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RIA: Semiauto FAMAS

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The French FAMAS was one of the first bullpup rifles to be adopted and built in large numbers by a military power. It was adopted by France in 1978 at right about the same time as the Steyr AUG was being adopted by the Austrian military. Bullpup rifles offered a short overall length without sacrificing […]

Vintage Saturday: Life and Death in the Mud

French soldier standing over German dead. Souain, France, ca. 1915.(Bibliotheque Nationale de France Francois-Mitterrand)

World War One Soldiers’ Loadouts

The kit of a French Private Soldier in the Battle of Verdun, 1916

A reader sent me a link to a pretty cool image gallery showing the basic clothing and equipment of five different major combatant powers from mid-WWI. I have re-uploaded the individual photos in case the original links go dead (click to enlarge each photo).

The kit of a French Private Soldier in the Battle […]

Vintage Saturday: Folding Transport

French bicycle soldier with an 1892 Berthier carbine

Not just any bicycle, but a folding Gladiator bicycle!

He can also use it as a rifle rest!

 

Or camouflage and cover…?

You can see the entire 13-photo set here. Thanks to Denny for pointing these pictures out!

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Vintage Saturday: Fixed Bayonets

French soldiers attacking in the Argonne in 1915

French Poilu attacking uphill in the Argonne in 1915

RIA: Cripple Stock Shotgun

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Okay, so the name may not be considered very PC today – you could also call this a cross-dominant stock. The concept was to allow a shooter to mount the gun in one shoulder but sight with their opposite eye. This was useful for cross-dominant shooters (ie, right handed but left eyed) or shooters […]

RIA: Darne 1892 Rotary Shotgun

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The most popular shotgun made by the French Darne company was their 1897 sliding breech side-by-side, which saw sales and use worldwide. Before that, however, Darne invented a rotating breechblock system – first a series of external hammer varieties in the 1880s and then this hammerless Model 1892. It is a great example of […]

French Marine Commandos with CETME Rifles

Wolfgang Riess, one of the Commandos who used these CETMEs, later to work as an H&K weapons technician

Wolfgang Riess, one of the Commandos who used these CETMEs – later to work as an H&K weapons technician. This story comes from his notes.

I was doing some reading up on the early roller-delayed rifles (in Blake Stevens’ exquisitely technical and detailed book Full Circle: A Treatise on Roller Locking) and came across […]

French M14 Conversion – the Gras in 8mm Lebel (Video)

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The French adopted the Gras as their first mass-issued metallic cartridge rifle in 1874, replacing the needlefire 1866 Chassepot. Quite a lot of Gras rifles were manufactured, and they became a second-line rifle when the 1886 Lebel was introduced with brand-new smokeless powder and its smallbore 8mm projectile. When it became clear that the […]

Vintage Saturday: Liberators

An old  French couple, M. and Mme. Baloux of Brieulles-sur-Bar, France, under German occupation for four years, greeting soldiers of the 308th and 166th Infantries upon their arrival during the American advance.  November 6, 1918.

An old French couple, M. and Mme. Baloux of Brieulles-sur-Bar, France, under German occupation for four years, greeting soldiers of the 308th and 166th Infantries upon their arrival during the American advance. November 6, 1918. (click to enlarge)

This is a pretty widely-published photo, but it sure is a good one. It also shows […]