Grenade launcher on Lee Enfield No4 rifle in WW2
Posted 09 March 2010 - 1745 PM
Posted 09 March 2010 - 2203 PM
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.
Edited by Bob B, 10 March 2010 - 0157 AM.
Posted 10 March 2010 - 0251 AM
Posted 10 March 2010 - 0443 AM
Posted 10 March 2010 - 1830 PM
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).
Posted 11 March 2010 - 1324 PM
Edited by Chris Werb, 11 March 2010 - 1325 PM.
Posted 12 March 2010 - 0129 AM
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?
Posted 12 March 2010 - 0638 AM
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.
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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