Sergeant (Instructor) Snoxall, S of M Hythe

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Henry_Tombs, May 13, 2009.

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  1. Who is best known for a 38 round "Mad Minute" in 1914 with an SMLE; but who was he?

    I'm trying to help others put some details about this man together for research purposes, he apparently has been mentioned in a book which was published around 1922, does anybody know what the title of this book is, or even have a copy of it?
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  2. Don't know and I've actually stopped referencing his achievement due to being unable to provide any background, if you do happen to turn anything up....
  3. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Henry, nice to see you on friday, I have had a look at the Jewels boards in the ARA and I couldnt see Snoxall but I certainly could see Wallingfords name as a winner of the Gold and silver jewels several times up until 1914. Shown as Hythe Staff usually he appears in the first two columns pics to follow

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  4. I gave up in the end as other research subjects (Whitaker Specials) came to the fore. Good to see you to!
    The new knee is getting more use and I hope to shoot with the HBSA in the coming weeks.
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  5. It's amazing how the few facts on this feat get mangled in the nth retelling.

    On one of the mad minute videos, the chap claims it was done on a 12" target. Nah. 12" bull, at best.

    TBH, I have no idea what targetry would have been used pre-1914 for the minute.

    I reckon, if the guy really existed, it was rather a "party trick", probably with the rifle well sandbagged in in "fire trench supported" position, and a stack of racing clips (the sort that give HBSA range officers heart palpitiations ;) ) right up there next to it.
  6. Good to hear from you HT.
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  7. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Well at least Henry and I know its not the HBSA that has kittens over the mad minute!
    Glad to see you again, I'm running next months mid range practice!
  8. Going by what I remember of conversations with my father regarding his firing the "mad minute" as a TF private in 1914.
    According to him the targets were of 1899 pattern on 4ft squares when classifying as an individual in rapid fire. Section rapid fire was carried out on canvas (or similar) screens. I do not know the dimensions or ranges. Unfortunately I didn't ask the detailed questions, even if he had known or remembered the answers. And it's a bit late to ask now!

    Reference the use of sandbags for support; this was normal and my father certainly used it to his advantage on his initial classification shoot, by wedging his rifle between two sandbags and concentrating on operating the bolt. He surprised all present on his individual accuracy (he was a shortarse and under age, and it was thought the bigger blokes would be the better shots) and was presented a special swagger stick which was reserved for marksmen and high scoring rapid shots.

    I recall not believing the amount of time spent on practicing aimed shots. His figures were borne out when I got sight of 1912 (I think) manual of musketry instruction. It included hundreds of 'dry' shots with an instructor checking the aim. This was practiced in the barracks at night, for hours on end, with soldiers checking each other. This was followed by 'blank firing' from single shot to rapid serials, as individuals with aim being checked.

    Soldiers did retain clips, so some tailoring will have happened. "Old soldiers' tricks" and all that. They also jangled in bandoliers which was thought ally in it's day and impressed the girlies.

    The actual number of live rounds fired was tiny compared to the number of aimed 'clicks' but it all led to a high standard of marksmanship as well as achieving the required rate of fire.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2014
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  9. That fits with how your serious target shooter trains (when I say "serious", I'm talking international level). ISTR hearing that in the training runup to the Atlanta Olympics, Jean-Pierre Amat reckoned he had fired 3,000 rounds of smallbore live, and 15,000 dry. To put that in perspective, five good bulls a minute prone is pushing it under ideal conditions; two a minute kneeling, one a minute standing.

    It sounds like the average rifleman had the training intensity of a county-level target shooter; and the better ones were training as hard as internationalists.

    I did hear Barry Dagger (Olympic medallist in the 80s, buddy of Jock Allan and Malcolm Cooper) tell an amusing story from the fifties; he had a growth defect that means he's under five feet tall. Anyway, he goes up for his National Service board, and the interviewers asked him what Regiment he wanted to join - "Coldstream Guards", he says :) So, after a short break they call him back in to tell him that they felt that he should be excused National Service on the grounds that he was unsuited to the stress of firing the No.4 rifle; he felt it would be smarter to stay quiet about being the current County Champion with it...
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  10. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Is this not an argument for increased use of synthetic training aids as well as increased facilities to provide them, as much as live firing?
  11. Yup. The SAT/DCCT are fantastic tools - but you need a coach who understands how to use them - and that means understanding how to shoot well. If you know what you're doing, you can achieve a hell of a lot with the old-fashioned aiming sticks, with pennies on the end of a barrel, and with plain old dry firing; but you can get there sooner with the shiny electronics.

    I've come across coaches who didn't understand how little they actually knew; and others who were utterly convinced of their ability, but who couldn't transmit that knowledge to save themselves. Big hint - "just do it", or coaching that says "you should do better" rather than "try this, see if it makes a difference, let's go again" is not the sign of a strong instructor. We wouldn't accept an unfit PTI, or a map reading instructor who kept getting lost, so why do we tolerate Skillies who can't pass an APWT at Marksman?

    This is where the unit shooting team is useful; as a group of enthusiasts who should* be able to pass on skills learned in competition doing more challenging shoots. Not necessarily to help the best firers, but to figure out exactly which part of the process the poorer firers haven't grasped.

    * should - i.e. not "up their own arrse, tracksuit wearing golden boys who get all precious about how special they are", but firers who understand that the whole point of competition shooting is as a vehicle to improve the battle shot, and that they are an investment by the unit, for the whole unit's benefit (and not so the CO can pose around at DIVSAAM).
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  12. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    The IJLB shooting was always made up from the remedial shooters! They did quite well!

  13. One of the better posts I've read on here for a while. Have a like.