Object Title

Model 1804 New Land Pattern Musket

Development

After the signing of the Treaty of Amiens in 1802 the Ordnance Department took the view that as peace had broken out it would not now be necessary to continue with what was still considered the emergency issue of India Pattern muskets. They were of the opinion they could revert to the high standards of production that they had demanded of their contractors prior to 1797. So a new musket was designed. Unfortunately war shortly resumed with France and the development of what is now known as the Model 1804 New Land Pattern musket was halted, the resumption of production of the India Pattern taking priority.  

 

The Model 1804 New Land Pattern musket was in fact the true successor the Land pattern series of muskets issued prior to the emergency introduction of the India Pattern musket in 1797. It was conceived and designed to be a modernized version of the earlier Short Land Pattern musket and to be built to the Ordnance department’s former high standards and it was to incorporate a number of the simplified production elements of the emergency issue Ordnance ‘India’ pattern. Further features were derived from several earlier experimental muskets including those produced by the London gun maker Henry Nock for the former Master General of the Ordnance, the Duke of Richmond. In particular a simplified stock with no ‘handrail’, a reversion to a 42 inch barrel, a simpler and flatter lockplate with a ring-neck cock, one soon to be adopted for an updated version of the India pattern and brass furniture easier to produce. The ramrod was also redesigned with a swell to enhance fit and to ensure against accidental loss. The barrel was also now retained by flat keys, the easier removal of which would aid easier maintenance.

Although developed in that short period of peace afforded by the treaty of Amiens the Model 1804 was not produced in any large quantities before 1815.  What production had taken place, either in 1804 or just prior to the 100 days campaign in 1815 was thought to have been issued to Guards regiments and used in the defence of Hugoumont Farm during the battle of Waterloo on the 18th June 1815. In 1817 the government finally contracted with the trade for 84,507 Model 1804 New Land Pattern muskets, enough to re-equip the now smaller British Army and to begin to retire the India Pattern muskets to the reserve.

 

Use and Effect

In terms of use the model 1804 New Land Pattern musket was little different from the earlier India Pattern muskets. Tests show that the musket’s is most accurate at about 50 yards.  Analysis of 19 battles between 1750 and 1830 show that the average engagement distance for infantry was 64 yards and that closing fire, when infantry was advancing and firing was delivered at a mere 30 yards.  Although it was recorded that in one instance in Spain British infantry fired at between 350 and 400 yards to drive a French unit to find cover and apparently this was not an isolated instance. In terms of rate of fire a British infantryman was expected to manage at least 3 rounds a minute when engaged.  Effect tests carried out by the East India Company in 1834-5 using a Board of Ordnance musket showed that it could penetrate three one inch thick deal planks set 12 inches apart at 60 yards and then penetrate 1 inch into the third three layer set of planks. This set of results was with the service charge of 6 drams of good quality British powder and when you observe the slow motion footage of a musket ball penetrating a gel block and shattering a simulated bone you can well understand the damage that musket ball wrought on the field of Waterloo.

Statistics

Barrel length 1057 mm (42 in)
Calibre 19 mm (0.75 in)
Country of manufacture Britain
Date entered service 1814
Loading Muzzle-loading
Overall length 1465 mm (57.5 in)
Weight 4.672 kg (10 lb 3 oz)

Author

Mark Murray-Flutter