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Wait, Go Back! The SMLE MkIII* Wartime Simplification

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The British entered World War One with a technically excellent rifle, with lots of bells and whistles. By 1916, the war was taking a previously unimaginable toll on the industrial capacity of the Empire and rifle production had to be economized. This led to the adoption of the MkIII* pattern of the Lee Enfield, to reduce cost and speed up production. The MkIII* omitted the windage adjustments on the rear sight, the front and rear volley sight elements, and the magazine cutoff. Around the same time, stock discs stopped being stamped with unit information (to avoid giving military intelligence of troop distribution when rifles were captured) and eventually deleted entirely.

The Pattern 1907 bayonet was also changed, although this does not coincide with the MkIII* rifle. In 1913, the British decided to delete the quillon from the standard bayonet. A great many bayonet with quillons were already in service, and those would be used in World War One, although many were modified in the field to cut off the quillons to avoid them hanging up on barbed wire or other obstacles.

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