Could a Bolt Action Really be combat weapon compared with any semi-auto?


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Nick_007
June 9, 2009, 09:17 PM
I was reading in Wikipedia about Mosin-Nagants and how the Russians had
really high casualty rates with them compared with Turks (they had semi-autos) in the Russo-Turkish war. Not to mention from everything I've heard from talking to others, and given municipal gov'ts actions recently, banning pretty much everything that is semi-auto; leads me to believe a bolt gun could never be a formiddable combat weapon.

If not how would a Remington semi auto or an SKS with a 5 round fare? I actually moved out of NY city and to the burbs and its so boring. I might move back but I just can't come to grips with the idea of compromising my freedom. But the idea of living near cute tattooed art chicks might be getting the better of me :confused:.

It's really a hypothetical more than anything else; I doubt you can have a Mosin anyway. I'd probably have to get a Remington since it's for "sporting purposes". Or I guess I could bring it in and have a 5 rounder in my SKS. It would be pretty ez tio switch it or bubba it if the and when the balloon goes up.

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TexasRifleman
June 9, 2009, 09:19 PM
and given municipal gov'ts actions banning pretty much everything that is semi-auto;

You should consider moving to a more free place rather than trying to figure out how to tolerate one as bad as NYC. :)

But that's up to you.

As to your question, as far as NYC goes you're probably out of luck anyway. You're so outnumbered there it doesn't seem like you'd have much of a chance in any kind of upheaval.

In a rural area I would think the bolt action would stand a chance but it would be tough in an urban environment unless you had LOTS of friends, which was kind of how the Russians managed to make it work.

Big_E
June 9, 2009, 09:28 PM
If you use it correctly. U won't be able to go head on againsta militia or something that has semi-auto AR's/AK's/etc...

Now if you waited patiently and ambushed and used guerilla tactics against an oppsoing force with one. Once the enemy is in retreat of what they can't see salvage the dropped semi-autos (or full autos) and then you are better equipped. It would also help if you had allies.

Kind of Blued
June 9, 2009, 09:36 PM
A bolt-action can be an incredibly effective weapon, possibly the IDEAL weapon depending upon circumstances.

That's no reason to be ok with a tyrannical government saying that you can ONLY have a bolt-action though.

gunsandreligion
June 9, 2009, 09:45 PM
You cant own a lever or a pump:confused:

HorseSoldier
June 9, 2009, 09:55 PM
A round fired from a bolt gun will kill someone just as dead as a round fired from a semi-auto or a select fire weapon.

Still, a guy with a bolt gun is at a disadvantage in most real battlefield tactical situations. Bolt action sniper rifles are good, but from another perspective look at all the hoops that guys with those rifles have to jump through to be effective, and survivable, on a modern battlefield.

Badger Arms
June 9, 2009, 09:56 PM
A bolt-action can be an incredibly effective weapon, possibly the IDEAL weapon depending upon circumstances.

Anymore, a semi-auto can do everything a Bolt Gun can do. Something whiz-bang like an M14 tricked out or an AR-10-like beast. I'm waiting for the SCAR-H to come to a gun store near me. A semi-auto shines as a sniper weapon because the visual signature of the shot is a moment in time. The gun is ready to go again without having to manipulate the bolt and take the scope off target or otherwise hurt your aim.

That said, bolt guns have the potential for greater accuracy. If you absolutely, positively have to kill them, the bolt gun will be your SECOND most effective method after a JDAM.

Yes, bolt-action rifles are every bit as effective in combat as a semi-auto when given the proper backup. A rifle is part of a whole toolbag of weapons employed against the enemy. Bolt-action rifles are cheap and easy to operate. For the Russians, that's the reason they preferred it. It had NOTHING to do with their ability to produce autoloading rifles, but to equip a HUGE army with them was beyond their abilities at the time.

Cosmoline
June 9, 2009, 09:57 PM
I was reading in Wikipedia about Mosin-Nagants and how the Russians hadreally high casualty rates with them compared with Turks (they had semi-autos) in the Russo-Turkish war.


Well there's your first problem. The Russo-Turkish war was fought over a decade before the Mosin-Nagant rifle was created.

Second, the high casualty rates of Russian and subsequent Red Army troops was related to their outdated mass formation tactics. The bolt action itself was not the problem, as witnessed in the Winter War where both sides had Mosin-Nagants.

That said, in urban combat the troops of all sides found smaller weapons with less powerful cartridges and a higher rate of fire to be very advantageous. For other types of combat or open terrain fighting the bolt is every bit as relevant today as it was in 1900.

P.B.Walsh
June 9, 2009, 09:58 PM
A five round SKS or a five round Remmy, depends on the circumstances. I would probaly take the Remmy

Frog48
June 9, 2009, 10:02 PM
Why not something like a Marlin 336? A lever-action .30-30 would still be a formidable self-defense weapon, without running afoul of NYC laws.

Maverick223
June 9, 2009, 10:04 PM
Ever heard of the M24?...and there are scores of others that also have their place in todays military engagements. That said, even a poorly equipped, outnumbered, well trained, battle hardened military force can be effective. This has been proven on many occasions. The Battle of Thermopylae (Origins of the movie "300") is a prime example...the Greek force was outnumbered 7,400 (300 well trained Spartans) to 2,500,000 (or perhaps as many as 4 million). The Greeks had inferior gear and numbers, but many were very well trained and were superior tacticians. Greeks won...nuf said. :)

psyopspec
June 9, 2009, 10:13 PM
Cosmo, you just taught me something new, and I considered myself a student of Imperial Russian History. Thanks for your insight.

If it were up to me to equip an army, and I were limited to bolt actions or semi-autos to be issued as line weapons, I'd probably go with the semi-automatics.

Can an individual with the right software and mindset inflict a lot of damage with a bolt action rifle? Heck yes, but your question isn't about the effectiveness of the bolt action rifle in the right hands, but it's use in the hands of a fighting force versus a comparable semi-auto.

P.B.Walsh
June 9, 2009, 10:13 PM
^^^^^ That's a great point Maverick223!!!!! :)

psyopspec
June 9, 2009, 10:24 PM
Greeks won...nuf said.

Not that particular battle, they didn't.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Thermopylae

saturno_v
June 9, 2009, 10:24 PM
Russia and the Ottoman Turks were at war several times during the 18th and 19th century.

The last conflict (1877-1878) was fought 14 years before the Mosin-Nagant was introduced.

The beating that the Russians got in some battles (they ultimately won the war soundly crushing the crumbling Ottoman empire) was because they were equipped with single shot Berdan rifles while the Turks had a militarized version of the Winchester 1866 lever rifle....

Because of the lessons learned during this last military confrontation, Tsarist Russia did speed up its infantry rifle replacement program that ultimately resulted in the adoption of the "Rifle of Great Victories (the Mosin Nagant)

I'm sorry but as student of Imperial Russia you get an "F" for this...:D:D :neener::neener::evil:

M1866 Turkish Contract Winchester (.44 Henry Rimfire)

http://www.militaryrifles.com/Turkey/TurkWin01.jpg

Berdan Rifle (Vintovka Berdana)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1a/Rifle_Berdan_II_AdamsGuns.jpg

ArmedBear
June 9, 2009, 10:34 PM
The lever gun never made it really big as a combat firearm because of WW I-style trench warfare.

It sure would have help the Brits in Africa, though. Worked for irregular Civil War soldiers, too. It was the M4 carbine of the 19th Century.:)

HorseSoldier
June 9, 2009, 10:38 PM
The Battle of Thermopylae (Origins of the movie "300") is a prime example...the Greek force was outnumbered 7,400 (300 well trained Spartans) to 2,500,000 (or perhaps as many as 4 million).

Those are the numbers claimed by Greek authors who weren't there at the battle, right? ;)

The Greeks had inferior gear and numbers, but many were very well trained and were superior tacticians. Greeks won...nuf said.

They stalled the Persians for a couple days, but were overrun and annihilated. Keeping the Persians tied up for 48-72 hours really didn't do much to curtail their invasion of Greece.

John Parker
June 9, 2009, 10:42 PM
The lever gun never made it really big as a combat firearm because of WW I-style trench warfare.
Or because of its painfully slow reload time, unless you shoot one, load one and keep the magazine in reserve.

P.B.Walsh
June 9, 2009, 10:42 PM
They were still very badass (Spartans).:evil:

But I'd rather be HIGHLY trained in a bolt rifle than meet "shown the ropes" around a semi.

Maverick223
June 9, 2009, 10:49 PM
That's a great pointThanks. :)
Not that particular battle, they didn't. Well there was actually about half a dozen "battles of Thermopylae" in antiquity, and [in the earliest] it depends upon your definition of victory, they were annihilated but managed to hold off the overwhelming force.

ArmedBear
June 9, 2009, 11:00 PM
Or because of its painfully slow reload time, unless you shoot one, load one and keep the magazine in reserve.

That's what they did with bolt guns in WW I, so any potential advantage there was moot.

Also, the levers they tried had box mags.

This one is chambered in .30-06:

http://www.collectorsfirearms.com/images/8a8600811a603c94e93aba16994de504.jpg

sarduy
June 9, 2009, 11:03 PM
Could a Bolt Action Really be combat weapon compared with any semi-auto?

lets see...

1000 bad guys with (fullauto/semiauto) against 50 well trained US Army/Marines snipers with M24/M40 in a 3 miles area... i favor the snipers. the bolt action is not a weapon to clear rooms or CQB, but is a deadly weapon system used in the right hands with the right distance...

That said, bolt guns have the potential for greater accuracy. If you absolutely, positively have to kill them, the bolt gun will be your SECOND most effective method after a JDAM.

hehehe....

P.B.Walsh
June 9, 2009, 11:03 PM
Dude, that's weird looking (post 21, box-fed lever in 30-06). :(

Maverick223
June 9, 2009, 11:06 PM
Dude, that's the bestest of the bestest lever gun IMO...wish I could find one in a caliber I liked. :(

AKElroy
June 9, 2009, 11:11 PM
Either will get you killed against a governmental foe in roughly the same amount of time. Equiping for that extreme would go way beyond auto vs. bolt, and would have to include other considerations of what would be employed against you by a governmental body ; such as CS, night vision, body armor, Armored transport, mounted weapons, hand tossed munitions, silencers, full auto, Ammo, defensive positions, knowledge of combat tactics, communication, etc....OH, and an endles supply of well trained manpower. In other words, it isn't possible. "Bolt vs auto" kind of loses any meaning when the tank is in your living room w/ a 50mm cannon & a mounted, belt fed FA BMG.

The solution is to buy what you enjoy shooting, and to make life choices in where you live that allow the free exercise of your passion. I would never consider living in Chicago, DC, NYC or California for this reason; regardless how good the money might be. If you are buying a rifle for fun or defense, then stick with what you enjoy and don't settle. I mowed down a great deal of cactus yesterday w/ 300+ rounds through my Yugo SKS. It was smoking hot, and I burned my hand on the barrel. It was very theraputic, so my vote would be auto.

w_houle
June 9, 2009, 11:19 PM
I am genuinely surprised that no one had mentioned the SMLE. The Lee- Enfield is the fastest bolt action rifle that I know of... is it possible to to get more rapid fire out of a semi? Yeah, but as far as aimed fire: I remember reading something about the SMLE being able to fire a round a second aimed.

JWF III
June 9, 2009, 11:21 PM
I might move back but I just can't come to grips with the idea of compromising my freedom. But the idea of living near cute tattooed art chicks might be getting the better of me .


You should consider moving to a more free place rather than trying to figure out how to tolerate one as bad as NYC.


+1. Now I'm not advocating moving south. (We don't need any more Yankees down here.:D) But I know that the "Little Five Points" area of Atlanta could probably put most of NYC to shame when it comes to tattoed women (and men), and anything else you could dream up. I've seen people with enough tattoes, that if you couldn't see their face, you'd never know what their skin color was. One of them was sporting a green mohawk of about 1 foot tall, and he was black.

I'm sure that most larger cities have a section very similar. You don't have to stay in NYC area if you don't want to. Sounds to me like you want to move back there, and just want someone to reaffirm it for you. I for one, won't. I wouldn't live there if I had to. I'll give my tax money to a state/county that trusts me, not one that want control over me.

Wyman

rangerruck
June 9, 2009, 11:36 PM
go to youtube; considered one of the top 10 combat weapons of all time. the 303 enfields of britain. Way ahead of it's time, with a supersmooth action, I have had one and they are, combined with a actual 10 round mag, plus one in the chamber, this weapon was used regularly, even into the Vietnam war.
Many of the opponents of this weapon, thought many times, going against a british platoon, seemed like going into a position filled with automatics.

Maverick223
June 10, 2009, 12:16 AM
the 303 enfields of britain.That's not a bolt action, it's a semi disguised as one. :neener:

SHvar
June 10, 2009, 12:20 AM
By the way the Spartans were the highpoint of weapon and military technology, they were far better equipped than the invading Persians.
A combination of bronze, and iron weapons, professional training, knowing their own backyard, and the motivation to defend their country from an army that just rolled through the open plains of Asia unstoppable was how they did it. The Spartans (any Greeks soldiers really) had the best options for weapons and armor in the world at that time. The Greeks had a large multi layer bronze shield, that when used correctly in formation protected them from their helmet to their ankle, as well part of the soldier to their immediate right. They had lightweight, well balanced 8ft long spears with razor sharp iron points, they had a chest plate of bronze armor that protected them from any sword, spear, arrow, etc that would hit them in the entire torso. They had multilayer bronze helmets that protected almost the entire head and neck, they had armor that protected the ankle and lower leg (dont go by the movie 300 for the truth). The Greeks had well designed javelins (carried many of them) to throw, and were experts at this. The Greeks had razor sharp short swaords, and their training focused purely on using a simple effective, and organized style of fighting as a single force, not one Greek would step from his postion, this was why the Greek Phalanx was impossible to stop for so many hundred years, this is why the Greek Phalanx was so effective to conquer all of Asia to almost China. The Greeks had a hand to hand combat system called Pancration, this, and thanks to Alexander the Great was the predecessor to all martial arts in the far east, or the style that revolutionized all other martial arts.
The Persians had wicker shields, cloth, wood, leather, and wicker armor and clothing. The Persians were used to fighting in cavalry charges in open fields.
They had a mix and match of short swords, dagger, short spears, arrows and bows, etc.
On 2 major battles before and after the battle of Themopolyae the Greeks were outnumbered by 3 to 1, or 10 to 1, both times the Greeks won because of superior training, superior equipment, and superior tactics. The Persians used their money to influence the Greeks as an army for hire during these times, the Persians knew they could not defeat the Greek army no matter what, but money and power have advantages.
A bolt action used a a sniper rifle in the right hands can be a very deadly weapon, in fact it can and has proven to be a better choice for a sniper than the Russian semiauto dragunov. A sniper is vulnerable, and needs lots of support, so a bolt action has its place if used correctly.

Ignition Override
June 10, 2009, 12:41 AM
w houle beat me to it.

Some reports from German soldiers in WW1 were about their impressions that British soldiers with Lee-Enfields had automatic weapons.

And LEs hold ten rounds, in contrast to LEs which hold only five.

Maverick223
June 10, 2009, 12:45 AM
The Persians had Tanks, APCs, and other Light Armored Vehicles (AKA Elephants, Chariots, and Calvary). According to the accounts the Greeks had none of these. :)

Wyld_Cat
June 10, 2009, 03:16 AM
I was under the impression that during the Battle of Stalingrad that women also fought alongside the men in the role of sniper.

wickedsprint
June 10, 2009, 03:24 AM
Depends on the battle field..clearing a room with a bolt gun against AKs..probably not. Shooting from decent range, absolutely.

bukijin
June 10, 2009, 04:16 AM
Any centrefire rifle (of any calibre) is an awesome weapon - especially if you and your friends have them and your opponents don't. The first shot is the one that counts anyway. As far as combat goes - strategy and tactics are more important.

In a jurisdiction where autos or semi-autos are illegal, there are still some really good options in rifles worth considering.

woodybrighton
June 10, 2009, 05:20 AM
The wandering zero of the number 5 came about as an excuse to get the SLR lots of no5s about with no mysterious wandering zero:scrutiny:
20 aimed shots a minute is easily achievable with an enfield the weight of aimed fire you can put down with one compared to a Mauser becomes embarrassing the longer it goes on.
don't play that game with a mosin its wrong to pick on the disabled:(

when you have to make shots count you take aim. automatic fire feels good but rarely achieves lots of hits at long range

testosterone
June 10, 2009, 08:46 AM
I've been re-reading Cooopers commentaries recently, and anyone familiar knows that he feels the bolt action is all you need.

For Cooper, at least what I derive is, aimed fire by a truly skilled marksman = hits.

And hits are better than thousands of vaguely aimed shots which really amount to area fire.

It seems its certainly easier to train riflemen to aim in the right direction and by volume get your kills vs. single aimed shots.

At least that's what I derive from it.

heviarti
June 10, 2009, 09:47 AM
Ask all the infantry on infantry calualties from the US during WWII in the European theater. Us...Garands, Them.... Mausers. they managed to get plenty of us dead with 98Ks.

John Parker
June 10, 2009, 09:54 AM
as well part of the soldier to their immediate right.
Actually, it protected the soldier to their left. Spear was in the right hand. this was why the Greek Phalanx was impossible to stop for so many hundred years,
The Phalanx was vulnerable when unsupported by other types in troops in certain terrains. Alexander hired many 'Scythian/Persian' horse-archers as his army moved across the steps of Iran to fend off other tribal horse-archers! Unsupported infantry in the open against mounted archer has no recourse. But why exactly are we talking about this?

sniper5
June 10, 2009, 09:59 AM
Well, let's see. IIRC the speed record with a bolt was set in 1914 with an SMLE at 35 rounds in 60 seconds using stripper clips aimed fire at 200 yards. It hasn't been broken to my knowledge. There was one battle in WW1 where the Germans came under fire from the British with their SMLE's and thought they were under automatic weapons fire. So it depends a lot on the quality of the training and the type of tactics.

ArmedBear
June 10, 2009, 10:03 AM
A small group of soldiers with bolt guns have attacked a much larger group of soldiers firing machine guns, and won. Heard of Alvin York?

"He was awarded the Medal of Honor for leading an attack on a German machine gun nest, taking 32 machine guns, killing 28 German soldiers and capturing 132 others."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvin_York

OTOH York was the most decorated soldier of WW I, so this wasn't something that happened every day.:D

Joe Demko
June 10, 2009, 10:26 AM
The speed record set with the SMLE is poorly documented. There is apparently the possibility the sgt. was using a 20 round magazine. Also, I've never seen any reference to the size of the target involved or what was considered a good hit.
As for SMLE fire being taken for machinegun fire, that was early in the WWI. The guys doing the shooting were highly trained professional British soldiers. What about the guys on the receiving end? Were they equivalent pros from the German army or were they inexperienced reservists and conscripts? Kind of moot because the pros died like flies and that war was fought by quickly trained European and British concripts who shot at a lower level of proficiency.
The SMLE is a fast bolt action but don't let your admiration for it lead you to have overblown ideas of its capabilities. Especially if what you know about it comes in any measure from playing WWII games on your computer.

scotjute
June 10, 2009, 10:29 AM
Any legal caliber bolt-action deer rifle that is scoped makes a very formidable long-range weapon. The scope allows you to acquire targets quicker and more accurately generally speaking. Most of these rifles are fairly flat-shooting and have outstanding penetration and knock-down power. While they are not able to fire as many rounds as quickly as semi-autos, what they do shoot tends to be much more effective, generally speaking. As mentioned previously, armies today still use them as sniper weapons.

From experience in carrying long rifles thru brush, I prefer one with about a 20-22" barrell. Something with a long 29" barrell like a Mosin is rather clumsy to wield.

For close-in shooting, a standard 12 gage shotgun is relatively inexpensive and very effective.

ArmedBear
June 10, 2009, 10:45 AM
I've been re-reading Cooopers commentaries recently, and anyone familiar knows that he feels the bolt action is all you need.

Yeah. Funny thing is, there's no military, paramilitary/security organization or law enforcement agency in the world that would choose to issue bolt actions to defend against close attackers in 2009.

So, as much as Cooper is revered, that feeling seems to be his alone.

Yes, Elmer Keith and some associates said something similar after trying out the then-new Garand at Camp Perry, but that was for two reasons:

The enemy was still using bolt guns, and tactics for regular infantry were oriented towards more long-range fighting than CQB.

The early Garands Keith tried couldn't hit squat after a few rounds due to severe barrel warping, so there seemed to be little advantage to being able to shoot more rounds into the dirt.

Cooper is alone in this opinion in the world of modern warfare.

sniper5
June 10, 2009, 10:49 AM
Joe,

I don't have any great admiration for the SMLE. Actually not my favorite in my collection. The point was: You can shoot a bolt rifle fast. And if you have a lot of well trained people you can put a lot of lead downrange fast. So can semi's and full auto. And as Lenin said: "Quantity is it's own quality."

Like I said: "So it depends a lot on the quality of training and tactics."

And a good chunk of those deaths on both sides came from crappy tactics like massed assaults against automatic weapons over open fields, artillery fire, and influenza. And BTW, I don't play ANY computer games, don't do paintball, or airsoft. I just happen to like to hit little things a long way away. I collect WW1 rifles and study WW1 history. Just happen to like bolt rifles and their development. And I have no interest in getting in a war to find out which is better. I happen to like small ring Mausers, and no country armed with Mausers has ever won a war. And I don't care.

ArmedBear
June 10, 2009, 10:55 AM
crappy tactics like massed assaults against automatic weapons over open fields

One has to wonder whether the "brass" were utterly devoid of basic common sense, or if they actually had a mandate to "thin the herd" because there was high unemployment among young men or something.

no country armed with Mausers has ever won a war.

If not, then why did the US Army pay $200,000 to Mauser in 1904?:)

Reid73
June 10, 2009, 10:59 AM
Or because of its painfully slow reload time, unless you shoot one, load one and keep the magazine in reserve.
That's what they did with bolt guns in WW I, so any potential advantage there was moot.Absolute nonsense. Have to disagree with you there. The Lee-Enfield and Mauser 98 both used stripper clips and were not typically loaded one at a time.

The professional soldiers of the BEF were capable of hitting a target at 300 yards with a minimum of 15 rounds per minute: i.e., one aimed shot every four seconds. As is well known, the German post-action reports from the Battle of Mons claimed that all British troops were armed with machine guns! See generally "Mad Minute" (http://everything2.com/title/mad%2520minute) for more information; or watch this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6m1yN-3n0FU&feature=related).

Anyone who doubts the bolt-action rifle as an effective combat weapon should ponder how the Commonwealth managed to use the No. 4 so successfully in WWII, Korea, the Malayan Emergency and the Mau Mau Uprising. Indeed, it currently remains the service arm of the Canadian Rangers and the Indian police [as the Ishapore 2A/2A1]. Locally-made copies have a very good track record in Afghanistan, despite the availability of automatic rifles like the AKM and AK-74.

sniper5
June 10, 2009, 11:08 AM
Armed Bear, you got me on that one. Good eye.

Although "technically" we didn't use the Mauser, we used the Springfield:). Mauser was an ugly German word. The fact that we had to buy the patent rights from Mauser to make the Springfield seems to escape many. But then we were also making Mosin-Nagants as well (didn't use them ourselves) and Enfields.

ArmedBear
June 10, 2009, 11:10 AM
Reid-

I was thinking only of US Springfields, which AFAIK were loaded singly with the magazine locked out for offensive use, and the rounds in it held in reserve for defensive use.

It's true. Not only the US considered using box-mag Winchesters as combat firearms, so US tactics aren't the only ones to consider.

HoosierQ
June 10, 2009, 11:16 AM
I am sure it was covered above...some great picks of Winchesters in this thread.

The Turks beat the Russians with repeaters (Winchesters) vs Single Shot breach loaders...not semis vs the 5-shot Moisin. While not as fast as a levergun, in the same battle, Russians armed with Moisins would have fared rather better I suspect.

It was the battle of which the OP speaks that actually demonstrated to the military world the value of the repeater. Of couse, half a century later, the M1 Garand did the same thing for the semi.

Nick_007
June 10, 2009, 11:17 AM
I stand corrected. The Russians were using Berdan single shot rifles.


Which explains a lot. I guess it helps to read the article :o

I just passed off the Mosin as some archaic collectable thing, but much to my surprise it was and it's still, highly regarded in serious insurrectionary movements in modern times.

Is it just because of cost. availibility, and toughness? I figure I'd just as soon have a Remington semi auto. Plus I can actually have one if I moved back to the city.

John Parker
June 10, 2009, 11:18 AM
Reid,
I was talking about the lever-action guns mentioned earlier in the discussion. My argument is that a stripper-clip fed bolt action gun is faster to reload and easier to keep in action than a tubular magazine lever-action rifle.

Yeah. Funny thing is, there's no military, paramilitary/security organization or law enforcement agency in the world that would choose to issue bolt actions to defend against close attackers in 2009.
Cooper wasn't advocating a return to bolt-actions for military purposes; he was hinting that for most survival situations that one may find themselves in, a bolt gun will do the trick.

HorseSoldier
June 10, 2009, 11:20 AM
The professional soldiers of the BEF were capable of hitting a target at 300 yards with a minimum of 15 rounds per minute: i.e., one aimed shot every four seconds.

Those were, to the best of my knowledge, stationary targets with unlimited exposure times shot at across nicely manicured grass lawns. The same shot with any modern assault rifle, including the much maligned AK, isn't exactly rocket science for a competently trained shooter.

It's worth noting that the same guys who pulled off that trick on the KD range, then went onto the battlefield and made their contribution to the findings that infantrymen in combat with individual weapons generally couldn't hit much of anything past 300 meters and almost all successful engagements occurred inside 100 meters.

Anyone who doubts the bolt-action rifle as an effective combat weapon should ponder how the Commonwealth managed to use the No. 4 so successfully in WWII, Korea, the Malayan Emergency and the Mau Mau Uprising.

They didn't. They used the full range of weaponry available to the infantry unit and/or combined arms team and relied on crew served machine guns and artillery to do most of the killing.

Indeed, it currently remains the service arm of the Canadian Rangers and the Indian police [as the Ishapore 2A/2A1].

Neither organization is noted for their combat efficiency or high priority for equipment.

Locally-made copies have a very good track record in Afghanistan, despite the availability of automatic rifles like the AKM and AK-74.

SMLE isn't remotely the weapon of choice for professional Afghan fighters, and hasn't been since about the second day of the Soviet invasion. Most anyone who could lay hands on an AK ditched the SMLE the moment they had the chance.

Quoheleth
June 10, 2009, 11:24 AM
lets see...

1000 bad guys with (fullauto/semiauto) against 50 well trained US Army/Marines snipers with M24/M40 in a 3 miles area... i favor the snipers. the bolt actionis not a weapon to clear rooms or CQB, but is a deadly weapon system used in the right hands with the right distance...

I beg to differ...

Let's see...

Does "Mogadishu @ 1993" ring a bell? We sent 150 (+/- a few) US Army Rangers and Delta troops into a hotbed to arrest a handful of bad guys. They were armed with standard US infantry and Delta weapons, i.e. M16s, M9s, and whatever the Delta boys play with. Note, these were all semi-auto/select fire weapons. ***Two days later*** 18 US soldiers were killed, 73 were wounded. Granted, the ratio was different than was stated above - 160 US soldiers vs. unknown thousands of hopped-up Somalis - but my point is that if these 160 very well trained men were armed with bolt actions, I submit the results would have been even worse than they were.

Bolt guns are great if the enemy is at distance and something is needed to "Reach out and touch someone" but against more than a handful of men, and particularly at <100 yards, a bolt action's weakness begins to overcome its strength of sub-MOA accuracy.

Think what COULD have happened if L.H. Oswald were armed with an M-1 instead of an old Carcanno [sic]?

Q

HoosierQ
June 10, 2009, 11:26 AM
PB Walsh

That is Winchester Model 95. A classic. The 30-40 Krag version was issued (or maybe privatly purchased) to the officers in Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders in the Spanish American war. That one looks like one of those but the poster says it is 30-06. Either way, that 95 is just beautiful.

P.B.Walsh
June 10, 2009, 11:37 AM
I'd bet a good modern bolt with a 10round mag could do some SERIOUS damage with a properly trained rifleman.

Vern Humphrey
June 10, 2009, 11:39 AM
One has to wonder whether the "brass" were utterly devoid of basic common sense, or if they actually had a mandate to "thin the herd" because there was high unemployment among young men or something.

There were several problems:

First, the British (from whom most of our WWI lore comes) had a small but highly-trained professional Army at the outbreak of the war. They had to build a mass army "under fire" (John Keegan's words.) The pre-war professionals had a low opinion of the new troops' ability to do anything complex, so the simplest tactics were adopted -- march in line abreast into the enemy trenches.

Second, an Army is like a battleship, difficult to turn around. Despite any attempts at the top to develop new methods, the old methods persisted in the trenches for a long time.

Third, ranking officers did not visit the trenches and see for themselves. Sir John French, the first commander of the BEF only went into the trenches to say good bye when he was relieved. He burst into tears, saying, "My God! Did we send men to fight under these conditions?" His successor, Douglas Haig, wouldn't even visit the wounded for fear it would make him "soft."

Fourth, the great fear among the Allies was that Russia would collapse (as actually happened in 1917.) To keep Russia in the war, the western Allies had to continually attack to take some pressure off the Russians. The Germans for their part mostly stayed on the defensive in the west and slaughtered the attacking British and French -- hundreds of thousands of lives were sacrificed for this political aim.

Fifth, there was no good battlefield communication system. Troops would advance laying telephone wire behind them, but the wires would be quickly cut by enemy artillery fire. A radio tranciever in those days would have filled a wagon. Without communications, more sophisticated tactics were much more difficult to execute.

Sixth, back to the battleship analogy -- at the beganning of the war the British placed huge orders for equipment, weapons and munitions, based on their understanding of the need. In prevous wars, they had found highly-mobile field artillery firing shrapnel to be most effective -- so they ordered light guns and lots of shrapnel. What they needed was heavy guns and High Explosive (HE) ammunition. One result of this early mistake was that the lengthy bombardment preceding the Battle of the Somme in 1916 was almost totally ineffective.

ArmedBear
June 10, 2009, 11:45 AM
Third, ranking officers did not visit the trenches and see for themselves. Sir John French, the first commander of the BEF only went into the trenches to say good bye when he was relieved. He burst into tears, saying, "My God! Did we send men to fight under these conditions?" His successor, Douglas Haig, wouldn't even visit the wounded for fear it would make him "soft."

****, did they sing Gilbert and Sullivan songs, too? These guys sound like the characters from their satires, not real generals!

Thanks, Vern! That was really informative.

John Parker
June 10, 2009, 11:53 AM
1000 bad guys with (fullauto/semiauto) against 50 well trained US Army/Marines snipers with M24/M40 in a 3 miles area...
God forbid the 1,000 bad guys lay down a base of fire and then advance under it in buddy rushes. Snipers would die.

sniper5
June 10, 2009, 11:54 AM
Vern-

Yup!

And you might add Seventh, Armies tend to prepare to fight the last war they fought in. The last major European wars had been the Napoleonic wars. Bright uniforms, cavalry charges, massed charges in parade ground formation, etc. Outmoded tactics clung to by autocratic leadership. Lions led by donkeys. The army was viewed as an almost insignificant extension of the navy, and battles were settled with bayonets and swords. The idea that firepower would determine battles instead of the bravery and gallantry of the individual soldier was "stuff and nonsense". And unfortunately, a learning curve that should have been steep was not.

Nick_007
June 10, 2009, 12:00 PM
And who said anything about well trained? I think the question is just the weapon itself. What makes a Mosin any more of a combat rifle than a Remington semi auto? I realize a Mosin has stripper clips but a Remington is semi auto. I mean if you miss you still get another few chances with the Remignton w/o having to take aim all over. And I would think an SKS pinned to 5 would be better than both.

benEzra
June 10, 2009, 12:01 PM
A Remington 7615 pump-action in .223 can be set up like an AR-15, and are even legal in England. A high-powered bolt-action isn't the only rifle alternative to a medium-powered semiauto.

Vern Humphrey
June 10, 2009, 12:10 PM
****, did they sing Gilbert and Sullivan songs, too? These guys sound like the characters from their satires, not real generals!
A friend sent me an excellent little book entitled Over the Top by Arthur Empey. Empey was a sergeant in the New York National Guard who went to England in 1915, joined the British Army and fought on the western front.

I'm a professional soldier, and what Empey wrote makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

The British staged bayonet charges with unloaded rifles. The fear was if they got to shooting in a melee, "might shoot one of our own chaps, eh?"

Empey voluteered to attend a "bomber" course -- where he learned to make home-made handgrenades. British troops were using jam tins filled with clay, nuts and bolts and explosives instead of factory made grenades.

Empey was wounded, losing an arm the day before the Battle of the Somme began. He was part of a patrol sent out to take a prisoner. They had no firearms! They were "armed" with clubs, knives, and loops of barbed wire to secure prisoners. The Germans, laboring under no such disadvantage, blew Empey's arm off.

How could officers allow stuff like this to happen?

ArmedBear
June 10, 2009, 12:17 PM
Ever seen the Tiger section of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life?

Reminds me of that, too.

Nick_007
June 10, 2009, 01:15 PM
They had no firearms! They were "armed" with clubs, knives, and loops of barbed wire to secure prisoners. The Germans, laboring under no such disadvantage, blew Empey's arm off

This is the 2nd time I've heard of such a thing: an army showing up on a battlefield w/o a firearm. And both were from a discussion on this board concerning combat rifles. The other time was the Chinese in the Korean war. I guess any type of rifle is better than either of those deplorable situations (guess it depends on which side you're on). Thank heaven for the 2nd amendment boy . . .

Reid73
June 10, 2009, 01:27 PM
I was thinking only of US Springfields, which AFAIK were loaded singly with the magazine locked out for offensive use, and the rounds in it held in reserve for defensive use.A magazine cut-off was originally a feature of the SMLE, but IIRC was deleted in the Mk III* version (introduced in 1915). It's one of those ideas that seemed to make sense to brass hats and boffins, but had no practical application in the real world.

My argument is that a stripper-clip fed bolt action gun is faster to reload and easier to keep in action than a tubular magazine lever-action rifle.I agree John.

They didn't. They used the full range of weaponry available to the infantry unit and/or combined arms team and relied on crew served machine guns and artillery to do most of the killing.That's true of WWII and Korea, but the same comments also apply to other armies equipped with semi-automatic or automatic individual weapons.

He was part of a patrol sent out to take a prisoner. They had no firearms! They were "armed" with clubs, knives, and loops of barbed wire to secure prisoners.... How could officers allow stuff like this to happen? Well, 'muddling through' is the British way. And given the covert nature of their mission, perhaps their lack of firearms isn't really surprising. Bringing along heavy and relatively cumbersome rifles would have served no real purpose ... if detected, they would not have been in a position to take on the entire German front line, and their only option would have been to melt away into the darkness of no-man's land (assuming no flares!).

Todd1700
June 10, 2009, 01:27 PM
By the way the Spartans were the highpoint of weapon and military technology, they were far better equipped than the invading Persians.

You beat me to it. The Greeks were not over matched in weapons or armor. Numbers? Yes, but not standard equipment. The Persian Hoplite soldier had a very lightly constructed shield and almost no body armor. A fact that became very significant when they hit the front wall of the Spartan line of defense. While the heavy Spartan shields and armor could stop their weapons the Persian shields and armor were easily penetrated by Spartan spears. This fact allowed the Greeks to inflict awful casualties on the Persians and hold out as long as they did.

Ask all the infantry on infantry calualties from the US during WWII in the European theater. Us...Garands, Them.... Mausers. they managed to get plenty of us dead with 98Ks


Ask a German solider which he would have rather had a K98 or a Garand. There's a reason the Germans developed the Sturmgewehr 44 during WW2. And the reason isn't because the Garand was getting it's @$$ kicked in head to head conflicts with the K98.

God forbid the 1,000 bad guys lay down a base of fire and then advance under it in buddy rushes. Snipers would die.
Well aimed bolt action rifle fire is fine in certain circumstances but with a 1000 men all pouring lead on your position at semi-auto rates of fire how could you even lift your head from cover to fire back? You couldn't. And while you were pinned down groups of those 1000 are going be free to maneuver themselves into position to kill you. And they will.

Quoheleth
June 10, 2009, 01:31 PM
I've heard that, too (see #66) about the Chinese in Korea, @ 1953. Their advantage: sheer numbers. They literally overran US/UN troops by sheer numbers. David Hackworth's book ABOUT FACE describes in chilling words how the US lines were "steamrolled" by thousands of Chinese. Why waste guns when numbers and the dreaded sharpened stick works just fine against raw troops with minimal ammo?

I also read that in WWII, Russians would literally send raw draftees out into the streets of Moscow, only arming every other soldier, telling them that they have a less than 50% survivability rating, so grab the dropped rifle of the dead man in front of you. Talk about de-motivators...

Q

P.B.Walsh
June 10, 2009, 01:34 PM
^^^^^no kidding!!!!!

Reid73
June 10, 2009, 01:38 PM
Dude, that's weird looking (post 21, box-fed lever in 30-06). "Weird looking?" You really think so? 1895 is a classic!

If you think its appearance is odd, check it out when the action is open (as has been said, it's like two freight trains being coupled together)!
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a105/makabi/Winchester-1895-2.jpg

P.B.Walsh
June 10, 2009, 01:45 PM
Well, I'm a newer generation gun lover (15 years old), so I only like SOME classics (M1, and 1903), and rarely do I acually like wood, it's got to be PRETTY for me to like it.

Reid73
June 10, 2009, 01:58 PM
Well give it time. Your tastes will mature, and eventually you will leave the plastic rifles and Pepsi behind ... and enjoy magnificient Mausers and single malts. ;)

Vern Humphrey
June 10, 2009, 02:37 PM
Well, 'muddling through' is the British way. And given the covert nature of their mission, perhaps their lack of firearms isn't really surprising. Bringing along heavy and relatively cumbersome rifles would have served no real purpose ...

The lack of arms was the key reason they failed. They were shot to hell at close range.

Note that the United States Army never sends out unarmed patrols in combat.

usmc1371
June 10, 2009, 02:50 PM
The bolt action guys at the nra matches seem to do just fine even in the rapid fire events. practice and knowing ones weapon will go a long ways. When I joined the marines I had never shot anything but bolt actions and for the first few days on the range I would have traded my M-16 for my ruger M77 30-06 in a heart beat. Now sevral thousand rounds later and I concide that the M16 is a better COMMBAT rifle. I wouldn't look down on a guy who brings a bolt gun to the fight could be he know his rifle and won't miss whin the time comes.

SharpsDressedMan
June 10, 2009, 03:19 PM
I want you to consider the competency of a man like Jeff Cooper. He advocated the scout rifle, and deemed it a pretty good tool for "all seasons" (i.e. uses). Do you think he would have been deadly with a bolt action? Given the possible desparate situations that any one of us might find ourselves in, I think a highly proficient shooter with a cool head and a bolt action rifle, like a scout rifle, would do as well as any semi auto. I have a .30-06 "pseudo-scout" (doesn't quite make the perfect weight) that would be my first choice as a fighting rifle. I can snap a shot at 250 yards, or use both eyes open at 50-75 yards. It loads quickly, because the scope is out of the way of the magazine, and it handles and points better than any semi auto I have handled, thus is "faster" on the target. Translate that to you get the bad guy before he gets you, all else being equal. In any gunfight in the hostile streets of Iraq, or the foothills of Afghanistan, it is doubtful that any one soldier is getting one kill for every one or two shots. If they even tried to shoot that way, they'd be much more deadly. If all you have available without reloading is four (my Rem 700 holds four under the bolt), keep your head, shoot only when an effective hit can be placed, and reload (while moving or under cover) two every time two are fired, the gun will never be empty. Everyone can count to two, so it's not like you have to guess when it's time to reload. Sgt. York was a good expample of genuine marksmanship and a cool head (by the way, he allegedly used a 1917 Enfield, and of course, a 1911). Those qualities don't come to everyone, but then few of our police AND fighting men can actually shoot. And they are quite often in the thick everyday. I'll take the bolt action as described. The performance is then up to me.

psyopspec
June 10, 2009, 03:23 PM
I also read that in WWII, Russians would literally send raw draftees out into the streets of Moscow, only arming every other soldier, telling them that they have a less than 50% survivability rating, so grab the dropped rifle of the dead man in front of you. Talk about de-motivators...

Recruitment posters of the day read "You made your child melancholy. We'll make them RED ARMY melancholy." :uhoh:

CWL
June 10, 2009, 03:36 PM
The Battle of Thermopylae (Origins of the movie "300") is a prime example...the Greek force was outnumbered 7,400 (300 well trained Spartans) to 2,500,000 (or perhaps as many as 4 million). The Greeks had inferior gear and numbers, but many were very well trained and were superior tacticians. Greeks won...nuf said.

Rather than getting history from a movie based-on a comic book...

There were another 7,000 Greek allies fighting there with the Spartans plus unknown numbers of slaves (probably 1/1 to the Greeks present) who also fought.

If there were actually 2.5-4 million Persians fighting at Thermopylae, their army marching column would have been so long that most of them wouldn't even have left Persia by the time of the battle (don't even try to suggest that there are enough ships in the entire Ancient world to carry 1 million men).

Green Dragoon
June 10, 2009, 03:54 PM
There was an article I read years ago written by a retired Police Chief that said he would rather face a punk with a machine gun then someone that knew what they were doing with a single shot .22 . Would a bolt gun be the ideal in a combat environment no , but if you knew what you were doing and were able to use it properly you could at least surivive.
Plain and simple there is no sustitute for kowledge of your weapon and pratice.

Reid73
June 10, 2009, 04:08 PM
Note that the United States Army never sends out unarmed patrols in combat.Note that the United States Army has access to handy little SMGs and automatic carbines, which were entirely unavailable in 1915. Note also that "unarmed" and "no firearms" are not identical.

In the First World War, it was entirely common for raiding parties on both sides to eschew firearms, which simply were unsuitable for that mission. Instead, they used improvised silent weapons such as spades, homemade clubs, daggers, etc., backed up by grenades and handguns if they could get them. See generally "Trench Raiding" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trench_raiding); "'Midnight Raids on the German Lines" (http://www.greatwardifferent.com/Great_War/Trench_Raids/Trench_Raids_01.htm); "Hand Weapons of Trench Raiders" (http://ww1history.suite101.com/article.cfm/hand_weapons_of_trench_raiders_wwi).

Vern Humphrey
June 10, 2009, 04:15 PM
Note that the United States Army has access to handy little SMGs and automatic carbines, which were entirely unavailable in 1915. Note also that "unarmed" and "no firearms" are not identical.

In the First World War, it was entirely common for raiding parties on both sides to eschew firearms, which simply were unsuitable for that mission. Instead, they used improvided silent weapons such as spades, homemade clubs, daggers, etc., backed up by grenades and handguns if they could get them. See generally "Trench raiding".
Which accounts for the general lack of success in such missions.

On this mission, they failed -- no prisoner was taken. Of 19 men and 1 officer with the patrol, 17 men were killed, the officer was mortally wounded and died attempting to crawl back to the British trenches. Empey lay in a shallow shell hole for a day and a half before being found.

Now, I have been on a combat patrol or two myself. When I was an adviser to ARVN infantry, my weapon of choice was an M1 rifle. When I was an infantry company commander, I chose an M14 sniper rifle, even though my company was issued M16s.

The lesson is clear -- men with firearms generally beat the crap out of men without firearms.

Reid73
June 10, 2009, 04:27 PM
Which accounts for the general lack of success in such missions.

On this mission, they failedYou're citing one failure as proof of "general lack of success"?

Men with firearms generally beat the crap out of men without firearms.I agree with that principle: it's only common sense. But it isn't particularly relevant to your original question [viz., "How could officers allow stuff like this to happen?"].

For raiding purposes, a determined man with a sharp knife was (and is) more than a match for an unaware sentry armed with any firearm.

Vern Humphrey
June 10, 2009, 05:14 PM
I agree with that principle: it's only common sense. But it isn't particularly relevant to your original question [viz., "How could officers allow stuff like this to happen?"].

For raiding purposes, a determined man with a sharp knife was (and is) more than a match for an unaware sentry armed with any firearm.
And you know that from personal experience?

vanfunk
June 10, 2009, 05:29 PM
The lesson is clear -- men with firearms generally beat the crap out of men without firearms.

I've been waiting for a new signature line to come along, and I think it just found me. Duly attributed, of course.

Thank you, Vern!

vanfunk

Arbor
June 10, 2009, 07:24 PM
A pump-action shotgun or lever rifle would be much more capable. Still, I'd take the semi over either one even if it only held 5 rounds.

Reid73
June 10, 2009, 08:22 PM
No Vern, I sure don't. Frankly, running around slashing throats is not my kind of thing.

Do you have any firsthand experience that suggests that contrary? If you, as a dozy sentry, have personally successfully seen off numerous stealthy knife-attackers, please share some details. Thanks.

John Parker
June 10, 2009, 08:30 PM
Well aimed bolt action rifle fire is fine in certain circumstances but with a 1000 men all pouring lead on your position at semi-auto rates of fire how could you even lift your head from cover to fire back? You couldn't. And while you were pinned down groups of those 1000 are going be free to maneuver themselves into position to kill you. And they will.

That was exactly my point...1,000 guys with semis would beat 50 marksmen with bolties.

P.B.Walsh
June 10, 2009, 09:37 PM
Quote:
Well aimed bolt action rifle fire is fine in certain circumstances but with a 1000 men all pouring lead on your position at semi-auto rates of fire how could you even lift your head from cover to fire back? You couldn't. And while you were pinned down groups of those 1000 are going be free to maneuver themselves into position to kill you. And they will.

That was exactly my point...1,000 guys with semis would beat 50 marksmen with bolties.





True

SharpsDressedMan
June 10, 2009, 09:37 PM
Well, since none of us are ever going to be pinned down by 1000 armed with semi/full auto rifles, lets consider the "real" likelyhood that they would, in large numbers, acidentally shoot each other trying to shoot me/us, and that my rounds would ultimately pass through my targeted bad guys, and hit the enemy behind said bad guys, allowing me to drop them more quickly. As long as I had several hundred rounds on me for my bolt action (about as likely as facing off with a thousand), I think they might have to go get more bad guys.......

John Parker
June 10, 2009, 10:08 PM
I think they'd do just fine killing you. 1,000 bad guys with semis v 50 of the worlds best riflemen with bolt action guns. Base of fire, 3-5 second buddy rushes, maneuvering and suppression...yeah, the 50 guys would get wiped out. There is a reason why every army trains offensive operations this way: because it works!

cipher
June 10, 2009, 11:08 PM
By the way the Spartans were the highpoint of weapon and military technology, they were far better equipped than the invading Persians.
A combination of bronze, and iron weapons, professional training, knowing their own backyard, and the motivation to defend their country from an army that just rolled through the open plains of Asia unstoppable was how they did it. The Spartans (any Greeks soldiers really) had the best options for weapons and armor in the world at that time. The Greeks had a large multi layer bronze shield, that when used correctly in formation protected them from their helmet to their ankle, as well part of the soldier to their immediate right. They had lightweight, well balanced 8ft long spears with razor sharp iron points, they had a chest plate of bronze armor that protected them from any sword, spear, arrow, etc that would hit them in the entire torso. They had multilayer bronze helmets that protected almost the entire head and neck, they had armor that protected the ankle and lower leg (dont go by the movie 300 for the truth). The Greeks had well designed javelins (carried many of them) to throw, and were experts at this. The Greeks had razor sharp short swaords, and their training focused purely on using a simple effective, and organized style of fighting as a single force, not one Greek would step from his postion, this was why the Greek Phalanx was impossible to stop for so many hundred years, this is why the Greek Phalanx was so effective to conquer all of Asia to almost China. The Greeks had a hand to hand combat system called Pancration, this, and thanks to Alexander the Great was the predecessor to all martial arts in the far east, or the style that revolutionized all other martial arts.
The Persians had wicker shields, cloth, wood, leather, and wicker armor and clothing. The Persians were used to fighting in cavalry charges in open fields.
They had a mix and match of short swords, dagger, short spears, arrows and bows, etc.
On 2 major battles before and after the battle of Themopolyae the Greeks were outnumbered by 3 to 1, or 10 to 1, both times the Greeks won because of superior training, superior equipment, and superior tactics. The Persians used their money to influence the Greeks as an army for hire during these times, the Persians knew they could not defeat the Greek army no matter what, but money and power have advantages.
A bolt action used a a sniper rifle in the right hands can be a very deadly weapon, in fact it can and has proven to be a better choice for a sniper than the Russian semiauto dragunov. A sniper is vulnerable, and needs lots of support, so a bolt action has its place if used correctly.

My old Classical Civ professor would eat this one up. That's some serious propaganda right there.

To begin with, the Chinese were practicing Gung-Fu before the Greeks even existed.

The Persians never used cavalry charges, cause there were no stirrups. Their cavalry was lightly armored and threw javelins. Just like the Greek before Alexander's father, Phillip. The Macedonians were the first to be documented performing cavalry charges on infantry. It was actually his cavalry tactics that gave Alexander his empire; those super elite hoplites you were referring to were stripped them down to light infantry, exactly like the Persian except with even longer spears. That way they were more mobile and had more strategic advantage.

The Persians beat the Greeks plenty of times, and it was more internal strife/revolts/logistical challenges that stopped Darius from swallowing them up. The "army for hire" story that Polybius wrote about reads like the 300 screenplay and probably never even happened. For that matter Thermopylae's questionable, and at any rate Herodotus himself admitted there were over 3,000 Greeks, if only 300 Spartans among them.

Also the whole 10-1 thing in general comes from exaggerations. Herodotus once claimed that the Persians arrived with over 1,000,000 troops, even a tenth of that number would have been ludicrous in that time period. And I have no problem with people crafting legends to inspire people, but calling the Greeks all this is going a bit far.

Oh, and bolt actions are great till they find the bush you're hiding behind...They say Patton loved the M1 Garand so much cause he could use his poorly trained draftees to concentrate firepower on enemy positions. I guess he thought like Alexander. You need some kind of semi automatic support. You don't want to be stuck with a 700 when they finally overrun your position.

I attached a picture of the ancient Greek "predecessor to kung-fu". :o

HorseSoldier
June 10, 2009, 11:48 PM
Which accounts for the general lack of success in such missions.

I believe it was successful enough that the guys making decisions at the sharp end kept sending out raiding parties armed with handguns and blunt instruments, and leading the same, throughout most of that particular war for prisoner snatches.

I've read a number of accounts of such missions working out just fine, though it definitely must have taken pretty iron nerves, even by combat soldier standards, to low crawl across No Mans Land armed with a trench knife, a sap, and a pocket full of hand grenades . . .

P.B.Walsh
June 10, 2009, 11:51 PM
....you'd have to be a MAN!!!!!

Ignition Override
June 11, 2009, 02:41 AM
Mr. Vern Humphrey, Mr. King Ghidora (and others):

You gents have described some WW1 and other combat situations in very readable "nutshells".
For a middle-aged guy who is a late-bloomer with guns (but read ancient/medieval/some WW2 history), all of you guys' comments are educational and enlightening. It is rewarding to read such topics, among the rest.

Also-if you guys will pass through my area (with about six weeks' notice), can then plan specific days off, meet and go 'zap' some targets. Any e-mail etc is welcome. Use my x54R or .303 (both corrosive), or clean Russian 7.62x39 ammo, free of charge.

woodybrighton
June 11, 2009, 05:08 AM
think you need to actually read some ww1 history and not just make stuff up.:(

50 snipers spread out against a battalion so the battalion loses its command structure in the first 5 minutes attack goes to rat****
been in a Sim gear assualt like that you go firm blat some rounds off and find cover and wait for somebody to figure out what to do. which doesn't really happen.
The British army was not completely clueless by 1917 they were using combined arms and tanks to some effect.
trench raiding relied on stealth and surprise rifles would be of little use in that role

LAK
June 11, 2009, 08:17 AM
The significance of the semi-automatic rifle is perhaps rather more pronounced when employed in concerted small unit tactics. And only when employed by persons with the discipline and skills necessary to make small unit tactics effective, when circumstances, topography etc, lend the advantage.

When referring to the early repeaters and semi-autos there must be a differentiating between those chambered for pistol cartridges, intermediate, and the more powerful rifle cartridges like the .30-06. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and effective range, ability to penetrate cover will vary.

I would place discipline, tactics, skills, health and morale as more significant than weapon type. These have been the major contributing factors in many a fight and many a war.

Todd1700
June 11, 2009, 09:12 AM
That was exactly my point...1,000 guys with semis would beat 50 marksmen with bolties.

And I was agreeing with you.

Vern Humphrey
June 11, 2009, 09:24 AM
No Vern, I sure don't. Frankly, running around slashing throats is not my kind of thing.

Do you have any firsthand experience that suggests that contrary? If you, as a dozy sentry, have personally successfully seen off numerous stealthy knife-attackers, please share some details. Thanks.
You have a vivid imagination -- but combat reality does not square with your imagination.;)

SlamFire1
June 11, 2009, 10:56 AM
The idea that "our skillful troops" with bolt actions could overcome masses of marginally skilled opponents is based on several false assumptions. One is that all peacetime time troops get enough trigger time to learn shooting skills.
Another is that there is enough time in a war to train people to a high shooting skill level.

The skills to shoot accurately must be learned in peacetime, because of the time it takes. Shooting accurately is a skill. Two weeks of familiarization won't do it.

But, the Cold War experience of our Armed forces is that in peacetime training is cut to the bone. Money is spent on politically well connected major acquisition programs, not boots, bullets, facilities or training.

When the peacetime troops get deployed, they are the best we have. But few have decent weapon skills. As we found, Private Jessica could not clear a weapon malfunction in her M16. She was a support trooper, and as one, pre war cost cutting myths were such that support troops "only needed to know how to pump gas, because they would not be near the front line".


In a major war, peacetime troops get used up quickly. In both major wars early enlistments had a number of good shots. Within nine months, 99% of those guys were in graves. By the third year, hardly anyone in the ranks is capable of hitting a person beyond 300 yards.

The April 1918 German offensive, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_Offensive, the Germans lost 239,000 men in one month. Accelerated training for replacements just won’t bring them up to the quality level of the pre war guys.

Weapon design after WWII emphasized firepower, not accuracy. Good weapon design prioritized low cost and ease of manufacture. There is no need to give a soldier an expensive target grade weapon when he gets maybe two weeks of weapons training and the soldier will be dead within the year and his weapon a twisted wreck in the mud.


As an aside, my Uncle in the 101 Airborne, 501 PIR F company got exactly five rounds of familiarization before being dropped over Normandy. If he had not been a country boy, shooting squirrels and stuff, he would have had no idea how to shoot.

His brother, was in theater 20 days before a mortar ended his life. No shooting skills I know of will knock a mortar shell out of the air.

Reid73
June 11, 2009, 12:29 PM
though it definitely must have taken pretty iron nervesNo doubt. See here for a contemporary account.

Okay Vern, so neither of us has personal experience of trench raiding ... about what I figured.

Vern Humphrey
June 11, 2009, 12:43 PM
Okay Vern, so neither of us has personal experience of trench raiding ... about what I figured.
Actually, when you consider going into tunnels and fighting in base camps, only one of us has no personal experience of this kind of fghting.

woodybrighton
June 11, 2009, 02:16 PM
The Argument was 50 snipers against 1000 men with semis.
silly argument but here goes
a semi automatic rifle so thats an m1 m14 fn fal SKS squad effective fire is 600metres at a target.
you can pick up a ghillied sniper at 600metres good luck with that.

Todd1700
June 11, 2009, 04:24 PM
you can pick up a ghillied sniper at 600metres good luck with that.


Well if your 1000 men were to remain 600 meters away standing bolt upright scanning with binos as their means of engaging the snipers then yeah you would have a bad afternoon. But it would only take a few shots to tell what general direction the snipers were shooting from and then while 500 men hid behind cover and poured a wall of lead into their general area the other 500 could close pretty rapidly to a much closer range.

Snipers are great used for their specific purposes (Recon, forward spotters, taking out specific targets, harassing and delaying enemy troop movements). But they were never intended to engage massive walls of enemy troops. And with good reason. It would be very stupid to waste such highly trained soldiers by letting them be overrun by enemy grunts.

Reid73
June 11, 2009, 04:42 PM
Vern, how many men have you personally killed in hand-to-hand combat?

I generally don't like to get into people's personal experiences, but since you're making it an issue ...

Reid73
June 11, 2009, 05:06 PM
Vern, don't please bother to respond to my post ^^^. The question being debated has no real practical application to either of us, and there is no point in a silly argument.

You have apparently seen at least some level of combat and I have not. Neither one of us was involved in WW1 trench warfare and is in any position to judge what happened then. Why don't we just leave it there.

Thanks. :)

Maverick223
June 11, 2009, 09:00 PM
Well if your 1000 men were to remain 600 meters away standing bolt upright scanning with binos as their means of engaging the snipers then yeah you would have a bad afternoon. And if they all had sniper rifles it would be even worse...come on this argument is going nowhere. :banghead:

P.B.Walsh
June 11, 2009, 09:30 PM
They could have silencers??

deerhunter61
June 11, 2009, 09:51 PM
It all depends on when and how you engage the enemy...

In the right situation absolutely it will serve as a combat weapon! Rural or Urban...in the wrong way...well you probably won't make it using it.

06
June 11, 2009, 10:15 PM
Cain used a stone, David a sling, and Geronomo what ever he could get his hands on. Wonder what Gen. Custer was thinking when his position was being overrun?? I know all those examples are ancient but the point is-use what you have to the best of your ability. I hit a deer three times late one evening with a bolt(1903 Springfield) and my son said it sounded like an auto loader. Semis certainly have an advantage over bolts but I usually hunt with bolts-just my preference. I keep an M1-A in my truck, an "M" SKS, and a 22 LR Ruger Bolt. Can a bolt be an effective combat weapon--has for centuries and will continue to be. wc

toivo
June 12, 2009, 12:25 AM
I just passed off the Mosin as some archaic collectable thing, but much to my surprise it was and it's still, highly regarded in serious insurrectionary movements in modern times.

99847

On the subject of Winchester lever battle rifles, I have always heard that one major drawback is the difficulty of operating a lever action from the prone position. As a cavalry weapon, no problem.

These discussions are lots of fun, but in fact modern wars aren't just duels between riflemen. The Garand is a great rifle, but it didn't defeat the Axis. Air power did.

LAK
June 14, 2009, 07:52 AM
King GhidoraThe idea that "our skillful troops" with bolt actions could overcome masses of marginally skilled opponents is based on several false assumptions. One is that all peacetime time troops get enough trigger time to learn shooting skills.
Another is that there is enough time in a war to train people to a high shooting skill level.
While not exactly, the British experienced this against the Boers at the turn of the twentieth century. Not only were they completely unprepared for the Boer riflemen in the beginning, they did adjust both tactics and skills during the actual course of the war. Numbers did the rest for them.

The Swiss are perhaps a good example relative to the original post, albeit an untested model.
They did maintain a relatively high level of marksmanship, and snipers as well. I think it is significant given they lasted two world wars with the potential hostiles on their borders unmolested.

Vern Humphrey
June 14, 2009, 08:29 AM
Our forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan were both badly outnumbered by the enemy. Were we not more skilled, we would have lost in both countries.

Maverick223
June 14, 2009, 12:29 PM
Were we not more skilled, we would have lost in both countries.I fully agree, skill (in tactics, training, and communication) is key to victory...often more than equipment for numbers. :)

Harve Curry
June 14, 2009, 12:50 PM
saturno_v ,
About the1877-1878 Russian Turkish War. I have very little knowledge of, but didn't the Turks also buy Evans 32 shot repeaters?
They were 44 cal, made in MechanicsFalls Maine. There was a production shortage of Winchesters (sounds familar) and Mr. Evans used that to sell his rifle to the Turks.
I have a sporting model 44 long that holds 28 cartridges.They are slow to load.

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