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Ammunition for infantry

The infantry soldier generally carries, in pouches, bandoliers, &c., one hundred rounds of small-arms ammunition (S.A.A.), and it is usual to supplement this, when an action is imminent, from the regimental reserve (see below). It is to be noticed that every reduction in the calibre of the rifle means an increase in the number of rounds carried. One hundred rounds of the Martini-Henry ammunition weighed 10 pounds 10 ounces; the same weight gives 155 with .303 ammunition (including charges), and if a .256 calibre is adopted the number of rounds will be still greater. It is, relatively, a matter of indifference that the reserves of ammunition include more rounds than formerly; it is of the highest importance that the soldier should, as far as possible, be independent of fresh supplies, because the bringing up of ammunition to troops closely engaged is laborious and costly in lives. The regimental reserves are carried in S.A.A. carts and on pack animals. Of the former each battalion has six, of the latter eight. The six carts are distributed, one as reserve to the machine gun, three as reserve to the battalion itself, and two as part of the brigade reserve, which consists therefore of eight carts. The brigade reserve communicates directly with the brigade ammunition columns of the artillery (see below). The eight pack animals follow the eight companies of their battalion. These, with two out of the three battalion carts, endeavour to keep close to the firing line, the remaining cart being with the reserve companies. Men also are employed as carriers, and this duty is so onerous that picked men only are detailed. Gallantry displayed in bringing up ammunition is considered indeed to justify special rewards. The amount of S.A.A. in regimental charge is 100 rounds in the possession of each soldier, 2000 to 2200 on each pack animal, and 16,000 to 17,600 in each of four carts, with, in addition, about 4000 rounds with the machine gun and 16,000 more in the fifth cart.