Bayonets (their name originates from the town of Bayonne) were also shown, some absolutely intimidating with a length of almost three feet, others shorter. They were not so much used against infantry but against horses, with the kneeling front rank of the square grounding the butt on the earth and pointing the rifle with bayonet up and forward at an angle.
Later on rifling was introduced, with the famous Baker rifle
produced in large numbers, and a new ignition system added. In 1825
hand-made percussion caps came into use, and in 1853 arrived the
Lee Enfield rifle. During the Crimean war rifles were used with
great success, and were the deciding factor in defeating the
Russians with their smooth-bore firearms.
After the Enfield rifle came the first British military breech loader. This was produced by converting the muzzle loading Enfield rifle into a breech loader by adding the Snider patented breech mechanism.
The Indian Mutiny was also discussed. It broke out because the
Sepoys refused to handle cartridges supplied because these had
been greased with pig's fat.
The paper Snider cartridge was replaced by a coiled sheet brass cartridge. The next development was the move towards a smaller bore breech loading rifle in the form of the Martini Henry, which had a .577/450 calibre cartridge. It had its finest hour at the Battle of Rourke's Drift.
New developments then took place, like the invention of smokeless
powder, introduction of smaller calibres, single shot rifles and
It was an expert presentation by our guests, but even better was the fact that afterwards we were allowed to inspect the weapons and ordinance.
It was a lively evening, including real "flash" and puff from one of the rifles, and our thanks to the team who, as is customary,
THE SA NAVY PATROL CORVETTE, an article written by fellow member, Major Helmoed-Romer Heitman (Jane's Navy International May 2000) can be obtained from the Scribe who has a few copies available.
Jochen (John) Mahncke (Vice-Chairman/Scribe) (021) 797 5167
It is with great regret that we announce the death of our
Honorary Life Member Paul Lange who passed away after a long,
debilitating illness. Paul was one of the founder members of
our Branch together with the late Dr. Ken Gunn, Cdr Mac Bissett
and Woodie Nel, and acted in various positions from Chairman
to Secretary until his enforced retirement due to ill health a
few years ago.
However, he still maintained a keen interest in the affairs of our Branch, albeit with failing strength. He told us once that "getting the Society off the ground" was often laborious, and that he sometimes had to pay for expenses from his own pocket. But he had the immense satisfaction of seeing the Society grow over 25 years to its present position and standing, and for this he was very grateful and proud.
Our Branch will sorely miss his dedication, and we will always remember him.
Derek O'Riley - Chairman