By Dan Shea
“In the Attack; The object of the machine-guns- in co-operation with Artillery, Mortars, and Tanks, will be to provide the covering fire necessary to enable the Infantry to penetrate the hostile defences……The climax of the Infantry attack is the assault, which is made possible by Superiority of Fire”- Major C. H. B. Pridham in the chapter “Final Lessons of the Great War”; in his treatise “Superiority of Fire”.
One more lesson to ponder from the men who fought the great battles. In a time of strife, the singleness of purpose and a full understanding of what you have to do to accomplish your objectives is critical. Any waffling or indecisiveness can cause a devastating loss. The objective of the modern warrior in attack should be “Superiority of Fire” in its many modes.
I keep hearing the siren song of “Electronics”, “Computers”, and “Stealth”. While all of these are good accessories, the basic fighting must still be done by men on the ground. The infantry and its various support groups must always move in, whether it is first or last, they will always be in harm’s way.
The United States Marines have a code, in that every Marine is a rifleman, skilled in the use and care of his Weapon. Any person who wants proficiency or claims to be “Trained”, should be aware of the intimate functions of his weapon. The machine gunner is no exception.
The Small Arms Review has the pleasant task of exploring the military firearms of yesterday and today. Our purposes are for study, but this magazine is also meant as an “Owner’s manual” for you to keep and use. If you are a civilian involved in sport shooting and are an SAR enthusiast, we hope that our magazine will continue to give you a good reference library and answer your questions. We also hope to continue being a forum for the Class 3 world and the other associated orphaned groups of military firearms enthusiasts.
If you are military or law enforcement, SAR hopes to provide even more of a service. We hope to go in depth into the firearms you use or may encounter in your professional life, and supply you with the reference material necessary to be as proficient as possible. Your pool of knowledge can be expanded from various limiting doctrines if you truly understand the weapons you carry.
After all, in the midst of the battle, it is still a man with a gun that must stand up for freedom. The gun is one of many tools, but in dire circumstances usually the most important. If he is not trained, and has not prepared his weapon, then he can easily fail when the most important tasks appear. SAR hopes to help prepare you for the tests you may face, and allow you some enjoyable reading and camaraderie in the process.
– Dan Shea
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V1N10 (July 1998)|