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Thread: Gatling guns at Little Big Horn - could Custer have won?

  1. #31
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    Not necessarily so.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Parihaka View Post
    They were overrun by a vastly superior force in a matter of minutes. The sheer speed meant they were unable to set up a decent defensive position, so probably not.
    The Indians had superior numbers and repeating rifles vs the British bolt actions.

    In similar battle situation in southern Africa, the Brits used Gatlin guns to annihilate 2000 Zulus while losing only seventeen redcoats. True, the Zulus didn't have rifles, but they were a larger force and excellent swordsmen.

    The Gatlins may have saved the day and Custer would have later became President. We'll never know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by graydog View Post
    The Indians had superior numbers and repeating rifles vs the British bolt actions.

    In similar battle situation in southern Africa, the Brits used Gatlin guns to annihilate 2000 Zulus while losing only seventeen redcoats. True, the Zulus didn't have rifles, but they were a larger force and excellent swordsmen.

    The Gatlins may have saved the day and Custer would have later became President. We'll never know.
    Graydog

    Could you cite in which battle the British forces used Gatling guns? Not sure I have heard fo that one.

    Could you also go to the Members Introduction Thread and introduce yourself the membership.

    Thanks
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  3. #33
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    Three plus years this thread has lay dormant. Not a good start unless ol' graydog has necro tendencies. If so, he's a bad, bad boy.
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  4. #34
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    Necro aside, Gatlings were used a few times in the Zulu War. Here is one in action at the corner of the 91st Highlanders at Gingindlovu.Name:  Gingindlovu.jpg
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    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    The Indians had superior numbers and repeating rifles vs the British bolt actions.
    Custer had trap door carbines

    In similar battle situation in southern Africa, the Brits used Gatlin guns to annihilate 2000 Zulus while losing only seventeen redcoats. True, the Zulus didn't have rifles, but they were a larger force and excellent swordsmen.
    Zulus carried spears not swords.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

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    I know Gatlings were used...just wondering when Gatlins were used! Because I thought that was a group of country singers.
    “Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.”
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    [QUOTE=Could you cite in which battle the British forces used Gatling guns? Not sure I have heard fo that one.[/QUOTE]

    The Battle of Ulundi:
    The Gatling Gun
    The first use of British Gatlings was the Battle of Ulundi. The Brits, still reeling from the defeat at Isandlwana, threw the kitchen sink at the Zulus, who were already down and out. On July 4th, 1879, 17,000 British and Native troops, armed with cannon and gatlings, met up with 24,000 Zulus armed with spears and old muskets. Thousands of Zulus surrounded the British and charged from all sides. It only took a half hour of concentrated firepower before the Zulus had enough. The rise of the British Gatling Gun and the end of the Zulu Nation happened on the same day.

    The Battle of Gingindlovu:
    The Battle of Gingindlovu - The Zulu War
    5,250 British and colonial troops against 11,000 Zulus. The Zulus had tens of thousands of muskets and rifles. The Zulus captured some 1,000 Martini Henry breech loading rifles and a large amount of ammunition. Some of these rifles were used at Rorke’s Drift. All the British casualties, few though they were, were shot rather than stabbed.
    The north face of the square was held by the 3rd Battalion, the 60th Rifles; the left by the 99th Regiment and the Buffs (3rd Foot) and the right face by the 57th Regiment. The corners of the square were reinforced by Gatling Guns, conventional artillery and rocket troughs.

    Rorke’s Drift
    The Battle of Gingindlovu - The Zulu War
    At Rorke’s Drift 140 British troops slew 500 Zulus with their breech loading rifles, firing from inside the fortified post. At Khambula, Evelyn Wood’s column killed 2,000 Zulus with its volley fire and probably mortally wounded a further 1,000.

    At Eshowe.
    Anglo-Zulu War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    .........Zulu finally launched a typical "buffalo horn" encirclement attack that was seen off with withering fire from not only breach-loading Martini-Henry rifles, but 7-pounder artillery and Gatling guns........

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    Graydog

    I guess you didn't quite catch my tongue in cheek humor. British Battles is a good website...use it myself time to time.

    How about you head on over the the Member Introduction thread and tell us a bit about yourself before you post more? That is kind of how we like to do things here on the WAB.
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    "Not a good start unless ol' graydog has necro tendencies. If so, he's a bad, bad boy."
    "I know Gatlings were used...just wondering when Gatlins were used! Because I thought that was a group of country singers."
    Sorry, I thought we were dealing with history.

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    Quote Originally Posted by troung View Post
    Custer had trap door carbines



    Zulus carried spears not swords.
    I have heard that Custer had some Gatling guns assigned to him, but didn't take them with him to Little Big Horn because he felt they would slow him down and were not needed.
    "If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
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    Quote Originally Posted by USSWisconsin View Post
    I have heard that Custer had some Gatling guns assigned to him, but didn't take them with him to Little Big Horn because he felt they would slow him down and were not needed.
    Actually he was offered them by BG Terry but turned them down believing they would slow him down. Based on the speed Custer intended to travel as well as the baulkyness of the Gatling Guns themselves it may not have been such a rash decision. What was a rash decision was his turning down of teh offer of a squadron (4 companies) from the 2d Cavalry. That may have improved his chances.

    Some historians believe the issue with the copper cartridges for the Springfields caused them to jam when the carbines got hot. There is much archeological evidence that the troopers fired a lot of pistol rounds. Benteen and Reno backed this up.
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    graydog Reply

    "Sorry, I thought we were dealing with history."

    Hmmm...why do I sense this interloper needs a more fundamental lesson?

    Custer lacked a rally point and redoubt that was equipped and manned to provide cover for a reassembly.

    Worse, he lacked the good sense to heed his Crow scouts early that morning. They'd estimated 20,000 war ponies grazing on the east slopes of the hills across the Little Bighorn valley.

    Standing up there is an eerie sensation. It's a strange, lonely place.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
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  13. #43
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    So Custer did have scouts but he failed when he refused to accept their evaluation of the enemy?
    All those who are merciful with the cruel will come to be cruel to the merciful.
    -Talmud Kohelet Rabbah, 7:16.

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    A white lieutenant in charge of Crow scouts as I recall. They were on a hillside east of the Little Big Horn oriented west at sunrise. As the sun rose behind them it slowly lit, first, the hilltops and then the east slopes on the far western hills across the valley. His scouts began dancing.

    When they did so, the lieutenant asked the senior Crow why? The Crow told the lieutenant to look closely at the far hillsides. At first the lieutenant couldn't discern anything unusual-just the motted brown of bare Montana hills at the height of summer. THEN he saw.

    What had seemed to be the ground was actually MOVING. On close inspection with greater light he could now tell that he was viewing a great mass of ponies grazing along the far slopes. He then asked the Crow what kind of dance they were performing. The Crow scout replied that his warriors were performing the death dance for today none of them would leave the valley alive.

    Fair to say Custer didn't listen to the report...or didn't care.

    It reminds me of these lines from Shakespeare's St. Crispin's Day speech from Henry V-

    "...If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
    To do our country loss; and if to live,
    The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
    God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
    By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
    Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
    It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
    Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
    But if it be a sin to covet honour,
    I am the most offending soul alive.
    No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
    God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
    As one man more methinks would share from me
    For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!..."
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

  15. #45
    Regular Zad Fnark's Avatar
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    I'm not so I'm convinced about the copper case argument. There were a number of fights in the West, but this only seems to come up with Little Big Horn.

    Trapdoors, in general are pretty positive with how they extract their cases. I might be able to buy it with a model 1866, but that was long gone by then.

    ZF-

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