Yugoslav 8mm Chauchat M1915/26 Photos

Reader Mihajlo sent me a couple cool photos of Yugoslav troops with Chauchats converted to 8x57mm. Here’s his commentary:

Here’s a picture from WW2 Yugoslavia I’d like to share with you. The guy on the right is holding a Dutch M.20 6,5 mm Lewis gun and the other guy is holding a Yugoslav Chauchat CSRG M1915/26 modification in 7,92x57mm. There is an interesting story about these Dutch Lewis guns. After the fall of Kingdom of Yugoslavia in April 1941. and occupation of Serbia by the Germans, some collaborator units appeared (SDK-“Serbian Volunteer Corps” ; SDS-“Serbian State Guard”). These units were not very reliable and they often smuggled weapons to resistance groups (especially the Yugoslav Army in Fatherland). Germans responded by giving these quisling forces weapons in calibers that were very rare in Serbia at the time: French MAS 36 rifles, MAS 38 submachine guns, FM 24/29 lmg, 1921 and 1928 Thompsons, Dutch Lewis guns.

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Thanks, Mihajlo! This type of conversion is something we don’t get to see very often at all.

40 Comments

  1. Very interesting. I had often wondered why Prvi Partizan ammo factory made 7.5mm French ammo back to the Tito period of Jugoslavia…

  2. The magazine well conversion on the CSRG ( Chauchat ) appears to be well done and the magazine itself seems to be quite sturdy. Both modifications would have improved the reliability of the gun considerably in harsh field conditions.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but I took a closer look at what appears to be a cut-out in the side wall of the magazine, judging by the fact that the area outlined is darker ( indicating a shadowed interior ). If this is the case, the new magazine would, unfortunately, have obviated some of those gains by allowing the ingress of debris ( like the original 8mm Lebel version’s magazine ).

  3. I have friend who built up my CSRG 1915 Dummy (from both original and ersatz parts) and who is now completing a full scale scratch built CSRG 1918 (he is using a thinned down MG 13 mag to represent the 1918 mag and while not identical it does fool the eye enough to be satisfactory). I prefer the design over the CSRG 1915 but of course the CSRG 1915/26 is more something in between. The mag seems longer than the CSRG 1918.

  4. On an aside still looking for three chauchat bipods. I was finally able to find at lease the part that the bipod screws on for my dummy and my friend made a the attachment part for the bipod using a 14/1 metric tap but it was a tough fit due to shallow grooves but it made it work by using brass for the part, the 15/1 tap might work better, but it would be great to find original or a quality repro. There are a bunch of CSRG 1915’s out there without bipods.

    Also found a CSRG capture gun used by the Vietnamese either in the 1950s against the French or in the early part of the US Vietnam war at an aviation museum in Fort Worth. It was missing it’s bipod also.

      • My email is

        alsumrall2001@yahoo.com

        One reason I would like to get one is to perhaps as a master make repros for two more and maybe help others.. Definitely more than interested. My goal is to not only fix my need but help others get bipods for their CSRGs. I just about cry when I see a Chauchat without a bipod.

        Thanks for any help.

      • Vaarok: Did you have a chance to see if your friend would be willing to part with his extra bipod. If I can get my hands on one I might be able to replicate some. Lots of Chauchats out there with missing bipods. I have an ok ersatz one mounted on the screw now, but still looking for an original or a close working replica. alsumrall2001@yahoo.com

        Al

  5. Chauchat was Belgian conversion to 7.65x53mm originally. Yugoslavia got those in 1920s and rechambered them to 7.92x57mm I round-nosed loading due the huge amount of that type of ammo in war booty from Turkey and Austro-Hungary.
    Chauchats was used only by reserves since mid-30s, and was hence more common then more modern weapons when resistance started as a lot of reserves were called and issued weapons, but never saw combat (and hence capture) before collapse of Yugoslavia.

  6. Voluntary Weapon of choice scenario:

    This job is a follow-up mission since the first attack on the nuclear facility mentioned in the Wz.28 commentary post only slightly delayed the testing of the prototype “Metal Gear.” The weapon is currently disassembled and within the next hour will be transported by train to the frontlines. Should “Metal Gear” arrive at the front, the resistance and for that matter all friendly coalition troops against the “Evil Overlord” will be annihilated. Our contacts in the defecting “Quisling” forces have managed to smuggle a truck-load of weapons to our squad. Unfortunately, the weapons are obsolete compared to those wielded by the evil regime’s regular troops. Be aware that the enemy soldiers outnumber the squad at least 100 to 1 and have advanced personnel detection radar, so don’t try an all out assault.

    Objectives:

    1. Capture or destroy “Metal Gear.” The former option is if the train is stopped before it reaches its destination.
    2. Capture or assassinate the enemy commanding officer and key personnel who operate “Metal Gear.”
    3. Free POWs if you find them
    4. If the “Evil Overlord” is present, neutralize him at all costs and end the war!

    The smuggled gear and other options are listed below, take your pick.

    1. Greek Mannlicher-Schoenauer 1903
    2. Portuguese Kropatschek M1886 Colonial Rifle
    3. Breda Model 1935 PG
    4. Farquhar-Hill rifle
    5. Type 100 SMG
    6. Mauser C96
    7. FN Model D
    8. Crate of anti-tank mines
    9. Just go with your Mk 22 Hush Puppy, a knife in your off-hand, and a backpack full of C4
    10. Or per the usual, screw the budget and request a supply drop of your favorite toys

    This mission is totally voluntary. You are not required to participate if you do not wish to do so. And if you choose not to participate, don’t bother to respond to this message. It will self-destruct. Please keep any and all criticism of this post humane and free of foul language.

    Thank you,

    Cherndog

    • Cherndog I always love your “Weapon of Choice” scenarios, They are just so interesting and mentally stimulating. Personally, I think that I would set the anti-tank mines under the rails linked to the last one closest to the destination and used as a master detonator for the rest derailing the entire train. For a personal weapon I believe that I would chose the C96 with shoulder stock. They are fairly reliable, the Mauser cartridge is accurate out to ranges greater than your average German SMG and easily concealable when compared with most other long arms in the choices, Though the back pack of C4 would be nice to have “Just in Case”. For my troops, I would chose the FN Model D and all the filled mags that they can carry for covering fire.
      I usually try to avoid selection 10 as I always assume that the mission presented is of a “time sensitive nature”

    • “will be transported by train to the frontlines”
      Just plant explosive on bridge, see Операция «Рельсовая война» (Operation Rails War) or Операция «Концерт» (Operation Concerto)

      • Okay, Daweo, you and Hoppy have gotten the best way to ensure that the super weapon will never be used on the frontlines. But if the bad guys expected trouble, they might have put POWs on a boxcar in front of the locomotive in order to discourage mining the tracks. If the presence of hostages changes your approach, how would you stop the train?

    • Would a voodoo doll work for such kind of accurate assassination?
      Silent, long range, relatively concealable & rustic

      • Let’s not get into the occult here. You might get the wrong person if your sample material placed on the doll isn’t from your intended victim! And if you are targeting the overlord himself, expect him to have some body doubles.

        I would recommend taking the Mannlicher-Schoenauer and customizing it with a suppressor for an assassination… Unless you’d rather empty a drum from the Farquhar-Hill right into your prey.

  7. Other than Japanese light machineguns and Finish LS-26 LMG I am not sure of any other WW2 small arm that was not used in Yugoslavia. I know someone who’s grandfather carried Mexican 7x57mm Arisaka (rifle is still alive and owned by his grandson) – he was in Spain as volunteer and brought back that rifle, had it for whole WW2.

      • I know a collector who has one, acquired locally but a guy who originally had it did not know where it came from. He was selling it as “Strange German Luger”… Possibly from Soviets? He also has Nambu Type 14, acquired from a guy whose father traded ten bottles of rakija to Soviets for it back in 1944. I have seen Suomi, original Finish one. Arisakas in 6.5mm were there from WW1 already. There were Danish and Norwegian Krags. Few Spanish Mausers from heaven know where (possibly bringbacks from Spanish Civil War?). Madsens of every possible caliber. Dutch Lewis, Mannlicher rifles and Schwartzlose MGs. Greek order Colt Army Special revolvers.
        Even in mid-’80s there was a shitload of obscure things still in storage, including G41(W) rifles…

    • There are a lot more WW2 guns that did not get to Yugoslavia than just Japanese LMGs and LS-26. What about Australian guns like Owen and Austen? A Japanese Type 100, Type I or a Type 99 rifle in 7,7 mm, a Vickers-Berthier or Charlton Automatic Rifle? Type 26 revolver or Type 94 pistol? What about all of those Chinese rifles? Volkssturm guns, like VG 1-5? M 1941 Johnson rifle and LMG?

      • Not Yugoslavia, Balkans as a whole. And your point does stand, through some things you would never expect pop-up sometimes – like a picture of Albanian communist militia with Type 99 Arisakas, IDK where they got them, maybe Chinese offloading junk in ’60s?
        Friend has Type 26 revolver, but that is from his ancestor who was in Russo-Japanese war.
        Vietnamese K-50M SMG was captured from Albanian guerrillas in 1998, so I would not be surprised by anything.

  8. Nice article, it is good to see that someone managed to do something to make the Chauchat more functional. Goes to show you that even Hitler’s draconian Anti-Gun attempts and laws couldn’t stop those who wanted guns to resist his tyranny from having them once he showed his true colors.

    • I don’t know what domestic Nazi gun laws in Germany have to do with this topic (gun restrictions on occupied territory for non-German citizens were of course much more strict), but they were not quite as draconian as some people (especially the US pro-gun crowd) makes them sound. Associating anti-gun laws with Nazis may be an attempting political strategy for US domestic gun politics, but it isn’t really historical. In fact the Nazi gun laws were hardly any more strict than British gun laws at the time (both limited primarily ownership of handguns and full-auto weapons), and today many European countries as well as Australia have similar or even stricter gun laws than the Nazis did. Apart from the Jews and other “non-Germans” the 1938 laws were in general less strict than the 1928 laws given during the Weimar Republic.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_legislation_in_Germany#Gun_regulation_of_the_Third_Reich

      As for disarming the Jews; the German Jews were only 1% of the population and they had no history of armed resistance. Most did not own guns even before 1938. The standard response of European Jews to pogroms and persecution since the Middle Ages had been conformism, and that is what most of the German Jews did. People don’t realize that prior to 1942 they had no way of knowing than the Nazis would actually try to murder all the Jews, so there was no immediate reason for desperate actions like armed resistance.

  9. Looks like the Yugoslavians worked the kinks out of the Chauchat conversion. In the picture the Chauchat looks much more handier than the Lewis. I’d go with the Chauchat.

  10. I took photos of some ‘Chauchats’ at at the ‘Military Museum’ in Beograd in 2015, and I can’t find these oval holes in the magazines in any of my pictures (although I did not go back in 2016, so… ) in that trip back, I posted them on Gunboards, and nobody on Gunboards seemed to know what these Chauchats were. I thought, at the time, they might be Partizan conversions to 8mm using MG30 magazines, as the Hungarians converted their rimmed 8mm machine guns to 8mm Mauser, and what use did they then have for the magazines? My friend in the Vojvodina confirms the split/division with that area was between Hungarians, etc… so it wasn’t out of the question. This makes me believe they are earlier. It was just interesting. Yes, NOTHING would surprise me, gunwise, anywhere in The Balkans. Perhaps there are oval cut-outs in the magazines in the guns in Beograd, and I missed them? I don’t think I’d miss something that obvious. What are the guns in the Muzej?

    • Those pics are from the Belgrade Military Museum, from a special exhibit like 5 or 6 years ago. Are you sure that the Chauchat you have seen in the museum was facing you the same way as in these pics (from the right side)? There are no oval cuto-uts on the other side of the magazine, just on the right.

      • I looked through my pictures off my almost-defunct Euro-phone from the dimly-lit Museum, and you are very correct: not a single display shows the ‘oval’ side! So that’s what they are. Thank you/Hvala. And when I typed ‘I didn’t go back in 2016’ I meant I did not go back to the War Museum: I was in Beograd and Pancevo for 2 weeks in 2016, but I went, instead, to the Museum of Yugoslav History and picked up the Museum Catalog of the exhibition of Tito’s hunting guns. I don’t know where you live, Mihajlo, but the site, the Museum in Beograd, is exceptional. I’ll be back in Serbia in 2017.
        Dovidjene.

  11. Hey, Ian, I do still owe you an article on the Webley .22 Single Shot, but I also need, I think, to explain something, as I would love, very much, to go shooting next time I’m in Serbia: I got a 5-day transit visa into FRY in the Winter of 1993 and simply walked off the train. I ran out the visa, nobody seemed to care, and I managed to get out with no problem at all in the Winter of 1994 with that visa with a border guard who I am pretty sure was high. My experience was personally shattering. It’s hard to explain, but it’s been almost 25 years, and I’ve been going back, and people I meet, Serbs, are split between those who truly believe I am a CIA/George Soros Spy, and those who, well, just don’t believe me about anything.
    What I did was impossible. I’m just, you know, ‘some guy’. I was trying to help out some friends. That’s all. I ended up in a cauldron.
    Gun note: when I came back, eventually, one guy I knew, working as a host at a Greek restaurant, told me that JNA Paratroops carried Stg44s: I thought he was delusional; but in fact they did.
    I’m still trying to figure out how to get my stockpiles of Buspirone and Zoloft into Serbia without getting busted for drug trafficking. I can’t get them onto Turkish Airlines.
    What format do you use for gun posts? I’ll get the Webley thing done.

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