Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Famous Weapons: Lee-Enfield Rifle

The Lee-Enfield rifle entered service with the British and British Empire forces in 1895. The magazine fed, bolt-action high-powered .303 calibre repeating rifle was revolutionary. The 10-round magazine capacity enabled an infantryman completing the “mad minute” training exercise to fire 20 to 30 aimed rounds in 60 seconds. This made the Lee–Enfield the fastest military bolt-action rifle of its day.

WW1 Vintage Lee-Enfield No.1 Mk3 Rifle

It takes its name from the inventor of the bolt action – Scottish-born Canadian James Paris Lee and the location where its rifling design was created—the Royal Small Arms Factory in Enfield, England.

British Infantryman with Lee-Enfield Rifle rising on a Sherman Tank – Holland 1944.

Key Facts

  1. The Lee-Enfield is the second longest service rifle in continuous military service in the World (1895 – present day). It is only beaten by the Finnish rifle Mosin–Nagant (1891 – present day).
  2. Over 17 million Lee-Enfields have been produced.
  3. It was the standard British and British Empire infantry weapon in the Boer War, both the first and second World Wars and the Korean War.
  4. The Lee-Enfield is still in use today with the Bangladesh Police and the Malawi Military.
  5. The Lee-Enfield was only officially retired from the Canadian armed forces in 2018.

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