The Full Auto Enfield Rifles: The Charlton, the Electrolux and the Rieder
Odds are, if you speak gun, you’ve come across an Enfield rifle at least once in your life. With that being said, you have probably never come across a full-auto Enfield unless you wore a uniform in 1940s. Let’s have a look.
The Lee-Metford and later the Short-Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE) in a multitude of variants was the standard British military rifle for nearly 70-years. It served through two World Wars and dozens of smaller conflicts on half as many continents. When World War II erupted in 1939, her Commonwealth allies including New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa joined Britain. Rapid and extensive mobilization saw these Allies ship most of their troops and arms to Europe and North Africa by 1940 to fight the Germans and Italians. Then, in December 1941, the Empire of Japan entered the war.
With the standard light machineguns of the Commonwealth armies, the Bren gun and Lewis rifle, available in few numbers, there was an emergency need for .303-caliber automatics. Interestingly enough, two different inventors, continents apart, came to the same conclusion at roughly the same time: convert the Enfield to full auto.
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