Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Best Defense comment of the day: Bullets and artillery of the Franco-Prussian War

You never know what a blog post will provoke. I was impressed with the level of detail in Lobot’s comment in response to my comment about Taliban weaponry outranging the U.S. Army’s in Afghanistan: This is very reminiscent of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. The French were armed with the new Model 1866 Infantry rifle ...

wikipedia.org
wikipedia.org
wikipedia.org

You never know what a blog post will provoke. I was impressed with the level of detail in Lobot's comment in response to my comment about Taliban weaponry outranging the U.S. Army's in Afghanistan:

This is very reminiscent of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. The French were armed with the new Model 1866 Infantry rifle (the Chassepot) that had an effective range of 1000 yards. Thoroughly outclassing the Prussian Dreyse Zündnadelgewehr, which was effective up to around 400-600 yards. State of the art in 1841, the needle rifle was showing its age by 1870. The French bullets, jacketed in linen instead of paper, were smaller (11mm as opposed to the Prussian 14mm). A French infantryman carried 105 rounds while his Prussian counterpart carried only 70. The Prussians, however, made up for this imbalance with tactics & modern, breech loading Krupps artillery. Also, the Sovs in Afghanistan found that often the main armament on their armored vehicles could not elevate high enough to be employed against the Muj in the mountains, the ZSU-23-4 ADA gun, with its -4° to +85° elevation, became a mainstay in the bronegruppa.

You never know what a blog post will provoke. I was impressed with the level of detail in Lobot’s comment in response to my comment about Taliban weaponry outranging the U.S. Army’s in Afghanistan:

This is very reminiscent of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. The French were armed with the new Model 1866 Infantry rifle (the Chassepot) that had an effective range of 1000 yards. Thoroughly outclassing the Prussian Dreyse Zündnadelgewehr, which was effective up to around 400-600 yards. State of the art in 1841, the needle rifle was showing its age by 1870. The French bullets, jacketed in linen instead of paper, were smaller (11mm as opposed to the Prussian 14mm). A French infantryman carried 105 rounds while his Prussian counterpart carried only 70. The Prussians, however, made up for this imbalance with tactics & modern, breech loading Krupps artillery. Also, the Sovs in Afghanistan found that often the main armament on their armored vehicles could not elevate high enough to be employed against the Muj in the mountains, the ZSU-23-4 ADA gun, with its -4° to +85° elevation, became a mainstay in the bronegruppa.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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