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Old July 30, 2012, 09:46 PM   #45
Mike Irwin
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Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,074
"but line officers always resisted the consideration of rapid firing rifles for general issue, always citing the "waste of ammunition."

Yet another wonderous example of how the Civil War was in many ways the first 20th century war, but was still fought with 18th century tactics.

The so-called "men will waste ammunition" argument was more a means of enforcing control over the men in the unit, who (the theory goes) couldn't be trusted to do anything unless they were directed to do it by an officer.

And, line officers RARELY were the ones complaining about potential ammunition wasteage. Those concerns were most often broached by those who never took part in a pitched battle, and for whom "war" was, often, an abstract concept, or even a fiduciary one.

Nothing like an upper level general trying to bring a war in under budget by controlling how many shots his men fire in a 24-hour period.

That kind of foolishness lasted in the US army right up through the adoption of the 1903 Springfield.

In fact, I think ammunition wastage concerns were raised when the Garand was adopted, and in some cases troops undergoing basic training during WW II were told to conserve their fire, where as once they got into combat they were told by combat veterans to blast the **** out of anything that might be remotely hostile because ammo is cheap and easy to get, but trained soldiers are not easy to get.
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