46

It seems a defending force could have benefited from having extra, preloaded weapons available (particularly before weapon reloads got fast enough to make it less of an issue). As a planned tactic, this is impractical with longarms for an entire unit; it's too expensive to equip a unit with extra guns, and it's too heavy to lug them around. Being able to ...


42

Two reasons why not to put a grenade in a sling, based on the fusing/arming system (An additional reason is that there are rifle launched grenades, if you need more range). Features of a hand grenade There is a double safety feature on a typical hand grenade that prevents it from blowing up before you have sent it to its target. The modern hand ...


24

@KorvinStarmast has the correct answer for hand grenades. But we did use slings to lob grenades. Just think bigger. A trebuchet is basically a big staff sling used to throw a projectile. That big beam is a lever serving the same role as the staff (or your arm). The large size and time period makes it practical for explosive devices during a time when ...


23

The main reason for avoiding the sling is that it is a difficult weapon to use. Requires training to do right EVERY time. So your slinger could expect a short career indeed which would abruptly end the very first time a live grenade slips the string and falls at his feet. Very bad trade-off for more range at questionable accuracy. What you had instead ...


19

Roman Infantry There were two types of Roman infantry: the light and the heavy infantry. The average heavy infantryman had a helmet, a mail coat, greaves, a shield, a spatha(broadsword), five weighted darts, and a javelin (pilum). The pilum was five to six feet long with a tip of iron, weighing nine ounces. The total weight of the pilum ranged between five ...


14

There are two things that the Mongols had to their advantage when they waged war, significant numbers and superior training and discipline. These two factors almost always ensured that they would have the upper hand in any engagement. I found one source that suggested that a typical military unit for the Mongols would consist of three major units. One unit ...


13

Basically, the time to put veterans in the front line is when you are in an attacking mode. That is, you put your shock troops in front so that they can actually deliver a shock. In a defensive mode, you put your less experienced troops in front 1) to give them experience and 2) to have them absorb casualties and spare your veterans. If and when the enemy ...


13

This answer goes into why archers would synchronize fire, and the same applies to line infantry. Essentially, you don't have to kill the enemy to win a battle, you only need to make them run away. The point of firing as a volley is to break the opposing line's morale. If you were watching an enemy line of musketmen shoot at you as fast as they could, you'd ...


10

Well, back in the 70's when I was in Army ROTC, I carried a M60 machine gun (23lbs), 4 bandoliers of blank ammo (about another 25-30lbs), maybe a grenade sim or 2, 2 canteens of water and C rations and other field gear. My total was probably around 90-100lbs. Later, in the USMC, I carried a M16 or a 9mm pistol, ammo and assorted field gear that probably ...


10

Any unit required to execute formed battle-field drill is likely to size-off regularly in order to place the smaller men in the middle of the line, and the larger men on both wings. This is done in order to minimize unit disruption while wheeling in either direction. The modern means of sizing off is to: Line up in order of decreasing height; Count off ...


9

Other alternatives are better We can see that many grenades were designed to be thrown by hand. Sure, attempts to throw those using a sling would end badly. However, that does not answer the question why thrown-by-hand design was adopted in the first place. Let's compare sling-thrown grenade to alternatives. I suppose grenade with a rope attached would ...


7

After looking into it, it looks like slings have indeed been used to throw grenades, although it isn't common. There's video evidence of a sling being used to throw grenades during the Spanish Civil war (by the Republican side?), and I've found reports of Finns using them against the Russians in WWII. You can find reports online of slings being used ...


7

I've found some evidence during the Mongol invasion of Japan (it is wikipedia, but it's cited to a reasonable, but not fantastic degree): "in 1274, the Yuan fleet set out, with an estimated 15,000 Mongol and Chinese soldiers and 8,000 Korean soldiers, in 300 large vessels and 400-500 smaller craft, although figures vary considerably depending on the source" ...


7

Volley firing is a procedure. It involves multiple lines of troops, firing and reloading in succession. While one line fires, the other is reloading, preparing to deliver the next volley. This organization allows a commander to control the actions of his troops, and keep them ordered and calm. Military action is about discipline, not 'each guy does what he ...


6

This is basically oblique order. The idea is to crush one flank of the enemy with the strong force, turn it 90° and defeat the enemy in detail. The remainder of your troops keep the enemy busy on the other flank. You put your heavy troops on the strong flank because they need the most strength (they need to break the line). The light troops are more ...


6

There was more shock value to in having, say, 20-30 men in the other guys' line of infantry hit simultaneously (and graphically maimed, falling, and screaming - if not dead), than them seeing individual soldiers taking potshots at their line and missing half the time (or, if hitting, probably hitting someone a few yards from them, which their stress-induced ...


5

In "The Bloodybacks - The British Serviceman in North America 1655-1783" Reginald Hargreaves states the British soldiers assualting Bunker Hill carried 125lb. "Every man was loaded down with his full kit, which, with knapsack, blanket and ammunition, totaled at least a dead weight of one hundred and twenty five pounds". Page 243


5

Yes. This is called "combined arms" and occurred all the time; providing you could afford the cost of horses and the delay of infantry. While the range and reach of pole-arms had some uses before the arrival of set-piece battles involving horses (a/k/a The Cavalry); pole-arms exploded in popularity once horses were common enough and cheap enough - ...


5

Both Union and Confederate cavalry in the civil war fought almost exclusively as dragoons, using their mounts only as transportation, except in pursuit, while scouting and while engaging against enemy cavalry. See here: When charged by Union cavalry, a Southern general said his men would respond with the cry; "Boys, here are those fools coming again with ...


5

I'm not aware of such tactics for infantry, but having several pre-loaded weapons was fairly common for cavalry units. For example, cuirassiers typically carried two loaded pistols. They would discharge the 1st pistol from close distance when approaching the enemy at speed, right after that they would pull the sword for the hand-to-hand combat, and if they ...


5

There are a few reasons. Drill. Troops are drilled in time to reload, aim, fire. A group of troops doing this to the same beat work quicker than all individuals racing at their own speed. Reloading of muskets can also get in the way of others aim, volley fire allows for rows to fire one after another and limit how much they get in each others way. ...


5

This video steps through WW2-era U.S. infantry tactical doctrine at the squad level, assembled from several contemporary manuals. In describing the final assault (@ ~22:10) on an enemy position (top centre) it outlines how smoke might be used to signal the fire shift by the base group (bottom right) from to for protection of the assault group (top left) as ...


4

Proper Squad Sizing is important for minimizing loss of trim when the unit wheels. By having the shorter men in the middle take a normal pace in a wheel, the taller men on the outside can more easily stretch their pace to keep the line trimmed. Those on the inside must shorten their pace, but ease of doing that is not dependent on leg length. The Canadian ...


4

In the French Army of Napoleon size was not the critical qualifier for being a grenadier - experience and bravery was. Certainly diminutive size would disqualify a soldier from being eligible for the grenadier company of his battalion (but in turn making him eligible for the voltigeur company), but average size was sufficient (and a moustache was de rigeur). ...


4

If your veterans are broken, your inexperienced warriors cannot help. Once the inexperienced are broken, the veterans can help. This is simple. If you put veterans in front row, you can rely only on them, and the young warriors are completely useless.


4

In Medieval times, with crossbows, yes-- crossbow teams were used both in attack and defense. Crossbowmen among the Flemish citizens, in the army of Richard Lionheart, and others, could have up to two servants, two crossbows and a pavise to protect the men. Then one of the servants had the task of reloading the weapons, while the second subordinate ...


3

One big problem with a sling in modern warfare is, you have to be standing up, in the open, with nothing near you, to use the sling. That might work fine in edged weapon times, but today you'd just be making yourself a great target. They'd shoot you the moment you stood up, and then your compatriots would have to deal with the live ordnance your dead hand ...


3

The practice of having men re-loading guns under cover and passing them to someone else to fire must have happened many times. Sensible soldiers would do it whenever it looked like a good idea. This is most likely when there are a few good positions to fire from, and anyone trying to shoot from elsewhere is unduly exposed to the enemy. The Ross Rifle's ...


2

This was an expression of the "traditional" order of fighting, elite troops, in the position of order on the right; lesser troops on the left. The battle of Leuctra cited in another answer was an exception. But many military dispositions were not so rational. In the battle of Camden in the American Revolution, the British-trained American general, Horatio ...


2

Col. Peter R. Mansoor, author of the well-regarded book "The GI Offensive in Europe", offers this extensively researched and well reasoned conclusion in a lecture on the topic - A more balanced comparison of German and American forces would compare each organization at its zenith, say, the German army in June 1941 and the American army in April 1945. ...


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