Genearal Wolfe's victory Battle of Quebec 1759


#1

Britain’s dominance of Canada came following Wolfe’s victory over the French at Quebec in 1759.
The interesting thing for ammo buffs is the fact that as the British troops, 2500 of them faced the larger French Army on the plains of Abraham just North of the St Lawrence river their first volley cut the French line to pieces, a second volley finished off what was left and the French fled a following bayonet charge.

The reason for the sucess, apart from Wolfe’s manic insistance on drill was that he had ordered all muskets (Brown Bess) to be double balled, thus effectively doubling the effectiveness of the fire.

Since this technique had proved so effective why do you suppose it wasn’t adopted as the normal practice for British Troops and others? Totally ignored at Waterloo for example. Again fought with Brown Bess muskets some 50 years later. And many other conflicts in between. As far as I can acertain it was a total one off.

Wolfe was deemed to be mad, not a bad description. Was his “trick” seen as ungentlemanly? Wolfe died on the battle field following his insistance on facing the enemy throughout. He was wounded three times, one wound to the chest proved fatal although another wound to the groin would also have probably killed him eventually.


#2

[quote=“VinceGreen”]Since this technique had proved so effective why do you suppose it wasn’t adopted as the normal practice for British Troops and others? Totally ignored at Waterloo for example. Again fought with Brown Bess muskets some 50 years later. And many other conflicts in between. As far as I can acertain it was a total one off.

Wolfe was deemed to be mad, not a bad description. Was his “trick” seen as ungentlemanly? .[/quote]

Because Wolfe did that against all the rules of : gentleman, fair play, nobility, christendom. Call it like you want

In these old times you can make the war but , when you were christian, you were not allowed to kill directly another guy (at least when he was a christian)

Because of that the soldiers didn’t sight themselves their ennemies, but their shot was directed by an officer with his sword (up down)
Therefore if you take a look on the guns there is no sight.

Making the war to win was one thing, killing christian people was another thing. (charging with bayonet was different because you were fighting to defend yourself)

Therefore this trick was a felony and unworthy of an officer.

Shame on this guy !
Even his own government and compatriots realized that and never did it again (for at least a very long time)

Is he one of your hero ???

jp


#3

Yes

I grew up in Quebec.

In grade ten they took us to Quebec city for a few days exploring .

Glenn


#4

He may have been just too far before his time. Governments have spent millions trying to develope a serviceable DUPLEX cartridge since. The Duplex is designed to throw more than one bullet at a single shot.


#5

Artillery of those days fired many multiple ball “projectiles” including chain, bar, grape, and cannister. Why would a double ball or a buck and ball musket cartridge be considered un-gentlemanly?

JP - Much of the British and American artillery of the period was modeled after the French systems and designs. Napolean was, of course, considered the master of artillery and is quoted as having said, “God fights on the side with the best artillery.”

Ray


#6

[quote=“RayMeketa”]Artillery of those days fired many multiple ball “projectiles” including chain, bar, grape, and cannister. Why would a double ball or a buck and ball musket cartridge be considered un-gentlemanly?

JP - Much of the British and American artillery of the period was modeled after the French systems and designs. Napolean was, of course, considered the master of artillery and is quoted as having said, “God fights on the side with the best artillery.”

Ray[/quote]

Napoleon was 50 years after
Things changed when there was no more knight and nobility.
And there is a difference between shooting with artillery and sight a guy with a gun.
The trick was the difference between to throw something (and unfotunately somebody receive it) and to sight and willfully take odd a life.

jp


#7

jp

I realize that Napolean was a few years after the Battle of Quebec. I mentioned him only in the context of French Artillery.

I really do not see the difference between artillery and muskets. Both are intended to kill or maim the enemy. Artillery is more effective

I believe that the myth of honorable knights and nobility is just that, a myth. The goal of a knight was to un-horse his opponent, and then chop his head off.

War is neither gentlemanly nor noble.

JMHO

Ray


#8

Hello Ray

find me a good reason

  1. to explain why hunting guns had sights and not the military guns.
  2. to explain why the officer was directing the fire with his sword if people were allowed to tune their fire
  3. to explain why this trick was no more used after

jp


#9

jp

I’m neither French nor British so maybe it’s best I get out of the line of fire.

Ray


#10

No Ray you are not French or British but you are a Navy man. The example of practices by navies within the same time frame bears consideration.

They weren’t so concerned about firing all manner of antisocial hardwear at each other.


#11

jeanpierre

Is right.

In the American War of Revolution the British also looked down on the Americans who used Indian tactics of hit and run ambush.

There was honor in standing out in open ground and having a battle.

We see this as utter nonsense today but they did not.

The slogan “winning is not everything, it is the ONLY thing” did not exist for gentlemen. One had to win with HONOR. In today’s world God is no longer watching in the way these men saw it. They were going to be held to account for their actions on the battlefield.

The saber duel in Germany and pistol duels elsewhere also went the way of the Dodo bird to extinction . That does not mean that they were not extremely important in their time. They were. No less a person than ALEXANDER HAMILTON , founding father, was killed in a duel. REAL GERMAN aristocratic officers wore their dueling scars with pride and the women found them to be very sexy.

I have always been struck by the code of British gentlemen officers which said (maybe still does say) that a British gentleman officer does not RUN except in games of sport. They are not even supposed to run to avoid hostile fire !

How is that for old time religion ?

You see some of this still in the rules of war and how a bullet can be made and the fact that soldiers are still not regularly issued shotguns.

Nothing says good bye like a shotgun blast .

Artillery both land and see is an entirely different kind of soldier.

Face to face with the enemy has always been the real “king of battle”.


#12

Actually, military muskets did have a crude front sight: the bayonet lug served for that purpose.

The officer controlled the cadence of shooting, which was important to the concept of volley fire, but the soldiers still had to aim at the enemy infantry in order to maximize hit probability.

We can only speculate. My opinion is that, because armies tend to be very conservative, they just kept doing what they had traditionally done: use a single ball load.

Some videos that may be of interest:

youtube.com/watch?v=ytk7rN1u_6k
youtube.com/watch?v=F9hrB-eaajI
youtube.com/watch?v=3oPPF6hk8u4
youtube.com/watch?v=jUWH6EL6Fxo


#13

[quote=“DrSchmittCSAEOD”]jeanpierre

Is right.[/quote]
I disagree. The British reportedly considered it “ungentlemanly” to intentionally target officers, but there was no such sentiment about taking aim at - and shooting - rank and file infantrymen.


#14

Loading double balls was apparently a pretty standard practice in naval battles of the period when engaging at short range. Just something I’ve read. Probably lots out there that know more on this subject. If I’m not mistaken double and even triple shot in her guns was one of the reasons the HMS Speedy was able to defeat and capture the Spanish frigate El Gamo in their famous engagement. The Speedy was a little 14 gun brig and the El Gamo was a much larger and more heavily armed frigate.

Lew


#15

I wonder if the rank and file 17 year old conscripted soldier felt the same way about getting shot at as did the gentlemen officers? Methinks not.

Ray


#16

[quote=“stanc”][quote=“DrSchmittCSAEOD”]jeanpierre

Is right.[/quote]
I disagree. The British reportedly considered it “ungentlemanly” to intentionally target officers, but there was no such sentiment about taking aim at - and shooting - rank and file infantrymen.[/quote]

Not the point at all. The question is about using a double charge of ball, why , and the later effects of this event. Aim is not the point of the inquiry to start. Is the word AIM in my post ? It is not.

This came later in the thread and my post has nothing to do with that.

My post is about proper behavior on the battlefield at the time and the effects of violating the same.


#17

[quote=“RayMeketa”]I wonder if the rank and file 17 year old conscripted soldier felt the same way about getting shot at as did the gentlemen officers? Methinks not.

Ray[/quote]

No doubt they had some misgivings.

There is an excellent scene is the movie “Zulu Dawn” where a young drummer boy is shot and as he is near death he asks the Sarg. if it was ok to loosen his tunic now.

Discipline in the early military term is long gone.


#18

[quote=“DrSchmittCSAEOD”][quote=“stanc”][quote=“DrSchmittCSAEOD”]jeanpierre

Is right.[/quote]
I disagree. The British reportedly considered it “ungentlemanly” to intentionally target officers, but there was no such sentiment about taking aim at - and shooting - rank and file infantrymen.[/quote]
Not the point at all. The question is about using a double charge of ball, why , and the later effects of this event. Aim is not the point of the inquiry to start. Is the word AIM in my post ? It is not.

This came later in the thread and my post has nothing to do with that.

My post is about proper behavior on the battlefield at the time and the effects of violating the same.[/quote]
You said jeanpierre “Is right.” AIM was the main theme of his posts.


#19

Misgivings!!! Misgivings would better describe what that soldier had about eating that wormy salt pork ration he was given for last night’s supper. ;) ;)

Ray


#20

Worms are full of food value and quite tasty I am told. No experience with that.