Alan R. Arvold


   At the siege of the Alamo the vast majority of all personal

firearms used (over 90%) were of the smoothbore variety. However

there were a small number of rifles on both sides which did have

a minor but discernable impact on the fighting. On the Texan side

about 25% of the men had rifles as their personal firearms. These

rifles were basically hunting rifles, ranging from the short

barrelled plains variety to the famed long barrelled Kentucky

rifles. A little over half of these rifleman were spread out

among the different smoothbore armed units manning the walls

shooting at targets of opportunity beyond the range of the

smoothbore muskets. (During the final assault on the Alamo it is

doubtful that these riflemen fire their rifles more than once,

quickly switching over to their extra muskets to keep up a steady

rate of fire.) The rest of the riflemen were in the units manning

the positions at the wooden palisade between the Chapel and the

Low Barracks. Their purpose was to engage Mexican units charging

the palisade at a longer range than was possible with muskets in

order to stop the attack further out from the palisade as it was

recognized as a dangerous weak point in the Alamo's perimeter.

These rifle armed units used their rifles through out the final

assault and were quite effective in pinning down the Mexican

Fourth Column during the first part of the final assault on the



   On the Mexican side the Zappadore Battalion in the Reserve

Column was the only rifle armed unit in the Mexican forces that

attacked the Alamo in the final assault. The Zappadores were

armed exclusively with British surplus "Baker" military rifles,

most of which dated back to the time of the Napoleanic Wars.

During the battle after the North Wall had been cleared of

Texans, Zappadore units standing on top of the North Wall

supported the other Mexican units advancing into the Alamo's

Plaza by engaging Texans at the far end of the Plaza and on top

of the Low Barracks with rifle fire.


   While rifle fire did not have a decisive impact during the

final assault on the Alamo, it certainly did have an effect and

thus should be included in the game. The following rules will do

just that.



15.0 Rifle Fire


15.1 General: In Dark Victory certain units are considered to be

armed exclusively with rifles. These units have a longer range

over which they can fire their weapons at enemy units but must

pay an increased Action Factor Cost in order to fire their



15.2 Texan Units: The following Texan units are considered to be

rifle armed; the one 5/3/2 and the two 9/4/1 infantry units

located in hexes 2629, 2728, and/or 2828.


15.3 Mexican Units: The following Mexican units are considered to

be rifle armed; all Mexican sapper units (identified by the "S"

printed next to their formation numbers) in the Reserve Column.


15.4 Range: The advantage of rifle fire is the extended range

over which rifle armed units can engage targets. For Texan units

the maximum range is 30 hexes and for Mexican units the maximum

range is 20 hexes.

Note: The ranges stated above represent the maximum effective

range which units can engage targets with massed rifle fire.

While there were undoubtably sharpshooters on both sides who

could hit targets beyond these ranges, they were few and rare.

The reason for the difference in maximum ranges is two fold. One

the Mexican Army used a cheap inferior grade of gunpowder

compared the standard US gunpowder used by the Texans. This cheap

gunpowder had less propellant force, thus causing a reduction in

range. Two, the Texans were more experianced and proficient with

their rifles considering that they used them quite often for

hunting game in peacetime. The Zapadores only had rifle practice

a few times a year and thus were less skilled.


15.5 Line of Sight (LOS): Rifle fire is subject to the same LOS

rules as regular fire, including the rules dealing with the pre-

dawn darkness and dawn, with one exception. Rifle armed units

which occupy intermediate and high level hexes do not have their

line of sight blocked by any ground level units or obstacles (low

walls) at any distance providing their target units are also on

intermediate and/or high level hexes.

Note: Due to the longer straighter trajectory of rifle fire, it

was possible to fire over the heads of people on ground level

along the entire length of the Alamo providing both the firer and

the target were on the walls.


15.6 Action Cost: The disadvantage of rifle fire is that it takes

longer to load the rifle due to the difficulty in ramming a lead

ball down a rifled barrel. Thus it costs a Texan unit 9 AF to

fire its rifles and a Mexican unit 12 AF to fire its rifles.


15.7 Texan Extra Gun Counters: Extra Gun counters may be stacked

with the Texan rifle armed units. These units may fire using

these Extra Gun counters and any which they move to at the usual

3 AF cost but will only have a maximum range of 10 hexes when

they do.

Note: The riflemen at the palisade did have extra loaded muskets

stacked at their location to use in case the Mexicans got up too

close to the palisade in their assault. As it turned out they did

not need to use them until the Mexicans were swarming their right

flank from the direction of the Plaza.


General Note: Players may wonder about the difference in ranges

between the regular Texan and Mexican units even though both have

smoothbore muskets. The reason for it is this. Mexican infantry

never received an musketry training beyond learning how to load

and fire their muskets. When they fired their weapons in combat

they fired their muskets from the hip, pointing their weapons

towards the enemy, which made for very short effective range

(about 30 yards). The Zapadores were an exception to this. Being

the elite infantry of the Mexican Army they received basic

musketry training, including learning how to aim, and even spent

a few times a year at the rifle range. The regular Mexican

infantry never even got to do that. Texan infantry being mostly

frontiersmen were more familiar with firearms as it was a part of

their everyday life. At least they knew how to aim which is why

they have a longer effective range than the Mexicans. It should

be noted that smoothbore muskets had a maximum effective range of

between 50 to 100 yards beyond which accuracy dropped off rather