Discussion in 'Small Arms and Edged Weapons' started by Riter, Mar 8, 2021.
Old US Army training film:
During World War II, particularly during the North African desert campaign, the combination of sand and lack of hygienic conditions proved disastrous to uncircumcised men. The loss of these soldiers to active duty in combat areas resulted in prophylactic circumcision being performed on many recruits at training centers. A World War II medical report from the U.S. Army referred to the “enormous man-hour loss from disease peculiar to the uncircumcised man,” and stated that “hospital admission from paraphimosis, phimosis, balanitis and condyloma accuminata during 1942 – 1945 totaled 146,793. Had these patients been circumcised before induction, this total would probably have been close to zero”. A similar though less well-documented loss to active duty occurred in uncircumcised servicemen in Operation Desert Storm during the Gulf War.
During World War II many U.S. recruits were circumcised to protect them against balanoposthitis. Such infection was a significant cause of active-duty loss among troops, particularly in the North African campaign (because of the combination of sand and poor hygiene). Military medics also felt that circumcision helped prevent STDs.
Not exactly a response that I would expect Kai-Petri.
Most infantry rifles have a rough time when submerged in mud, or submitted to fine sand. Newer rifles are much more reliable than those of WW2, but even the latest & greatest will give you trouble if you don't take care of it...Even the AK.
I have trouble imagining the sand but I've never been in a desert.
Being Roman Catholic I would have no problem...and they say circumcision shouldn't happen anymore...that its barbaric...BS! I'm glad I was and still am.
Female circumcision is completely different. I hate to think some Femo Nazi would prevent my son from getting one. (I don't have a son BTW)
My two cents: like many circumcised men, I used to be uncircumcised. But even then they taught us how to keep things clean. In fact having a foreskin might even be advantageous in some aspects of cleanliness.
Australia has all the terrains... we have 10 deserts...
The Simpson Desert...Shes hot...
That's an interesting comment...I worked briefly at Air Force Health records (25 years ago) and came across requests for circumcision...and (one) to have the foreskin put back! Is it too personal to ask why you decided to have a circumcision later in life?
Great Sand Dunes National Park in Coloradostan. Enjoy the mosquitoes. Moment I stepped out of the car I was swamped. I swear that the skeeter is the official bird of that park.
I was 13 back then. That was the usual age for those who skipped the procedure during infancy.
Didn't know that...I have zero memory of the procedure...can I ask how painful (afterward) you found it?
With me it was done surgically so not much pain, unlike with the generation before us who had to endure it without anesthesia. They said much of their childhood was spent in terror thinking of the procedure to come. As to post-op, no pain. Just the normal swelling and one thinks "I went though the procedure just to get this?"
I've been through the Mojave and it is no place to linger in. Accounts of the North African campaign agree that the sand got in absolutely everywhere, especially during the Khamseen. The stuff was very hard on machinery of all kinds, especially on engines. Engine life was shortened and serviceability of tanks, vehicles, and aircraft reduced.Similar effects were seen in the SW Pacific. That area was best known for rain and mud, but when the sun came out it quickly turned the mud to dust and the dust did terrible damage to aircraft engines. Mud could be dreadful too. The ground at Passchendaele in 1917 was so muddy that attacking British troops found their rifles and machine guns fouled within minutes, and keeping them clean in that environment was close to impossible. Some WWII small arms were harder to clean than others. The BAR and Bren, I have read, were both subject to carbon build-up because of their gas operation and had to be cleaned frequently. Some Jap and Italian machine guns had cartridge oilers to help with extraction, and those must have been magnets for grit of all kids.
Soldiers knew the strengths and weaknesses of their weapons, and were greatly successful in keeping them running just fine. We put a lot of conversation into which small arms were the best, when in reality they pretty much ALL worked just fine. As an example, many "gun people" denigrate Japanese small arms in comparison to US small arms. And while most US small arms were superior, they were rarely so superior that the weapon carried the battle. The "Arisaka" rifles (the were really designed by Nambu) were perhaps the best of the Mausers. The redesign of the bolt that Nambu did was absolutely brilliant. Japanese chose to stick with long rifles because it fit their fighting styles; they liked to get close enough to smell their enemy's bad breath, and a long rifle is better than a short rifle in a bayonet fight. Their Type 99 LMG was much better than the US BAR, and one of the best LMG's of the war; and they knew how to use it quite effectively.
The point being, regardless of the weaknesses of any given small arm, soldiers were aware of those weaknesses, and made every effort to mitigate their failings. More often than not, inferior small arms often didn't matter.
My father was in the Finnish Army until he was a captain. He said that guns were tested by covering them in sand and picking them up whether they worked or not. He was a fan of the Russian Degtarjev. It worked always according to him.
I am not disputing this, just pointing out that some were harder to clean than others. Or so I have read. Everything has a weakness, but as Norman Windrow wrote battles are not decided by small differences in infantry weapons.
Unless that difference is single shot vs semi auto...a big, perhaps decisive difference IMO. That second shot is lethal.