Saturday, 15 November 2014

Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk III


The Lee-Enfield rifle joined the British Army as standard issue in 1895 and at the outbreak of World War I the British Army was using the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk III (SMLE Mk III for short). The Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk III also had a Sword bayonet (Pattern 1907 - P'07). The rear sight and charger guide were made simple compared to earlier models. The Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk III fired Mk VII High Velocity spitzer .303 ammunition.

By 1915 the British government found that the speed of manufacturing the Mk III SMLE and the high cost associated meant there was a need to review the Lee-Enfield to find a quicker and more cost effective way of manufacture. The result was the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk III* that was the original Mk III without the magazine cut-off, rear sight adjustment and long range sight. The gun also saw the cocking bolt changed to a slab, rather than the round ball top.

Due to the nature of World War I and the need for constant replenishment of guns, the Lee-Enfield manufacturers had to contract out production to support military needs.

Whilst iconic in the First World War, the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk III* was also heavily used in the Second World War also. In the 1920’s the gun was renamed to the Rifle No.1 Mk III* so many are not aware of this.

1918 dated Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk III*

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