In your article on the five longest-serving firearms in military history [by James Elphick, online at Historynet.com] the Lee-Enfield is listed as serving until 1993. However, Canadian Rangers patrolling the Arctic used them until 2018 as self-defense against polar bears. This may not be in combat, but it was their main weapon.
Editor responds: Sure enough, the Canadian Rangers used the .303-caliber Lee-Enfield No. 4 from the formation of the unit in 1947 through 2018. That year they began using the lighter, shorter Colt Canada C19, a 7.62×51 mm NATO/.308 Winchester bolt-action rifle designed to operate in temperatures as low as -60 degrees Fahrenheit. It is fitted with a 10-round detachable box magazine—just the ticket in the event of a bear attack.
I found the story [“Rogers’ Remnant,” by Ron Soodalter, May 2021] about British Maj. Robert Rogers fascinating. Rogers’ Rangers faced guerrilla warfare as they went into Abenaki territory, something they never dealt with before. As they were used to civilized warfare, the French and Indian War was a new scenario. The scalping done by Indians and Anglos shows the savagery of guerrilla warfare.
Paul Dale Roberts
Elk Grove, Calif.
Two articles in the [March 2021] edition caught my attention, as I have a personal and professional involvement with both.
The first was the article on Cedar Creek [What We Learned From…], by William John Shepherd. My involvement with that article concerning the key 1864 battle in the Shenandoah Valley is that I wrote my history master’s thesis at the University of Delaware in 1969 on Maj. Gen. Alfred T.A. Torbert from Delaware, the cavalry commander of Phil Sheridan’s Army of the Shenandoah. His CSA opponent was Lt. Gen. Jubal Early, whose common-law wife was my great-great-grandmother, Julia McNealy. Julia’s fifth child, Lilly, was my great-grandmother.
The other interesting article was “Last Shot at Glory,” by Dave Kindy, on the famous German submarine U-853 and the story of its attack on the East Coast in the spring of 1945 and sinking off Block Island in early May. Few people know that Delaware businessman Mel Joseph, of Millsboro, got permission from the German government in the late 1960s to not only send a dive team to locate the boat but also bring her up. Mel first had to agree to pay for reinterment of the remains of the German sailors back in Germany. Unfortunately, when the Joseph dive team got to the U-boat, they found it so damaged, with so many unexploded hedgehogs [antisubmarine weapons] around it and live torpedoes hanging from the tubes, they could not bring the boat up. They did, however, bring up the remaining Flak 38 gun tub, including both 20 mm guns and the entire mount including the armored shield (except the sights, which evidently had been blown off during the attack), and Mel brought it back to Delaware along with other objects from the several dives his team made. I found the Flak 38 in 2004 in the woods behind a local college (that’s another story), and our team at the Fort Miles Museum restored it. It’s now on permanent display in our museum at Fort Miles, in Cape Henlopen State Park.
Dr. Gary D. Wray
I found “What We Learned From the Battle of Schmidt, 1944” [by David T. Zabecki, January 2021] interesting and informative. I also found the lessons not to be learned by our military, in that six years later in Korea at Chosin we did everything you listed not to do. Everything.
Patrick S. Baker’s cover story “Under the Hammer” in your January 2021 issue is superb. The Battle of Tours turned out more like a crossword puzzle than a matter of physics. The Immovable Object didn’t overpower the Irresistible Force; it outsmarted it—in straight battles, no less.
Evan Dale Santos
The July 2021 Military History included a book review about Malcolm Gladwell’s The Bomber Mafia. Reviewer Mike Oppenheim used the word “villain” in the same sentence to describe Gen. Curtis LeMay. I vehemently disagree with that analogy to that great American hero. “Patriot” would be a more accurate description. “Villain” would definitely be more appropriate to describe Japan’s Hideki Tojo or Germany’s Hermann Göring, both contemporary enemies of LeMay.
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This article appeared in the November 2021 issue of Military History. For more stories, subscribe and visit us on Facebook.