Despite using the arguably backward L85A2 (which Ian did a great series on that Nathan S. covered), after World War II, the British were one of the foremost thinkers in terms of individual small arms. Almost immediately after the war, the British Army and start arsenals started development of various bullpup designs, which ultimately resulted in the adoption (briefly) of the EM-2 bullpup – an arguably fantastic weapon system especially if one likes the .280 British.*
*Of note, it’s interesting to see how the intermediate power ~6.5 to ~7mm cartridges are coming back into fad. The British were on the cusp of adopting an outstanding “all around” round until the US insisted on its home-grown SCHV project – the 5.56 NATO. Personal thoughts off…
Ian over at Forgotten Weapons has been able to go hands-on with the original EM-1 bullpup rifle. The rifle, who’s form inspired the EM-2, but the weapon operated using a combination gas piston and roller-locked bolt. The operating system had promise, but as Ian shows during the teardown of the weapon, it was entirely too complex for an individual soldier battle rifle.
The video is an aspiring weapons designers dream, as the EM-1 has only been shown rarely, and not in detail before. In the video, he shows how the weapon derived some of its inspiration from the German Gerat 06. For the full history of the rifle along with gratuitous details, check our Forgotten Weapons’ video on the Thorpe EM-1 below: