Today we continue our journey across countries and continents in search of the bolt action rifles adopted in them. Today we have three countries next in line: China, Denmark and Ethiopia - well, it just so happened, this is how the “source base” has developed.
So, China is a state with an ancient culture, ancient traditions and an ancient mentality. However, the revolution began there even earlier than here in Russia, namely in 1911. However, the renewed Chinese army, updated in terms of its armament with modern weapons, appeared much earlier, back in the 19th century. Even then, the emissaries of the Chinese government traveled around Europe and America, and everywhere they were looking for samples of weapons of better quality, but at a cheaper price.
Chinese Marshal Ma and his troops on the border with Manchuria 1910. A feature of China, as well as Mexico in this period, was the dominance of various marshals and generals who turned into genuine local kings and sovereignly ruled over entire regions. They also robbed their subjects and bought weapons for their soldiers all over the world.
This is how the single-shot Remington rifle with a crane bolt came into service with the Chinese army, but soon it was replaced by the German Mauser rifles of the 1871 and 1871/84 model. In addition, Winchester-Hotchkiss rifles and "commission" German M1888 rifles were exported from the USA.
However, you can't buy everything! And so the Chinese government decided to organize its own production, for which an arsenal was first built in Hanyang, where already in 1895 the production of its "Chinese rifles" began. The M1888 commission rifle was chosen as a sample, and the equipment for its production was supplied by the company Ludwig Loewe. Well, and so what kind of rifles the Chinese did not use. Until the twentieth century, snider guns and British Martini-Henry rifles were in use. The latter, by the way, were armed during the "Boxer Uprising" Chinese units located on British territory in the area of the Wei-Hi-Wei base and, in particular, the 1st Chinese regiment.
A new rifle based on the M1888 model was named "Hanyan Mauser" and was launched into production, making some changes to its design, so that these two rifles are not identical to each other, neither structurally nor externally. First of all, the protective tubular barrel cover was removed from the rifle, but the barrel itself was made thicker and heavier. It was also necessary to change the fastening of the magazine to the receiver, and the hole in it was repaired.
The hallmarks of the Chinese arsenals. According to Buddhist tradition, the swastika played a significant role in them.
Rifle of the Hanyang arsenal. For some reason, the year is indicated as European …
The Arsenal in Hanyang produced its products from 1895 to 1938, when the Japanese took over it. But in China, other arsenals were already created, so there were no problems with the release of rifles for the army. It is interesting that when the Kuomintang won the victory in China in 1912, its leadership immediately established a new chronology in the country and 1912 became the first year! This was reflected in a certain way in the marking of rifles. In addition to the emblem of the arsenal, numbers indicating the date of issue were also applied to them. For example, "14-3" should be understood as "March 1925", that is, the number 11 should be added to the Chinese date.
On the eve of the First World War, the Chinese began to produce an export model of the M1907 Mauser. Mauser in China were produced in the 20s and 30s, and in addition, they were supplied to China from Germany until 1938. At this time, the Type 24 carbine, which received the unofficial name "Chiang Kai-shek Rifle", was very popular in the country. Its release began in 1935 and continued until the victory of the Chinese communists in 1949. It is believed that about two million of these rifles were produced.
Chiang Kai Shek Rifle
The Chiang Kai-shek rifle was an exact copy of the Mauser-98: it had the same cylindrical longitudinally sliding bolt, a long stock and a muzzle protruding from it, grooves for fingers in the front, and one false ring. For firing, cartridges 7, 92 × 57 mm were used, which had a greater stopping power compared to the Japanese cartridges of the Arisaka rifle. The Type 24 rifle was better than the Japanese Arisaka rifle in terms of rate of fire and firing range, and was also more compact.
If desired, the Hanyan 1935 bayonet could be added to the Chiang Kai-shek rifle, which was not inferior in destructive power to the dadao sword. The sword was used as a cold weapon by those soldiers and partisans who did not have a bayonet attached to their rifle.
After the expulsion of the Kuomintang from China, in 1953, the production of Soviet M44 carbines, designated Type 53, was launched there. Compared to the Soviet model, they were about one inch shorter, and the wood was of lower quality than the Soviet one. Their release continued until 1961, when they were replaced by SKS carbines. However, their military service continued already in Vietnam, where the Chinese transferred them to the needs of the Viet Cong. Many German carbines were re-barreled for Soviet cartridges, so that this significantly replenished both Chinese and Vietnamese arsenals.
Let's move now to Europe, to Denmark - a country surrounded on all sides by powerful neighbors. Having won back with Prussia, in 1864 Denmark chose a peaceful policy for itself until 1940, when it surrendered to Germany's mercy just two hours after the start of the invasion. But on the other hand, the Danes became famous all over the world, having created and adopted a unique in their own way the Krag-Jorgensen M1889 rifle, in which the Norwegian Krag side store and … barrel shroud from the German "commission rifle" of 1888 were united. Since the VO had a very detailed article about this rifle, it makes no sense to repeat its description. We will only add what was not in the previous material. That these rifles were produced even during the First World War, that their two modifications are known: 1889/08 and 188/10 - the first for a pointed bullet and a new sight designed for a long range, and the second in the version for cavalry, that is, with a special bracket …
The Norwegian sample of the Krag-Jorgensen rifle differed from the Danish by the absence of a cover on the barrel and the "eyelet" of the magazine cover, while the Danish had a round "knob" on the pin. Army Museum in Stockholm.
As for Ethiopia, it should be noted here that it was the only African country that did not become a colony of either England or France in the 19th century. True, in the 1890s Italy tried to seize it. But she did not succeed. First Italo-Ethiopian War of 1895-1896 ended for Italy in a shameful defeat, and even she had to pay an indemnity to the negus Menelik. In this war, the Russian government provided Ethiopia, or, as it was then called, Abyssinia, both military and diplomatic support. Perhaps this is how rifles from different countries, purchased by Russia and then transported to the Negus, got there.
Ethiopian militias with national leather shields, metal stripes and rifles "from pine trees to pine trees" are different for everyone.
In this photo, the rifles are also different. Of course, this was reflected in the combat capability of the Ethiopian army …
In 1935, the attempt was repeated. The Second Italian-Ethiopian War began, which ended with the defeat of the country and its transformation, together with the colonies of Eritrea and Italian Somalia, into Italian East Africa. However, while this has not yet happened, the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haili Salassie, ordered 25,000 Mauser from Germany in 1924. They were delivered to the country between 1933 and 1935. and were actively used in the fight against the Italians. "Ethiopian Mauser" - this was the name of this model, was distinguished by a very beautiful emblem on the left side of the chamber - a lion crowned with a crown, holding a cross with a pennant in its left paw and the country's coat of arms is also on the chamber, but already in the middle from above.
Rifles (or rather carbines) were produced in Belgium by the FN enterprise. Their shutter handle was straight. Some parties had all the details blackened, other parties had "white metal" on the bolt and on the bolt carrier.
Ethiopian army soldiers with German Mauser and French Hotchkiss machine gun.