1

I was watching the Netflix series The Devil Next Door and there was was video footage of a Nazi death camp. What was strange was that one of the guards appeared to be wielding a Lee Enfield No4 rifle with it's spike style bayonet.

From Episode 3 at about the 11 minutes 17 seconds mark: enter image description here

Is there some German rifle that I could be mixing it up with? Any idea how and why they would be wielding a British rifle?

  • Movies and the telly have never been known for historical or scientific accuracy. Assuming that you did see a SMLE Mk 4, have you ruled out the possibility that the producers and their armourers are using it because a Mauser wasn't available and they decided that most people watching wouldn't notice and, even if it was pointed out to them, wouldn't give a toss? Have you ruled out the possibility that they didn't give a toss either? – C'est Moi Nov 14 at 22:11
  • Added image from referenced scene showing weapon in question, as per Meta discussion concerning Fair Use. – justCal Nov 15 at 14:38
  • Thanks, I wasn't sure if a screen capture would be acceptable. – Eric Nov 15 at 17:14
  • How could anyone possibly determine that that is a Lee-Enfield rifle, simply from a few inches of the barrel and bayonet mount? – jamesqf Nov 15 at 17:30
  • The spike bayonet is very distinctive. Also the amount of barrel that sticks out of the end of the forestock and the position of the sight is very distinctive. My dad used to own several Lee Enfields. He had pretty much every variant including a Jungle Carbine. He also had one of these bayonets. – Eric Nov 15 at 17:54
4

With the picture material available I would like to challenge the frame of your question.

The picture seems to show multiple German soldiers in uniform (although only parts probably because parts were taken off for intensive labor) carrying what looks like it might be a dead body while an armed and properly, but differently uniformed soldier is standing in the front.

This would be highly improbable being filmed in a still working death camp. No German soldiers would have done physical labor with hundreds of prisoners around to be used as forced labor. And German soldiers would not need a guard.

What this most likely shows is a scene after the liberation of the camp where German prisoners of war were used to clean up the camps, removing the dead victims and burying them. An allied soldier is standing guard over them. From their uniform and weapon I would assume the guard is British. For example compare the obvious German cap in the left with the very British looking cap of the guard.

That explains why it's a British rifle in the foreground.

  • That makes sense. – Eric Nov 15 at 19:01
  • If you take a close look, the soldier is British. Take note of his the beret and distinctive LBE harness. – NothingToSeeHere Nov 15 at 20:34
7

Apart from the Germans using quite a few captured weapons and other pieces of equipment, you've also been watching a Netflix work of fiction.

Are you sure the footage is historical that you saw, and not staged as part of filming that series? A LOT of WW2 reenactment uses historically incorrect items, most people never notice. And that includes a lot more than rifles. Aircraft, vehicles, ships, are all substituted (sometimes with fiberglass covers to make them look more authentic) for things they aren't.

And a lot more Lee Enfields and Garands survive than do Mausers.

  • 1
    There seems to be little, if any reenactment in this series. It's a documentary about John Demkanjuk. – Eric Nov 15 at 3:55
4

Germany captured a significant number of enemy weapons (and in some cases fabrication lines) and issued them to second-line troops. As John pointed out in the link in his comment, the Lee-Enfield became the Gewehr 283(e).

  • 1
    The German designations for British weapons are here. – John Dallman Nov 14 at 9:06
  • But just because they had names for this stuff does not in itself mean they used it themselves. In our time, NATO has names for Russian equipment, calling a MiG-23 a "Flogger", a Tu-16 a "Badger", and so on; that does not mean the various western air forces use them. – kimchi lover Nov 15 at 3:00
  • With cgi, etc it's getting harder and harder to differentiate original footage from recreations but this really looked old. It was grainy but not the fake grainy footage that you sometimes see. – Eric Nov 15 at 3:33
  • You can see what I'm talking about in Episode 3 at the 11 minutes 17 seconds mark. They're talking about Ukrainian SS men training at the Trawniki itraining camp. Its hard to say if the footage is actually of that camp or some other location but it appears to show soldiers in German uniforms having executed some people in what appears to be civilian clothes. One of them has what certainly looks like an Enfield No 4 with a fixed bayonet. – Eric Nov 15 at 3:46
  • 2
    @kimchilover, NATO assigns reporting names. Germany assigned captured materiel inventory numbers. And some stuff was used in truly amazing numbers, like the Pistole 35(p). – o.m. Nov 15 at 5:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.