaders of that era were aware that the use of the improved rifles in the war would certainly change the tactics that were used on the battlefield. At the beginning of the war, most of the rifles had slow dismissal muzzles. Thus, the men were grouped together to form a huge volume of firing unit, which would cause more damage to the opposition making them leave the battlefield. Although, later on, the effective range of the rifles and other weapons improved, the basic formation of the men remained the same. If the men were arranged in small groups then it would be very difficult for the leaders to properly control them and make them fight. Thus, to avoid such chaos, the units of men were properly trained in the weaponry division. The officers attempted to train the soldiers such that the troops could deliver their maximum potential and use their firepower properly to avoid losing. For example, the Zouaves were taught to drop down on the ground suddenly before the opposite unit could strike at them, then suddenly rise and charge them with their bayonets. However, when there were failures the troops, and not the tactics, were blamed. Griffith mentions, "It does seem to be the case that tactical attacks in the Civil War attained their local objectives rather less frequently than those of Napoleonic times, although that does not necessarily mean that they were less useful in determining the final result of hanks or campaigns." (Griffith, 29)
We also saw the use of a number of new and improved military techniques in the war. There were many revolutionary developments in the use of ammunitions and firearms. The improvement in the use of the Mini Bullet or Mini Ball allowed a person to load the rifle and fire it at a greater speed than what was possible earlier. The most important developments came in the rifles, which played a key role in the development of the tactics of the war, although they were not new to the fighters. Earlier a pan of gunpowder was used in the firearm. However, before the war the percussion cap was invented where a cap was used to light the gunpowder in the firearm. This made it possible to use the weapon in almost all weather types. The percussion lock also improved the rate of firing of the rifle. The manner in which the musket barrel was rifled was also improved. This had a positive effect on its accuracy and range. Earlier the effective range of the smooth bore musket was only about 300 ft. Thus, this created dangers for the bearer. Nevertheless, after rifling the barrel, the effective range was increased to about 750 to 900 ft. Thus, this made the bearer of the gun more deadly and dangerous. A huge improvement was also made in the firearm design of the multi-shot rifle. The 1855 model and later on the 1861 model rifles adopted the use of the .58 caliber and made it there standard for the infantry weapons. (Woodworth, 34-7)
Infantry was the primary combat section of the military in the American Civil War. The infantry of the American Civil War mainly comprised of the foot soldiers and mostly had small weapons in the beginning. However, as the war progressed ...Show more

Summary

The American Civil War continued from 1861 to 1865 and was one of the bloodiest wars of those times for both the fronts fighting in the war. It destroyed homes and families and people lost the sanctity of their minds. The American Civil War caused terrible slaughter on the people, which was mainly due to the use of inappropriate and old-fashioned battle tactics while using newly improved ammunitions and weapons…
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