Sunday, February 22, 2009
Ugly Gun Sunday
Pressed for time today, so in the interest of due credit, the following is a straight copy of the article from Wikipedia.
The Charlton Automatic Rifle was a fully automatic conversion of the Lee-Enfield rifle, designed by New Zealander Philip Charlton in 1941 to act as a substitute for the Bren and Lewis gun light machine guns which were in chronically short supply at the time.
The original Charlton Automatic Rifles were converted from obsolete Lee-Metford and Magazine Lee-Enfield rifles dating from as early as the Boer War, and were intended for use as a self-loading rifle with the full-automatic capability retained for emergency use. It used the 10-round Lee-Enfield magazines.
There were two versions of the Charlton: the New Zealand version, as designed and manufactured by Charlton Motor Workshops in Hastings, and a version produced in Australia by Electrolux, using the SMLE Mk III* for conversion. The two designs differed markedly in external appearance (amongst other things, the New Zealand Charlton had a forward pistol grip and bipod, whilst the Australian one did not), but shared the same operating mechanism.
Approximately 1,500 Charlton Automatic Rifles were manufactured in New Zealand,and nearly all of them were destroyed in a fire at the Palmerston North service storage facility shortly after World War II.