Oh! What a Lovely War

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Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)

Oh! What a Lovely War is a 1969 musical by Richard Attenborough which depicts events of the First World War (1914-1918) from the outset to the armistice. It is based on the 1963 stage production of the same name. Told through the eyes of mainly British soldiers, statesmen and civilians, the film presents a cynical and satirical view of the war using popular songs of the period. The film follows the generic Smith family both at the front and at home as the war escalates and begins to take its toll.

The following firearms were used in the film Oh! What a Lovely War:

Contents


Webley Green Revolver

In the opening titles a Webley WG revolver, commonly known as the Webley Green, is pictured.

.455 Webley-Green.
A Webley-Green is one of the many WWI relics featured in the opening credits.

Webley Mk.VI

Multiple British officers can be seen carrying Webley Mk VI revolvers, the standard British sidearm at the time. At various stages in the war, however, shortages forced Britain to obtain alternative models to supplement the Webley from companies such as Colt and Smith & Wesson.

.455 Webley Mk. VI.
A British Major and Lieutenant Bertie Smith (Corin Redgrave) inspect a trench with presumed Webleys holstered.
An officer with his Webley drawn prepares to give the order to go over the top.
Counting down the seconds until the attack with a Webley cocked.

Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE)

The Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE) is seen in the hands of British soldiers throughout the film. The SMLE Mk. III was the standard issue rifle to British and Commonwealth forces during the Great War although older models such as the SMLE Mk. I and CLLE (Charger Loading Lee-Enfield) were still in service. From 1916 onwards, a number of expedients were made with the rifle to speed up the manufacturing process. These simplified models were designated the SMLE Mk. III* and lacked some features of the regular Mk. III such as adjustable rear sights and magazine cut-off plates which prevented the use of the magazine.

.303 SMLE Mk. III.
The cocked action of an SMLE in the opening titles.
The muzzle of an SMLE with an early 1907 pattern bayonet with a hooked quillon fixed.
What appears to be a mock-up dummy SMLE in the hands of a British soldier.
British troops at Mons engage the advancing Germans with rapid fire from their Lee-Enfields.
A soldier stands guard with his SMLE.
An attack begins as British troops leave their trenches with bayonets fixed.

Mauser Gewehr 1898

In one scene German soldiers are resting in a forest. In the background they appear to have Mauser Gewehr 1898 rifles although this is uncertain as thay are too far away or are partially obscured, making definite identification difficult.

Mauser Gewehr 1898, 7.92x57mm.
German soldiers gathered in some woods with their Mausers

M1917 Enfield

The M1917 Enfield was adopted for service by the US Army due to shortages of 1903 Springfield rifles. The M1917 is essentially a .30-06 variation of the .303 Pattern 1914 rifle produced in Britain. Given that this film was shot in Britain, it is more likely that the rifles shown are P'14 rifles intended to represent M1917s.

.30-06 M1917 Enfield.
America enters the war and US troops march with M1917 Enfields.
American soldiers barge past the British General Staff.
M1917s silhouetted with fixed bayonets.

Various Smallbore Rifles

Young men try their luck shooting at targets made to resemble German soldiers on Brighton Pier using smallbore (most likely .22) rifles. Their 'prize' is an army uniform and they are sent off to war. Some of the pump action 22 rifles are Winchester Model 62As, which would be anachronistic (the 62A wasn't built until 1940). The 62A resembles the correct model Winchester Model 1906 and apparently was supposed to impersonate the older rifle.

Winchester Model 62A Pump Action Rifle - 22 LR. Began production in 1940, was an upgrade to the Winchester Model 1906 pump action 22 rifle.
Some men take potshots at mock-up Huns.
Grandpa Smith encourages one of the Smith boys at the shooting gallery.

Vickers Mk. I Machine Gun

After success with Maxim guns, the British began to produce their own machine guns by modifying Maxim's original design in 1912. These Vickers guns saw service both on land and mounted in aircraft as well as at sea. A Vickers appears in the opening title sequence of the film as well as in the distant background in other scenes.

.303 Vickers Mk. I.
A Vickers mounted on a tripod in the opening credits.
A section of a 250-round canvas belt showing Mk. VII .303 ammunition. Mk. VIII ammunition was developed by the Second World War for use specially in Vickers guns.

QF 13-pounder 9 cwt

The Quick-Firing 13 pounder was used in an anti-aircraft role by the British during WWI and was usually found mounted on the flatbed of a truck. These guns were used to protect strategic targets such as airfields and supply columns.

A QF 13-pounder 9 cwt mounted on a Thornycroft lorry.
A QF 13-pounder is seen in the background as troops march past an abandoned unidentified artillery piece.

Mills Bomb

Mills hand grenades can be seen in multiple scenes in the film. The Mills Bomb was adopted as the No. 5 grenade in 1915, later models included the No. 23 and No. 36. The Mills remained in service through the Second World War and into the 1970s.

Mills Bomb Hand Grenade.
A Mills grenade in the opening sequence.
A soldier juggles with Mills bombs whilst impersonating Charlie Chaplin. Whilst this may seem dangerous in reality, it is unlikely that fuses would have been put into these grenades before reaching the front line. The grenades shown have green stripes painted around them identifying the explosive inside as Amatol.



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