Non-standard, substitute standard, and captured weapons in British and Commonwealth service

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by TTH, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    A matter of different perspectives. To me, the juxtaposition of tough Wehrmacht infantry pushing baby prams was quite funny.
    I understand what happened to civilians in 1940 and across the continent for the better part of 5 years but I have no way of knowing the provenance behind that photo. They could as easily have been pulled from a pile of abandoned gear. Neither of us could ever verify an evil or innocuous origin.
    We could equally ascribe a tragic scenario for every piece of captured military equipment depicted in this thread so everyone is free to find offence with almost any wartime image.
  2. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I'm not offended at you at all, don't worry. I just remembered my teacher's story and I remembered what the TT men described too. We now take you back to the regularly scheduled topic of this thread.
  3. Dave55

    Dave55 Very Senior Member

    The Hession Rifle

    I believe it said most of the guns were not returned.

    I've always like the message on Maj Hession's rifle.

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  4. TTH

    TTH Senior Member


    In a previous post, I speculated about the 1939 status of the 2.75-inch mountain gun. The weapon certainly had a rather odd history. It was introduced before the Great War to replace the old non-recoil 10-pdr mountain gun, with which it has often been confused. It was a funny-looking weapon, with a long barrel and recoil tube perched high above the axle. Though 'introduced' into service in 1911, production of the gun was for some reason extremely slow and only a handful were actually in the field in 1914 and 1915 so most of the Indian and British mountain batteries had to fight the early battles of the war with the obsolete 10-pdr. The 2.75 replaced the 10-pdr with the batteries in the Near East and at Salonika during 1916, but perversely the British began to introduce another new mountain equipment just the following year, the 3.7-inch howitzer. The two pieces served side by side in the last stage of the Great War and in India for two more decades. Astoundingly, it took the army that long to fully replace the 2.75 with the 3.7. (20 years--that must be some sort of world record for slowness in replacing a weapon.) According to a history of the Indian mountain artillery which I have read online at least one Indian States Forces battery and possibly two were still using the 2.75 when the Second World War broke out. The 1st Jammu and Kashmir Mountain Battery only began to re-equip with the 3.7-inch howitzer in September 1939. The Bikaner Bijer Battery had been a camel battery armed with the 2.75 and it did not reorganize as a standard mountain battery with the 3.7 until 1941. So, yes, it appears that the 2.75-inch B.L. was indeed a Second World War weapon, if only briefly and marginally. It wasn't a bad little gun, anyway. The HE shell was lighter than that of the 3.7 (12.5 lbs vs 20) but range with HE was nearly the same (5,800 yds vs 5,899) and the 2.75 had better range firing shrapnel, shrapnel still being useful on the NW Frontier. Besides that, the 2.75 was 1/4 lighter than the 3.7 and required only six mules to move against the eight required for the 3.7.

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  5. TTH

    TTH Senior Member


    As some here may know, the B.A.R. in its many variants is one of my favorite weapons. (Please don't jump in now and tell me how terrible it was, I know all its limitations and that discussion has already been discussed elsewhere here.) As some may also know, sizeable quantities of the B.A.R. were sent to Britain in 1940 to arm the Home Guard. These guns were the first B.A.R. variant, distinguished by the lack of a bipod, a rear sight similar to that of the M1917 Enfield rifle, a semiauto/full auto selector switch, a thick fore-end with checkering on the sides, and a flash hider which was practically flush with the barrel. In 1939 the US Army introduced a new and supposedly improved version, the M1918A2, and this was the main type used by US forces during WWII and Korea. The M1918A2 had a new rear sight similar to that of the M1903 Springfield rifle, a metal buttplate, a slot for an optional monopod, two rates of auto fire instead of full and semi, a slimmed down fore-end, a magazine guide, a bipod, and much later a carrying handle as well. The M1918A2 flash hider may have been larger and wider too, I'm not certain. Most of these new features just added weight without improving performance. Many old M1918s which had not gone to Britain were rebuilt into M1918A2s, though I have seen a couple of photos of unmodified M1918s in field use with US forces during WWII. Now, in the course of my net browsing, I stumbled across a rather unusual piece which was offered for sale on (Link is Fully Automatic WWI Winchester Model 1918 Browning Automatic Rifle ). According to the info on the site, this was one of the M1918 guns which was sent to the British. However, at some point in its life it was fitted with an M1918A2 type bipod and possibly a new flash hider as well. (Could you fit a bipod to an M1918 with the original flash hider? Was there much difference between the flash hiders on the different models?) There is no information about who modified this piece, when it was modified, or where it was modified. Everything else about the gun seems to be pure M1918: M1917 Enfield type rear sight, semi/full fire switch, thick fore-end, no monopod, buttplate, magazine guide, or carrying handle. To add further to the mystery, several images of similar guns can be found on the internet. One of these, which was offered for sale on the prestigious James D. Julia auction site, came from the collection of Dolf Goldsmith, author of the seminal work on the Vickers machine gun. The auction site, CLASSIC MARLIN-ROCKWELL MODEL 1918 BROWNING AUTOMATIC RIFLE (C & R). - James D. Julia, Auctioneers , does not say where Goldsmith got it from though, nor does it mention any British markings. I found two more guns of the same type during my browsing, neither of which had any remarks so while I included pics I didn't post the links to those here. One of them had also been given a carrying handle. Can anybody offer me any clues? Are these M1918-with-bipod guns a British WWII modification of the M1918, an interim or early conversion/production type of the M1918A2, or some kind of postwar mongrel slapped together by dealers? And no, I don't have Rock in a Hard Place, the essential work on the B.A.R., but it is on order for me through inter-library loan. I should add that I don't think it impossible that the modification was done in Britain. I have attached an image of a couple of Home Guardsmen with BARs, of which one has a smooth fore-end typical of most M1918A2 production and not at all typical of the M1918.

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    Last edited: May 16, 2019
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