Lee-Enfield No. 4 Rifle
|Country of Origin||United Kingdom|
|Barrel Length||635.000 mm|
|Rate of Fire||20 rounds/min|
|Muzzle Velocity||744 m/s|
Contributor: C. Peter Chenww2dbaseBritish weapons designer James Paris Lee drew the blueprint of the Lee-Enfield rifles from his earlier Lee-Metford design dated 1888. The Lee-Enfield bolt-action rifles were introduced to the British Army in Nov 1895, with soldiers immediately impressed by the rifles' high firing rate that reached 20 to 30 rounds per minute. Between 1895 and the 1930s, the design underwent several revisions, including efforts in the 1920s to make them cheaper and faster to manufacture.
During WW1, American firms Remington Arms Company and Winchester Repeating Arms Company built a variant of the Lee-Enfield No. 4 rifle in the United States to arm the US Army for WW1. They were chambered for US ammunition and were slightly longer and slightly heavier. They were designated as M1917 in the US Army, and were commonly nicknamed as "Enfield"; the British called this variant design "Pattern 17".
By the late 1930s, the need for better Lee-Enfield rifles arose once again. In 1939, Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk I rifles were issued, featuring lighter weight and cheaper to produce than previous variants. They were able to receive two types of bayonets, spiked and bladed. In 1942, Lee-Enfield Mk I* rifles with a slightly simplified design began to be manufactured by the Long Branch Arsenal in Canada and Savage-Stevens Firearms in the United States.
After WW2, Lee-Enfield No. 4 rifles continued to be improved and manufactured. Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk 2 design went into production in 1946 and saw extensive use with the Irish Army, for example. The last significant action these rifles saw was the Korean War, where they were used extensively by Australian troops alongside of other Lee-Enfield variants. Lee-Enfield rifles of all variants continued to be the standard British and Commonwealth bolt-action rifles until 1957, and many of them remain in service today. 17 million Lee-Enfield rifles of all variants were made between 1895 and 1957.
Ian Hogg, The Encyclopedia of Infantry Weapons of World War II
Last Major Revision: May 2008
Lee-Enfield No. 4 Rifle Interactive Map
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Winston Churchill, 1935