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Author Topic: Officer's weapons  (Read 5909 times)
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« on: 15 September 2011, 07:43:51 pm »

shelldrake
Forum Member


Australia
7 Posts   Posted - 19/11/2004 :  08:32:00 AM 
Did officers (particually troop commanders) carry rifles at all? I read somewhere that one was using a bayonet, and unless it was carried as a weapon for very close protection it got me wondering if they actually carried rifles as well; or did they just carry the .45 revolver?
Jeff Pickerd
Advanced Forum Member
 

Australia
374 Posts    Posted - 19/11/2004 :  11:53:13 PM 
Shell
As no one has taken up this question for you as yet, I will give what information I have from the officers of the 8th LHR.
From letters home around the time of the Regiments training at Broadmeadows Camp, there are references to the officers at the rifle butts for pistol practice. Upon embakation to Egypt, several officers refer to their swords and pistols. This would seem to be the accepted weaponry for officers at this stage, but when the Regiment embarks for Gallipoli, several refer to having drawn rifles and bayonets, as well as the same equipment as the other ranks. One officer recorded that this was done, "so as not to be able to be picked out by the Turks from the men."
In the Sinai Campaign it would appear that they opted for what ever weapon they though would suit. At El Burj in Palestine, Major Andy Crawford, CO of "C" Sqdn, 8th LHR, fired a Hotchkiss gun during the Turkish attack.
So it would appear that like the information that Bill has supplied for your other post, it would depend upon the officers personal choise, the cicumstances in which they found them selves at different times, and what part they undertook in the fighting.

C.E.W. Bean made reference to one of the infantry officers at Gallipoli using a sawn off shot gun against the Turks during an assult on their trenches. He stated that this officer was ordered to refrain from using this weapon after the Turks complained of its use under international law.

Trust this may be of some help.


shelldrake
Forum Member


Australia
7 Posts    Posted - 20/11/2004 :  8:22:44 PM 
Thanks for the info - it has helped answer my question.
Had to laugh at the hypocrisy at the complain over the shot gun in a war where serrated bayonets and gas was used and would cause worse wounds.

Kim
Advanced Forum Member
 

Australia
481 Posts    Posted - 20/11/2004 :  8:45:26 PM 
and jam tin bombs full of whatever shrapnel they could scrounge.
chippler
Forum Member


Australia
61 Posts    Posted - 24/11/2004 :  1:27:25 PM       
The serrated bayonets were issued as a status symbol to NCO's, for use by pioneers to cut through such things as barbed wire posts and were also issued to machine-gun troops, so they could cut down obstructions in their way.
As part of the propoganda against the Germans, rumours of the serrated bayonet being specially designed to inflict horrific injuries on the enemy were started and hence the British and French troops would execute any enemy in posession of a serrated bayonet.



troopone
Advanced Forum Member
 

Australia
218 Posts    Posted - 24/11/2004 :  3:17:06 PM 
The complaint about the shotgun seems to have been more about it being sawn off. The Americans issued Browning Pump action Shotguns which were able to be fitted with a modified '07 pattern bayonet.
chippler
Forum Member


Australia
61 Posts    Posted - 24/11/2004 :  4:11:49 PM       
also, the shotgun is a devestating weapon, bordering on inhumane. The force of a shotgun can blow off limbs and the person can remain alive. Also, the pellets from a shotgun travel through the bloodstream and cause massive infection. God help you if you are ever shot by a shotgun and don't instantly die...
SJR
Forum Member


Australia
178 Posts    Posted - 25/11/2004 :  07:13:55 AM 
All,
I assume officers would have certain autonomy when selecting weapons and would be able to pick and choose as the occasion demanded. Another point on officers using bayonets. I seem to recall in my fuzzy memory that smaller model bayonets were produced for pistols e.g Webley’s. I’m not sure how many were made, how widely they were distributed or even how popular they were (They remind me of a letter opener not a weapon of war) but maybe it is something to keep in mind when investigating officers using bayonets.
Shot guns are a devastating weapon up close but imagine what a 303 (Or Mauser) would be capable of if it had a lead tip, hollow point or other modification to cause the round to expand on contact. The bullets were encased in copper to help make war more humane (I don’t know who thought they had the power to make killing other human beings humane). The theory is, or so I’ve been led to believe, is that the copper jacketed round will leave a minimal exit wound unlike the projectiles in previous conflicts which could inflict atrocious collateral damage without killing the victim. It is possible to alter a jacketed round by filing the tip of copper off and exposing the lead. If such a projectile hit a person’s body it could very likely leave an exit wound something the size of a dinner plate. One danger to the operator when firing these modified rounds is if too much copper is removed off the tip there is a chance that on firing the lead will be forced through the copper sleeve and out the barrel leaving the sleeve as an obstruction in the barrel. Next shot basically causes the rifle to blow up in your face. I don’t think the modification of bullets was widespread during WW1 so it makes sense that the shotgun was popular for it’s stopping power. Does anyone know whether shot or solids were used in the shotgun rounds?
Regards.

stevebecker
Veteran Forum Member
 


1632 Posts    Posted - 25/11/2004 :  5:06:21 PM 
I have on record a Camel Corps officer using a pistol and Kukri he picked up from a Gurkha during the Rafa battle.
S.B

james harriss
Forum Member


United Kingdom
5 Posts    Posted - 30/11/2004 :  07:02:11 AM 
Hello,
I've got photos of the Imperial Light Horse (some ozzies in it) from the Boer War, nearly all the officers are carrying rifles and few appear to have pistols at all.
Kim
Advanced Forum Member
 

Australia
481 Posts    Posted - 09/12/2004 :  8:07:54 PM 
Ok, there is documented evidence of an officer carrying and using a shotgun.
Questions.
Would he have brought that with him as his personel property or would he have been issued with it?
Did soldiers bring their own rifles or were they encouraged to leave them in Aussie and accept issued rifles?
Sorry, I'm curious.
Kim

SJR
Forum Member


Australia
178 Posts    Posted - 10/12/2004 :  08:00:46 AM 
Kim,
As with any Army issued weapons are the way to go. The logistical nightmare of supplying ammunition for every type of weapon is untenable in times of war or indeed any other time. Shotguns I’m not sure about but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a few there for as Gullet stated the Australian has no large predators in his homeland so he has no reason to use a rifle that much but is an expert in the use of the shotgun (Or words to this effect). I’m sure that under the guise of using it for sport an officer of those times would have no problem taking or obtaining a shot gun overseas. But as an answer to your question nearly all weapons used would have been signed out of the armoury (Including the bayonet) with only a fraction being individually supplied or trophies / enemy weapons.
I’m interested in the story of the Kukri as the Gurkha’s treat their knives with almost a religious respect. If drawn they have to draw blood before being returned and to this day a Gurkha will still nick his thumb etc to draw blood before returning them to the scabbard. To obtain one of these knives at the time he must have been very good friends with them or found it on the battlefield when its owner didn’t need it any more.
Regards.

stevebecker
Veteran Forum Member
 


1632 Posts    Posted - 10/12/2004 :  08:09:09 AM 
Kim,
I am unsure of the officer with the shotgun is but I add something to your second question.

The taking of personal weapons to war is never encourged because of the problem of resuppling ammo for them.

But this has never stopped soldiers/officers havd continued to bring or while OS the aquire a firearm other then that issued.

I can think of my own time of the many Vietnam RAAC blokes talking about picking up all types of weapons to arm them selves as the standard Armoured crew personal weapon was a F1 sub MG or Owen gun which was hopeless as a fighting weapon for a RAAC crew man. The Weapons we picked up included a M1 US Grease Gun, AK 47, shot guns, M16 and others which had a higher rate of fire, carried more ammo and in some cases a longer range.

So If a soldier feels he is not getting what he needs from a 303 then he may try to gain an advantage from something else.

I can tell you the story of a mate by the name of John who during a battle his crew weapon didn't work and was forced to pick up his personal weapon to engage the VC at different ranges. All he had was a Owen gun which was not much good after 50 meters. So later many of this Troop picked up a number of illegal weapons to use in case they got into trouble again and could engage targets over 50 meters.

S.B
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