Discussion Defending A Fixed Position


Jul 17, 2015
Union fish hook at Gettysburg?
Even there. Give me enough ammo and ability to maneuver and while I'm no Napoleon, I'll eat yer lunch. Sitting still is a great imitation of a target. Fortifications are only good for temporary defense of fixed points. You have to be able to move.

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Nov 2, 2019
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
During the age of smoothbore black powder warfare, the range at which a defender could engage an attacker increased exponentially. Smoothbore muskets only became effective at 100 yards. Buck & ball range, as is documented, was less than that. Attackers would approach to a range of 40 yards, fire a volley & charge out of the smoke before the opponent could reload. Artillery unlimbered at one hundred yards & blasted away with near impunity. The introduction of rifling increased both the distance at which an attacker would be engaged exponentially. Added to the range of the rifling, the rate of fire achieved by repeaters changed the balance between defender & attacker profoundly. An example of how revolutionary a weapon like the Spencer Repeating Rifle was is the Lightening Brigades' engagement at Hoover's Gap TN June 23, 1863.

The first time repeaters were put to the test of battle occurred during the opening day of the Tullahoma Campaign. Confederate infantry under the command of Gen. Bates faced what, from their point of view, was a skirmish line of cavalry. The men were in line, six feet apart. There was nothing to be feared from them, infantry could always send dismounted cavalry running for their horses. The rate of fire from the seven shot Spencer repeaters was so severe that attackers took shelter in a swale from which they were allowed to surrender. The Center of Bragg's right flank had been pierced & held by a single brigade armed with seven shot repeaters. Gen Thomas had planned for a two day assault & the loss of 2,000 casualties by men armed with single shot muskets. Both during the Atlanta Campaign & at the Battle of Franklin, defenders armed with repeating rifles beat off determined assaults by inflicting overwhelming casualties. Actual CW combat experience shows that the best defensive weapon was a repeater.