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The term "Mad Minute"


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I first encountered the term in the late fifties and it referred to a special demonstration where all the weapons of a type division were brought to bear within a small area. Demonstrations would begin with a squad firing the M1, then the BAR, next the Browning .30 cal through mortars, tank guns and a variety of artillery tubes climaxing with TOT fire by 8"guns. It was an impressive display. Done today it would be even more impressive.

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Having been a mortar platoon leader in the early 80s, the Mad Minute was the minute before midnight when all mortar and artillery ranges closed. Rather than go through the onerous task of turning in opened ammuntion the next day, mortar platoons and artillery batteries fired everthing they had in the "Mad Minute" before packing up and going back to garrison. It was a glorious orgy of artillery parachute flares, WP, HE and even hand held colored flares and star clusters (everything but red which was the universal sign of cease fire). Kevin

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I first encountered the term in the late fifties and it referred to a special demonstration where all the weapons of a type division were brought to bear within a small area. Demonstrations would begin with a squad firing the M1, then the BAR, next the Browning .30 cal through mortars, tank guns and a variety of artillery tubes climaxing with TOT fire by 8"guns. It was an impressive display. Done today it would be even more impressive.

Bob - I remember seeing one of those demonstrations in ROTC in the 1970s, back then it was called the "Million Dollar Minute". Not only did it include artillery and armor but attack helicopters, AC-130 gun ships and Air Force fixed wing aviation....all pounding the same lifeless tank hulks on a hill. I guess if done today with inflation it would be the multi-million dollar minute. Kevin

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The way we use "the mad minute" is right after BMNT (before morning nautical twighlight :speechless: ...Army talk for dawn hahaha) or standto.

Everyone in the perimeter expends 1 magazine does a quick reload and then you sit and wait

Eric

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The way we use "the mad minute" is right after BMNT (before morning nautical twighlight :speechless: ...Army talk for dawn hahaha) or standto.

Everyone in the perimeter expends 1 magazine does a quick reload and then you sit and wait

Eric

That would definately let the enemy know where you are, which may not always a good thing in perimeter defense. This presents special problems when you are defending in an urban envronment. The presence of civilians would make this impractical. I've heard of and done "stand to" at BMNT, but never a "mad minute" at that time. Sounds like a Vietnam era tactic. Kevin

Edited by ehrentitle
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It surely gives away your position and you usually would move to a different position afterwards but it's used to get rid of anyone sneaking around your perimeter before you continue your movement I wouldn't use it in urban terrain,just like you say civilians might be a problem :blush:

Eric

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Just found this in a book first published in 1930. My copy is the revised 1965 edition.

Mad Minute:

A newspaper phrase for British rapid fire during the retreat from Mons e.g. 15 rounds of aimed shots per minute.

Tony

Edited by Tony
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It looks like this term will not be pinned down to a specific context unless we credit the earliest usage of the term. So far it looks like WWI origin.

That is probably the best known usage. Fifteen rounds in 60 seconds was the British standard for rapid fire in 1914, and was accomplished by using the thumb, not the palm of the hand, to push the bolt up before rapidly slamming it back and home for the next shot.

Some musketry instructors could beat that by a fair margin. See this article for more information:

Why we practice

Edited by Michael Johnson
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  • 1 year later...

So... any advances on this??

We are still at WW1.... I also thought Vietnam would be the origin...

I think the term pre-dates the Great War slightly. Although withering massed rapid fire was a feature of the B.E.F.'s musketry actions early on in the war, the phrase was originally used to describe part of the pre-war infantry training which enabled the men to do this so well.

As part of the standard infantry musketry course, the soldier would be required to fire as quickly as he could for one minute, aiming at a target 300 yards away, and he would be required to hit the target at least 15 times during the minute, working the bolt between each shot, of course, and having to reload the rifle at least one to achieve this.

"The Mad Minute" was thus the climactic, pass-or-fail part of the musketry course.

Tom

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