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MAS-36 LG48: A Grenade Launcher for the Bolt Action Infantry

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Once it became apparent that the MAS-36 was going to be used in a substantial amount of frontline combat (to the contrary of its intended role as a reserve or secondary rifle), it became important to provide it with grenade launching capability. The French military really liked rifle grenades as a way to have explosive support firepower always available with the frontline infantry, without needing to call for specialized units like mortar crews.

After various experiments with clamp-on launchers (like and including the WW1 VB launcher), the LG48 (lance grenade, or grenade throwing) rifle was adopted in 1948. It used the same basic projectile as the Mle 1937 50mm light mortar, but with a new tail assembly fitted which allowed it to slide over the muzzle of a MAS-36 rifle. The LG48 rifle was essentially just a MAS-36 with a new nosecap assembly which included a simple grenade sight and a range-setting adjustable sleeve over the barrel.

The LG48 pattern rifles were made both brand new in the St Etienne factory and also supplied as conversion kits to be applied in the field. Neither type ever received new or special markings to identify their grenade launching status. The Mle 1948 grenades and the LG48 rifles were declared obsolete in 1968, as the French had switched to the NATO standard type of rifle grenades in the early 1950s. In 1968 the existing rifles were ordered to be retrofitted back to standard MAS-36 pattern, and their lack of special markings makes those retrofitted rifles virtually indistinguishable from original MAS-36 rifles. The surviving examples, like the one in this video, are almost all from nations which received the rifles as military aid from France and were not subject tot he French retrofitting order (this particular rifle was imported as part of a batch from Lebanon in the 1990s).

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