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Spencer rifle
http://www.wargame.ch/board/acwgc/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=21299
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Author:  C. Hecht [ Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Spencer rifle

Gentlemen,
I wonder a bit about the values I see for the Spencer in the Ozark game, values are:
Range 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Firevalue 6 4 1.5 1 1 0.5 0.5 0.5
You see that its range goes up to 8 hexes what is a pretty surprise as it surpasses all other infantry/cavalry firearms clearly, the best being the Rifle with a range of 5 hexes.
What makes it more strange is that an entry for Repeating
Range 1 2 3 4
Firevalue 9 5.5 1.5 0.5
Your see that this entry has much more firevalue on 1 hex range and overall only 4 hexes maximum range.
As the Spencer was also a repeating rifle, what justifies so different values & ranges?

Author:  C. Hecht [ Sun Jul 14, 2019 11:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Spencer rifle

Maybe I made some fuzz for nothing, I checked what weapons are used in the OOBs at all and the Spencer just like the Repeating entries are not used at all so values do not matter.

Author:  D. Hampel [ Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Spencer rifle

M.Gen. Hecht, sir! <salute>

Christian, I think the key there is the anticipated distance per hex. The .pdt file's ranges would change if the distance per hex is shorter.

The small armes ranges would increase with the shorter hex ranges.

This is the beauty of the custom .pdt, .OOB, map and .scn files per battle. These ranges can be customized and are not fixed/locked/standard to all scenarios.

Hope the helps!

Author:  Joe Meyer [ Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Spencer rifle

While reading A Yankee Private's Civil War, the memoirs of Robert Hale Strong and edited by Ashley Halsey (1961, Henry Regency Company, Chicago) I ran across the following passage concerning Spencer rifles.

"The 102nd Illinois, armed with Spencer rifles, the famous seven-shooters, were deployed in front of us as skirmishers. They were in a thin, spread-out line as skirmishers usually are. As the Rebs would advance, the 102nd boys would open on them with their seven-shooters and pretty soon, back they would go, only to rally and try again. We could hear their officers cursing them for cowards to run from nothing more than a thin line of skirmishers."

Bob Strong was enlisted within the 105th Illinois, which was assigned in 1864 to the First Brigade (Ward's), Third Division, Hooker's 20th Corps. The brigade took part in all of the actions of the Atlanta Campaign. The passage related above occurred just before the actions at Kennesaw Mountain.

Halsey left a note about this particular recollection stating the following.

"Editor's note: Here is a rare, firsthand account of the effect of modern repeaters, firing rim-fire cartridges, on troops accustomed to facing nothing more rapid-fire than muzzleloaders. The Spencers had a rate of fire seven times that of the muzzleloaders. Hence a few skirmishers armed with them were as effective as a much larger force with regular muskets - a fact that the cursing Confederate officers either did not grasp or refused to recognize."

This brings up some questions in regards to how the Spencers should be treated within the JTS/HPS world.

First, for ammunition purposes, we have an automatic ammunition shortage algorithm that apparently applies to all longarms. And that seems to work to everyone's satisfaction, given the standard 20-minute turn cycle. But if we look at the number of rounds that could be fired by Spencers as opposed to the standard muskets, we have to think about something in the neighborhood of seven casual shots per minute for the Spencer, including changing out to a full replacement ammunition tube, as opposed to one and a half shots per minute with the musket. If we assume that the full twenty-minute turn is taken with fire combat, then the Spencer theoretically could blast out about 140 shots to the musket's 30, irrespective of fouling and barrel overheating. But as a matter for ammunition that would mean that each Spencer rifleman would have to carry 19 reload tubes in addition to the one already in the rifle, and then he would have to be completely resupplied if the rifle was still usable. (Did Ripley have a point?)

Second, it is interesting to note in the Hale account that he states the effective size of his brigade's regiments was roughly 200-men. This would very sensibly lead to the assignment of one of the brigade's regiments, the 102nd, as skirmishers! The 102nd Illinois appears within the JTS/HPS Kennesaw Battle with 267-men, but not armed with the Spencer.

I would very much like to review an authoritative treatment in all regards of the Spencer rifle in Civil War combat. Is there such a work?

Author:  Joe Meyer [ Sat Aug 24, 2019 1:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Spencer rifle

I believe that I misspoke in the reply above, stating that the Spencer could be expected to get off 7 shots per minute. It should be more like 20 shots, roughly. I also misstated that the shooter would have to replace the "ammunition tube," when in fact he would have to extract the sprung loading tube from the butt stock, grab an ammo tube from his Blakeslee cartridge box, pour the rounds into the magazine tube and then replace the sprung loading tube. Dependent upon the firing position, this would take some nimble hand, arm and finger work to perform quickly in combat without exposing the rifle, cartridges or loading tube to dirt or debris.

The basic Blakeslee box was constructed to hold six ammunition tubes, for a total of 42 cartridges. But it also came in sizes of ten or thirteen tubes, or 70 to 91 cartridges, respectively. At the rough maximum of 20 shots per minute, the shooter could expend everything he had in under 10 minutes. (The Blakslee box seems to have been principally invented for the cavalry, although it undoubtedly found its way into those infantry units equipped with the rifle. And as the .50 caliber rimfire cartridges were manufactured and packed in boxes of fourty-two, we might also speculate that some of the latter carried their ammo in the standard infantryman's leather ammunition pouch.) In reality, we could expect to have the rate of fire increase as the targets drew nearer, with the shooter preserving his highest rapid fire rate to only close ranges. But that would still, most likely, have seriously exhausted the Spencer supply, if sustained, within a 20-minute time frame. This would have held true for both the cavalry carbine as well as the rifle version of the Spencer. Spencer equipped units would therefore had to have learned fire discipline techniques to take full advantage of their weapon's potential while maintaining a longer supplied presence upon the battlefield.

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