A Case for Case

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May 12, 2018
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I'd like to preface this post by stating that it isn't meant as a criticism, but as a suggestion. My observations may be skewed by the fact that I don't have a lot of experience reenacting.

It has been my experience that we are ordered to “load” an awful lot of (pretend) canister in reenactments. I think this is down to two factors: firstly, we all know how cool canister is with its reputation of doing great destruction on men at short range. Secondly that basically all reenactments are fought at point blank range where such rounds would ideally be used, which in turn informs our officers decisions on what round to load.

Meanwhile, I think we all ought to look at what our limber box is meant to contain:
  • 6-pdr field gun – 25 solid shot, 20 spherical case, and 5 canister.
  • 12-pdr Napoleon – 12 solid shot, 12 spherical case, 4 shells, and 4 canister.
  • 12-pdr field howitzer – 15 shells, 20 spherical case, and 4 canister.

As you can see, there is a lot of variety of rounds, and quantities of rounds in the three most common smoothbore guns of the war. Notice, though, nobody has more than 5 canister rounds. Spherical case in contrast seems to be the most prevalent type of ammo for all smoothbore guns.

I don't know how often your battery might fire on a given weekend, but I know that at Hale & Zoar with the Statehouse Battery we fired more than five rounds! So simply by the fact that Spherical Case is one of the more common rounds in our theoretical inventory for smoothbore guns, I think our officers ought to order us to fire case a lot more often. Obviously it's no0t appropriate in all tactical situations, but it's the choice that's more often right than wrong. This would make any unit more authentic, and the great thing is you don't have to spend any money to do it!

As an addendum, it's surprising how much solid shot as 6 pounder was expected to be firing.
 
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