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Old September 21, 2012, 07:19 AM   #26
Mike Irwin
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I'm well familiar with the concepts of barrel harmonics, and precession and their effects on short and long-range accuracy.

There's another, somewhat more practics, way of examining the abilities of the 1903 vs. the Lee Enfield at long-range...

The results of the various Palma and other matches held between the United States and Commonwealth countries in the first half of the 20th century.

The United States won 6 of the 7 Palma matches held when the US teams were shooting 1903s vs Lee Enfields.

Generally, other international long-range matches also saw US shooters holding a significant competitive edge over their Commonwealth opponents.

Additionally, that article is from 1901.

Kind of hard to say that the Lee Enfield is categorically more accurate than the M1917 or the M1903 at long range when: A) those rifles hadn't even been designed/adopted when that article was written, nor had "modern" bullets been developed for either rifle.
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Old September 21, 2012, 07:36 AM   #27
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The primary reason there is so much variation with the Lee-Enfield family of rifles is the same reason there's so much variation with the AK-47 family of rifles...

They were made by a significant number of manufacturers in a variety of nations.

From the British Government at Matlby, Enfield, and Fazakerly to Birmingham Small Arms (a private company) to Savage Arms in the United States to commonwealth arsenals in Canada, Australia, South Africa, and India.

The M1917 and the M1903 rifles were made by three and two manufacturer's, respectively, and two of the three makers of M1917s were, IIRC, simply different plants owned and operated by Remington Arms.


"this is probably why other rifles like the K98 or 1903 are held in much higher esteem than the venerable enfield."

I would say that that is probably the farthest thing from the truth...

How many different flavors of Mauser are there? Quite a few more than the Enfield, truth be told, and yet that doesn't seem to drag the gun down.

I'd say that, at least in the United States, the primacy of the 1903 and, by extension the Masuer, is simply one of somewhat brainless homerism fueled by a combination of patriotism and a distinct lack of knowledge and experience...

"Iffin it whuz made in the Unittid Stits itzda best evurh! Evvrithin' else sucks pond whuttur!

The Mouser? Ittin what was the granpappy offinda 1903, so itz OK, to, boy howdy!"

Ok, that was a little over the top, but damn it's close to some of the homerism that you can encounter at some of the ranges I've been at over the years.

Shooting foreign rifles and driving a Japanese car?

I make certain I have my 1911 with me. When they see that they get all misty eyed and start talking about what a true chosen of God was John Moses, and how every other firearm ever designed stole from his ideas, even ones that were designed before he was born... Gives me time to make a hasty retreat.
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Old September 21, 2012, 07:39 AM   #28
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Classic rifle.
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Old September 21, 2012, 08:09 AM   #29
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tahunua001 brought up a good point regarding service rifles, that being parts interchangeable, that is a critical aspect when you have to deal with logistics during war time.

Americans always see to insist on parts interchangeability, some times causing production delays, such with trying to standardize the M1917 while also trying to produce enough for the troops who were on the ships heading to Europe.

Some times that creates sloppy but reliable guns which also can still be quite accurate as in the case of the M1911, M1917, 1903s and on to our present M9 and M16 series.

As to accuracy I'm of the opinion there has never been a bolt action military rifle as accurate as the M1903/M1903a3. But saying that you can't compare the the 220 gr. RN bullet for the Krag and or the pre-1906 M1903 ammo with the M1 ball with the 172 grn bolt tail sp bullets, or even the M2 152 gr bullet.

It's strange that with all the great post 1903 Springfield actions out there the Army still uses the Mann Device built on 1903 Springfield actions, to test todays 308 ammo.

In "The Book of the Garand" by Maj Gen Julian Hatcher, Hatcher relays informant ion about Post WWII rifle test, competition shooting, of the M1903 and the M1 Garand, just about in every event the Springfield out shot the M-1.

This is not to say the Springfield is a better "battle rifle" then the Garand, but does indicate the Springfield is not lacking in the accuracy department, even considering the better sights on the Garand compared to the Springfield, even the M1903a3, which has 4 MOA windage adjustments compared to the Garands 1 MOA windage adjustments.
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Old September 21, 2012, 10:01 AM   #30
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"parts interchangeable, that is a critical aspect when you have to deal with logistics during war time."

Actually, it wasn't as critical an issue for the British as it's made out to be...

First, for the British, having enough rifles was a critical issue. They had lost nearly half a million rifles in France. Many of those were the older No. 1 Mk IIIs, which were not interchangeable with the No. 4 Mk I.

Given the choice between having rifles in hand, but which had some differences in parts, vs not having rifles in hand while waiting for the contractee (Savage Arms and Long Branch in Canada, primarily) to change their tooling to give 100% compatability, they wisely took the "we'll deal with slight incompatability issues" approach.

The fact that other Commonwealth troops had No. 1 Mk IIIs wasn't an issue, because they supplied their own spares.


Regarding sights on the 1903 vs M1 Garand...

US forces used relatively few 1903 style rifles during WW II (those with the original 1903 ladder/tangent sights). Most 1903s fielded in combat were the 1903A3 variants produced by Remington and Smith Corona, which had the considerably better receiver peep sight.

That peep sight compared very favorably with the sight on the M1 Garand regarding accuracy ability, durability, but it wasn't as easy to adjust quickly.
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Old September 21, 2012, 10:04 AM   #31
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RC20...

"Back to the ops original statement about the Lee Enfield being the fines fastest most accurate bolt action battle rifle."

Considering that the original poster NEVER said that in those terms (other than the fastest bolt action), just whose post were you reading?
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Old September 21, 2012, 10:55 AM   #32
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I also do not see where it was said that it was the most accurate.

he did say that it was fired the most accurately WHILE shooting at high speed.

this however would have very little to do with the rifles and everything to do with the man behind the rifle. British soldiers were trained in the techniques described in earlier posts to fire sequentially down a line and instantly chamber a new round without removing the butt stock from the shoulder so depending on the range of the target and which of the half dozen sights where on your rifle you had a good chance of keeping a good sight picture where as the Mauser's and Springfield's long throw usually required you to un-shoulder the rifle to cycle the bolt. so far the only rifle I've seen that had a bolt throw short enough to rack from the shoulder was the mosin nagant but the crude design and even more crude manufacture of them would have certainly been a hindrance and with the straight bolt handle you would lose your sight picture anyway.

the Enfield was not the most accurate rifle from a rest and the cock on close may be hard for many that shoot primarily Mauser actions to grow accustomed to but for the job that the Brits wanted it to do, it fit their needs perfectly and substituting any other rifle in it's place would probably have resulted in disaster. the Enfield was the first VIMBAR I ever shot and yes, the bolt kind of tripped me up but it only took a couple magazines to grow accustomed to it and when I started shooting cock on open actions I required much more practice to get used to, heck I almost passed on buying my first Springfield because I thought something may be wrong with it when I dry fired it.

the enfield was just different, that does not make it better or worse than any other WWII era bolt action.
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Old September 21, 2012, 11:14 AM   #33
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"this however would have very little to do with the rifles and everything to do with the man behind the rifle."

It would have a LOT to do with the rifle as the design plays into it by allowing both high operating speed AND allowing for minimal disturbance of aim while operating the action.

If you have to regain not only your sight picture but also your position on the rifle because you had to shift while cycling the action, your going to give up accuracy, speed, or both.

That's not going to benefit just a trained rifleman, either. It's going to benefit anyone who has been shown the fundamentals of firing the gun.
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Old September 21, 2012, 11:28 AM   #34
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"In WWI you needed to put rounds on enemy trenches that may be 2000 yards away. The M1903 would do that, the M1903A3 wouldn't have been able to (accurately), that's not because the 1903 was more accurate then the 1903a3. It was the sights. The sights for the '03 were good to somewhere between 24-2500 yards (depending on the sight model) where as the 'A3s sights are only good to 800 or so yards."

Kraig,

Putting fire on the trenches in WW I wasn't done with rifles and volley fire sights. It was done with machine guns and artillery.

Volley fire as a concept was for long-distance fire against clustered groups of infantry.

The entire concept of volley fire had been born in the middle to late 1800s, and it, as a concept and as a practice, DIED in the trenches of the Western Front.

One of the first modifications the British made to the SMLE during the war (but after the armies started digging it) was dropping the long-range volley sights.

The also stopped teaching recruits how to volley fire as a unit.

I may be wrong, but I don't think, even in the early days of the war, that long range indirect volley fire was used once.

At Mons it was long-range direct fire.
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Old September 21, 2012, 11:45 AM   #35
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I agree, many guns of WWI used holdover technology of the previous century.

things like the magazine disconnect on the 1903 springfield and french lebels and volley sights were all concepts that were thought of and deemed necessary at the dawn of repeating rifles when common combat tactics were to find a large open field, line up in rows and march straight at your enemy.

in the later years of the american civil war the more prevalent use of trench warfare ended the age of lining up and marching straight at your enemies and firing volleys. however military minds never gave up the same mentalities that they obtained when they began fighting the civil war, which is why things like volley sights and mag disconnects were desired on the 1903s.
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Old September 21, 2012, 11:54 AM   #36
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"in the later years of the american civil war the more prevalent use of trench warfare ended the age of lining up and marching straight at your enemies and firing volleys."

It should have, but realistically it really didn't.

The same crap was going on in the Russo-Japanese War of 190something.

And trench warfare as it was practiced in World War I?

Over the top! Dress your lines! Proceed at the brisk march!

The insanity simply continued unabated on both sides until the Germans started putting together special infiltration teams near the end of the war, adn the British were forced to counter. That's when those 17th centurhys tactics FINALLY started to die...

But no one ever gave the Japanese the message.

Despite being on the bitter end of Russian rifle and machine gun fire while assaulting fixed positions, the Japanese STILL employed the Banzai charge right to the end of the war in the Pacific.

And, let's not even talk about the Russians and their human wave tactics...
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Old September 21, 2012, 12:00 PM   #37
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Quote:
And, let's not even talk about the Russians and their human wave tactics...
In Soviet Russia, there is no 1 you, there is 1.5 million yous. there is only .5 million them so as long as a third of you kill a single fascist before you die then Soviet Russia wins.

any questions?
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Old September 21, 2012, 12:20 PM   #38
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That's basically it. Soviet tactics at many points in the war broke down to essentially "run in that direction, don't stop until you die or until you get to Berlin."

That's one thing that Enemy at the Gate actually got right - the forlorn hope charges into emplaced, supported German positions.

The rest of it, of course, was largely crap.
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Old September 21, 2012, 12:24 PM   #39
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Quote:
"With arsenal ammo, the .303 SMLE's were more accurate at the longer ranges than the M1903, M1917 and M1 rifles."

Uhm.... I have to say that is one thing that I actually doubt.
I agree. I think someone is plain with science and to disprove it would take a nuclear physicist with a degree (or actually doing 9it)

If a bullet is going off kilter at 100 yards it isn't going to get better at 1000.

Ah doctor, the patient tis ding of cancer but if we wait a while he will get better. Hmmmm
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Old September 21, 2012, 12:59 PM   #40
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Chris B,
The dog doesn't have a caliber, silly. That's MJ1.
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Old September 21, 2012, 01:10 PM   #41
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Yup, volley fire was irrelevant by WW1. Long range volley sights were not entirely irrelevant, as illustrated by the execution done to field artillery crews in open ground by massed distant riflemen (still, not quite what their shrapnel did to troops in open ground). Not something there was much call for once trench warfare set in though, and like the magazine cutoff they were deleted on the SMLE in 1915 with the MKIII*.

I feel the tactics of WW1 are being a bit oversimplified here though. By this stage everyone knew that massed infantry attacks against prepared positions Napoleonic style was not a good idea. Tactics developed and evolved constantly during the war.

Perhaps the archetypal mass slaughter after going over the top was the Somme - but the thing is the army genuinely thought, and not without good reason, that it would be a complete success. The biggest preparatory bombardment in history up to that point came before the attack, huge numbers of shells. We know with hindsight that these weeks long bombardments singularly failed to deliver the required results, they did not know that in 1916. The men making these decisions were not morons, nor were they any more careless with their men's lives than other generals in other large scale wars, they were adapting to vast technological changes.

From the first months of trench warfare the British, French and Germans all started developing innovative ways of breaking the deadlock; underground mining, massive bombardment, tanks, trench raiding, poison gas, infiltration tactics etc. The Germans and Australians developed the best infiltration tactics, the British the most advanced artillery concepts. It took a while to hit on the correct formula to win against entrenched opponents, but it was not for want of trying (despite the lamentable tendency of the British to insist on having the cavalry ready for the big breakthrough right up until 1917).The point is, tactics evolved constantly as the war went on.

Anyhoo, still reckon the SMLE was the best bolt action battle rifle.
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Old September 21, 2012, 01:15 PM   #42
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Lee Enfield

Over the years I've heard and read so much BS about how terrible the British SMLE is. It is BS. The Lee-Enfield rifle and concommitant round of ammunition was absolutely fantastic. All the naysayers should just can it! The rifle feels good in the shoulder, the round goes bang and hits what you're aiming at. I shot a 5" balloon at 300 yards with a vintage 1918 No 1 MkIII. That rifle is one of the most accurate rifles I've ever fired.
Has anyone read verified accounts of the 'weak' bolt causing a shooter any harm? I haven't. I've heard it is dangerous, and I say BS to that! I reload and have had cases split after many reloadings. That's my fault, not the gun. i use .312" bullets to compensate for well worn barrels. It works, accuracy on all six of my Lee-Enfields is good. 2 x No 1 MkIII, 1 x No 4 Mk1/2, 3 x No5 Mk1.
If you want to hate the British, go ahead, they can take it. But, don't 'dis' the Lee-Enfield, you're wasting your time there too! Anyone who dislikes the Lee-Enfield probably dislikes the Spitfire. Don't waste your energy, that too was a fantastic British invention. Anyone who disagrees should read the history of the P51. It wasn't much good until a Merlin engine was put into it. Then it became a legend!
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Old September 21, 2012, 02:31 PM   #43
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Hmm. My favorite is better than your favorite because I say so. OK.

The British were handicapped by their government policies. They tried to adopt new rifles before WW1 and again before WW2, but failed due to the outbreak of war in both cases. Even they realized that the Lee Enfield was not the greatest rifle in the world (I am not sure why literate and illiterate armchair historians still argue about it). And yet, they fought very well with it. More of a case of using what you have rather than whining about what you wished you had (this latter one is something that seems to plague many armies, even the US). And the fact that it enjoyed a long service life had more to do with the aforementioned government policies and the starry-eyed belief that the last war was so horrendous that no one would think of starting another (if you doubt this, read up on British history, the peace movement, and Neville Chamberlain).

As Kraig pointed out, by 1917 most of the combatants were stalled by tactics, supply shortages, and just tired. At that point, the Germans held more ground, had fewer casualties, had better morale, and were generally "winning". Then the US joined in, and although they were not welcomed with open arms, they brought new men, new weapons, and most importantly, new supplies of food and materiel. US soldiers were used to relieve French and British soldiers from cooking, laundry, stablery, drive trucks and ambulances, fill in and dig trenches and fortifications, and in general just pushed out of the way and into menial jobs by both the British and French in a huge display of nationalistic pride. The French and British had agreed to arm and house them, and did so initially until Pershing managed to tick everybody off. Once in battle, our tactics were a huge surprise to all parties in the war, mostly because we had little or no formal battlefield training, we just came in with enthusiasm, operated unconventionally, went around obstacles instead of trying to go up against them, and started killing Germans. We learned, we adapted, we overcame. That's kind of what happens when you throw 2 million men into a stalled war. The French and British should be grateful we did not join the Germans instead.

As far as who won the war, the French and British had pretty much used up their available pool of conscripts and could not move the Germans, so they could not win the war. Germany started the war with a huge technological and logistical advantage (French had little heavy artillery, British still used black powder in their artillery shells, and Germany had huge rail networks to supply the army with what they needed) but lost the war by not paying attention to where their food was supposed to some from, their crops were insufficient to supply the vast army they had to have sitting in trenches from Holland to the Swiss border and along the Russian border. They could no longer buy the food they needed, they could not grow more, and they were stuck in trenches and could not displace the British and French. The US did do a lot to end the war with its additional troops, no doubt, but they also had maintained diplomatic contact with Germany during the war and had the contacts and trust to be able to get the combatants to the table to discuss terms of an armisitice. Arguing over who won and who lost the war was the seed that started the next war.

The "War To End All Wars" started 98 years ago. It ended 94 years ago. And you are still arguing about which rifle is best, as if the rifle won or lost the war?
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Old September 21, 2012, 02:52 PM   #44
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" By this stage everyone knew that massed infantry attacks against prepared positions Napoleonic style was not a good idea."

And yet, they continued to do EXACTLY that up until almost the end of the war.

The problem was that tactics were evolving, that is true, but the commanders were not evolving quickly enough to take advantage of those changes.

Why do you think the French Army mutinied in 1917?

Yes, the tactics were supposed to be new (soldiers following a creeping barrage), but even the French commanders knew that that provided little protection against German artillery counter fire, and they even expected heavy casualties from their own artillery.

Essentially, the French plan was "Lets toss these guys over the top to advance Napoleonic style and we'll see where it goes from there."

Earlier attempts to do something similar - not lifting the barrages until the troops were within X meters of the German trenches was also only marginally successful -- largely because they still couldn't figure out ways to deal with the heavily fortified, well hidden machine gun positions that could remain manned even during a suppression barrage.

Regarding the commanders issue...

Tony Ashworth's book on trench warfare indicates that while the French refused to return to the trenches, in effect mutinied, they didn't really refuse to fight -- they wanted tactical decisions made by commanders who knew the conditions on the battlefield first hand; which the French largely didn't have.
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Old September 21, 2012, 03:03 PM   #45
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"They tried to adopt new rifles before WW1 and again before WW2"

The British didn't attempt to adopt a new rifle before World War II. They modified the basic Lee Enfield into the No. 4 Mark I. There wasn't money to adopt a whole new rifle, and there was virtually no political will to do so.

When it became blindingly clear that The War to End All Wars.... hadn't done so, there was no time to adopt an entirely new rifle.

"Even they realized that the Lee Enfield was not the greatest rifle in the world (I am not sure why literate and illiterate armchair historians still argue about it)..."

Because it was, by far, the best rifle of its type as a combat arm -- that was proven time and again by action, not words. In the run up to World War I, when the British were looking at adopting the P13/14 rifle and a rimless .276 cartridge, there were numerous complaints against the rifle that it was not as capable a battle rifle as the Lee Enfield.



" And you are still arguing about which rifle is best, as if the rifle won or lost the war?"

Well what the hell else do you want us to do? Roam the streets in packs?

Geesh!
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Old September 21, 2012, 03:58 PM   #46
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haha, mike I needed that laugh, thank you.

this is a firearms related forum after all, what else is there to do but argue over which was best.

the enfield no1 was a great weapon but lacking in certain areas.

1. it was heavy and poorly balanced.
2. it had a weak action which, unless the british military wanted to ugrade to a stronger cartridge was not that big of deal.
3. it took a long time to manufacture.

the Brits were concerned because just about every major military that they knew of had switched to either Mausers or modified mauser action types so they commissioned Remington, and by extension Eddystone to make them a newer design similar to a mauser and what came out was the P14. also a number of Japanese Arisaka Type 30 rifles were purchased during the war however when you pit a 5 or 6 round fixed mag gun against a 10 round detachable mag gun, regardless of action type the 10 round is going to be more sought after when you are stuck in a poorly supplied trench.
by the time WWI had ended it was obvious that the Enfield no1, even with all it's shortcomings was a better option so rather than continuing to pursue other options they decided to update the enfield design and what came out of that was the enfield no4
1.less front heavy
2. faster to produce(a process made even faster by savage and longbranch with the introduction of the NO4MK1*)
3. stronger action(again pointless because england never changed from 303)
4. longer sight radius/better sight posts
5. same 10 shot superiority.

there was never a huge problem with the enfield nor was england in a huge scramble to ditch them and find something else, in the same manner that the 1903 springfield was updated to the 1903A3 to make it faster to build and easier to shoot or the M1 garand being upgraded to full auto in the M2, the enfield just needed tweaked.
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Old September 21, 2012, 06:24 PM   #47
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Mike - looks like I may have got a bit carried away with my argument, though I would maintain that tactics were not Napoleonic and were constantly evolving, just not quickly enough perhaps. The way I see it the problem was a constant reinforcing of failure, so to use the example I used earlier, continuing wasteful attacks on the Somme long after it was clear a breakthrough was impossible. If half the attacks made by either side in that war had been ended after initial, limited success, then it would likely be remembered very differently.

The French Army mutinies are a good point, seasoned troops responding to what they saw as stupid attacks that wasted their lives for no reason - stupid wasteful attacks are not really a sign of tactical sophistication I guess! Still, the French commanders thought the creeping barrage would work, later estimating 10% casualties from friendly artillery. Like the British though, when it became clear it wasn't working, they lacked the flexibility to stop and try something new or refine it further.

Scorch - correct me if I am wrong here, but the reason US troops did not go into combat immediately in France is that Pershing refused to allow them to go piecemeal, unit by unit, into the line under Anglo-French control and insisted on fully concentrating his army to operate in its own right? Not sure about this ''pushed into menial jobs in a huge display of nationalist pride.''

I am also intrigued by these unconventional tactics etc you ascribe to the American forces. I recall a quote by German troops in 1918 that the Americans were the bravest men they had ever seen, because they attacked them head on, hey diddle diddle straight up the middle . . . exactly like all powers had in 1914, but had since learned not to. By 1918, German, British and French troops were amazed by this, since most of them would not have seen the battles of 1914. As a result the American forces suffered disproportionately heavy casualties in this period. This ''learned, adapted, overcame'' seems like rose tinted spectacles a bit.

Personally my view on the end of the war is this: I reckon the combination of the blockade and American entry meant that Germany had to gamble on ending the war in 1918. The gamble failed and the German Army was defeated during the Hundred Days Offensives - they were in that position because the home front could not sustain another turnip winter and may have actually faced mass starvation all the while facing the prospect of millions of reinforcements for their enemies.

On the rifle discussion, since we apparently can't avoid getting into WW1 history (me at least as much as anyone else ) the British attempts to bin the Lee Enfield before WW1 were misguided, and as such have no bearing on the abilities of the Enfield. They wanted to adopt a Mauser action on the basis of the experiences of the Boer War: being repeatedly shot to pieces by a Mauser-armed nation of superb marksmen operating on their own turf. They misdiagnosed the issue as one of equipment when it was not, it was one of tactics and training. Fate intervened and it was deemed expedient to keep the SMLE, which would have been the correct decision anyway.
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Old September 22, 2012, 03:47 AM   #48
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Quote:
Scorch - correct me if I am wrong here, but the reason US troops did not go into combat immediately in France is that Pershing refused to allow them to go piecemeal, unit by unit, into the line under Anglo-French control and insisted on fully concentrating his army to operate in its own right? Not sure about this ''pushed into menial jobs in a huge display of nationalist pride.''
Pershing did not want American troops used mixed with other nation's troops, commanded by other nations' officers, ostensibly to claim victory for that other nation (whether British or French). He wanted American troops commanded by American officers to go into battle as American troops, exactly what our allies did not want (for PR reasons, they had already been fighting over who got credit for what action). Pershing was considered uncoopertive at best, insubordinate by others. So our allies, who had agreed to arm and billet our troops (many of whom arrived unarmed and unequipped), put them into non-combat positions so that they were otherwise occupied as the war was conducted. But they eventually figured out how to get weapons and get into action.
Quote:
the British attempts to bin the Lee Enfield before WW1 were misguided, and as such have no bearing on the abilities of the Enfield. They wanted to adopt a Mauser action on the basis of the experiences of the Boer War: being repeatedly shot to pieces by a Mauser-armed nation of superb marksmen operating on their own turf.
So much for the superiority of the Lee-Enfield's 10-round magazine. It had to be fed with 5-round chargers. Anyway . . .

Misguided? I think not. The Lee-Enfield was an oddity. At a time of rapid weapons evolution, the british wanted to field a 30-year old rifle. Every other army in the world wanted Mausers, they were the best rifle available. The British wanted to go into battle armed at least as well as their adversaries. But the way the British army was funded would not allow a massive rearmament, and by the time the Exchequery realized they were going to be in another war soon, it was too late to field a new weapon and rearm and resupply.

And as far as the Boers being superb marksmen and shooting the British troops to pieces, they were guerilla fighters using hit and run tactics. The British had run into this issue before. In 1776 and 1812. The British were superb at subjugating poorly armed peoples, and when they ran into ones that fought back well, they were quite amazed at the ingratitude of those people to refuse to accept the Crown.
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Old September 22, 2012, 06:06 AM   #49
Mike Irwin
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"So much for the superiority of the Lee-Enfield's 10-round magazine. It had to be fed with 5-round chargers. Anyway . . ."

Wrong answer, so your dig has no merit.

The Enfields used by Britain in the Boer war didn't have charger guides.

British tactics at the time were to use the guns as single-shot weapons with the magazines held in reserve and used ONLY upon command of the officer in charge.

It was felt that if you gave men access to a full magazine they would immediately shoot it randomly and waste ammunition instead of carefully aim...

The first Lee Enfield to have charger loading capability was the Rifle No. 1, adopted in 1902.


"the british wanted to field a 30-year old rifle. Every other army in the world wanted Mausers..."

Know why every other nation wanted Mausers? Yes, they were good, and Mauser's sales force never stopped telling people that. Mauser rifles sold so well because they were marketed.

The Lee-Enfield never was. It was a product of the state, not of a private corporation, so the L-E was never actively marketed around the world.

In other words, we don't have any idea what the true reception between the two would have been on the open market.

I submit that the British wanted to rearm with a Mauser-style rifle because the people in charge of making such decisions were also blinded by the Mauser marketing hype and didn't realize just how effective the rifle they had on hand was.

In part, it's the military mentality to "evolve at all costs, no matter what, even if it's not a clear forward path." If you don't evolve, your funding gets cut.

That was the true driver behind the development of the P13/14 rifles, NOT any great and pressing need to solve a major problem with the Lee-Enfield.
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Old September 22, 2012, 06:23 AM   #50
Mike Irwin
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"1. it was heavy and poorly balanced."

Hum... Where do you come up with that?

The Lee-Enfield family of rifles weighed roughly between 8 and 9 pounds, depending on exact model, density of the wood used in the stock, etc.

The K98 Mauser? It weighed between... 8 and 9 pounds based on the same criteria.

The Springfield 1903? Between 8 and 9 pounds.

The Moisin Nagant? Between 8 and 9 pounds.

The M1917 Enfield? Betweeen 9 and 11 pounds.

So, in other worlds, the Lee Enfield wasn't any heavier than the bolt action rifles used by other nations.

And, just for grins and giggles? The M1 Garand? It was by far the fattie of the group, coming in at 9.5 pounds more or less.

The Lee-Enfield also, depending on the model, had a medial balance point around the magazine, as is to be expected of a properly designed bolt action rifle, and just as the others did, as well.

Sorry. That complaint doesn't hold water.


"2. it had a weak action which, unless the british military wanted to ugrade to a stronger cartridge was not that big of deal."

You're right, it's not a big deal. Nor is it really true, considering that the Lee Enfield was later upgraded to the 7.62x51mm cartridge, which is a full-power cartridge operating in the 50,000 to 60,000 psi range.


"3. it took a long time to manufacture."

Another canard, really. The continual evolution of the Lee-Enfield was done in large part to ease manufacturing.

That reached its pinnacle with the adoption of the No. 4 Mk I rifle in the early 1930s. While figures are really hard to come buy, it would appear that the M1 Garand and the No. 4 could be manufactured in about the same amount of time.

Was either rifle (or the K98k for that matter) as easy to manufacture as later, largely stamped and welded guns?

No.

But it certainly wasn't a case of taking an inordinate amount of time to manufacture one rifle before moving on to the next one.



"the Brits were concerned because just about every major military that they knew of had switched to either Mausers or modified mauser action types so they commissioned Remington, and by extension Eddystone to make them a newer design similar to a mauser and what came out was the P14."

See my comments about being sold a bill of goods in my previous post...

Britain did NOT commission Remington to design a rifle for them.

The intended replacement for the Lee-Enfield, the Pattern 1913, was developed at the Royal Small Arms Manufactory, Enfield Lock (what we call Enfield Armory), where the majority of British small arms development has gone on since the early 1800s.

It wasn't until Britain became involved in WW I and needed more rifles that Britain approached Remington and Winchester to manufacture P1914 rifles.
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Last edited by Mike Irwin; September 22, 2012 at 06:29 AM.
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