Battle of Little Big Horn

Armed conflicts in the history of humanity from the ancient times to the 20th Century.
Byron Angel

Re: Battle of Little Big Horn

Postby Byron Angel » Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:25 pm

I can't recall where I read it, but supposedly the indian war parties at Little Big Horn were quite well armed with repeating rifles and revolvers. Perhaps someone can corroborate or correct my memory on this point.


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Re: Battle of Little Big Horn

Postby tommy303 » Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:36 pm

I will have to check, but I think the offer came as the expideition got underway at Ft Lincoln rather than on the Rosebud where Terry detached Custer to follow the Inidan trail.

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Re: Battle of Little Big Horn

Postby RF » Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:37 am

Byron Angel wrote:I can't recall where I read it, but supposedly the indian war parties at Little Big Horn were quite well armed with repeating rifles and revolvers. Perhaps someone can corroborate or correct my memory on this point.

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Check out my earlier posts on this......
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Re: Battle of Little Big Horn

Postby RF » Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:42 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote:Tommy303:

What is less understandable to my eyes, is Custer turning down the offer of another four companies or so of cavalry from another regiment to reinforce the 7th. That might well have made a big difference.


I heard about it but wasn´t shure. Four companies more would have given a much better chance to Custer.

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It might have slowed Custer down; Custer was right at Little Big Horn insofar that he needed to move fast to engage and outmaneouvre the Indian tribes, he failed to recognise that he would be outgunned as well as outnumbered. On the other hand these extra forces, if they did slow him down, would at least have plenty of Gatlings. But the Indians would then try to avoid open battle.
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Byron Angel

Re: Battle of Little Big Horn

Postby Byron Angel » Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:44 pm

RF wrote:
Byron Angel wrote:I can't recall where I read it, but supposedly the indian war parties at Little Big Horn were quite well armed with repeating rifles and revolvers. Perhaps someone can corroborate or correct my memory on this point.

Byron


Check out my earlier posts on this......




Mea Culpa! I failed to read through the entire correspondence.


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Re: Battle of Little Big Horn

Postby tommy303 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 12:17 am

On the other hand these extra forces, if they did slow him down, would at least have plenty of Gatlings.


I believe there were only two Gatling guns and a moutain howitzer, all manned by a detachment of the 20th Infantry with Terry's column.
Last edited by tommy303 on Fri Jan 15, 2010 12:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Battle of Little Big Horn

Postby tommy303 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 12:20 am

Bgile:
I checked out the extra cavalry question. The offer of extra cavalry was made by Colonel Gibbon on the Rosebud after Custer received his orders from Terry to follow the Indian trail. Gibbon's column, which had joined up with Terry's had, besides its infantry, four companies, A, B, D, and I, of the 2nd US Cavalry, and it was these extra mounted troops which were offered.

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They stood and Earth's foundations stay;
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And saved the sum of things for pay.

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Re: Battle of Little Big Horn

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Fri Jan 15, 2010 12:50 am

Gentlemen,

So, there was an offering of additional troops to Custer. Mounted troops. Let´s say that the decision of not taking the Gattlings was correct (I will never consider the lack of a weapon as a good idea, but that´s me). No machine guns. OK. But he could have taken the additional troops. They were mounted so that will not stop or delay him. Numerical advantage cannot be refused that easily.

But he did refuse it.
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Re: Battle of Little Big Horn

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Fri Jan 15, 2010 12:53 am

I also recall he ordered his men not to take their sabers with them. I´m not an expert in XIX Century cavalry warfare but it´s another weapon not being carried. When the rifles jammed the men were left without even a good close combat weapon whilst the Indians had their axes and knifes.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
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Re: Battle of Little Big Horn

Postby tommy303 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 1:11 am

I believe the sabres were left behind at the base camp on the Rosebud in order to lighten the load, reduce noise, and because in the past the sabre was of doubtful utility against the plains Indians' hit and run tactics. The sabre, unlike in Europe, was in decline in the US Cavalry by 1876 and more emphesis was being placed on fire power. For close up work the soldiers were issued the .45 caliber Colt revolver and 24 rounds of ammunition for it. Custer's men carried 50 rounds of 45-55 or 45-70 rounds for the Springfield carbine on their persons and another 50 rounds in their saddle bags.

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They stood and Earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned these defended;
And saved the sum of things for pay.

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Re: Battle of Little Big Horn

Postby RF » Fri Jan 15, 2010 1:55 pm

I don't think the sabres would have saved Custer.......
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Re: Battle of Little Big Horn

Postby hammy » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:42 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:I also recall he ordered his men not to take their sabers with them. I´m not an expert in XIX Century cavalry warfare but it´s another weapon not being carried. When the rifles jammed the men were left without even a good close combat weapon whilst the Indians had their axes and knifes.


The Sabre had gone out even during the Civil war , on both sides , as a weapon . Several of the European military observers commented ( disparagingly ) on that , the British one reported something like " Their cavalry fights are the most miserable affairs imaginable - both sides canter up into range and then commence a desultory Pop-pop-popping at each other with pistols and carbines "

Anyway , the traditional weapon of resort is to throw rocks at each other , not get close and risk getting carved up yourself .
Thats what the Brigade of Guards did with the Russians at Inkerman in the Crimean War , and what the Glosters did 100 years later in Korea as the rearguard on the Imjin river against the Chinese .
Handy things , rocks .
" Relax ! No-one else is going to be fool enough to be sailing about in this fog ."

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Re: Battle of Little Big Horn

Postby Byron Angel » Sun Jan 17, 2010 12:09 am

hammy wrote: The Sabre had gone out even during the Civil war , on both sides , as a weapon . Several of the European military observers commented ( disparagingly ) on that , the British one reported something like " Their cavalry fights are the most miserable affairs imaginable - both sides canter up into range and then commence a desultory Pop-pop-popping at each other with pistols and carbines ".



..... One factor in play here is that early on, particularly in the eastern theater of the war, the North suffered a severe lack of men with proper horsemanship skills to maneuver in close order. Until the Union was able to train a body of suitable horsemen and arm them with repeating carbines, the Confederate cavalry held a distinct advantage over their counterparts in blue. A second factor is that the hilly and forested terrain over which much of the American Civil War was fought did not encourage operations by large bodies of close-order "arm-blanche" cavalry. American cavalry of the period was much more akin to mounted infantry.


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Re: Battle of Little Big Horn

Postby hammy » Sun Jan 17, 2010 7:20 pm

Byron Angel wrote:
hammy wrote: The Sabre had gone out even during the Civil war , on both sides , as a weapon . Several of the European military observers commented ( disparagingly ) on that , the British one reported something like " Their cavalry fights are the most miserable affairs imaginable - both sides canter up into range and then commence a desultory Pop-pop-popping at each other with pistols and carbines ".



..... One factor in play here is that early on, particularly in the eastern theater of the war, the North suffered a severe lack of men with proper horsemanship skills to maneuver in close order. Until the Union was able to train a body of suitable horsemen and arm them with repeating carbines, the Confederate cavalry held a distinct advantage over their counterparts in blue. A second factor is that the hilly and forested terrain over which much of the American Civil War was fought did not encourage operations by large bodies of close-order "arm-blanche" cavalry. American cavalry of the period was much more akin to mounted infantry.


Byron

And you can see with our South African war thirtyfive years later how much of that lesson had been learned and put into practice by the British cavalry . Still arsing about with swords and lances as if it were Waterloo at the start of that lot . And what about the French Cuirassuers in 1914 ?
" Relax ! No-one else is going to be fool enough to be sailing about in this fog ."

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Re: Battle of Little Big Horn

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:28 pm

However, without machine guns and without sabres the additional men could have saved Custer and his men. Of course, it depends where Custer would have allocated them. If with Reno and Benteen it doesn´t seemed that will have help Custer a lot. But if he took them with him then he would might have a chance.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill


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