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With the Machine Gunners in France and Palestine


page 12


While the introduction of new weapons or the development of existing weapons cannot revolutionise tactics, they can and do profoundly modify them. In the tactics of the late War the influence of the machine gun is clearly marked: and it can be claimed that the hopes, based on the use of machine guns by their advocates, have been fully realised.

Besides being an important factor in field operations, they became the dominant factor in defence. Of course, nothing can take the place of the determination and devotion of our infantry; without them battles cannot be won. But the machine gun was the best friend of those who manned the trenches at Gallipoli or in France; in the hands of the enemy they were the most deadly obstacle to our success (as at Bellevue).

Scattered along the front line or disposed in depth the machine guns were literally "life-savers"; they reduced to a large extent the numbers of men required to defend a position exposed to artillery; their very presence inspired the infantry with confidence.

The officers and men of the New Zealand Machine Gun Corps have reason to be proud of their record. As in other armies they were looked upon as a corps d'elite; and as such they and their guns became the object of very special attention from the opposing artillery; the discovery and recording of their positions a matter of the keenest observation.

The machine gun has been called the Queen of the Battlefield; in the hands of the New Zealand Machine Gun Corps this proud title has been more than justified.

page 13

The saving of man power was one of the most important results of the employment of machine guns in the late War. New Zealand, with its limited resources of men, will find a plentiful supply of machine guns, with a well-trained personnel, invaluable for local land defence.

A. H. Russell.

14th March, 1923.