Q: "Why is that flag under that gun?"
A: See the description above. Example: The Brazilian Expeditionary Force used US equipment, so Brazil is represented by a 1903A3.
Q: "I see several No.1 MkIII's"
A: I count the EY as separate but yeah, I have two No.1 MkIII* I'm working on breaking it up.
Q: "Why isn't X gun here?"
A: I'm not aiming for every gun. Just every country represented. Also it's incomplete.
Q: "Why isn't X country here?"
A: Again, this collection is incomplete.
Q: "Wasn't the X rifle the primary service arm for Y country?"
A: Yes, it probably was. But it was also the primary for Z country. So I chose Y country's second standard rifle, or third, or something they used almost exclusively over the crap every other guy fielded. The gun is supposed to remind me of the country.
Malaya: U.S. Carbine, Caliber .30, M1 [7.62×33mm]
The M1 Carbine found its way into the hands of just about every allied nation's troops at one point or another. I've included it under the heading of British Malaya as a great many were used by the native Malayan Peoples' Anti-Japanese Army. Their presence created a great tension with the return of the British administration.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/1orUYN6
Italian North Africa: Carcano M38 Cavalry [6.5×52mm]
The M38 Cavalry followed the military in every theater. I've elected to group the Italian North African regions under one banner. Native troops were given a variety of guns and these were prized.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/rYZdTeC
French Levant: Berthier Mle.16 Carbine [8×50mmR]
This Berthier Mle.16 carbine has been included to represent the native recruits for the French Army of the Levant, which included Syria and Lebanon during WWII.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/v42Ir8j
French Equatorial Africa: Lebel Mle. 1886 M93 R35 [8×50mmR]
The Lebel R35 was used in a number of regions of the French Colonial Empire, but I've placed it with French Equatorial Africa. It just seems like they appear often in images from that region during the war.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/v723FVw
Canada: Winchester M1894 [7.62x51mmR]
The government approved the purchase of somewhere between 2,000-3,000 Winchester 94s in .30 W.C.F. The men of the militia gave favorable reports of the gun, and it is even claimed in some articles that the men requested them specifically.
These Winchesters were Canadian property marked on the left side of the receiver, at the back of the fore stock, and at the base of the butt stock. All known examples are within the 1,300,000 serial range and were manufactured in 1942. They were also outfitted with special sling swivel bands and British web slings.
Historical Image: http://i.imgur.com/yOBbISv.gif
Iran: Mauser M1309 Cavalry Carbine [7.92×57mm]
I've included this M1309 Cavalry carbine because it takes up less safe space than the long rifle.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/GKOSnPU
Manchukuo: Arisaka Type 44 [6.5×50mmSR]
The Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo was setup in 1932 and carried on through the war. The native Manchurian Mauser rifles were, for a short time, produced in 6.5 but eventually the Japanese provided armament in the form of Arisaka rifles. Manchukuo had a heavy cavalry presence and the Type 44 saw wide issuance.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/S9Jvlns
Czechoslovakia: Mauser vz.33 [7.92×57mm]
The primary arm of the Czech army was the vz.24 rifle. This rifle was also used by Romania and the former Czech state of The Slovak Republic. I've assigned it to the latter and so I'm forced, in order to vary my collection, to use the Czech secondary equipment. These rifles saw battle as the various internal ministries were called upon (much like our modern National Guard) to defend the country. Most known incidents of the Gendarmerie fighting were stalling tactics against Hungarian advances.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/E63pxMM
Germany: Gewehr 33/40 "Mountaineer's Carbine" [7.92×57mm]
I've included the G33/40 as Germany's rifle, as the Kar98k is doing duty for some of their foreign volunteers.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/OnaeKpF
Bulgaria: Steyr-Mannlicher M1895/30 [8x56mmR]
A great many were sold on contract to Bulgaria. When Austria and Hungary updated their rifles from 8x50mmR to 8x56mmR in the 1930s, Bulgaria did the same. Additional Austrian M95/30 rifles were supplied by German in 1939. These were known by the designations 1938g and 1939g depending on original production.
This rifle saw plenty of duty in both wars, but converted stutzens were the standard arm of Bulgaria in WWII. My example here displays the Bulgarian roaring lion crest, meaning it was a WWI holdover.
Historical Photos: http://imgur.com/rcaiJZE
Britain: Lee-Enfield No.5 MkI [7.7×56mmR]
I've included this carbine under the heading of Britain as they really were never picked up in the colonies. The No.5 was carried into both the European and Pacific theater and was popular with paratroopers too.
POV: http://imgur.com/HR6OAN4 & http://imgur.com/SPU6sWp
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/4QOv6E3
Greece: Mannlicher-Schönauer M1903/14 M30 Carbine [6.5×54mm]
Funky Magazine: http://imgur.com/oZicb9o
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/u8xzmDe
USSR: Mosin-Nagant M38 Carbine [7.62×54mmR]
While the M91/30 was the primary arm of the Soviet Union, the longer rifle is serving another region for the collection. Instead the the M38 stands as a proud banner.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/jasNane
Italy: Carcano M38 Short Rifle [6.5×52mm]
As the main rifle for WWII nothing could represent Il Duce's regime better.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/pORSjXY
French North Africa: MAS Modèle 36 [7.5×54mm]
The reliable MAS did not make it far before the outbreak of war and despite being France's main rifle on paper, many more Lebel and Berthier rifles and carbines saw service. It did, however, remain the standard through the war and many more were produced afterwards.
The rifle did make it into the hands of many North African Spahis and served on with the Free French whenever ammunition was available.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/e5LfYNl
Poland: Mosin-Nagant wz.91/98/26 [7.92×57mm]
The primary arms of the Polish military were various Mauser designs. Each, however, was essentially a clone of another available design seen elsewhere in this collection. Second behind the Mausers were these unusual Mosin conversions, used by their Gendarmerie and rear-echelon troops. During the all out invasion they were certainly put to use. I also like how this rifle visually represents the confluence of German and Russian cultures that could be found in Interwar Poland.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/jxdM4dY
Belgium: Mauser Mle. 1935 [7.65×53mm]
MAE began converting in 1935. Actions were completely ground, rebarreled and restocked. By 1940 the war was upon Belgium and FN was turned to the task of producing Mle. 1935 rifles from scratch. Their design is somewhat unremarkable with all the differences from the Kar98K and vz.24 being a matter of fittings and details. They are, however, somewhat rare and FN variations are scarcer still.
Historical Photo: http://i.imgur.com/d3KvPSc.jpg
Belgian Congo: Mauser Mle. 1889/36 [7.65×53mm]
The Model 1889/36 saw use at home and in large numbers abroad. This rifle represents the soldiers of the Belgian Congo, who assisted with the British invasion of Italian holdings in Africa.
Historical Rifle: http://imgur.com/K006Vci
Yugoslavia: Mauser M1924 [7.92×57mm]
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/QYImRLY
Croatia: Steyr Mannlicher M1895/24 [7.92×57mm]
In the late 1930's, with war again looming, the government contracted with FOMU to convert the en-bloc Mannlichers into something resembling the M1924. 7.92mm Mauser barrels, straight from the M1924 assembly lines, replaced the original 8x50mmR. Sights were also replaced and a full M1924 handguard fitted. New bolt heads completed the ammo change over. Permanent en-bloc clips were installed in order to create a fixed magazine. Metal was milled away to permit stripper clip loading.
When Yugoslavia fell it was split into a number of smaller states. These were all essentially occupied by various Axis forces. The Independent State of Croatia, however, took on a nationalist fervor beyond the others. The Ustaše's zeal for racial cleansing dwarfed the Nazi's. Much of their equipment was taken from Yugoslavian stores and new German gifts. The M95/24 found its way into their naval and second line troops' hands.
Magazine Mod: http://i.imgur.com/7OufK.jpg
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/rGWfcV9
Slovak Republic: Mauser vz.24 [7.92×57mm]
While it was used domestically and in nearby Romania, it was the exclusive service rifle for the war time state of the Slovak Republic. Slovak marked vz.24 rifles are extremely rare.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/sbGmv6C
Ethiopia: FN Mauser M30 [7.92×57mm]
Our example is a Belgian-made Mauser M1930. Nearly identical to the earlier mentioned Yugoslavian M1924, this rifle is a standard large ring configuration.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/z2Uycq7
Switzerland: Karabiner Model 1931 [7.5×55mm]
Switzerland has been included, despite its neutral status, because it avoided invasion by both sides by maintaining a modern and very potent military. Swiss planes also brought down fighters and bombers from both sides and Swiss soldiers patrolled their borders and forcibly interned all trespassers.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/WvfAzYW
U.S.A.: Rifle Caliber .30, M1 [7.62×63mm]
While we've become accustomed to this piece of history, nothing could be funkier in 1936 than an 8-round, semi-automatic, aperture sighted with elevation and windage rifle that can be field stripped without tools. Go USA!
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/NeEw5ff
Spain: Mauser Karabiner 98 Kurz [7.92x57mm]
The Kar98k remained the standard rifle of Germany throughout the war, but I've elected to let the rifle stand for Germany's foreign volunteers. The largest unoccupied, non-belligerent volunteer force being the Spanish Blue Division which served proudly on the Eastern Front.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/kEVAQot
China: Mauser Type Zhongzheng [7.92×57mm]
Multiple arsenals produced the rifle before and during the war. Because of Japanese attacks, several were moved about, broken down, reassembled, combined, or split up. These can lead to much confusion. The example here is from the 1st Arsenal.
Historical Photo: http://i.imgur.com/KQ0MDaf
Brazil: U.S. Rifle M1903A3 [7.62×63mm]
During WWII the 1903 received some updates in order to standardize usage with the M1 Garand and M1 Carbine. The most notable change is that the rear leaf sight was swapped with a receiver mounted aperture. Additional changes continued in order to speed manufacture, such as simplified rifling and stamped steel parts.
The 1903A3 was issued in all U.S. theaters of war. It was also given to allies and is included in this collection as the primary arm of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force whose volunteers served with US equipment.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/8fnAExK
Formosa: Arisaka Type 99 [7.7×58mm]
While the Type 99 became Japan's official rifle, it never replaced the Type 38 in numbers. I've included it not for Japan but for the annexed nation of Taiwan. This nation was Japan's great experiment in complete conversion of a populace and native Taiwanese were encouraged to become "Japanese." Volunteers' service in the Imperial Japanese Army was more fluid and integrated as they could be fielded anywhere a native Japanese soldier would go.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/2eorkTv
Union of South Africa: Lee-Enfield No.4 MkI [7.7×56mmR]
The No.4 MkI was issued broadly and could represent a number of countries. This one, however, is marked by the Union of South Africa.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/Sj78ml4.jpg
Australia: Lee-Enfield No.1 MkIII* [7.7×56mmR]
Eventually the long rifle proved to be just too cumbersome and the British decided to standardize it and all carbines into one "short rifle" pattern. The new rifle became the Short, Magazine-loaded, Lee-Enfield (SMLE). Further revisions from conception through WWI evolved the rifle to the Mk.III pattern. The elimination of the magazine cutoff and some easing of manufacturing made for the Mk.III*. With the introduction of the later No.4 and No.5 rifles the naming convention was changed to No.1 Mk.III*. Unfortunately, the wide use of this rifle threatens to break my one rifle per country rule, so variations are going to matter.
This particular rifle was produced in Australia and is a standard No.1 MkIII*. Given some time and luck I will trade this unfortunate duplication out for an Australian No.1 MkIII* H, which was a heavy barrel modification done for gun clubs during the Interwar Period. These guns were donated back to the military and production of heavy barrels continued, leading to the H.T. marksman's rifle.
Property Mark: http://imgur.com/Ihnxy6b
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/rYz08LE
Iraq: Lee-Enfield No.1 MkIII* [7.7×56mmR]
Property Mark: http://imgur.com/pcS5A0Q
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/nihdEtu
India: Lee-Enfield No.1 MkIII EY [7.7×56mmR]
This particular rifle is just 2 years too new and will be replaced with another later. Many West African forces favored the reinforced grenade rifle and so this piece honors them.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/bFxZqBT
Philippines: U.S. Rifle Model of 1917 [7.62×63mm]
The 1917 rifle didn't die off in the Interwar Period. A great many were on hand at the outbreak of WWII and were given away to allied nations. Many were also refurbished with Johnson Automatic barrels. It was also the standard rifle of the fledgling Commonwealth of the Philippines.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/ZvGCtfz
Finland: Mosin Nagant M28 [7.62×54mmR]
I've selected the M28 because of its involvement in both Winter Wars. This particular shortened and improved Mosin-Nagant was produced from former Russian M1891's for Finland's Civil Guard (separate from the Army and a novel in itself)
Ukraine: SVT-40 [7.26x54mmR]
This rifle was a favorite when captured by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and is second only to the PPsh 41 submachine gun when searching photos of this unusual guerrilla army. In the hands of the Ukrainians the SVT-40 was turned on Germans, Russians and Poles.
Historical Photo: http://i.imgur.com/zbxtIv0.jpg
Mongolia: Mosin Nagant M1891/30 [7.62×54mmR]
While this was the principle arm of the Soviet Union, it was also gifted in strong numbers to an eastern ally. The Mongolian People's Republic fought a number of border disputes with Japanese, Manchurian, and Inner Mongolian troops through WWII. They were equipped with Russian arms and armor in one of the earlier bids by the Soviet Union at propping up other Communist regimes.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/tRks7Dd
Thailand: Mauser Type 46 [8x52mmR]
Years later the Thai government switched to a Buddhist calender and the RS 121 was retroactively corrected to Type 46. In 1926 (Buddhist 2466) an improved spitzer bullet and longer cartridge were adopted. Type 46 rifles were rechambered and their sights shaved down for the flatter trajectory ammunition. Both cartridges continued to serve but I would like to swap my original 8x50mmR for an 8x52mmR one day.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/obwnwRQ
China: Hanyang Type 88 [7.92×57mm]
Before, during, and after the war with Japan, China was engaged in a civil war between Nationalist and Communist forces. By the time of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, the communist forces were suffering heavily. They did, however, maintain their own state, with several core provinces, as the Chinese Soviet Republic. Much of their equipment was taken from Chinese and, later, Japanese forces. This earlier Type Han rifle was a common find for them and so represents this other Chinese nation.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/o9dppCv
Mengjiang: Mauser Liao Type 13 [7.92x57mm]
When Japan setup the puppet state of Manchukuo they began production of Arisaka rifles and imported a great many carbines. These displaced native "Manchurian Mausers" were donated in the thousands to the Inner Mongolian puppet state: Mengjiang.
Historical Photo: http://i.imgur.com/pD9Peld.jpg
Sweden: Mauser M1896 [6.5x55mm]
Despite Sweden’s neutrality, I have decided to include the country in the collection because over 10,000 volunteers assisted the Finnish military in their fight against the Soviets during the Winter War. These volunteers carried with them their own rifles and equipment from Sweden, most of which were left in Finland after their withdrawal.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/EIYU0uX
Norway: Krag-Jørgensen M1894 [6.5×55mm]
The Norwegian Krag differed in several key ways from the Danish and heavily favored to the American variation. It features a Mauser-style flag safety on the bolt, drop-open loading gate, and one-piece magazine and action. While that last bit made for a stronger receiver, it also made the Norwegian Krag very complicated and expensive to machine. Various long rifles and carbines served from 1894 until the German occupation of the country in WWII. Unlike Denmark, Norway fought the invasion for several months and even after official surrender a great many participated in resistance movements.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/9JNdjfN
Korea: Arisaka Type 30 [6.5×50mmSR]
The Type 30 had long been retired from active service by the time WWII kicked off but many remained in stores. Some were converted late in the war to more modern patterns. Original rifles and carbines were also dusted off and issued to rear guards. One particular set of users were conscripted Koreans who were regularly put in charge of enemy POWs. So this gun represents the annexed country of Korea and its many forced soldiers and laborers.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/sHt1cXU
Shanxi: Arisaka 6-5 Rifle [6.5×50mmSR]
Its inclusion might bring some controversy, but I have it here to remind me that China was a BIG place with a great many personalities at play. Yan Xishan was something of the last surviving Chinese warlord and his military and political maneuverings kept him in power despite Chiang Kai Shek's rise. While Shanxi was, technically, just a province of Nationalist China it is apparent that it served another master. So in order to remember all those extra micro countries that came and went in the Northeast of China I've kept a piece just for Shanxi.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/xkOr59N
Burma: Arisaka Type 38 [6.5×50mmSR]
The bolt was made with the minimal number of moving parts and is powered by a single spring that moves against the firing pin and the rear safety knob. This knob also serves as a shield against vented gases from ruptured cases and is designed to be of minimal obtrusiveness and to be manipulated easily by gloved hands. The Type 38 was also intentionally designed for field service and repair and can be disassembled with no special tools.
While it was the most common rifle in the Japanese military, I've elected to let a more obscure firearm take its place. This rifle, used and cancelled from service, represents arms provided to the Japanese puppet State of Burma.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/okFb8ni
Japan: Carcano Type I [6.5×50mmSR]
These rifles saw little fighting and can generally be found in good condition. They were used at least once though at the Battle of Kwajalein. So Japan gets an oddball and the collection gets a little weirder.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/9bAvga1
The Netherlands: Mannlicher M1895
Numerous carbines and other variations abound. This rifle is the original continental Model 1895. These long rifles, many antiques, were used in the defense of the Netherlands.
Historical Photo: http://i.imgur.com/jsJNXmF.jpg
Dutch East Indies: Mannlicher M1895 KNIL [6.5×53mmR]
This rifle represents the native Indonesians who suffered invasion and kept up an active resistance through the war in the Pacific.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/KR4TX8a
Albania: Carcano M1891 [6.5×52mm]
By WWII the M1891 long rifle had been replaced by a number of short rifles. A great many WWI surplus rifles, however, had been sold to the Kingdom of Albania. These guns were briefly turned on their creators during the Italian invasion. They were also re-appropriated by the conquerors for issuance to puppet Albanian and Balkan region troops.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/8uKLTPY
Latvia: Ross Rifle Mk.III [7.7×56mmR]
Existing stores found their way to Britain and were given away as allied aid. Latvia received a fair number of Ross Rifles and P14s in .303 but these were of little use when the USSR came a knocking.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/TeYpcpU
French West Africa: Lebel Mle.1886 M93 [8×50mmR]
The rifle featured a sturdy, forward locking bolt, later modified in 1893 to help vent ruptured case gases. It loaded from a tubular magazine which could carry eight cartridges; another in the elevator and one in the chamber brought the total to 10.
Even before WWI the Lebel was showing its age, but it soldiered on and was still in ready supply at the outbreak of WWII, especially in the colonies. This piece sits in my collection for the French West African colonies who found themselves caught between Vichy and the Free French forces before being dragged across Europe in order to liberate France.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/t5AXE7v
Estonia: Mosin-Nagant M1891 [7.62×54mmR]
With the collapse of Tsarist Russia, the M1891 rifles were scattered into a myriad of armies. Former states readily adopted the rifles on hand and by the time WWII was beginning to boil the unmodified M1891 was still the primary arm of Estonia. After Poland was secured, Soviet forces turned on the Baltic states. While capitulation was quick, guerrilla resistance continued beyond WWII.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/90Lrr5b
Denmark: Krag-Jørgensen M1889/10 [8x58mmR]
Denmark was the first country to adopt the Krag-Jørgensen rifle in 1889 as it narrowly beat out the American Lee. These Danish guns feature the, then vogue, barrel jacket from the German Gewehr 88. They're also unique amongst Krags because Denmark specifically requested the drop open loading gate be made to swing forward instead. It's presumed this was to facilitate clip loading but it was never all that smooth an operation. The initial safety for the Danish Krag was just a half cock position on the large cocking piece. This was unsatisfactory and in 1910 nearly every one was fitted with a thumb safety behind the bolt. These guns sat silent in neutral Denmark until the German invasion of WWII. Even then very few were used in defense.
Historical Photo: http://imgur.com/3anf5sp
Italian East Africa: Vetterli M70/87/15 [6.5x52mm]
Fascist Italy thirsted for colonies and through the mid thirties conquered broad swaths of territory in Africa. Wherever they marched they would pick up local auxiliaries in the form of Ascari. These troops were often issued inferior arms like the converted Vetterli. My example here is actually branded on the stock with the AOI marking of Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana).
Stock Stamp: http://imgur.com/ZOQK9vM
POV: http://imgur.com/meUbnzn Historical