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1864 - The Forgotten War/First use of Needle Gun


By Benjamin T. Christensen  link to page

from page Wrote:The needle gun was invented by the German gunsmith Johann Nicolaus von Dreyse in 1827. The use of a complete cartridge: bullet, black powder charge and percussion cap in a paper case, was its greatest advantage. Contrary to the ammunition used for contemporary rifles, the complete cartridge was inserted into the barrel from the rear part (the breech) of the gun, and the needle gun was hence also known as the breach-loading gun. When the trigger was pulled, a needle pierced the paper case, ignited the black powder charge, and the bullet was discharged. Loading a needle gun was much quicker than loading other guns, among these the muzzle-loading rifle applied by the Danish army which was loaded by inserting a powder charge followed by a bullet into the top of the barrel and stamping these to the bottom of the barrel with a ramrod. This lengthy and laborious loading process for the muzzle-loader meant that a rifleman with a breach-loader could load and fire about four shots while a rifleman with a muzzle-loader loaded and fired one shot.

The forgotten war that shaped modern Europe

Tom Buk-Swienty

Quote:The Battle of Dybbøl, 1864. Prussian troops lay siege to an outpost in the far south of Denmark. The conflict is over control of the Duchy of Schleswig, recently annexed by Denmark to the alarm of its largely German-speaking inhabitants. Danish troops make a valiant attempt to hold out but are overrun by the might of the Prussian onslaught. Of little strategic importance, the struggle for Schleswig foreshadowed the same forces that, fifty years later, would tear Europe apart. Prussia's victory would not only rejuvenate its nascent militarism, but help it claim leadership of the new German Empire.Told in rich detail through first-hand accounts, Tom Buk-Swienty's magisterial account of the Schleswig conflict tells the story of this pivotal war. 1864 shows how a minor regional conflict foreshadowed the course of diplomacy that led to the First World War and brutally presaged the industrialised future of warfare. But most of all, in its human detail, from touching letters between husbands and wives to heartbreaking individual stories of loss, 1864 is a gripping, epic human drama that shows the effect all wars have on the soldiers, on families and on the individual men and women who must live its realities.
Book link here

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So now I blog...



Oh yes, I saw that in the bookshop the other day.

The 19th century seems such a mass of bloodshed that I find myself generally very ignorant of it.



I have read the book and I must say it is really well written and allows for a very deep insight view on the lives of every day soldiers on both sides. It also deliveres a good background to the war of 1864 and explains to a certain degree why Denmark thought it could annex a part of Germany without German Nations reacting to it. In fact, all German nations were in favour of an Austro-Prussian attack on Denmark.

I can highly recommend the book. I read it primarily because it is the first of the three unification wars of Germany. Whilst my interest sits with the war of 1866, I would say reading 1864 is a very important and interesting prequel to the later wars of 66 and 70.

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