In my previous video on the Albion-production No2 revolvers, I said that the removal of the single action capability and hammer spur from the design was done because of problems armored vehicle crews had with the hammers catching on hatches. That was wrong, and today I want to correct it and also explain the interesting series of circumstances that led to that story being commonly accepted.
Thanks to viewer Thomas for not simply correcting me in the previous video, but having the specific documented evidence to explain the error. That is how scholarship improves!
There is a kernel of truth at the tank crew theory, and that is that the armored corps did specifically request a hammerless version of the No2 in 1936. However, when testing of this pattern was done in 1938, it was not adopted because of anything having to do with tank hatches. Instead, as List of Changes item B2289 from June 1938 explains, it was primarily a matter of simplified handling and simplified training combined with a minimal difference in practical effectiveness that led to the DAO model being adopted.
My original source for my video was the book “.380 Enfield No.2 Revolver” by Mark Stamps and Ian Skennerton. This was published in 1993, and during its writing the tank crew explanation was apparently confirmed by Pattern Room curator Herb Woodend. It is hard to blame the authors for accepting him as a trustworthy authority on the subject, although we can see now that they should have dug deeper. That sort of digging is made a bit more difficult int he case of British small arms by the fact that the List of Changes is under Crown Copyright, which makes it less accessible to researchers than documents form other countries.
As for myself, I used the open-topped tanker holster as a reason to accept the tanker explanation, but I should not have. Actually testing the fit of the revolver in that holster would have shown me that despite being open-topped it completely covers the hammer. That should have been my sign to investigate the question further!