At the end of World War Two, the Mauser factory complex was in the French occupation zone, and more than a few Mauser engineers went to work for the French. Among them were Ludwig Vorgimmler and Theodor Löffler. These two men joined the Centre d’Etudes et d’Armement de Mulhouse (CEAM) and worked on the French program to develop new small arms. Specifically, they were involved in programs to create both a semiauto carbine to fill the role of the US M1 Carbine and also a rifle to take the role of the German Sturmgewehr.
What we are looking at today is the last in the line of CEAM’s carbines. These began using a proprietary 7.65x35mm cartridge, but this was changed to .30 Carbine in the late 1940s. This uses the roller-delayed mechanism first developed at Mauser during the war, and incorporates many features of the MP44. It also has an integral bipod/handguard and a side-folding stock. The H&K type bolt head locking lever had not yet been developed, and this model instead uses a counterweight in the bolt to prevent bolt bounce.
Vorgrimmler and Löffler were competing against each other (and the other French design houses), and Löffler’s ideas were mostly chosen over Vorgrimmler’s – although none of these designs were ever adopted (the French chose to retain their 7.5x54mm rifle cartridge instead). In the wake of these selections, Vorgrimmler left France to work for the Spanish at CETME, where his continued work on the roller-delayed system would eventually lead to German adoption of the G3 rifle. Löffler remained at Mulhouse and worked on other designs, although none were successful.
Many thanks to the French IRCGN (Criminal Research Institute of the National Gendarmerie) for generously giving me access to film this exceptionally rare specimen for you!