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The Lee-Enfield is one of the 20th century's most recognizable and longest-serving military rifles. It was adopted by the British Army in 1895 and only replaced by the L1A1 SLR in 1957; even then a sniper variant, the L42A1, was used until 1989, giving a service life of nearly a century. It saw combat from the Boer War onwards, and thousands are still in use today, notably by the Taliban in Afghanistan; it is estimated that 17 million have been produced. The Lee-Enfield featured an innovative detachable ten-round magazine; this large capacity, together with the weapon's revolutionary bolt-action operation, made it possible for well-drilled shooters to fire 20 to 30 rounds in 60 seconds (the 'mad minute'). This extraordinary speed gave rise to mistaken German reports of being opposed by massed machine guns in 1914. The Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE), introduced in 1903, set a new precedent in military rifles, being neither a carbine nor a full-length rifle but an ingenious compromise that was soon copied by other countries.The Lee-Enfield equipped British, Commonwealth and other forces throughout the world wars and well into the 1960s, giving excellent service in every kind of terrain and weather. Soldier's recollections of the rifle are overwhelmingly affectionate (it was known as the Smellie); today it remains a very popular target rifle for competitive shooting, and modern copies are being manufactured to meet demand.Featuring first-hand accounts, brand-new full-colour artwork and close-up photographs, many in colour, this is the story of the Lee-Enfield, the innovative, reliable and long-lived rifle that equipped British and other forces through the world wars and beyond.
From the American War of Independence to World War II, the history of the military combat marksman is one of indifference and cost cutting. Despite the proven effectiveness of the rifleman in battle, for most of the 20th century snipers were regarded as little more than paid assassins. It was not until the Vietnam War that the undeniable effectiveness of the sniper was fully appreciated by the military, and with the advent of the 21st century, the sniper has become one of the most vital battlefield specialists. Illustrated throughout with colour and black and white photographs, this chronological study of snipers details their evolution, training, weaponry and tactics. It also includes material from the author's first hand interviews with the veteran snipers whose skills and extraordinary courage have made them the most greatly feared specialists in warfare.From the Hardcover edition.
Following on from the success of Out of Nowhere - A History of the Military Sniper, Martin Pegler has given us an in-depth study of not only the development of the rifle, but also the parallel emergence of the American rifleman, sharpshooter and sniper. His book examines the gradual evolution of the rifle in America from the earliest firearms introduced in the 15th century, to the most recent and highly accurate sniping rifles of the 21st century.He takes and in-depth look at the technological development of the weapons, sighting systems and ammunition as well as the unique part played by the U.S. firearms industry in pioneering mass-production. Considerable use has been made of contemporary accounts in describing how the use of the rifle during the Revolutionary War, Civil War and the more recent conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries have impacted on American military history.This detailed account concludes with a study of the American sniper in modern warfare, including Afghanistan and the ongoing Operation Iraqi Freedom and it ultimately gives a fascinating overview of the relentless march of weapons technology, as well as an unusual insight into the lives and the motives of the men who used them.From the Hardcover edition.
The sniper has lurked in the shadows of warfare for more than two centuries. In that time, snipers have gone from being seen as little more than paid assassins to being the most highly trained of all infantrymen, and they are an invaluable asset on any modern battlefield. Two hundred years of development and innovation divides the Napoleonic rifleman, whose muzzle-loader was capable of extreme-range shots of 300 yards, from the modern sniper whose high-precision .50 and . 338 calibre rifles can achieve kills at well over a mile.
Osprey's new Weapon series provides a highly-detailed yet affordable overview of the development, use, and impact of small arms throughout history -- from the sword to the machine gun. Learn the true story of one of history's most well travelled weapons. Developed late in World War I to be a fearsome trench-warfare weapon, the Thompson submachine gun's fame and success came in unexpected quarters. An iconic and innovative design, the M1921 Thompson was soon adopted by Prohibition-era gangs and used ruthlessly on the streets of New York and Chicago. But its military career was relaunched with the outbreak of World War II, used by armies, commandos and resistance groups worldwide. Using expert knowledge and first-hand accounts, this chronicle of one of the world's greatest submachine guns analyzes the Thompson's development, its legacy, and the experiences of the men who used it in combat.
The world's first self-powered machine gun, the Maxim gun became a potent symbol of Victorian colonialism in the closing years of the 19th century. It was the brainchild of Sir Hiram Maxim, the American-born firearms inventor who founded the company bearing his name with financing from Albert Vickers, who became the company's chairman; Maxim's company was absorbed by Vickers, Sons and Company in 1897. Subsequent variants in British, German and Russian service - the .303in Vickers (1912), 7.92mm MG 08 (1908) and 7.62mm PM M1910, respectively - dominated both the Eastern and Western Fronts during World War I and soldiered on into World War II, while the Vickers remained in front-line British service essentially unchanged until 1968.The .577/450in Maxim's revolutionary design eschewed the hand-cranking required by previous rapid-firing guns, instead harnessing the weapon's recoil energy to eject each spent cartridge and insert the next. Water-cooled and capable of 600 rounds per minute, it was often mounted on a tripod and belt-fed, unlike earlier models such as the Gardner and the Gatling, which were usually mounted on horse carriages and hopper-fed. First demonstrated in 1884, the Maxim was adopted by the British Army in 1888 and saw service in the First Matabele War (1893-94); in one incident, 50 soldiers with four Maxims fought off 5,000 warriors. Although it was hampered by its weight and easily spotted (before the advent of smokeless powder) owing to the clouds of smoke it produced while firing, the Maxim was considered more reliable than its contemporaries; its very presence on the battlefield was believed to give its users a significant psychological advantage over their opponents. Even so, the armies of many nations remained skeptical about the reliability of machine guns in general, and at the outset of World War I only two were attached to each infantry battalion of the British Expeditionary Force.
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