Misfire: The Story of How America's Small Arms Have Failed Our Military

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9780684193595: Misfire: The Story of How America's Small Arms Have Failed Our Military

Exposing the American military's appalling failures in the arming of its infantry, an examination of the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps traces its historical obsession with accurate, slow firepower and conservative use of ammunition--often at the cost of soldiers' lives.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Military historian Hallahan describes how, from the Revolutionary War to the present, the U.S. Army has resisted adopting appropriate and much-needed small arms. This unhappy situation is typified in his account of President Lincoln's struggle to introduce the breech-loading rifle into the Union Army despite the obstructionist tactics of his powerful chief of ordnance. The most interesting chapters deal with three armorers of genius and their campaigns to convince the Army to adopt their inventions: Hiram Maxim and his mechanically operated machine gun, John Browning and his gas-operated small arms and John Garand and his semiautomatic M1 rifle (which General Patton called the greatest battle implement ever devised). Hallahan reveals that on the eve of almost every U.S. war, the nation's armory has been so ill-prepared that no rifles were available to our troops, and he wonders if we will be caught once again in a major war with the wrong rifle, i.e., the M16A2. Arguing that superior firepower, not the best-aimed weapon, wins battles, he fears that the Army has double-crossed itself again by restricting the automatic fire of that weapon to a three-round burst. This authoritative history of Army Ordnance's bureaucratic self-sabotage should be of wide interest. Photos.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Hallahan offers an eloquent, polemical critique of what he describes as the U.S. Army's consistent failure to provide its infantry with state-of-the-art small arms. The army rejected a breechloading rifle in the 1830s. It fought the Civil War with muzzle-loading Springfields instead of readily available magazine rifles. The Lewis Gun, World War I's best light automatic, was ignored in the homeland of its inventor. The MI A2, today's standard rifle, has no full-automatic capacity. Hallahan argues that professional soldiers suspect the ability of draftees and volunteers to use a rapid-firing weapon properly. More convincing is his denunciation of the "gravel-belly" mentality: a belief in long-range aimed fire, dating from the army's earliest history, despite the massive body of evidence that fire power is more effective on the modern battlefield than sharpshooting. This work suffers from overstatement but is a useful contribution to the subject of weapons procurement.
D.E. Showalter, U.S. Air Force Acad., Colorado Springs
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Hallahan, William H.
Published by Scribner (1994)
ISBN 10: 0684193590 ISBN 13: 9780684193595
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Hallahan, William H.
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