The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Friday, August 31, 2018

Disciplined Disobedience or being a rebel leader

This is another article from "Angry Staff Officer". I have used his articles a few times and they are very good, my friend "Mack" turned me onto the guy several years ago.  He had commented that the guy really is angry.  And yes feel free to blame Mack, he is good for it, LOL.
     What the article is that you have to find the flexibility to act independently and still adhere to your orders.  Many good officers when giving tasking orders, will make them kinda vague to give the junior officers enough flexibility to act independently and still follow orders.

Being a Rebel Leader: Disciplined Disobedience in the Army

First off, no, this is not a discussion on the merits of leaders within the Rebel Alliance in the Star Wars universe, though if it were, I’d have to say that the Rebel leadership had very few merits and we should probably not emulate their chaos-based approach to warfare.
What’s I’d like to talk about is disruptive thinking in the Army, and I’ll lead off with this:
“Disciplined disobedience to achieve the higher purpose.” 
– GEN Mark Milley, Army Chief of Staff, 2015
In all large organizations, there is a severe temptation to follow by-the-book procedure. And this for the simple reason that when you’ve got just around one million people in your organization – as in the case of the U.S. Army – it’s a lot safer and efficient for everyone to be on the same page. In our case, we have doctrine, which is the fundamental building block of how we think and operate in the Army. Doctrine offers us our left and right limits in which to operate; provides a common language; and ensures that the organization operates uniformly. It even provides the Army definition of leadership and leadership principles; all in one handy twenty-six page document. And yet in that discussion of Army leadership, there is not one mention of willful disobedience – save for when not following orders that are unlawful or immoral.
So what does it mean to exercise disciplined disobedience, as Milley calls it? Harvard Professor Francesca Gino has written extensively on what she calls “rebel leadership” in organizations: “When I think of rebels, I think of people who break rules to explore new ideas and create positive change,” she says. So it’s not that these leaders are breaking the rules and being detrimental to their organization; rather, they are always looking for new ways of doing things, refusing to accept “that’s the way we’ve always done it” as an answer, and constantly innovating. By the way, read her eight principles of rebel leadership in the link above; they are excellent.
Now, the Army is a massive institution with a very important mission: to protect the United States. Lives depend on leaders making the right decisions. So should we as leaders diverge from our doctrine and think up new ways of doing things?
Yes and no. First off, there are some things that you just shouldn’t diverge from or change. Procedural things, like the 9-line medical evacuation formula or calling for artillery fire. These processes are put in place to ensure that communication is streamlined for maximum efficiency. Diverging from these processes can cost lives.
Now, lets take something like battle drills. Are these scripts for absolute victory every time? Not at all – they merely combine best practices (flanking, infiltration tactics, suppressive fire, obscuration, etc) gathered over the last century or so of combat in order to provide the leader with a baseline from which to operate. One can and should (using our good ol’ METT-TC) diverge from battle drills should variables change. Strict adherence to the letter of the law in these cases will get people killed. And that has always been the case throughout history. The British Royal Navy adhered so much to strict line of battle principles that they were never able to gain a victory over a near-peer force until 1782 when Admiral George Rodney broke from doctrine and defeated the French fleet at the Battle of the Saintes. Tactical leadership requires innovation and ingenuity and some elements of disciplined disobedience: operating within the commander’s intent but outside the norms of Army doctrine.
Ok, so, how about everything else? We all know that leadership doesn’t begin and end on the battlefield. In fact, often the most effective moments of leadership are the common ones in day-to-day life. And operating within Milley’s guidance and the examples provided by Professor Gino, there are a myriad of things that one can do as a leader to make subversive yet positive changes to an organization. After I took command, I examined the number of meetings the company was having and eliminated or consolidated them down to the bare minimum needed to keep communication flowing, even though they were meetings that people said “had to be held.” They really didn’t. Everyone hates meetings, so this not only made the organization more efficient but also raised morale. Win-win.
You can also be a little more subversive and can enter the gray area that characterizes disciplined disobedience. Take taskings from higher, for example. All units get them, there are always too many, and sometimes you feel like you’re drowning under the pile of them. We all have limited time and limited resources. So by attempting to do everything, we will necessarily be less effective at our priorities. My rule of thumb is to gauge the tasking by what line of effort it falls under, and if it’s not in my top three – and if it by ignoring it or missing it I do not put undue stress or more work on my subordinates – then I drop it to the bottom of my priority list. It’s not literally disobeying an order, it’s prioritizing effectively according to the resources available.
Disciplined disobedience needs to be explored more as a theme within the Army, because it has obvious pitfalls if it goes awry or if people misinterpret it to mean “disobey all orders.” Discipline is a fundamental part of the Army and we still have to be mindful of it. Therefore, this concept needs to be a discussion between leaders. It should be held at the lowest levels of the force and should be championed by mid-level leaders who can use it as an opportunity to encourage this kind of thinking rather than stifle it. In order to maximize resources, retain and promote talented leaders, and gain an edge over our adversaries, we need to build rebel leaders.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Rants and Musings.......

First off, my Dad is doing much better, surprisingly the Lung has sealed itself so there is a good possibility that surgery will not be necessary.  But he is concerned still, because the same lung has deflated both times, it is a good possibility that there will be a third one. 

This is a pic of my Dad and my brother from a year ago. 
    On a different note... I saw this driving down the road and it was a surprise....

Yep a Deuce and a half or an M35A2 Truck Utility.  This one was in great shape, I talked to the owner and he told me that this one was built in 1989 and the U.S.A.F used it so it had few miles and no rust and rarely saw off road according to the owner.  I complimented him on the condition and I talked to the owner for a few minutes, The guy was gracious despite my stopping him and talking to him about the truck. 

This was a trip down memory lane, and everything worked. 

   On another note, I heard about this and "googled" it and this article popped up.  Apparently Democratic Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand wants to move noise abatement around airports from the FAA an agency with a history and a reputation of impartiality to the EPA an agency that is driven by an agenda.   Can you see the problems here?   Can you say "Lets cripple the American passenger airlines industry?"   I see a myriad of problems with this especially with an agency that has gone whole hog into Global warming, Global cooling, er I mean Climate Change.  I don't know about anything else but I see a disaster in the works.  I am really concerned, especially if the democrats are successful in taking the house and senate in 2018.

    This article was copied unaltered.

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Quiet Communities Act

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer
U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced Friday announced the Quiet Communities Act, legislation that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reestablish an Office of Noise Abatement and Control and reauthorize the Office’s activities through fiscal year 2023.
The federal measure would empower the EPA to oversee airplane noise issues across the country, including airplane noise-plagued areas near JFK and LaGuardia airports. Currently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) oversees airplane noise issues, however, Schumer and Gillibrand explained that the EPA is better fit to address these matters, as its main focus is to protect human health and the environment.
“Empowering the same agency tasked with protecting our environment to protect our communities from excessive and burdensome aircraft noise while working alongside the FAA makes eminent sense. This legislation will once again set up an Office of Noise Abatement and Control at the EPA so that environmental experts can address airplane noise, continuing to allow science to help lead the way in both studying and crafting workable solutions,” said Schumer.
Primary vote 2018
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
“Our communities should not have to endure excessive airplane noise that strongly impacts their quality of life, and this legislation will provide additional tools to assist communities by reestablishing an EPA Office of Noise Abatement & Control,” said Gillibrand, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “The federal government must take more proactive steps to address the concerns of New Yorkers who are affected by airplane noise, and this bill will give the EPA the ability to act.”
Due to budget cuts in 1981, the EPA’s Office of Noise Abatement and Control was dismantled and the FAA was given oversight into all matters regarding aircraft noise pollution. Schumer and Gillibrand’s Quiet Communities Act would restore the EPA’s Office of Noise Abatement and Control. Moreover, the legislation would require the EPA Administrator to conduct a study of airport noise and examine the FAA’s selection of noise measurement methodologies, health impact thresholds, and abatement program effectiveness.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Monday Music "Living in America" by James Brown from the Rocky 4 Soundtrack

 I still have been visiting my Dad in the hospital so blogging will be sporadic, but I had to get my "Monday Music" up.  I will try to post something on Tuesday also. 

I remember when this song came out, it was the mid 1980's, it was the height of the Reagan Presidency and the term "Reagan's America" really meant something.  It was part of the pride of being an American and I was proud to wear the uniform of an American G.I.

"Living in America" is a 1985 song composed by Dan Hartman and Charlie Midnight and performed by James Brown. It was released as a single in 1985 and reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song entered the Billboard Top 40 on January 11, 1986, and remained on the chart for 11 weeks. It also became a top five hit in the United Kingdom, peaking at number 5 on the UK Singles Chart; it was his only top 10 single in the UK. It was his first Top 40 hit in ten years on the US pop charts, and it would also be his last. In 1986, it was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song and won Brown a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.

The song was prominently featured in the film Rocky IV. In the film, Brown sings the song before Apollo Creed enters the boxing ring, in reference to the character's patriotic image. It appeared on the Rocky IV soundtrack album. The full version of the song (nearly six minutes long) was included on Brown's 1986 album, Gravity, and on various compilations throughout the 1990s. Live performances of the song appear on the albums Soul Session Live and Live at the Apollo 1995.
The song's co-writer Dan Hartman later included his recording of the song on his 1994 album Keep the Fire Burnin'.

The music video consists of scenes of James Brown giving a concert interspersed with still images of the United States, as well as scenes from the movie Rocky IV

Saturday, August 25, 2018

"Training for defeat" From Angry Staff Officer

I got this from "Angry Staff Oficer, it showed in my email and I decided to post it.  I am still spending my spare time with my Dad, he seems to be doing good but I still drop and visit him when I can.  

    I know that other services handled defeat like the Germans did from WWI, it still gave them national pride, but the German defeat from WWII was total.  The national identity was totally decimated from the war and the Germans were a people with out morals or anything, it was like they had to atone for the sins of their past and nothing was off limits.  When Germany became its own nation in 1949 they started to form their own identity and move beyond the horrors and deprivation of the war. 
     I am not sure what we would do if we lost an entire field Army, if half of the population would rejoice in the loss because they hate what the United States is and want to see us lessened.  It is interesting although distasteful exercise. 

Training for Defeat

In the U.S. Army we have a long tradition of victory – or so we tell ourselves. We proudly carry the campaign streamers from past conflicts on our unit colors and enjoy hearing about the exploits of past heroes. Victory is our expectation. But what if that isn’t what happens? Now, I’m not talking about the nebulous idea of strategic victory in places like Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan; I’m talking about the sharp and nasty feeling of operational and tactical defeat. Retreat. Withdrawal. Being overrun. Loss of soldiers. Loss of entire units. Disaster.
Battle of the Bulge
A sight we are not used to: U.S. soldiers surrendering to the Germans after their unit was overrun during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.
We’re far more comfortable talking about potential victory than we are discussing the possibility and – let’s be honest – very strong likelihood of loss. And even when we are discussing loss, we spend more time talking about mitigating risks than we do how to react should the adverse occur. This means that we have a generation of young leaders who learn about loss only when it actually happens. This is decisively the opposite of how we treat everything else in the Army as regards training. We don’t send soldiers into battle without ever having fired their weapon; why should we send commanders to war without at least having some training on how to deal with loss and defeat?
And yes, we do train for some loss: vehicle recovery, casualty evacuation, and breaking contact come to mind. But how well do those test a unit for a full and total breakdown? Or is it perhaps better to not even put that idea into soldiers’ heads? These are the questions we should at least be asking, as leaders.
Fortunately – or rather unfortunately –  we have no end of historical examples of loss and defeat in the U.S. Army to use as case studies – even if we are loathe to study them or admit that they exist.
The first thing to remember is that there are varying levels of loss. The first is the most desirable, if we can call loss desirable: loss with preservation. The ideal example of this is George Washington’s campaigns through New York and New Jersey from 1776 through 1777. In the fall of 1776, Washington’s force of 19,000 militia and Continentals was slowly driven out of New York City. It was not Washington’s finest hour; he lost 3,000 men who were captured because of lack of communications. He was driven from Manhattan, then Harlem, then White Plains, and then withdrew under heavy pressure into New Jersey – that’s how you know it was bad. No one goes to New Jersey voluntarily. By the end of the campaign he had barely 5,000 troops left.
The Battle of Long Island – incredibly stylized, since no one had uniforms this clean and, well, uniform. (National Guard Heritage Series Print)
To many, this would appear to be a complete defeat; Washington had lost more than two thirds of his force to battle and attrition, as well as losing the largest city on the eastern seaboard. And he was now in full retreat. To the British, it was a decisive victory for those very reasons.  But Washington did not see the war in those terms; for him, the survival of the Continental Army was the most important factor of the war. The loss of New York taught him that population centers mattered little as long as he could field a force. And even with his small army, Washington was able to make life difficult for the British through constant raids and local attacks. In December, he made a large raid at Trenton which caused 1,000 Hessian casualties and drew British General Howe out of his fortifications into New Jersey. This led to a local British defeat at Princeton which raised Continental morale and caused Howe to withdraw from New Jersey.
Washington spent the remainder of 1777 successfully not losing, for lack of a better term. He played a masterful ballet with the British, skillfully avoiding a decisive battle where he might have been wiped out. While Washington eventually lost Philadelphia, the British would learn a lesson that Napoleon would learn in Moscow: it is relatively easy to secure a hostile city deep in enemy territory; it is far harder to hold it. And they learned what all the rest of us already know: Philly is not a city worth staying in longer than a few days (Kidding, I love all you Philadelphians). By not risking his army in general battle, Washington set the conditions for successful operations elsewhere – namely, Saratoga – which would bring in foreign aid. This proved indispensable in winning the war for the Continental Army.
Loss with preservation means that you know what to do when you retreat; that there is a plan for a withdrawal; that the force is made to realize that although you may be retreating, you are not doing so out of defeat. It means that the loss can be followed up by a counterattack. It is what the idea of defense in depth is based on: temporary loss of forward positions in order to overextend the enemy and make them vulnerable to a counterattack. It is an incredibly difficult thing to do and must be trained on. A withdrawal can turn into a retreat which can turn into a panic very quickly, unless troops are disciplined and well-led. Tactical withdrawals and disengagements may often be necessary in future conflict, which is why they need to be part of training now.
The next level of loss is a full on retreat. This is best typified by the U.S. Army loss at the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861. Both the U.S. Army and the Confederate armies were amateurs at war and fairly evenly matched. The U.S. Army under Irvin McDowell gained an initial advantage in the attack but overextended and exhausted itself just as the Confederates received reinforcements. Because of the poor or even non-existent training in the U.S. Army which largely consisted of volunteer units made up of 90-day troops, the retreat of some units caused an overall panic that infected nearly every unit on the battlefield. Fortunately, a small rear guard was able to cover the route which staved off total destruction of the army. The Confederates were so exhausted and disorganized from the battle that they were not able to pursue. Whole U.S. units abandoned their position and equipment without even firing a shot.
Rickett’s U.S. Battery being overrun on Henry House Hill. Note the caissons and limbers being withdrawn in confusion – these would have been needed to save the guns. Instead they only added to the packed and chaotic roads leading back to Washington D.C.
This defeat almost ruined U.S. chances for a victory in the east, but for the sad condition of the Confederate forces. Their victory left their army in such a disarray that the U.S. was able to reform and put a force in the field in a short time. However, this defeat and the cultural sting of it would haunt the Army of the Potomac (the main U.S. Army in the east) for several years. It would take until the summer of 1863 for that army to shake off the sting of Bull Run, despite performing very well in multiple campaigns. Victory, they say, can be contagious. Defeat can be as well.
The worst thing that can befall an army or a unit is full-on destruction. Units are sometimes destroyed for a greater cause: to delay oncoming enemy forces or to seize a vital piece of terrain. Even the dismal performance of the US II Corps at Kasserine Pass in 1943 – a defeat if ever there was one – at least served to delay the Axis advance and buy time for an Allied counterattack. Similarly, the U.S. forces in the Philippines in 1942 fought a sustained action under incredible duress to buy time for the U.S. Navy to recover from Pearl Harbor and return to the Pacific in force. But the destruction of an entire army or large body of troops is far more difficult to justify or recover from. For example, the destruction of Task Force Smith in Korea contributed nothing to the overall situation on the peninsula beyond serving as a wake-up call to the low levels of readiness in the U.S. Army in 1950.
Similarly, the 1791 destruction of General Arthur St. Clair’s Army along the Wabash River in western Ohio was an unmitigated disaster. A previous force of 400 militia and regulars had been soundly defeated near present-day Fort Wayne, Indiana, so St. Clair had been sent on a punitive expedition. St. Clair went into the campaign with little intelligence of his enemy – a loose confederacy of western Native American nations – and an insufficient force to wage backcountry warfare. President George Washington urged St. Clair, a veteran of the American Revolution, to move from his base of operations near present-day Cincinnati in the summer months but logistics difficulties and recruitment problems delayed him until the fall. To Washington, alarm bells should have been ringing that this looked all to familiar to the disastrous Braddock expedition into Pennsylvania in 1755.
The Ohio back country, as it looked in the 1790s.
When St. Clair finally moved his force of about 2,000 regulars, militia, and three-month levies – accompanied by hundreds of camp followers – the going was slow. Desertions began to take a toll as the force moved up through the Ohio back country until by November 3, St. Clair was down to just under 1,000 effective soldiers. Encamping on a hill, St. Clair’s force neglected to dig any type of protective positions and set up camp as if they were in garrison. They were therefore unprepared when the enemy under Little Turtle struck. The militia scattered and broke in the face of heavy fire as the regulars formed ranks and fired volleys. Little Turtle pulled his force back and then began flanking the regulars, who fixed bayonets and charged. While this was considered the most effective tactic of the day, Little Turtle simply allowed the charge to pass through his ranks and then closed in again. This happened three times before the exhausted regulars fells back. U.S. artillery had been placed away from the infantry and – unsupported – the gunners were shot down early in the fight, denying St. Clair this key advantage.
After three hours of fighting, St. Clair knew that he had to get his force out of there. They attempted one final charge to clear the area to allow for a retreat but as before Little Turtle allowed the troops to pass before returning to strike the flanks and rear. The retreat turned into a rout as the U.S. soldiers fled back to the relative safety of Fort Jefferson several miles away. Losses had been catastrophic. Over 800 Americans were dead; nearly all of the remainder wounded. Enlisted men suffered a 94% casualty rate, making it the worst defeat in U.S. Army history. Half the U.S. Army of the time lay dead or wounded.
Response from the government was swift: St. Clair was forced to resign, Congress began the first special investigation into the conduct of a military action, the regular and militia military forces were strengthened and reformed, and money committed for a full campaign in the west. In other words, much like the defeat of Task Force Smith, it was a wake-up call concerning military readiness. But at a shocking cost of lives lost. Both actions stand as reminders of the hubris of U.S. military leaders and the folly of attempting to project force on the cheap. Separated as they are by 159 years, they share the same causes and the same lessons learned.
Defeat should not be unexpected, nor unlooked for. Leaders who understand that withdrawal is sometimes necessary can preserve their force to fight another day. Which is why it is important to think about and train for a day when we are overmatched on the battlefield. History shows us that the U.S. Army goes into every new conflict unprepared for the new challenges it will face; the lessons learned come with the unnecessary expenditure of lives and equipment. But if we learn to adapt and be accustomed to thinking about loss, we can better preserve the force and situate ourselves for eventual counterattack.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

B-58 Hustler First Test FLight

I have been very busy in the Real world between work and my Dad, he has COPD and his lung collapsed again.  So I have been spending time in the hospital and doing other things and blogging will be light.
    I ran across this clip of the B58 hustler looking for a video clip for a comment I made on Aaron the Shekelblog about Buckaroo Banzai and Rocket Cars

   When I was little, the B58 was stuff of Science fiction and the ability of the United States to push the envelope on the levels of science and technology of the time.  The B58 was bad to the bone.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Got a lot going on..

Have a lot going on in the "real World", will post when things settle down.  Please read the people on my sidebar, they are really good, much better than I am.

   Here is some work humor...

Monday, August 20, 2018

Monday Music "Mr Jaws" by Dickie Goodman

I am continuing my soundtrack "Monday Music".  I happen to catch this on my 70's on 7 on my Sirius/XM and I totally forgot this song until I heard it and I was chuckling to myself.  So I decided to make it my "Monday Music" song.  I heard it for the first time in 1975 while we were living in Frankfurt Germany and I heard the song on the "Wolfman Jack" show on AFN where I thought he was an AFN DJ, what can I say, I was 10 years old then.

"Mr. Jaws" is a novelty song by Dickie Goodman released on Cash Records in 1975.
This record is a parody of the 1975 summer blockbuster film Jaws, with Goodman interviewing the shark (whom he calls "Mr. Jaws"), as well as the film's main characters, Brody, Hooper, and Quint. Goodman makes full use of his practice of "break-in" music sampling, in which all of the interview answers are lyrics from popular songs from that year.
The single peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1975. On the Cash Box Top 100 it fared even better, reaching #1.

Goodman would later make more parodies of Hollywood films, along with his political satire records. The B-side of this single was "Irv's Theme".
The name of the song's label, Cash Records, was another idea from Goodman after he was asked whom the record company should make the check out to.
The recording took place at Sear Sound in New York engineered by Russ Hamm. Originally the songs were sampled, however when the record became a hit, the songs were replaced by sound-alike recordings.

The songs that were sampled are:

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Canada retires the Lee-Enfield after 114 years of service.

I shamelessly cribbed this from the "National Post".  I didn't know that the Enfield was still in front line service with the Canadians.  I really like the Enfields, I have 2 of them.

They are from front to back, my 303 Enfield, my Springfield 03A3 and my 308 Enfield. 
My Enfield was made at the Ishapore Royal Armory in India in January 1945, She is a  Number 1 Mark III.  My other Enfield is a "308" enfield made in 1968 for the Indian Police.  Both were made in the same arsenal.  I thought that was pretty neat.

I have copied the entire article through the magic of "Cut and Paste".  I thought that this was a really cool article for us people that like history and rifles.  I am using "Chrome" to do this article. so the fonts are a bit different.
It has killed Germans in two world wars, shown up on both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict and has turned up in the hands of Taliban fighters. Easily one of the deadliest rifles in history, it once protected nearly 50 national armies.
Canadians carried it on D-Day, at Vimy Ridge, through Ortona and in the defence of Kapyong.
Now, after 114 years, the Canadian Armed Forces is becoming the last national military in the world to retire the Lee-Enfield rifle from front-line service.
They even put the gun on their official badge. Wikimedia Commons
Since 1947 the Lee-Enfield has remained the main service weapon of the Canadian Rangers, a part-time force mainly devoted to Arctic patrols. This week, the Canadian Rangers began replacement of their Lee-Enfields with the specially commissioned Colt Canada C19.
Unlike many other antique items in the Canadian military, the Lee-Enfield didn’t hang on for so long out of apathy or tight budgets. Rather, it’s because it’s still one of the best guns to carry above the tree line.
The Lee-Enfield’s powerful .303 cartridge was famous for killing enemy soldiers with one shot, and it’s equally good at stopping a charging polar bear.
Its wood stock makes it uniquely resistant to cracking or splitting in extreme cold. The rifle is also bolt-action, meaning that every shot must be manually pushed into place by the shooter. This makes for slower firing, but it also leaves the Lee-Enfield with as few moving parts as possible.
“The more complicated a rifle gets … the more prone you are to problems with parts breaking or jamming in a harsh environment,” said Eric Fernberg, an arms collection specialist at the Canadian War Museum.
“It might seem old-fashioned … (but) the retention of the Lee-Enfield by the Canadian Rangers was a wise choice for their role and environment.”
In this 2016 photo from Whitehorse, Yukon, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge is greeted by Canadian Rangers and Junior Rangers carrying Lee-Enfields. Photo by Mark Large - Pool/Getty Images
The Lee-Enfield was developed as a standard-issue British infantry weapon at the close of the 19th century. Given that this was the height of the British Empire, the gun was soon being used to arm troops in virtually every corner of the globe.
“It has been used in every conceivable theatre of war … and its high build quality and tough construction made it all but indestructible,” wrote the historian Martin Pegler in a book about the Lee-Enfield.
And while it can’t shoot as fast as modern automatic rifles, a well-trained British soldier could fire and reload quick enough to squeeze off 30 rounds per minute from a Lee-Enfield.
Two First World War Canadian soldiers wearing gas masks examining a Lee-Enfield rifle.Library and Archives Canada
Canadian militias first picked up an early version of the Lee-Enfield in 1896 and Canadian volunteers would carry them in the Boer War. The more familiar short-muzzled Lee-Enfield came out in 1904.
When the First World War broke out, Canadians initially went into battle carrying the Canadian-made Ross Rifle. However, the Ross was so prone to malfunction that Canadians were soon scavenging Lee-Enfields from dead British soldiers.
From then on, the Lee-Enfield remained the weapon of choice for Canadian soldiers right up until the 1950s. Of the more than 118,000 Canadians who have been killed in foreign wars, most would have been issued a Lee-Enfield.
Although Brits stopped using the Lee-Enfield right around the time they dissolved the Empire, the Lee-Enfield became the English-speaking world’s version of the ubiquitous Soviet-made AK-47. With thousands of the rifles turned over to the surplus market after the Second World War, they were soon making cameo appearances in dozens of conflicts, skirmishes and civil wars.
Canadian Ranger Ernestine Karlik armed with a Lee-Enfield in 2014. Pamela Roth/Edmonton Sun/QMI Agency
Lee-Enfields were wielded by IRA terrorists in The Troubles. They were among the mish-mash of guns that Israelis used to fend off Arab armies in 1948. Bangladeshis used them to gain independence from Pakistan.
In the 1980s, the United States funnelled massive shipments of antique Lee-Enfields to Afghanistan for use by Mujahedeen fighters against the Soviet Union. It’s for this reason that Lee-Enfields continue to show up in the hands of Taliban fighters, often as a sniper rifle.
In 2010, writer C.J. Chivers analyzed a cache of weapons seized from the Taliban and found a British-made Lee-Enfield from 1915.
And while they were no longer taken by uniformed soldiers into battle, Lee-Enfields are still in the arsenals of several police forces in the developing world.
In Canada the guns had a more peaceful afterlife as a hunting rifle. Cheap and able to fell large game, Lee-Enfields are responsible for the antlers and taxidermied animal heads on countless Canadian roadhouses. “No other rifle could be more reliable,” reads one glowing review of the Lee-Enfield published in March.
Orillia Legion Public Relations Officer, Colin Wackett sit with a Lee-Enfield rifle that was donated to the Legion by the family of WWI veteran Joseph Leyland. Postmedia File
This was part of the reason why the rifle was an easy choice for the Canadian Rangers in the first place; it was a gun that most Northern hunters already trusted.
“A lot of us grew up using the old .303s … it was a good gun, it was a gun you could depend on,” Northwest Territories MP Michael McLeod told CBC this week.
It’s a testament to the Lee-Enfield’s reliability that replacement is strikingly similar.
The Colt Canada C19 is still bolt-action, still has a wood stock and still fires 10 shots. The main differences are that it’s lighter, more accurate and has several cold weather modifications, such as a larger trigger guard to accommodate gloved hands.
Although the Lee-Enfield spent years as one of the cheaper offerings in Canadian gun shops, the rifle’s advancing age and increasing rarity has recently caused it to climb in price.
Some current listings for used Lee-Enfields put the gun at between $700 and $900 — a price comparable to a brand new higher-end bolt-action rifle
However, the gun’s retirement from the Canadian Rangers will mark the final time that a major batch of Lee-Enfields will be released to the private market.
According to the Department of Defence, some 9,500 will be turned over to cadets for use in target practice while 5,000 will be offered as gifts to Canadian Rangers holding valid gun licences.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper shoots .303 Lee Enfield rifle’s in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut on Tuesday, August 20, 2013. The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick