In this, their third book in a series on 19th Century military weaponry, Guy and Leonard Alston-Roberts-West explore the evolution of Bavarian Podewils and Werder rifles in the late 1860s.
This crucial epoch witnessed the transition from the smooth-bore muzzle-loading musket to the rifled-barrel, breech-loading metallic cartridge era, beginning with the introduction of the first purpose-built percussion musket (M.1842) and ending with the Bavarian Army’s acceptance of Podewils (M.1866) and Werder (M.1869).
During the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, the Bavarian army witnessed first-hand the deadly effect of the Prussian army’s Dreyse breech-loading needle-ignition rifle and quickly rearmed themselves, albeit with a compromise – a breech-loading modification of their previous muzzle-loading rifle.
This was the Podewils/Lindner M.1866, which was employed in the 1870-71 conflict alongside the ultra-modern Werder M.1869, perhaps the best rifle deployed at the time.
The authors have evaluated these weapons by live-firing them with reproduction ammunition meticulously reconstructed from historical drawings in order to replicate as accurately as possible the experience of Bavarian riflemen of the day.
Because the ammunition for these firearms is as historic as the rifles themselves, it is covered in detail, as is the process of replicating the cartridges and bullets.
In addition to a large number of precise technical illustrations covering every stage of manufacturing, generic illustrations are also included to provide historical context.