5 Weapons from the Napoleonic Wars

In Military History, Featured

Waterloo Week has come to a close. We tried not to go too overboard, and hope you enjoyed the Twitter chronology, background and the other bits and bobs we put together. To finish our celebrations of Waterloo here are 5 weapons from the Napoleonic Wars.

The Musket

Light InfantryIllustration from Men-at-Arms 146 - Napoleon's Light Infantry

The musket was the main weapon of the infantry during the Napoleonic Wars. They were slow to load and incredibly inaccurate. However, a volley fired from an infantry regiment could still cause some real damage to their opponent.

The Rifle

95th RiflesIllustration from Men-at-Arms 119 - Wellington's Infantry (2)

The Napoleonic Wars also saw the introduction of rifles to the battlefield. These had a longer range than the musket and were far more accurate, but were far more expensive and took longer to load. Napoleon opted to stick with the cheaper muskets, whilst the British forces utilised the more modern rifles, creating the 95th Regiment of Foot (Rifles).

The Cannon

ArtilleryIllustration from Men-at-Arms 96 - Artillery Equipments of the Napoleonic Wars

Artillery formed an important part of every army, but none more so than the French. This is hardly surprising given Napoleon’s history as an artillery officer. The Cannon came in a variety of forms, ranging from 3-pounder upwards.

The Lance

Napoleon's Red LancersIllustration from Men-at-Arms 389 - Napoleon's Red Lancers

A formidable sight for infantry and cavalry alike would be a charging line of lancers. It was the weapon of choice for the Russian Cossacks, with whom the lance had enjoyed a long history, but was also used to great effect by other armies. When the enemy regiments started to flee lancers were the ideal unit for running them down.

The Sabre

DragoonsIllustration from Men-at-Arms 371 - Wellington's Dutch Allies

The sabre was a common weapon throughout the conflict, although there were a wide range of variations. Some preferred a curved blade that could be used to slash at their enemies whilst others favoured a straight sword with a point sharp enough to run their opponent through.

So there you have it, a formidable group of weapons that helped make Waterloo such a ferocious battle.

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