Marksmanship, officer-man relations and the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield

Ford, Matthew (2016) Marksmanship, officer-man relations and the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield. War in History, 23 (3). pp. 278-295. ISSN 0968-3445

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Abstract

This article examines the British Army’s decision to adopt the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE) in 1903. Historians invariably assume that this weapon was developed in response to demands to modernise and improve the Army following the failures and poor marksmanship of British soldiers fighting in the Boer War. Understood this way the SMLE’s selection appears inevitable and as a result is rarely examined in close detail. This stands in contrast to the wealth of attention dedicated to exploring how the cavalry fought to hold onto the arme blanche despite the apparent revolution in machinegun and artillery firepower. Upon closer examination, however, neither way of thinking about the changes occurring to the British Army after the Boer War does justice to the complexities surrounding the development and selection of the SMLE. Rather, by considering the manner in which different communities within the Army thought about battle, and in particular how engagements on the North West Frontier shaped perspectives on marksmanship, this article demonstrates how the Cavalry and the Indian Army played an important part in the adoption of the SMLE.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Subjects: T Technology > T Technology (General) > T0173.2 Technological change
U Military Science > U Military Science (General) > U021 War. Philosophy. Military sociology
U Military Science > U Military Science (General) > U027 History of military science
U Military Science > U Military Science (General) > U150 Military planning
U Military Science > U Military Science (General) > U164 Tactics
U Military Science > U Military Science (General) > U300 Artillery and rifle ranges
U Military Science > U Military Science (General) > U750 Military life, manners and customs, antiquities, etc.
U Military Science > U Military Science (General) > U799 History of arms and armour
U Military Science > UD Infantry > UD157 Tactics. Manoeuvers. Drill regulations
U Military Science > UD Infantry > UD380 Small arms. Swords, etc.
U Military Science > UE Cavalry. Armour Including horse cavalry, armoured cavalry, mechanized cavalry > UE157 Tactics. Manoeuvers. Drill regulations
U Military Science > UE Cavalry. Armour Including horse cavalry, armoured cavalry, mechanized cavalry > UE420 Cavalry sword exercises
Depositing User: Matthew Ford
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2016 08:14
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2017 23:53
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/54999

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