The Vault

Vintage Saturday: Death in the Long Grass

The Liger of Malaya?

There are no lions here, so we must assume they are hunting (and being hunted by) Yamashita.

That’s a Dutch Madsen peeking out above the grass, there. Specifically designed with long bipod legs for this sort of terrain in the East Indies. I believe the photo dates to 1941.

 

18 comments to Vintage Saturday: Death in the Long Grass

  • That photograph would be in Indonesia. No telling which of the 8000 islands. A few months, likely, after the photograph was taken, those guns would be with the Japanese and the Blanda (Malay for white guy) dead or POWs.

  • Turk

    …I dig the Capstick reference. just sayin….(grin)

  • Earl Liew

    Judging from the posture and body position of the gunner as well as the relative heights of the gun and the grass, I agree that this particular Madsen has the long bipod. A slightly different but equally tall bipod was used in the version adopted by Siam ( now Thailand ). The gun in the photograph is the special short-barreled Madsen developed specifically for use in the Dutch East Indies during the 1930′s-1940′s, which makes it unique. The Siamese model had a slightly longer barrel with an extended conical slow-taper flash hider.

    Can anyone identify the rifles in the background?

  • Andrew Marcell

    The Madsen is a really nice weapon to shoot and had a very long run as an issue weapon. I am sure somewhere there is a rack of Madsens waiting to be issued again. The Japanese did not make wide use of captured Dutch weapons (except handguns) as they did US, Chinese and British weapons.Maybe their supply officers were burdened enough? I wish someone made a semi auto Madsen like the BREN,etc. I would buy one. Happy New Year we have to be vigilant this year to retain our rights.

    • Earl Liew

      Hi, Andrew :

      It sounds as if you have had some real hands-on experience with the Madsen. Would you be willing to share a bit more about your general impressions of the gun as well as the tactile feedback it provides ( at your convenience, of course )? Your opinions would be greatly appreciated.

      • FWIW, the biggest thing I recall from my range session on a Madsen (which you see a bit of at the start of every video) is that the wrong type of malf will jam it up really, really solid. As long as it’s running well, it’s a very nice gun to shoot.

        • Earl Liew

          Thanks, Ian. Your input is much appreciated, as always. I guess what I’m trying to garner from anyone who has had experience with the Madsen LMG is that almost intangible aspect that applies to every weapon — the “feel” or instantaneous connection the user has with the gun, for better or worse. How it falls to hand, the balance, the feedback the weapon is transmitting to the firer as it works, etc. A case in point is the Mosin-Nagant M91/30 rifle. I know that, in certain specific aspects at least, there were a few technically superior rifles of the same general vintage, yet none I have come across have had that “just right” all-around feel and perfect balance I personally get with a Mosin-Nagant. I am sure that there are others who feel the same way about other guns, and for whom another rifle would fulfill that requirement ( a case in point being the perennial .303″ Lee-Enfield ), and I have no issues respecting their opinions on the subject. After all, it is a very individualistic preference that is involved.

          • Andrew Marcell

            Sure I have fired the Madsen in 7×57 the M46 and I fired the same model in 30-06. I also fired an Imperial German model on 8×57. The weapons are very well balanced.The magazines are over built on the early model and can be loaded to 30 round and still work. The 7mm was the most accurate; the 30-06 was totally reliable and very easy to shoot.The German Model needs 150gr S bore WW1 spec ammo. They all had mounts for monopod in the buttstock..When one shoulders a Madsen it feels natural.The Bipod is light on all versions I fired. The weapon does not jump around.It is like a BREN but feels better due to the pistol grip stock.A full magazine is heavy and the rounded grip can give the feeling that the weapon will cant to one side. The early one had a charging handle that moved with each shot. You do not notice it. Some models have a locking bar on the Magazine body. The 30-06 one had a different mag catch (its been 20 years) They all strip easily and easy to maintain.The action is pure recoil operated. Its very easy to fire bursts and its light enough to fire from the hip or shoulder.It does get hot.Madsens need ammo loaded to the specs for the country that contracted for it. It is well balanced when loaded and all models point from the hip easily.Similar to the BAR in point shooting. Considering it was designed when machineguns were still new and its still in use in South America it has much to commend it.

    • Midwest Metal Creations does make a Madsen semi – we have one in the reference collection. If you keep an eye on classifieds like Weapons Guild and 1919a4.com you’ll see them come up for sale from time to time.

  • Peter the Great

    It seems Jomfru Madsen isn’t so bad in the hands of other nations. Too bad for the Norwegians, the building of their rifles and ammunition to the larger size of 6.5 Swede cursed them with a poor usage of the Danish made weapons.

  • Earl Liew

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and taking the time to answer, Andrew. The information you provided is a real eye-opener and will no doubt surprise more than a few people.

    • Andrew Marcell

      I hope it helps. I forgot to mention that most jams require a complete takedown and removal of the jammed round. It sounds onerous but it is not any harder to take down than a BREN and so much easier than a BAR ( sometimes I wonder why they were so loved) I wish you and my fellow collectors a Happy New Year.

  • Kyle
    The Dutch M95 Mannlicher photograph was beautiful. Must confess I know nothing about them. What are their calibers? Any source to buy one, price?
    Regards
    Pat

    • The Dutch Mannlichers are in 6.5×53.5R Dutch Mannlicher. :) The ammo is pretty hard to find, and mostly collector stuff (and to shoot effectively, you’ll also need to pick up an en bloc clip for them). The rifles seem to run between $200 and $300 depending on type and condition on GunBroker.

      • Earl Liew

        Hi, Ian :

        I know that you probably are already familiar with the details of what I am writing about below, but I thought I’d share it just the same for the benefit of other readers.

        There is a pretty good article by Bob Shell at bobshellsblog.blogspot.com from Tuesday, August 12th, 2008 entitled “The Dutch 6.5 Rifle” that provides a lot of information about the technical aspects of the Dutch 6.5 x 53R cartridge and how to reload it properly. Of equal interest is the additional information on how to convert a standard 0.303″ Lee-Enfield cartridge to 6.5 x 53R. Apparently, the cartridge diameter and rim are within tolerances, thus enabling easy conversion since only trimming of the case is needed to obtain the correct chambered length. This could help resolve the issue of obtaining an adequate ammunition supply for the 6.5mm Dutch Mannlicher.

        Bob Shell is a published firearms writer and reloader from Apache Junction, Arizona who specializes in crafting antique and obsolete ammunition.

        Another excellent reference source for data on vintage guns and ammunition, particularly the almost-dizzying array of European designs that proliferated from the late 1800′s into the early 1900′s, can be found in the Internet article entitled “Nieuwe pagina 1 — OldMilitaryRifles.EU” ; the web site is http://oldmilitaryrifles.eu/netherland/netherland.htm.

        I hope this will be useful for anyone who might be interested.

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