Saturday, January 23, 2010

Weapons of the Moro Rebels

While the arms of the American Infantry opposing them were in a constant forward progression, the weapons of the Moros themselves seem to have remained relatively static through this period. In fact, they were little changed since the beginning of the battles the Moros had fought against the Spanish nearly 300 years earlier.
From Left: A large wavy-bladed kris. A smaller kris, showing the inherent variability of the design. A barong. Four Gunong (daggers). Two small spears, called either budiak or dilk, depending on whether Sulu or Mindanao is being spoken. Laying horizontal in front of the cartridge belt is a Kampilan.
In this image, we see a quartet of budiak, a Kampilan, and a Remington rolling block rifle. These were presumably captured from the Spanish, and likely in the 11.5x57R Reformado service caliber. Oddly, despite most accounts saying the Moros (and the Filipino Insurgents before them) were armed with antiquated muskets, if they had firearms at all, these rolling blocks would have given the Moros rough parity with the Trapdoor Springfields used by the volunteer and state troops at the beginning of the conflict.
In this image, showing a pair of warriors in the service of the Sultan of Sulu, we see the shield also carried by many Moro warriors, particularly those armed with kris or budiak. In addition to personal firearms and blades, the Moros had a large number of small cannon, called 'Lantaka.' These were based on 17th & 18th century swivel guns from Spanish ships, usually from brass, and often highly decorated. In the above photo, several Lantaka barrels are shown along with a small firing carriage. Interestingly, the Spanish guns these were inspired by would not have used such a train, so the piece shown was likely inspired by heavier field pieces. The Moro lack of heavier cannon than Lantaka was the greatest arms gap of the conflict, and is likely the reason for most American successes in the larger battles of the war.

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