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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Wire Cutters Mounted on SMLE

Tom A McCluskey

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Hi all,

I have enclosed quite a well known picture of the 4th Bn Worcestershire Regt armed with SMLEs; they also have an unusual wire cutter clamped onto their rifles, just short of the foresight.

How did these cutters work, as in what did the soldier physically have to do to get it to function? And, were they any good against German wire?

In advance, many thanks!


Tom McC


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Hello Tom. I belive they were spring powered, but of course you had to get to the wire alive to use them, may have worked under cover of darkness, but durning daylight with the guns trained on the wire. I suspect chances of success very poor.

There is an intresting article about barbed wire here




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They worked on a mechanical pivot. The soldier had to catch the wire in the guides/jaws and push forward. The wirecuters would rotate back closing the jaws and cutting the wire.

I've used my pair (MkII) on some pretty heavy wire and the cut was fairly easy.

Joe Sweeney

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