War Department Abandons Clip Development

For poking fun and off topic subjects
Knute1
Posts: 882
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2016 3:22 am

War Department Abandons Clip Development

Post by Knute1 »

This is from a short article in the 12/30/1899 issue of "Army and Navy Journal". Note that my great grandfather would have been in the 14th U.S. Infantry Regiment mentioned in the article.

Owing to the reports received by Chief of Ordnance since the outbreak of hostilities between the United States and Spain, and as a result of campaigns in Philippine Islands, the Department of Ordnance of the  War Department has abandoned the idea of a clip for more rapid charging of the magazine of the Krag Jorgensen rifle. Operations in the field have conclusively shown that the Krag Jorgensen rifle is seldom used as a magazine rifle and when so used the five shots in reserve are entirely adequate. The United States rifle can be fired as a single loader from twenty-five to thirty times a minute, which is rapid enough for most occasions. In the Philippine campaigns the magazine has seldom been used and it seems that this is exactly the kind of war which would call forth such use, if any would. On one occasion, at the outbreak of the insurrection in Manila, the 14th Infantry came to close quarters with the rebels and used the magazine with good effect. No difficulty was found by the troops in regard to loading the rifle rapidly enough.

Knute1
Posts: 882
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2016 3:22 am

Re: War Department Abandons Clip Development

Post by Knute1 »

However, just a year earlier (12/31/1898), the "Army and Navy Journal" had this to say in a 180 degree difference in point of view.

"Mr Parkhurst's invention has no movable part, is attached at the end of the cartridge box, does not cut away the gun and does not interfere with any of the present motions of the mechanism. Its cost has been estimated at twenty cents or less.
If the arguments which decided the small arms board to select the Krag were sound it must be still the best gun in mechanism and Mr. Parkhurst's invention will make it at least the equal of any other in the world in rapidity of fire. He has removed whatever doubt hung over the American arm. Inventors are never regarded with favor in ordnance offices, but the interests advanced by this invention are too important to permit its neglect. It is too simple to be replaced easily by another invention as good.
We hope it will be approved in Washington for it will make our present stock of 150,000 Krags as available in any situation as any arm in the world. It is as applicable to cannelured as to rim cartridges without other change than a slight one of dimension."

Here is a link to the entire article, but it is hard to read. I used a translator to get the few paragraphs above.

https://books.google.com/books?id=_zO4DIyljmIC&pg=PA417&dq=krag+jorgensen+fort&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj7rbuaiLvlAhVNQ6wKHcacBXgQ6AEwAHoECAAQAg#v=onepage&q=krag%20jorgensen%20fort&f=false

Knute1
Posts: 882
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2016 3:22 am

Re: War Department Abandons Clip Development

Post by Knute1 »

Harpers Weekly, 4/4/1903

For a week the active man of military service and the active man of business who had come back to smell powder and renew the martial spirit of his youth went into every detail of the maneuvers. They took a Krag Jorgensen rifle and had a private hit a tree more than a mile away. The Springfields of a dozen years ago couldnt shoot more than 1500 yards or three quarters of the distance the Krags shoot. Then the general told of the new Springfields which have been adopted by the army to supplant the Krags, and his eyes snapped as he did so. Out in the Philippines and in China he told how scores of the men, as they warmed to their work and grew excited, were found shooting air instead of cartridges out of their guns. In the excitement they forgot to recharge the magazines. All that is gone now. The brand new Springfield is entirely encased in wood, and the soldier can handle it in comfort at all times. It is lighter than the Krag and weighs only seven and one half pounds. But most important of all, when the soldier has fired all of the cartridges in his clip, he is unable to go through the motions of shooting the weapon again-that is, he cant shoot air-until he has recharged the gun. The barrel has also been shortened to the length of the carbine, and hereafter the infantry and cavalry will carry the same weapon. Whether the soldier is a mounted infantryman or a dismounted cavalryman, or just a plain infantryman or cavalryman, his gun will be the same and only one kind of ammunition needs to be supplied. Then, too, the private soldier of today, it was seen at a glance, is more than one hundred times as efficient as a shooter, when it is realized that he carries with him in his compact belt 150 cartridges where he used to carry only fifty. Right there is the secret of his ability to march farther and to go on long hikes, where his range of action formerly was limited to the necessity of keeping closer in touch with his ammunition supply.

User avatar
butlersrangers
Posts: 7431
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:35 pm
Location: Below the Bridge, Michigan

Re: War Department Abandons Clip Development

Post by butlersrangers »

I love it when a plan comes together ....

Typical journalist hype, that an additional 200 fps made the old 220 grain .30 cal. bullet a better 'tree killer' at one mile ... and that 150 rounds of early .30-03 was no more of a burden than 50 rounds of .30-40 on long "hikes".

Well, I guess a lighter and shorter service rifle was worth crowing about.

p.s. This is the first I've read of soldiers getting surprised by empty chambers while using the Krag in combat. Of course the 'old dog' would be seeing some use for a bunch more years.

Knute1
Posts: 882
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2016 3:22 am

Re: War Department Abandons Clip Development

Post by Knute1 »

I have not heard of actual accounts where American soldiers were closing bolts on open chambers during combat. But I did here that it was a feature for Mauser-type actions that a bolt can't be closed on an empty rifle since the follower is designed to come up and get in the way as an indicator it was time to reload. The bolt can be closed with an empty gun, but the follower has to be pushed down.

Then again, I have read (can't recall where) that Civil War soldiers sometimes kept pulling the hammer back and pulling the trigger without loading their muzzleloader. So anything could be possible in the heat of battle, but it is probably difficult to know how big a problem it was.

FWIW, I thought the Harpers Weekly article was a bit "hollywood" and was not written by a military expert.

User avatar
Culpeper
Posts: 926
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 2:01 am

Re: War Department Abandons Clip Development

Post by Culpeper »

I recall a Civil War guy would come to the grade schools and give a show and tell about the equipment and guns.  This is in the late sixties and he was a way old guy.  He said he had acquired a war rifle that had three charges rammed down the barrel.  Yep in the heat of battle or maybe just a story to impress the kids.  Either way it stuck with me and should I ever buy a muzzleloader I will be wary of multiple charges.  Which rolls right into being wary of double charging pistol or rifle cartridge rounds.

Deacon in the Church of the Mighty Krag. Member of People Eating Tasty Animals (PETA).  Liberty Works Radio

King carp
Posts: 350
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:43 am

Re: War Department Abandons Clip Development

Post by King carp »

I remember reading that after the battle of Gettysburg many double and triple charged rifles were found. One had six loads in it. I guess with all the noise from cannon and rifle fire it was easy to think you fired your rifle and reload it. I have never found a loaded muzzle loader but have heard it happens. "A gun is always loaded " <(my dad).

Knute1
Posts: 882
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2016 3:22 am

Re: War Department Abandons Clip Development

Post by Knute1 »

I have been muzzleloading since 1982 (and before) and have never double/triple loaded. I have forgotten to load the powder first and then it is a challenge to get it out, especially if you have a tight ball/patch combination.

I also have never been shot at while reloading, which would make a helluva difference with my performance.

Knute1
Posts: 882
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2016 3:22 am

Re: War Department Abandons Clip Development

Post by Knute1 »

From an 1892 book "Infantry Fire; Its Use In Battle":


https://books.google.com/books?id=U3oDAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA211&dq=krag+jorgensen+rifle+#v=onepage&q=krag%20jorgensen%20rifle&f=false

Evidence that "loaders" were being considered for the Krag Jorgensen rifle at the time of acceptance by the Ordnance Department. See page 211 where it is stated: "If the cartridges as so packed and carried that the magazines are refilled at a single motion, the fire may be more rapid, whether it be continuous or intermittent, making control still more necessary, in order to prevent the waste of ammunition which lack of it would cause."

And in the footnotes: "The magazine is very quickly loaded, either by using a movable "loader," or by pouring in the cartridges from the palm of the hand..."

This book was written by Jos. B Batchelor Jr, 1st Lieutenant, 24th U.S. Infantry. Published in 1892.

Knute1
Posts: 882
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2016 3:22 am

Re: War Department Abandons Clip Development

Post by Knute1 »

Here is a commons sense article on the Krag loader issue from the "Journal of the Royal United Service Institution" dated 1899, pages 221 to 223.

https://books.google.com/books?id=zSMwAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA222&dq=krag+jorgensen+rapidity+of+fire&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjk4bDEydjnAhVELK0KHQBpDiQQ6AEwAHoECAQQAg#v=onepage&q=krag%20jorgensen%20rapidity%20of%20fire&f=false

Post Reply