Take these for instance:
[The British] rifle at the present moment was the worst among those used by civilised powers.
…the opinion of most Infantry officers was that our rifle was inferior both to the French and German rifles.
It was clear, therefore, that if our soldiers had to fight troops armed with the German weapon they would do so under very great disadvantage.
…our rifle is inferior to the German and French rifles…
So what is this Austin Allegro of the military world? Why, the Short, Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE) of course – Britain’s main infantry weapon in the First World War, the Second World War, and the Korean War; the weapon that when fired en masse in 1914, the Germans mistook for machine-gun fire and a weapon that was still in use by snipers in the 1980s.
And, on what basis are they criticising it? Range. Which I think will raise a titter from the firearm cognoscenti. Please, oh commenters, tell me if I am wrong, but my understanding is that the big change in infantry firearms in the 20th century was the realisation that rate of fire was more important than range which led to the introduction of such weapons as the MP44, AK47 and M16 which while being able to fire at an extraordinary rate had nothing like the accuracy of the SMLE and its peers.
Normally, at this point, I would make some remark about the stupidity of politicians but that last quotation comes from Field Marshal Roberts, so I won’t.