In the latter stages of World War One, the German military was looking for new arms for its Sturmtruppen. Without a reliable self-loading rifle design to use, they instead focused on pistil caliber arms. The first to be used was the existing lP08 artillery Luger, fitted with a drum magazine. At the very end of the war, these were being replaced by Bergmann MP-18,I submachine guns. But there was another gun that was tested but not adopted – the 1917 trench carbine variation of Mauser’s C96 “Broomhandle” pistol. Only about 40 of these guns were made as prototypes and trials models, and they were not adopted for reasons that are not entirely clear (but cost is probably a significant element). Only a few examples survive, and they vary substantially in their details. In addition, they are substantially different from both standard C96 pistols and also the sporting carbines made before the war.
All the 1917 trench carbines used a magazine developed from the 1906/08 pistol; an excellent double-stack, double-feed type. Magazines of 10, 20, and 40-round capacity were made, although all known examples were only semiautomatic (the full-auto Schnellfeuer Mauser’s would not come until the early 1930s).