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The Destroying Angel: The Rifle-Musket as the First Modern Infantry Weapon. Gibbons
The Destroying Angel: The Rifle-Musket as the First Modern Infantry Weapon. Gibbons

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On the battlefields of the Crimean War, William Howard Russell described the new weapon in the hands of British troops -- the rifle-musket -- as "the Destroying Angel" that swept away their Russian foes. In a response to the popular belief among current historians that the rifle-musket's impact on military history was very limited, Brett Gibbons argues that the rifle-musket was in fact the first modern infantry weapon. Drawing upon a wealth of previously unidentified primary sources, Gibbons examines the rifle-musket and it's role in not just the American Civil War, but also the Crimean War, the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the 1859 Italian War of Unification, the Schleswig War of 1864 and the Austro-Prussian War in 1866. He compellingly demonstrates that the rifle-musket forever changed the way battles are fought, and just as importantly, revolutionized the way soldiers are trained. Gibbons considers a number of historical battles, from well-known actions like the "Thin Red Line" at the Battle of Balaclava to obscure yet ferocious actions during the 1857 Indian Rebellion, to illustrate the varying impact of the rifle-musket in both trained and untrained hands. Drawing upon his broad domain knowledge as an expert on 19th century arms and a U.S. Army Ordnance officer, Gibbons compellingly demonstrates that the rifle-musket deserves a better reputation than it currently has from military historians. With a foreword written by Lieutenant General (ret.) Phil Jones CB CBE DL.

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