When WW2 pushed the Brits out of Europe, Winston Churchill pushed for the formation of a unit of men capable of raiding the French coast to keep the Germans off balance. These men became the British Commandos. By the very nature of their work, the commandos needed silent weapons, and William DeLisle delivered one of the best, the DeLisle Carbine.
Euroarms Italia's DeLisle, it's for sale!
William DeLisle's first prototype was a .22 caliber autoloader that proved the principle, and was then applied to a hodgepodge weapon made from Enfield, Thompson and Colt parts. The end result was impressive, indeed. The carbine was built around DeLisle's suppressor design, and improvement on Hiram Maxim's suppressor. An Enfield SMLE provided the basis of the gun, with the bolt modified to handle a subsonic version of the .45 acp round, and a turned down 7 inch barrel from the Thompson machine gun was added. The magazine well was modified with an adapter to take standard Colt auto 7 round magazines, and all this was buried in a 15 inch long suppressor with spiral shaped baffles that soaked up the sound.
17 prototypes were built at Ford's Dangenham Works and were tested against suppressed Sten's and came out far ahead. His gun was much quieter, the main noise was the firing pin and the working of the bolt. Both guns gave problems after 5000 rounds with clogged suppressors, however, Mr. DeLisle always contended that the guns needed to have the suppressor serviced after 500 rounds, and he was impressed his gun could achieve that many. The prototypes were immediately dispatched to Europe for trials in commando raids, in which they were favorably received. The gun went into production at the Sterling Works, also based in Dangenham.
Special Interest Arms DeLisle Carbine
In 1943 the need for the DeLisle Carbine vanished, as the Commando was re-organized. No more cross channel raids, as this was seen as strengthening the German defenses at a time when a major invasion was being planned. Commando operations in Europe after D-Day were conventional warfare. Only 130 DeLisle Carbines had been delivered before production had been stopped. According to Ian Skennerton some carbines had made it into Burma, and found useful in jungle warfare. Some were used by British Forces in the Korean War, and others were issued to British nationals during a guerrilla uprising in Malaysia. The Brits got a lot of mileage out of 130 guns, and probably still do as it was rumored to have been used during the Falklands War.
Many more guns than that have most likely been made by machine shops since. Special Interest Arms make a version and others with fake suppressors have been made. It is always a draw to the do-it-yourself crowd, as forum posts indicate. You can even get a resin made copy to just hang on the wall.
The following video is from kaboom63021's channel.
Death Delivering DeLisle on Scribd
Solid resin guns at Oz Gunworks and Militaria
The DeLisle Carbine on Rifleman.org
Repro DeLisle's on Valkyrie Arms