Ex-BAOR L42A1 Enfield Sniper Rifle dated 1980
Fitted with The British Army Green Military version PM6 X 42 Schmidt & Bender
Late contract version-- commonly know as The First Gulf War Spec
The L42A1 has a romantic mythical status of tanned SAS snipers in far distant lands, but the reality for many British Snipers was cold bleak raining days over looking a very cold bleak Soviets mechanised tank divisions in the far distance, there armour covered in a thick layer of snow and ice.
As they looked over into snow covered bleak landscape into the far distance, far beyond the horizon, a Soviet Gun line somewhere had already registered their position.
Welcome to British Army of the Rhine (BAOR)
Below : EFD (Enfield) 1980 dated , the rear sight has the metric stamp
It is always hard to know were to start with a L42A1 listing, due to its history and pre history.
In todays world, the L42A1 British Army Sniper rifle has an almost mythical status with collectors and shooters, but it has not always been held in high status and to understand this you have to go back to the ill fated L8 Enfield Sniper program in the mid to late 1960's.
The L8 7.62 Sniper rifle was based on the No4 Mk2 Action with integrated trigger system
and this model was the latest and last version of the Lee Enfield Service rifle. The L8 was a disaster under trial conditions, it was found that a standard un-scoped No4 Mk2 service rifle out shot a scoped L8 all trials condition. The L8 program was shelfed quietly hoping than no one would notices.
Later version L42A1 script and on the wrist M47c the war time code for BSA Shirley with the correct 1944 war code for BSA. No roman T on the receives
The problem was that the British Army had been promised a 7.62 Sniper rifle by the MOD & Enfield and awkward question were now being asked !
In the early 1960's the main part of the British Army was based in West Germany under BAOR (British Army of the Rhine) and BAOR was under resourced and its equipment was almost obsolete.
During the 1960 FV4201 Chieftain was the main British Army battle tank, but major engine problems plagued BAOR, this did not go un-notice by the Soviet Union.
The Chieftain tank had everything going for it, a great gun which was far better than any Soviet tanks of the time. State of the art armor and fully fitted air filtration equipment to flight in a Nuclear war zone. The problem was, its engine, the Leyland L60 which was the most unreliable tank engine in the world at that time. At any one times in the 1960's almost half the British Army's tanks were in for engine repairs. The Soviet problem was from a well dug in and hidden Chieftain tank waiting in ambush (no engine needed).
This was a big problem for the Soviets, if the British Army cannot retreat they will fight to the end, to the last man. But as the Soviet well understood any invasion plan needs speed and not to be bogged down by an Army that could not retreat and will fight to the end.
To over come this problem two of the most advance mechanised Soviet divisions were deployed opposite BAOR.
In a CIA Report published after the cold war had ended, the report had concluded that the amount of Soviet resources needed for a total quick victory over BAOR required 3 times more men, tanks and equipment than to overrun all the other combined NATO army's in West German at the time.
WW2 Holland & Holland inspection stamp
Metric converted Rear sight with NATO
stock number CR403
This was a big headache for the MOD and a Strategic planning meeting decided that the best way to halt a Soviet attack was to kill key Soviet commanders on the ground. There were two options available, either a Gun line (Artillery) who could register there guns quickly or Sniper teams. By the late 1960's BAOR were asking the MOD awkward question about there promised sniper teams deployment.
The British Army Green Military version PM6 X 42 Schmidt & Bender
About this time Bisley civilian target shooters were shooting cut down No4's fitted with heavy 7.62 barrels and there results did not go un-notices by the British Army who were based at Pirbright (a military range next to Bisley).
This resulted in Enfield going to Bisley to investigate and as a result of that the concept of the L42A1 was born.
NATO Stock number on scope mount CB470
After testing and evaluation the L42A1 was deployed around the British Army and the Royal Marines.
In late October 1979 it was notices by NATO intelligence and the CIA that both Soviets mechanised tank divisions opposite BAOR were on the move, it was noted they were being replaced by conscripts.
On the night of December 24, 1979, sending in some 30,000 troops with heavy Air support and four mechanised tank divisions plus two supporting gun lines, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan had begun.
Any threat to West Germany had disappeared over night, the Soviets Union now got bogged down in a war there never had a chance of winning (as the British Army had found out 100 years before) . The fall of the Berlin Wall soon came after and by the mid 1990's most of the British Army had withdrawn from Germany and were being redeployed to other hot spots around the world.
The Falklands War
But 8,000 miles away in the South Atlantic trouble was looming for two British Overseas Territories in 1982.
The invasion of South Georgia on 5th April 1982 by Argentine Navy forces seizing the control of the east coast of South Georgia, but un-known to the Argentine a small number of Royal Marines Commandos has just arrived on South Georgia after disembarking from HMS Endurance.
The Royal Marine commando's were equipped with L42A1 sniper rifles and one of their target was the Captain of the Corvette ARA Guerrico who was on the bridge of the Argentine Corvette, the Marines shot, just missing the Captain by inches. The Falklands war had begun and the L42A1 played its part in that campaign.
The First Gulf War
The swan song for the L42A1 came on the 17th January 1991 as coalition forces invaded Iraq, The First Gulf War had started but very little is know about the deployment of the L42A1 in Operation Granby, the latest British Sniper rifle.
The L96 was having issues with sand and it was withdrawn from front line service, then there was a rush to deploy the L42A1 most of which were at BAOR in storage.
Now fitted with the new British Army PM6 X 42 Schmidt & Bender sniper scope the L42A1 did a great job in oversighting the British front line.
During the ground phase, the British 1st Armoured Division of the British Army outflanked Iraqi forces.
It participated in the Battle of Norfolk the British Challenger tanks destroyed approximately 300 Iraqi tanks, including achieving the longest-range tank-kill in the war from three miles away (which is still a record today).
The British Army also inflicted heavy artillery and various other combat vehicle losses on the Iraqi Army.
The British Army destroyed approximately five Iraqi divisions in 48 hours of combat.
In the end BAOR received by far the majorly of all L42A1 that came out of Enfield and played they part in the Cold war right up to the First Gulf War in Operation Granby.
We understand that this Rifle was deployed at BAOR all its British Military Service life, but the jumping off point for deployment for Iraq was West Germany.
Full Military 1 (100 meters) to 6 (600 meters) on range drum
this is to range the sniper rifle as quickly as possible onto it target.
Manufactured in West Germany pre 1st October 1990 on the 2nd October 1990 West Germany did not exist anymore
The overall condition is very good, all parts are British Military in origin and most parts have a NATO Stock number stamped on. This is the last of the Lee Enfield sniper rifles which saw service from Northern Ireland to Sudan. It was the preferred Sniper Rifle of the SAS and Royal Marines.
This rifle has only seen military service and was sent to the London Proof house to be Civilian proofed.
It was Civilian proofed at the London Proof House last week.
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