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Small Arms used by the British Army during WWII PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 01 January 2009 15:06

Small Arms used by the British Army during WWII

Lee Enfield Rifle

Rifle Lee Enfield Rifle Mk I Short Lee Enfield Rifle Mk III Rifle No 4 Mk I Rifle No 5 Mk I
Calibre .303" .303" .303" .303"
Overall length 49.5" 44.5" 44.5" 39.5"
Barrel Length 30.19" 25.19" 25.2" 18.7"
Feed device 10 rd detachable box 10 rd detachable box 10 rd detachable box 10 rd detachable box
Sights Front Barley Corn Blade Blade Blade
Sights Rear Vertical leaf and ramp Tangent leaf  Vertical leaf Vertical leaf
Muzzle Velocity 2060fps 2060fps 2440fps 2400fps

Lanchester and Sten Guns

The Sten gun is the perfect example of a weapon created for war, it's not pretty and it's not elegant but it does the job required and it's cheap. The Thompson has been the sub machinegun of choice for the first year and a half of the war, mainly as it was what was available at the time but it was extremely expensive and also difficult to produce costing between £30-40 per weapon. A cheap and easy to mass produce weapon was required and the result was the Sten gun - which cost only £10-13 initially and less with the simplified versions. The Sten was very simple, made out of pressed metal and consisting of less than 50 components which could be manufactured in small workshops all over the country.

The Sten gun fired 9mm ammunition as did the MP40, the Sten was slightly lighter and had a higher rate of fire. In terms of combat performance they are pretty equal but the Sten had one extremely important attribute that the MP40 did not, it was easy to mass produce. As a testament to this there where more Sten guns built in either 1942 or 1943 by the UK alone than every MP40 and MP44 produced between 1940 and 1944 put together.

  Lanchester Sten Mk I Sten Mk II Sten Mk II S Sten Mk III Sten Mk IV A Sten Mk IV B Sten Mk V
Calibre 9mm 9mm 9mm 9mm 9mm 9mm 9mm 9mm
System of Operation Blowback, selective fire Blowback, selective fire Blowback, selective fire Blowback, selective fire Blowback, selective fire Blowback, selective fire Blowback, selective fire Blowback, selective fire
Overall length 33.5" 35.25" 3-" 37" 30" 27.5" 24.5" 30"
Barrel Length 7.9" 7.75" 3.61" 7.75" 3.85" 3.85" 3.85" 7.8"
Feed Device 50rd Box Magazine 32rd Box Magazine 32rd Box Magazine 32rd Box Magazine 32rd Box Magazine 32rd Box Magazine 32rd Box Magazine 32rd Box Magazine
Sights Front Barleycorn Barleycorn Barleycorn Barleycorn Barleycorn Barleycorn Barleycorn Barleycorn
Sights Rear Tangent adj Fixed Aperture Fixed Aperture Fixed Aperture Fixed Aperture Fixed Aperture Fixed Aperture Fixed Aperture
Muzzle Velocity 1280fps 1280fps 1280fps 1280fps 1280fps 1200fps 1200fps 1280fps
Cyclic Rate 575-600 540 540   540 575 575 575
Weight 9.65lb 7.8lb 6.62lb 7.48lb 7lb 7.5lb 7.5lb 8.5lb

Bren Guns

  Mk I Mk II Mk III Mk IV
System of Operation Gas, Selective fire Gas, Selective fire Gas, Selective fire Gas, Selective fire
Overall Length 45.5" 45.6" 42.6" 42.9"
Barrel Length 25" 25" 22.25" 22.25"
Feed Device 30rd Box Magazine 30rd Box Magazine 30rd Box Magazine 30rd Box Magazine
Sights Front Blade Blade Blade Blade
Sights Rear Aperture Leaf Leaf Leaf
Muzzle Velocity 2440fps 2440fps 2400fps 2400fps
Cyclic Rate 500 540 480 520
Weight of Barrel 6.28lb 6.46lb 5.09lb 5lb
Weight of Gun 22.12lb 23.18lb 19.3lb 19.14lb

Vickers .303 Machine Gun

Calibre .303
System of operation Recoil with gas boost from muzzle booster
Gun weight 32lb
Gun weight with water 40lb
Tripod 50lb
Overall length 43"
Barrel length 26.4"
Feed device 250 round canvas belt
Sights Front Hooded blade
Sights Rear Leaf with aperture, 400 yard battle sight
Muzzle Velocity 2440fps
Cyclic rate 450-550

Production of British Small Arms by year

Weapon To Aug 1939 Sep-Dec 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945(May)
Rifles No 1-3 30,962 18,255 100,763 41,414 64,396 - - -
Rifles No 4 - - - 32,419 530,333 910,205 497,109 88,171
Rifles No 5 - - - - - - 50,392 79,958
Rifles (r) 25,014 139,750 592,238 41,241 4,643 - - -
Pistols No 2 17,805   38,496 55,336 28,351(to May) 60,132(from May) 87,490 36,492
Pistols No 1 (r) -   16,646 290 318(to May) - - -
Boys AT  11,161 41,02 13,827 7,313 22,391 6,225 - -
Bren Guns 15,011 6,803 32,899 38,559 65,187 75,628 40,285 7,544
Bren Lightened - - - - - - 9,128 12,833
Vickers .303  - 180 919 1,380 1,000(to May) 2,475 2,033 1,203
Vickers .303 (r) - 218 2,166 1,766 894(to May) - - -
Sten - - - 6,338 1,420,240 1,542,952 598,395 99,258
(which Mk V) - - - - - - 46,059 63,021
Lanchester - - - 86 16,976 30,493 25,621 -

Sources - Small Arms of the World,  AVIA 22 456-514

Last Updated on Friday, 16 August 2013 09:19
Comments (2)
WWII Weapons Data
1 Tuesday, 01 June 2010 11:07
Chris Ottinger
Thank you for taking your time to arrange this data.

I am writing to you for advice. I am trying to find a webiste that has "effective" ranges for various weapons used in WWII.

I am trying to gather data for devising a WWII gaming system using toy soldiers.

I am developing this system to sell online for a few dollars, with all money to go to a non-profit medical trust fund for a loved on that has a fatal disease that needs treatment Medicaid will not pay for.

Long story short: If her vital signs are at a certain level, only maintenance treatment is given, without curing treatment.

Not to darken your day or anything, but I'm actually on medical disability right now awaiting a transplant, so I have enough to stay alive, but no way of raising $90,000.

I was looking at my BMC 1/32 toy soldiers a few days ago, and had an idea. I would use my best friends, mostly history buffs and nerds like me, to devise a gaming system offered on the internet for very little money, and the money to be put into a medical trust fund for her.

I told you this only to let you know how important this is to me. I sincerely appreciate your time reading this letter.

I have always been a student of WWII, from wanting to be a fighter pilot when I was young, to studying the wars on land and sea.

But, I'm having trouble finding "effective range" data for WWII weapons. Cyclic firing rates are easy to find, as is fps, but very little is available on "effective range" of weapons.

As an example, I know a little bit about the M1 Garand, just because I'm familiar with the 30-06 caliber. The 30-06 is actually used as a deer hunting round here.

But, what I am trying to find out is, how far can that projectile, grenade, bazooka round, flame thrower, etc., can be fired somewhat accurately when fired under battle conditions as opposed to firing ranges on a sunny day, a bench rest, and blue birds singing.

After searching the internet, I have found exactly what you ran into. A lot of different sites have a lot of different information regarding the weapons, but no one seems to mix effective range, cyclic rate, and most things you'd want to know when trying to determine firing ranges in scale, etc.

I have so far made movement calculations based on actual physical tests, and then translated the 1/32 scale to be used on an 80" by 40" map that represents 12 acres, as opposed to the 1/32 scale of .66 acres that the 80" x 40" surface would represent.

The project is to come up with a basic set of rules that a man and his son (or daughter) could purchase for a few dollars, get an 80" x 40" rug even blue insulation board as a playing suface, a $9.00 set of 1/32 WWII soldiers, a measuring tape, and two six-sided die. Something simple but realistic, historically stimulating (we can always hold on to the concept that maybe one day the human race will stop repeating history over and over), and provide hours of entertainment for the price of a going to a movie.

Then of course, taking whatever monies were received, and putting them in the medical trust for her.

Any knowledge of web sites that might have the kind of information described above would be incredibly helpful.

At this time I am starting out with US troops vs. Japanese troops. I would also like date to be able to do British vs. German troops, and Russians vs. Germans.

Thank you again for your time, it is truly appreciated. It is only through people like you that history is kept alive. It is amazing that more information about something that basically re-aligned the way we see the world is not more readily available.

Thank you again David.

Chris Ottinger
Bren Guns
2 Sunday, 26 September 2010 08:46
ike f sanglay
The British produced 281,916 Bren Guns and 21,961 Bren Lightened during WW II. Very nice and detailed small arms production table...

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