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British Rifleman 1797-1815 by Philip Haythornthwaite, Christa Hook

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By Philip Haythornthwaite, Christa Hook

The rifle corps of the British military in the course of the Napoleonic Wars are one of the so much recognisable of the entire squaddies of that period: their specified darkish eco-friendly uniforms are as regular as a few of their exploits. they've got completed massive status in the course of the huge numbers of memoirs written through contributors of the rifle corps in addition to via sleek fiction, such a lot significantly the Sharpe sequence. except their attractiveness as a corps d'elite, the riflemen have been, of their time, on the very innovative of army expertise and tactical thought. Philip Haythornwaite the following makes use of attention-grabbing first hand bills and targeted learn to offer a 'soldier's-eye view' of the British Rifleman, his existence and paintings.

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The 95th had an advantage over ordinary regiments, the green uniform and special status of the rifle corps being great attractions. The recruiting parties (which could benefit financially from the acquisition of a recruit) strove to create the best impression. Benjamin Harris recalled how a sergeant-major on recruiting duty had made himself appear more impressive by wearing an officer's sword and pelisse, had a huge green plume in his shako, and displayed his whistle and powder flask most prominently.

Some light infantrymen in fact claimed that in combat conditions expert light infantry were as effective as riflemen, and there were occasions when riflemen were held at bay by the sheer volume of enemy skirmish fire (evidence perhaps that riflemen may have engaged at too short a distance to take advantage of the longer range of their rifles); but the effect of rifle-armed troops could be profound. Using the prowess of 'forty as prime fellows as ever pulled a trigger', George RIGHT French light infantry, 1809.

The men are so seasoned, that rain or any other kind of weather makes no impression ... we have been in want of tents for months together, sleeping on the ground without any other covering then the canopy of heaven. I never slept better than in such places. This is the regiment to make the soldiers. Campaigning is the life for me. I have never felt such happiness since I became a soldier. '9 His comments were an accurate reflection of the high morale of the men; as Kincaid stated, the sight of the French always 'acted like a cordial' upon their spirits, and fatigue was forgotten as they engaged the enemy with enthusiasm.

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