Bolt Actions for a Modern Army


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Mauserguy
July 4, 2006, 02:49 PM
I am a collector of military surplus arms. I like the Mausers and Mosin-Nagants. They are fun to collect, and gather samples of the different makes and marks. I was wondering, though, how would a bolt action rifle fare in the modern military as a general issue arm?

Letís say that the US Army of today was to take away all of the M16s and issue M1903 Springfields, how much of a disadvantage would that be? Iím guessing that it would not be much of a hindrance, since the military relies so heavily on machine guns, rockets and artillery. Rifles are of secondary importance these days. Could the military use bolt action arms today?
Mauserguy

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Eleven Mike
July 4, 2006, 02:53 PM
Well, this thread should be a hoot. It's been done before of course.

Phantom Warrior
July 4, 2006, 02:56 PM
I guess I'll restrain myself to this. Would you want to clear a building (something the U.S. military does now and then) with a nice long, bolt action .30-06?

1911Tuner
July 4, 2006, 03:29 PM
>>Would you want to clear a building (something the U.S. military does now and then) with a nice long, bolt action .30-06?<<
*****************

That's sorta what the 1911 pistol and Thompson submachineguns were designed for...and grenade launchers...and flame throwers. Of course, in those days, our politicians weren't as concerned with collateral damage as they were with winning and keeping as many American soliders and Marines in the field and out of Graves Registration. Taking fire from a building? Easy one. Call up a tank and knock it down. No tank available? Frag it and fire up the Zippo. German sniper in a church bell tower? "I need a fire mission on these coordinates."

Pax Jordana
July 4, 2006, 03:38 PM
Didn't this happen in WWII, when the Germans had bolt-actions and we had the M1?


And then the M16 fires semi and 3rd burst for most regular land forces, right? So, same tactics, slower reload.

I'd much rather they left the 'obsolete' military arms to the CMP for redistribution :rolleyes:

Rosstradamus
July 4, 2006, 03:47 PM
Didn't this happen in WWII, when the Germans had bolt-actions and we had the M1?

Yes, they ran that experiment already.

MrTwigg
July 4, 2006, 03:50 PM
Advantage to M-16 for rate of fire. Ever fire a Mosin M44?

The muzzle flash would blind anybody in an enclosed space, not to mention the concussion. :what:

Not to mention being able to shoot through a building or three with the Mosin.:D

Mauserguy
July 4, 2006, 04:05 PM
As I recal, the Germans of WWII used machine guns as the center of their infantry tactics. Riflemen were merely there to support the machine gun and it's movement, so bolt action rifles worked just fine for them. They lost the war for reasons well beyond basic infantry tactics.
Mauserguy

kjeff50cal
July 4, 2006, 04:10 PM
Didn't this happen in WWII, when the Germans had bolt-actions and we had the M1?


Yep and the nazis fielded the Gew 43, fortunately too late:evil:

Don't Tread On Me
July 4, 2006, 04:17 PM
It is one thing to love your milsurps, and it is another to fancy them as having some potential use on a modern battlefield.

We all know bolt actions are used primarily as specialized tools for snipers only. We've done well with them in the West. The Soviets didn't even use bolt actions, they went with semi-auto sniper systems. It is hard to say which doctrine would prevail as helping the war effort the most without actually being tested in a wide scale mass war between large powerful states (WW2 style). What is better? Surgical strike or wider use on the battle field?

Given that, it isn't even certain that bolt actions are worth it from an overall perspective.

We can see that even our forces are now using M14's with scopes to fill that longer range aimed fire role. They are semi-auto.


The Assault Rifle is the child of 3rd generation warfare. Manuver warfare. Also known as mechanized warfare. A truck, plane, APC, something gets the boots very close to the action. (within a couple hundred yards) They need massive overwhelming firepower - full autos, to do the job. Prior to mechanized warfare, Armies did long marches to various engagements. This meant the "time to close" with the enemy was pretty long. The longer the time to close, the further away you could begin to engage. Thus, the 1,000 yard bolt action rifles were a good idea. An army could volley a lot of fire from 1,300 yards or so into an enemy position. Imagine an Army equipped with M16's having to do a long march over the course of a couple of weeks and having to march up to closing distance with an enemy that has Mauser rifles? They'd be taking fire from many hundreds of yards before they could close to any sort of effective range.

This is much different than today where a chopper, APC or whatever drops you in 200 yards from the enemy and all hell breaks loose.

It is both a full auto vs. bolt action question as well as caliber. They are both related.

As others have said, WW2 was the ulimate test. At medium to long range - the M1 Garand clearly outgunned all of our bolt action equipped enemies. Now, the Germans didn't rely on riflemen as much as we did, their riflemen were a support structure for machinegun placements, which, in their doctrine, was the critical component tactically. Nevertheless, the M1 still triumphed. It was better to have a platoon of semi-autos (we still had machine guns too as well as the BAR), than a platoon of bolt actions defending a machinegun.

In WW2, urban warfare between the Germans and the Soviets proved that smaller caliber fully automatic rifles were superior.


Folks have a very romantic view of the bolt action rifle. It is completely and totally obsolete on the battlefield as a main issue rifle since the 1940's.

carebear
July 4, 2006, 04:51 PM
The Germans had the superior infantry doctrine in WWII. We didn't win it with rifles of any stripe nor with our tactics. We won it first and foremost, as has been said, with firepower from supporting arms.

Our top-down driven infantry doctrine, per the manual, was obsolete in WWI. German infiltration tactics developed in 1917 are still better than what we use today. "I'm up, he sees me, I'm down" rushes to close the last 50 yards against automatic weapons for heck's sake?

Maybe the guys on the ground over in Iraq are relearning the right ways now but, in general, it appears we still pretty much move to contact, stop, and call for fire.

That isn't what light infantry are supposed to be doing.

ProficientRifleman
July 5, 2006, 04:29 AM
Didn't this happen in WWII, when the Germans had bolt-actions and we had the M1?

The Germans had a far superior GPMG (the MG-42) in service by the time U.S. forces went in against them. It is still in service (now the MG-3) with several countries in Europe. This made up a great deal for the infantryman using a bold action.

An improvement would be to issue semi-auto rifles to our infantry. No full-auto and no burst capability is necessary for the average infantryman. We have two MG's with each platoon. We have two SAW's with each squad, plus two Grenade launchers. Thats a lot of scunion to put on anyone stupid enough to fire on a well disciplined "rifle squad"

Carebear:

"I'm up. He sees me. I'm down..." applies after your fire team is laying down a base of fire to suppress the enemie's. Then the basic maneuver is to have another fire team flank the enemy and roll him up. Find, fix and eliminate... if you know a better method of fire and maneuver on an opposing force, Id like to hear about it.

Limeyfellow
July 5, 2006, 04:39 AM
You occasionally see bolt actions such as Mausers, Mosins, Lee Enfields and Mannlichers in use in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan by enemy forces due to their reliability and range and that they usually have to use older military surplus that they were able to buy up. They do have a use in really sandy environments that make automatic and semi automatic weapons tend to gum up but with proper logistics, support its really not needed by most nowadays and is usually a secondary weapon.

The only western power still using them with any regularlity that I know of is the Canadians for the Rangers patrolling the wilderness that are armed with Lee Enfield No4 Mk1*s. We also rarely see them being used in the Chechen conflict with the Mosin Nagant. Of course this doesn't take into account sniper rifles.

Cosmoline
July 5, 2006, 05:17 AM
IIRC, Cooper's mentioned that the Springfield '03 would still serve well as a front line rifle. I'll try to find the mag that was in.

Certainly, if it's a matter of seeing a guy and shooting him, a bolt will work just as well or better than an assault rifle. It can certainly hit a lot harder. But it can't do suppressive fire very well, or clear a weed patch effectively.

LAK
July 5, 2006, 06:12 AM
It needs to be remembered that the military bolt-action was supported by other weapons even before WW1. By WW2 the SMG was the weapon of choice close up - while the bolt-action was well suited to the longer ranges of the battlefield.

Just how effective the Mauser type bolt-action has been on the battlefield has been well witnessed and is well documented. One of the best reads on the subject IMO (as well as the war itself) is The Great Boer War by A. Conan Doyle. I have a couple of editions of this book, but it is available to read online at a few websites (see below). It is well worth the read.

Here is a quote from the battle of Colenso where the British Colonel Long made the error - with severe consequences - in placing some artillery within a thousand yards of the Boer infantry lines....
But his two unhappy batteries were destined not to turn the tide of battle, as he had hoped, but rather to furnish the classic example of the helplessness of artillery against modern rifle fire. Not even Mercer's famous description of the effect of a flank fire upon his
troop of horse artillery at Waterloo could do justice to the blizzard
of lead which broke over the two doomed batteries. The teams fell in
heaps, some dead, some mutilated, and mutilating others in their
frantic struggles ...........

........ For two hours the little knot of heart-sick humiliated officers and men lay in the precarious shelter of the donga and looked out at the bullet-swept plain and the line of silent guns. Many of them were
wounded. Their chief lay among them, still calling out in his delirium
for his guns. They had been joined by the gallant Baptie, a brave
surgeon, who rode across to the donga amid a murderous fire, and did
what he could for the injured men. Now and then a rush was made into the open, sometimes in the hope of firing another round, sometimes to bring a wounded comrade in from the pitiless pelt of the bullets. How fearful was that lead-storm may be gathered from the fact that one gunner was found with sixty-four wounds in his body. Several men dropped in these sorties, and the disheartened survivors settled down once more in the donga.http://www.readprint.com/chapter-3731/Arthur-Conan-Doyle

Read the whole book at:

http://www.readprint.com/work-631/Arthur-Conan-Doyle

Or ...

http://www.underthesun.cc/Classics/Doyle/GreatBoerWar/

Nothing has changed; only "war planning". The potential for a large scale war has never gone away. Today the typical AR is still supported on the battlefield by weapons with greater effective range.

------------------------------------------------

http://ussliberty.org
http://ssunitedstates.org

1911Tuner
July 5, 2006, 07:18 AM
Take note that in the early days of the clash between the Russians and the Afghan Mujahideen, that a modern army was held at bay by peasants armed with bolt-action rifles. Later on, the Afghans were armed with Kalashnikovs, mainly because that was what they could steal from the dead and captured Russians...but for a while, bolt rifles...mostly Lee Enfields...were all they had, and the Russians were well aware of how fearfully effective those rifles were.

One man who is motivated...knows his rifle, and how to shoot...stays hidden...uses cover and concealment skillfully...keeps his distance...and understands never firing more than one round from one place...can be a serious problem for an entire company of infantry. Two operating as a team
can keep them buttoned down for days on end, even taking out the fire teams that are sent to neutralize the team. Infra-red systems make operations like this more difficult, but even that technology can be thwarted
with a little understanding and planning.

Underestimating a powerful accurate rifle and a really good rifleman can be a fatal mistake.

OldSchooler
July 5, 2006, 07:37 AM
Iím guessing that it would not be much of a hindrance, since the military relies so heavily on machine guns, rockets and artillery. Rifles are of secondary importance these days. Could the military use bolt action arms today?
I have one phrase for you: Tactical Weight of Fire. I'm guessing that you may have not BEEN in the Foot Army, facing down the Persians or Goths. The weight of fire that a well disciplined shooter can bring to bear with an auto fire, mag-fed rifle is a decisive factor, both tactically and psychologically. Now, give that shooter a ranging grenade launcher and perhaps an MPRPG - ALONG WITH his auto rifle - and there is little contest.

You'd need five men to replace the one outlined. Probably more. It's why bolties died out and fast fire, small caliber rounds came into fashion with the mobile forces now employed.

Bolties have their place: entrenched positions, with wide fields of fire and long range targets. Essentially, sniper territory. I think every squad oughta have one, whether they need it or not. But, if it were me facing the auto armed enemy, give me an AK or Colt, a full bandolier and a TAC-Vest. We'll pin him down and you can go find a position of cover to pick him off from. By the way, keep your radio ON.

OldSchooler
July 5, 2006, 07:50 AM
The Germans had a far superior GPMG (the MG-42) in service by the time U.S. forces went in against them. It is still in service (now the MG-3) with several countries in Europe. This made up a great deal for the infantryman using a bold action.
There is little doubt that a well disciplined rifleman can do some damage. From the arrayed archer to Roger's Rangers and the mujaheedin, well hidden troops with good rifles have proven their worth.
However, they are destined to do little more than prick and harass, by and large.
The Germans were pioneers in another sort of warfare, which has become the norm. That is the the use of self-supporting MG squads, what we would today call "Tac Teams." Did you see the movie, "Saving Private Ryan?" If you did, you recall the man-portable MG's and 20MM cannon which the Germans seemed to magically produce during the final battle in the film. I still remember my wife sayin', "Where did they get all THAT stuff from?" Most of Germany's enemies in WWII said the same thing.

The much vaunted Mauser, a wonderfully made rifle, was not intended to stand alone in WWII. Each Mauser totin' foot slogger was there in support of/supported by multi-tiered, coordinated MG/SMG teams. Together, they worked in unison to lay down horrific, mobile fields of fire hitherto unheard of. They overwhelmed the forces against them for a very long time, until their opponents learned the same rules and attrition began to take it's toll.
Such superior tactics were one of the reasons the undermanned and overwhelmed Wehrmacht lasted as long as they did. Such tactics are still employed to this day. There is a place for the lone rifleman: behind cover and dug in.

1911Tuner
July 5, 2006, 08:08 AM
Quote:

>I have one phrase for you: Tactical Weight of Fire. I'm guessing that you may have not BEEN in the Foot Army, facing down the Persians or Goths. The weight of fire that a well disciplined shooter can bring to bear with an auto fire, mag-fed rifle is a decisive factor, both tactically and psychologically.
**************

Howdy David, and welcome aboard. Your points are well-taken and true...to a point. Don't underestimate the antiquated old bolt-rifle, though. She's still a deadly old girl.

While weight of fire would be devastating against a Roman Phalanx walking across open field, a fire team equipped with WW1 technology, who are spread out, know the terrain and operating from concealment...who understand the concept of "Shoot'n'Scoot...are gonna be tough to pin down.

Recall the devastation that the overage Bavarian riflemen handed the British
Blue Devils when the crack paratroop unit was dropped on top of them just beyond the Rhine. The Blue Devils were wrecked...one shot at a time.

Recall the awful casualties that the Minutemen heaped onto the well-disciplined British Regulars by firing squirrel rifles from behind trees and fences...and constantly changing positions. "These rebels are savages. Her Majesty's officers can't even take to the field on horseback for fear of being murdered outright." --Exerpt from a letter written by an unknown British officer after a clash with the militia during their retreat from Lexington and Concord--

Recall the tale of Able Seaman Brown, who kept the disabled German warship Ziethen stalled in a channel by firing one round at a time from different points on the beach...and stopping all exterior repair work on her.

Recall the numbers of times that the Afghan tribesmen kept Russian tank commanders from poking their heads out of the turrets because the Russians knew that to expose themselves for 5 seconds could plunge them into the abyss.

Yes...These are irregular tactics employed largely by irregular fighters...but such irregulars have changed the course of battles and even wars...maybe even history.

Don't be too quick to place the old bolt-rifle onto the heap of obsolete weaponry. They can still walk the walk if the riflemen understand how to use'em.

crazed_ss
July 5, 2006, 08:15 AM
It's obvious that a bolt-action rifle can still be extremely deadly, but I bet any insurgent or guerilla fighter out there who has an old milsurp bolt action rifle would probably jump at the oppurtunity to get his hands on an AK-47 or M-16. Bolt-Action rifles arent obselete. Marine and Army snipers are proving this daily... However, their place as the main battle rifle of a modern infantry is faaaaaaar past.

Also.. I'd hate to have to clear a room with a Springfield '03.. lol :)

Mannlicher
July 5, 2006, 08:22 AM
some of the questions these days.......................... oh my

Apple a Day
July 5, 2006, 08:25 AM
And now for something completely irrelevant:
The British had a bolt-action rifle supposedly issued through the 1990's IIRC. If I'm not then someone will, I'm sure, correct me. It sort of reminded me of a bolt action M1 carbine. It was called the Milcam(?) and had a shorter version called the Comcam(?). It was described as a .223 calibre bolt action with a quick throw for 'situations where an automatic is neither required nor desirable'. I can't for the life of me think of when that would be but I always thought if I saw one being sold milsurp I'd snatch it up in a heartbeat.

PAshooter
July 5, 2006, 08:26 AM
Interesting question - made more interesting to me as I have just finished reading "One Shot One Kill" - a brief history of American combat sniping. One theme running throughout the book is the steady decline in the level of American marksmanship throughout the last century. Please don't read this as a criticism of our valient men and women in uniform - nothing could be further from the truth, but I found these statistics from the book to be fascinating:

In WWI American soldiers expended 7,000 rounds for each enemy casualty. In WWII that figure rose to 25,000 rounds (enter the semi-automatic Garand). In Korea the number was 50,000 rounds. By the time of Vietnam estimates are that number was between 200,000 and 400,000 rounds. Now every war is different, and Vietnam was a totally different ballgame than, say WWII, but it also saw the widespread use of fully automatic weapons in the hands of most infantry (the M16). As the rate of fire available to the average soldier has increased over the years, it seems the expenditure of ammo has increased along with it, while the efficiency of said expenditure has dropped. Makes sense if you think about it. In contrast to these numbers, consider that trained snipers - using primarily bolt action rifles - throughout this period expended, on average, 1.3 rounds per enemy casualty.

Training doctrine is responsible for some of this decline. In 1956 (and again, I'm quoting from the book - not personal knowlege) the Army introduced the Trainfire system of marksmanship. Basic marksmanship training took a back seat to simulated combat. Trainfire stressed cover and concealment, and students were trained to snap shoot at pop-up targets at various ranges - never having been taught to use aimed fire at known-distance targets. In the 1960's, when the full-auto M16 came into use, the Army adopted the Quick Kill training policy, which essentially was a doctrine of massed volume fire in the direction of the enemy. Kind of sounds like a return to the volley fire doctrine of the 18th century.

These are pretty broad generalizations, I know, and not every infantryman (or woman) has what it takes to become a trained sniper. Nor would it be practical to field an entire army consisting solely of lone-wolf sniper teams. But it does provide food for thought. With a re-emphasis on skill in marksmanship and a shift in training/tactics, would an army armed with accurate bolt-rifles and truly skilled in their use really be at a disadvantage in the types of conflicts we see around the workd today. You gotta wonder ;)

P.S. - my apologies again if I appear to be stepping on any toes here... and for quoting from a book rather than contributing my own original thoughts (which can be few and far between). Just throwing this out for consideration.

Makes me want to head out to the range with my '03A3, M14, and K31 and hone my own slow-fire long distance skills...

foghornl
July 5, 2006, 08:48 AM
I would very much like to see our guys 'n' gals in uniform get a lot more trigger time before being sent to the "Eastern Front".

Some of the decline is shooting skills (In my humble 1/50th of $1) has to do with more city & less country living. Not nearly as many recruits come from the farms and fields, while growing up, they had to bring in some game for the table with each round expended.


Hmmmm maybe we need to start kids shooting again with the old break-open shotguns, and bolt-action .22's....And a Ruger Single-Six or Bearcat for pistol-craft teachings. . . . .

crazed_ss
July 5, 2006, 08:49 AM
I cant speak for the Army, but the Marines still focuses on marksmanship.

500yds.. iron sights.. no benches, no sandbags, no bipods. Your only support is your sling and a good position.

In 5 years, I only got to use the "burst" function on my M-16 once.. and that's because we had SAWs that had broken down and we had to get rid of a bunch of linked ammo as quick as possible.

BTW, the burst function on the M16 sucks. I think you can send more rounds downrange by just pulling the trigger really fast on semi.

dmckean44
July 5, 2006, 09:12 AM
The Afgans did OK againt the Soviets with their Enfields.

dracphelan
July 5, 2006, 09:13 AM
Well, if you can get a bolt action rifle down to the weight and size of the M16 and have it accept magazines. Also, if you can carry the same amount of ammo per pound as the M16. Anytime someone wants to add or change equipment for the infantryman, weight and bulk need to be high in the consideration list.
I have a friend who is over in Iraq right now. One of his biggest gripes is all of the armor he is required to wear. It slows him down and limits his movement withou that large of an increase in protection. If his commanders would allow it, he would store 4 pieces of it and never use them.

sterling180
July 5, 2006, 09:39 AM
The Afgans did OK againt the Soviets with their Enfields.

Yes, and now they are using the ones that they have left against US,UK and other European forces,who are stationed out there-what a bunch of ungrateful s.o.b.s.A Pakastani-born British Paratrooper was killed there recently and this angers me immensly,because they had bitten the asses of the very western-nations,that assisted them in kicking out the Soviets out of their country-during the 1980s.

There are many old Enfields out there in those terrorist hands,liberated from Pakistani and Indian Army arsenals.

In saying this,those people are very tough,ruthless and loyal to their cause and are extremely difficult adversaries to battle.

HankB
July 5, 2006, 11:36 AM
There's another consideration in addition to those already mentioned - field a .30/06 bolt action with a steel buttplate, and I predict lawsuits and pontificating by PC congresscritters on behalf of the large percentage of female soldiers who would have difficulty qualifying.

Yeah, milliions of GIs did it in past generations, but how many G.I. Janes had to qualify with the Springfield in 1917? Or even the Garand in 1940?

No doubt some would do quite well . . . but IMHO most wouldn't.

1911Tuner
July 5, 2006, 11:59 AM
So, give the ladies the M4/M-16 the way the Wehrmacht issued MP-38s and 40s to some of the troops, and let the big, strappin' lads field the main battle rifles.

Yeah...That probably wouldn't comply with NATO guidelines, logistically speaking...but that ain't really a bad thing...y'know?

Bring back the (original) M-14 and the 1911A1! (And let them that can't handle'em stay in the rear with the gear and the beer.):neener:

Lonestar.45
July 5, 2006, 12:12 PM
Bolt actions, while nice, are a thing of the past for modern battle rifles. You'd have to reload 6 times or so for every mag change your foe w/ the AK would have to reload. A squad w/ bolt actions would be wiped out by a squad w/AK's. You can't put down much suppressing fire with bolt actions unless you have a huge numerical superiority on your side. Even modern day snipers carry M-4's and have spotters carrying M-4's.

In the civil war, cavalry with Spencers or Henrys would routinely decimate much larger forces armed only with 1863 Springfields because of the superior firepower. Same holds true day. Being able to put more rounds downrange is a good thing.

Diomed
July 5, 2006, 01:52 PM
It is completely and totally obsolete on the battlefield as a main issue rifle since the 1940's.

The British Commonwealth troops seemed to do fine with bolts in Korea.

1911Tuner
July 5, 2006, 02:34 PM
Quote:

>Bolt actions...You'd have to reload 6 times or so for every mag change your foe w/ the AK would have to reload.<

Not if you hit your AK-armed foe. The purpose of shooting is hitting the target. Hit the target!
************

And:

>Being able to put more rounds downrange is a good thing.<

Not unless they actually hit somethin'. Misses don't count. If your foe is still alive, he can still kill you. Don't scare him. Shoot him!

:neener:

PAshooter
July 5, 2006, 03:07 PM
As a couple of others have mentioned - putting (more) rounds downrange means nothing.

Putting rounds into your enemies means everything.

Quality - yes.

Quantity - no.

Or, put another way - don't scare 'em, kill 'em.

YMMV (but not drastically) :D

Lonestar.45
July 5, 2006, 04:14 PM
Yep, accuracy counts, but I'd still rather be in a platoon all armed with AKs' going against one armed with bolt actions and not the other way around any day.

I guess the question is, would anybody here WANT to be in a modern army armed only with bolt actions when the enemy has full autos with 30 rd mags, or heck, even semis?

As for the person a way back that said the Afghans did fine with their Enfield against the Soviets....I'd say they did fine in SPITE of their bolt actions, not because of them. Think of what they'd have done to the Soviets if they'd been equally armed.

Frohickey
July 5, 2006, 04:26 PM
Seems that the arguments of bolt actions over semi-autos are running with the semi-autos or autos winning.

Yet another argument for repealing the NFA34.

1911Tuner
July 5, 2006, 04:38 PM
Quote:

>Yep, accuracy counts, but I'd still rather be in a platoon all armed with AKs' going against one armed with bolt actions and not the other way around any day.<
*********

Also depends. In a pitched battle, maneuvering to close with/destroy the opposition, the AKs have it..but the bolt-riflemen underststand that this puts them at a disadvantage, and don't even entertain the fantasy of standing head to head with the others....sorta like the militiamen knew that they couldn't hope to prevail against British Regulars in an open field. In other words...Don't play the other man's game. Exploit his weaknesses while taking advantage of your strengths. The bolt-action has greater range, power, and accuracy than the AK. Use it. When the enemy advances, retreat. When he stops, attack. When he retreats, give chase and harass.

If every soldier were to personally shoot one enemy soldier, the war would be over quickly. The man with the Mauser or '03 knows that he has to hold and squeeze...and that encourages him to do so. The man with the assault rifle is rather encouraged to rely on his 30 round magazine, and too often blows all his ammo away indiscriminately. The squad leader's axiom states that there's more air out there than there is meat applies.

As for me...If I have to face an adversary, I'd much rather it be a tactical AK ninja than "Bubba" armed with grandpa's thutty-thutty....'cause Bubba's gonna put that front sight on my chest and bust my chops at the first opportunity, and he ain't likely to storm the gates of hell with guns a-blazin'. He'll wait for a target, aim...and squeeze....Move to another position, and wait for another target. One shot/One kill. Five shots...Scratch, one fire team....and if he plays it out right, they'll never see him.

bowfin
July 5, 2006, 04:40 PM
I guess the question is what would we gain by using a bolt action rifle as opposed to a semi- or select fire weapon?

I think a squad of Gunsite graduates (or any other equivalent training) with Steyr Scouts would acquit themselves well in most any combat circumstances, but since one doesn't have to sacrifice reliability, power, accuracy, or sturdiness when choosing a semiautomatic or select fire weapon, there is probably no reason to choose a bolt action rifle.

The Drew
July 5, 2006, 04:49 PM
I cannot think of any reason where the bolt action rifle like the 03 would be superior to the Garand or the M14(semi) in a combat situation...

I am also not convinced that fully automatic weapons should be issued to every soldier.

OldSchooler
July 5, 2006, 04:53 PM
I guess the question is what would we gain by using a bolt action rifle as opposed to a semi- or select fire weapon?

Good point. Enough good banter has been flung about to support a well placed bullet, regardless of the source. Marksmanship has NO substitute.

And firing from cover is always the best course to ensure valor, regardless of your weapon, whether venerable Enfield or pulsed laser zapper.

But it really is a rhetorical question. Yes, you brings what you got, or in the case of the poor Canucks, what you've been given. But given a choice, I bet the majority would choose to upgrade...

1911Tuner
July 5, 2006, 04:56 PM
Quote:

>I guess the question is what would we gain by using a bolt action rifle as opposed to a semi- or select fire weapon?<
***************

With a 9-pound main battle rifle? Accuracy and range. With a carbine the length and heft of say... a Ruger M-77 ultralight or RSI International? In addition to the above...weight and bulk and the added advantage of handiness in cover. Sound like I'm a fan of the Scout concept? I am.
A rifleman operating from cover and concealment from even 200 yards is a hard man to deal with if he's good with his rifle. Five or six such men can hold a company at bay for days on end.

tikka_fan
July 5, 2006, 04:58 PM
Sure a sniper gets a kill for every 1.3 rounds expended. But does he gain and hold ground? The sniper is part of the combined arms philosophy. He enhances a maneuver unit but is nearly tactically worthless by himself.

The idea that a hybrid rifle/machine gun which is what the 'assault rifle' is, is somehow inferior to massed aimed rifle fire is ridiculous. For one thing most modern combat occurs within 100 meters. At this range the benefit of having a small light rapid fire weapon is innumerable. Machine guns and bolt rifles are great for static fighting positions but modern urban warfare has little of this. That's what armored vehicles are for, mobile fighting positions. Violent combat requires violent firepower.

Obviously ragheads with AK-47's versus Marine snipers make bolt guns look godly but imagine the sniper trying to assault an objective controlled by said ragheads. Very foolish proposition.

Number 6
July 5, 2006, 05:07 PM
I think in this debate one needs to be clear about what type of warfare we are referring to. If you are fighting an insurgency, then a bolt action rifle might be sufficient. If you are in urban combat or a pitched battle, then a bolt action rifle might not be the best weapon. The tactics that insurgents use are going to be different than the tactics that a modern army uses, thus their weapon requirements are going to be different.

Cosmoline
July 5, 2006, 05:17 PM
I predict lawsuits and pontificating by PC congresscritters on behalf of the large percentage of female soldiers who would have difficulty qualifying.

Ha! In my experience it's the MEN who have a hard time with steel buttplates. Just do a cruise in the rifle forum here at all the little guys who moan about how much a Mosin hurts :D The women I've introduced to shooting my surplus iron (no double entendre intended) have without exception NEVER COMPLAINED about the steel. They have more padding there, and unlike the men they don't try to jam the steel against their shoulder bone.

Sure a sniper gets a kill for every 1.3 rounds expended. But does he gain and hold ground? The sniper is part of the combined arms philosophy. He enhances a maneuver unit but is nearly tactically worthless by himself.

An excellent point. And it can be expanded upon. The modern squad is part of (or SUPPOSED to be part of) a much larger integrated force. They will often use their SAW's and A2's to pin down the insurgents while artillery or air strikes are called in. It's more difficult to pin a force down with bolt actions, and easier for the enemy to make a successful dash to the next building. A bolt action can and does have a place with the designated marksman, but in replacing all the automatic firearms with old bolts you'd be losing a lot of capability.

Correia
July 5, 2006, 05:21 PM
Sorry, Tuner, but your argument is flawed in a whole bunch of ways.

First off, where do you get this idea that only boltguns are accurate? Even the AK, the least accurate of the military rifles is plenty accurate enough to kill people. Even the DMR, which usually goes to the best shot in a squad, is going to be an auto.

And where do you get this idea that the boltgun is somehow going to be a superior combatant, and that the auto shooters are just going to blaze away and stand there and not maneuver? The whole, pick your terrain, shoot and scoot is bunk. When you are at war, you often don't get to pick much of anything, and you deal with what you are dealt.

Remove mindset. Remove psychology. Because they are a moot point. A warrior is a warrior either way, and will make the best of their equipment.

So just on pure mechanics, auto vs. bolt.

Speed. Auto.
Accuracy. Wash.
Durability. Wash. (sorry auto bashers, we've been using auto rifles for 60 years now, and we've kind of got the kinks worked out. Even if you have a tiny bit of extra reliability with a Mauser, I see your Mauser and raise you a Kalashnikov. So there).
Capacity. Auto. (the whole, only hits count is wrong. Tell that to the guy with the SAW. Volume is a tactic. And once again, why do you assume that auto shooters can't hit? I've got a several thousand people with Distinguished Marksman badges earned with rack grade M-16s who might disagree with you. And also, the argument about hitting the AK guy first, so what. He brought twenty friends. Think fast).
Reload down time. Auto.
Manipulation time. Auto.
Range. Wash in the larger caliber guns. Don't belive me? What is the new US Army sniper rifle system? (SASS) Holy moly. It's an .308 auto. (SR-25).

Strangely enough, the guys that actually go to bad places and kill bad people for a living, all want auto rifles. I'm going to assume that they maybe know a little bit more about combat then most of us. I'll leave the pontificating to the folks on the internet. :p

And the Afghans beat the Russians for a lot more reasons than their rifles. How come a couple battalions of US Army SF was able to pacify more of the country in 9 months than the entire Russian army did in 9 years? With far fewer casualities, with more high profile targets taken down? Rifles mean about jack squat in the grand scheme of things.

goon
July 5, 2006, 05:46 PM
What would be the up side?
You would wind up with a rifle that recoils more (since you would probably go with a more powerful cartridge), weighs more, and holds less ammo, and is much slower to get another shot off with. You gain range and power but for what?
How often is your average soldier going to take a shot at a target 700 meters away? Even if you had to, you still have a guy in your squad with a 240B who can reach that far and put more lead out there way faster than a bolt action could.
I am sure that we would all like to imagine that we can place round after round center mass while 123 grain 7.62mm bullets sail past us but the truth is that being shot at would probably rattle the hell out of me and I am sure I would miss once or twice. Even if I didn't, what if I had to shoot the other guy two or three times. I am sure he would be up to his keister in adrenaline too (I imagine shooting at other people would cause that to happen).
All things being equal, from my uneducated point of view, I would prefer to stick with and AK, M-4/M-16, FAL, or even an SKS. Enfields and Mosins have my respect but if they were still the best tool we would still be using them.

1911Tuner
July 5, 2006, 06:45 PM
Maybe for a standing army or a rifle company...but I'm not talkin' about snipers or assaults or house clearing or any other such. I'm talkin' about a
lone rifleman or a small group engaging in irregular combat or just tryin' to stay alive in a worst-case scenario...which probably addresses 90% of the posters on the thread. A rifle that'll be pressed into multiple situations and called on to serve in more ways than one. A general-purpose rifle.
Not what I, or anyone else would choose as a member of a military or paramilitary fire team or platoon-sized contingent...and surely not what I would choose for house clearing or urban combat...but a handy and useful instrument for the loner.

In lone-wolf situations, a self shucker may do every bit as well, but the capacity and rate of fire may very become a moot point. How much ammo can one man carry...one who doesn't have logistical support or a fire team to back him up? Better to strike out carrying a light carbine and 50 rounds that offers something in .308-class power and range and forego the burden of carrying 500 rounds to feed the auto rifle so that other necessary provisions can be toted over the long haul. Stash another 50 or so rounds and you can likely make it for a long time...provided that you steer clear of assaulting fortified positions and urban combat. That's a good way to get shot...and if you get shot, you neither win, nor survive the storm.

Again...I never meant to imply that such armament would be a good idea for
regulars who plan on engaging in search and destroy ops...but for a lone or small group of irregulars who are just lookin' to get by and maybe harass a hostile force when the opportunity presents itself.

R.W.Dale
July 5, 2006, 06:49 PM
I wonder if the USAF will consider putting some squadrons of F-51's into service. Illegadly Mig-29's have toouble flying slow enough to shoot them down, Besides great marksmanship and six .50's beat guided air to air missiles every time.:fire:

http://www.nicap.org/images/f512.jpg

http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~rajwar/base/PICS/planes.mig29-flames.jpg

1911Tuner
July 5, 2006, 06:55 PM
Since there ain't more than a couple dozen left, I kinda doubt it...and that's a P51D.;)

R.W.Dale
July 5, 2006, 06:58 PM
P-51d F-51 it just depends on when

1911Tuner
July 5, 2006, 07:02 PM
Hmmmm...

Niner
July 5, 2006, 07:06 PM
Shotgun News had a good article on the TKIV 85 not long ago. This is a bolt action military rifle still used by the Finn army that was developed in the early 80's. It uses a hex Russian Nagant receiver and Nagant bolt design and fires the 7.62x53r Finn round. They still haven't made a receiver better than the Russian ones. The barrel is a thick match grade and the barrel floats in a stock with a hexigonal bedding sleeve. It shoots a classified sniper formula cartridge with a lapa 200 grain boat tail projectile. It also has the safety cut off for better bolt handling characteristics. No safety at all. It's said to be effective out to 800 meters or so.

As for "regular" troops, the automatic rifle is the best choice in my mind, but as a special weapon in the hands of "special" troops. A rifle like the TKIV 85 could be a good weapon of choice.

http://www.mil.fi/maavoimat/kalustoesittely/popup.dsp?id=560

taliv
July 5, 2006, 07:08 PM
I've got a several thousand people with Distinguished Marksman badges earned with rack grade M-16s who might disagree with you.

i missed that :) how many thousand service rifle Distinguished Marksmen (Rifleman) are there again?

PAshooter
July 5, 2006, 08:20 PM
I thought the D model had a bubble canopy - do my eyes deceive me or is that not a bubble canopy in that picture?

WARNING - POSSIBLE THREAD HIJACK!!! (sorry!)

goon
July 5, 2006, 08:51 PM
Someone mentioned the concept of a light bolt action .308 and some ammo. It will almost certainly end up weighing less than a comparable semi auto in the same caliber. You also don't need extra mags for it but you would be well advised to have a rifle that can use strippers. That would at least give you a little bit of a chance.

But I just did the math last week. I weighed a round of M-855 and a round of South African 7.62x51. The M-855 weighed 185 grains. The 7.62 weighed 372 grains. That worked out to about 19 rounds of 7.62 in a pound as opposed to about 38 rounds of 5.56mm. After rounding you get twice as much 5.56 per pound. It has been brought up before and it doesn't take long before you have to factor that in. I can't speak for others but I can say for myself that I don't want to wander out there where I might wind up in a fight with only a box of ammo.
You would be wise to factor in misses, needing more hits than you thought you would to stop, and suppressive fire. A few misses when you have 38 rounds is bad. A few misses when you have 18 rounds is worse.

Knowing I was going to a fight I would want my FAL and as many 20 rounders as I could get in my pockets.
If I had to go a long way knowing that I may have to respond with a lot of firepower but also knowing that I would have to carry it a long way, 7.62x51 wouldn't be my first choice. The rifle and ammo weigh too much if you plan to carry enough of it.

If you can have the option of working in a small group...
Why not have some of everything. It allows you to maximize the strengths of all your weapons and all your shooters.

And if you just love your Scout and feel that it would be a good choice in a NOLA type disaster, I can't argue with you.
How about I bring my FAL and some ammo, we get some AR'ers and some AK'ers to join us, and we all sit on your porch and make sure the real bad guys know how well armed we are?

And I still don't see what could possibly be gained by using bolt actions as a general issue rifle in place of an M-4 or M-16.

R127
July 5, 2006, 09:28 PM
The older rifles had more power even at much greater ranges, and all the accuracy you'd need. If anything, that is what is lacking in the modern assault rifles Vs. the old bolt actions. 6.8spc has an off chance of changing that, I hear the Chinese are going that way with their new 5.8.

Guns are just tools, you pick the right one for the job. That implies you have identified what the job you're trying to do is. As a general issue weapon that will find itself in unpredictable scenarios, semi autos and select fires win, though I'd like to see real intermediate cartridges instead of poodleshooters and fullhouse .30cals. An interesting development that will become more important as time rolls on is the presence of armored infantry on the battlefield who have a good chance of shrugging off hits from all previous and current general issue service rifles. We'll need to find rifles to shoot through the armor, or we'll need to find a way to aim for any weak points. Sooner or later somebody's going to come up with useable nearly full body coverage and the wearer will laugh at current fire and maneuver tactics as he idly walks right up to your position and beats you about the head with a smoked sausage. He might not laugh at a marksman with a bolt action .50bmg.

goon
July 5, 2006, 10:01 PM
I doubt that anyone will laugh at you when you are shooting at them with a .50 BMG.
I also think the 6.8 has some potential.

I don't know what I would do if accosted by a man bearing a smoked sausage, but I think I had better start carrying a spork just in case.

Mauserguy
July 5, 2006, 10:33 PM
Well, I am getting the impression that there would be very little loss of effectiveness if the army was to switch to bolt action rifles except where suppressive fire is needed.

As far as clearing a room with a bolt rifle, yeah, I would not want to do that, but then again, I wouldn't want to do it with an assault rifle either. I would probably opt for something like a Winchester Model 1897 pump action shotgun.
Mauserguy

Lonestar.45
July 5, 2006, 10:54 PM
There are so many scenarios to pick and choose....but give me a semi or an auto any day.

Let's say you were manning a checkpoint in Iraq and a car comes in fast and does not halt. Who here would rather have a bolt action?

For every one or two scenarios where a bolt might be equal or slightly better, there's probably ten just like the above where it would be a big detriment (jungle fighting, room clearing, assault on fixed positions, any battle where you're outnumbered and endangered of being overrun, ambushes (whether on the receiving or giving end). Having to reload every 5 or 6 shots in a battle would just not be a good thing in my opinion. In short, equipping an army with bolt actions instead of autos would do nothing more than up your casualty count.

dmckean44
July 5, 2006, 10:58 PM
Enfields have 10 and 12 rd magazines. Who said you have to reload every 5 shots? Have you ever worked the action on an Enfield? I can work it faster than a lever. Those Indian Enfields in .308 are mean guns. We're not talking about using bolt action sniper rifles like a Remington 700, we're talking about bolt action battle rifles.

Lonestar.45
July 5, 2006, 11:15 PM
True, didn't think of those Enfields. I was thinking more along the lines of my Mosins and Mausers. Still, I think I'd rather have a Garand or better yet an M-14 in battle than an Enfield these days. I think even an all SKS equipped army would tear a new one against an enemy armed only with bolt actions, given equal combat training and experience.

Terrierman
July 5, 2006, 11:27 PM
Anybody who says only hits count has never been shot at and missed because he was lucky enough the first time and smart enough to take cover after that. And anybody who seriously proposes bolt action rifles for the modern battlefield can't really be serious can he?

goon
July 6, 2006, 12:20 AM
I will grant you that an Enfield with stripper clips is pretty fast.
I don't think that it beats a FAL for anything though.

As for the clearing rooms, think of it like this:
I agree that a pump action 12 gauge is about as good of a choice I know of (although I don't get to play with stuff like MP-5K's).
A FAL is better for shooting at slightly harder or farther away targets.
A handgun is better to have on you all the time.

An M-4 will clear a room, it will do a lot of what a FAL will do, and it is light and compact enough to not be a huge ball and chain to drag around.
It does a lot of jobs fairly well.

I would still take one over a bolt action. :D

And to those who say that the weapon of the infantryman doesn't really matter, I disagree. To that infantryman who is getting shot at, that weapon makes a whole lot of difference.

STAGE 2
July 6, 2006, 12:24 AM
I don't think anyone suggested dropping the M16 in lieu of the 03-A3 (although I must admit the thought gives me the warm fuzzies). The semiauto certianly has an established placed on the battlefield, however as Tuner pointed out, effectiveness in combat has less to do with the latest tupperware/laser creation one may be holding than the person who is holding it.

There are certian individuals that I have come across that would be far more deadly with a flintlock than the local gun shop junkie would be with the latest auto rifle.

The bolt action might not be a viable solution for current military tactics, but the right person with the right mindset will be able to cause some serious damage, both physical and psychological, to whomever he happens to be harrassing.

Limeyfellow
July 6, 2006, 12:39 AM
Ha! In my experience it's the MEN who have a hard time with steel buttplates. Just do a cruise in the rifle forum here at all the little guys who moan about how much a Mosin hurts The women I've introduced to shooting my surplus iron (no double entendre intended) have without exception NEVER COMPLAINED about the steel. They have more padding there, and unlike the men they don't try to jam the steel against their shoulder bone.

Ain't that the truth. Women have shot bolt actions without a problem before. For example the Russian snipers of ww2. Heck even Queen Elizabeth handled firearms from time to time in her military service and she couldn't have complained as much as my 120ib grandfather would about the recoil of the Lee Enfield.

leadcounsel
July 6, 2006, 12:53 AM
As far as the "antis" are concerned, those C&R guns are harmless. Keep 'em coming... :)

Diomed
July 6, 2006, 01:02 AM
Let's say you were manning a checkpoint in Iraq and a car comes in fast and does not halt. Who here would rather have a bolt action?

If the choice is between a bolt and an M-16 variant, I'd take the bolt, especially with AP/API rounds. Better to get into that engine block and passenger compartment.

Of course, a Mk19 grenade launcher would probably be my first choice. :D

I wouldn't argue that a bolt should replace autoloaders, and were I ever to be in a position to enter combat, I'd rather have the auto; rather, it would not be especially inaccurate to say the bolt can still be a formidable adversary. The bolt-armed hill tribesman is probably someone to be more wary of than some young punk with a Kalashnikov.

akodo
July 6, 2006, 01:34 AM
a few things.

First, I don't think semiauto vs bolt in WW2 vs germans would have made much of a difference if our tank equation had been backwards. As it stands while our shermans weren't as good as the german tanks, we could make 3 in the time and for the same cost as they could make 1. And being that 2 of ours were a match for 1 of theirs...

Second, I don;'t think it is the 'bolt action' of a rifle that makes it what it is. All these great shooting incidents that occured during armed conflicts, it wasn't the mechanism of removing the empty and replacing it with a live round that made one whit of difference, it was using a full power rifle round vs an intermediate or pistol round, it was having a gun with enough barrel and good enough sights to take advantage of that.

Really, every benifit you can ascribe to a springfield 1903 rifle, you can ascribe to a Knight Industries SR-25, or a bunch of other AR-10 type rifles, but as the AR-10 type also has the ability to fire much faster when it is called for, and you could even have ones that fire full auto when that is needed, the modern autorifle well outperforms the boltgun.

Then it simply becomes a statiscal anaysis question. How often would each type of firing technique (slow fire, over long range, faster intermeidate range fire, or room to room spray and pray) is utilized. For or current tactics, it is all intermediate to room-to-room. At which point our logistics guys will correctly point out our effectivness would be most improved by doubling the amound of rounds a guy can carry for intermediate to short range, as well as easier quicker training in that area, even at the loss of long range capability.

and that's why the world's military have moved to intermediate rifle rounds fired from selfloaders

swingset
July 6, 2006, 01:54 AM
Ok, so let's move on.

What if we replaced the M1Abrams with a horse?

:rolleyes:

carebear
July 6, 2006, 02:27 AM
Technically, the .30's ARE "intermediate" calibers.

.22's are small bores. Always have been, always will be. :evil:

"Large caliber rifles" would be the old .45-70's or .50 Springfield.

goon
July 6, 2006, 02:45 AM
Swingset - it gave us something to talk about for awhile, didn't it.
At least it kept all of us from bothering you for awhile.

;)

topgunpilot20
July 6, 2006, 03:07 AM
Maybe for a standing army or a rifle company...but I'm not talkin' about snipers or assaults or house clearing or any other such. I'm talkin' about a
lone rifleman or a small group engaging in irregular combat . . . But isn't this whole thread about fielding the army with a bolt action as a main rifle?

The original question was:
I was wondering, though, how would a bolt action rifle fare in the modern military as a general issue arm?

Let’s say that the US Army of today was to take away all of the M16s and issue M1903 Springfields, how much of a disadvantage would that be? I’m guessing that it would not be much of a hindrance, since the military relies so heavily on machine guns, rockets and artillery. Rifles are of secondary importance these days. Could the military use bolt action arms today?
Mauserguy

The arguement the bolt action advocates are promoting in this thread is mostly about tactics, not rifle choices. Sure, a bolt action may work fine for insurgents using "sniper" style tactics, but how many guerilla warfare tactics are the US military using? Besides, these same tactics could be employed with a semi-auto; what difference does the rifle's action make?

GW
July 6, 2006, 04:17 AM
In WWI American soldiers expended 7,000 rounds for each enemy casualty. In WWII that figure rose to 25,000 rounds (enter the semi-automatic Garand). In Korea the number was 50,000 rounds. By the time of Vietnam estimates are that number was between 200,000 and 400,000 rounds.

I'm always fascinated by these statistics I realize the causes of these numbers
WW I MG and bolt guns

WWII Garands (Semi-auto) SMG's and Carbines as well as more MG's

Korea has me stumped because they used the same weapon systems as WWII

Viet Nam --Everyone has an automatic weapon, lots of MG's and even Gatling guns.

So...since its unlikely that each dead VC had 200 to 400,000 holes in him; How did they determine the number of rounds used?
Was it the amount shipped to VN minus whatever was shipped home divided by the number of VC/NVA killed?

Number 6
July 6, 2006, 07:06 AM
GW you are right to ask how they arrived at those numbers. Without knowing how the data was accumulated not a whole lot can be determined from those numbers. Pointing to the weapons used and claiming that the introduction of such weapons has caused the increase of rounds used is a specious claim. Unless those publishing those numbers control for all of the other variables, one cannot claim that the introduction of automatic weapons has caused the increase in the number of rounds expended. There are many other variable that could have caused or contributed to the increase in the rounds used.

1911Tuner
July 6, 2006, 07:39 AM
While I agree that the bolt rifle would be at a disadvantage in many scenarios, it may not be as much as one might suppose, until the action turned to close, fast, and furious. During a major campaign...a "Blitzkrieg" if you will, the gap wouldn't be as wide as one might suppose.

Germany's Wehrmacht didn't do too badly with infantry supporting armor in the initial stages, and machinegun and other crew-served emplacements when things got dirty.

Airstrike, followed by advancing artillery emplacments, followed by armor with rifle-armed infantry support, followed by mop-up troops armed with short-range firepower pretty well overwhelmed the opposition. If Hitler had listened to his top generals, and hadn't tried to wage two wars at once...we might well be sluppin' lager and eatin' weinerschnitzel for lunch this very day.

The assault rifle...Sturmgewer...was intended to replace the main battle rifle and the submachinegun...and did a pretty fair job of that...but...it also did a good job of negating the need for marksmanship and fire discipline. Only hits count. 100 misses aren't firepower. There was a saying in Vietnam. "An M-16 on full-auto is a ticket across the street"...and that was about all it was.

For a main battle rifle, a semi-auto .30 caliber is probably a better choice...but that's just an opinion. At least the US Military has seen the error of its ways, and is making a step backward in the right direction with the "New and Improved" round...and it only took'em 40 years to see it.

toivo
July 6, 2006, 10:47 PM
So...since its unlikely that each dead VC had 200 to 400,000 holes in him; How did they determine the number of rounds used?
Was it the amount shipped to VN minus whatever was shipped home divided by the number of VC/NVA killed?
That would be my guess: Total number of rounds expended divided by total body count. Not exactly a meaningful statistic.

Dr.Rob
July 7, 2006, 12:09 AM
More historical points to flog upon this dead horse:

Most casualties in WW1 were inflicted by machineguns being used against men with bolt action rifles forced into charging fixed positions, not by accurate rifle fire traded between adversaries. Oh and add poison gas and literally millions of tons of artillery into the mix.

The Korean War saw human wave attacks that were not stopped by stalwart Brits with bolt action rifles, though they were still in service.

While SMLE had a role in Afghanistan the tide of the war was changed by US made Stinger missles.

The bolt action Mauser saw a lot of action in the balkans as a weapon of terror, along with the man portable mortar. When everything is a target, there is no such thing as precision.

A bolt gun is a specialized weapon long since eclipsed by more modern tactics and technology.

Great choice for a deer hunt, not what I'd pick heading into harm's way.

vta33
July 7, 2006, 01:48 AM
Reply to post #15, posted by LAK

Great story about the Boer War. I never knew that Americans fought in that war.


Quoted material:

These irregular troops of horse might be criticised by martinets and
pedants, but they contained some of the finest fighting material in
the army, some urged on by personal hatred of the Boers and some by
mere lust of adventure. As an example of the latter one squadron of
the South African Horse was composed almost entirely of Texan
muleteers, who, having come over with their animals, had been drawn by
their own gallant spirit into the fighting line of their kinsmen.

http://www.readprint.com/chapter-3731/Arthur-Conan-Doyle

LAK
July 7, 2006, 07:14 AM
vta33,

I was surprized when I read that as well, but should not have been. South Africa, like many other rapidly developing colonies, had it's influx of foreign labor and expertise. And for a good while from the outset of the war, the British army needed all the help it could get. ;)

Dr. Rob,

Arguably the MG was responsible for causing more casualties during WW1 in the open areas between the trench lines where the "war" consisted of to and fro attempts to breach the lines over enormous stretches of open, if cratered, ground. Overall artillery and mortar fire probably accounted for more.

WW2 was fought over the whole gamut of topography from desert to high mountain and a much better example of general warfare. Modern technology and the specialized kind of warfare fought in places like Iraq against a strictly limited small force with little or no air force is no measure of a full scale conflict against an army of perhaps millions in addition to a modern air force and technology of it's own.

-----------------------------------------------

http://ussliberty.org
http://ssunitedstates.org

Thin Black Line
July 7, 2006, 07:26 AM
They lost the war for reasons well beyond basic infantry tactics.

Such as losing access to Middle East oil? ;)

OldSchooler
July 7, 2006, 10:54 AM
Some mentioned tactics over weapon choice. Eschewing artillery, air and armor support for just a moment we come to the root of this discussion - the single soldier and his armament, which leads, by natural correlation, to his employment. For insurgents and those who spend more time hiding than shooting, any gun can do. For the individual soldier in an organized army, much more is possible.

Let's face it, there is plenty to be said for infantry with much maiming ammo on hand (remember, we now employ the philosophy of maim 'em, not kill 'em), multi-use, portable weaponry and mobile, squads tied together with good on-site comm gear.

This is the face of the modern fighting man. The lone rifleman with his well placed shot has value, but as an adjunct to the total picture.

(I thought it interesting to note that even in WWI, 7000 rounds per enemy killed was NOTABLE. Apparently, someone was missing out on how "great" those '03's were.)

1911Tuner
July 7, 2006, 12:00 PM
OldSchooler, all good and valid points.

We may assume that the round count per casualty may have been high in each war due to the large-scale use of automatic weapons. The crew-served machinegun was the weapon that littered No-Man's Land with bodies in WW1...and aerial combat was added in WW2. (Remember that .50 caliber and below was considered smallarms fire.) Ditto for Korea, and finally...the highest count per casualty came with the area saturation tactics in Vietnam...
often with AH1 Cobras and that wicked little 7.62 gatling gun with its maximum rate of 7200 rpms...though most were limited to about 6,000.

I'll repeat a point that I made earlier: If each combat rifleman were to personally kill one enemy soldier, the war would be over quickly. Not one per round...Just one. During the War Between the States, if each man in a skirmish line were to hit one man in the other skirmish line, there would have been no bayonett or glorious cavalry charges, and no hand-to-hand combat because the offensive line would never get there. They'd have been cut down before they reached the halfway point.

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