Weapons of the Revolutionary War - Household Weapons
There was no standing army at the outbreak of the American Revolutionary war - each colony had relied upon the local militia who made up of part time citizen-soldiers, used for local defence. Their were no uniforms and there were limited supplies of weapons and gun powder. The range of weapons first used in the revolutionary war therefore included household and farming implements that could be put to lethal use.
Weapons of the Revolutionary War - Cannons
Cannons were used extensively during the American Revolutionary War and was key to the American victory. A typical cannon used in the Revolutionary War was a large, heavy piece of artillery, typically mounted on wheels that used gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellants to launch a lethal projectile. It took as many as 14 American soldiers to operate a cannon but it could fire projectile for hundreds of yards and hit dozens of enemy soldiers in a single shot.
Facts about Weapons of the Revolutionary War
The following Fact File contains fast information and facts about the Weapons of the Revolutionary War. Interesting facts and an overview and description of the weapons used by the rebels in the American War of Independence. Many Revolutionary Battles were decided in bloody hand-to-hand combat where bayonets, swords, tomahawks and axes were used.
Muskets: The most common Revolutionary weapon was the flintlock musket, commonly known as the Brown Bess, and was first used in 1768. Muskets were muzzle loaded with a single shot or grape shot (multiple balls), fired from the shoulder. The Musket had a short range and was not very accurate and used by infantry. The Revolutionary War muskets were commonly equipped with bayonets. Only about 20% of the lead fired from one army to another hit the target
Rifles: A shoulder fired weapon with a long barrel. The rifle was slower to load but more accurate than the musket. The rifle had a longer effective range. Sharpshooting riflemen were used as snipers against the British to great effect. The rifle had a longer effective range. Sharpshooting riflemen were used as snipers against the British to great effect - see the Battle of Long Island
Long Rifles: The Long Rifle was the one of the first completely American designs. It was made by the Germans who colonized Pennsylvania
Bayonets: The bayonet is a swordlike stabbing metal blade that may be fixed to the muzzle of a musket or rifle for use in hand-to-hand fighting, effectively turning the gun into a spear. The bayonet is referred to as an edged weapon mounted on the muzzle end of a firearm as a backup weapon used in close quarters combat.
Pistols: A pistol is a non-repeating handgun - designed to be held and operated by one hand. The barrel of a pistol was approximately six inches long. Difficult use because of the extensive load times. Cavalrymen and American officers used pistols. Pistols were effective only at close range.
Swords: Swords were widely used during the Revolutionary war and included hanger swords (cutlass), sabres and hunting swords. A Hanger Sword or cutlass is a short, broad sabre or slashing sword, with a straight or slightly curved blade sharpened on the cutting edge and was used by Infantrymen. Sabres: A sabre is a heavy cavalry sword with a curved blade and a single cutting edge. Officers also carried small sabre swords which were light, straight, and slender - often used to direct troops. Hunting Swords: A Hunting sword is single-handed short sword
Tomahawks: A tomahawk is type of axe that is native to North America, resembling a hatchet with a straight shaft. The tomahawk was used as a hand-to-hand or a thrown weapon
Knives: A vast selection of knives were used during the Revolutionary war including throwing knives, daggers, scalpers and skinners
Pole arms: A pole arm was a cutting or thrusting weapon mounted on a long handle or pole. Pikes, spears, halberds, partisans and spontoons were all pole-arms. A pole arm was used as a close combat weapon in which a blade is placed on the end of a long wooden shaft, extending the user's effective range.