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Grenade launcher on Lee Enfield No4 rifle in WW2


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#1 Chris Werb

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 1745 PM

I have never seen a discharger cup or launcher on WW2 footage of the No4. My understanding was that there never was a cup issued for the No4 and that the discharger, originally designed for the US M9 rifle grenade, was only issued from Korea onward for the Energa grenade. Is this correct?

#2 Bob B

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 2203 PM

Chris,

A look in Skennerton's The Lee Enfield Story says that the No4 rifle discharger was not officially introduce until mid 1942, and it was designated Discharger No. 3 Mk I. It attached by a locking collar around the bayonet lug. 10,600 were built by The Wembley Tool Co, and British Vacuum Cleaners during the war. There are three photos of it in the book, and I think these are the only ones I have seen of it. It says that it wasn't as satisfactory as the wire bound No 1, it was too rough on the No.4's barrel and action. The stock took most of the recoil on the earlier rifle.

Bob

Edited by Bob B, 10 March 2010 - 0157 AM.


#3 nigelfe

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 0251 AM

The Energa grenade didn't use a cup, the adaptor went over the SLR muzzle and engaged the bayonet clip and the stem of the grenade slid on to the adaptor. The same adaptor was used with the stemmed cup into which a grenade was clipped.

#4 Chris Werb

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 0443 AM

Hi Nigel. I don't think anyone said a cup was used with the No.94 (ENERGA). I have the No.94 manual at home somewhere. I've definitely read that the spigot type (don't know what else to call it) launcher was originally intended for the US M9A1 grenade that would have entered British service had the war in the Far East continued though for all I know the ENERGA may have used a different diameter boom (I think the ENERGA was 22mm). I think that was in a Skennerton publication. However, as Bob has clarified, cup-type dischargers were designed and made for the No4. I've just never seen pictures of them with troops. The grenade discharger capability seems a strange one to suddenly forego in the middle of a war - maybe the fact they were deemed something less than satisfactory had something to do with that? I have seen plenty of wire-wound No1s but never a No4.

#5 DougRichards

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 1830 PM

Given the widespread ue of the 2" mortar at platoon level, did the British really need to have rifle grenades? Any capacity to carry extra grenades for that purpose may have been better used to carry mortar bombs. This could account for the limited use of rifle grenade cups in the British army. Over 30,000 'standard' two inch mortars were produced pre-war and during the war years, plus the parachute version - another 3000 or so, plus all those 2" tank mortars.

#6 nigelfe

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 0211 AM

Given the widespread ue of the 2" mortar at platoon level, did the British really need to have rifle grenades? Any capacity to carry extra grenades for that purpose may have been better used to carry mortar bombs. This could account for the limited use of rifle grenade cups in the British army. Over 30,000 'standard' two inch mortars were produced pre-war and during the war years, plus the parachute version - another 3000 or so, plus all those 2" tank mortars.



Having had some familiarity with SLR and both Energa and the spigot cup for M26 grenade I'm fairly confident the same adaptor was used with both and had nothing to do with the WW2 grenade cup

This cup could be fitted to either SMLE or No 4 Mk 1. It was secured to the (short) muzzle by a pair of clamps that latched onto the foresight. Of course the grenade needed a gas check (now that's a throwback to the mid 19th Century and rifled muzzle loading arty). This was screwed into the grenade base plug, but I'm not sure if grenades came pre-fitted with it or were issued separately (perhaps gas checks were issued with the ballistite carts).

#7 Chris Werb

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 1324 PM

No. 94 (ENERGA) grenade with the launcher used on the No 4 rifle the predecessor of which may or may not have been designed in WW2 to use with the US M9 series rifle grenade:

http://www.fototime....93/standard.jpg

Edited by Chris Werb, 11 March 2010 - 1325 PM.


#8 Bob B

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 0129 AM

From what I can tell both the Mills Bomb and the Energa weighed about the same, 765 g. One was fired from a cup, and one from a spigot type launcher. FWIW, the Mills Bomb would have been a bit heavier with the base plate attached.

If the earlier WW2 cup discharger was considered too rough on the No. 4 rifle's action and barrel, what made the later Energa rifle grenade more acceptable? You are throwing the about same weight off of a barrel with both launchers, and they are attached at about the same point.

Did the British Army just say to heck with it, we are going to trash some rifles after so many launchings?

#9 Argus

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 0638 AM

As I understand it the problem with the cup discharger on the No.4, was the recoil path from muzzle to stock was metal all the way, where in the SMLE recoil was divided between fore end and barrelled action with a lot more 'give'. Admittedly this translated into broken woodwork and so wire binding with the SMLE, but in the No.4 it rattled the hell out of everything loosening bolts etc.

shane

#10 Bearded-Dragon

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 0647 AM

As I understand it the problem with the cup discharger on the No.4, was the recoil path from muzzle to stock was metal all the way, where in the SMLE recoil was divided between fore end and barrelled action with a lot more 'give'. Admittedly this translated into broken woodwork and so wire binding with the SMLE, but in the No.4 it rattled the hell out of everything loosening bolts etc.

shane


My father always suggested that the SMLE cup discharger was designed for use by "Mad dogs and Englishmen". He used to relate to the rather alarming way in which the rifle would recoil and the way in which after a firing splintering of the stock was invariably observed, even with the wire wrapping. He served in the AIF in the Northern Territory in the Big One.




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