"To Win a War"
During the earlier part of the last century, individual military equipment, particularly rifles, light machineguns, bayonets, et al were designed with one goal in mind:
To win wars- decisively, and permanently!
Infantrymen, right down to the squad-level, were trained to, and expected to, have the ability and will, using fire and maneuver, to seize objectives by force, killing most of the enemy, and driving off the rest, all with only their own, indigenous resources. "Take the high ground, and hold it! That's the job of the Infantry" We sang that during training!
Strong offensive SOPs, that have been thoroughly drilled-in, made it possible to accomplish much, while saying little.
In Marine OCS, I was taught that the mission of my infantry platoon was to:
(2) Close-with, and
(3) Destroy the enemy, by fire and close combat
The goal of conventional warfare was always to crush the enemy, making unconditional surrender his only option.
The M1 Garand, and the M14 rifles, were designed, and intended, to decisively win such wars. They had the range, the penetration, and the power to do just that!
Those were the days!
During my lifetime, that all changed, at least here in the USA. During my lifetime, "wars" were started and fought, not with the idea of "winning," at least in the conventional sense, but with the muddled notion of eventually generating some sort of ill-defined "negotiated settlement," where the "losers" merely agreed to stop fighting (at least temporarily). "Modern wars" are also supposed to be "casualty-free," a ridiculous contradiction of terms!
But, no real-estate is ever ceded. The same people who were in charge when the war started, remain in charge. And, within a few years, or even months, the identical situation over which the war was ostensibly started, is back! And, the deaths and maiming of all those brave men, who so fearlessly went forward to fight for their country, are all, apparently, for nothing!
Such modern-day "wars" thus go on and on, with never a decisive victory, indeed no decisiveness at all! The Army is, in fact, no longer involved in fighting "wars." Modern military involvements are referred to as "police actions." Not surprisingly, individual initiative, particularly among infantry officers and NCOs, is now frowned-upon. Even the use of the word, "war" and "win" is, in fact, discouraged!
Since we're no longer "soldiers," we apparently no longer need a soldier's weapon! "Police actions" require that we be equipped only with police weapons- light, prissy, short-range rifles and 9mm pistols!
The M16/M4 was originally designed to replace the M1 Carbine, not the M14. The M1 Carbine was designed for, and intended for, only rear-area defense. It was a MP's rifle! The M14 has never been replaced, as many up the food-chain in the Pentagon sincerely believed, and still do, that war-winning rifles are no longer necessary. Land wars are, in fact, a thing of the past, we've been guaranteed!
We'll, we were "assured" that same thing back in the 1960s, when I went to Vietnam. "All you guys will ever have to do is step over bodies," we were naively told by bright-eyed technicians, as they gleefully described the latest "death-day," or other technological wonder that was going to make conventional warfare a thing of the past.
American soldiers going overseas during WWI were fed the same line of BS. It seems we never learn!
We discovered in Vietnam, those of us who lived long enough for it to matter, that we had been lied to. As infantrymen, we had to shoot to death enemy combatants and insurgents, one at a time. "Conventional warfare" was alive and well. It still is!
Now, our smiling President, Secretary of Defense, and our Secretary of State, hand in hand, are telling us the same lie, as they knowing immaculate our already inadequate military forces!
I have to believe Roman citizens, during the declining years of the Empire, were told identical lies, by the same sleazy politicians (only the names have changed), none of whom planned on personally doing any of the fighting.
The rifle issue is just one symptom. The current administration thinks they're keeping our tragic national decline a secret from us!
"My life has taught me one lesson, and not the one I thought it would. Happy endings only happen in movies."
Georges Mlis (played by Ben Kingsley) in the 2011 feature film, "Hugo," staring Asa Butterfield
John S. Farnam