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History stuff - Weapons used by the 2nd AIF

September 18 2008 at 12:11 PM

David Harvey  (Login DJHarvey)
from IP address

I thought I might post this here as it will be of interest to some folks, I will also add it to the History articles I will do in the future for the site.

Rifles / SMG’s

Pattern 1914 Enfield Mk1* (Rifle No3 Ml1*) – Issued to Australia during WWI but used in training for some years after the war into WWII.

SMLE MK III* (Rifle No 1 MkIII*) – The ‘work horse’ of Australian soldiers used from WWII up to Korea. You would also find it’s predecessor the SMLE Mk III (Rifle no 1 Mk III) used as well from pre WWI onwards.

Johnson Model 1941 Auto rifle – Adopted by the Netherlands Indies Army in 1940 and some were used by the RAAF in Northern Bases during WWII.

Rifle No 4 – Approx 2000 No4’s were diverted to Australia in 1942 after the fall of Singapore. They were issued to RAAF and AEME. Other small batches of the No 4 were introduced into the system later on.

Rifle No 5 Mk 1 (Jungle Carbine) - Introduced into British service in 1944. A considerable number of them were used in Malaya during the ‘Emergency’ by Australian forces

..45 cal Thompson SMG – Due to the lack of an SMG in Commonwealth service the Model 1928A1, M1 and M1A1 were issued. The Thompson M1928A1 used the Drum mag or a 30rnd box mag whilst the M1 used a 20 rnd box mag. The Thompson was used in all theatres by the AIF.

9mm AUSTEN (Australian STEN) Mk I/II – designed in 1941 approx 20,000 were produced and used by Australian Forces. It wasn’t that popular and the Owen was usually preferred by combat forces. Usually seen in a mix of green and yellow painted finish.

9mm Owen Mk 1/I* and 2/3 – The Owen was produced at the same time as the AUSTEN and pages are devoted to the saga. First produced in large numbers in 1942 it continued in the various Mk’s until replaced by the F1 during the late 60’s early 70’s. Production of the last version the 2/3 finished in 1955. This service included Vietnam. The Own was produced in many finishes including the green/yellow paint, parkerised and painted black.

Machine guns

Lewis .303 MG – used from 1915 until declared obsolete in Australia in 1945.

Hotchkiss .303 LMG – used form WWI and limited service until WWII (pictures of Light Horse in QLD with them).

Vickers .303 MG Mk 1 – The ubiquitous ‘Vickers’ produced in Australia from 1929 and used until the 1960’s (possibly longer???).

Bren .303 LMG Mk 1 (and other Mk’s) – Production at Lithgow started in 1940 and used in .303 and 7.62mm until mid 80’s or later.

Browning Model 1919A4 MG – Mainly used on AFV and aircraft mounts during WWII but also used in some locations on a tripod for ground use.

Browning .50cal M2 MG – Used mainly in aircraft but also used in the ground role on occasion. The water cooled version (the 1921 watercooled) were also used but mainly in 2nd line or Reserve AFV, aircraft or Naval roles. The .50cal was used in the Northern areas for Airfield defence and was fired in anger a fair bit during the raids in Darwin.

.303 MMG (converted Maxim gun) – As a wartime emergency measure the captured WWI Maxim MG from RSL clubs and Memorial Halls were gathered together and converted in Broken Hill to .303 cal. Mainly used by the V.D.C.

.303 LMG (G) - Many MG08/15 models were also converted to .303 LMG (G) [G for German]. Mainly used by the V.D.C.

Sniper Rifles

Pattern 14 Enfield Sniper Rifle (No 3 Mk I* [T]) – use during both WWI and WWII.

Rifle No 1 Mk III* Sniper (No1 Mk III* H.T. [Aust}]) – produced from the end of WWI till 1946.

Various other weapons were used apart from those listed above as the usual ‘finding’, ‘borrowing’ and outright stealing of other firearms has always happened. The weapons listed above were officially issued to Australian Forces at various times up to, during and post WWII.

All of this information was compiled from '100 years of Australian Service Machineguns' and '200 years of Australian Military Rifles and Bayonets' by Ian Skennerton.

David Harvey
Aussie Modeller International

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(Login DallasGavan)

Vickers used in 1981

September 18 2008, 10:08 PM 

G'day, Dave.

The venerable old Vickers was still being used in 1981, for the battle inoculation course during a live fire EX at High Range (and was still used at Canungra, perhaps, though not when I was there in '79). Our SFMG PL (2/4 RAR) was firing the guns for 1 RAR and an unfortunate series of problems (bad ammo, tripod elevation lock nut not fully tight and sandbags settling under the vibration of the fired gun) saw one 1 RAR dig shot through the chest. Fortunately he survived but the Vickers were grounded.

Our turn came up two weeks later and they used blanks and M-60's, which made it a bit pointless.

Not sure if they continued using the Vickers after that.



PS LCPL Pete V. was the gunner that shot the bloke from 1 RAR. Next year, in Malaysia, Pete was shot through the thigh. We started calling him "Lucky" but he had a sense of humour failure, so we stopped.

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David Harvey
(Login DJHarvey)

I thought as much

September 18 2008, 10:39 PM 

My father told me a few stories about that one I think, I couldn't remember when it happened but I was sure that it was the late 70's ealy 80's. Couldn't remeber so I didn't want to make stuff up.

Lucky is the name for him I suppose!

Thanks Dal

David Harvey
Aussie Modeller International

This message has been edited by DJHarvey from IP address on Sep 18, 2008 10:40 PM

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Haydn Neal
(no login)

Still in use 1982

September 19 2008, 10:31 AM 

Battle innoculation at LWC - similar story of dodgey ammo, I believe was the finding, landing amongst our PL's aslt line "wtf are these puffs of dirt?"

Two mint Vickers were pulled out of No5 store at Bandi, degreased and test fired (everybody wanted a go at that! ) before 'issuing' to a movie team doing Gallipoli or similar in 1984, along with about 100 303.

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Rodney Spooner
(no login)

Vickers still in use in 1987/88

September 18 2008, 11:33 PM 

Infantry centre, Singleton was still using a number of Vickers machine guns for live firing during firepower demos in 198/7/88.
I was carry a Bren gun in 1985 when I was with 1 RAR which was
dated the 1940's rebarrelled in 1973 to use 7.62mm.We got rid of them when we went on Exercise Reindeer to Hong Kong in 1985, swapping them for MAG 58/L7.
Never did miss cleaning all of those magazines.


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(Login campaken)

Australian army using Bren and Owen guns and F1 machineguns still in1989.

October 17 2012, 1:19 AM 

It looks like we covered a lot of the same ground.
I too was carrying a Bren gun in 1985 when I was with 1 RAR but we shot and used them a lot later than 1985 at Mount Vince the huge well built rifle range in Mackay; far north Queensland when they held the annual Combined Services discipline and Queenss medal shoots and pulling consist groups at 300yds, 500yds, 800yds and often shot on the 1000 yard mound with the Bren gun with it' bi-pod and SLR and sling in 1985 1988. I was a target puller while the civilians shot the Queens Medal. I also used Brens guns and Owen Guns at the Land Command Battle School in Tully in late 1988 into early 1989 when I was enemy commander

I was also on Exercise Reindeer to Hong Kong in 1985
Prior to working border protection in Hong Kong in 1985 as part of exercise reindeer and prior to embarking we had extra training in un-armed combat training in Townville in the hot Townsville summer of late 1994 with the Army PTis (Physical training Instructors, use of close quarter weapons that included the Australian F1 machinegun, the Australia Bren gun, the browning 9mm Highpower the standard Australian weapons and Australian CS teargas training where we had to be in a room full of tear gas without a gasmask and complete tasks given before we could leave the room.

When we got to fort Stanly we had to learn to use the British sterling submachine gun which with the silencer on, was not silent but could be muffled by road noise at 30m and deadly still at 50m. We also got to fire the 84 mm Carl Gustav recoilless rifle sub-calibered down into .22 and the new British bull pup SA80 rifle which the British were just fazing in and were all exited about. the range we fired these highpower weapons in was a indoor range that looked like a squash court. which really required hearing protection this was freaky to us. In Australia we found a range that sloped down a hill for a kilometer or so and the British officer explained really we just dont have the room in Hong Kong to test fire these things, as there is just no space in Hong Kong.

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peter hawes
(no login)

dave you forgot the old f1

September 19 2008, 7:55 AM 

you forgot about the old f1 yabby pump. used to love these old smg's, till 1 whent "missing" on ex up at shole water. all hell broke loose.

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David Edwards
(no login)

A bit too recent for the 2nd AIF

September 19 2008, 8:19 AM 

And he did mention it replacing the Owen Gun.

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George Oh
(Login RGeorgeO)

Sniper rifles - The Aust Army also used

February 4 2013, 9:58 PM 

the 7.62mm bolt-action Parker-Hale (Model?) 82 and the PSG-1 (I recall buying parts for these).
Machineguns - also the L7A1 AR (automatic rifle) - essentially an L1A1 SLR with a different safety catch, a heavier barrel and a different rear-sight on the dust-cover.
And the GPMG M.60 (used in Vietnam and up till 1983 (well, that's the last time I used one.)
George, out............

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George Oh
(Login RGeorgeO)

Oh - the 2nd AIF. nt

February 7 2013, 7:37 PM 

George, out........

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