The British Empire, largest Empire in history, was famous for many things, but one of the most notable was the nifty little Red Jackets they wore. And as students of American history know, those didn’t always work out for them, making them extremely easy targets. So why the RedCoats? Well the fact is, while the jackets were not useful in the US, where most of the counter were dense forests, mountains, or swamp, most of the places where the British fought, the Red Coat was one of the greatest ideas EVAR
See you need to understand something about combat back in the 17th/18th century, namely smoke…lots and lots of smoke. See rifles at the time were hardly what we called accurate and unless you were some crazy person who was shooting stuff all the time (AKA American Settlers) you would be hard pressed to shoot a person standing perfectly still 15 feet away from you with their arms outstretched. So battle formation at the time was based around grouping all of your troops together and having them all fire at once, basically making a “wall of bullets” per say, where nobody could dodge. Here is the problem. a normal rifle fired by itself produces A LOT of smoke. An entire line of people shooting rifles equals…even more smoke. Multiple lines shooting in formation/rotation, yeah that is what we call a hard battle field to deal with. And this isn’t even taking into account the cannons, enemy shots an the other units. Battlefields at this time were basically like giant clouds, you couldn’t see a thing. So how can you know who is your ally, and where your guys were? Well if they were wearing a bright fucking color of Red, then hey, that is your guy, don’t shoot him. And if they are walking one way, than that must mean its time to go that way. And if one dude had a scarlet outfit, then hey its your boss, don’t shoot him. Also the vast majority of battles the British fought were not in forests where random psychotic snipers were able to take a shot at you, but rather across fields, where the individual redness of a man’s outfit couldn’t really make him a target any more than you know…the line of troops he was with. And while the Americans were freakishly good shots, remember snipers did not win the American Revolution, it was the Colonial Trained Army and our French allies, the greatest American victories were fought with the british out in the middle of fields…after sniping them for awhile.
I’ve heard it said that red uniforms would make the blood of a wounded man less notable, thus helping moral, but I don’t know if there is any actual evidence to support this written by the British themselves. Another reason I do know for a fact is that red was a much cheaper die than what was being used on the continent, like green, blue, Violet, yellow etc. It is also fucking scary, seeing a line of red men emerging from the smoke in perfect lines, that is what we call fucking terrifying.
The first recorded use of the British Redcoat was the New Model Army under Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War, AKA the single most badass unit in the entire war.
Red uniforms didn’t go out of style for the British the mass adaptation of the rifle in the 1850s, and finally the invention of smokeless powder in 1880s, where suddenly visibility was a much bigger deal and the BRitish switched to Khaki.