Quotulatiousness

August 20, 2017

Trench Mortars – German Double Standards – Hughes’ Shovel I OUT OF THE TRENCHES

Filed under: Cancon, Europe, Germany, History, Military — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

Published on 19 Aug 2017

Out Of The Trenches is finally back! In this episode Indy talks about the role of trench mortars in contrast to artillery, how the Germans could condemn the use of shotguns and saw-back bayonets while using chemical weapons, and a shovel with a hole in it.

July 25, 2017

British Rifles of WW1 I THE GREAT WAR Special feat. C&Rsenal

Filed under: Britain, Cancon, History, Military — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 24 Jul 2017

Check out Othais’ episode about the Ross Rifle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uGYSQ_-FJU

Othais introduces us to the famous British standard rifles of WW1 including the Short Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE), the Long Enfield and the controversial Ross Rifle.

Update: Patrick Crozier offers a bit of light entertainment in relation to the “Smellie”:

February 8, 2016

Small Arms of WWI Primer 014: Canadian Ross Rifle Mark III

Filed under: Cancon, History, Military, Politics — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 8 Dec 2015

Othais and Mae delve into the story of this WWI classic. Complete with history, function, and live fire demonstration.

C&Rsenal presents its WWI Primer series; covering the firearms of this historic conflict one at a time in honor of the centennial anniversary. Join us every other Tuesday!

Ross Rifle MkIII
Cartridge: .303
Capacity: 5 rnds
Length: 50.6″
weight: 9.9 lbs

This disastrous straight pull rifle remains an infamous part of WWI. It brought down politicians, cost soldiers’ lives, and was generally a complete failure on the battlefield. But was the Ross Rifle really unfixable? Or did the Canadians drop the gun just when they had it finally working?

Additional reading:

The Ross Rifle Story
Roger F. Phillips
http://astore.amazon.com/candrprimer-20

August 18, 2014

Another look at the Ross Rifle, initial Canadian infantry weapon of WW1

Filed under: Cancon, History, Military — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 12:11

Last year, I posted a video by Lickmuffin, showing his recently acquired Ross Mark III, a “sporterized” version of the model that equipped the First Canadian Division when it took the field in France in 1915. Yesterday, David Pugliese revisited the Ross controversy in the Ottawa Citizen:

When soldiers in the throes of battle discard their rifles and pluck a different weapon from the hands of dead allies, there’s clearly a serious problem, writes John Ward of the Canadian Press news service.

So it was with the Ross rifle, the weapon that Canadian soldiers took with them to the start of the First World War a century ago.

More from Ward’s article:

It was the brainchild of Sir Charles Ross, a wealthy Scottish-born engineer and inventor who offered it to the Canadian government as a military firearm well before the war began.

To Sir Sam Hughes, Canada’s minister of militia — defence minister in modern parlance — at the time, the Canadian-built Ross was highly accurate and the perfect tool for his soldiers, whom he saw as frontier marksmen.

But troops, some of whom sneered at the rifle as “the Canadian club,” soon discovered the Ross was not suited to dirty, rough-and-tumble trench warfare. They preferred the robust Lee-Enfield carried by their British comrades, picking them up from the battlefield when they could.

The .303-calibre, straight-pull Ross was longer than the Lee-Enfield, a problem in the cramped confines of the trenches. It was heavier, too, and in a day when infantrymen were over-burdened, any extra weight was unwelcome. When fired with its bayonet attached, it tended to shed the bayonet.

The Ross was also susceptible to jamming from dust and dirt and was very finicky about the quality of ammunition. The carefully machined cartridges made by the Dominion Arsenal worked fine, but not so the mass-produced British ammunition, which could vary in size beyond the Ross’s fine tolerances.

Further, it was easy to reassemble the Ross bolt incorrectly. Even when misassembled, the bolt would fit in the rifle and even chamber and fire a cartridge, only to slam back into the rifleman’s face — unheard of for most bolt-action rifles.

David Pugliese also linked to this Forgotten Weapons video, which investigates the best known failing of the Ross in combat:

Published on 16 Jun 2013

There is a long-standing urban legend about the Canadian Ross rifle, a straight-pull bolt action that was used in lieu of the SMLE by Canadian troops early in World War One. The story is that the Ross would sometimes malfunction and blow the bolt back into its shooter’s face, with pretty horrible results. Well, I wanted to learn “the rest of the story” – could this actually happen? What caused it? How could it be prevented? In short, what would a Ross shooter need to know to remain safe? And if I could get some cool footage of a bolt blowing out of a Ross in the process, all the better.

Well, reader Andy very generously provided a sporterized Ross for the experiments, and I started reading into what the issue really was. Turns out that the legend was quite true – you can put a Ross MkIII bolt together the wrong way, and it will allow you to fire without the locking lugs engaged, thus throwing the bolt back out of the gun at high velocity. However, the issue was recognized fairly quickly, and the vast majority of Ross rifles were modified with a safety rivet to prevent this from happening. It is also quite easy to determine if a Ross is assembled correctly, once you know what to look for.

December 21, 2013

The Ross Rifle

Filed under: Cancon, History, Military — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 10:46

When I was an army cadet, the weapon we trained on was the Lee Enfield, an old but highly reliable British rifle. Our cadet range used Lee Enfields with .22 adapters, but due to an odd quirk of timing, the very first weapon I ever fired was a Lee Enfield .303 … I think it weighed nearly as much as I did at 12. Interestingly, our cadet hall was adjacent to the site where the Long Branch Arsenal had manufactured Lee Enfield rifles during WW2, and the building may have been part of the factory complex.

Long Branch Arsenal site

Lee-Enfield No 4 Mk I (1943)

At the beginning of World War One, the Canadian army was supposed to be equipped as much as possible with Canadian-produced kit, including the infantry rifle. Canadian industrial development meant that we didn’t have factories that could immediately turn out bigger pieces of armament, but rifles were easily within reach. The government’s choice was the Ross rifle, which was already in production and was highly accurate but had a few disadvantages that were not discovered until the first Canadian troops were in Flanders. Wikipedia says:

The Ross rifle was a straight-pull bolt action .303 inch-calibre rifle produced in Canada from 1903 until 1918.

The Ross Mk.II or (“1905”) rifle was highly successful in target shooting before WWI, but the close chamber tolerances, lack of primary extraction and overall length made the Mk.III (or “1910”) Ross rifle unsuitable for the conditions of trench warfare and the often poor quality ammunition issued.

By 1916, the rifle had been withdrawn from front line service, but continued to be used by many snipers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force until the end of the war due to its exceptional accuracy.

The Ross Rifle Co. made sporting rifles from early in its production, most notably chambered in .280 Ross, introduced in 1907. This cartridge is recorded as the first to achieve over 3000 feet per second velocity, and the cartridge acquired a very considerable international reputation among target shooters and hunters.

Lickmuffin, who frequently posts comments here on the blog, recently acquired a “sporterized” version and produced a short video about the rifle:

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