Dragoon Weapons

Enfield Rifles

 The three rifles pictured above all come from different manufacturers. When the Poles first arrived, England was still reeling from the mass material losses at Dunkirk. She therefore was having a difficult time arming not only her regular army but also had to contend with the Commonwealth troops and foreign forces training on English soil. The uppermost rifle is a left-over model from World War One. During the early years of the war, England couldn’t produce enough arms for herself. An Enfield design team contracted American arms makers such as Eddystone and Remington to produce the model P-14 in .303 calibre. Later on during the war the U.S. found herself in the same position as England and the production of the vaunted 1903 Springfield couldn’t meet demand. The U.S. therefore took the model P14, rechambered it to .30-06 calibre and sent many a doughboy to France with the newly designated P-17. Consequently, when the Poles first reformed their ranks on English soil in 1941, the P14 and P17 awaited them. Needless to say, the ammunition difference created a supply problem. The use of these rifles was considered a stop gap measure. There are many photos, however, of Polish troops using this rifle into 1942. 

The middle rifle is the more common WWII No 4 Mk. I. This weapon went into production in 1942. It stayed in production with various refinements in both England and Canada until well after the war. By 1944 when Polish troops entered the Normandy peninsula, this was the rifle that most of them were carrying.

     The bottom piece is also a hold-over from World War One. This was the reliable No I Mk III *. also in .303 calibre. Many Polish soldiers in the UK were using this rifle until just before the Normandy invasion. Some countries, like Australia, continued to produce this weapon throughout the war instead of switching over to the No 4 Mk I as in England.