I've mentioned evidence to suggest that conscripts are reluctant point a gun at The Other side and pull the trigger. It is based on analysis by Dave Grossman of unfired, loaded rifles picked up after the slaughter at Gettsburg. It gives a certain hope for the world that individuals will have agency for good deeds even when The Man is trying to dehumanize both parties - killer and killee: “a bayonet is a weapon with a worker at both ends” as John MacLean has it.
I am currently on a spellbound [L: list words >4 letters including the middle letter] jag. It takes longer than worldle. I think the original idea for spellbound was launched as Spelling Bee by the NYT but I heard about it as a MetaFilter project. It is a teeny bit frustrating that perfectly good words - achene, tarn, filo - are rejected by the game editors but I'm not going to threaten to eat their first-born about undaunted. The other day I had a spellbound punt with MINIE having a vague idea that it was some sort rifle. tbh, I can't remember whether this was allowable to the wordlist editor or not, but it hooshed me off down a rabbit-hole . . .
Claude-Etienne Minié (13 Feb 1804 – 14 Dec 1879) was a french army officer who solved an intractable battlefield problem: how to fire bullets quickly and accurately at the enemy. It had been discovered earlier in the 19thC that accuracy could be enhanced by imparting a spin to the ball as it left the barrel; and that this could be achieved by 'rifling' the inside of the barrel with helical grooves. Furthermore, it was cclear that a tight fit between ball and barrel would impart more whoomph to the bullet. Breech-loading was in the future, so gunpowder charge and bullet had to be forced down the cylindrical orifice with an, appropriately named ram-rod. The ram rod became another piece of kit which could be lost, bent out of shape or inadvertently fired at the enemy in a fog of terror.
Hundreds of thousands of soldiers were killed by Minié balls, first in the Crimean War where Minié rifles were available to the British/French allies but not to their Russian opponents. The damage was considerably greater in the American Civil War where the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts turned out more than 1 million Springfield 1861 Minié rifles. The Confederates relied on then British for Enfield Pattern 1853 rifle-musket.