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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 […]

RIA: Ortgies Pistols

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The Ortgies is a pistol whose interested aspects are often overlooked on the assumption that it is just another identical .32 ACP blowback pistol. Well, it is that – but it is also more.

Mechanically, the Ortgies has a rather unusual grip safety mechanism that is quite different from what we expect to see […]

RIA: The Jager Pistol and its Complex Reassembly

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The German military used a lot of different small-caliber pistols during World War One, and the Jäger is one of the most interesting of them. Its unique design was the result of needing to build pistols for the war effort on machines and tooling that were not suited for pistol production. The answer? Replace […]

RIA: Gewehr 1898 – Germany’s Standard WWI Rifle

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The Gewehr 1898 was the product of a decade of bolt action repeating rifle improvements by the Mauser company, and would be the standard German infantry rifle through both World Wars. Today we are looking at a pre-WWI example (1905 production) that shows all the features of what a German soldier would have taken […]

RIA: Steyr-Hahn Pistol Variations

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The Steyr-Hahn is one of the less glamorized pistols used in WWI, despite being made in quite large numbers (250,000-313,000, depending on who you read). The gun is an interesting mix of features, including bits from the Roth-Steyr M1907 and the early Colt/Browning 1900/1902/1903 pistols. As the M1912, the gun was the standard pistol […]

The StG-44 in Africa

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A while back, a video made the rounds of a cache of StG-44 rifles being found in (allegedly) Syria – I commented on it here, in fact. It was pretty much without any context, though. Where did they come from? How did they get to Africa, considering that the German Afrika Corps was never equipped […]

Mauser “Schnellfeuer”, or Model 712 Machine Pistol

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The Schnellfeuer, or Model 712, was Mauser’s answer to the Spanish production of selective fire C96 lookalikes. Just over 100,000 of these pistols were made by Mauser in the 1930s, mostly going to China (although some did see use in other countries, and also with the SS). They use 10- and 20-round detachable magazines, […]

Detailed Photos: Walther A115 No. 3

I did a video on this very interesting German prototype semiauto rifle a few weeks ago, and took one or two photographs at the same time. The genesis of the Gewehr 41 gas system is clearly visible, and it is also an interesting look at an early attempt at using primarily stamped components for a […]

Disassembly photos: Simson Prototype Blowback 9mm

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In the late 1920s, the Simson company built a handful of prototype pistols for consideration by the German military. Noises had been made about replacing the Luger with something more cost effective, and several companies moved to design options. The Simson pistol was chambered for the 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge (as the military wanted), but was […]