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157 95th Rifles, Waterloo 1815

Sale price$250.00 NZD

The "Experimental Corps of Riflemen" was formed in January 1800 as a light infantry skirmishing unit, providing sharpshooters, scouts and mobile light infantry.  In 1803 they were renamed the 95th Regiment of Foot (Rifles), and after the Napoleonic Wars were again renamed as the "Rifle Brigade".

The Rifles differed from other units in the British Army in several ways. Most notably they wore a distinctive green jacket and black leatherwork instead of the classic redcoat with white crossbelts worn by most infantrymen.  The reason for green colour was due to King George's German influences. He wanted the riflemen dressed similarly to the Jägers (hunters) light infantry of the German forces.

Other Jäger influences that were adopted in the Rifles included the concept of working in pairs, to protect each other while reloading. Another distinctive feature was the use of the 1800 Baker rifle.  The Baker rifle was shorter than the general issue Brown Bess musket, but having a rifled barrel was more accurate out to 200 yards.  Being shorter, it was more suited to skirmishing.

Riflemen carried a sword rather than a bayonet, which fitted on the side of the barrel.  With the sword attached however, reloading was very difficult and the weapon too heavy and cumbersome to fire, so the rifle was used without the sword attached.

This set of 95th Rifles shows six troopers kneeling, working in pairs with three firing and three reloading or priming their weapons from a powder horn.