The American Army had the M1a1 Carbine and the M1 garand semiauto rifles, the Germans had the Gewehr 41(W) and 43 models semi-automatic rifles, and the Russians had the SVT40, and even the Japanese had the Type 5 semi-automatic rifle. But what of the British? Were they ever equipped with a semi-automatic rifle of their own design during World War 2?
Only the US equipped their troops with militarily significant numbers of semi-automatic rifles, and who needs a semi-auto rifle when you've got a Lee Enfield
The short answer is no, although there was an experimental semi-auto version the Lee Enfield used the exhaust gases to operate the bolt via a Heath-Robinson style crank mechanism. Unsurprisingly this did not enter service.
The British Army didn't get a semi-auto rifle until it bought the Belgian FN, rebadged as the L1A1 or SLR. Even I could hit things with the SLR, a beautiful piece of kit rather than those nasty plastic toy guns our long suffering troops have to carry now.
As per the discussion in another thread, the primary casualty causing agents in WW2 were artillery and mortars, and the primary source of infantry firepower were crew served machineguns. You could have armed the line infantry with Chassepots and it would have made little difference to the outcome.
Short answer is No. Why not is a different matter. In 1940 Dieudonne Saive, who was design chief at Fabrique Nationale, fled to England one step ahead of the German occupation of Belgium. He brought with him the design for the rifle later marketed as the FN-49 (Actually FN-1949). Test models were built at Enfield Lock but never adopted. I can only speculate as to why not, but it was probably a combination of extreme shortage of machine tools and military attitude about semi-autos being ammunition wasters. Also, the British test models were in 8mm Mauser and would have required a huge disruption in ammunition supply facilities.
The shortage of machine tools was also the reason the 2-pounder cannon remained in production long after it was obsolete and the design for the 6-pounder was finalized. They just couldn't shut down the artillery production line to retool and have NOTHING going out for a critical period.
Cheers and all,
Not that I know of. Various experimental self-loading rifles were developed and tested at different times in the first half of the Century, but none was used in WW2. The combination of the Lee Enfield, Bren and Sten was obviously felt to cover the needs of portable small arms during the conflict.
As a result of WW2 experience, the UK did develop a selective fire rifle as part of an integrated package of weapons and multi-purpose cartridge, as described in 'Assault Rifle: the Development of the Modern Military Rifle and its Ammunition' by Max Popenker and myself:
'A weapon which very nearly did see service was the British EM-2 rifle developed in the late 1940s. Unlike the AK 47, which continued to be supplemented by the full-power 7.62 x 54R Nagant cartridge in MGs and sniper rifles, this was a carefully-judged attempt to produce a weapon which could replace both the 9 mm SMG and the full-power .303 rifle in one package, by combining a new .280 (7 x 43) intermediate cartridge with a compact 'bullpup' layout. A GPMG based on the Bren LMG mechanism but with belt feed, the TADEN, was also developed to use this round and replace both the Bren and probably the Vickers MG. It appears to have been very successful and other NATO countries (particularly Canada and Belgium) were very interested in the concept. The UK even formally adopted the EM-2 in 1951.'
Tony Williams Military gun and ammunition website: http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk Military gun and ammunition discussion forum:
The only British semiautomatic infantry weapons were the rifle-calibre Bren gun (Czech design, adapted) and the pistol-calibre Sten gun (British design, to use Italian ammunition captured in Italy). Neither was usually described as a 'rifle.' Both remained in use for decades after WW2.
i know they had a rifle called 'jungel carabine' but im not sure of it was semi, but how bout the de-leslie (spell check please) rifle, but it was more like a pistol with a longer barell and a folding stock kinda a 'mini' m1 carabine
The Jungle Carbine was just a shortened Lee Enfield with a recoil like a mule. Still bolt action.
I've always admired the chutzpah of those that would try to make out any bolt action rifle to be as good as any semi automatic weapon. I do note that the comparison is always couched with the caveat 'in well trained hands'. In spite of which I still have difficulty seeing an infantryman shooting multiple covering shots while running or being able to quickly turn and fire multiple shots on a target of opportunity. You know, those real world uses that don't happen on the firing range? And how well did all those Indian troops use it, or all those rushed conscripts after Dunkirk? You know, all those less than well trained troops? It was a fine weapon, and probably the best bolt action weapon ever made. Which does not mean that it was not buried as soon after WWII as the British Army could. Simple fact of the matter is is that the M-1 was the superior weapon for a conscript army. Why do I usually get the sense from British posters that being good for conscripts is somehow a demeaning thing?
Note that the U.S. developed the Garand in peacetime, and that it did not enter the war until the end of 1941, and that even in 1941 men were training with the Springfield bolt-action. I doubt that even the U.S., with its great industrial base and its isolation from the combat zone, could have made the switch in the time-frame of the FN rifle that you cite.
It has previously been posted here that the U.S. chambered the Garand for the cal-30 cartridge because of the stocks on hand. If the U.S. found this to be an imperative, the British likely were even more persuaded by it.
I suppose the larger question is why the postwar NATO round was 30-cal/7.62mm. Time was not pressing, and existing stocks were being chucked in any event. Why not downsize the cartridge at that point?
all the best
Cheers and all,
Im sure, bredkumanfirst that the semi autos were much more efficient in the hands of untrained, cannon fodder troops, and ammo wasting running cover shots -.-
i have a model of both the first one didn't have semi but the second one did