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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  CAS TOPICS  |  The Powder Room - CAS reloading (Moderator: Professor Marvel)  |  Topic: what if Custer's 7th had been armed with Spencers/Winchesters and Schofields 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: what if Custer's 7th had been armed with Spencers/Winchesters and Schofields  (Read 19661 times)
Trailrider
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« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2015, 11:23:11 am »

Firepower can certainly make a difference...up to a point. Defensive positions make all the difference when being attacked by a greatly numerically superior force. In the Beecher Island battle, Sandy Forsyth's 50 scouts were probably outnumbered 4-to-1. A number of his scouts had been killed or wounded, including the major, himself, as well as his second-in-command, 1LT Fred. Beecher, who was morally wounded.  The Cheyenne were primarily mounted, and should have been able to roll over the scouts. But the scouts were dug in on the sandbar (island) in the mittle of the shallow creek, and were armed with Spencer Repeating Rifles (termed carbines, but they may have been armed with Spencer rifles from 3rd Infantry stores), plus a few Trapdoor Springfields (.50-70), and at least one Henry Repeating Rifle belonging to Fred Beecher.  The consolidated position plus firepower made the difference. It made the difference in the case of Reno's and Benteen's troop, although firepower, per se, was less of a factor than the position.  There are other examples, but I won't take the bandwidth.
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« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2015, 01:46:32 pm »

Training and discipline - coupled with experienced leadership on the ground make the difference as well.

Custer's troopers had none of that, and when everything suddenly exploded all around them, they were overwhelmed, as inexperienced soldiers often are.

Since this is one of those 'What If' threads - they could 'all' have had Henrys, and they would still have fallen.

But think on this:

What if they'd been Custer's Civil War Cavalry command - the Michigan Wolverines?

Those boys were well-disciplined, battle-tested and battle-hardened - experienced killers with good Non-Coms and Company-Grades, and were under the command of a man they trusted.

Given like numbers, they'd have given enough of an accounting of themselves that the battle would have just been another of the many battles comprising the Indian Wars.

Scouts Out!
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« Reply #27 on: July 24, 2015, 08:11:10 pm »

I think the other thing to remember is they under estermated the numbers of indians they would in counter and the wrong mental attitude to plan properly.
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Buffalochip
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« Reply #28 on: July 24, 2015, 11:12:21 pm »

Bluntly, they weren't well-trained and they were exhausted - with tired horses.

Suddenly encountering all those hostiles primed and ready just erased all sense of discipline and unit cohesiveness in the face of abject fear, and nothing had previously prepared them for that.

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Bruce W Sims
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« Reply #29 on: July 25, 2015, 06:54:11 am »

A combination of latest survey of the battlefield as well as a review of the testimony of
Native American accounts seems to suggest that rather than a battle, Little Big Horn
was a rapid series of skirmishes over a rather wide area leading up to the final encounter.
As mentioned earlier, had the troops been battle-tested and rested, a secure and well-defined
perimeter would have been established with defined fields of fire and it may have been enough to give
the attacking forces pause. Throw in the technology and it may well have tipped the balance...maybe.

As it is, examination of remains of troopers suggests a prevalence of disease, arthritis and infection
not previously in evidence. Add to this the heat, poor nutrition and lack of adequate rest for man and beast
and I think the outcome was unavoidable.  Just sayin...

BTW: As I understand it, there may have been one fella who survived the battle. Seems a fella was shot and his horse bolted.
In telling his tale years later there was some evidence to substantiate his testimony. Anyone else ever heard of this?

Best Wishes,

Bruce
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Davem
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« Reply #30 on: July 25, 2015, 02:21:09 pm »

I can't remember the details but I heard that story.  On Custer's movements, I thought he was taking the fight to the NDNs and they couldn't believe it because of their numeral superiority.
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« Reply #31 on: July 25, 2015, 08:04:55 pm »

Bruce--- the man that may have survived the LBH is Frank Finkel. There is a very interesting book on his
Possible escape and also articles you can google up.  There is no absolute proof but I personally believe
The story. There are pros and cons that are interesting to weigh.
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« Reply #32 on: July 25, 2015, 08:28:20 pm »

But no actual facts or scholarship to back it up.

Oh, well...

Why let facts get in the way?

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« Reply #33 on: July 26, 2015, 11:41:20 am »

Bruce--- the man that may have survived the LBH is Frank Finkel. There is a very interesting book on his
Possible escape and also articles you can google up.  There is no absolute proof but I personally believe
The story. There are pros and cons that are interesting to weigh.

Thanks, Tree:

I think I ran into a TV program during a channel-check. I'm going to GOOGLE for a bit today.

IIRC there was some truth to the trail he described getting away from the battle, and some abandoned
items were found approximately where he might have left them. OTOH, there was also some talk about his having been grazed
and lighting-out before the battle was actually joined. IDK.....just musing now..... Thanks again.

Best Wishes,

Bruce
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« Reply #34 on: July 26, 2015, 12:43:26 pm »

The book is " Custer Survivor" by John Koster. It is on Amazon.com.  If your local library does not have it
They can get it thru inter library loan.  It's a fun read.
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« Reply #35 on: July 27, 2015, 09:13:30 am »

Off hand, given the soldiers were hacked apart and riddled with hundreds of arrows, etc.- it doesn't seem possible anyone escaped.
The Fetterman Massacre, I think (not sure) that the troops got strung out pursuing what they thought was a handful of NDNs and then the jaws of the trap were sprung. Custer has to bear some responsibility for how everyone was deployed.
   If Custer had better arms, plenty of ammunition, and had taken up a good defensive position- could he have survived?  Well, since Reno did, it may well have been possible.
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Chev. William
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« Reply #36 on: November 05, 2015, 10:34:32 am »

A Semi uninformed Personal Opinion:
I think The "Generals Involved were still Fighting the Previous War, rather than fighting the Present War using Current Intelligence/Information available at the time Before the 'campaign' was started.

Question:  How many Cartridges were issued to individual Troopers for Carry on his Person?
Question:  What was the Total Cartridge number Issued per Trooper, including both the Personal load and the Pack train Load?

I am GUESSING, but It seems GAC figured resupply was only scant hours away when in fact it was much Further in time from the point of his need in Battle.
It appears he was fighting an American Civil war Campaign, where Resupply was close at hand normally, rather than an Indian wars Campaign, where Resupply was further away in time and distance.

If my Understanding iis Faulty, please correct me.

Best Regards,
Chev. William
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« Reply #37 on: November 05, 2015, 11:27:33 am »

Most of the soldiers had most of their ammo in their saddle bags.  Subsequently, when the horses got ran off by the Indians, they were stuck with what they had on their person, which wasn't a whole lot.  Basically, they ran out of ammo.

Re: Gatling guns.  They wouldn't of helped Custer at all.  Hard to maneuver in that type of terrain with the Indians being scattered and undulating ground.  Reno may have had a better opportunity with the Gatling guns when he was in the valley, as it was level ground and the Indian village to his front
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« Reply #38 on: November 05, 2015, 03:01:47 pm »

Training and discipline - coupled with experienced leadership on the ground make the difference..

Custer's scared, green troopers had none of that, and when everything suddenly exploded all around them, they were overwhelmed, as inexperienced soldiers often are.

Since this is one of those 'What If' threads that everyone's so fond of - they could 'all' have had Henrys, Spencers, Winchesters and a Gatling or three, and they would still have fallen, because 'terror' would have caused them to give up their positions and seek shelter and safety with the larger force.

Nowhere before or since would the Frontier Army encounter the number of Indians all in one place and ready to dance, but dance they did at the Greasy Grass, and Custer's men weren't ready for that, by a long shot.

But think on this:

What if they'd been Custer's Civil War Cavalry command - the Michigan Wolverines?

Those boys were well-disciplined, battle-tested and battle-hardened - experienced killers with good Non-Coms and Company-Grades, and were under the command of a man they trusted.

Those were men that knew their trade of killing - led by the men who'd trained them.

Given like numbers, they'd have given enough of an accounting of themselves that the battle would have just been another of the many battles comprising the Indian Wars.

Taking a look  at actual forensic evidence as gathered during the archaeological finds, you'll see:

Forehand & Wadsworth .32 Rimfire
Colt .36
Colt .38
Sharps .40 -.45 and .50
Ethan Allen or Forehand & Wadsworth .42
S&W American .44
Evans Old model .44
Henry .44
200-gr .44
Miscellaneous and Unknown .40
Winchester .44-40
Colt and S&W .45
Springfield .45-55
.45 Unidentified
Spencer
Unidentified .50 rimfire
Springfield .50-70
Maynard
Miscellaneous and Unidentified .50
Starr
Enfield
Round Ball - .44, .45, .50
Shot

No identifiable Webley rounds were found.

The above are attributal to all of the sites investigated.

More on this is found in 'Archaeological Perspectives on the Battle of the Little Big Horn' - by Scott, Fox, Connor and Harmon.

It's the record of the digs conducted across the battlefield after the grass fires of August 1983 stripped off all of the thatch and underbrush of the site - and the follow-on 1984-85 dgging season that completely covered the area.

This is the print version of what you've seen on 'The History Channel', and it goes into great depth, as archaeological work does - yet it's compelling...

Scouts Out!
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« Reply #39 on: November 05, 2015, 06:19:29 pm »

(snip for bandwidth)
Question:  How many Cartridges were issued to individual Troopers for Carry on his Person?
Question:  What was the Total Cartridge number Issued per Trooper, including both the Personal load and the Pack train Load?
I am GUESSING, but It seems GAC figured resupply was only scant hours away when in fact it was much Further in time from the point of his need in Battle.
It appears he was fighting an American Civil war Campaign, where Resupply was close at hand normally, rather than an Indian wars Campaign, where Resupply was further away in time and distance.
If my Understanding iis Faulty, please correct me.
Best Regards,
Chev. William
Standard issue was usually 60-100 rounds of .45--55 carbine or .45-70 rifle rounds. BUT...depending on how the trooper was packing his ammo, he was probably wearing no more than 40 rounds in a saddler-made prairie belt, or 20 rounds in a single Dyer pouch and the rest in his saddle bags. (The M1876 canvas belts had around 52 loops. He would have been issued 24 rounds of .45 Colt pistol ammo, some probably carried in a converted CW pistol cap pouch, 5 or 6 rounds in the revolver (depending on how safety conscious his NCO or company commander was).
According to an Indian who participated in the battle, it took "no more time than a hungry man to eat his lunch!" for the Indians to overwhelm Custer's immediate command.  I seriously doubt Custer's troops either ran out of ammo or had their carbines jam from the heat and fouling produced by rapid fire. They didn't live that long! It is estimated (based on the archeological dig) that around 243 INdians had firearms of any kind...more than Custer had men in his battalion.  But the major factor in thei anihilation was that the troops were spread out (except for the Last Stand group), and were facing a deadly assault from rapid-fire, high trajectory anti-personnel weapons...arrows!

BTW, the Indians weren't ready and waiting for Custer. Most had been participating in a Sun Dance ritual the night before, and were asleep. They just reacted faster to Reno's attack, and then circled around to engage Custer once Reno's forces had been "contained".  Were it not for having twice the men, and some luck, Crook might have faced the same fate at the Rosebud, a week earlier.
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« Reply #40 on: December 03, 2016, 02:37:47 am »

I know this is an old forum, but if you read "Black Elk Speaks";  He and his cousin used "six shooters", while his brother used a shotgun. so they could've been old percussion cap ones, later he said when he was in canada. both him and his dad had repeaters.
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PJ Hardtack
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« Reply #41 on: December 03, 2016, 09:05:43 pm »

Firepower does not compensate for poor planning, poor intelligence gathering (one of the primary roles of Cavalry) and poor execution. Custer had a battery of Gatling guns that he failed to deploy.

Little Big Horn ought not to be celebrated but taught in military schools as an example of how not to engage a highly mobile enemy. Blaming the weapons of his soldiers dishonours their memory.
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« Reply #42 on: December 03, 2016, 09:57:01 pm »

Ok, who remembers the twilight zone episode with the national guard tank and crew go back in time? Then came upon the battle. the tank was abandoned and the men joined the battle with m1 carbines and 1911's. Did not change the out come, just added to the kia's.
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« Reply #43 on: December 04, 2016, 11:21:09 am »

Speculating the outcome of this particular cluster f>>>, is actually a waste of good speculation.  Here's a factoid.  It takes hundreds of rounds fired to get a casualty.  Custers troops weren't creating a dead hostile every time a rigger was pulled.  There was insufficient ammunition for a sustained fight.  Combat load-out of 70 to 100 rounds doesn't last long, especially when your scared out of your mind and the adrenaline level is max'd.

The odds were only about 20 to 1.  Figure best case = 1 casualty for every 100 rounds fired.  Hostiles suffer a total of 200 casualties.  Not all necessarily KIA, just casualties.  That means in real numbers, when Custers command fires their very last round, they still face around 3800 hostiles.  Not an optimum position to be in.

It matters not how you spin the weapons.  The number of casualties per number of rounds fired will remain approximately the same.  With repeating rifles, it just means you run out of ammo faster.  Shorter fight.  Same outcome.  Every time.  A lot like watching Titanic movies.  Always ends the same.

Custer only had one good option.  Turn and RUN LIKE HELL.

Coffinmaker

PS:  It has however, made real interesting reading and given something to do on a cold grey morning  Grin
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« Reply #44 on: December 04, 2016, 12:25:27 pm »

Military Wisdom 101 - "When you are surrounded, you are in a "target-rich" environment."

Until the ammo runs out .....
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« Reply #45 on: December 04, 2016, 12:27:19 pm »

What "if"   eh !

" if "  we had ham we could make a ham and cheese sandwich " if " we had cheese   Smiley
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« Reply #46 on: December 04, 2016, 04:51:32 pm »

Ok, who remembers the twilight zone episode with the national guard tank and crew go back in time? Then came upon the battle. the tank was abandoned and the men joined the battle with m1 carbines and 1911's. Did not change the out come, just added to the kia's.

That was an M5 Stuart, one of my favorite tanks.

RCJ
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« Reply #47 on: December 04, 2016, 05:41:54 pm »

It was a Stuart. They should have brought the tank to the battle.
P.S. Stuart was the M3.
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« Reply #48 on: December 04, 2016, 06:03:16 pm »

I guess if we are going there  Undecided

The Twilight Zone, Episode "The 7th Is Made Up of Phantoms"
Starred Warren Oates.....

maybe some Ma Deuces  Cheesy 


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« Reply #49 on: December 04, 2016, 06:33:28 pm »

One of the best episodes on the twilight zone.
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