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Old September 24, 2012, 10:13 PM   #101
Mike Irwin
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"That the British were kicked out of mainland Europe at Dunkirk is an argument for precisely nothing to do with rifles. What it is an argument for, is superior German handling of armour."

Ah, damn it, Scouse, you gave away the answer!

Oh well, why not...

When the Germans began slashing through Belgium in mid May 1940, not with infantry, but with combined armor and ground air support, the Belgian Army quickly collapsed, leaving the British lines indefensible.

In response, Gen. Gort ordered an immediate withdrawal of British forces to the Dyle-Scheldt line. But, oddly enough, Heinz Guderian's Panzers, moving rapidly ahead of German infantry, crossed the Meuse river and were into the rear of the intended British line before it could be established, pushing a wedge between the Britsh and French.

At that point the German armor and the British forces, both fairly well mechanized, began leaving the relatively unmechanized German infantry well to the rear.

After an attempt to rejoin with the French was halted at the battle of Arras, Gort ordered a general and immediate retreat to the Channel coast.

Arras is of great interest for a couple of reasons, even though it was a British failure. First, it was the first major armored battle of the war. Second, it was going quite well for the British, with the spread out and rather exhausted German armored units fighting haphazardly, until a German general by the name of Rommel, commander of the Seventh Panzer Division, ordered his divisional support guns, the mightly 88, pressed into service as anti-tank guns.

By the time British and French troops began clustering in Dunkirk to await evacuation on 25 May, German infantry divisions of Army Group B were separated from the British forces by nearly FIFTY miles, while the infantry divisions in Army Group A had been sent in a sweeping move south against the French to the south of the Arras (with whom the British had tried to link up, and failed) Abbeville line.

They and their vaunted Mausers were even farther away from the British Expeditionary Force.

Now the real kicker...

By the time the infantry of Army Group B got anywhere close to Dunkirk and the Panzer units that they were supporting, the British and many of their French allies had been gone for nearly a week, courtesy of a joint decision by German ground commanders, confirmed by Hitler, to order a general halt to the advance based on Goering's assurances that the Luftwaffe could force the surrender of the trapped Anglo-French force.

In other words, the vaunted Mauser had virtually NOTHING to do with forcing the BEF out of France.
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Old September 25, 2012, 09:38 AM   #102
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Sometimes its not the rifle, or other equipment, its strictly the soldier, meaning no matter how they are under equipped, under gunned, out gunned, the soldier prevails against far superior odds.

Since we are talking about the British, the best example I can think of is the British RAF in the Battle of Britten.

Churchill said it best, I don't have to repeat it.

Bastonge was another example but they were American Paratrooper.

You can't credit individual weapons with the winning or loosing of any wars.

It was the British RAF crews that won the Battle of Britten. It certainly wasn't because the RAF had better or more aircraft.

The 101st at Bastonge would have done the same job if they had '03s instead of Garands.

Can't discount the individual soldier.
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Old September 25, 2012, 09:41 AM   #103
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"Battle of Britten"

Is that the one where Winston Churchill and Benjamin Britten got into a tussle over creative differences in Britten's "War Requiem"?


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Old September 26, 2012, 07:48 AM   #104
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Well ... I was about to wade in and then, no ... why ruin a lovely evening at home in front of the fire.

A big thanks to some cool heads prevailing on the Lee Enfield, some of the negative statements previously made are near surreal. If I thought the argument was not already in good hands I wouldn't be able to help my self. I had English and Australian family carry Lee Enfields into the Boer war, WW1 and WW2 - they knew how good the LE's and Metfords were.

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Old September 27, 2012, 07:43 PM   #105
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Mike,

Quote:
Isn't it interesting that, when push came to shove, the Mauser was on the losing end of things quite a bit more often than the winning end?
The US, Brits et all based their tactics on their rifles in WWII, and the Germans based their on MG42.

The Mauser (K98) was simply to provide cover and support (and the rifleman provided the mules needed for copious amounts of ammo the MG42 needed.

Once we mix tactic into the discussion then the M1 winds hand down as the best battle rifle (bolt or not) and the AK wins it period ad the best battle gun period.


The German nation was led into two disastrous wars and the loss had nothing to do with weapons (only an atomic bomb would have helped them) .

WWI was a bunch of Imperialist expansionist powers having at each other (German had a far better social system than the rest so I could contend it was the superior country). It still engaged in a stupid war.

However, in booth wars it took the combined economies and the military of the US, France, Britain and Russian to defeat Germany.

The 300 Spartans lost to the bleeping Persian too, did that mean their weapons were inferior?

So, bombed, beaten, stamped on, out air companied in WWII the Germans fought the combined military might of all 4 of those major power to a standstill. If not for the insane decision of Adolph, they might have gotten an armistice that held expanded boundaries.

So, the Mauser would in all fairness be the finest battle rifle of all time as it was instrumental in maintaining the capacity if not the success to allow the MG42 to win.

And you have to wonder why Enfield designed the Pattern 1914 if the LE was so great?

And in all reality the LE has advantage in some areas (not so much as rapid fire as the ability to sustain larger volumes of fire for a bolt action though the M1 exceeded it if we are going to compare wars as you did).

The 1903 and the Mauser were probably neck and neck for accuracy in longer engagements and non mass frontal attacks. None of them was worth a **** in a trench warfare frontal assault.

Come on guys, guns that could should 2500 yard with some accuracy at 25 yards in a frontal assault and trench cleanout (or defense operation?) Resorting to bayonets is not a tactic, its pure desperation.

Ever hear of the Pederson devise, the Trench Broom? That’s because a bolt action that could shoot 2500 yards was verging on as useless as certain organic devices on a boar.

Ease of mfg goes to the 1903 and probably the Mauser and LE were second.

The troops did the best they could with what they had and what they had was not always what they needed (lets hear that again Don)

If you examine the arms carried in WWII by the US, by the time of the DDay breakout, they front line companies were carrying upwards of half Thompson Submachine guns (or M3). There was always a mix of 1903s in there for good reasons. Does that make the M1 any less steller? No, just that a mix was better.

And a good rifleman could be deadly with any of them and use what he had.

Winning had nothing to do with the gun, you ignore artillery, logistic, economic might, the US heartland under not attack.
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Old September 27, 2012, 08:02 PM   #106
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Quote:
and the AK wins it period ad the best battle gun period

I ain't buying that one bit at all.
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Old September 27, 2012, 10:31 PM   #107
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And you have to wonder why Enfield designed the Pattern 1914 if the LE was so great?

Can't let that one go ... I have discussed this many times in the past. The reason was that a faction within the British MOD and Ministry misunderstood the success of some Boer tactics during that war and attributed it to the rifle - namely the Mauser. This was inherently wrong, but the power play that existed at that time led to a push by certain factions within defense to attempt a rifle based on the Mauser design.

Please note, that as soon as WW1 started, as soon as the SMLE saw action in the first few weeks of the war, reports from soldiers and commanders at the front, overwhelmingly approved the success and superiority of the SMLE. This is precisely why the P14 never saw the light of anything but rear echelon duty after that, and at best a limited sniping role. The P14 was a home guard weapon in the end.

If the P14 was such a success, why did Britain not take the time to tool up for mass production of the P14 during the intervening peace years leading up to WW2? It is because the SMLE was a proven battle rifle in ruggedness, accuracy and design. Instead, the MOD merely tweaked the existing Lee Enfield to produce the rifle No4 Mk1 - there had been zero continuing interest in the P14 since the early weeks of WW1.

So a better question for this argument would be ... and you have to wonder why Enfield did not pursue the P14 if the P14 was great? The P14 was a short lived experiment ... it was a dead end as far as the British MOD were concerned as soon as the SMLE got into action during the early weeks of WW1.

Done ...

( For anyone else who encounters arguments about the P14 in future, feel free to cut and paste the text above - I do get tired of retyping it every 6 months ... )
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Old September 27, 2012, 11:15 PM   #108
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haha thanks tikirocker, I may do that.

however on a slightly related yet completely off topic note, one must wonder why the the M1917(nothing more than a 30-06 P14) did not go on to fully replace the 1903 springfield when it had higher ammo capacity, longer sight radius, did away with the archaic magazine disconnect switch and had more factories tooled to handle production than the 1903.

in ways the P14 and 1917 were ahead of their time and still failed to offer much advantage over the enfield.
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Old September 28, 2012, 07:42 AM   #109
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"So, the Mauser would in all fairness be the finest battle rifle of all time as it was instrumental in maintaining the capacity if not the success to allow the MG42 to win."

And, as I have specifically and repeatedly enumerated, absolutely bogus. If anything, the MG 42's brilliance covered up the Mauser 98's comprehensive deficiencies as a battle rifle.

":And you have to wonder why Enfield designed the Pattern 1914 if the LE was so great?"

You know, that's been discussed in this thread numerous times. Try read it again, because I don't feel like typing out the same explanation for the THIRD time, although I see Tiki didn't mind covering it, yet again.

The original question discussion was one of what was the best bolt-action battle rifle design of all time. That's a comprehensive discussion.

It was only later in the discussion that the exclusive scenarios crept in...

"What was the best battle rifle on alternating Tuesdays in November where there's a full moon over the German trenches, driving rain over the English trenches, every second soldiers has dysentery, every 9th soldier has trench foot, and the barrels are plugged with a combination of mud, bully beef, resin from the kookaburra tree, and Sees toffees..."

Yeah.
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Old September 28, 2012, 07:47 AM   #110
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"however on a slightly related yet completely off topic note, one must wonder why the the M1917(nothing more than a 30-06 P14) did not go on to fully replace the 1903 springfield when it had higher ammo capacity, longer sight radius, did away with the archaic magazine disconnect switch and had more factories tooled to handle production than the 1903."

I've answered that question several times here...

The military was building the 1903, and was established to make it at two arsenals.

The 1917 was being built at three commercial contractor plants.

In order to adopt the 1917, the US would have either had to have retooled Springfield and Rock Island, or ceased rifle production and gone to a commercial contractor basis, neither of which they were willing to do.

Given how quickly, and how deeply, military budgets were cut starting within days of the end of the war, there wasn't money to retool two arsenals and replace the primary battle rifle.
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Old September 28, 2012, 08:43 AM   #111
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Quote:
(only an atomic bomb would have helped them)
...and a delivery system. If the German's had had an A-bomb, there weren't a whole lot of options available to them to use it. They had no planes with the capability to delivery it from both a payload and range standpoint...except on the drawing board. Short of sticking it in a sub for a one way mission, the US mainland or UK islands wouldn't have much to worry about. For front line use I guess they could have used a truck to drive near a target.

The Great Depression keeps getting overlooked. The Brit's and many other countries had weapons systems that could have been developed between the wars, but no way of funding them. Without the urgency of WW2, it would have taken forever to get the Garand into service in any real numbers. The UK had one of the world's most advanced mechanized forces post WW1, in both tactics and equipment, but the Great Depression helped change that.
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Old September 28, 2012, 09:04 AM   #112
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The Germans still had a number of FW-200 Condors that possibly could have been modified to carry a bomb.

The FW 200 was the first airplane to make a non-stop flight between Berlin and New York City (1938). Of course, that was one way, but the United States was reachable.

Possibly an even more capable German aircraft for that kind of duty was the Junkers Ju 290. It was the basis for the Amerika Bomber project, and had just enough range to make a round trip flight.

Then there was the Me 264...

It never really got very far, but the prototypes had a range of almost 10,000 miles!



That said, we're getting off topic here, and we've got to slew it back.
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Old September 28, 2012, 11:56 AM   #113
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So, do we put the gun into context or do we take it out of context and attempts to look purely at its technical capability (and do we ignore the guy using it)?

So, for the LE:
1. Complicated and costly to mfg.
If you can supply your troops with it what good is it?
Answer, Pattern 1914, easier to make and more made in short order, just as good technically.

2. Accurate enough to do the job?
Yep for standard infantry
No if you had a good shot. (unless you were lucky and got an accurate one)

3. Right Setup:
Nope, for the short range work a carbine would have done fine, semi auto even better.

4. Capacity?
Best there was (but then an M1 would have been even better with a clip)

5. Win the War
Nope, overall tactic, other weapons and their tactics, leadership and how good your logistics were and economic might. .

Summation: Some and some but not clearly superior in all aspects, even purely technical. Arisaka matched it.

Mauser:
Pretty much the same, hard to mfg, nothing wrong with it and had the same drawbacks. Call it a draw.

1903:
Again pretty much the same but it was easier to MFG than either of the above two.
It came out of the factory very accurate
Best Cartdige (30-06 still rules the world.
Probably number one overall with the A3 peep sight.
Still a draw

1914 and 1917:
Good rifles easier to mfg and loaded with the better Cartdige. politics kept the 1914 from being adopted as the LE was “good enough” and lets not spend any money.

1. 1903
2. Pattern 1914/M1917
3. Mauser/LE (Mauser technically better in some ways, lower capacity and a far too large Cartdige and as hard to mfg offset by the LE capacity)


All were wasted at 2500 yards capability when 800 was all that was needed, all should have been developed (or the LE dropped) and all should have been replaced by the time WWII came along (which the 1903 was though they could not make enough M1s for the needs and production continued as was the use).

In context the M1 was the best WWII rifle as the worst grunt could match the LE for rate of fire and was more accurate if needed. And running a bolt action rapidly cannot be done behind a tree, a berm or any other cover. You shoot, you duck, you reload and then you pop up again. You certainly y do not stand in full sight rapid firing you LE while everyone else on the battle field rips you to shreds.

Few fights required full sustained fire all the time, some needed none of it.

And if you read actually accounts of the troops using the M4/M16, they seldom use the select fire function (vas majority is semi auto)

Maybe I can put it another way. We do Red Flag (aerial) exercises up here.

The B52s in one were getting ripped to shreds.

Why? Because they were being forced to follow slight profiles that were planed BY THE FIGHTER JOCKS. That made the fighter jock look like wonder boys.

The last day the B52 guys got an ok to setup their own profiles the way they would in a real war.

What happened, the fighters could not find them, the one that did got electronically shot down by the rear guns as it passed behind the B52 tryng to get a shot as it only saw it at the last second.

Ditto the guy who sunk the US fleet in the Gulf using non convention but true capability of suicide and rocket equipped boats in swarming maneuvers? If you are going to discuss something it has to be put in its real world use and context. You can’t just separate it out into some pristine ideal setup and say its better.

So, how often did the so called rapid fire capability of an LE actually get used in a Battle vs an artificially crated and ideally setup training exercise?

How often did it really work with the conscripts that were inducted into the British Army after the losses of France, the far East, Greece, Cyprus (Crete?) and the Desert?

And if it was so good how come a bunch of Arisaka equipment troops whipped them out in Malaysia? (those LE troops the still proficient troops from long term training with the LE?) Reality it was crappy tactics.

In short did the so called technical superiority actually work on the real battlefield?
Did it wing battles as a result of that?
Did it loose battles as a result of that?
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Old September 28, 2012, 11:57 AM   #114
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How did this move to a discussion of B52 bombers??

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Old September 28, 2012, 01:04 PM   #115
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;)

How did this move to a discussion of B52 bombers??

Because your videos are so boring I would think.





..MJ..
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Old September 28, 2012, 01:08 PM   #116
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Man hands!!!!!

Good to see you, bro.
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Old September 28, 2012, 05:13 PM   #117
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AK best battle rifle? Most people have never seen a real one. How do they know? I have, and I still choose M16. It's still the best fit for most situations.
If I want to shoot through masonry, I might choose an M60. For meat though, give me an M16.
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Old September 28, 2012, 05:32 PM   #118
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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.

MJ1 - Mate, I am so very jealous of your rifles. If you have any made in Fazakerley, that is in my home town of Liverpool, where I am now. Hope to get hold of one myself one day, though by the time I am in the position to do so they will probably be like gold dust.
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Old September 28, 2012, 10:11 PM   #119
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Scouse, I'm not MJ, but I play one on TV---

Fazakerley No5 MkI---



Fazakerley No4 Mk2, range rifle---



-----krinko
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Old September 28, 2012, 10:12 PM   #120
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And running a bolt action rapidly cannot be done behind a tree, a berm or any other cover.
Sorry ... piles of historical footage says you can ...

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Old September 28, 2012, 11:03 PM   #121
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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.
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Old September 29, 2012, 02:46 AM   #122
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Again, you can say a company armed with the M1 can sustain a greater rate of fire - for sure, I think we would all agree with you, but we are not talking about semi autos.

It doesn't matter if we are talking about the SMLE being a tiny weeny bit better or light years ahead of the pack (remember bolt action battle rifles) - this is a theoretical debate about which is the best.

I happen to think the SMLE is better than the Mauser by a fair amount and am convinced that in the last 5 pages of posts, strong, rational arguments have been put forward supporting that position - with very few strong, rational arguments offered in rebuttal. The fact that far more countries used the Mauser was a good sounding one for a while - until several posters explained authoritatively why that is misleading in this debate. Other than that, pretty much nothing based on the technical abilities of the Mauser/1903/Arisaka etc.

No one has said the Mauser is a bad rifles - indeed there is a reason most civilian sporting bolt guns are derived from that action. Does not make it the best battle rifle.

None of the examples from WWII you suggest are really relevant to this debate. Lets have a look at them:

In Malaya the British lost because of a complete lack of understanding of jungle warfare and underestimating the Japanese. The British were consistently out manoeuvred and often out fought by the Japanese in this period. This largely continued until the British learned that they could operate in the jungle just like the Japanese, once that happened they began pushing the Japanese out of Burma after stopping them at Imphal and Kohima. In Malaya the Japanese fought by launching daring attacks across difficult terrain, outflanking and out manoeuvring the road bound British forces, isolating units, sowing confusion etc. The Japanese troops were at home in the jungle - until the British and Commonwealth troops became comfortable fighting there too, the Japanese generally won. Of course by that point, Malaya and Singapore had already long since fallen. Far more to it that who had the better rifle.

In Africa it was not an infantryman's or artilleryman's war, it was a tankers war. The much vaunted (and proven effective) combination of MG42 and Mauser really doesn't matter when you are fighting a war of rapid movement across great distances, often in relatively featureless terrain, nor does the rapid fire of the SMLE. Even at El Alamein, the battle was not won by infantry (though they had to assault a strongly held Axis line) it was won by massive artillery support and armoured breakthrough after the poor infantry had cleared minefields under fire. Also, the British and Commonwealth numerical superiority over the Axis forces was nowhere near 5 to 1 - nor even 2 to 1, it is not like the Italians were not there. Likewise, this total air superiority you mention came late in the campaign. The Axis did not lose in N Africa because the SMLE is better than the Mauser, they lost because the Afrika Korps could not break through the British lines in Egypt before they were so logistically strangled that they could not stop the counter attack that rolled them all the way back to Libya.

Montgomery was not a bad general at all, as you say. He was hardly one of history's great tacticians and was hamstrung by an excess of caution. Really nothing to do with the rifle his infantry carried.

Again - there is far more to all this than the rifle carried by either army. Having better weapons for the battlefield does not mean one side will win. Germany was ultimately defeated by the USSR - despite having better individual infantry weapons and despite have better tanks pound for pound (based on individual use, not the fact that the T34 was mass produced).

I maintain that these examples have limited bearing on the debate at hand. The WWII context is way beyond the heyday of the bolt action rifle, tactics and technology had moved on. Air power, vastly improved artillery, armoured forces all changed the face of war to render the bolt action battle rifle a wee bit obsolete. The Germans adapted to the new realities by aggressive infantry training and basing a whole tactical doctrine around the MG42. The British issued as many Bren LMGs as could be produced. The Americans issued the M1 Garand. Even after these solutions, some of them stop gaps, were found the issue of what the infantry carried really didn't decide much in the grand scheme in WWII. The war was ultimately won on the battlefield by a nation that issued the Mosin Nagant - by your logic that should make the MN the best bolt action battle rifle.

Whether by a tiny bit or a huge amount, the SMLE was better than other bolt action battle rifles as an infantry weapon. There has still been nothing said that refutes the logical arguments over the last 5 pages and 120 posts.

EDIT - Krinko - you too have awesome rifles. I have never shot a No 5, they feel so handy though.

Last edited by Scouse; September 29, 2012 at 02:52 AM.
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Old September 29, 2012, 07:55 AM   #123
kraigwy
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I haven't shot the LE enough to make a compairsion. I'm more into the US Military Bolt rifles.

But in this case I do know something on the subject and you're all wet on this subject.

Quote:
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.
I found the M16 handled the muck and crap as well as any AK, beyond that the M16 has the AK beat in every catagory excluding the fact that AK is cheaper to flood the third world market.

The AK vs M16 is off topic, start another post and I'll flood it with proof you're totally in left field on the M16 topic.

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Old September 29, 2012, 11:51 AM   #124
RC20
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I
Quote:
n Malaya the British lost because of a complete lack of understanding of jungle warfare and underestimating the Japanese. The British were consistently out manoeuvred and often out fought by the Japanese in this period. This largely continued until the British learned that they could operate in the jungle just like the Japanese, once that happened they began pushing the Japanese out of Burma after stopping them at Imphal and Kohima. In Malaya the Japanese fought by launching daring attacks across difficult terrain, outflanking and out manoeuvring the road bound British forces, isolating units, sowing confusion etc. The Japanese troops were at home in the jungle - until the British and Commonwealth troops became comfortable fighting there too, the Japanese generally won. Of course by that point, Malaya and Singapore had already long since fallen. Far more to it that who had the better rifle.
What Jungle fighting did the Japanese do before Malaysia? Simply better tactics and more determined by there commanders (you will go there an do this and they did) as well as vastly more experienced in combat).

I don't bring that up to do anything other than demonstrated that it all goes back to context. It does not matter if the LE was the finest bolt action rifle on the parade ground or in an artificially contrived maneuvers environment where its capacity advantages looked really good but proved to be of no advantage in combat.


And yes its comparison in WWII should include the context, which include the M1.

The Ethiopians may have had the finest spears in the world but when they ran into the Italian forces armed with modern weapons....... back to context.

So, I will conclude (or maybe should have just stated in the first place), you cannot put out a statement that is out of context and have the following discussion be of any relevancy.

There were two infantry weapons that were game changers.
1. MG42
2. The M1

Everything and everyone else were so close on par to teach other that it was then tactics,

The LE was not clearly superior to all other bolt action combat rifles, let alone the context it found itself in. The Mauser action was superior (and if they had been intelligent enough to add magazine capacity easily on par in that regard. The LE action died with the rifle. It was a weak action that worked with a weaker cartridge and had no future. The Mauser action lives on and could be and was chambered to the most powerful cartridges.

The LE was on par with its contemporaries as far as a bolt action rifle but overall in combat it was not superior.

1. Its only superior aspect was it had some advantages in its capacity initially. After the initial firing that it was close to or on par with any other rifle as it took longer to fully reload or just matched its contemporaries.

2. The stock was a weakness and needlessly complex adding nothing to the rifle.

3. The bedding and accuracy was a weakness

4. The cartridge while adequate was definite below par with the contemporaries (note that it died out rapidly despite something like 6 million LEs built) .
The cartridge choice also dictated the associated machine gun choices and while the 30-06 could reach out to something around 5500 yards the 303 could not. Again context is relevant.

5. Sight were poor (though generally all were though the M1917 was good as was the latter 1903A3.

6. The head spacing was an issue, you can swap bolts around in 1903s with no issue but had to have the array of adaptors for the LE bolt head.

7. Lastly by thinking it was “so superior”, it meant no thought was given to replacing it and the British military suffered for it during WWII.

And lest you think I am anti Brit, I am not. They are a fine people and a fine nation.

They created some clearly superior weapons

1. 17 lb gun was clearly superior to the US 75 and 76 mm and it should have been adapted to the US Sherman tank which would have saved countless lives. People should have been hung over that one, and the British troops hugely benefited by that fine weapon.

2. You cannot begin to question how good the Spitfire was (though hubris found them trying to out turn the Zero and found it was not as good in that aspect as the pilots thought and paid for it)

3. The Bren gun was superior to the BAR (and balanced out the failings of having LE rifles just like the M1 balanced out the failing of not having an MG42 type machine gun.

4. Twice the British attempted to shift to a much more superior cartridge (270-280 caliber) with the 1914 and after WWII with a similar caliber cartridge that likely would have been a better cartridge than the 5.56 we wound up with (despite the statistic having an effective range out to 800 yards is worth the small cost in slight heavier combat load or slightly less magazine capacity as evidence by the capability of the 6.5 Genedell)
There was clearly some superior thinking going on as to the general overfill capacity of the caliber and range of cartridges used (granted that also would change the medium machine gun issues but that’s happened anyway)

Ok, I am done.

Its been an interesting discussion and I indeed learned a lot, but nothing presented has changed my mind. Some really like the LE and I certainly can respect persona preference but that does not make the initial proposal true.
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Old September 29, 2012, 11:59 AM   #125
MJ1
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;) LOL

This is turning into some history lesson but leave out the AK the M1 or the Garand. For goodness sake don't try and sell me the M16. In my day it wasn't the arm it is today.



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..MJ..
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Last edited by MJ1; September 30, 2012 at 08:41 AM.
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