This rifle, invented by Mr. Henry O. Peabody, of Boston, Mass., is the parent of the Peabody-Martini and Martini-Henry rifles. The original Peabody was very much like the Martini-Henry, except that the spiral spring for actuating the firing-pin was placed in the stock in rear of the block. The type of this rifle ordered by the Turkish Government in 1873 is almost identical with that used in the British service, except that the cartridge is rather smaller and more symmetrical; the powder charge and weight of bullet, however, are the same. The range of this arm was so much superior to that of the Russian Berdan rifle employed at the same time that it gave the Turks an immense advantage over their Russian adversaries. Nothing has ever happened in the history of firearms which shows more forcibly the great advantage which arises from the possession of a really first class powerful rifle more than the fighting about Plena; the Russians at the time were armed with the Berdan rifle, and it appears that they were not prepared to meet a rifle with such an extremely long range as the Peabody-Martini.
General Todleben, in a letter to General Brialmont, states the number of Turkish bullets which fell among the Russian ranks when they were still 2,000 yards away from the defenders' position was such that divisions, which at the outset numbered from 10,000 to 12,000 men, were speedily reduced to a strength of from 4,000 to 5,000; that in other words, they lost half their effectives. Captain Kouropatkine, speaking of the attack upon Loftcha, states that at 2,000 yards from the Turkish position Russian soldiers were struck down by the defenders' bullets, and that at 1,500 yards men were falling rapidly on all sides: and General Zeddeler, who was present with the Russian guard when it received its "baptism of fire," at Gorni Dubniak, states that at 3,000 paces from the defenders' position the Russians began to suffer loss; that at 2,000 paces men were falling rapidly, and, as the attack progressed, the reserve suffered nearly as much as the firing line. Sec Martini-Henry Rifle and Peabody-Martini Rifle.
Farrow, Edward S. American Small Arms; a Veritable Encyclopedia of Knowledge for Sportsmen and Military Men. New York: Bradford, 1904. Print.
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