American Rifleman - February 2015 - 8

the keefe report

M

arksmanship matters. In
August 1914, two small armies
proved the value of "rifle
practice" in the fields of France and
Flanders. One of those armies is highlighted in Anthony Vanderlinden's
article "Belgium's Model 1889 Mauser:
The Rifle That Saved Paris" (p. 72).
While the article is about the Mauser
adopted by Belgium in 1889 (giving
birth to FN) there is an important
lesson to be found from Tireurs
d'Elite (sharpshooters) forged in competitions held in Belgium before the
war-a prudent course for a small,
neutral nation bordered by France
on one side and Imperial Germany
on the other. As Vanderlinden points
out, the Germans were held up by
Belgian rifle fire (and fortifications) critically delaying the German
advance to take Paris and knock
France out of the war. And it was
"plucky little Belgium" that delayed
the Kaiser's troops long enough for
the British to get into the fight.
The National Rifle Association of
America was formed in 1871 to "promote marksmanship" and "rifle shooting on a scientific basis." The British
NRA actually predates the American
one by about a dozen years. How
important was rifle marksmanship
in Victorian England? Queen Victoria
herself fired the "opening shot" at
England's Bisley Range in 1860.
Although the British NRA was
serious about rifle shooting, the
British army was dramatically outshot during the Anglo-Boer War of
1899-1902. W.W. Greener in The Gun
And Its Development, attributes Lord
Salisbury with advocating for "a rifle
in every cottage." But the British
learned from the experience, adopting
the Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield rifle,
as well as improved training. The
result was, by 1914, a trained British
rifleman who could fire the "Mad
Minute," meaning 15 aimed shots into
a 12" target at 300 yds. in 60 seconds. How effective was this on the
battlefield? During the brutal fighting
around Mons on August 23, 1914,
British riflemen scored hits at more
than 1,000 yds., leading the Germans
to believe they were facing machine

8

February 2015

guns due to the volume and accuracy
of fire, not mere riflemen.
Sadly, by a century ago this month,
many, if not most, of those riflemen
were killed or wounded in the slaughterhouse that would characterize the
fighting on the Western Front. And
the need for men in belligerent armies
outstripped the need to train them to
shoot, really shoot.
In 1917-18, it was the Americans
who brought precision rifle fire
back to the battlefield. It was NRA
President Col. Newton Baker and
the commander of the American
Expeditionary Force, Gen. John J.
"Blackjack" Pershing (a competitive
shooter himself), who made sure
Americans could shoot before they
went to France. "The rifle is a distinctly American weapon," once wrote
Pershing. Ever heard of Sgt. Alvin
York or Lt. Sam Woodfill or even the
Marines at Belleau Wood? They killed
German machine gunners with longrange, precision rifle fire. American
riflemen used their rifles to save Paris
again in 1918 and help break the
stalemate of trench warfare.
Today, NRA continues that mission
of promoting marksmanship. In the
words of the late Marine Corps Maj.
Gen. Merritt "Red Mike" Edson, Medal
of Honor recipient (look up Edson's
Ridge) and former NRA President and
Executive Director: "The ability to
shoot straight is that part of national
security which affects the individual
more than any other."
Sincerely,

american riFleman


http://WWW.CROSSBREEDHOLSTERS.COM http://WWW.CROSSBREEDHOLSTERS.COM

American Rifleman - February 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - February 2015

Contents
American Rifleman - February 2015 - Cover1
American Rifleman - February 2015 - Cover2
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 1
American Rifleman - February 2015 - Contents
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 3
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 4
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 5
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 6
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 7
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 8
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 9
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 10
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 11
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 12
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 13
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 14
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 15
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 16
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 17
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 18
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 19
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 20
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 21
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 22
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 23
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 24
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 25
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 26
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 27
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 28
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 29
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 30
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 31
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 32
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 33
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 34
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 35
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 36
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 37
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 38
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 39
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 40
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 41
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 42
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 43
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 44
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 45
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 46
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 47
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 48
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 49
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 50
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 51
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 52
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 53
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 54
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 55
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 56
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 57
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 58
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 59
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 60
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 61
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 62
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 63
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 64
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 65
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 66
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 67
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 68
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 69
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 70
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 71
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 72
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 73
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 74
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 75
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 76
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 77
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 78
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 79
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 80
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 81
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 82
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 83
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 84
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 85
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 86
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 87
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 88
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 89
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 90
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 91
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 90b
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 91b
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 90c
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 91c
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 90d
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 91d
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 90e
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 91e
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 90f
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 91f
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 92
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 93
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 94
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 95
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 96
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 97
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 98
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 99
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 100
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 101
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 102
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 103
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 104
American Rifleman - February 2015 - Cover4
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