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no 4mk1 Long branch rifles

Posted: Sat May 18, 2019 6:09 pm
by Roy mcleod
In my collection I, have four no 4mk1 Long branch rifles
Photos from the top down showing rifles receiver and wrist markings
First rifle
with grenade launcher note cast L rear sight.Mat black finish? Alum but plate. Stamped hardware
(inc trigger guard) Mfg 1945 Last ditch type rifle? how many no 4mk1 rifles made with stamped
hardware?
Second rifle
Note stamped micrometer rear sight. Mat black finish? alum but plate. Stamped hardware
(inc trigger guard.Mfg 1944
Third rifle
Note milled micrometer rear sight.brass but plate mfg 1943
Fourth rifle
Note milled micrometer rear sight,Alum but plate.mfg 1942

Photos
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Re: no 4mk1 Long branch rifles

Posted: Sat May 18, 2019 6:15 pm
by swede
Those are beautiful rifles. I have one and it is one of my favorites

Re: no 4mk1 Long branch rifles

Posted: Sat May 18, 2019 6:17 pm
by Roy mcleod
supplement photos
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Re: no 4mk1 Long branch rifles

Posted: Sat May 18, 2019 6:31 pm
by Roy mcleod
suplement ohotos
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Re: no 4mk1 Long branch rifles

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 3:24 am
by Alan De Enfield
Roy mcleod wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 6:09 pm
Stamped hardware
(inc trigger guard) Mfg 1945 Last ditch type rifle? how many no 4mk1 rifles made with stamped
hardware?
The 'so-called' last ditch firearms were actually designed and planned late 1940 after Dunkirk.
By the dates of your rifles (1944/45) production was in full flow and the production was 'fully to specification' by all manufacturers.

The No4 manufacture in both the USA and Canada did 'evolve' with lots of small changes (but nothing that affected interchangeability) to improve production speeds. The big one was obviously the change from the Mk1 to the Mk1*, but changed from the Mk1 sight to the Mk3 sight, barrel rifling changes, stamped parts instead of milled/ cast parts etc etc.

The Longbranch factory was not being bombed every night and production was just a 'fairly normal' event, there was no need for them to produce a 'last ditch' rifle, just to keep production at as high a level as possible.


Don't forget that the US 'Lend Lease' did not even start until 4/5 months after the Dunkirk evacuation, and it was initially (as would be expected) just a small 'dribble' of supplies, the US did not join in the war until the following year.

It was 'dark-Times' for the UK.

Last Ditch Weapons :

While just over 338,000 allied troops were evacuated a massive amount of equipment had to be left behind. Hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition, 11,000 machine guns, 2,500 artillery pieces, 650 tanks and 65,000 assorted vehicles. The men who waded out from the beaches left their rifles and much of their kit behind to avoid being drowned by excess weight, the men who managed to evacuate directly onto destroyers were more likely to have retained their rifles. This huge loss of equipment left Britain with only enough vehicles and heavy weapons to properly equip two full strength divisions - approximately 15,000 men.

Simplified Rifles
Born of the desperate times, following the evacuation of the BEF from Dunkirk, that saw the development of the STEN MkI and the BESAL Light Machine Gun, the Simplified Rifle, 1941 was an attempt to develop a cheap and efficient rifle design which could be rapidly manufactured to re-equip the British Army. With production of Lee-Enfield rifles still ramping up the Enfield Design Department developed a number of prototype simplified rifles which could be quickly manufactured.
Chambered in the British military’s .303 service cartridge the Simplified Rifles took the action of the Pattern 1914 and simplified it. Commercial engineering workshops and factories were to manufacture the rifle. The design simplified the furniture and minimised the amount of machining needed to make the receiver. As a result the rifles had simple stocks and slab-sided receivers. The flip-up sights were simpler marked for 300 and 600 yards. A minimal amount of wood was used to save resources and one prototype had a simple half-stock and metal skeleton butt. Another prototype, perhaps an earlier model, had a full-length, more traditional butt-stock as well as front-sight protector posts.
The rifles retained the Pattern 1914′s 5-round internal magazine and had a push-button safety just behind the trigger. A spike bayonet was also added with a carrying point just under the barrel. To use the bayonet it was removed, reversed and reattached to the carrying point. While the British rifles were simple they were not as simple as some of Germany’s late-war Volkssturm rifles.
By 1942 the threat of invasion had subsided and the need for the Simplified Rifles diminished. Production of the Lee-Enfield No.4 had significantly increased so the crude, last-ditch Simplified Rifles were abandoned. Today, the rifles are held by the Royal Armouries’ Firearms Collection, formerly the Pattern Room.

This was the proposal for the 'last ditch rifle' :

Re: no 4mk1 Long branch rifles

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 6:13 pm
by Roy mcleod
Alan:
Thanks for the wealth of very valuable info!!
Thanks again
Roy

Re: no 4mk1 Long branch rifles

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 7:18 pm
by indy1919a4
I love that last Ditch Enfield... Are there any ideas how much time, machining, cost etc was saved by this modification???

Re: no 4mk1 Long branch rifles

Posted: Tue May 21, 2019 3:03 am
by Alan De Enfield
indy1919a4 wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 7:18 pm
I love that last Ditch Enfield... Are there any ideas how much time, machining, cost etc was saved by this modification???
I have no information on that.

A couple of other pictures from "Historical Firearms" :