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According to a report in the news today the Americans have fired so many bullets in Iraq that the one factory they have making them can't keep up with demand. We (or rather the MoD) sold them 130,000,000 second hand bullets from our reserve stock over the Summer to help them fill the logistical supply hole.

Two things struck about this story. First that I wondered how they would have coped in a real war, with Russia say, if they ran short of bullets after just what is, by comparison, a small skirmish against puny opposition.

I was also reminded of something Robert Heinlein wrote in his book Starship Troopers (writing from the perspective of an infantryman in the future)

A rifle is not an easy weapon; it's got no target seeking abilities at all – I understand that back in the days when wars were decided with just such rifles it used to take several thousand fired shots to average killing one man. This seems impossible but the military histories agree that it is true – apparently most shots weren't really aimed but simply to force the enemy to keep his head down and interfere with his shooting.

Heinlein, being Heinlein, would have done the research first - and he's certainly hinting that he has there.

I love that line "it's got no target seeking abilities at all". His future trooper clearly finds this a most implausible way of going to war.

Tags: shooting Written 21/12/04

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