Earlier in the week on April 1st I asked the following question on my Facebook page:
"There's a large debate on which is the better rifle, the Mauser or the Lee Enfield. Well True or False:
The record for shots per minute from a bolt action rifle is 38 rounds into the bulls eye of a 12" target at 300 yards."
The answer will be at the bottom of this page, so feel free to contemplate the question, and see if I was pulling a double bluff due to it being Aprils Fools Day. Anyway onto the main article:
When designing a new armoured fighting vehicle there's many factors to worry about, transmission protection and cost to name but a few. But even a well designed vehicle can fall foul of the oddest issues. Just after World War Two the British designed and built a new generation of Carriers to replace the ageing but awesome Universal Carrier. This was called the Oxford Carrier.
From the first it was named the Trojan. However after some press an issue cropped up. In December 1962 a letter landed in the mail bag of the War Office from a solicitors office. The solicitors demanded that all reference to the FV432 Trojan be dropped by the War Office as the use of the name would be injurious to their clients, one Trojan Limited.
This of course led the War Office to search for alternative names. The first name they came up with was "Thruster" (no, I'm not making this up). Although other names suggested were "Tomahwak", "Tuscan" and "Troy". All these were checked over by the governments lawyers and found to be usable.
By the end of January the solicitors had issued a full list of demands, namely that the War Office stop using the name Trojan, that they prevent the name being used by any contractors and the government issue a statement in the national and technical press.
On the 11th of March 1963 another letter arrived were the solicitors demanded a statement to the House of Commons on the subject and apparently included a statement that was to be used in the press release. The War Office released a slightly modified version of the statement in The Times on 25th of March, but told the solicitors to go away about the statement to the House of Commons.
On 9th of April the name Trojan was officially deleted from records.
However it didn't quite work, unofficially the FV432 was still very rarely called the Trojan by soldiers, this was still happening even in the late 1990's.
In a way it was a lucky escape for the FV432. As the latest version, the MKIII now uses ribbed armour, you can only imagine the jokes that would follow!
Right now back to the True or False.
Hands up those of you that found out about Sgt Instructor Snoxall putting 38 rounds into the bullseye at 300 yards within a minute in 1914?
Well there is some doubt about if Sgt Snoxall even existed. Ian Hogg makes mention of him in a book on small arms, and it seems that is the source of the quote you see everywhere. But other details are missing. Other people have looked, but been unable to find anything more on his existence. There may be a book from 1922 that makes the same claim as Ian Hogg does.
What is well documented is that Sgt. Maj. Wallingford managed to achieve 37 rounds on target in a minute.