Thursday, November 26, 1914

Camp Salisbury Plain, West Down South

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Rain in the morning.”  [1]

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: This report from The Army and Navy Journal comparing the capabilities of the rifles carried by the belligerent armies engaged in the war appeared in the Montreal press earlier in the month.

“The German soldier is armed with a rifle in the magazine of which he carries five cartridges, whereas the magazine of the British piece contains ten, and that of the French eight cartridges.  Nearly all the nations have adopted rifles with magazines carrying five cartridges.

The French rifle, with bayonet fixed, is four inches longer that the German piece with bayonet fixed; [the British piece with bayonet fixed] is shorter by seven inches than the German.  The Austro-Hungarian is fifteen inches shorter than the French, and, like the German carries five cartridges. The Russian rifle carries five cartridges, and with bayonet fixed, is two inches shorter than the German and nine inches longer than the Austro-Hungarian weapon.

The Army and Navy Journal prints a table on the rifles of all of the nations of the world, from which the following is taken:

26 Nov 14

The types of guns used by the above nations are:  Austria-Hungary, the Mannlicher; Germany, Mauser;  England, Lee-Enfield; France, Lebel; Russia, three-line rifle; Belgium, Mauser; Turkey, Mauser; Japan, Arisaka, and Servia, Mauser.

Commenting on the rifles of the nations, The Army and Navy Journal says that the information that it gives is as complete and reliable as it is possible to get.

“It will be observed,” says the journal, “that the Lee-Enfield rifle of Great Britain, which is an American invention, carries ten cartridges in its magazine, that of France carries eight, and that of Italy, six. The possession by the British of the only rifle in the world carrying ten cartridges in its magazine is a distinct advantage in making an advance by rushes or in repelling a rush of the enemy when rapid fire counts.

The rifle of the United States is sighted up to 2,850 yards, the longest distance of any.  Great Britain is second, her rifle being sighted to 2,800 yards.  The rifle of the United States is the most powerful in the world, its maximum range being 5,465 yards.  The British rifle is second.

The core of the bullet used in all the above-mentioned rifles is hard lead, except the following:  the German bullet is soft lead, the French copper, and the core of the bullet of the United States rifle is a mixture of lead and tin.  The shape of the bullets used by mostly all the powers is the pointed bullet, first adopted by the French some years ago.  Twelve powers, including Great Britain, Italy, Greece, Servia and Roumania, use the ogival  bullet.  The Austro-Hungarian army has a new steel clad bullet which is said to have double the penetration of the former lead bullet.”  [2]

[1]   War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, Nov. 26, 1914.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa,
[2]   “German Rifle Carries Only Five Cartridges,” Montreal Daily Mail, Montreal, Friday, Nov 13, 1914, pg. 6, col. 3.


Share your thoughts