Weapons used in the war of 1812
Written by Tim Nash
History of War - Weapons of War
The weapons used in the war of 1812 were knives, swords, bayonets, pistols, muskets, rifles, cannons and to a lesser extent, crude bombs. Among these different kinds of weapons, muskets and rifles with bayonets were the most used and in fact, were considered as the weapons that won the battles between these two opposing armies. This is because most battles were frontal in nature with wide distances between sides that would naturally call for the use of muskets and rifles.
When it comes to close combat fighting, the weapons used in the war of 1812 were bayonets attached on muskets and rifles; Swords, knives were also used for close combat and pistols. However, pistols were usually used by army officers thus they were rarely used in close quarter fighting among soldiers.
On the other hand, cannons which were the artilleries weapons used in the war of 1812 were utilized for the bombardment of buildings and perimeter defenses of the other side prior to assault of the attacking forces. However, during those days, these cannons were not accurate in hitting their target and were not depended upon to win battles.
Cannons were of several kinds. There were cannons designed for use aboard ships which were the specialty of the British naval forces during those periods. Cannons for use on land were known as the early mortars that can carry cannon balls to far distances. Cannons that would comprise an attacking force were called artilleries. These cannons were movable carried on wooden wheel contraptions and carried to its location by horses. There were several models or types of cannons that the British and American forces used to fight each other. These types of cannons would depend on the poundage of the cannon balls that they can carry.
But although these kinds of artillery or cannons were devastating weapons used in the war of 1812, they were still hampered by the lack of accuracy. In fact there were cases when the round of cannon balls fired on a target is nearly used up but the target is still standing without being hit. Both the British and the American forces have their own artilleries but they greatly depend more on the muskets and rifles with bayonets that their soldiers have to win their battles.
Other kinds of weapons used in the war of 1812 were several bombs that were designed to explode mid air, above the enemy lines. These were crudely made bombs and would usually falter and not explode at all. However, when they explode, it could tremendously do damage because of the many junk hardware inside the bomb like nails and other hard items that can do harm to whoever is hit by these flying debris. An example of this kind of weapon was known as the grapeshot. The content of this bomb were all musket balls and could prove devastating to the enemy once it can explode mid air over enemy lines. However, these kinds of weapons used in the war of 1812 were undependable to function properly.
Thus, the weapons used in the war of 1812 can be categorized as hand to hand fighting were the weapons used were knives, swords and bayonets. Distance fighting would involve the use of muskets and rifles, artilleries in the form of cannons and some kind of experimental crude bombs. These were all the weapons used in the war of 1812.