Winchester rifles in Schutztruppe service

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Chris Dale
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Winchester rifles in Schutztruppe service

Post by Chris Dale » 06 Apr 2008 13:25

I recently got an email from a guy asking about Winchester rifles in Schutztruppe service-

"I am researching the use of Winchester rifles in German service. One chapter is dedicated to 3,000 Winchester model 1895 that have been delivered to the "Schutztruppe" in South West Africa in 1910. The good experience lead to a test in Germany, starting in 1912 in a Saxon lancer regiment. Already knowing some details about this subject I have no idea about the manufacturer of these rifles. They did not come from Winchester directly but from a licensed company in Belgium."

Anyone know anything about these?

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Chris

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Oskar_2ndChev
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Re: Winchester rifles in Schutztruppe service

Post by Oskar_2ndChev » 08 Apr 2008 19:30

Interesting-

I've never heard anything about this and I'd be interested to know the source. I don't think it was very likely that the Germans would have adopted a foreign-made weapon. If nothing else, the German military arms industry was a thriving concern during this period with a lot of political clout (especially Mauser) and I doubt if the German Government would have authorized this (in fact, Germany had a thriving arms-export industry during this period, especially in Latin America).

Also, while this may or may not have had a bearing, the Germans most likely would have been familiar with the US Army's tests of lever-action weapons and they ultimately rejected them because of the difficulty in working the lever while in the prone position.

Still, it's an interesting question.

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Chris Dale
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Re: Winchester rifles in Schutztruppe service

Post by Chris Dale » 08 Apr 2008 21:21

Thanks for your input there Oskar,
It does seem curious doesn't it? And I wonder which Saxon Lancer Regt he's referring to?
I'll ask him for his sources....
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Chris

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Re: Winchester rifles in Schutztruppe service

Post by Chris Dale » 14 Apr 2008 22:34

His reply about his source was "My source is the grandson of an officer who served in SWA and later on took part in the Winchester trial of the Saxon lancers. He still owns the rifle of his grandpa."
I'll see if he can provide photos of the gun in question...

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Chris

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phylo_roadking
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Re: Winchester rifles in Schutztruppe service

Post by phylo_roadking » 14 Apr 2008 23:28

I think you may be in for a suprise; this came up about six months ago in a completely different thread in Feldgrau. In 1895 Winchester was ALSO manufacturing a range of Lee-actioned bolt-action rifles...This isn't a great pic, but the top rifle is an 1895 Winchester Lee Navy in 6mm...

Image

...we're just conditioned to think of the "high wall"/"low wall" lever-action types when we think of Winchesters :wink:

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Re: Winchester rifles in Schutztruppe service

Post by phylo_roadking » 14 Apr 2008 23:33

Here's a better pic...

Image

The 6mm Winchester Lee was in standard Army and Navy service at the time of the Spanish-American War.

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Re: Winchester rifles in Schutztruppe service

Post by Gew71 » 15 Apr 2008 00:27

Of the two rifles in the first picture,the bottom one is,I believe,a Model 1896 Krag-Jorgensen.This was the regular U.S. Army standard arm of the Spanish-American War.Only the Navy and Marines used the Lee.I must confess I didn't think about the Lee being the Winchester referred to,but it was made by Winchester.
In 1895 Mauser made 2,000 trial rifles in an experimental 6mm cartridge for the German Rifle Testing Commission,so they were interested in these small calibers that seemed to be the rage in the 1890's.

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Re: Winchester rifles in Schutztruppe service

Post by phylo_roadking » 15 Apr 2008 00:38

Also, Germany had a considerable interest around about then in American weaponry...for a time the Kaiser toyed with the idea of a war against the US to part it from it's newly-acquired "empire" and plans drawn up accordingly, which still survive...

Also, each modern war fought is of interest to the combative militaries of the world for the lessons they can learn. IIRC, Germany hadn't fought a major war since the Franco-Prussian war of the 19th century, and the Spanish-American War was the first since most nations converted to bolt-action clip-fed rifles at or around the turn of the 19th-20th centuries. The "advanced weaponry" :lol: of a winning side is always of interest around the world for a time...

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Re: Winchester rifles in Schutztruppe service

Post by Chris Dale » 15 Apr 2008 00:45

Thanks very much for the input guys, very helpful. I find it interesting, GEW71 that you mention a "Mauser 1895", maybe this was based on the Winchester design and the two things have got confused when my first source said "Winchester 1895" rifles were delivered to the Schutztruppe, perhaps he meant "Winchester-style Mauser 1895" rifles?

Has anyone heard of the German army importing Winchester rilfes at anytime?

I'll try to get a photo from my friend.

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Chris

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Re: Winchester rifles in Schutztruppe service

Post by phylo_roadking » 15 Apr 2008 00:59

This is a "Mauser Model 1895", in this case a "commercial" type for sale abroad.

Image

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Re: Winchester rifles in Schutztruppe service

Post by Gew71 » 15 Apr 2008 01:05

The Mauser trial rifle was pretty much just a standard Mauser design.It was the immediate precurser to the Gew 98.Very,very rare and much valued by hard core Mauser collectors.

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Re: Winchester rifles in Schutztruppe service

Post by Gew71 » 15 Apr 2008 01:08

The rifle above is a Chilean Model 1895,for the most part almost identical to the M 1893 Spanish,pretty common over here.

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Re: Winchester rifles in Schutztruppe service

Post by phylo_roadking » 15 Apr 2008 01:15

If that particular model, here's an interesting snippet from the sales catalogue. The rifle is Berlin-manufactured with a full "MOD. MAUSER 1895, LUDW. LOEWE & CO. BERLIN" makers' mark on the receiver, and is thought to be one of a limited number through-sold to the Boers....BUT note the highlighted parts below!
The right side of the buttstock displays a nice cartouche with wording, "Mario Cresta, Hamburg, 1895". These two marks are listed in "Handbook of Military Rifle Marks 1866-1950" by Richard Hoffman and Noel Schott (page 23 in new second edition). The authors of the book believe that Mario Cresta was an exporter-importer in the South American trade with offices in the port of Hamburg. The rifle comes with a Belgian made bolt with turned down bolt handle (the Boers did not like the bolts with straight bolt handles and often replaced them with with carbine bolts, with turned down handles).
Here we have BOTH the South American AND the Belgian connections!!!!

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Re: Winchester rifles in Schutztruppe service

Post by phylo_roadking » 15 Apr 2008 01:30

However, just to cover ALL bases, take a look at THIS...

http://world.guns.ru/rifle/rfl25-e.htm

The Winchester "Model 1895" LEVER-action was a first among the company's lever-action products - because it fed from a BOX magazine rather than a tube magazine. The main result of a tube magazine meant the earlier Winchesters couldn't fire modern "Spitzer" rounds - but the "Model" 1895 could :wink: Apart from the awkwardness of the lever-action, and the individual loading of rounds - I assume the bolt-action 1895 was clip-fed - I can see why the Germans MIGHT have been interested in a trial batch....AND sent them to the Colonies where they'd be more likely to see "active" service faster than in mainland Europe. However, in anything I've read, there's no mention of a German purchase, though most note equally-small purchases for the US and British Armies.

P.S. 300,000 were bought by the Russians between 1915 and 1917, and THEIR variant actually WAS fitted with clip guides to allow clip-loading from the same stripper clip as the Mosin-Nagant.

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Re: Winchester rifles in Schutztruppe service

Post by Auseklis » 15 Apr 2008 01:48

This topic is obviously also running elsewere...

In German:
http://www.forumromanum.de/member/forum ... onsearch=1

German Wiki is confirming parts of the story:
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/1._K%C3%B6 ... n%E2%80%9C

The Lancer regiment was 1. Königlich Sächsisches Ulanenregiment Nr. 17 and according to Wiki they tested the Winchester 1895 from 1912 onward. One of the two cavalry-troops equipt with the 1895 rifle was also replacement unit for the SW-Schutztruppe.

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