The Indian Army’s .303 story

Discussion in 'Military History' started by mayankkrishna, Aug 12, 2012.

  1. mayankkrishna

    mayankkrishna Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2010
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    326
    The most interesting of all the mercenary soldiers of India in the 1700s were the Naga sadhus. They were ferocious, utterly reckless and totally naked.

    Their leader in the war of the Awadh Shias against the Mughals was Rajendragiri Gosain. During the siege of Delhi in 1753 the monk had the back of his head blown away by an idiot who fired from his own side. A historian said, “I ascribe it to the bad marksmanship and reckless firing for which Indian troops were notorious.” In the hands of Indians, guns were dangerous.

    Exactly 100 years after Gosain’s death, the British introduced the rifle that would cause India to mutiny against them: the Enfield Pattern 1853 with its waxed cartridge. In the hands of Indians, even ammunition was now dangerous. Naturally, the Pattern 53 did not last long, and soon went through an evolution, the Snider-Enfield of 1860.

    [​IMG]Gun power: The Lee-Enfield .303 SMLE. Photo: Armémuseum (The Swedish Army Museum)/Wikimedia Commons

    Jacob Snider was the inventor of the gun’s mechanism and the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield was the manufacturer. Rudyard Kipling sent this gun into legend in his poem The Grave of the Hundred Head:

    A Snider squibbed in the jungle,

    Somebody laughed and fled,

    And the men of the First Shikaris

    Picked up their Subaltern dead,

    With a big blue mark in his forehead

    And the back blown out of

    his head.

    The poem is about how Subadar Prag Tewarri avenges a fallen English officer in Burma. By now, the Indian jawan had improved his aim and had been drilled and disciplined into one of the world’s great infantrymen.

    The next version of the Enfield rifle was a weapon fit for his qualities, the Lee-Enfield .303 SMLE. With this gun and British drilling and training, the Indian infantryman was no longer dangerous but deadly.

    The .303 was manufactured in Enfield, north London. Discovery Channel’s experts named it the third best rifle of all time (behind the AK-47 and the American M16). But actually it is No. 1. It has probably killed more men than any weapon in history.

    With his .303, the British infantryman pacified the Boers and defeated the Germans to win two world wars. It is the rifle that the Anzac troops fired as they were slaughtered by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk at Gallipoli. The rifle with which Lawrence of Arabia captured Aqaba. It is the rifle that cut down the Sikhs at Jallianwala Bagh in 1919 and the Dalits at Ghatkopar’s Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar in 1997.

    Jacob Snider was the inventor of the gun’s mechanism and the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield was the manufacturer. Rudyard Kipling sent this gun into legend in his poem The Grave of the Hundred Head:It is the rifle of Mumbai police and of the Afghan resistance. I find the .303 a beautiful gun to look at. With its wooden sturdiness, it has a dignity that many modern guns, like the plastic M16, do not.

    The Indian Army’s standard issue Insas is possibly the ugliest gun in existence. Gurkhas interviewed after they went over the top at Kargil said they picked up the Kalashnikovs of the fallen Pakistanis because they were better and more accurate than their own guns.

    The greater beauty of the .303, however, came from its being reliable and brutally effective.

    In The Rifle Story, John Walter writes that an experiment in 1900 showed that the .303’s range was effectively 1.8km. This is why, for a century, Afghans have held on to this gun of their fathers.

    The gun they’ve sniped Britishers with, Russians with, and now Americans with.

    The quick-firing AK-47 is useful when overrunning trenches (which is why it’s an “assault” rifle). But it is not accurate at distance. When Afghans got the Kalashnikov in the 1980s, many warriors kept their old rifles. The New York Times carried a feature on arms captured in Afghanistan including one WW-II .303 that was patched up but still working.

    The .303 had some great innovations. The first came from its mechanism, invented by James Paris Lee. It could reload quickly and trained infantrymen could let off 20 rounds in 1 minute with great accuracy.

    The rifle’s full name is the SMLE. The LE obviously stands for Lee-Enfield. S is for short but the .303 is short only by 19th century rifle standards. Modern police forces around the world carry assault rifles (like the AK series) or still smaller submachine guns (such as the Uzi).

    These are compact and easier to fire in restricted urban spaces and indoors. The .303 is a rifle from the era of trench warfare, and infantry arrayed in battle lines. It is not an urban weapon.

    The M stands for magazine, and this was the second great innovation.

    The .303 carries 10 rounds and was the most capacious rifle of its time. Germans facing British and Indian troops armed with the new .303 often reported that they had faced machine-gun fire. This training and disciplining under British officers, I repeat myself, is what produced the modern Indian army.

    The massacre of Mumbai happened with the Pakistanis firing their AKs from the hip and the Mumbai constables firing back with their .303s.

    It was the chosen weapon of the British Commonwealth military forces. Photo: Shooting.com.au

    It was the chosen weapon of the British Commonwealth military forces. Photo: Shooting.com.au

    Jacob Snider was the inventor of the gun’s mechanism and the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield was the manufacturer. Rudyard Kipling sent this gun into legend in his poem The Grave of the Hundred Head:Why didn’t they hit anything?

    If I remember the videos from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus correctly, one constable fired with the rifle’s stock loosely under his armpit instead of on the shoulder. This guaranteed that the .303’s kick would send the bullet over the Pakistani’s head. The generations of training in firing the .303 Indians have received has totally worn off.

    We’ve also stopped making the gun. It used to be made at the Rifle Factory Ishapore in West Bengal. But it doesn’t make them any more and doesn’t need to.

    [​IMG]

    Rifles become inaccurate and unusable with time when their rifling (the spiral groove in the barrel from which the weapons get their name) is worn out from shooting.

    There’s no chance of that happening in India, which has no budget to spare for target practice.

    And so the .303 will be around for another century, even if not in the hands of our constabulary.

    Source:http://www.livemint.com/2012/08/09210722/The-Indian-Army8217s-303-s.html
     
    SPIEZ, W.G.Ewald and pmaitra like this.
  2.  
  3. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    Messages:
    6,687
    Likes Received:
    2,357
    yah, when it comes specially to making it !! They produce guns which even Nepal Army throws away...
     
    mayankkrishna likes this.
  4. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Messages:
    31,663
    Likes Received:
    17,163
    Location:
    EST, USA
    Cross-posting:


     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
    W.G.Ewald and mayankkrishna like this.
  5. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    Messages:
    6,687
    Likes Received:
    2,357
    .303 Sniper Rifles (still held in India by CPMF)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    W.G.Ewald likes this.
  6. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    Messages:
    6,687
    Likes Received:
    2,357
    Indian Army fought the chinese with this rifle !!

    And still IA has no rifles because of indegenious efforts ?
     
  7. Sunder singh

    Sunder singh Regular Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2012
    Messages:
    535
    Likes Received:
    143
    Location:
    FROM NAINITAL NOW IN CHENNAI
    i have used this gun when i was a cadet in ncc it 3rd class gun it kick back like a horse put marks in ur shoulder ever time u have to cock eveb time reline to ur taget to much wast of time. same thing with slr but semi autometic but insas which in used with amry attachment camp with GR is very much comfortable
     
    Dinesh_Kumar likes this.
  8. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    Messages:
    6,687
    Likes Received:
    2,357
    It produces tremendous amount of force. With a good telescope, this can be accurately fired at 1000 yards.
     
  9. ALBY

    ALBY Elite Member Elite Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Messages:
    1,990
    Likes Received:
    1,490
    Location:
    KOTTAYAM,KERALA
    Are you sure the .303s with scopes are of Indian para militaries? Coz the last one doesn't look like Indian due to the striations or cut marks in its hand guards. Any way does any one know whether the .22 version of SMlEE available for civilian market?
     
  10. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    Messages:
    6,687
    Likes Received:
    2,357
    The photos are not of Indian rifles.
    I have fired .303 Snipers so I am sure of it. Could be those have been phased out now.
    .22 is available in civil and almost all makes depending on your pocket.
     
  11. Predator

    Predator Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    Messages:
    542
    Likes Received:
    260
    article written by Aakar Patel, stopped reading after that, another bunch of lies and invented history from the jholawalla
     
    sayareakd likes this.
  12. Predator

    Predator Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    Messages:
    542
    Likes Received:
    260
    mister dodo is back to his old ways of badmouthing DRDO and its products

    just goes to show he has never handled INSAS and all his "facts" are creation of his own mind

    Indian Army finds INSAS rifles reliable

    NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 6: Intensive tests on INSAS rifle, the Indian Army's mainstay, have confirmed its "robustness and reliability" even in "intense operational scenarios."

    The result of the tests, conducted at Mhow between August 18 and 20, would be communicated to Kathmandu, which had complained about the rifle's "unreliability" and blamed it for the reverses it suffered against the Maoists.

    The Army's Infantry School in Mhow tested 44 INSAS rifles of the Platoon Weapons Division, simulating an "intense operational scenario". The rifles were put through alternative tests of short-burst firing and single-shot firing.

    The report of the tests says the rate of fire and performance during high cyclic load was "acceptable".

    A total of 12,237 rounds were fired. The total number of "stoppages" where rounds get jammed during continuous use was under one per cent, a vindication of the Army's stand, since the international norm for small arms is two per cent.

    The report says out of 44 rifles, only 15 faced stoppages, and only three more than eight stoppages. Barring the three, the average stoppage was only 0.66 per cent, the report adds.
     
    gokussj9 and Kunal Biswas like this.
  13. The Fox

    The Fox Regular Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2012
    Messages:
    457
    Likes Received:
    267
    Location:
    Bangalore
    what is the current 303 or 308 rifle the indian army has
     
  14. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Messages:
    31,663
    Likes Received:
    17,163
    Location:
    EST, USA
    Are you talking about the SMLE? India has the 308, which is the 7.62 NATO, but 308 is not exactly 7.62 NATO. India stopped making .303 SMLEs and started making 7.62 NATO SMLEs, and then moved over to FN-FAL/SLR, and then to INSAS.

    Some .303 SMLEs remain, but more of 7.62 NATO SMLEs are in use today, AFAIK.
     

Share This Page