View single post by Johan Steele
 Posted: Fri Jan 26th, 2007 03:11 pm
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Johan Steele
Life NRA,SUVCW # 48,Legion 352

Joined: Sat Dec 2nd, 2006
Location: South Of The North 40, Minnesota USA
Posts: 1065

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THe sword was more decoration than practical weapon, the casualties inflicted by a sword were so minimal... as to be immortolized only by Hollyweird.  While Companies & often whole Regiments were armed only w/ swords there are VERY few cases of their effectivenes in battle.  The minie bullet proved them obsolete.

As to pistols... and men carrying two pistols... that was another so rare as to be in  the Hollyweird only department.  There just were not enough pistols out there.  In fact in modern re-enacting it is a flag for other re-enactors that denotes someone who has done their research in fantasy land or on TV.  I have read two first hand accounts of Cav carrying two pistols... both were noted by the men doing the writing because it was so unusual.

Both US & CS Regulations stated a Cavalryman was to have  pistol, saber and carbine.  The reality is that rarely did the average soldier carry more than 2 of the 3 and often only one.  If you look at the number of pistols available to the CS... there weren't enough to arm more than a third of the CS Cav.  Same is true for the US; though by the end of the War there were many US Regiments armed to Regulation standard but even by 1865 the number was not 100%.... especially in the western theatre.

Certain generals favored the sword, Hampton is the first to mind.  He had several Regiments armed only w/ swords up to the last dark days of the CS.  Wheras Forrests men generally carried breach loading carbines and 2 band Enfield rifles... and did most of their fighting on foot.  Then of coarse their are men lke Sheridan who had learned the effectiveness of mounted infantry from men like Wilder.

Now bullet proof vests... beyond useless as they would not stop a .58 minie and were cast iron or steel aka so heavy as to be impractical.  As to some of the modern body armor.  One called "Dragon Scale" is fairly light and will stop either a 7.62 x 39 or 5.56 Nato round completely... anything bigger than that I doubt and I question whether it was tested against the new Russian AP round.  Civilians love the idea of full body armor because they don't have to carry it in the field.  The modern armor in use in Iraq is less than half the weight of its Vietnam equivelant and more than three times as effective.  Hell the Flak Vest the WI ANG is carrying today is considerably lighter than the one I was issued just ten years ago. 

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