Home Forums Horse and Musket General Horse and Musket When did the Horse and Musket Period end?

This topic contains 18 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by grizzlymc grizzlymc 3 months ago.

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  • #92930
    Rob young
    Rob young
    Participant

    A couple of days ago I was looking for the ‘right’ place to post something and finally put it into the Victorian SciFi Board. Looking at the things here, perhaps this would have been the right place as it includes posts going up to 1912 as ‘Horse and Musket’.

    Now, point is that to me Horse and Musket sounds like cavalry charges and infantry using… well, muskets. as somehow it doesn’t fit into cavalry relegated to mounted infantry and lots of magazine rifles and machine guns. I mean, there seems to be general agreement that the period certainly includes the ACW, but…that war itself is often called the first of the ‘modern’ wars… And does the period end at one set point or at different times for European wars versus Colonial Wars?

    My own gut feeling on this is, well, I don’t have one. Could be anywhere between 1861 and 1879 – but, for me, no later than 1879. I would never, for example, look for info from 1900 on a Horse and Musket Board. Likewise, I wouldn’t expect a set of Horse and Musket rules to cover modern machine guns and QF guns. So although the question seems like nit picking – is it really? As wargamers we put things into neat compartments. Have to, otherwise you have a pretty chaotic situation.

    So, back to my initial question.

    When does the Horse and Musket Period end?

    Rob Young

    #92931
    Guy Farrish
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Depends why you want to know!

    Probably when infantry can lie down and easily reload – breech loading rifles – and can easily stop cavalry with their own firepower. No more horse – no more musket.

    That’s a simplistic answer – the problem is you could make an argument that says  the ACW say lots of people in trench works safely reloading, and nobody expected cavalry to charge infantry successfully. But you could probably say that in the Crimea. Or possibly even in the late Napoleonics wars – and they definitely had muskets and horses.

    We put things in compartments for convenience and in so doing forget why we did it and make problems for ourselves when we see continuities across boundaries and discontinuities within boxes.

    But if you want an answer with no equivocation: 23 June 1865!

    #92934
    General Slade
    General Slade
    Participant

    For me it basically covers the whole of the 18th and 19th centuries.  Before 1700 everything is “Renaissance” (or Pike and Shot if you prefer) and after 1900 it is ‘First World War’ (and that goes on until about 1925-30 when ‘Second World War’ takes over).

    #92941
    Autodidact-O-Saurus
    Autodidact-O-Saurus
    Participant

    I tend to think of it as a tactical style rather than a time period. For example, I consider the Spanish American War (and some other colonial conflicts) to be horse and musket. Like General Slade, I think The Great War established that the tactics of charging en masse are simply unsustainable, whether on foot or mounted. THAT, to me, is the transition point.

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    #92943

    zippyfusenet
    Participant

    I agree with you that the horse and Musket Period ends at different times in different places, like Ancients goes right on into the 20th century in places like Highland Papua.

    The second half of the 19th century gets kind of fuzzy for European style armies. ACW generals *tried* to fight H&M style, but the technology was getting beyond them. You could argue that the British fought H&M style in the Sudan and Zululand, and succeeded against those backward foes, then tried to fight the Boers H&M style and did not do so well.

    For me, the wide-spread use of machine guns (more than a few toy gatling guns) and indirect fire artillery, forcing the ’empty battlefield’ and the end of glorious massed charges, marks the end of the Horse & Musket era and the beginning of modern industrial warfare.

    You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

    #92963
    MartinR
    MartinR
    Participant

    If the units of manouvre are infantry battalions, artillery batteries and cavalry squadrons and they shoot at stuff they can see, then it is Horse and Musket, regardless of what they are armed with.

    Once everyone hides, shoots at invisible targets and manoeuvres in small groups it is Modern.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #92975
    Guy Farrish
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    S0 1914 is horse and musket?

    #92980
    Rob young
    Rob young
    Participant

    Interesting viewpoints so far – we have something like a 200 year period with a 50 year spread as to when people think it ended!

    Rob Young

    #92981
    Mike
    Mike
    Keymaster

    with a 50 year spread as to when people think it ended!

    I think that is a key factor, so many things are just a matter of opinion. (Like gravy on chips)
    Also worth pointing out that originally this was not called Horse and Musket, it was called something else, but people wanted to change it from what it was into Horse and Musket…

    #92982
    Rob young
    Rob young
    Participant

    OK, so next point – where does this lead for me?

    It started when I was floundering as where to place something in the 1880s-1890s. It didn’t, not even in passing, occur to me to look in the Horse and Musket Board… But if the Horse and Musket Board had been ,for example, called ‘Horse and Musket 1700-1900’ I would have said ‘not one of the specialist areas, therefore it goes in the General  Horse and Musket Board.’ Lkewise, other historical periods could also be dated – Ancients, perhaps up to 1066, Medieval from 1067 to… whenever (I know of 3 separate definitions for the end of the Medieval period!), Renaissance as ‘Renaissance xxxx-1699’ and then Modern as ‘Modern 1901-date’.

    Please… I’m not suggesting or voting for any particular dates, just that a defined set of dates would be easily set up and beneficial. After all, Medieval could be end of the fall of the Western Roman Empire… doesn’t matter, as long as there is a definition (clarification?) as far as TWW Boards are concerned.

    Rob Young

    #92990
    Guy Farrish
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    I like ambiguity.

    And though I am of the NCS persuasion in avoiding a plethora of boards – I would see no harm in renaming the ACW board as ‘Post Napoleonic’ under Horse and Musket – that would leave us with The Crimea, ACW, Prusso-Danish, Austro-Prussian, Risorgimento and FPW, not to mention a few colonial excursions, with somewhere to lurk under a catch all banner that could offend no-one!  As if!

    #92997
    Darkest Star Games
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    Once everyone hides, shoots at invisible targets and manoeuvres in small groups it is Modern.

    Gotta be careful here, and you can then backdate “modern” to Geronimo and his group…

    Horse and Musket… when I think of that term the time period ends for me after the Crimean War, with the ACW as the latest end date.  Breach loading and repeater rifle, Gatling guns, steam powered warships and ironclads, trains and all just seems too far away from the Napoleonic zenith.  I understand that some of the same old tactics were still tried right up until the machinegun stalemates of WW1, but the technology had eclipsed the tactics and the pageantry of the “glorious battalions in lines” era.  After the ACW I see warfare implemented and applied differently, globally, than was done so during the early 1800’s, and might even need it’s own label.

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #92999

    SPI came up with a possible solution, back in ’73:

    https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/10008/rifle-saber

    #93075

    OB
    Participant

    I like ambiguity. And though I am of the NCS persuasion in avoiding a plethora of boards – I would see no harm in renaming the ACW board as ‘Post Napoleonic’ under Horse and Musket – that would leave us with The Crimea, ACW, Prusso-Danish, Austro-Prussian, Risorgimento and FPW, not to mention a few colonial excursions, with somewhere to lurk under a catch all banner that could offend no-one! As if!

    That would work for me, if anyone’s collecting views.

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #93104
    MartinR
    MartinR
    Participant

    S0 1914 is horse and musket?

    As you can play perfectly satisfactory 1914 games with Fire & Fury, Volley and Bayonet and Horse, Foot & Guns (all ‘Horse and Musket’ sets), then yes.

    It would however seem sensible to differentiate the Age of Rifles (1850ish to 1914) from the Age of Muskets (1700ish to 1850ish).

     

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #93143
    Guy Farrish
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Not sure whether that says more about the imprecise nature of wargames rules or the arbitrariness of ‘period’ boundaries!

    #93148
    Rob young
    Rob young
    Participant

    When a period ‘really’ starts/ends is usually both imprecise and arbitrary – the date is there for the convenience of people for particular purposes. It’s an artifact that helps us (or should be). Take ones with ‘real’ defined dates – did WW2 start in 1939? For the Chinese and Japanese it could be said to have started earlier, for the US later.  For convenience we say 1939-45… but it is just that. Convenience. Someone could post a wargame set in 1947 on a WW2 board because it used WW2 weapons and tactics – but it isn’t WW2! So if someone is looking up post-WW2 guess where they WON’T look… a WW2 board. Unless that board has been defined as, for example, warfare between 1937 and 1950. With something as imprecise as ‘Horse and Musket’ a logical but arbitrary endpoint is useful to avoid confusion in this area and for that purpose.

    Rob Young

    #93186

    Mr. Average
    Participant

    I would probably say that the introduction of the Dreyse Needle Gun started a transition period of about 50-60 years from Napoleonic combat to more modern warfare, with the American Civil War, Franco-Prussian War, Boer War and World War I as major milestones along the way.

    #93700
    grizzlymc
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    I would tend to say the advent of machine guns and breechloaders.  Most ACW field battles could be run on slightly modified 18th C rules, possibly Ostrich Prussian war likewise, but by 1870 you are well and truly into horse and rifle, which I always figure runs out in 1915 in the low countries and a bit later in the RCW.

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