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During the Great war, I understand that some large bore rifles were taken from the African colonies to be used in the trenches to shoot through German steel. I was wondering if anyone knew what these rifles were? 8 bores? 470 Nitros? Rigbys?

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Realitycheck - welcome to GMIC. I will have to leave this to one of the WW1 experts - and, it may be worth posting the

question also on the weapons section. Whatever the answer, I'm sure our elephants were very pleased to see them go !

I have a reprinted book from the daily score of Selous - the famous big game hunter. The sheer slaughter of so many

animals was quite inexcusable - and in many cases has made species vulnerable. Mervyn

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I'm sure the Geneva Convention had something to say about elephant guns, though probably not by that term. Certainly doesn't mean they weren't used though. Shot guns, definitely frowned on, were very efficient trench fighting weapons. A lot of it probably came down to what the business boys call a cost-benefit analysis: did the extra efficiency outweigh the extra weight and, probably more importantly, were the intended victims likely to do something nasty and permanent to the owner of such a weapon if captured?

I believe, for example, that German WWI pioneer units ground the saw backs off their bayonets because being captured carrying one was a very good way to get shot by irate Tommies, who regarded them as cruel and unusual. [ As if getting perforated with a non-sawback bayonet were going to be any better!]

However, as Mervyn, one of the First War mavens will undoubtedly have an answer or suggest a source for one, as well as correcting me if I'm wrong! :)

BTW, welcome aboard!

Peter

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I too would be intersted in hearing what others have to say on this question. The one thing that comes to mind is that most, if not all, fine hunting weapons that could take down an elephant wouid not stand up to the dust, mud and water found in many battlefield conditions. We know that weapons made to very fine tollerences need far too much maintenance for the average soldier to keep in top working order, no offence intended.

Ok you WWI fellows, weigh in here and let us know the facts.

Regards

Brian

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I'm sure the Geneva Convention had something to say about elephant guns, though probably not by that term.

The Geneva Convention treaties (1864, 1906, 1929, 1949) relate to the treatment of people in war - not the use of particular weapons. Specifically, they deal with humane treatment of wounded, sick, prisoners, and civilians. This does not extend to the execution of the war itself.

The use of particular weapons in warfare is related to the Hague Conventions (1899, 1907). Interestingly, the 1899 treaty bound the signatories to "abstain from the use of projectiles the object of which is the diffusion of asphyxiating or deleterious gases" and the dropping of projectiles from "from balloons or by other new methods of a similar nature." The bombing clause was only valid for 5 years. The gas clause was easily skirted. Thus, we see those weapons used in WWI. The Geneva Protocol to the Hague Conventions of 1928 is the one that bans the use of all forms of chemical and biological weapons.

So, no legal (or binding) prohibition against using elephant guns, shotguns, or saw back bayonets in WWI. Of course, all of those were minor inconveniences compared to the machine gun...

Related, but separate, the 1999 Ottawa Treaty bans the use of anti-personnel mines.

I'm sure this is too much information and going... :off topic: But my diplomatic background got the better of me... :whistle:

Edited by IrishGunner

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Me being sloppy again! I should know the difference between the Geneva and the Hague Conventions, even though I haven't a diplomatic bone in my body! Ask my wife or former students about that! Haven't read through either in decades, however, so forgot or never knew what exactly they did and didn't cover. Is it still 'foot in mouth' when one types it rather than says it? [blush]

What particular bit of diplomacy was your forte, Irish? Enquiring minds wish to know. :)

Peter

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Peter, I'm sure enquiring minds would really like to know more about elephant guns... :P

I sent you a PM :ninja:

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  • I Just want to thank you all for responding to my post, its always great to communicate with people from the homeland,and I never miss a chance to do so. For God,for St.George,and for England! Thanks for your responses. As long as there are people alive that remember this stuff here on this forum,there is hope for civilization. I look forward to learning much more.Thank you gentleman.

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Realitycheck - welcome to GMIC. I will have to leave this to one of the WW1 experts - and, it may be worth posting the

question also on the weapons section. Whatever the answer, I'm sure our elephants were very pleased to see them go !

I have a reprinted book from the daily score of Selous - the famous big game hunter. The sheer slaughter of so many

animals was quite inexcusable - and in many cases has made species vulnerable. Mervyn

Thank you for your welcome sir,i am glad to be here.

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In 1918 in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) in the last action of the war in East Africa (the Armistice had been signed in far-away Europe but the news hadn't penetrated central Africa yet) an Elephant Gun was used by a civilian to deter the Schutztruppe recce party on the Chambeshi River.

He fired from up in the roof of a corrugated iron warehouse and the boom of his gun in the building deterred the German recce commander who thought that light artillery was being used.

Harry

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So now we have an answer.

Thanks Ed.

Regards

Brian

thank you gents very much for your help and hospitality. When I learned this place was for mad dogs and Englishmen, I didn't know what would happen ;-)

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I'm sure the Geneva Convention had something to say about elephant guns, though probably not by that term. Certainly doesn't mean they weren't used though. Shot guns, definitely frowned on, were very efficient trench fighting weapons. A lot of it probably came down to what the business boys call a cost-benefit analysis: did the extra efficiency outweigh the extra weight and, probably more importantly, were the intended victims likely to do something nasty and permanent to the owner of such a weapon if captured?

I believe, for example, that German WWI pioneer units ground the saw backs off their bayonets because being captured carrying one was a very good way to get shot by irate Tommies, who regarded them as cruel and unusual. [ As if getting perforated with a non-sawback bayonet were going to be any better!]

However, as Mervyn, one of the First War mavens will undoubtedly have an answer or suggest a source for one, as well as correcting me if I'm wrong! :)

BTW, welcome aboard!

Peter

thank you sir for your wekcome

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Resurrecting this thread.

I just read last night about how in 1914 I think a Welsh regt.? ( I will give all correct dates/units when I get to the book again, it is very detailed) Got some rifles donated from big game hunters, to use.

The diary speaks of using them almost exclusively to hit German sniper plates/loopholes with a few resulting kills, but mostly the soldier talked about how much fun it was to see the plate go flying and the germans scrambling

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I found this among some saved pics...I couldn't resist.

I'm assuming the way they're holding it as a "trophy" that this is a German used rifle.

Bet that leaves a mark after firing it :0

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