American rifles....

The Allies 1939-1945, and those fighting against Germany.

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Rodger Herbst
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Post by Rodger Herbst » Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:30 am

John, I think Baldwin Locomotive Works turned out a great number of the Enfield 30-06 rifles, i think a lot of them went to the UK home guard,could be wrong though.

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Enfields

Post by John W. Howard » Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:52 am

Hi Roger:
Thanks for the info!! I had heard that many of the old Enfields were sent to England. The gun-store in my college town had about five of them, all in great shape and fairly cheap. I suspect some of the old-timers there got short of cash and dealt them. I wish I had bought all of them. Best wishes.
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Post by phylo_roadking » Tue Jul 25, 2006 1:59 pm

A whole variety of weapons were sent to England LOL what you call Enfields are actually a huge batch of weapons commissioned by the British government as an intended replacement for the Lee-Enfield, but using Paul Mauser's faster, simpler bolt action....and a five-round magazine!!! Winchester, Remington and a host of others sent very similar weapons in both 30.06 and .303 bore, and some straight .300s So what the Home Guard got was a possible FIVE different rifles in THREE different calibres!!!

If you look as real pics of the Home Guard, not just Captain Mainwaring's Walmington-On-Sea platoon of great renown, you'll notice something - one or more stripes painted around the butt of a rifle, in either white or red. The strip combination indicated the ammunition type it fired!!!

Sometimes fact is even funnier than fiction.....

phylo
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Post by Reb » Tue Jul 25, 2006 7:01 pm

Phylo

I think for all his quiet, religious humility, that Alvin York may have been the last of the true American gunfighters. That bit with the Luger was priceless. I must confess I always picture him doing it holding the gun behind his back. :wink:

But I am even more impressed by his humility. When he returned home he received a ticker tape parade in NY City. He was deeply touched because he thought it must have been awfully expensive having such parades for vets. It never dawned on the guy that not every returning veteran received such a parade!

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Post by Rodger Herbst » Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:39 am

John, if you can find the book "The Locomotives that Baldwin built" they have the whole story of the 30-06 and the .303 Enfields. I think it started out with Remington out souceing to Baldwin, then selling out that part, etc etc etc,you know what i mean when companies start changeing around who can follow the true owner?
Also had a piece on the railway mounts for the naval 14" gun.

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Thanks

Post by John W. Howard » Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:59 pm

Hello Rodger:
Thanks for the book title!! My dad once brought a chromed .45 Auto home from work, made by the Singer Sewing-Machine Company. It had the smoothest action I have ever found on any 1911. One of my father's co-workers had carried it during WWII, and sent it home with my dad to show to me. It was a beauty!!
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Post by phylo_roadking » Thu Jul 27, 2006 3:52 pm

Its suprising the variation in standard specs that could be found in equipment made by differing manufacturers. Take a look for example at the variations in actual shape of the Jeeps from different manufacturers!

Many of the RN's X-craft midget submarine's reliability problems were - conversely - blamed on the fact that it was built by the Austin Car Company....ever owned a British car???
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Post by phylo_roadking » Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:26 pm

Chaps....John and Rodger; its got me quite suprised how little use people make of this site as a whole, preferring to browse over little bits of it instead.....

Earlier today I posted up a pic on the Photo riddle thread in Soldatenheim, have you seen it?

The "Enfield" as you know it, is actually the Rifle No.3 Mk 1*, as the British Government christened it. THIS was the first rifle to be made in a VERY large trial batch commissioned by HMG. They were manufactured by Eddystone, Winchester and Remington, as we know..... This was commonly known as the P14; IF war hadn't broken out in Europe in 1914 it would have been uptaken by the British government for home production, though this meant very expensive retooling. THIS wasn't thought practical when war broke out, so increased production was instead requested in the U.S. ......

The U.S. Government, as they decided to enter the war, decided NOT to start producing a rifle from scratch, but instead to order more of the original P14 for their own troops to supplement the Springfield....but to simplify production and logistics THIS weapon was made in standard U.S. .30-06 calibre.

So they had a British rifle with a German breech mechanism, firing U.S. munitions at Germans in American hands....wonderful!

Dunkirk, 1940. The BEF needs reorganised, expanded and every rifle it can get. There's nothing available for Antony Eden's Local Defence Volunteers, all 150,000 as he expected, so the P14s were issued to the Home Guard....

Except 750,000 volunteered!!! So how do they arm them??? Well.... contrary to popular belief, a LOT of Long Barrelled Lee-Enfield No.1s were reissued, though the lands were nearly shot out of the barrels and they were heavy, long and cumbersome. And the British Government purchased as many P17s as they could to supplement the P14s they had available....

Now, as you know, the Home Guard was... both unlike but also VERY like Dad's Army; In many areas it WAS made up of illiterate farmers etc. so how the HELL to you stop them stuffing .303 rounds into a .30-06 breech??? Doing it THAT way was VERY dangerous...... .30-06 into .303 would just lock up in the breech and not fire.

Answer? Paint a red ring round the foregrip (correcting myself here) Take a look at the picture montage I posted!

Now, there was actually a THIRD variation I've just heard of! Some good sources say that the number 300 could also be carved into the stock, or be painted on the red band to also designate .30-06 ammo.....and indeed one of these pics shows that......
But I've ALSO heard that there were a lot of P17s rebarrelled to use up the vast stocks of ammunition laid down for the ill-fated Canadian Ross rifle, the one like really didn't like water or mud in the trenches in WWI. The British government had actually purchased huge amounts of these and their munitions to make it easier for the Canadians to rearm, and I know these were issued to a lot of armed auxiliary heads in Ireland during the War of Independence - RIR, Coastguards etc. But they wore VERY fast too, so come 1921 the government was left with stockpiles of the Ross' odd .300 calibre munition. Some sources say THIS is what the "300" refers to as well, though THESE rifles were designated by TWO WHITE bands round the stock. But I've never turned up pictures of this variant yet.

And - of course - in the typically British way, the waters were FURTHER muddied (water? mud? geddit?) thousands of still-serviceable Ross' WERE also issued to the Home Guard!

phylo
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Rifles

Post by John W. Howard » Thu Jul 27, 2006 9:49 pm

Hello Phylo:
Great info!! It sounds like it was a good thing the Germans didn't invade GB; a logistical nightmare would have resulted with all of those calibres!! Best wishes.
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Post by Rodger Herbst » Fri Jul 28, 2006 2:08 pm

Yes John what a hell of a ammo mess that would have been. pylo,didn't the Ross have some heat treating problems also didn't Gen. Marshall send over some French 75s with the ammo of which we had tons of the stuff.
Eddystone was the place were BLW was located,they also had a ammo factory there.

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Post by phylo_roadking » Fri Jul 28, 2006 3:40 pm

The Ross had a whole LIST of troubles LMAO the least of which was it was too bloody big and heavy for trench work! The barrel lands wore fast, magazine springs broke, and the whole breech mechanism fouled very quickly in mud or rain....so doubly not good in the Trenches!

To anyone looking in here and wondering what a locomtive works was doing making rifles.....steam locomotives....valve gear....tempered steel tube...precision maching...! For years as a callow youth I wondered why the BSA on my motorcycles stood for Birmingham Small Arms....then learnt that when wars aren't being fought, what else does a precision borer of steel tube do? Makes bicycle and motorcycle frames of course!
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Post by phylo_roadking » Fri Jul 28, 2006 3:43 pm

Yes, everyone (nation) who fought in France in 1914-18 shipped the quick-firing 75mm home for evaluation, except the British. Was great for what it was, but it was at its limit of development already and nothing more could really be done to it.
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Post by Reb » Fri Jul 28, 2006 6:18 pm

PHylo

75mm - good point. And I think by around 1916 everyone was having second thoughts about quick firing light weight guns - they were great against Napoleonic formations or even troops fighting en tiralleur but once everybody got dug in - zilch...

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Post by Rodger Herbst » Sat Jul 29, 2006 3:12 am

AfterWW1 the US army convened a "caliber board" to evaluate the needs of the artillery of the furture,they all agreed that the 75 was too small and voted for the 105 howitzer as the divisional light artillery piece, they also wanted a new 155 howitzer.
When they formed anti tank batteries they got 75s on Martin-Perry mountes,they were split trail,truck drawn with the French 75 barrel and recoil,never amounted too much,all phased out a short time later.
Saw my last horse drawn 75 regiment just as i got in the army.

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Post by Reb » Sat Jul 29, 2006 9:04 am

Rodger

That must have been cool to see the horse drawn guns!

Apparently even the 105mm and 25 pounder weren't enough - I've read any number of accounts of Germans being over-awed by the sheer volume of allied fire but not being particularly hard hit by it.

But when the 155mm stuff opened up it was a different story!

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