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  1. #71
    Really Senior Member Paul S.'s Avatar
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    So what I hear you telling me is that you like the Ross rifle. Actually so do I. Think it is a great rifle. That said, I believe, as one whose grandfather crawled with a rifle through the mud at Ypres and the Somme, whose father with a rifle crawled through the mud of a few Pacific Islands and one who crawled through the mud of that tropical paradise called Vietnam that the Ross was not particularly suited for the trench warfare of the Western Front. IF it had come two decades earlier, in time for the Boer War and the open South African Veldt, then it would more likely have been the star of the day.


    But then, that's only the opinion of one old man, isn't it?

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  4. #72
    Advisory Panel Surpmil's Avatar
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    I think I like the Lee Enfield just as much actually, perhaps more, but the Ross Rifle story is not as simple as it is made out to be; that is the point I am trying to make.

    However, complexity and shades of grey are not things we are naturally comfortable with; we like out "truths" simple and as close to black and white as we can pretend they are.

    I recognize that you "hear" me saying I "like the Ross rifle", but it's not about likes or dislikes, it's about trying to get at the truth of the matter.
    "Deer-stalking would be a very fine sport if only the deer had guns." W. S. Gilbert.

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  7. #73
    Really Senior Member Paul S.'s Avatar
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    Seeking the truth of the matter, one is confronted with obscuration and the fog of time. Will that particular truth be known? Perhaps not.

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    Advisory Panel Surpmil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul S. View Post
    Seeking the truth of the matter, one is confronted with obscuration and the fog of time. Will that particular truth be known? Perhaps not.
    "Seek and you shall find."
    "Deer-stalking would be a very fine sport if only the deer had guns." W. S. Gilbert.

  9. #75
    Contributing Member damuralt's Avatar
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    Regarding the Ross, the Official History of the Canadian Forces in the Great War 1914-1919, General Series Volume 1, Chronology, Appendices and Maps, includes Appendix 111, which is a 25-page monograph detailing the trials and tribulations of the CEF with the Ross rifle. It is a clear indictment of the rifle and the corrupt poseur who was the Minister of Militia and Defence, Sam Hughes. “Drill Hall Sam” was also responsible for the MacAdam shovel/shield with a hole in the blade and the purchase of Canadian-made boots that dissolved in water. Hughes pathologically hated Regulars, to the point where he sent Canadaicon’s sole professional infantry battalion at the time, The Royal Canadian Regiment, to garrison Bermuda rather than soil “his boys” in the CEF with the presence of professional Permanent Force soldiers,

    One of the highlights of the monograph is describing how the Ross rifles were modified behind the lines by reaming the chambers larger and drilling a drain hole in the bottom of the magazine. The work was carried out not by armourers, but by unskilled and untrained infantry working parties. Being an astronaut doesn’t make you a rocket scientist, but a case can be made that, eventually, the bugs were worked out of the Ross Mark III,. But, by then it was too late. A soldier’s life is made of trifles, but an unreliable rifle is no trivial matter to a man who has to trust his life to it, and the Ross was simply unacceptable to Canada’s soldiers by that point.

    My professional forbears in The Royal Canadian Dragoons in the Great War, brigaded with Lord Strathcona’s Horse, (Royal Canadians), the Britishicon 2nd King Edward’s Regiment and the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery in the Canadian Cavalry Brigade were fortunate in that their Brigade Commander was Brigadier-General J.E.B. Seeley. Seeley, who had been the Secretary of State for War in the British Government until shortly before the Great War started, took one look at the kit and equipment that had come from Canada and ordered much of it be “returned to store.” Things that were replaced included the Ross rifle, the cardboard (allegedly) boots, the Colt machine gun, the badly-warped wagons made from green timber... the list goes on. After the decimation of the 1st Division in the spring of 1915, the Cavalry Brigade went to Flanders and fought dismounted as infantry until 1916. And, just to blow a few minds out there, the Regiment conduct it’s last mounted charge during the Second Battle of Le Cateau, a month before the Armistice in October 1918.

    So many dead British soldiers were found with Ross rifles beside them that Sam Hughes accused the Brits of liking the rifle so much that they were stealing it wholesale, but, as Kipling noted, “Tommy isn’t stupid.” A Ross rifle was lying beside the late and lamented Tommy because that is right where Johnny Canuck dropped it in the process of getting himself a nice, new-to-him rifle that worked.

    Soldiers bitch about everything, but sometimes they do it because it’s justified.

    My first-hand experience with Taliban ‘marksmanship” with a wide variety of weapons, gained while serving in Kandahar in 2006-2007 and again for a short trip in 2010, is that most of them couldn’t hit the ground with their hat. Indeed, as a very large number of Taliban found out in the South of Afghanistan around that time, shooting a camouflaged, armoured professional soldier who is working diligently to help you get to paradise today is much more challenging than shooting defenceless, unarmed women in the back of the head from two inches away in a soccer stadium. It must have been a tough, if short-lived, lesson to learn.

    The Ross was a disaster as a service rifle: the most unforgivable sin that a Government can commit is to equip it’s young soldiers with weapons that they cannot trust. The weapons that I carried in theatre could all be counted on to work the first time, every time.

    So, to sum it all up, if you absolutely, positively need something dead on a battlefield before 9 a.m, tomorrow, you could certainly do worse that a Lee-Enfield, and if you had a Ross, you would.
    Last edited by damuralt; 06-01-2019 at 01:05 AM.

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  11. #76
    Contributing Member mrclark303's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by damuralt View Post
    Regarding the Ross, the Official History of the Canadian Forces in the Great War 1914-1919, General Series Volume 1, Chronology, Appendices and Maps, includes Appendix 111, which is a 25-page monograph detailing the trials and tribulations of the CEF with the Ross rifle. It is a clear indictment of the rifle and the corrupt poseur who was the Minister of Militia and Defence, Sam Hughes. “Drill Hall Sam” was also responsible for the MacAdam shovel/shield with a hole in the blade and the purchase of Canadian-made boots that dissolved in water. Hughes pathologically hated Regulars, to the point where he sent Canadaicon’s sole professional infantry battalion at the time, The Royal Canadian Regiment, to garrison Bermuda rather than soil “his boys” in the CEF with the presence of professional Permanent Force soldiers,

    One of the highlights of the monograph is describing how the Ross rifles were modified behind the lines by reaming the chambers larger and drilling a drain hole in the bottom of the magazine. The work was carried out not by armourers, but by unskilled and untrained infantry working parties. Being an astronaut doesn’t make you a rocket scientist, but a case can be made that, eventually, the bugs were worked out of the Ross Mark III,. But, by then it was too late. A soldier’s life is made of trifles, but an unreliable rifle is no trivial matter to a man who has to trust his life to it, and the Ross was simply unacceptable to Canada’s soldiers by that point.

    My professional forbears in The Royal Canadian Dragoons in the Great War, brigaded with Lord Strathcona’s Horse, (Royal Canadians), the Britishicon 2nd King Edward’s Regiment and the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery in the Canadian Cavalry Brigade were fortunate in that their Brigade Commander was Brigadier-General J.E.B. Seeley. Seeley, who had been the Secretary of State for War in the British Government until shortly before the Great War started, took one look at the kit and equipment that had come from Canada and ordered much of it be “returned to store.” Things that were replaced included the Ross rifle, the cardboard (allegedly) boots, the Colt machine gun, the badly-warped wagons made from green timber... the list goes on. After the decimation of the 1st Division in the spring of 1915, the Cavalry Brigade went to Flanders and fought dismounted as infantry until 1916. And, just to blow a few minds out there, the Regiment conduct it’s last mounted charge during the Second Battle of Le Cateau, a month before the Armistice in October 1918.

    So many dead British soldiers were found with Ross rifles beside them that Sam Hughes accused the Brits of liking the rifle so much that they were stealing it wholesale, but, as Kipling noted, “Tommy isn’t stupid.” A Ross rifle was lying beside the late and lamented Tommy because that is right where Johnny Canuck dropped it in the process of getting himself a nice, new-to-him rifle that worked.

    Soldiers bitch about everything, but sometimes they do it because it’s justified.

    My first-hand experience with Taliban ‘marksmanship” with a wide variety of weapons, gained while serving in Kandahar in 2006-2007 and again for a short trip in 2010, is that most of them couldn’t hit the ground with their hat. Indeed, as a very large number of Taliban found out in the South of Afghanistan around that time, shooting a camouflaged, armoured professional soldier who is working diligently to help you get to paradise today is much more challenging than shooting defenceless, unarmed women in the back of the head from two inches away in a soccer stadium. It must have been a tough, if short-lived, lesson to learn.

    The Ross was a disaster as a service rifle: the most unforgivable sin that a Government can commit is to equip it’s young soldiers with weapons that they cannot trust. The weapons that I carried in theatre could all be counted on to work the first time, every time.

    So, to sum it all up, if you absolutely, positively need something dead on a battlefield before 9 a.m, tomorrow, you could certainly do worse that a Lee-Enfield, and if you had a Ross, you would.
    Beautifully summed up Damural, not only did Canada use the right rifle in WW1, they continue to do so to this very day.

    No1, No4, C1 and various versions of the M16icon.

    All excellent choices and the right rifle for the time.

    Had WW1 not become a mud filled horror show,then history would, I am sure, have viewed the Ross more favourably.

    I only wish we had shown the same common sense approach as our Canadian cousins and replaced the L1 with an AR variant back in the 80's.

  12. #77
    Senior Member Ax.303's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by damuralt View Post
    Regarding the Ross, the Official History of the Canadian Forces in the Great War 1914-1919, General Series Volume 1, Chronology, Appendices and Maps, includes Appendix 111, which is a 25-page monograph detailing the trials and tribulations of the CEF with the Ross rifle. It is a clear indictment of the rifle and the corrupt poseur who was the Minister of Militia and Defence, Sam Hughes. “Drill Hall Sam” was also responsible for the MacAdam shovel/shield with a hole in the blade and the purchase of Canadian-made boots that dissolved in water. Hughes pathologically hated Regulars, to the point where he sent Canadaicon’s sole professional infantry battalion at the time, The Royal Canadian Regiment, to garrison Bermuda rather than soil “his boys” in the CEF with the presence of professional Permanent Force soldiers,

    One of the highlights of the monograph is describing how the Ross rifles were modified behind the lines by reaming the chambers larger and drilling a drain hole in the bottom of the magazine. The work was carried out not by armourers, but by unskilled and untrained infantry working parties. Being an astronaut doesn’t make you a rocket scientist, but a case can be made that, eventually, the bugs were worked out of the Ross Mark III,. But, by then it was too late. A soldier’s life is made of trifles, but an unreliable rifle is no trivial matter to a man who has to trust his life to it, and the Ross was simply unacceptable to Canada’s soldiers by that point.

    My professional forbears in The Royal Canadian Dragoons in the Great War, brigaded with Lord Strathcona’s Horse, (Royal Canadians), the Britishicon 2nd King Edward’s Regiment and the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery in the Canadian Cavalry Brigade were fortunate in that their Brigade Commander was Brigadier-General J.E.B. Seeley. Seeley, who had been the Secretary of State for War in the British Government until shortly before the Great War started, took one look at the kit and equipment that had come from Canada and ordered much of it be “returned to store.” Things that were replaced included the Ross rifle, the cardboard (allegedly) boots, the Colt machine gun, the badly-warped wagons made from green timber... the list goes on. After the decimation of the 1st Division in the spring of 1915, the Cavalry Brigade went to Flanders and fought dismounted as infantry until 1916. And, just to blow a few minds out there, the Regiment conduct it’s last mounted charge during the Second Battle of Le Cateau, a month before the Armistice in October 1918.

    So many dead British soldiers were found with Ross rifles beside them that Sam Hughes accused the Brits of liking the rifle so much that they were stealing it wholesale, but, as Kipling noted, “Tommy isn’t stupid.” A Ross rifle was lying beside the late and lamented Tommy because that is right where Johnny Canuck dropped it in the process of getting himself a nice, new-to-him rifle that worked.

    Soldiers bitch about everything, but sometimes they do it because it’s justified.

    My first-hand experience with Taliban ‘marksmanship” with a wide variety of weapons, gained while serving in Kandahar in 2006-2007 and again for a short trip in 2010, is that most of them couldn’t hit the ground with their hat. Indeed, as a very large number of Taliban found out in the South of Afghanistan around that time, shooting a camouflaged, armoured professional soldier who is working diligently to help you get to paradise today is much more challenging than shooting defenceless, unarmed women in the back of the head from two inches away in a soccer stadium. It must have been a tough, if short-lived, lesson to learn.

    The Ross was a disaster as a service rifle: the most unforgivable sin that a Government can commit is to equip it’s young soldiers with weapons that they cannot trust. The weapons that I carried in theatre could all be counted on to work the first time, every time.

    So, to sum it all up, if you absolutely, positively need something dead on a battlefield before 9 a.m, tomorrow, you could certainly do worse that a Lee-Enfield, and if you had a Ross, you would.
    This is just more misinformation.

    "The men had lost confidence" was the excuse used to try and justify allowing the British Miitary (British Gen. Haig) to remove what was by then a perfectly serviceable rifle. Many soldiers had complete confidence in the Ross rifle.

    Crappy British ammo was the root of most problems with the Ross` early service. This includes soft bolt heads and tight chambers.

    Anyone who really wants a better idea of what the men who used the Ross thought should read "In the Trenches" the memoirs of Frank Iriam. This man was there with the first Canadians, and used the Ross for most of the War.
    He also mentions for example, how the well made Canadian rubber boots would be issued in the summer by the Brits and the leather boots would be issued in the rainy season. This was done so that Canadian made kit would look bad, excluding them from lucrative contracts.

    The British wanted the Ross to go away and had told the Canadian Gov`t early on. And seeing as there were a lot of comments by the British Press when Ross was cleaning up the Rifle competitions, to the effect that the Ross had made the Lee Enfield obsolete and that the Ross should replace the Lee Enfield. It would not surprise me that they would do what they could to undermine the Ross.
    Last edited by Ax.303; 06-09-2019 at 02:55 PM.

  13. #78
    Member Fruler's Avatar
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    OP... Read your first post. Nothing gets my gears grinding more than the bad head space topic for the Lee Enfield. A little too loose or too tight won't hurt it. People get so fixated and panicky that their Lee enfield failed an American field gauge or won't close with a go gauge... Take it out to shoot it. If it's not rupturing new brass cases, it's probably nothing to worry about... That's my opinion of course but accuracy can be a consideration

  14. #79
    Advisory Panel Surpmil's Avatar
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    Well gentlemen, the truth lies in between the two poles, but I was going to ask damuralt if he has read Iriam's book?

    As for Hughes, being called "Drill Hall Sam" that would be because he had so many of them built. Many are still around today and giving good service.

    He had the vices of his virtues, as people and nations usually do.

    As for the regulars vs. militia debate, our regulars performed very well in South Africa from what I have heard; some others not so well. Even at the time it was widely admitted, with a few sniffs of course, that "Dominion" troops were "well suited to irregular warfare..." The implication being that "they wouldn't stand up like our regulars to a real war etc. etc." The student of history will know the answer to that.

    Count the Rosses and note the date:

    Last edited by Surpmil; 06-15-2019 at 08:20 PM.
    "Deer-stalking would be a very fine sport if only the deer had guns." W. S. Gilbert.

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  16. #80
    Member MSW2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surpmil View Post
    As for the regulars vs. militia debate, our regulars performed very well in South Africa from what I have heard; some others not so well.
    So well in fact that they had to gather up all the women and children of their enemy into concentration camps to die to enable them to win the war

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