De Lisle carbine
De Lisle Commando Carbine
De Lisle Carbine
Type Carbine Place of origin United Kingdom Service history In service 1943-1965 Used by See users Wars World War II, Korean War Production history Designer William G. De Lisle Designed 1942 Manufacturer Ford Dagenham (17 prototypes)
Sterling Armaments Company
Produced 1942–1945 Number built 129 Variants Ford Dagenham Prototypes
Folding stock Parachute Carbine, only one example produced
Specifications Weight 8 lb 8.5 oz (3.74 kg), unloaded Length 40.5 in (894 mm) Barrel length 8.27 in (210 mm) Cartridge .45 ACP Calibre .45 Action Bolt action Rate of fire 20–30 rounds/minute Muzzle velocity about 850 ft/s (260 m/s) Effective range 200 yd (185 m) Maximum range 400 yd (365 m) Feed system 7 or 11-round detachable magazine Sights Ford Dagenham: Winchester rifle sight at rear, simple ramp with modified P-14 front sight protector at front.
Sterling models: Lanchester Mk I rear sight (later changed to Lanchester Mk I*), windage adjustable front sight.
Airborne model: Lanchester Mk I rear sight, windage adjustable front.
The De Lisle carbine or De Lisle Commando carbine was a British carbine used during World War II. The primary feature of the De Lisle was its very effective suppressor. That, combined with its use of subsonic bullets, made it extremely quiet in action, possibly one of the quietest firearms ever made.
Few were made as their use was limited to special military units.
The weapon was designed as a private venture by William Godfrey De Lisle, an engineer who worked for the Air Ministry He made the first prototype with a .22 calibre; this he tested by shooting rabbits and other small game for the table, near his home on the Berkshire Downs. In 1943, he approached Major Sir Malcolm Campbell of Combined Operations with his .22 carbine; this was informally tested by firing into the River Thames from the roof of the New Adelphi building in London. Combined Operations officials were impressed with the weapon and requested De Lisle produce a 9mm version. However, this was a failure. A third prototype, using the .45 ACP cartridge that was favoured by De Lisle, was much more successful. Tests of this showed the weapon had adequate accuracy, produced no visible Muzzle flash and was inaudible at a distance of 50 yards (46 m).
Later, official firing tests recorded the De Lisle produced 85.5 dB of noise when fired. As a comparison, modern testing on a range of handguns has shown they produce 156 to 168 dB when firing without a suppressor, and 117 to 140 dB when firing with one fitted.
Combined Operations requested a small production run of De Lisle carbines and an initial batch of 17 were hand–made by Ford Dagenham, with William De Lisle himself released from his Air Ministry duties so he could work full-time on the project; this initial batch was immediately put into combat use by the British Commandos. In 1944, the Sterling Armaments Company was given an order for 500 De Lisle carbines, but eventually only produced around 130. The Stirling version differed in a number of details from the earlier, Ford Dagenham version. Two prototypes of a further version, for Airborne forces, were made. These had folding stocks, similar to those fitted to the Sterling submachine gun.
During the remainder of World War 2, the De Lisle carbine was mainly used by the Commandos, although they also saw some use by the Special Operations Executive. E. Michael Burke, the American former commander of a Jedburgh Team, stated that a De Lisle was used by them to assassinate two senior German officers in 1944.
A number of De Lisles were shipped to the Far East and used during the Burma Campaign. The De Lisle would also used during the Korean War and the Malayan Emergency. It has been claimed the weapon was also used by the Special Air Service during the Northern Irish Troubles.
The De Lisle was based on a Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield Mk III* converted to .45 ACP by modifying the receiver, altering the bolt/bolthead, replacing the barrel with a modified Thompson submachine gun barrel, and using modified magazines from the M1911 pistol. The primary feature of the De Lisle was its extremely effective suppressor, which made it very quiet in action. So quiet, in fact, that working the bolt to chamber the next round makes a louder noise than firing a round.
The .45 ACP was selected as its velocity was subsonic, it could therefore retain its full lethality when used with a suppressor (supersonic rounds fired with suppressors generally have their power reduced, to avoid the crack of the bullet breaking the sound barrier). The Thompson gun barrel was ported (i.e. drilled with holes) to provide a slow release of high pressure gas into the suppressor that surrounded it. The suppressor, 2 inches (5.1 cm) in diameter, went all the way from the back of the barrel to well beyond the muzzle, making up half the overall length of the rifle. The suppressor provided a very large volume to contain the gases produced by firing, this was one of the keys to its effectiveness.
The Lee-Enfield bolt was modified to feed the .45 ACP rounds, and the Lee-Enfield's magazine assembly was replaced with a new assembly that held a modified M1911 magazine. The single-shot, bolt operation offered an advantage in that the shooter could refrain from chambering the next round if absolute silence was required after shooting. A Semi-automatic weapon would not have offered this option as the cycling of the bolt coupled with rearward escaping propellant gas would produce a noise with each shot. It was accurate to 250 metres (820 ft).
A reproduction of the De Lisle, called the DeLisle Commando Carbine, is currently manufactured by an American company, Valkyrie Arms.
- Sten—there were also suppressed versions of the Sten, used for similar work.
- Welrod pistol
- ^ Special Service Lee Enfields: Commando and Auto Models by Ian Skennerton. Published by Ian D Skennerton, PO Box 80, Labrador 4215, Australia, 2001. ISBN 0-949749-37-0. Paperback, 48 pp, 50 plus b & w drawings and photos, 210 x 274 mm
- ^ Rome, p.31
- ^ a b Rome, p.27
- ^ Rome, p.28
- ^ Rome, p.29
- ^ Silvers, Robert (2005). "Results". http://silencertalk.com/results.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-09.
- ^ a b Rome, p.29
- ^ Rome, p.30
- ^ a b c d Rome, p.32
- ^ Hogg, Ian; John Weeks (1977). Military Small Arms of the 20th Century. Arms & Armour Press. p. 128. ISBN 0-7869-1850-8.
- ^ a b "LRDG Weapons". The LRDG, Long Range Desert Group. BlindKat Publishers. http://lrdg.hegewisch.net/unlikely_weapons.html. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
- ^ "DeLisle Commando Carbine". Valkyrie Arms. 22 September 2011. http://www.valkyriearms.com/delisle.htm.
- Rome, Robert (June 1984). "WWII Silent Killer Still Lives". Gung Ho: 26–32. http://www.valkyriearms.com/delisle.pdf.
- Skennerton, Ian, SAIS No. 13: Special Service Lee-Enfields... Commando & Auto Models, Arms & Militaria Press, 2001, ISBN 0-949749-37-0
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