American Rifleman - October 2016 - 66

GUNS ON THE BORDER all-too-apparent. The gun had a tendency to break firing pins, which required complete disassembly. This proved to be extremely difficult, especially at night. A scathing official report on the performance of the Benet-Mercie during combat action with the Villa forces was written on March 14, 1916. Among other things, the report indicated that a major problem encountered was the difficulty in loading the feed strips, particularly at night, when the gunners were unable to see what they were doing. The feed strips could be loaded upside down, which caused the gun to jam. When the report was issued to the press, many newspapers ran derisive and mocking articles, and the weapon was dubbed the "daylight gun." It was sarcastically suggested that the rules of warfare should be amended to only schedule combat during the daytime. The Chief of Ordnance for the U.S. Army, Gen. William Crozier, commented: "[W]e have no gun of any kind that can be used at any time except in daylight by a man who must depend upon his eyesight for such operations ... ." Clearly, the Model 1909 Benet-Mercie was a flawed arm, and it is not surprising that the guns were not used in combat by American forces during World War I. Soon after the Mexican Punitive Expedition, the gun dropped out of Uncle Sam's arsenal. If the flaws of the Benet-Mercie had not been exposed in Mexico in 1916, perhaps the guns would have been utilized in combat during World War I. If so, the experienced and battle-hardened Germans would have exacted a much greater toll due to the foibles of the M1909 than did Villa's rag-tag bandits. Lewis Machine Gun While use of the Model 1909 Benet-Mercie during the Mexican Punitive Expedition has been discussed in a number of books and articles, it is a lesser-known fact that some Lewis light machine guns were also employed during the campaign. Invented by U.S. Army Col. Isaac Newton Lewis, the Lewis was one of the better guns of its type at the time. For a number of reasons, including petty jealousy within the Ordnance Dept. hierarchy, the Lewis received lukewarm support from the U.S. Army. Nonetheless, the Lewis gun did prove to be a success with several European allies, chiefly Great Britain. Large numbers of Lewis guns chambered for the .303 British cartridge were fielded during World War I for both infantry and aircraft use by our allies (some lucky Doughboys received them instead of Chauchats, too, but that's another story). The Lewis fed from a 47-round magazine for infantry use, and an aircraft version was made that held 97 rounds. The Lewis gun fired at the rate of approximately 600 rounds per minute. In the fall of 1916, the U.S. Army purchased 353 Lewis guns, in .303, from the British. Those guns were dispatched to the U. S. Army's "Southern Department," and a number On March 9, 1916, 18 Americans were murdered and Columbus, N.M., (top) was burned by Villa and his men. The Model of 1909 Benet-Mercie machine rifle (below) was found to have serious shortcomings in Mexico. The Lewis gun (above, r.), though fielded in small numbers, performed very well. U.S. MODEL OF 1909 BENET-MERCIE MACHINE RIFLE WITH WARNER & SWASEY MODEL 1913 SIGHT 66 OCTOBER 2016 Courtesy of James AMERICAN RIFLEMAN D. Julia Auctioneers, Fairfield, Maine

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - October 2016

Contents
American Rifleman - October 2016 - Cover1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - Cover2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - Contents
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 3
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 4
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 5
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 6
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 7
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American Rifleman - October 2016 - C1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - C2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - E1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - E2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - MW1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - MW2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - S1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - S2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - SW1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - SW2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - W1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - W2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 100
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