An Introduction to

D.F. Harding

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Book cover of An Introduction to East India Company's Smallarms


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An Introduction to
East India Company Smallarms

This book introduces the two million smallarms of many different designs which the once mighty East India Company procured for its forces. It describes and illustrates the patterns that collectors are likely to see, made c1775 to 1851, and yet is far more than a collectors' guide.

Two introductory chapters outline how the Company procured its smallarms from the English gun trade, and how the patterns are classified. The next seven chapters cover the main types of weapon thematically: muskets, fusils, rifles, carbines, pistols, musketoons and blunderbusses, and finally wallpieces. Then comes a chapter on the smallarms bought privately by the Company's irregular cavalry regiments, and another on the India Ship Store arms used by East Indiaman ships. In these nine key chapters each pattern is covered on two facing pages, with description and discussion on the left and photos on the right. Most of the photos are new and many show previously unpublished specimens.

Special appendices allow collectors to interpret markings of all kinds, also to identify the different patterns of locks and bayonets and find coverage of the related patterns of firearm elsewhere in the book. Finally there is an outline of how muzzle-loading smallarms were loaded and fired in Britain's main armies, with three key graphs on how muskets and rifles compared in accuracy and rates of fire.

This new book summarises the heart of David Harding's comprehensive four-volume work, the highly acclaimed Smallarms of the East India Company 1600-1856 (Foresight Books 1997-99), where thousands of source notes, extensive bibliographies and careful but very readable analysis establish the accuracy of what he writes in this shorter work.

Hardback; 270 pages at A4 size, 500 large and clear photos, 26 line drawings and 3 graphs.