Military Collectibles Wanted
When America was catapulted into World War II in December 1941, it faced a serious shortage in rifles. Luckily, it had a source of somewhat obsolete but still serviceable rifles that could be used during those dark & uncertain early months of the war.
The Model 1917 .30-caliber rifle, commonly known as the Enfield, was a slightly modified version of the British design manufactured in the US for Britain during WWI. When the US entered WWI, there weren’t enough US rifles to arm the rapidly expanding army, so it was decided to modify the British Pattern 1914 rifle so it would chamber the American .30-06 cartridge.
All told, more than 2 million of the new rifles, now called the Model 1917, were produced during the war, which meant more Americans were armed with the modified British rifle than the US Model 1903 Springfield.
Although longer & heavier than the Springfield, the M1917 compared well to the US rifle & was equal or better than any rifle used by ally or adversary during the war. However, despite those favorable comparisons, the US decided to keep the 1903 Springfield as its official rifle & retired the US Enfield to its stockpiled reserves.
In 1939, with England threatened with invasion by Germany, the US shipped many of the Enfields to England under the Lend-Lease Program to arm the British Home Guard. After Pearl Harbor, the rush to rearm & provide US troops with training rifles brought out most of the remaining stockpiles of M1917s, most of which had to be refurbished & repaired, including replacing many of the barrels.
The reissued M1917s were used mostly during new recruit training, although some combat troops received the rifle as they headed overseas early in the war, particularly during the North African campaign. For the most part, however, the Enfield saw very limited use as a front line combat weapon during WWII.
If you have a military item you would like to know more about, take a picture of it & email it to us or call our toll free Kansas City office. You never know what treasure might be hiding in that dusty footlocker.