Question about cavalry sidearm for historical novel

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by McKenna, Jun 21, 2017.

  1. McKenna

    McKenna New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2017
    Messages:
    2
    I'm writing a historical novel which features the 4th Cavalry in the Philippines from 1898-1901. I know the Colt 1911 was developed as a result of the weak .38 issued to the army during that war, but what I need help with is info on what sidearm the cavalry, rather than the army, was using at that time.

    Was the cavalry also issued the .38? Or did they continue using Colt Peacemakers?

    Any help would be deeply appreciated. I like to be accurate with details like this in a work of fiction.
     
  2. jbmid1

    jbmid1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2011
    Messages:
    3,937
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    They used the double action .38 early in the conflict, switching back to the SA .45 Peacemaker as a result of the .38's ineffectiveness. Dates probably varied from unit to unit. It looks like the cavalry was armed to the teeth with rifle & sword also. Krag 1896's, a carbine version was available late in the conflict also.
     
    McKenna and Firpo like this.

  3. jwdurf

    jwdurf Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2014
    Messages:
    5,817
    Location:
    Rural Northern CA
  4. McKenna

    McKenna New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2017
    Messages:
    2
    Thanks for the help. Much appreciated.
     
  5. JONWILL

    JONWILL Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2017
    Messages:
    178
    The 38 Long Colt was slightly more powerful than the 38 S&W.

    If I remember the Moros were jacked up on some sort of local narcotic and wrapped themselves in tight cloth to keep wound bleeding to a minimum. Not really sure if the change to the 45 SAA Colt really made a huge difference. Most fights used rifles and the shotgun.

    Even with its low energy it could get off 6 shots fast and could be reloaded faster than the Colt. Just like the 9mm vs 45 ACP arguement. More shots or bigger bullet.
     
  6. jim brady

    jim brady Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    Messages:
    5,009
    Location:
    Simla, Colorado
    Jon - that the .38s were not effective at stopping the Moros when they were in a drug frenzy was exactly why the Army brought back the .45 Colt. Troops COULD reload the .38s a little faster than the SAA, but the stopping power of the .45 did the trick. From what I recall reading about it, the Moros could be pumped full of .38 lead and just continue to hack up Americans, while the .45s put the Moros away.

    It made such a huge difference that the Army dropped the .38s while they were still new and went back to a man-stopper class .45 caliber. They had a little egg on their faces, but at least (unlike today) they were willing to admit that they made a mistake and learned from it. (We ARE still issuing the 9mm, aren't we?):rolleyes:
     
  7. Archie

    Archie Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2005
    Messages:
    480
    Location:
    Hastings, Nebraska; the Heartland!
    Then, as now, the U. S. Cavalry was a part of the U. S. Army and therefore were issued the same arms as 'everyone else'.

    The only difference was the Cavalry was typically issued carbines, or shorter versions of the standard rifle. (Infantry had to carry the heavy rifles, the horses demanded lighter loads to carry.)

    Also of note is the Army, then or now, can wave a magic wand and replace all the issue equipment at once (not even canteens or blankets) and therefore, a certain delay takes place between the official date of adoption of a new item and the last row in F Troop getting the 'new stuff'.

    F'rinstance, the U. S. rifle, .30 caliber of 1892. 1896 and 1898, commonly known as the Krag-Jorgensen (pronounced 'Yourgensen', by the way) was officially replaced in service in 1903 by the M1903 Springfield rifle. Some troops still had Krags at the beginning of the First World War. (Some reserve units still had them at the beginning of the Second World War!)

    If the author has a specific unit in mind, a letter to the Army might shed better light on what arms they carried.