Decisive controversy arose due to the passing of the November Constitution in Denmark, which integrated the Duchy of Schleswig into the Danish kingdom in violation of the London Protocol. The constitution gave Otto von Bismarck and the Prussians an... Read more ...
The November Constitution was passed
Decisive controversy arose due to the passing of the November Constitution in Denmark, which integrated the Duchy of Schleswig into the Danish kingdom in violation of the London Protocol. The constitution gave Otto von Bismarck and the Prussians an excuse to start the Second Schleswig War in 1864. Reasons for the war were the ethnic controversy in Schleswig and the co-existence of conflicting political systems within the Danish unitary state.
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Norwegian mountain man Jo Tjøstolsson Kleppe (1794–1884), also known as Jo Gjende, was a legendary reindeer hunter. A hermit for the better part of his life, he lived a lonely life in his cabin at Gjendeosen in Jotunheimen (The Home of the Giants) – a mountainous area in southern Norway. He spent his time hunting and reading books by the Age of Enlightenment\'s great philosophers, such as Voltaire and Volney. Known as a character and a crack rifle shot, Jo Gjende supposedly killed between 500 and 600 reindeer.
Published: 24 November 2007 by Øyvind Flatnes.
Edited: 25 November 2007.
Click here to see my drawings of how the first models were loaded with the paper cartridge.
Find out more!
You can read more about the Norwegian chamber-loading 'kammerlader' rifles and other capping breech-loading rifles and carbines, as well as needle guns such as the Dreyse and Chassepot in the brand new book From Musket to Metallic Cartridge: A Practical History of Black Powder Firearms.
Some counterfactual thoughts
As the chamber-loading rifles never saw any combat in its service timeframe, we actually have to imagine what had happened if it was used in the hands of soldiers in a war. If we look to other nations and their armies, Norway was far ahead of most others. One exception is Prussia which adopted von Dreyse’s 15.4 mm (.60”) needle-gun in 1841. The needle-gun, or Zündnadelgewehr as it was called in Prussia, fired a self-contained cartridge, while the chamber-loader had to be loaded with paper cartridge and loose caps. However, the needle-gun had its limitations.
In the rest of the world the muzzleloader was still extensively used. At the outbreak of the American Civil War 19 years after the adoption of the chamber-loader Norway had already improved their first chamber-loader and reduced the calibre. The Civil War was largely fought with muzzleloading rifle muskets. Would the outcome of the war have been different if one or both of the opposing parties had been armed with the Norwegian chamber-loader? Probably not. First of all, the Civil War was largely fought with outdated battle tactics from the time of the smoothbore musket. Secondly, the troops lacked marksman training.
However, an army that was trained both with the kammerlader rifle and more appropriate battle tactics would probably have had some impact in the wars that were fought with muzzleloaders. One example is the battle of Königsgrätz in 1866 when Bismarck's Prussians armed with von Dreyse's needle-guns completely overrand the Austrians that were armed with muzzleloaders.
It can be a bit difficult to get hold of a proper bullet mould for a kammerlader. I have made my own drawings and made a bullet mould that casts a replica of the Model 1855 bullet.
To the left: Paper cartridges. To the right: Bullets cast from a custom mould.
To the left: A good group shot with a M/1849/55/59 two band kammerlader. Right: Shooting a M/1849/55/59 two band kammerlader.