19th century firearms training

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19th century firearms training

Post by casimiro » 22 Mar 2021 18:10

In the mid-19th century (1860-1870) how much live firearms training/practice would a peace time infantryman in a major European army (French, British, Prussian) expect to receive? Did these troops actually have much experience in firing their weapons?

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Re: 19th century firearms training

Post by Sheldrake » 22 Mar 2021 22:43

An interesting question. I suspect the answer might be not many or very often. I doubt if any of these countries could afford the ammunition and range time to train their soldiers thoroughly by C21st Standards.

There is the question of what sort of marksmanship were soldiers were trained for. Were they part of a volley to cover an area with bullets, a legacy of the unit tactics of musket armed troops - or were they individual marksmen, pioneered by the German Jaegers and British Rifles?

Here is an article from The Times, 4 January 1855 about the establishment of the School of Musketry at Hythe to train detachments of ten men and an officer at a time as musketry instructors.
http://www.researchpress.co.uk/index.ph ... f-musketry
This seems aimed at training a competent marksman - though British marksmanship was certainly indifferent until after the Second Boer War.

The Germans might have taken it all much more seriously and assigned a structured training program for their conscripts. I read somewhere that one reason for universal education in Germany was to ensure that recruits could maintain their own shooting records.

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