RC20 - No, I am sorry man - introducing the superiority of a semi auto carbine in trench warfare, or the fact that an M1 Garand is obviously a more capable infantry rifle proves nothing in this debate.
The original issue was very, very simple: best bolt action battle rifle, OP thinks it is the SMLE, commence debate.
We are not talking about if a rifle won a war, if it was cheaper to manufacture, if it was more accurate. We are talking about the best implement of battle for an infantry soldier, with our options being limited to bolt action rifles. That the British got kicked out of Malaya does not make the Arisaka a better rifle than the LE - that is a straw man and completely irrelevant. Tactics are continually being confused with the debate at hand. No one has put it into an ideal setup etc - in almost every respect that really matters the SMLE is superior as a battlefield weapon, in those it is not superior in, the inferiority is so slight as to make no practical difference (accuracy maybe).
Your question about when the superiority of the SMLE has been used decisively has been answered, repeatedly, by myself and others. In short, the opening battles of WWI. You then list a bunch of examples of where it failed to be decisive in WWII, and claim that points to something (even though everyone contributing here, yourself included I hope, surely agrees that major battles in WWII were not won by rifle fire) when in fact it is an argument for precisely nothing.
Arguments have been offered as to why the SMLE is the best bolt action battle rifle - no arguments strong enough to stand on their own merits without attempting to confuse the issue have been offered by way of rebuttal.
Hmm, I can't say that I see the LE haven been proved the best overall, other than capacity and again I would have to see how an average company performed with it vs a Mauser or a 1903 to see if that was sustained.
Mechanically I don't think its been proved other than a slightly better rate of fire.
What I can say is that an M1 company average would sustain a better rate of fire than the LE.
So we take it out of context and grant it the wonder of WWI but clearly inferior in WWII (though fortunately on the right side).
Still seems to me that its context that counts.
So in Malaysia and the early Pacific war while it was vastly better than an Arisaka and well trained troops it still did not prevail? So does that mean even if it was a wonder weapons it made no difference and hence the discussion is purely playing mental marbles? Or does that mean the perceived wonder gun was so marginally superior that indeed a pretty shoddy Japanese force using superior tactics prevailed despite their inferior rife?
Me thinks it is relevant in that if there was an arena it could prove itself then that would have been it.
Africa should have been another one where long range riflery and the LE advantages should have been decisive (if it was indeed that much superior). My reading is despite being in a dug in position and knowing where the Germans were coming the Southern German attack came perilously close to success.
I begin to see why Montgomery moved so slowly. It was not that he was inept or anything, he just needed to have a 5-1 superiority to push a logistically deprived German Africa Coprs out of North Africa (push being the operative word not encircled and destroyed in detail))
Seems like an inferior K98 did pretty well then (well that and the pesky MG42, a bit of decent artillery and superior tactics with complete lack of air superiority)
Back to reality, marginal advantage here, break even there, a tad less good elsewhere. Pretty much a wash with other factors determining the outcome.
And per the op on the M16. Lovely superior precision engineering and machining, but it does not work in the muck and the good and sand like an AK.