Use of Lee Enfield after 1945

Discussion in 'Post-War' started by The Basket, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,318
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    48
    British and Commonwealth forces still used old SMLE in the Korean War which is quite something.

    Why o why o why didn't the British get a quick semi auto even a licence built Garand to cover the obsolete SMLE.

    Was a 303 Garand possible? Seems crazy to keep the Lee Enfield until the FAL in the late 50s.

    Of course the EM-2 may have caused delay but in my view the Garand makes every bolt action obsolete.
     
  2. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,389
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Why would the Commonwealth forces want to use a Garand?

     
    • Bacon Bacon x 1
  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    15,185
    Likes Received:
    2,027
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Public Safety Automotive Technician
    Location:
    Redding, California
    Home Page:
    In watching that video several times, I have to wonder what his grouping was on the target.

    He was certainly working the action quickly enough, there's no question about that.
     
  4. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
    Messages:
    777
    Likes Received:
    76
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Occupation:
    Gentleman
    Location:
    Limousin
    2 more rounds in the magazine which can be topped up at any time and the largest time delay is reacquiring the target after firing. With the middle finger doing the trigger your hand never leaves the bolt and the butt never leaves the shoulder. I would actually prefer the SMLE to the Garand.
     
  5. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,389
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    48
    You can also "cheat" and slide one more round into the chamber for a total starting load of eleven rounds.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  6. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,318
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Not sure the point of the video.
    Give the Lee Enfield to your worse soldier and see how fast he/she is.
    As mentioned did he actually aim?
    What about reloads as well.
    Michael Phelps can swim fast but that don't prove that your average swimmer can.
     
  7. herman1rg

    herman1rg Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,150
    Likes Received:
    70
    Trophy Points:
    48
    The Mad Minute
    Marksmanship training in the British Army involved an exercise known as the ‘Mad Minute’ in which a soldier was expected to fire at, and hit, a Second Class figure target 300 yards out at least 15 times. A trained rifleman could hit the target 30+ times with his Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Rifle. At the turn of the century the British Army was the most professional in the world with each soldier trained to be an expert marksman. The Mad Minute itself is arguably a myth surrounded by myth, its proper name was Serial 22, Table B of the Musketry Regulations classification course of fire. Which instructed a soldier to fire rapidly into a distant target with 15 rounds being a target. However, this was not a requirement as the rifleman’s scores were calculated by aggregate with the other stages of the classification. The exercise of firing as many rounds as possible was probably a challenge set for fun to encourage pride in marksmanship and to see just how many rounds it was possible to fire in a minute. During the musketry classifications shoots of recruits and again shot each year by all infantrymen, engineers and cavalrymen to gauge how good of a shot they were.

    The classification shoot was shot in several stages shot out to 600 yards, the various stages or serials were laid out in Table B, Appendix II in the Musketry Regulations Pt.1, these included grouping with 5 rounds at 100 yards, snap shooting with 5 rounds out at 200 yards, two 5 round stages fired slowly with the first at 400 yards from the prone position and another at 300 yards from kneeling. Then came the so called ‘Mad Minute’ stage fired from prone at a target 300 yards out. This was to be fired with 5 rounds loaded - 1 in the chamber and 4 in the magazine, the rifleman would then reload with 5-round chargers firing until 60 seconds had elapsed. The target used for this stage was the Second Class figure target which was a 4 foot screen with a 12 inch high figure silhouette at the centre surrounded by two rings, a 23 inch inner ring and a 36 inch outer ring. This stage was then followed by three final stages fired from prone out to 500 and 600 yards.

    [​IMG]
    The Second Class figure target as shown in the 1910 Musketry Regulations

    If the classification was completed with a high enough score the soldier would be classified as a Marksman and given a crossed rifles badge and a 6 pence a day increase in pay - so it paid to be a good shot. The rapid fire of the ‘Mad Minute’ was accomplished by used a ‘palming’ method where the rifleman used the palm of his hand to work the belt, and not his thumb and fore finger. Each man to shoot the classification course was allotted points for where each round hit - 4 points for a ‘bull’ figure hit, 3 for a hit in the inner ring and 2 points for an outer ring hit. Troops could be classified as follows: Marksman (with at least 130 points out of 200 across the classification), 1st Class (105-130 points), 2nd Class and 3rd Class (sub-standard). The majority of British troops, even cavalry, were excellent marksman with 50% of troops in some battalions scored as Marksman with the rest being 1st and 2nd class shots.

    As such when the First World War began the average British rifleman could out shoot his German and French counterparts. At the Battle of Mons it was well documented that German infantry believed they were facing British battalions heavily equipped with machine guns rather than riflemen.

    The first and confirmed record for the most hits on target during a ’Mad Minute’ was set by Sgt-Major Jesse Wallingford - 36 hits at 300 yards in 1 minute in 1908. However, this was allegedly bettered in 1914, by Sergeant-Instructor Alfred Snoxall with 38 hits within the 24 inch inner ring in 60 seconds. It has not been beaten since although there is little documentary evidence of the feat readily available. Hitting the target 38 times would require him to fire his first 5 rounds pre-loaded in the SMLE’s magazine and then reload 7 times with 5 round chargers. Add onto this that the rifle was a single shot, bolt action rifle which required the user to push up and retract the bolt and then return it forward pushing a new round into the chamber, then aiming and fire. All while maintaining his cheek weld and line of sight. This means Snoxall must have averaged around 1.5 seconds per shot to hit the target 38 times in a minute. Quite a feat.

    Here is a short video of a SMLE owner attempting a very fast ’Mad Minute’, he managed to fire 10 rounds in under 10 seconds. It certainly gives you some idea of what Snoxall and other professionals could achieve.
     
    • Informative Informative x 2
  8. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Messages:
    9,761
    Likes Received:
    793
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    retired Firefighter
    Location:
    Central Florida Highlands
    The Garand had been made obsolete by the MP 44 so adopting the Garand in the late 40s would have been a mistake. Britian and a lot of the rest of NATO got shafted by the US with the US insistence on the 7.62x51. which the US then abandoned within about 12 years. US believe that they could build a full auto rifle using the 7.62x51 was delusional.
    I knew a man who had worked at Aberdeen proving ground in the period when the US was testing the British .280 round and he became convinced that the 7mm was the ideal caliber. Bullets with high ballistic coefficient being possible without excessive weight (high recoil) or excessive length (smaller calibers needing quicker rifling twists).
     
  9. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,318
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    48
    The SMLE was more obsolete than the Garand.
    I used the Garand simply as a realistic example.
    Perhaps we can use the G43 or the Johnson or the FG-42 or the Sturmgewehr or even the SVT-40.
     
  10. MIflyer

    MIflyer Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2011
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Engineer
    Location:
    Cape Canaveral
    I have an Enfield No. 4 Mk 1. It must be one of the earlier ones, since the bands are machined and not stamped. It appears to have been rebuilt in India in 1965. It is one sweet shooting gun! Any weapon I can take to the 100 yard range and hit a pistol target with the first magazine I ever fired is a very accurate weapon. I paid $68 for it at Big 5 Sporting Goods in Santa Barbara in 1986.

    I also have a 1943 M1 Garand. No doubt the Garand is the better military weapon. Try shooting an Enfield on the move, while running. By WWII the emphasis was on firepower rather than accuracy, and you fired at where you thought the enemy might be rather than hunkering down and waiting for him to show himself. The US version of WWII was a war of assault, attack and advancement.

    The Enfield is slightly lighter than the Garand and more importantly seems to be much better balanced. I don't know whether this is inherent to the design or if a bolt action rifle has to be better balanced in order to be able to work that bolt and not drop the rifle.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  11. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Messages:
    9,761
    Likes Received:
    793
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    retired Firefighter
    Location:
    Central Florida Highlands
    By 1948-49 most armies wanted a standard rifle that could fire full automatic. This CANNOT be done effectively with full power rounds. They also realized that rifles were seldom used at ranges much over 400 meters. Some countries were more willing than others to bias there guns to a bit shorter range than that. The US didn't want to sacrifice anything and the 7.62x51 is almost ballistically identical to the 30-06 M2 load (new powders allowed for the shorter case).
    Copying any WW II semi-auto rifle in 1948-50 would have been a waste of money as it would have to be replaced in just few years with either a new "assault rifle" or a new large magazine full power semi-auto, read FN.
    As above the US screwed over most of NATO by insisting on the full powered round which effectively did away with any full auto guns no matter what any individual countries may have wanted.
    The British .280 round may not have been ideal but it used a bit lighter bullet at a bit lower velocity (and both had been increased to try to satisfy the American) of better shape which resulted in almost the same down range performance.
     
  12. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Messages:
    7,521
    Likes Received:
    946
    Trophy Points:
    113
    And no one has mentioned James Lee's bolt action, which didn't just give the rifle the first half of its name, but also enabled it to be operated in this way.
    Even as young and fairly inept schoolboy cadets we were expected (by a certain Major Snell) to fire 20 rounds in one minute from this rifle. It was easily done, but where they landed doesn't bear thinking about. I suspect that standing by one of the targets at 300 yards you would have been fairly safe :)
    Cheers
    Steve
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,318
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    48
    My view is that during the Korean war you give the best rifle you can to your soldiers who are fighting for you.
    I don't believe the Lee Enfield was that weapon.
    Of course the Lee Enfield was plentiful and the 303 round available by the millions. But that my view on the matter.
     
  14. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Messages:
    2,480
    Likes Received:
    108
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    auto body repair
    Location:
    pound va
    Britain nor any other country had a crystal ball.
    The Korean war caught everybody by surprise.
    It was just 5 years after WW2, everybody else fought it with x-ww2 weapons, why should Britain be different ?

    After all it was the atomic age, most countries was spending their defense dollars on the big ticket items. And Britain, in particular, was overly well supplied with excess defense funds.

    Look at how long it took America to develope and adopt the Garand, M-14, and then the M-16.
     
  15. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Messages:
    9,761
    Likes Received:
    793
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    retired Firefighter
    Location:
    Central Florida Highlands
    And just like making airplanes, it can take months, if not year or more to tool up a factory to make the "new" gun in any numbers. It is going to take weeks/months to get a training program going and it will take weeks to send any rifles to Korea from England (rifles are probably not going airfreight in 1950-51).

    See: EM-2 rifle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The EM-2 was 1 1/2 to 2 years in progress when the Korean war broke out. The ONLY viable alternative is the US M-1 rifle as the British tanks are already using .30-06 ammunition and reworking any other existing semi-auto design to use either the .303 or the .30-06 is going to take a few months at least ( or a lot of months if things don't go smooth).
    And since the M-1 isn't what the British want to end up with spending money to build/equip a factory for it and build tens of thousands of rifles is just going to delay the British from getting the rifle they want.

    BTW My father was a production engineer that worked briefly for Winchester on the M-14, worked for Colt on the M-16 and worked for Colt on two overseas projects setting up M-16 factories in Korea and the Philippines. The last two were bare ground and up factory builds and required different machinery to suit the experience level of the local machinists, the anticipated number of rifles per month, and the suitability to build other products than rifles when the contracts were completed.

    Since the No 4 rifle was the BEST bolt action service rifle ever built the British actually had the least need of any army using bolt actions to reequip in a hurry. And since the Bren gun was one of top 3 light machine guns ever built ( at least at that time) and was issued on a generous scale (compared to either US LMG issue or North Korean/Chinese MG scale of issue) British firepower in small units was not a real problem.
     
  16. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,318
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Of course the Lee Enfield was acceptable as a peacetime rifle. Martini Henry is a perfect peacetime weapon!
    Of course building a new rifle takes time. The P14 is a good example as that wasn't smooth sailing getting the Americans up to speed and by the time the P14 was in numbers the initial crisis had passed.
    The obvious choice is the Garand taking existing US surplus and giving it to front line British troops. I see no issues here. Obviously it will involve training mainly in disassembly and fault finding but we would be talking of a limited number of weapons and front line infantry.
    Of course this is controversial and has flaws but it is worthy of consideration and perfectly viable. If it's found the Garand offers no worthwhile advantage then of course the plan is shelved.
    Remember a Garand is much faster to reload than a Lee Enfield and I would wager rate of fire over a mad minute is faster. And if you have human waves of Chinese running at you then you need to pull that trigger.
    The EM-2 was rid because of the US stance on a standard NATO cartridge. I don't have much data on the EM-2 as it didn't go anywhere although it was resurrected into the SA80 many years later. The EM-2 was actually very forward thinking considering the Lee Enfield was supposed to have been replaced by the P13 years earlier.
     
  17. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,389
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    48
    #17 RCAFson, Sep 11, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016
    The Lee-Enfield is lighter, it's just as fast to reload and it's more durable on the battlefield than the M-1 Garand and it's "mud scoop" ammo ejection system. The effective aimed RoF of the two rifles is probably about the same for average soldiers while the Lee-Enfield is probably superior for well trained riflemen. The Commonwealth forces gave up on the Lee-Enfield just about the same time as the US Army gave up on the Garand.

    Here's an example of 10 aimed rounds, on target, in 9 secounds:



    Here's a guy who admits he can't load the Enfield with stripper clips but still managed to place 26 of 30 rounds on target in about 90 seconds, during a "run and gun":
     
  18. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Messages:
    9,761
    Likes Received:
    793
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    retired Firefighter
    Location:
    Central Florida Highlands
    Well, it is lighter. :)

    To reload 40 rounds takes 5 clips for the M1 and 8 for the Lee-Enfield so I fail to see how the Lee-Enfield is faster to reload.
    Effective rate of fire is rather subjective as it depends on a rather undefined condition of effective or accuracy.
    Now if you really believe a well trained rifle man can cycle the bolt on the Lee-Enfield faster than an M-1 can cycle it's bolt I have a nice Bridge over the East river In New York for sale.
    While I haven't used a Lee-Enfield in competition I have used M-1s, a custom Springfield and and a Winchester Model 70 target rifle, I was also often using stainless steel competition stripper clips vs GI stripper clips.
    I used to joke that I used the bolt actions because I didn't want to wait for the action to cycle. The facts were the bolt guns had better triggers and better sights.
    When using a semi-automatic you can maintain a better grip on the gun and until the ammo runs out you just had to recover from recoil, realign the sights and pull the trigger again. Much simpler than manipulating a bolt no matter ho easy or ergonomic the bolt is. I used to average just under 3 seconds per shot getting over 90% of the shots in a 13 in circle at 200 yds with either type rifle. A 13in circle (aiming mark and the 10 ring was 7in in diameter and good shooters/winners were putting all ten rounds in the 10 ring) is much harder than a man silhouette. We used slings (big advantage) and fired from sitting or prone positions (prone was for 300 yds and/or reduced size targets)
    In US competition back in the 60s and 70s the bolt guns were given an extra 10 seconds over the M-1 in rapid fire fire strings but then nobody was using Lee-Enfields :)

    I do own not only a No 4 service rifle but several No 4 target rifles and will argue with anybody that the rear locking lugs on the Enfield make NO difference to the practical accuracy of the gun. May not be the best for trying to get 1/4 in groups at 100 yds but for most other types of shooting you can't tell the difference.
     
  19. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,318
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    48
    That is my thought. An American boy well fed and wearing thin clothes on a nice day is going to load a rifle very quickly.
    But how about this.
    A Korean winter frozen hands.
    And then gloves and full kit.
    Combat stress. And try and load stripper clips. It seems to load the en bloc clip is far easier.
     
  20. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,389
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    48
    #20 RCAFson, Sep 11, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016
    There's no law that says a Commonwealth infantryman couldn't have multiple magazines in his kit but reloading with the stripper is pretty fast. Starting with a loaded rifle; firing 30 rounds the Lee-Enfield would require 4 stripper clips while Garand would require 4 as well. To fire 40 rounds the Lee-Enfield would require 6 clips and the Garand 5.

    I see that no one wants to discuss the Garand's propensity for jamming due to it's mud and sand scoop. The British Army acceptance tests required their rifles to function in adverse conditions.
    Take a hundred infantrymen each with a Lee-Enfield and another hundred with a Garand on a typical winter Korean battlefield and a much higher percentage of Lee-Enfields will actually function. Sad but true:

    In March 1941, Time magazine published extracts from the official Marine Corps tests. The conclusion the Marines reached was:

    After boiling down results of all the tests for accuracy, ruggedness, general fitness for combat, the board rated the rifles: 1) Springfield; 2) Garand; 3) Johnson; 4) Winchester. Best that the board could say for the Garand was that it was "superior to the other semi-automatic rifles . . ."; "superior in the number of well-aimed shots that can be fired per minute"; could be quickly cleaned in the field. Sum & substance of the findings was that the Garand was a fair-weather rifle, excellent on the practice range but far from good enough for the Marines when the going got tough.
    […]
    In those tests which simulated adverse field conditions, such as exposure to dust, rain, mud, salt water, sand, etc., the [Springfield] could always be operated with some degree of proficiency. Whereas the semi-automatic weapons generally failed to function mechanically and, in most cases, the gas-operated rifles [Garand, Winchester] could not even be manually operated after a few shots had been fired.
     
Loading...
Similar Threads
  1. The Basket
    Replies:
    46
    Views:
    807
  2. Rufus123
    Replies:
    19
    Views:
    1,554
  3. Monox
    Replies:
    11
    Views:
    1,899
  4. seangday
    Replies:
    43
    Views:
    3,325
  5. Bearcat
    Replies:
    5
    Views:
    1,457

Share This Page