Russian Model 1828 Musket from the Battle of Inkerman

For a long time, Russian small arms were patterned closely after French designs – the Russian 1809 family was based on the French 1777 muskets, and the Russian 1828 model – like this one – were taken from the French 1822 model. This is a .69 caliber (7-line) smoothbore musket, manufactured at the Tula arsenal in 1836. Most of these were eventually converted into 1828/44 pattern percussions guns, but this example escaped update because it was taken as a souvenir by a British soldier at the Battle of Inkerman on November 5th, 1854. Inkerman was the last major field battle in the Crimean War before the Siege of Sevastopol that would result in the end of the war.

39 Comments

  1. Re: Russian battle tactics, specifically the lack of field training. One US Civil War historian hypostasizes that the horrendous causality rate was due to this rather than increased lethality of the weaponry. Too much emphasis on parade ground drill rather than field tactics led to both sides losing momentum when they met and allowing the battle to deteriorate into a battle of attrition.

      • My great, great… Great, someone was in the charge of the light Brigade; my great grandmother had a picture, Irish. Big bearded mofo as per the Moses look of the time.

        Lost it now. Not me someone else; fact though she had it in an old biscuit tin on top of a cupboard “were usually you’d put a fridge now” she was a lovely old woman; but my parents tried to avoid eating anything she gave us they thought should be in a fridge.

        Although she was 90 something, so clearly she wasn’t harmed by stale whatever he he.

        • Or he was in the Crimean war; lost his leg I think. Forgot; great they invented photos back then anyway, is quite awhile ago.

          • Had lots of over photos, right bunch of dirty Irish peasants.
            Dirty aye, literally they looked filthy; even for a photo, feck knows who’s camera it was.

          • She my great Gran was about 5’9 at 90 something, used to call her big gran in relation to her height “which was quite tall here, in about 1990, and thus must have been more so in 1930 etc” she was taller than both of my parents at 90 odd he he.

          • Your fault you didn’t have up to do date weapons occasion.

            Wipeout. Boooooooom! Boooooom! Booooooooom! End of charge.

          • Not you personally but which ever unpopular Tsar it was in charge at the time. Knouting Serfs won’t suffice for inadequate weapons.

          • “Thin Red line;”
            Err… this book setting is Guadalcanal campaign of WWII. I fear understanding of this remark is beyond ma comprehension.

          • I become interest in too egg tower past Ural or of, pottery that see t34 m yes use of no facilitating. Google translate that in Russian. Actually don’t “If you do and it says something rude, that was an accident” unlike calling your lack of English; thick.Yes you know merrr. Russian k… Nigget.

            Tap on my helmet left, right, left, right; and stick out my tongue.

          • Found Shermans grave; about 2 months ago… Er the locale had seen, beter days… Wish them to come back for everyone there; especially on the other side of the river which looked very shit.

            Great Google Earth, just float around; what a great watertower. Jobs are the main thing needed. Yes then folks not falling out about who gets them: point being none of this is possible if commie China makes everything.

            I have much respect for them doing. We should do that.

            He he, without strikes… Point being in general, look at the state of that place. Shocked me.

        • Take the U.S civil war; deadly those things, compared to this flintlock. Someone should have clocked this tech is a terrible road to nowhere but mass death. Aye and said, wooah! Sherman cried. Obviously he didn’t/couldn’t stop it, but he knew it would hurt.

          Much more than with flintlocks I’ll bet.

          • Smoke from black powder, probably made it less deadly as with modern weapons; bonfire night here, can’t see shit. But other than that it was getting quite modern.

            Cartridge modern? No. But modern; not muskets those things.

  2. The Crimean was was notable in many ways, for example:

    – Led to the invention of modern nursing thanks to Florence Nightingale https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_Nightingale

    – Part of the back story of the war was that pre-war the Russian appointed as their ambassador to the Ottoman Empire one Prince Alexander Sergeyevich Menshikov who had previously been castratd by a Turkish cannonball at the Siege of Vienna in 1828. Menshikov was not inclined towards a peaceful approach.

    – With the British and French on the same side, and fighting on the same battlefields, e.g. at Alma in 1854, one could compare the French formations of a narrow column (strong forward movement, very poor forward firepower) with the British line (slow forward movement to stay in formation, very good forward firepower.)

    • Oh a few more things:

      – The “Raglan sleeve” named after Lord Raglan, him having lost an arm at the battle of Waterloo was in command of the British at Alma, and it was he at the battle of Balaclava who issued the order that led to the fateful “Charge of Light Brigade” – which by the time it got to the cavalry commander had become: “Lord Raglan wishes the cavalry to advance rapidly to the front, follow the enemy, and try to prevent the enemy carrying away the guns. Troop horse artillery may accompany. French cavalry is on your left. Immediate.”
      French Marshall’s comment on seeing it: “C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre.” (“It is magnificent, but it is not war.”)

      • Florence Nightingale’s real genius was as a pioneering statistician. It was her study of sanitation rates that led to her improvements in nursing.

        Here in the UK we still wear cardigans (named after the lunatic in command of the Light Brigade) and balaclavas (a.k.a. ski masks), named after the battle.

        There are still a lot of pubs and roads in the UK named after Inkerman, especially in home areas of the regiments that took part, and a micro-brewery that raises money for ex-services personnel.
        https://www.inkerman-ales.uk/

      • Yes, the Sardinian participation in the Crimea is reflected in the wine-red fez/chechia with blue tassel worn as a fatigue cap by the famous Bersaglieri light-infantry. Some sources argue this came from emulating the French Zouave troops dressed up like Berber warriors after their campaigns in Algeria. Other sources claim this was the hat of the Ottoman Empire’s forces in the Crimea, and it was bestowed by the Sultan on the Sardinians as a distinction and sign of esteem.

  3. Even in dry weather, a flintlock will misfire more often than a percussion. Somebody whose reading is more recent than mine will correct me, but I understand that when the British army tested caplock vs. flintlock, the latter misfired almost 1 time in 6, compared to percussion guns, which missed fire about 6 times out of a total of 6,000 shots — and this was calm, collected peacetime firing on the range. (It was also in England, so you know the weather wasn’t always dry.) That’s a startling difference, and would have considerable effect on even a single volley, let alone a battle. If my ancient knowledge is faulty, please, one of you fellers, bring it up to date.

    • The test was done in 1839 at the behest of the then-young and recently crowned Queen Victoria. There was the perennial argument of the day between advocates of the new percussion system and those who insisted that flintlock was the only thing to use. (We had the same problem over here with the U.S. Army’s then-Chief of Ordnance.) Her Majesty told the Army to settle it, one way or another, right now.

      The test consisted of two Short Land Pattern “Brown Bess” muskets, one with the standard flintlock, the other with the new Manton percussion lock using Shaw pattern copper percussion caps. The test? Fire 6,000 round from each one, side by side, and note every malfunction and why it happened.

      The result was as stated. The percussion lock failed to fire the musket 6 times. The flintlock failed to fire it roughly 1,000 times.

      The six percussion misfires were due to four faulty caps and two cases of a clogged nipple, easily cleared with a pick. The flint misfires were due to the usual set of flint misfires, worn flint, clogged vent, etc.

      The point was, the final report observed that this meant that on average, if you had a 1,000 man unit firing “by the numbers”, in each volley roughly 16 percent, or 160, muskets would misfire in every volley. Which seriously diluted the whole point of musketry as practiced back then; massed firepower.

      Her Majesty wanted the British Army to be as effective as possible. The flintlock was a handicap to that.

      The British found out how wise the decision to switch to percussion had been in the Crimea.

      cheers

      eon

  4. Also. Tactics, formation, rate of fire etc. unchanged since Napoleon. Add the Minié projectile and percussion and infantry’s effective range is more than doubled. Even with choking smoke and limited command control.
    I’ve read that in our Civil War, Napoleonic tactics like sudden advances by horse artillery were negated because the rifle fire not only incapacitated the gun crews, but damaged the guns. One artilleryman reported 32 holes in the water bucket on his gun.

    • A surviving officer of the Richmond Howitzers at Chickamauga reported that in “ten minutes by the watch” they never got a single round off, and came out of the engagement with one gun, two still-living but wounded horses, and every man who was still alive wounded. The limbers and caissons were so cut up by rifle fire as to be little more than kindling, and they abandoned them.

      Actually, the extended range of the rifle-musket (about 800 yards) was rarely used. Simply put, you can only shoot at something you can see. The terrain was the real limiting factor, especially in the East. Most engagements were at 300 yards or less.

      But 300 yards was still about four times as far as a smoothbore musket was effective in anything except massed volley fire.

      As for tactics, units that took time to dress ranks and advance “properly”, lending a “proper martial air” to their maneuvers tended to be slaughtered. The mass of men simply was too good a target for not just rifle musket fire, but also for field guns firing spherical case out to 600 yards and canister out to 150.

      Napoleonic tactics held that flanking maneuvers, which were called “turning” maneuvers then due to the broad “swings” made by the units, were the most effective, as they would outflank the enemy and be in melee’ range before he could fire more than about one or two volleys.

      This was absolutely true in the Napoleonic Wars with smoothbore muskets on both sides. With rifle muskets, the “turning” units were generally shot to pieces before they had closed to bayonet range.

      Incidentally, the Confederates seemed to have learned these lessons first, with the exception of Robert E. Lee. His orders to make repeated frontal assaults at Gettysburg, culminating in the disaster of Pettigrew’s and Pickett’s advance, were largely responsible for the Army of Northern Virginia’s defeat there.

      cheers

      eon

      • Thanks for the further details, I may have seen extracts from the same source.
        Checking yesterday, its reported that the Thin Red Line fired two volleys at the charging Russian cavalry: at 800 and 500 yards. That would have been unthinkable with the Brown Bess.

  5. A constant but slightly under-researched or discussed theme in military history is that tactics and drills evolve less quickly than changes in technology. This is a problem when:

    – in peacetime, no-one decides to update the TTPs to match the technology;
    – you are at war.

    This rule applies to everything from pistols to nuclear weapons. It seems endemic.

  6. 10,000 British soldiers, that means what, 350 officers or so? The army lists exist for the period, and we know which regiments were there.

    Someone who wanted to could probably figure out De V. was.

  7. I thought that the British army in the Crimea mostly had the Pattern 1851? This was a Minié-type conico-ogival bullet rifle musket, but .702″ bore due to the conservatism of the aged Duke of Wellington. Only later, by 1853, was the caliber reduced to a much less fatiguing for the firer .577. These Pattern 1853s would employ the Pritchett bullet, .563″ but with a waxed/lubricated cartridge in which a portion of the case was retained as a paper patch. This was the cartridge that used pork or beef or mutton tallow, which was haram to Muslims and prohibitions on beef as well as methods of slaughter by Hindus that has been cited in most histories of the Indian Revolt in 1857, by which time there were .577 Enfields in far greater quantity than there had been at least early on in the Crimea.

    I might point out that the French, Russians, and Sardinians also employed the so-called “Nessler” bullet in smooth-bores, which attempted to increase velocity and range by using an expanding bullet to seal off the interior bore windage that caused such inaccuracy but assured more reliable loading with the round ball ammunition. These Nessler type bullets apparently had greater range than the round ball, although there was no improvement in accuracy. The state of North Carolina employed a similar or kindred smooth bore bullet, often erroneously referred to as a Nesler or Nessler in smooth-bore muskets. Many early Civil War units, particularly Confederates in eastern Tennessee and in Virginia had flintlock muskets as late as Shiloh in 1862. Lots of Model 1816 muskets were converted to percussion by adding a cone or “nipple” and cutting off the pan, along with other modifications. The Model 1842 percussion smooth-bore–the first ever machine with interchangeable parts *between factories*–i.e. Springfield or Harpers Ferry were both interchangeable, not just within a single factory like the Harpers Ferry-produced Hall rifles of 1819–was sometimes rifled and sighted in the belief that it would save money by allowing smooth bore muskets to be updated. It was found the combination was accurate–even more accurate with a 730-grain Minié/Burton bullet than the patched round ball Model 1841 .54 percussion rifle–but the ammunition was heavy and bulky, not much could be carried, and–like the British use of the .70 caliber rifles early on–it was entirely too fatiguing and punishing for a soldier to load and shoot it for very long. So U.S. Ordnance by 1855 adopted .58 caliber as the new standard.

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