The Brown Bess was .75 caliber, smoothbore, muzzle loading, flintlock musket. It was the standard long gun of the British Empire’s land forces from 1722 until 1838, and was the most common firearm used by both sides in the American Revolutionary War. The Brown Bess was accurate to only 50 yards, and was really only effective when fired en masse, at ranges less than 150 yards. Standard battlefield strategy for European Armies at the time was to have large forces face each other over short distances and blast away.
During the 1st Anglo-Afghan war, 1839-1842, Afghan Mountain warriors, hidden high in the cliffs up to 500 yards away, and armed with Jezail rifles, decimated the immobile British Army patrols. Eventually the entire 4,500 man British force was massacred in the mountain passes of the Hindu Kush.
Immediately after the disaster in Afghanistan, the British Government and the British East India Company finally discarded the old musket and replaced it with the rifled Enfield. Use of the Enfield would directly cause the next huge British military disaster, the Indian Rebellion of 1857, when the Hindu soldiers thought their ammunition was tainted with beef fat, and using it would make them lost caste. As many as one million people died as a result of the uprising.
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