RIA: Pattern 1913 Enfield Trials Rifle

One of the lessons learned by the British military in the aftermath of the Boer War was that modern Mauser rifles were superior to their Lee-action rifles and carbines. In response, British ordnance began experimenting with a Mauser-pattern rifle, ultimately finalized as the Pattern 1913. This rifle would also leave behind the obsolescent .303 rimmed cartridge, in favor of a new rimless .276 Enfield round.

The Pattern 13 rifle itself was excellent – it balanced and handled well, it had very good sights, and a smooth and fast bolt throw. However, the .276 Enfield cartridge was really more potent than it needed to be, and caused problems. The cartridge threw a 165 grain bullet at just under 2800fps, pretty close to the ballistics of today’s 7mm Remington Magnum. Loaded with Cordite propellent, this led to excessive barrel wear and unpleasant recoil, along with some parts breakage. However, as final testing was being done in the first half of 1914, the Great War broke out.

At this point, plans for using a new cartridge were abandoned. The rifle itself was redesigned in the .303 cartridge, to be manufactured in large numbers by American firms under contract. It would also be refitted for the .30-06 cartridge and used in large numbers by the American armed forces as the M1917 Enfield rifle. According to General Julian Hatcher (who ought to know), it was the best rifle of the First World War.

67 Comments

  1. I have read Maj. Hatcher’s review of the M1917 and have fired a lend – lease M1917 (identifiable by the red band on the forearm). Wish I could have gotten one when they were still relatively cheap.

    • Here in the US one used to find these red banded ex-Home Guard “•300-in.” M1917s every now and then. Nowadays, not so much. 😉

      • For real fun, try finding a Model 30 or 30S Remington, the postwar civilianized versions, for a reasonable price.

        For years the Model 30 family was considered “second best” behind the legendary pre-1964 Winchester Model 70, maybe because it was a bit portlier amidship and had that funny-looking “dogleg” bolt handle.

        Then collectors realized that it was as well-made as the 70, quite a bit rarer, and also was a rugged, accurate, reliable, straight-shooting bugger. The fact that most were in .30-06 didn’t hurt matters, either.

        Today, some variants of the Model 30 and 30S go for more than a lot of pre-’64 M70s.

        cheers

        eon

    • Volley sights were used to fire on targets at extreme long range. The targets were not individual soldiers, but formations of enemy soldiers. And your own formation would fire in volleys, at an officer’s command. They were really obsolete by WWI, as soldiers quickly learned that standing out in the open in large, visible formations that could be targeted in this way was suicide. Artillery and machines guns made it so, rendering volley sights on rifles like this superfluous.

      • At the battle of Omdurman, volley sights were used on the early Lee rifles present. The British opened up on the jihadis at more than a mile’s distance. Against an under-armed enemy massing for attack, they were successful enough to make volley sights look worth keeping.

  2. I used to own the US version, the M1917 Enfield. I still own a pair of SMLEs. I’d disagree strongly that the P14 was a better combat rifle. Like any Mauser, it’s a better action for a sporting rifle — with the stronger front locking lugs (and arguably also the controlled feed), and the greater accuracy potential, that makes it better for hunting or target shooting, and amenable to chambering far more powerful cartridges than the rear-locking Lee Enfield. But as a combat rifle, I’ll take the Lee Enfield any day — twice the magazine capacity, a shorter action that can be cycled faster by the shooter, equal if not superior reliability in the mud and dirt of the trenches, and all the accuracy and power an ordinary soldier needed. The only area where the P14 was definitely superior to the Lee Enfield as a combat rifle was its rear sight. Later iterations of the Lee Enfield (the experimental No. 1 Mk. V, and the No. 4 adopted a similar setup, correcting that last deficiency). Julian Hatcher may have regarded the P14/M1917 as the best bolt action of the war, but lots of others regard the SMLE as the best. It would unquestionably be me next choice after the SMLE for combat though.

    It’s interesting that the British deleted the magazine cutoff as unnecessary, when they put it back on the SMLE in the experimental No. 1 Mk. V, and this after all the experience of 1914-18 confirmed it was unneccesary.

    • According to https://dspace.lib.cranfield.ac.uk/bitstream/1826/6164/1/Clarke%20D%20M%20PhD.pdf
      Quote from manual delivered to volunteers which have to defend Great Britain in case of German invasion (Unternehmen Seelöwe):
      You are probably armed with the “Pattern ‘14” rifle. This is a better weapon
      than the S.M.L.E. (our present service rifle) from the point of view of
      marksmanship but it is not so handy in the field. It is the official “Sniper’s
      Rifle” and when fitted with a telescopic sight is almost ideal for this work.

      • Addition: After First World War BSA created line of cartridge for P14 rifle:
        .40 BSA
        .33 BSA
        .26 BSA
        Data from http://www.municion.org
        .26 BSA: 110gr @ 3100fps, one example known made by KYNOCH
        .33 BSA: 165gr @ 2650fps, three example known all made by KYNOCH
        .40 BSA: 250gr @ ????fps, two example made by O.P.M.
        O.P.M. stands for Otto Planyavsky Munitions founded in 1996, so it must be manufactured in 1996 or later.
        Considering from above available info, 33 was probably most popular, 26 less popular and 40 least popular but any of it didn’t get big popularity.

        • cartridgecollector (page similar to municion, but storing only photos of various cartridge, not dimensions) has photos of all three cartridge, and box of .33 cartridge:
          http://www.cartridgecollector.net/33-bsa-330-belted-rimless-ne
          Which has following text:

          KYNOCH
          ·33
          RIMLESS
          NITRO-EXPRESS
          CARTRIDGES
          (FOR B.S.A. RIFLES)

          NON-FOULING BULLET 165 Grns

          (notice that for some unknown reason to me KYNOCH used · sign instead of . – this apply to other their cartridge aswell)

        • Unfortunately a 6.5mm firing 110 grain bullets is just not sexy (140 and 160 grains would be).

          and firing 110 grain bullets at 3100 fps (which the contemporary .270 Winchester is supposed to but seldom ever did achieve with a 130 grain bullet in factory loads).

          British sporting shooting tended to be with shotguns,
          strict licensing of rifles and pistols was introduced in 1920, to head off a feared proletarian uprising.
          a good proportion of the British male population was freaked out by bangs after 4 years of slaughter.
          Any savings had been inflated away during the war, and following it, Churchill was tasked with deflating the british pound back to it’s pre war gold value, resulting in even more economic chaos.

          It was not a time for very mediocre sporting rifle cartridges to become a commercial success.

      • Excellent Dissertation. I’d hope it would become a full-length book!

        If you read on, you’ll soon discover that ultimately every .303 caliber rifle, including the P14s and Canadian Rosses all went to the regular army, while all of the U.S. .300/.30-06 caliber M1917s, BARs, etc. were kept for the Home Guards to simplify the logistics conundrum. At least one other Home Guard manual I’ve read remarks that the LGV/Home Guard volunteer may even have the “Japanese rifle” referring to the handful of Arisakas left over from the Royal Navy in WWI!

        • “At least one other Home Guard manual I’ve read remarks that the LGV/Home Guard volunteer may even have the “Japanese rifle” referring to the handful of Arisakas left over from the Royal Navy in WWI!”
          This give me idea for some brain exercise:
          Home Guard (1941) vs Volkssturm (1945)
          Who was better (or more precisely: less worse) equipped?
          Who was better trained?
          Imagine clash between them: Who will win? Who will lose? Or draw?

          • And also always keep in mind that often alternative for older/non-standard rifle in Home Guard was STEN sub-machine gun. Basically poor man’s sub-machine gun. Even some Resistance made sub-machine gun were better (see Choroszmanów sub-machine gun for example)

          • There were a few 1928 Thompson SMGs assigned to the Home Guard according to a book I read on the Thompson a couple years ago. Unfortunately I cannot remember the title at this time and so cannot support my claim. That was supposed to be the early contract guns classes with two drums, five 20 round mags and 1000 rounds of ammunition. Works for me !

          • A CaptEndo,

            The *Auxiliary* were a stay behind force operating from subterranean operating posts. Their job was to wage guerrilla war and extreme sabotage in the German rear, using the “crowd cover” of the Home Guard/LDV. These guys had all kinds of explosives, but armament centered on daggers, a handful of pistols and revolvers, and a few silenced .22s. One of the members opened his “in case of German invasion, open these instructions” envelopes and was horrified to discover that the first operation was to go snuff the local post master, since he was the only person who knew where their operation post was! Anyhow, these guys got some of the very first Thompson M1921s and M1928s delivered from the USA. And, you are correct: These arrived in wood cases with two 50-round drums, five 20-rd. stick mags, and 1k rounds of •450-in. ammunition!

            @Daweo: Apparently, the MkIII was intended to replace any and all MkIIs in Home Guard service, so that the MkIIs would all go to front line troops. In any case, the MkIII made it to the front lines too in significant quantities. The Clyde/Glasgow MkI and MkI* I have seen in the hands of all manner of British personnel, and also a group of women receiving basic training in the use of the “Machine Carbine.”

          • Having read the Dr. Clarke dissertation, a few other books on the subject like McKinstry, and also Yelton and Weaver on the Volkssturm, I’d have to give the nod to the British Home Guard…

            Of course, it is somewhat easier to defend an island with naval and air superiority than the collapsing “Thousand Year Reich” with its long land frontiers, and the bulk of its armed forces crushed by the Red Army (Stalingrad, Kursk, Bagration, etc. etc….)

            M91 Carcano rifles and carbines, a handful of panzerfäuste, maybe a few MP.3008s and some 8mm Mauser aircraft machine guns converted to ground use versus M1917 Enfields, BARs, a handful of Thompsons, stickly bombs, Blacker bombards, Northover projectors, Smith guns [direct fire mortars], Beeverbrooke “armored cars,” and some ex-aircraft Lewis guns turned into LMGs, supplemented by a Vickers here and there? Put my money on the Home Guard…

          • Regarding Home Guard weapons, we should not forget that some of the first weapons they very gratefully received were those donated by American civilians (e.g. NRA members).

            I was once told that my dad’s dad was issued with a .22 Winchester repeater which cam from that source.

            I do also have some old film footage of a guard of honour formed by the TRE Malvern Home Guard for a Royal Visit. In that film, they are all armed with Sten guns.

        • Dave:

          I think any Ross rifles went to the Home Guard. I have never come across any reference to the regular army using them. After World War I their reputation stank.

          • Initially, you are entirely correct. But then, you’ll have to read the dissertation! At a certain point it was literally the case that all .303 rifles went to Territorials, for training, and whatnot while all .30-06 caliber arms went to the Home Guard.

            I’ll have to haul out the publication, but some high value leadership targets in the UK–and ones who apparently would know the difference–reported Long Lees in the hands of soldiers garrisoned to guard them… Just imagine! It took quite some time for the No.4 Mk.I introduced in November 1939 to start rolling off the lines, and there may have been more substantial “wastage” of the SMLE at Dunkirk than has been reported. I think the jury is still out.

          • Dave:

            If you are referring to the months after Dunkirk, then you may have a point. I can see why it would have made sense to equip the regulars with anything which fired .303, and given the rest to the Home Guard. But this situation did not last for long, and all the pictures and references I have seen to Ross rifles put them in the hands of the Home Guard. They would have done well there, so long as it was looked after and not exposed to mud and dust, the Ross was a good rifle, certainly good enough for a home defence force.

      • Daweo,
        thanks a lot for sharing the link to the dissertation.

        Generally, I would like to point out that not only the UK and France were considering a 7 mm high power cartridge before WWI, but also Germany. A drawing by Infanterie-Konstruktionsbüro at Spandau has survived that shows the rear sight elevation curve for a 7 mm rifle.

    • I heard a theory that the reason for war time LE rifle accuracy was the fact that since it is furnished with rear locking it provides longer part of receiver imposed to elastic elongation and thus perhaps attenuation. It may be an urban legend after all, but still interesting hypothesis.

      • Hi Denny,

        In long range target shooting, the British Lee actioned rifles were vary much an artistic approach, compared to the more engineering approach of a front locked action.

        The length of receiver walls and bolt that come between the case head and the locking surfaces ends up in proportionately more displacement for a rear locked action compared to a front locked one (even if all other variables are held constant) – I know you know that – that’s for anyone else that might be reading who didn’t.

        There’s simply more there to do more stretching.

        properly set up, the Lees have a reputation for positive compensation

        bullets exit the barrel as the vibrations (set up by the action stretching) are causing the muzzle to rise. That means that bullets that are slower to exit, get sent on a higher trajectory

        at some point the paths of faster bullets on the flatter trajectories and slower bullets on higher trajectories should cross, and at that point, the Lee should give less vertical dispersion than a front locked action.

        How much of this was ever realized in competitions limited to open sights and where resting is not allowed
        and how much was realised only in the wishful thinking of competitors
        Is an interesting question.

        Note that we don’t see Lee actions in 1,000 yard bench rest.

        The No1 SMLE action was relatively light, with thin walls and a dirty great slot cut for the magazine cut off. The barrel was also of relatively thin section. Unfortunately much useless weight was then added with the big nose cap and bayonet attachment.

        In going to the No1 Mkiv / No4, the receiver walls were left higher and thicker section, and the barrel weight was increased and the muzzle cap eliminated.

        all of these resulted in the No4 rifle remaining bedded slightly better (always a problem with the 2 piece stock, originally used so Martini-Henry woodwork could be re-purposed – it probably cost 10 times more in additional machining on each receiver than it ever saved in wood, but that’s an instance of the impossibility of economic calculation in the socialist commonwealth) and perhaps grouping slightly better – although in military rifles, that would be more than accounted for with the longer sighting radius and change to an apeture sight on the receiver instead of a notch on the barrel)

        Post war, when 7.62 was adopted, Attempts to simply change the barrel, mag and bolt head on the scoped No4 sniper rifles, resulted in apallingly un acceptable accuracy. The slight increase in pressure combined with the usual weight barrel for the No4, just didn’t work.

        What eventually emerged was inspired by civilian target shooters, who were having good success with a much heavier free floated barrel, but with the receiver still meticulously bedded in the fore end.

        When the British Army ran comparative trials with other sniper rifles in the 1980s, the Brit’s scoped No4 was the least accurate of the lot, including the rear locked Steyr.

        Reason I’ve gone to such length in describing these is; all the time accuracy is improving with heavier barrels which are damping and lessening the magical flex and “compensation”.

        Incidentally, none of the ’03 Springfields or the very similar P13, P14 or M17, has a particularly symetrical lock up or receiver ring, and they all have a rear guard screw that angles forward (counter to Ruger’s patented angled front guard screw) which tends to pull the recoil lug out of engagement in the stock

        So none of them are set up for high intrinsic accuracy or maintaining good bedding and zero.

        Interestingly, the British Lee and the P13, 14 and M17, all have locking lugs and seats cut on a helix.

        • Very good information Keith and pretty expansive too, thank you. It seem to support the notion I made; there is some ‘dark magic’ on the background, to be sure.

          One impression I had seeing first time British service LE was is extra long foreguard (it was actually in hands of Canadian soldiers in time of WWII). Do you think this is related to vibration attenuation?

          I have a little experience from time in industry which relates to target rifles. The result of the effort produced rifles for Cdn Bisley team. The .308 version was extremely accurate. As a base we used Sportco receiver supplemented with modified action and sights and McMillan stock. The barrel was certainly free floating. It was fun project.

          • The No1 SMLE’s used for target shooting, used to have the barrel channel of the fore end packed with materials like cork, and sometimes steel shims, presumably to damp the vibrations of the slender barrel. I have a sporterised fore end that I found washed up on a Scottish beach (unfortunately without the interesting bits), that had had three steel shims at the rear of the barrel.

            I think in military use, the long woodwork was more for hand protection and to provide something to hold on to if it came to bayonet fighting (bayonets were used in 1982 on the FALs).

            Skennerton has a booklet on Lee actions for target shooting and “accurising” a Lee. I haven’t read it. It’s at the bottom right of the page http://www.skennerton.com/sais.html

            The Bisley rifle project sounds really interesting. unfortunately I don’t have any hands on experience with that sort of thing.

          • Just small addition to Sportco based Canadian Bisley rifle. It had originally 3-lug bolt with replaceable bold head to fine tune head space. Receiver was refurbished original. After I left company I learned that they decided to come up with 4-lug bolt. What led them to it I do not know, but at that point they had to produce all new receivers.

            In general sense, when comes to interest in subject of firearms, it is likely that a hobbyist such as yourself (and now me too) will acquire greater depth of knowledge than people who actually work on them. At a ‘professional’ type of situation there is little time to spend on peripheral consideration and product ‘out-of-the-door’ effort has a priority. It’s a work for pay after all; no sentimental attachment is even desired.

            To refresh myself on history of legendary LE rifle I picked up this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzmY7gXguuQ

    • With 20-20 hindsight, it seems to me the designers of the P13 may have suffered from refighting the last war. A case of out-Boering the Boers with a cartridge more powerful than the 7x57mm and a Mauser on steroids. Adopting the 7mm Mauser with a 24 inch barrel should have been adequate for both power and accuracy. I doubt that the 26 inch barrel added much other than making the rifle feel long and unwieldy. And why did they not carry over the 10 round magazine from the LE? Seems like it should have been easily enough done.

  3. Fascinating. I always liked the fore grip that the soldiers despised?

    Interesting that 7x57mm M1893 Mausers in the hands of Spanish “quintos” in eastern Cuba and 7x57mm M1893 and M1895 Orange Free State Mausers in the hands of Boers gave rise to both U.S. WWI service rifles: “Roosevelt’s rifle” in the modified-Mauser M1903 .30-06, and, thanks to WWI factory tooling for the P14 and decisions by Ordnance, including one V Corps/Santiago de Cuba logistician John Taliaferro Thompson, to adopt the M1917 “American Enfield” that wasn’t really an Enfield after all, but a modified Mauser!

    Interesting that the SMLE’s safety was retained instead of the Mauser 98’s thumb-operated clunker…

    • It’s actually better than the SMLE’s safety. It’s located on the same side of the action as your firing hand thumb, rather than the opposite side, so you can push the safety to the on or off positions without having to break your firing grip. It’s the best manual safety on any bolt action rifle — I should have added that to the better sights as a feature better than the Lee Enfield. The dog-leg bolt handle is a means to move the bolt handle’s grasping knob as far back as it was on the Lee Enfield, and still have the safety where it is. Placed thus, you don’t have to reach forward at all to grasp it; it’s right there above your hand when you’ve fired your shot and need to cycle the bolt. This facilitates faster firing.

    • I’ve never understood why the Brits or any country changed calibers, but took the design of the original rifle. The 7x57mm Mauser is fine for anything as far as I’m concerned. Must be National pride?

      • I think it was. All the larger nations had to have their own prioprietary calibers in those days. The smaller nations, without their own firearms industries, who bought the weapons from the larger ones, seemed overwhelmingly to favor 7x57mm (the nationalist Chinese, OTOH, preferred 7.92x57mm).

      • “Must be National pride?”
        Not necessary, back then default British propellant was cordite. Due to this during manufacture case was filled with cordite first and do neck operation was done later. Due to this long, shallow-angle case were preferred (see .375 H&H Magnum)
        https://sites.google.com/site/britmilammo/-256-276-inch
        (3rd photo from top, left-hand half) seems to confirm that, however seemingly it evolved later in more sharp angle (for better headspace?)

  4. It seems that the “lesson” learned by the British in the Boer war about rifle superiority was unlearned in WWI.

    Or perhaps influenced by post war economics, it was decided that the Mauser was not superior enough to warrant a whole sale change from the LE. At least there were improvements made to the LE between the wars rather than just calling it “good enough” in it’s WWI form.

  5. Regarding the US version (the M1917 Enfield) I once once told that in WWI Sergeant Alvin C. York actually used that rifle and not the 1903 Springfield version (apologies to Bary Cooper).

    • Pat:

      The American Rifleman looked into this a few years back. Sgt York was issued with an M1917, but he did not like the aperture sight, and managed to swap it for an M1903, as he preferred to be able to use his peripheral vision when he was shooting. As a very experienced hunter, this suited him.

      He kept the M1903, but it was stolen on the ship when he was coming home from France. It would be worth a fortune now.

      He also had an M1911 pistol. In the movie “Sgt York” Gary Cooper was given a Luger to use simply because it worked better with blank ammunition.

        • Dave:

          As I said, the American Rifleman article was quite specific, Sgt York used an M1903 which he acquired off his own bat, as he didn’t like aperture sights.

          • Thanks. I’ll look out for the March 2005 Garry James article on the subject. Certainly I’ve read the part in his diary where the 82nd All American trained with M1903s, but after landing in France they acquired M1917s, which he referred to as “British rifles” and that he thought these were not as accurate, etc. I’ve got a bunch of back issues, and I’d *think* that might be the sort of thing I’d keep.

  6. “.276 Enfield”
    https://sites.google.com/site/britmilammo/-256-276-inch
    Initially new cartridge have been even more ambitious – .256 cartridge, 150gr @ 2800fps, soon it was figured that with then available technology it will result in too long cartridge (keep in mind that then default propellant in Great Britain was cordite), so they switch to .276 cartridge. When Great War broke out this cartridge was not debugged yet.

  7. In the UK, the P14 became a popular rifle for Bisley style target shooting. Many were converted to 7.62×51, when that became the British service round. Prior to the advent of bespoke target rifles like Musgraves and Swings, a lot of target rifle shooters used 7.62mm P14s for the shorter ranges and 7.62mm No.4s for the longer ranges.

    When I was a club treasurer back around 1990, I think we had three such P14s and one No.4 as club rifles.

  8. I suspect that the performance of the .280 Ross at the Bisley matches may have been a factor in the development of the .276 concept.

  9. Volley sights were used when an entire platoon would aim and fire simultaneously at a distant ( > 1000 yds) feature- a hill, a building etc- that would now be engaged by machine guns or mortars.

  10. WRT Boer accuracy I think this is a myth. Why would African big hunters (mostly poor farmers) be good long range shots? There’s no reason. What actually occurred was that the Boers dug in at the base of hills. The thinking was the Brits would assume they were on the top and that’s what they’d shell. Smokeless powder and fire trenches added to the confusion as to where the Boers were. When they did fire on the Brits (over flat ground) they unintentionally at first got “grazing fire” from their Mausers. A Brit who was hit from 800 yards would assume the bullet was meant for him when the real target might have been 300 yards closer.

    • It was probably British tactics and logistics which were the main problem, not their rifles. They were prepared to fight either a European army in Europe or a colonial campaign in the colonies. They weren’t however ready to fight what was effectively a pseudo-European army on a colonial frontier and later a guerrilla war.

      Some of the successful Boer rifle tactics arose not from brilliant stratagems, but rather by accident. One battle in particular comes to mind, although I can’t recall the name. The Boers entrenched with their backs to a river in front of a range of hills. This position was intended to make it difficult for their own conscripts to run away, as the Boer leadership was certain they would do given the chance. However, this put the Boer infantry in a position where the British would have to advance across a broad flat plane, and the high velocity rifle rounds of the Boers fired parallel to the ground would have a much wider effective zone than would have been the case if they had been shooting downward from the hills into the ground. Meanwhile, the British artillery opened fire on the hills behind, because of course that’s where any sensible enemy would have entrenched … and thus the tale of the fantastic Boer marksmanship arose.

      By the way, Ian got the origins of the war somewhat wrong. It wasn’t the result of the British “deciding” to take over “rebellious colonies”. The Boer republics (Transvaal and Orange Free State) were independent states and the Boer army invaded British Cape Colony intending to take it over. The Boers believed they could defeat the British because they were “God’s chosen people”. The myth that it was the British who attacked the Boers seems to have arisen through a combination of a desire to vilify the British as “evil colonialists” (and therefore always wrong), and contemporary anti-British propaganda from other rival powers.

      • The Afrikaans were frontier riflemen

        They tended to dress in khaki
        many were skilled hunters, used to estimating range, using cover and conserving ammunition.

        Contrast that with Brits in bright red tunics, little pork pie hats, marching in line and obeying orders.

        At Spion Kopje, the Afrikaans identified and picked off the British Ruperts

        without the Ruperts to tell them what to do, the squaddies just milled around and were easily dealt with.

        The South African wars (imo) represent the over-reach stage of British Imperialism, very similar to the current phase of American imperialism.

        A very rich crony (Cecil Rhodes) convinced the British establisment that the Afrikaans republics threatened their interests.

        with each advance in empire, a perceived threat was dealt with, but then the new neigbours were perceived as a threat to the new gains – and had to be dealt with… and the process repeated.

        Eventually, there are not enough resources to defend the bloated empire and the imperial power will ruin its economy trying to defend it, rather than go to imperialists anonymous and admit that there are things it can’t control.

        It happened to Babylon, to Persia, to Greece, to Rome…

        The Afrikaans leadership knew what was coming and made the first move taking big chunks of Natal. The British response included a scorched earth policy of burning farms killing livestock and interning the population in concentration camps

        History may not repeat, but it does rhyme (?Twain)

        will America go to imperialists anonymous first? or collapse while still deluding itself that it can control everything?

        • Very good reading, Keith and in line with what (little) I know.
          I do not want to make it into political debate on proves of imperialism but, so much more appreciate it from person of English background, therefore presumably British traditional inclination. Trait of objectivity is a gift indeed.

          Yes, I can see the same happening with pax-americana pattern right now.

      • The British had stopped wearing red by 1899 and formations were spread out. The exception was Magersfontien where the Highland Brigade advanced in close order during a night attack.

        The battle described sounds like Colenso.

  11. Interesting to see how far went British interests in .276 caliber. One would think that it might have been that much easier later for Pedersen to apply his rifle (accidentally of same calibre) there.

  12. Overkill small-caliber round? Perhaps if the rifle were a bit more heavily built it could have handled the stress. Or one could have designed a new rifle to go with the .276 Enfield round and accounted for that nasty recoil. Maybe the answer is a Krnka styled long-recoil system…

  13. As with all wars the reason behind all the political hoopla was that the Orange Free State, Transvall and all the rest of the Boer Republics was that those Nations had very large deposits of Gold, Diamonds and other valuable minerals and the Boers had the unmitigated audacity to have gotten there before Her Majesty’s Subjects and just had to go.
    As for the Boers invading the British Cape Colony, please remember that Cape Town and the Colony that surrounded it, were originally a Boer Colonial State until stolen by the British Empire in a Prior War, simply because the British Empire required Coaling Ports for their Navy.
    And Finally, the Boer War was where the EVIL Concept of the Concentration Camp originated. They were created to deny the Boer Fighters places of resupply and rest, by the expedient of the British gathering up all the Boer Women, older men who could not fight and Children and put them in squalid camps where disease killed more of the Boers in the Camps than the British Army managed to kill on the Battlefield.
    Prior to this British invention, no one ever thought of putting non-combatant women and children in pestilent camps to die of starvation and diseases. Hitler could never have managed his “Holocaust” without this invention

    • Apologies Hoppy,
      You got there before I did on the origins of the s’iffrican wars.

      Herr Schicklegruber was also very impressed with what happened in the Ukraine during the winter of 1933.

    • Hoppy, the very term “concentration camp” entered the political lexicon of the 20th century by way of Cuba. Spanish General and Marquis Valeriano Weyler was brought into Cuba to carry out a counterinsurgency against the Cuban Ejército Libertador that had, by late 1895, extended its reach throughout the length and breadth of the island. He carried out his “fight war with war” strategem with a population removal tactic to deny the insurrecto forces food, logistics, and “crowd cover.” The term for the policy was “reconcentración” or, literally, “re-concentration” of the populace to Spanish-controlled towns and cities, thereby emptying out the countryside. As might be expected, it caused all manner of depredation and depravity, and it killed approximately 10 percent of the total population of the island at the time. The name “re-concentration” was then simplified in English to “concentration” and when population removal was used by the British and Dominion forces in South Africa, the name stuck. The Germans referred to Konzentrationslager or KZ for short…

      Turning to the Nazi holocaust, it began with ghettos, pogroms, etc., then in the very parts of Eastern Europe subject to occupation first by the USSR and later by Germany with mass shootings over pits. Then the use of gas vans. Then, primarily in areas of German occupation and control atop the largest pale of Jewish settlement, wholesale death camps using tank and truck engines to pump carbon monoxide gas into large gas chambers. Finally, the Zyklon B poison gas, used in various camps. One may speak of the Shoah by bullets east of the Molotov-Ribbentrop line, and the Shoah by gas to the west of it. Germans thought of the British blockade in WWI as appalling and bestial. Germans thought the bombing of cities by the RAF was similarly cruel. Both cases were then used to vilify the allies and as justification for wholesale wanton slaughter of “enemy populations” in the east.

  14. Hoppy:

    The Imperial German Army fought a war of extermination against the native people of German South West Africa before World War I. I don’t think Hitler needed to learn anything from the British Empire in the Boer War, though he was impressed with the Turkish Empire’s genocide of the Armenians. Try getting a Turk to admit that they did commit genocide against the Armenians and you will see they are still in denial of it.

    By the way, a few American Indians might dispute your claim that the British invented the idea of putting non-combatants into “pestilent camps to die of starvation and diseases”.

    • There’s a case to be made that logistics (lack of food supplies) and disease (usually typhus) are the biggest killers in camps, past and present.

      It’s still murder – because the people shouldn’t havbe been put there and the problems are known beforehand.

      • And of course the foolishly foolish fools in charge of the armies refused to acknowledge that even the toughest of men could die from illnesses generally found in cramped city slums where most people were thinner than sticks and least likely to afford a doctor’s services.

        Said fools were probably still in charge straight through the Cold War.

  15. Keith you have the wrong war…… The Boer war we wore Khaki, very early South African wars we still had Red tunics,

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