The Jezail - underrated ?

Black powder shooting....its for....

  • Beardy weirdy gun freaks with poor social skills

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  • Real Men

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  • The seriously wealthy

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Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#1
Grinding my way through " The Afghan Wars " by Tony Heathcote .

Never handled or fired a jezail - and from Kipling's lines:

A scrimmage in a Border Station -
A canter down some dark defile -
Two thousand pounds of education
Drops to a ten-rupee jezail -
The crammer's boast, the Squadron's pride
Shot like a rabbit in a ride!


- I'd got the impression it wasn't up to much.

Reading Tony Heathcote's book I was struck by the fact that during the Retreat from Kabul, the Britsh infantry (44th of Foot, now Royal Anglians) armed with the workhorse Brown Bess/Tower musket were outranged by the tribesmen attacking them.

Disadvantage was that according to Heathcote , the weapon took three or four minutes to load, so well-drilled infantry using volley fire had the upper hand on an open battlefield.

Ten Rupees might sound like tuppence....but I suspect in 1840s British India it would have bought you a horse ( or several women)

Any of the black powder shooters out there ever fired a jezail ?

Be interesting to hear a first hand account.


Lee Shaver
 
#2
No idea about first hand accounts, but the fact of the matter is that Jezails are long barrelled weapons, especially compared to the Brown Bess - longer barrels as we all know confer greater accuracy and range, so i'm really not surprised that the British Infantry were outranged, or that the Jezail was a b@stard to reload. Length of a barrel - advantages and disadvantages.

I guess that those PBI were wishing for a Baker Rifle or somesuch ;)
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#3
The TWO most dangerous things in the world?

1) An officer with a map

2) A Sailor with a gun

Thanks Yeo - calm seas and light winds ( and don't hit the sprogs with ACP1C Vol 2 too hard when they can't remember who takes Guide on a Search Turn !)

Black powderites ? - prove!
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#5
Yup seen via a quick search on Google images.....what the lil graphic doesn't say is that the ball was typically 0.60 calibre.....lot of knockdown..... which I suspect Tunic, Red Campaign Service was not proof against.

Anyone fired one ?
 
#6
The stock looks weird.
 
#7
On the retreat from Kabul, the Brits were mostly following a track along the bottom of deep mountain gorges; they were fired on from above. Most of their casualties just came about when stragglers (women, children, servants and wounded) were butchered with swords and spears.......
 
#8
Not fired a Jezail... ( Even I am a bit wary of putting such a dodgy piece of ironwork next to my face..)

I have however fired Kentucky rifles, which are roughly equivalent in terms of caliber (nearer .36 than .50 Goaty..), barrel length and build technology. They are capable of considerable accuracy, and I would rate them as effective easily out to 500m.

Bakers were never that accurate as they traded loading speed for precision with a short barrel and slow twist, and were really only good out to 200m...
 
#9
4(T)
"On the retreat from Kabul, the Brits were mostly following a track along the bottom of deep mountain gorges; they were fired on from above. Most of their casualties just came about when stragglers (women, children, servants and wounded) were butchered with swords and spears."

As I understand matters out of approx 16,000, there was a single Brit Battalion, The Military & Civilian Staffs and the Camp Followers who where the vast majority.
Johnny Afghan had a field day butchering mainly arm less folk and have bragged about it ever since.
john
Apologies Goatman I know nothing exotic weapons such as Jezail.
 
#10
HE117 said:
Not fired a Jezail... ( Even I am a bit wary of putting such a dodgy piece of ironwork next to my face..)

I have however fired Kentucky rifles, which are roughly equivalent in terms of caliber (nearer .36 than .50 Goaty..), barrel length and build technology. They are capable of considerable accuracy, and I would rate them as effective easily out to 500m.

Bakers were never that accurate as they traded loading speed for precision with a short barrel and slow twist, and were really only good out to 200m...
Tell that to General Colbert :lol: LINKY

The accuracy of the Baker Rifle can be attested by the actions of one Rifleman Plunkett of the 1 st Battalion of the 95 th Regiment. During the retreat to Corunna Plunkett shot through the head and killed the French General Colbert at an estimated range of 600 yards. On denying it was a lucky shot he thereupon shot an aide-de-camp going to Colbert's assistance
 
#11
I have fired a jezail, all be it a modern copy, with the Brown Bess lock, and at about .50 in caliber, it kicked like a donky but was reasonaby accurate at about 300yards which is over twice the range of a Brown Bess, some of the Jezails I have seen were almost 7ft long, the reason for this length , I was told was so they could be loaded from horseback by putting the butt on the ground. Some also had a sort of polyaganal rifleing, made be useing the Damascus twist technique of forgeing the barrel onto a polyagnal drift. this gives the weapon pretty good range for a weapon of that time.If ever you get the chance to visit Darha in Pakistan you can see the local gunsmiths make everything from a state of the art AK/M16 to a matchlock musket, and most are quite happy to let you try out there products, weel worth a visit, but perhaps not at present
 
#12
happybonzo said:
HE117 said:
Not fired a Jezail... ( Even I am a bit wary of putting such a dodgy piece of ironwork next to my face..)

I have however fired Kentucky rifles, which are roughly equivalent in terms of caliber (nearer .36 than .50 Goaty..), barrel length and build technology. They are capable of considerable accuracy, and I would rate them as effective easily out to 500m.

Bakers were never that accurate as they traded loading speed for precision with a short barrel and slow twist, and were really only good out to 200m...
Tell that to General Colbert :lol: LINKY

The accuracy of the Baker Rifle can be attested by the actions of one Rifleman Plunkett of the 1 st Battalion of the 95 th Regiment. During the retreat to Corunna Plunkett shot through the head and killed the French General Colbert at an estimated range of 600 yards. On denying it was a lucky shot he thereupon shot an aide-de-camp going to Colbert's assistance
Well, the article you quote gives the range of the Baker as 150 -200 yards. The Colbert shot seems to have been remarkable even at the time.. :roll:
 
#13
I seem to remember that on the wall of The Kingshouse on the A84 north of Callender in Scotland there was a musket of a length about 6/7 feet a bit like a jazail
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#14
jonwilly said:
As I understand matters out of approx 16,000, there was a single Brit Battalion, The Military & Civilian Staffs and the Camp Followers who where the vast majority.
Johnny Afghan had a field day butchering mainly arm less folk and have bragged about it ever since.
no mate.......sorry, the 'if they had been up against PROPER soldiers, result would have been different " theory is not tenable .....the Regular Line battalion concerned, 44th of Foot (subsequently Essex Regt now Royal Anglians)lost 22 officers and 645 other ranks.

At last in January 1842, no longer able to wait for the promised escort [General]Elphinstone ordered the army to move the next morning. About 4,500 soldiers, with nine guns, accompanied by 12,000 camp followers, struggled out of the cantonments leaving behind those too sick and badly wounded to march, whom the Sirdars promised to care for . ....Most of the baggage was lost within a mile of the cantonments.
More like a brigade than a battalion.

cf http://www.britishbattles.com/first-afghan-war/kabul-gandamak.htm

The First Afghan War provided the clear lesson to the British authorities that while it may be relatively straightforward to invade Afghanistan it is wholly impracticable to occupy the country or attempt to impose a government not welcomed by the inhabitants. The only result will be failure and great expense in treasure and lives.

. The British Army learnt a number of lessons from this sorry episode. One was that the political officers must not be permitted to predominate over military judgments.

. The War provides a fascinating illustration of how the character and determination of its leaders can be decisive in determining the morale and success of a military expedition.

. It is extraordinary that officers, particularly senior officers like Elphinstone and Shelton, felt able to surrender themselves as hostages, thereby ensuring their survival, while their soldiers struggled on to be massacred by the Afghans
Good book, worth a read......more relevant to understanding the current conflict than 'The Bear went over the Mountain'
 
#15
tropper66 said:
I seem to remember that on the wall of The Kingshouse on the A84 north of Callender in Scotland there was a musket of a length about 6/7 feet a bit like a jazail
The largest recorded musket in Scotland is the Breadlbane gun, currently in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. It was appparantly used as the footrest in a banqueting table for many years and so survived.. http://www.scran.ac.uk/database/record.php?usi=000-100-000-826-C

Scottish muskets are very rare beast as your average Heilander was a sword and pistol man by choice...

Strangely enough Scottish rifles have a very jezail like "paddle" butt and mostly have snaphaunce locks rather than flintlock ones...

It is one of my ambitions to manufacture reproduction Scottish rifles, however even the mention of such things sends the "Scottish Government" :roll: into a vertical launch sequence.... :evil:
 
#16
The Breadalbane Gun was made in 1599 and was probably the earliest completly Scotish made gun, it was made for Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy from whom the Earls of Breadlabane were descended it was made by Patrick Ramsay of Dundee one of the centres of gunmaking in 16th and 17th centuries. But I dont know its length
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#17
Puzzled by the jezail reference to 'ball'. The shot that took out my great-uncle's right arm in Waziristan in 1919 was a slug hammered out of stolen Govt telephone wire. Being copper it caused festering so that a series of amputations was necessary. No more polo after that. Allegedly (because I don't know the man's name so can't trace this) my uncle's Sikh bearer won the Indian equivalent of a VC for rescuing him under fire.
 
#18
HE117 said:
happybonzo said:
HE117 said:
LINKY

The accuracy of the Baker Rifle can be attested by the actions of one Rifleman Plunkett of the 1 st Battalion of the 95 th Regiment. During the retreat to Corunna Plunkett shot through the head and killed the French General Colbert at an estimated range of 600 yards. On denying it was a lucky shot he thereupon shot an aide-de-camp going to Colbert's assistance
Well, the article you quote gives the range of the Baker as 150 -200 yards. The Colbert shot seems to have been remarkable even at the time.. :roll:
- Funnily enough that's exactly what his Aide de Camp thought :lol:
 
#19
Must apologies Goatman
I can't remember where I got the idea that the fighting troops where just the 44th.
Seems that the following Indian troops where part of the command.
# 4th Bengal Irregular Cavalry
# 5th Madras Infantry
# Poona Auxiliary Horse - Poona Horse
# Bombay Sappers & Miners - Bombay Engineer Group
# 31st Bengal Infantry
# 43rd Bengal Infantry
# 19th Bombay Infantry
# 1st Bombay Cavalry - 13th Lancers (Pakistan)
# 2nd, 3rd Bengal Cavalry
# 2nd, 3rd Companies of Bengal Sappers and Miners
# 16th, 35th, 37th, 48th Bengal Infantry
# 42nd Bengal Infantry (5th LI)

john
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#20
jonwilly said:
Must apologies Goatman
I can't remember where I got the idea that the fighting troops where just the 44th.john
No worries - it seems that the 13th LI (later Berkshire Regt ?) were also kicking about somewhere.......got chopped in the Second Afghan War at a place called Maiwand.

Oh and this is where I picked up the notion that the calibre was .60
SOURCE

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A VERY GOOD+ UNTOUCHED EARLY 19th CENTURY AFGHAN FLINTLOCK "CAMEL" GUN/JEZAIL, ca. 1810s: In overall very untouched condition. The round, Turkish-made, 46", cannon-form, baluster turned, .60 caliber iron, smoothbore, band-fastened barrel with its original decorative brass barrel bands and rear & front sights. Typical Afghan-form, molded and carved, Circasian Walnut, fullstock with a wide, flared, paddle-type butt and a chip-carved butt: some old chips and scattered handling marks. In original flintlock configuration and made with an English India Pattern Brown Bess mechanism. The lock with untouched gunmetal-brown surfaces and some patches of discoloration and pitting. Complete with its original sling swivels and iron ramrod: made without a trigger-guard. In overall very good untouched condition: the stock with some scattered handling marks and chips. The iron surfaces with an untouched age-patina and the expected pitting and rust staining on the breech and lockplate. In functional order with a strong mainspring and its original touch hole. A very nice and decorative example of these distinctive Afghan Rifles from the early Nineteenth century, ca. 1810s. Overall length, 60".

Price: $1,550.00

-------------------------- -----------------
( wonder if the Small Arms Museum in Warminster has one in it's collection...?)
 

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