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The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

-- Sun Tzu

Bolt-Action Rifles

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Nearly all infantryman in the First World War used bolt action rifles. This type of rifle had been invented by a Scottish immigrant to the United States, James Paris Lee. The bolt is the device that closes the breech of the barrel. The bolt-action rifle had a metal box, into which cartridges were placed on top of a spring. As the bolt was opened, the spring forced the cartridges up against a stop; the bolt pushed the top cartridge into the chamber as it closed. After firing, the opening of the bolt extracted the empty cartridge case, and the return stroke loaded a fresh round.

Cartridges were injected into the magazine by means of a clip. They consisted of open-ended slides or cases within which a number of cartridges, 3, 5 or 6 were gripped by the spring metal of the case or a spring incorporated in the base.

The Lee-Enfield was the main rifle used by the British Army during the First World War. Other popular bolt action rifles included the Mauser Gewehr (Germany), Lebel (France), Mannlicher-Carcano (Italy), Springfield (United States), Moisin-Nagant (Russia), Mannlicher M95 (Austria) and Arisaka (Japan).

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This Day in History
1760: Major Roger Rogers takes possession of Detroit on behalf of Britain.

1812: The last elements of Napoleon Bonapartes Grand Armee retreats across the Beresina River in Russia.

1863: The Battle of Fort Sanders, Knoxville Tennessee, ends with a Confederate withdrawal.

1939: Soviet planes bomb an airfield at Helsinki, Finland.

1944: The USS Archerfish (SS-311) sinks the Japanese carrier Shinano.

1950: Lieutenant General Walton Walker ordered the Eighth Army to withdraw to new lines in the vicinity of the North Korean capital or Pyongyang. Meanwhile, the 2nd Infantry Division, acting as rearguard for Eighth Army, was struck hard by overwhelming Chinese forces at Kunu-ri.

1950: The French Battalion, known as the Battalion de Coree, joined the U.N. forces in Korea. Most often attached to the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division, the battalion received three U.S. Distinguished Unit Citations for Twin Tunnels, Chipyong-ni and Hongchon.

1952: Making good on his most dramatic presidential campaign promise, newly elected Dwight D. Eisenhower goes to Korea to see whether he can find the key to ending the bitter and frustrating Korean War.

1967: Robert S. McNamara announces that he will resign as Secretary of Defense and will become president of the World Bank.

1968: The Viet Cong High Command orders an all-out attempt to smash the Phoenix program.