Kabinettskriege: How Often Did Mid-Eighteenth-Century Soldiers Run Out of Ammunition?

Other January 31, 2018 0
Kabinettskriege: How Often Did Mid-Eighteenth-Century Soldiers Run Out of Ammunition?

By the Staff of Kabinettskriege:

Dear Reader,

Hessian troops loading in winter

Today, we are going to examine a complex issue, which often lacks clear supporting data. The question before us is: how often did soldiers run out of ammunition on the battlefields of the Kabinettskriege era? Our first reaction might be: not very frequently. When I visited Fort Ticonderoga in the summer of 2010 (before the current administration, in other words), a member of the interpretive staff there intimated to me (and the entire  tour group with me) that the average experience of eighteenth-century combat was similar to going to the battlefield, “with one clip in your AR-15, and only firing 15 rounds out of a 30-round magazine.” Being rather pretentious and annoying, even in those early days, I approached this interpreter to talk about the experience of the Prussian army in Europe. A friendly conversation developed, and I spent the rest of afternoon collecting materials to build gabions offsite with this interpreter. It was one of the strangest and most surreal experiences of my life to date.

How might we go about answering this question of ammunition usage on eighteenth-century battlefields? Once again, numerous historians have addressed firepower in an eighteenth-century context….

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