The Infantry & Small Arms School Collection at Warminster also holds a most unusual variation of what is catalogued by them as a Pattern '13 rifle. This a not unreasonable annotation, as the rifle is evidently built around a heavily modified version of the Mauser action on which the trials P'13 and production P'14 rifles were based. In the mid-1930s the War Office was preparing for a potential requirement for the use of small-arms to combat light armoured vehicles. Already in the pipeline was Captain Boys' design for an infantryman portable purpose-built anti-tank rifle, and his Boys .55 calibre Anti-Tank Rifle is covered on this site, including in its several prototyped configurations. Another option, even more portable, was a high powered individual infantry weapon. A separate development team at Enfield was led by Captain J.R. Ainley, and, in common with Captain Boys' anti-tank rifle, the resultant high velocity weapon shown on this page became known as the "Ainley Rifle". Very shortly before the commencement of the Second World War, in mid 1939, the trialling of two prototypes was already under way. The proposal had been for a weapon producing a muzzle velocity in the region of 3,700 feet per second, and the testing of various calibres of ammunition up to this point resulted in the selection of a .276 inch cartridge. The calibre of this round, however, was the only similarity to that of the original P'13 rifle; it was effectively a magnum cartridge. Two prototypes were built at Enfield and, subsequently, orders for four trials rifles were given; two for production by the Birmingham Small Arms Company, and two by Accles & Shelvoke Ltd. The former two were serial numbered 3 & 4, and the latter pair 5 & 6. No.3 is the Warminster rifle illustrated on this page, and No.4 was originally in the Enfield Pattern Room, but now lies in the National Firearms Collection at the Leeds Royal Armouries.
page still under construction
This quite unusual conversion is assumed to have been built for small calibre practice purposes by a full-bore supine shooter.
It is presently held in the collection of the National Rifle Association's Museum at Bisley, Surrey - on loan from Mr. James Hallam.
The rear-sight has long-since been removed from the heel of the butt, no doubt for use on another rifle. The fore-sight is also missing from the dovetail about two inches in rear of the muzzle.
The fore-end woodwork has been heavily modified by the removal of the upper part of the forward section, and with additional clearance rearwards towards the barrel reinforce, rendering the rifle effectively semi-free-floating barreled.
The nose-cap, barrel-band, tanget rear-sight, volley sight and upper handguard wood furniture have been dispensed with, and the spurred forward section of the under fore-end becomes the rest for the rifle in the crook of the legs being the manner of the supine rifle shooting position a la Soper.
That the rifle was also once fitted with a target rear-sight suitable for the more usual prone position is evidenced by the tapped screw-hole in the centre of the left-hand side of the butt-socket, which held the fastening screw for the side-mounting plate to which such a folding aperture sight would have been affixed. (See the Parker and Parker-Hale rifle sights page)
Images by courtesy of the Trustees of the N.R.A. Museum
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