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Fight! Othais vs Ian on the Air Service 1903 Springfield!

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Description


Astute audience members will have noted that I described the "1903 Springfield Stripped for Air Service" as being intended as a pilot's survival weapon, because it would be a laughably poor gun to actually use from the cockpit in flight. In his very recent 1903 Springfield episode, Othais of C&Rsenal described the same gun as being made specifically as a backup weapon for use in flight from the cockpit.

So...who's right?

Well, (spoiler alert), Othais is. He had research assistance from Andrew at Archival Research Group ([email protected]), who uncovered some previously unknown documents describing the request for these rifles. In a nutshell, squadrons in France wanted a backup weapon in case their machine guns malfunctioned. They really wanted Winchester 1910 self-loaders in .401 caliber (ideally with incendiary or explosive ammo), but Springfield didn't have any of those and ended up making a bunch of modified 1903 Springfields instead. Which were in fact terrible guns for the purpose, but that's what the aerodromes ended up getting thanks to poor mutual communication.

You can see the documents in question here: https://i.imgur.com/y95sGVF.jpg

One of the great things about the Internet is the interest it can foster in niche subjects and opportunities it creates for doing research and uncovering new information. Being wrong because previously-lose information is rediscovered is no shame, and it's very cool to see the additional insights provided by those cablegrams that the C&Rsenal team found!