The pistol that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand

The pistol that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand
The pistol that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand
Anonim
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It wasn't just Bonnie and Clyde that were killed with Browning's weapons. It was Browning who invented the pistol, with the shots from which, in fact, the First World War began …

“In the Belgian Browning, the bolt has no grip on the

barrel, but while it is under the pressure of powder gases, and then by inertia

together with the sleeve will begin to move back, the bullet will have time to leave the barrel …"

(V. L. Kiselev "Thieves in the House")

Weapons and firms. It's always nice to talk about the weapon that you, at least, held in your hands. So I was recently lucky to hold one completely unique pistol in my hands: the Browning M1910, noted for the fact that it was from it that the terrorist Gavril Princip shot at the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which ultimately became the reason for the First World War. That is, of course, not this particular pistol. But … this type. So I could well imagine its application and features of use.

However, this was not the first pistol of a famous gunsmith. Therefore, it is worth starting the story about his pistols from the very beginning. Namely, since 1895, when John Moses Browning decided to design, in addition to guns, a self-loading pistol. And as he decided, he did so!

The pistol that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Browning showed the first prototype of his self-loading pistol to Colt's Patent Firearms on July 3, 1895.

Its automation was unusual for that time and worked according to the scheme of removing part of the powder gases from the barrel. It was planned to use.38 caliber cartridges (9 mm). However, in January 1896, Browning proposed a new version of the design of the pistol, with automatic equipment operating on the principle of using the recoil energy of a free breechblock, which locked the barrel only due to the force of the return spring and the mass of the bolt, successfully combined with the barrel casing.

This version became the first pistol in which the bolt and barrel casing were a single piece. This pistol used relatively low-power cartridges of.32 caliber (7, 65 mm). However, the Colt company needed a military order from the US government, and the army and navy needed a powerful weapon with high firing efficiency. And this pistol seemed rather weak to them.

In just one year, 1896, Browning managed to create two more variants of a self-loading pistol for the company's requirements. The automatics of both worked by using the recoil force with a short stroke of the barrel, which in the first moments of the shot was coupled with the shutter-casing. In one of the options, the barrel was locked by lowering it, and in the other - by turning. But in the end, a pistol with locking with a descending barrel was adopted into production.

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But the design with a free shutter also did not remain unclaimed.

This pistol interested the Belgian arms company Fabrique Nationale d'Armes de Guerre (National Military Weapons Factory) in Erstal. At the end of the 19th century, this enterprise was one of the most advanced in Europe, so it was very easy to repeat someone's interesting design. It was important to find the target audience for sales. But here the Belgians, apparently, calculated everything in advance. Because already on July 17, 1897, they signed a contract with Browning for the production of his self-loading pistol caliber 7, 65 mm, which was named FN Browning model 1900.

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Moreover, Browning improved the original design of the pistol and received a Swiss patent No. 16896 dated April 29, 1898 for it. And on March 21, 1899, he already received American patent No. 621747.The firing mechanism underwent the greatest changes: instead of the hammer, a drummer was installed. Moreover, the return spring also simultaneously performed the function of the mainspring, acting on the drummer using a special lever. True, due to the gradual weakening, such a system did not become widespread.

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The FN 1900 was produced from 1899 to 1912. And it was the first pistol to use 7.65mm cartridges (ammunition known in the United States as.32).

The 1900 model was adopted by the Belgian army in March 1900, and then in many other armies and the police. It was a great commercial success. So, from 1899 to 1910, more than 725,000 copies of pistols of this model were produced.

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The pistol was handy. Firstly, the weight is only 625 grams without cartridges. Secondly, seven rounds instead of six in most revolvers of the time. Well, and of course, the sizes that made it easy to carry it in a jacket pocket.

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The 1903 FN pistol of the year was the result of a request from the military for a powerful army pistol chambered for 9 mm (9x20 mm SR Browning Long) cartridges. The pistol turned out to be larger and heavier (weight without cartridges 930 g), but the magazine also had 7 rounds.

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The M1903 was the second pistol in the FN line. It was developed by John Moses Browning in 1902 and patented in 1903. Also known as Browning No. 2, its design was heavily inspired by the old FN M1900. At the same time, Browning for the "Colt" company finalized the 1900 model, which was produced in the States under the name "Colt M1903 pocket pistol" chambered for.32ACP (7, 65 mm).

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Both firms produced this pistol until 1930.

In Europe, the FN M1903 became the favorite pistol of the police and was adopted by the armies of Germany, Turkey, and Sweden. It was also produced under license in Sweden by Husqvarna Vapenfabriks from 1917 to 1942 under the name 9mm M / 1907. In the United States, the Colt M1903 has become a popular civil defense weapon, as well as among high-ranking officers and generals. FN produced just under 60,000 M1903 pistols as standard self-defense weapons. And 94,000 units were produced by Husqvarna.

The success of previous models of pistols pushed Browning to the idea of ​​a "lady's pistol". This is how portable models of 1906 appeared chambered for 6, 35-mm caliber, only 114 mm long and weighing 350 grams. The pistol had a six-round magazine. Automation - free shutter. Until 1940, more than 4,000,000 copies were produced, which were then replaced by the Baby model.

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Another four years passed. And Browning again pleased his fans with a very good pistol FN 1910. The pistol was produced in two versions: chambered for 7, 65 mm and 9 mm. The store, as before, was designed for seven rounds, but then many considered a large capacity for a pistol to be excessive. It was also adopted by the police forces of many states and was a significant commercial success.

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History should remind us that it was with this pistol that Gavrilo Princip killed Archduke Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo, which was the reason for the outbreak of the First World War. The pistol was sold to a gunsmith in Ostend, who, in turn, probably sold it to the Serbian terrorist organization Black Hand.

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And then this gun, which appeared in the court as evidence, was simply lost.

Lost, but was found in Austria in 2004, 90 years after the fatal shots fired from it. It just so happened that in October 1914, after the trial of the conspirators, the 1910 Browning with serial number 19074 was handed over to the Jesuit priest Anton Pantigam, the confessor of Franz Ferdinand, who decided to organize his museum. But then the war began. Then the empire itself collapsed. And in 1926 the priest died. And the gun hit the Jesuit community. And it was she who gave it as a gift to the state.

Princip's Browning is now on display at the Vienna Museum of Military History.

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By the way, the big drawback of the pistol was the magazine latch at the end of the handle. Of course, such an attachment was absolute, from the point of view of reliability. But to me personally, the latch seemed very tough. That is, it is very difficult to squeeze it out and remove the store.Reloading my copy would not be easy at all, it would have to be tried.

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In general, the pistol left an ambiguous impression: some kind of imperfection in terms of ergonomics and design, although outwardly - yes, it looks very elegant.

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All other photographs, except copyright ones, were provided by Alain Daubresse.

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