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RattlesnakeBob

Lee Enfield Rifles....

Question

Just been watching a Forgotten Heroes of WW1 episode and a thought struck me....

......the Lee Enfield Rifles the lads carried into France in 1914/18 looked (at least on screen) to be the same as the ones their descendants carried into France once again in 1939/45 ..

........so..

...was there any difference at all/if any between WW1 Lee Enfields and WW2????....

and seeing as the British Army carried them for a good few more years after WW2 ..was there ...any much of a difference between the last ones issued and the very first ones??

Edited by RattlesnakeBob

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee-Enfield

 

"It was the British Army's standard rifle from its official adoption in 1895 until 1957"

 

[TABLE=class: wikitable]

[TR]

Model/MarkIn Service[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Magazine Lee-Enfield[/TD]

[TD]1895–1926[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Charger Loading Lee-Enfield[/TD]

[TD]1906–1926[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk I[/TD]

[TD]1904–1926[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk II[/TD]

[TD]1906–1927[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk III/III*[/TD]

[TD]1907 – present[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk V[/TD]

[TD]1922–1924 (trials only; 20,000 produced)[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Rifle No. 1 Mk VI[/TD]

[TD]1930–1933 (trials only; 1,025 produced)[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Rifle No. 4 Mk I[/TD]

[TD]1939 – present (officially adopted in 1941)[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Rifle No. 4 Mk I*[/TD]

[TD]1942 – present[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Rifle No 5 Mk I "Jungle Carbine"[/TD]

[TD]1944 – present[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Rifle No. 4 Mk 2[/TD]

[TD]1949 – present[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Rifle 7.62mm 2A[/TD]

[TD]1964 – present[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Rifle 7.62mm 2A1[/TD]

[TD]1965 – present

 

 

I hope the formatting is preserved! I doubt it will be![/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

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great stuff,,,so the basic differences between the WW1 and WW2 ones was prinicpally in WW1 you changed the mag to load the weapon and with the WW2 ones you used a charger clip???.........I'd seen/heard of the Jungle carbine before but understood that was a bit of a blind alley experiment ???............so apart from the mag/charger business.the rifle was basically the same for over 60 years??..

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great stuff,,,so the basic differences between the WW1 and WW2 ones was prinicpally in WW1 you changed the mag to load the weapon and with the WW2 ones you used a charger clip???.

 

Not exactly,both the SMLE and the No 4 could be reloaded with the mag in place with the aid of the charger(clip) or by changing mags.

 

In 1942 the No 4 came into service as a rifle redesigned to be faster and simpler to manufacture than the SMLE.

Hence during the early part of the war - BEF,Norway,Western Desert etc the SMLE was standard issue,a mixture of WW1 and 1920s manufacture.

 

By the invasion of Europe the No4 was commonplace and the norm in the Infantry Division. Plenty of exceptions to the rule of course and at least one factory (BSA) kept on making the SMLE throughout the war.

Edited by David B.

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The most obvious differences are at the muzzle end. The early, long lee enfields had a short amount of barrel protruding from the stock with the foresight on it. The SMLE had a muzzle that was flush with the metal cap on the end of the stock with a small bayonet lug sticking out about half an inch, from about 1 and a half inch below the barrel. The no4 had about 2 inches of barrel showing with lugs on each side to fit the spike bayonet but no foresight. It is the same size and shape as the end of the entrenching tool handle because the same bayonet was fitted to that handle to prod for mines. The number 5 had short wood, a protruding barrel with the foresight and a flash hider on it.

The minor marks/stars were usually due to manufacturing differences, numbers of rifling grooves etc or in some cases calibre so cannot be seen unless the weapon is very closely examined.

The charger loading was added to most early guns after it was invented. Later weapons were missing a "shutter" that closed off the top of the magazine to save the ten rounds in it for "emergencies" while leaving the gun as a single loading weapon for normal use. The pre charger system was to load the rounds individually from the top. The magazine was rarely removed, normally only for cleaning. No spare magazines were supplied so there was no point removing it as the same magazine had to be refilled anyway.

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The magazine of a Lee Enfeild should only be removed for cleaning. Loading was always done by charger. The Lee action was intorduced in the 1880's originally on the Lee Metford, this used black powder proppellant. When first Ballisite and then for British use Cordite came into use as propellant the ballistics meant a new barell was neded. Designed by Enfeild.

There was also a decison to make one length of rifle, rather than the long arm for infantary and carbine for cavalary. The result was the Short Magazine Lee Enfeild number 1 rifle.

 

 

At this stage the rifle had volley sights, out to 1200 yards and a magazine cutout. Single shot was used unless an oficer ordered rapid fire. During the Great War the rifle was modified for easier manufactur. The volley sight and magazine cutout were omitted. This became the standard as is propperly known as the Rifle Number 1 Mark 3 or mark three *

 

This continued in use till 1940 when the Lee Enfeild Rifle Number 4 became standard pattern. This had a diffrent bedding and wood wrok, the rear sight was also changed to a peep sight and moved to the rear of the reciver, though tilting long range sights are still included. That is why in the Middle east you see Rifle No 1 Mk3. Also in the Far East as rifles were manufactured in the Indian Arsenals such as Dum Dum.

 

To be very technical the Indian rifles have a three quater floating bedding .

PLEEEASE note. The correct nomaclature for any Lee Enfeild in the word 'NUMBER' not The term MARK! The mark designates manufacturering diffrences bettween models of the same number.

Edited by Tony B

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thats some cracking info there foks ! many thanks!...It is amazing to me that the old Lee Enfield with only very slight modofications served us very well from basically before the First world war up til 1957..........I somehow doubt the SA 80 will be around that long.........anyways ! thats another debate altogether ! hahaha!

Hey ...

When I was a young lad in the ATC back in the early 70s we drilled for hours with LeeEnfields (and rifle Drill was one of the very few 'qualifications' I achieved...even my ol' Dad was moved to congratulate me getting that one!!)...I presume air cadets and the like drill with SA80s nowadays or possibly FNs?....anyways...

what I wonder ... would have happened to all of the LEs that the air cadets and army cadets throughout this country must have had....??? would they have been sold off somehow to collectors or just scrapped/destroyed???

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What do you mean 'Up to 1957'? :nono: The No4 rifle served The Royal Navy up to the 1970's. The number 4 (T) rifle was standard issue up to the mid 1980's . The standard .22 Enfeild Envoy, single shot target rifle (British Military standard) still serves using a Lee action.

 

Both Indian and Pakistani army and police can be seen with Lee Enfeild Number 1 Mk 3* rifles. The Canadian (Artic) Rangers use the .303 Lee Enfeild Rifle No 4 as their issue weapon, it is part of their divisonal patch.

And that is without the locally produced patterns knocking about all over the Middle, Far East .

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What do you mean 'Up to 1957'? :nono: The No4 rifle served The Royal Navy up to the 1970's. The number 4 (T) rifle was standard issue up to the mid 1980's . The standard .22 Enfeild Envoy, single shot target rifle (British Military standard) still serves using a Lee action.

 

Both Indian and Pakistani army and police can be seen with Lee Enfeild Number 1 Mk 3* rifles. The Canadian (Artic) Rangers use the .303 Lee Enfeild Rifle No 4 as their issue weapon, it is part of their divisonal patch.

And that is without the locally produced patterns knocking about all over the Middle, Far East .

 

Fair play Tony.... I know when I've been told hahaha! :) :cool2:

tis a grand rifle for sure.....I fondly remember the whacking my 13 years old shoulder took during a weeklong summer camp with the ATC firing them more or less every day :)

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I have found out that the long Bayonet on the SMLE rifle was designed so that an Infantryman could stand a chance against Cavalry who were sitting on horses (19th century thinking). Didn't work too well in the confines of trench fighting, though.

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The long bayonet was due to the SMLE being shorter than most other rifles at the time. Reach in bayonet fighting is everything. The 1907 pattern 16 inch sword bayonet was patterned on the Japanese Askari bayonet. Originaly there was a curved hook projecting from the cross guard under the hilt, called a Quillion. This was a direct copy of the Japanese, the idea was to trap an opponents blade. Howerver it was found to be more nusiance than worth so was discontinued. The existing stock had the Quillion removed. If you find one with an intact Quillion, it won't buy the yacht but will command a three figure sum.

 

There are also British bayonets of the Great War and Second World War made by Remington. These are for the Ross and P14 rifles. They will not fit the Enfeild. The distigusing mark is two vertical groves cut into the scales on the hilt.

 

The short Pigsticker bayonet was introduced with the Rifle No 4, as a consequence of change in doctrine and the wood work, nose cap of the No4. They were not popular as they could not fufuil the popular uses of a bayonet...cutting wood, opening tins , etc. The Triple Alliance in the Great War issued a bayonet with a serrated back edge, this led to much outcry abiut Barbabris Huns, the original idea was to provide the soldier with a saw for firewood.

 

There is also the No 7 bayonet issued in small quantitys for the No 4 rifle, this is similar to the SLR bayonet except there is a complex arangement at the back of the hilt that swings up through 180' to allow fixing to the rifle.

 

Originally the manual for the rifle said to allow 3 inch elevation at 100 yards for zero when bayonet fitted.

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Very informative, I actually have a smooth bored .410 SMLE MK5. Does it have any value as its quite rare, I have never seen another one.

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About £250 /£300. The good thing is it can be held on a shotgun certificate, provided! That the weapon has ben modified to hold a maximum of three shots, two in mag , one in chamber, anymore and it becomes Section 1. The down side is the NUMBER 5 (Tut, tut , read earlier!) also known as the Jungle Carbine, is the most evil piece of kit to fire. The barrel is shorter with a flash hider, and less wood work. The reson for the open barrel is that in hot humid climates the wood work on the standard N0 4 rifle would swell and contract, touching the barrel which interfers with barrel harmonics altering the zero. Indian built weapons had modified bedding on the barrel to get over this. The result is a felt recoil like a mule. I was, persuaded, into firing one in Jersey, full .303, cordite charged number 7 z cartridge, and took ten minutes to stop whimpering. :-D

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IIRC the No 3 smle was discontinued in manufacture 1943 within the UK, principaly due to the quantities of No4 rifles from UK and American manufacture being on stream, manufacture continued in Australia and India.By WW1 the No 111 and 111* were the principle rifle manufactured in UK, strangly post war they reverted to the earlier standard ( the little they did make anyway as huge stocks were left over from ww1) then back to 111* for early ww2 manufacture until quiting and producing the No4 ( I have a No4 dated 41 with mag cuttoff and various other features of the trials models from the 20,s. I presume they were using up parts in early manufacture. The rifle is also marked with a suffix A to the serial denoting unusual non standard parts to let armourers know not to bother to repair and condemn instead. Dont know how it survived to be honest)A truly great pair of rifles.

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[TABLE=class: cms_table_wikitable]

[TR]

[TD]Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk V[/TD]

[TD]1922–1924 (trials only; 20,000 produced)[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

 

This is what mine is not a No.5. Its held on a section 1 fire arms licence., Mine is dated 1922.

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I have a SMLE number 2 rifle. The oddity of that one is it is .22 rimfire. They were manufactured in .22 not converted as many shot out rifles were by Paker & Hale. The No 2 rifle is identical to the No 1 except it uses a Long Lee (Lee Metford) type bolt. They were issued for cadet and TA use as the ammo was cheaper and could be shot on indoor TA ranges.

It also fits the bayonet for parade and training . That has volley sights and magazine cutoff.

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What do you mean 'Up to 1957'? :nono: The No4 rifle served The Royal Navy up to the 1970's. The number 4 (T) rifle was standard issue up to the mid 1980's . The standard .22 Enfeild Envoy, single shot target rifle (British Military standard) still serves using a Lee action.

 

Both Indian and Pakistani army and police can be seen with Lee Enfeild Number 1 Mk 3* rifles. The Canadian (Artic) Rangers use the .303 Lee Enfeild Rifle No 4 as their issue weapon, it is part of their divisonal patch.

And that is without the locally produced patterns knocking about all over the Middle, Far East .

 

 

 

 

Add Iraq and Afganistan, (present conflicts) to above, esp with scope as a snipers weapon,.........according to mates serving out in Afgan, a far better weapon to use than the 'dreaded' SA80; (Greater range, as well.)

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Add Iraq and Afganistan, (present conflicts) to above, esp with scope as a snipers weapon,.........according to mates serving out in Afgan, a far better weapon to use than the 'dreaded' SA80; (Greater range, as well.)

Don't suprise me at all.

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Add Iraq and Afganistan, (present conflicts) to above, esp with scope as a snipers weapon,.........according to mates serving out in Afgan, a far better weapon to use than the 'dreaded' SA80; (Greater range, as well.)

 

it's been asked before but.....what on earth were the Army thinking of buying that heap of junk???:-D

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it's been asked before but.....what on earth were the Army thinking of buying that heap of junk???:-D

 

 

well I know what quite a few of the guys who have to use the thing said,..........'a nice political wedge(back hander) to minister responsible'.;)

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Funny how many of the old 'full power' cartridges seem to be creeping back into the inventory though.

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well I know what quite a few of the guys who have to use the thing said,..........'a nice political wedge(back hander) to minister responsible'.;)

..........I'm with you all the way on that one mate.........A very very suspect purchase:(

...........the daft thing don't even look good to my eyes ! hahaha :-D

PS: I got a mate that served for a long spell in the Legion.......I asked him , out of everything that he must have handled ...what would he choose to carry given the choice?..

...he said, very quickly and without a second thought,..........an AK 47 every time..

Reasons?....very reliable, very hardwearing, plenty of firepower and clout ...and ammunition in plentiful supply wherever in the world you may be....

now...I may be nothing more than an interested onloooker.........but given that thought....

.....how on earth did they decide on the SA80? .......

..........as I said at the beginning.....you're bang on with your reasoning Sir :-).........

bring back the Lee Enfield I say.....but make it self loading ...and change the name to SLR ! hahahah!

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Funny how many of the old 'full power' cartridges seem to be creeping back into the inventory though.

 

Well, if it works, why try to fix it? especially at open terrain ranges where 5.56 wont hack it

 

In theory, both mathematically & ballistically, 7mm approx should perform the best -

 

.223 was just harmonising with US, as was 7.62..

 

Would we have done better to adopt the 7.92mm calibre as per BESA (afv) machine gun when that was in our armoury; capable of using ww2 German ammunition, rimless case, etc?

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Funny how many of the old 'full power' cartridges seem to be creeping back into the inventory though.

I'd imagine that the original reasonings behind going to 5.56mm have gone into history now, as we are not fighting an enemy where inflicting wounds is more of a burden than killing, when facing a conventional European army it is fine, when facing fanatical fighters, you just want them down... Welcome back 7.62mm

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I'd imagine that the original reasonings behind going to 5.56mm have gone into history now, as we are not fighting an enemy where inflicting wounds is more of a burden than killing, when facing a conventional European army it is fine, when facing fanatical fighters, you just want them down... Welcome back 7.62mm

 

that mate, is a point I have tried to explain to folk before...you're absolutely correct..

As I understand things..

.the design of the SA80 and its ammunition was decided upon because it was more likely to cause traumatic injury.....the theory being that a wounded man is a more of a drain on resources than a dead one....and also I guess more 'unsettling and upsetting' for the wounded mans comrades ........

This theory only works however.... when you are engaged against an enemy that might actually give a monkies about their own wounded...

The theory falls flat on its backside though when you are dealing with an enemy that doesn't give a toss about its own wounded ....and in many cases actually welcomes 'death' because of some daft logic/dream/faith in the hereafter ....

Bring back the heavyweights I reckon.....

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Most conventional war is carried out at a range of about 200 meters. The reasoning behind 5.56 is that it is ballistically effective at 200 to 400 meters, light recoil, light to carry for soldier and logistics. It can also provide a short weapon for the expected FIBUA. Even the effective range of SLR was quoted at 200 yards. It takes a lot of traning to achive first time hits, especially snap shooting at over 200 yards. Hence the Enhanced Marksman Rifle and the issue of a lot of dedicated Sniping Rifles.

 

The bit about traumatic injury is complete horse apples. The same was said of the original Cordite and Ballisite rounds, claims of Tampered Ammunition is a charge that has been levelled at opposing forces for years. Any such ammunition would be in direct contrivation of the Geneva Convention. Snipers in particular depend on consistent ammunition, no one in their right mind would tamper with it.

Edited by Tony B

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