Discussion Defending A Fixed Position

MikeyB

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 13, 2018
Hey everyone,
If you were defending a fixed position, what would be the most effective firearm for the defenders?
1) Breechloading carbine
2) Traditional Enfield/Springfield rifle
3) Smoothbore buck and ball

Would you give up range and power for the ease of loading from less exposed positions of the breechloader? Would you give up range and accuracy for the shotgun effect of thousands of smoothbores and turn the whole field into small arm cannister? Is the traditional rifle still the best man for the job?
 
Joined
May 1, 2015
Location
Upstate N.Y.
Kind of like real estate. Location, location, location. What are your surroundings, elevation, number of enemy, field of view, area enemy has access to, infantry, cavalry, terrain enemy has to cross, Type of weapon enemy is armed with, and if all else fails your means of retreat. Any of your choices could apply based on the situation.
 

jackt62

Captain
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
I'm presuming that the number of defenders is constant regardless of weaponry. Also, eliminating other attributes such as type of entrenchments/fortifications, type and number of artillery, nature of terrain, and ammunition reserve, etc. In that case, I would go with the quicker loading breechloading firearms in the defensive position to deliver a higher rate of fire. Additionally, since the choice was noted as a carbine, a repeater firearm such as the Spencer carbine would further aid in delivering rapid fire. Of course, the shorter range of a carbine would require the defense to stake its success on accepting the enemy's ability to blow through whatever defensive obstructions were made before reaching the wire.
 

David Knight

First Sergeant
Joined
Feb 26, 2012
Location
Pontefract, Yorkshire.
Very difficult to answer without knowing what the position actually is. As suggested above location is everything. The aim is always to deliver maximum firepower and the critical point but this also needs to have infantry that are well trained in loading and more importantly aiming. The Carbine with its greater rate of fire is good but other firearms being loaded and passed to good shots would also work better than single shots with long gaps for reloading for a volley. Give me some Artillery with cannister for infantry assualt any day as well.
 
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Coonewah Creek

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 1, 2018
Location
Northern Alabama
As mentioned previously by others, a lot of variables would have to be considered before picking an "optimum" fixed defense in any situation. But I think a somewhat "mixed" force in many situations would be a preferred solution. Sort of like the early regiments that had to be primarily equipped with smoothbores but with the "flank" companies equipped with rifles (traditional Springfields / Enfields as noted). But, instead of smoothbores, I think I'd like the balance of the regiment should be equipped with breechloading carbines to give me a more rapid fire, higher fire volume solution. The rifle companies would primarily provide long-range capability against anything but a determined attack and additionally, discourage the enemy from wheeling artillery too close and trying to blast me out of my position. My assumptions are the defensive position is held strictly by infantry with only the options in weaponry are those you provided, while the attacking force may have more flexibility in numbers and how it is equipped, including artillery. If the intent was for a larger force than a regiment to hold the position, I would still basically maintain the same ratio of rifles to breechloaders (2:10 or 1:5) for the same rationale given.
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2018
Location
Canad-istan
Fixed positions can not be held I don't care how much ammo, food etc sooner or later they will fall. Just ask the French.
The French can't hold any position no matter what (just ask the Germans), unless all the world is backing them . That's how the French Naval Ensign (a white flag), became the internationally accepted "flag of surrender". :playfull:
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2018
Location
Canad-istan
Perhaps, but Napoleon was actually of Italian descent. so, France's greatest military leader wasn't even French (hence why he was their greatest leader...hahaha, I love bashing the French).
 

ucvrelics

Colonel
Forum Host
Regtl. Quartermaster Shiloh 2020
Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
Joined
May 7, 2016
Location
Alabama
There is a saying in the military gun collectors world on French weapons. CONDITION: Dropped once never fired. :D
 

Private Lee

Private
Joined
Feb 17, 2021
I'd go with a Springfield. A 54 or 58 caliber ball has a lot of take down power. As long as one line was reloading and one line firing, the more lead down range the better the defensive line. A little canister shot for the win.
 
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