With this month being the 70th anniversary of the rush by the Free World to help keep the fledgling Republic of Korea from forced incorporation by its Communist neighbor to the North, it should be pointed out that the UN forces that mustered to liberate Seoul and keep it so carried an interesting array of arms. Gathered ultimately from 21 countries you had a lot of WWII-era repeats such as No. 3 and No. 4 Enfields carried by Commonwealth troops as well as M1 Garands/Carbines toted by American and a host of Uncle Sam-supplied countries.
But there were most assuredly some oddball infantry weapons that were used as well.
One historical curiosity was the initial contingent supplied by the Royal Thai Army, who left for Korea in October 1950 wearing French Adrian-style “sun” helmets and armed with 8x52mm Type 66 Siamese Mausers that were actually versions of the bolt-action Japanese Type 38 Arisaka built before WWII at Japan’s Koishikawa arsenal.
Note their French-style helmets, U.S.-marked M36 packs, and Japanese Showa-period rifles. Ultimately, more than 10,000 Thai troops would serve in the Korean War alongside U.S. forces, fighting notably at the Battle of Pork Chop Hill. (Photo: UN News Archives)
More in my column at Guns.com.
With their vintage .303 No. 4 Lee Enfield rifles being phased out, the part-time soldiers of the Canadian Rangers are standing tall at the Canadian Armed Forces Small Arms Concentration.
The military shooting competition, in which some 450 shooters from Canada’s Regular Force and Primary Reserve, Canadian Ranger Patrol Groups, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and teams from the United Kingdom and the United States are competing, was first organized back in 1868.
Held from September 5 to 17 at the Connaught Ranges and Primary Training Centre in Ottawa, it will be one of the final competitive shooting competitions in which the Canadian Rangers will use the Enfield, which is being replaced by the Sako/Colt Canada T3 CTR (Compact Tactical Rifle) rifle in .308.
While the Canucks plan to destroy surplus Enfields left after the conversion, those Rangers currently with them will be gifted their guns.
Note the Enfield competition belts to hold spare mags (Photos: Corporal Doug Burke/Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Center)
(Photos: Corporal Doug Burke/Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Center)
The below video from the Canadian Army, which shows some No. 4s at work at the Small Arms Concentration, details Sergeant Cyril Abbott of the 5th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group. Abbott served 20 years active with the Black Watch and 2 RCR, and has spent the past 32 years with the Rangers, giving him an impressive 52 years with the Colours.