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Old September 22, 2012, 03:47 AM   #48
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Join Date: February 13, 2006
Location: Washington state
Posts: 12,865
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.
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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