Weapons of the partisans?

Discussions on the small arms used by the Axis forces.
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Mujo
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Weapons of the partisans?

Post by Mujo » 26 May 2010 04:52

In some cases a single weapon could symbolize a battle or an entire war, for Leningrad some say its the PPS-43.
I know the partisans really had no choice over the weapons they could use but what was the most common rifle for the eastern European partisans and their regions?
was the MN 91/30 common for Ukranians and the partisans fighting along the general eastern front?

German and domestic made Mausers were in pretty good numbers in the ranks of the Yugoslav partisans. Once Italy capitulated they acquired alot of the Carcano carbines. I keep seeing a mauser that looks like the vz. 24 (or Yugo 24/47-with the same features) same handguard, straight bolt...
http://zagorac.slobodnajugoslavija.org/ ... enziva.JPG
any ideas?

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Svetlana Karlin
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Re: Weapons of the partisans?

Post by Svetlana Karlin » 26 May 2010 07:32

From the book, Defiance by Nechama Tec, which describes a Jewish partisan regiment led by Bielski brothers in the area between Minsk and Lida (Polish until 1939, Soviet from 1939):

They knew that to succeed they needed weapons. ... But the Germans had strict laws against the posession of arms - ownership of weapons was illegal and all civilians caught with a gun were committing a crime punishable by death. The danger surrounding the acquisition of weapons made them rare and prohibitively expensive.

Still some people did posess arms. Usually the owners were locals who collected weapons left over by soldiers of the two retreating armies, the Polish army in 1939 and the Russian army in 1941. Frequently, these owners refused to part with their treasures and when they did, they expected to be paid exorbitant prices


I would conclude that those partisans took whatever arms they could obtain. In that area it would be assorted Polish and Soviet arms commonly available in 1939-1941. The book states that at the time the partisans did not openly attack Germans much because they weren't strong enough. They usually attacked only easy targets, and thence they wouldn't have many German weapons. In fact, not everyone in the regiment had a gun. The situation would change in 1943, when the Soviets consolidated the partisan movement and started sending trained fighters and supplies across the frontline.

Here are photos of partisans from the Bielski regiment that show their firearms. The first one was most likely taken in 1943:
Image
Picture source: http://www.ww2incolor.com/rating/3.5?g2_itemId=314633
This photo shows a group of Bielski partisans sent to guard a partisan airport for one month, 1943-1944:
Image
The photo is included in the book but I downloaded it from here: http://pagesperso-orange.fr/d-d.natanson/justes-ambiguites.htm
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Svetlana Karlin
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Re: Weapons of the partisans?

Post by Svetlana Karlin » 26 May 2010 08:16

More partisans with firearms from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_partisans

Belarussian partisans from the city of Polotsk area:
Image
The photo caption states: The partisan on the left is carrying what appears to be a Soviet submachine gun: PPD-34/38. His companion is equipped with a Mosin rifle (with factory bayonet), plus German bayonet/dagger (on waistband) and two RGD-33 hand grenades.

Another photo of two Ukrainian partisan snipers with Mosin-Nagant sniper rifles from Sidur Kovpak's detachment:
Image

These are clearly posed photos taken by a press reporter. The first one was made in 1943. The other is not dated but my guess would be that it was taken in 1943-1944 when the Ukrainian partisan movement was already coordinated and supported by the Ukrainian Partisan Movement Headquarters in Moscow.
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Dave Bender
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most common rifle for the eastern European partisans

Post by Dave Bender » 26 May 2010 14:29

Probably half or more of locally recruited militia were pro-German. I expect they carried standard German made small arms. Communist controlled militia/partisans would get air dropped Soviet weapons and ammunition.

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Mujo
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Re: Weapons of the partisans?

Post by Mujo » 26 May 2010 19:18

That makes alot of sense, thanks.
So in the case of Yugoslav partisans I should probably ask myself what small arm was the backbone of the Royal Yugoslav Army in 1941 (after their surrender they just left stockpiles of weapons unguarded)
I see the SVT 40 was a prized possession.

another MN 91/30. Dog collars give it right away.
Image
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... illage.jpg

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Yugoslav partisans

Post by Dave Bender » 26 May 2010 19:50

Yugoslavia was a special case. There were two major anti-German groups. Josip Tito led the Communist Party partisans. The Chetnik group were anti-communist. The two groups spent as much time fighting each other as they spent fighting Germany.

Meanwhile Croatia took advantage of the German invasion to break free of Serbian control. The newly independent Croatian nation had a regular army plus a tiny air force and navy. They were equipped with German and Italian weapons in addition to some pre-war Yugoslav stuff.

The Waffen SS created a mountain divsion in Bosnia. That's a rather grandiose title as they were essentially little different from other European militia raised for the purpose of fighting communist partisans. I expect they got cast off Waffen SS weapons.

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The Edge
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Re: Weapons of the partisans?

Post by The Edge » 26 May 2010 21:28

Standard Yugoslav Army weapon was Mauser-type M.24 rifle.

These were license-built FN export M.24 rifles. First 100.000 were purchased directly in Belgium 1924, with Yugoslav production started in 1928 (ATZ Kragujevac). Approx. 600,000 such rifles were produced by 1941. (Factory capacity was 200 rifles per day.) Germans labeled them Gew.291(j)
Since after the Yugoslav surrender in April 1941 Germans were in such hurry to re-deply their forces to Soviet Union, large number of M.24 rifles were not collected from ex-Yugoslav Army soldiers (that simply went home with them) - so domestic M.24 rifles were the main weapon for Yugoslav insurgents (90% Serbs) in 1941.
Beside ATZ(FN) M.24 rifles, three similar models were used:
1) M.24a - these were Czech made Vz. 24 rifles, 42,000 bought in hurry 1926 (because Yugoslav production was not yet started) and smaller number in 1929/30. These rifles were used exclusively by Gendarmerie. ( Gew.290(j) )
2) M.24b - Ex-German G.98 rifles, converted to "standard" length with barrel/sights kits from Kragujevac production line. These conversion were performed mainly by FOMU factory, Uzice; German G.98 rifles in Yugoslav Army inventory (Gew.293(j)) were mainly purchased during "emergency days" 1924-26 from Czechoslovakia. Various other Mauser type rifles (ex-Serbian, Turkish and Austro-Hungarian) were similarly converted to "B" standard by ATZ. ("B" standard rifles were in Army War Reserve stocks, so they were mostly captured by Germans without been delivered to troops).
3) M.29 - Polish wz.29 rifles, obtained in early 1930s (only about 3,000) in exchange for Steyr M.12 pistols. ( Gew.298(j) )
Another common rifle in 1941 was M.95M (or M.95/24) - ex-Austrian Mannlicher M.95 rifles converted to 7.92mm caliber in similar fashion as "M.24b" rifles in FOMU factory - aka Gew.294(j). Since they were given to various Air Force and territorial security units, they also become available to insurgents in 1941.
Various French-made rifles in 8mm Lebel caliber were used by Goverment para-military units. Also available, but not liked choice by insurgents in 1941.

Regards, Edge / Antic

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Re: Weapons of the partisans?

Post by kiseli » 26 May 2010 22:17

yugoslav partisans weapon:

Until 1944, when the Partisans began to receive more sophisticated Allied weapons and ammunition, they fought a guerrilla war in which rifles and hand grenades were the main
apons. Their chief adversaries at this time were various quisling formations whose weapons varied greatly: they had very , few automatic weapons and what they had was usually old.
Not until the beginning of 1943 did a considerable number of well-armed German units begin to fight an anti-guerrilla war in the Balkans. The Partisans' main source of guns and automatic weapons was what they managed to capture from the enemy. Light machine guns were particularly valued but were difficult to come by. Lack of ammunition was a chronic problem and the difficulties were increased by the number of different calibres needed; the most commonly used on the Yugoslav battlefield were Italian 6.5 and 8mm, German 7.92mm, Soviet 7.62mm and British 7.7mm. It is of interest that the first brigades founded in 1942 had an average of 800-900 rifles, 20-30 heavy and light machine guns and 40-50 cartridges per Partisan soldier which was hardly sufficient for an attack against any sizeable enemy position. Any attack that failed would put a brigade out of action until it was able to capture another supply of ammunition. Careful management of ammunition was one of the basic principles of Partisan warfare, which clashed with the use of automatic weapons. Not until the second half of the war did ammunition become more plentiful. The rare sub-machine guns were used by couriers or at headquarters for close-range defence. Below is a list of commonly used Partisan weapons:
1. Partisanka, cal. 7.92mm, magazine 5 rounds. For the needs of the pre-war Yugoslav Army the factory in Uzica produced M24 Mausers under a Belgian licence from Fabrique Nationale d'Armes de Guerre. When Uzica was liberated in 1941 fully operational machines and tools fell into Partisan hands and before they were forced to retreat they had managed to produce 16,500 Mausers (known as Partisanka -the feminine form of the word Partisan) very similar to the German Gewehr 98 rifle. An interesting footnote is that several thousand of these were given to the Chetniks in the hope that they would use them against the Germans.
2. Kar 98k, cal. 7.92mm, magazine 5 rounds. The standard rifle of the German Army in World War II was the Mauser Gewehr 98 (1898) and a shortened version that appeared in 1935, the Kar 98k. This carbine was produced in Yugoslavia also under the mark M24 CK and was thus widely known. The Kar 98k was solidly made and reliable and for this reason was highly regarded by the Partisans.
3. Mosin-Nagant M1944, cal. 7.62mm, magazine 5 rounds. The agreement with Moscow concerning arming the Partisans began to come into force in the summer of 1944 and included this carbine with permanently attached folding bayonet. As a result of Soviet aid the Partisans in the second half of 1944 were able to form 71 new brigades in Serbia and Macedonia alone.
4. Carcano M1891/38, cal. 6.5mm, magazine 5 rounds. This was the standard Italian rifle large numbers of which were captured by the Partisans. Compared with other European ammunition the Italian cartridge calibre 6.5mm was much less powerful and travelled a much smaller distance. This did not worry the Partisans too much because they mainly attacked by night and at close range.
5. Carcano M1891, cal. 6.5mm, magazine 6 rounds. The Italian carbine which at the end of the 19th century had been mainly produced for the cavalry became the standard infantry weapon in World War II. Because of its short length of only 920mm (36.2in.) and weight of 3kg (106oz) it became the favourite weapon of couriers of whom a large number were boys.
6. Bren Mk II, cal. 7.7mm, magazine 30 rounds. The famous British Bren gun was based on the Czech light machine gun Zbroyovka ZB 30. In the Yugoslav armaments factory in Kragujevac a slightly older model of the Zbroyovka ZB 27 was produced under licence as the M37. Czech construction was very well understood in Yugoslavia and used by all sides. There was a large Partisan base on the island of Vis which was used by British commandos and torpedo boats. One of the best-armed Partisan units was established there (the 26th Dalmatian Division) for which the British provided weapons and uniforms. This division alone had 2,000 Lee Enfield rifles, 300 Bren light machine guns, and several artillery units armed with the 6-pdr and 25-pdr guns.
7. PPsh 41, cal. 7.62mm, magazine 35-71 rounds. Following the Red Army model, from the end of 1944 the Partisans formed infantry companies entirely armed with these Soviet submachine guns.
8. MG34, cal. 7.92mm, belt feed. This excellent German automatic weapon could be used as a heavy machine gun or as a light machine gun. Every captured MG34 and the later and better MG42 was a great prize for it greatly improved the firepower of any unit. 9. Beretta Modello 38A, cal. 9mm, magazine 10, 20 and 30 rounds. This Italian sub-machine gun was a high-quality product. After Italy capitulated a large number were captured. Until the end of the war they continued to be captured from the Germans and other Domobran units who had themselves captured them from the Italians.


from: "Tito's partisans 1941-45" By Velimir Vukšić, pp.59-60

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Mujo
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Re: Weapons of the partisans?

Post by Mujo » 26 May 2010 22:22

Hvala za informaciju (The Edge and Kiseli) interesting stuff guys
(gotta write that stuff down)

I've seen some M29s in Ustasa hands too.
I guess the partizans were happy to see their enemies using 8mm Mauser rounds, since their own supply and logistics system was described as bad.

Oh and Dave, about that SS Mountain division from Bosnia. Some say it was a logistics mistake that a new foreign volunteer unit recieved brand new K98s and MG42 (as well as howitzers and others things)...while older mountain units like Prinz Eugen were still making due with old Czech weapons.
But Handschar did recieve a good batch of rifles and other small arms, I havent seen one case of Gew. 33/40, Gew 98 or M24 rifles being issued (basically WW1 and non German made rifles)

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Mujo
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Re: Weapons of the partisans?

Post by Mujo » 26 May 2010 22:42

Velimir Vuksic seems to have drawn the Yugo 24/47 in his partisan book and described it as the M24 (wrong handguards, no groove on the side of stock, barrel band springs...) Thats whats been confusing me for a while.

Czech vz 24 (WW2 Partizanka)
http://www.mauser98k.internetdsl.pl/vz24/14.jpg
Yugo M24 of 1947, post war simplified
http://oldrifles.com/yugo-24-47_70.jpg

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The Edge
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Re: Weapons of the partisans?

Post by The Edge » 27 May 2010 00:24

"Partizanka" (translation: "Female partisan") is quite another story.

FOMU factory in Užice got 1940 a deal to modify 30,000 G.98 rifles to M.24 standard (at 1,000 rifles per month ratio). By April 1941 they only partly finished the job. Gerrmans captured the remained stock - small number of completed M.24, more unused M.24 barrels (ATZ Kragujevac production), G.98 stocks modified to M.24 length (i.e. shortened) and surplus G.98 (old & long) barrels, awaiting the trip to foundry.
Germans (Feldzugstab/Kriegsbeutesammellager 26 in nearby Požega) collected only the premium items; shortened G.98 stocks and original barrels were strangely disregarded, almost as "scrap". So, when at 25th September 1941 partisans captured Užice (and FOMU factory) they found between 15,000 and 20,000 dismantled rifles. Since they needed every useful weapon - and fast - they simply put old (long) barrels back to the shortened stocks.
Result is visible at below photo. The rifles had two advantages: they soon became available (200+ per day were assembeled by FOMU workers) and they used standard 7.92mm rounds. (Actualy three: propaganda effects were immeasurable.) Disadvantages were mainly their worn-out barrels, no finnish at metal parts and no possibility to use the bayonet.
Total number produced were somewhere between 16 to 18,000. Around 100 were completed with M.24 barrels from damaged weapons and - as premium weapons - presented to Communists Supreme HQ guard unit (so-called "Supreme HQ rifle" - one was later, in 1944, even presented to Stalin by Yugoslav Communists Delegation)

Regards, Edge
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Re: Weapons of the partisans?

Post by The Edge » 27 May 2010 00:46

Btw, M.24/47 is post-WW2 Yugoslav model. (Yugoslav M.24 rifles, repaired and slightly modified 1947-51, at "Preduzeće 44" factory - renamed ATZ goverment arsenal in Kragujevac). As you surely know, M.24 production was restored in 1948 as "M.48" rifle (best described as M.24 with K98 "improvements").

:wink: Similarly worked Vz. 24 rifles were labeled M.24/52č ("č" for Czechoslovakia). I used one in 1980 at "pre-military" shooting practise. Nasty brute made me a painful bruise at the shoulder - instructors didn't bothered to show as the correct weapon grip for such powerful weapon. (All previous shooting was with air-guns.)

In 1991 I was given a "M.98n" as my second weapon (first I got PPSh :) , but they were soon replaced because of problems with magazine hold - plus the pistol ammo was in such demand at black market). This was ex-German K98, repaired at "Preduzeće 44" ("n" was for Nemačka/Germany). Luckily, I never had to use this one.

Cheers, Edge/Antic
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Mujo
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Re: Weapons of the partisans?

Post by Mujo » 27 May 2010 02:10

I see, I dont think it'd be too hard to make your own Partizanka for reenacting and regular shooting purposes. Just cut down a couple of inches off the front of the stock. Everything else can stay the same.
Image

Source: http://www.gunpics.net/

I can think of a couple of people that defended my village that were armed with M48s, maybe Preduzece K98s and other Mausers.

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Re: Weapons of the partisans?

Post by Mujo » 28 May 2010 20:36

http://books.google.com/books?id=KlReVu ... le&f=false

So, it's confirmed. Ive seen the rifle in many propaganda posters made by the partisans, just couldnt tell the exact model. In the post WW2, partisan movies the vz. 24 is usually portrayed with the M48 or M24/47 (hard to notice small differences) The movies themselves are of little historical accuracy as they show every 5th partisan as an MG42/34 gunner. The only rifles in those movies that were most likely used on the Yugoslavian battlefields are obviously the K98s.

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