Monthly Archives: December 2013

Steyr’s World War II Rifle Production

Very early in the war all small arms production was removed from Steyr proper, no rifles or assembly took place there after 1942. They were also not “officially” assembled at Gusen either; though I think it is clear the SS had some arrangement with Steyr to assemble rifles for them outside of normal production. Probably rejected or sub-standard parts, clearly the totals Steyr reported made in 1947 include these sub-normal production rifles as my database figures do not support the figures given by the company otherwise (ranges of known rifles do not come close to matching 1947 totals- a lot of SR & NF rifles had to have been made to fill the gaps…).

The facts about Steyr’s World War II rifle production (condensed from my article soon to be published in the MRJ):

Prior to the war Steyr-Daimler-Puch A.G. operations in Steyr proper (“Hauptwerk Steyr”) consisted of three main operations, the manufacture of automobiles (and trucks), ball bearings, and rifles. By far the operations at Steyr revolved around automobiles, the ball bearings production was relatively small and the rifles were inconsequential prior to the Anschluss.

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The Suhl Consortium consisted of three firms located in Suhl, C.G. Haenel (CGH), J.P. Sauer (JPS), and V.C. Schilling (VCS), these firms had a long history of cooperating on contracts for military production.

Shortly after the war began, Erfurt contracted with the Suhl Consortium, through C.G. Haenel, to manufacture the Gewehr98, initially this contract amounted to 150,000 rifles to be manufactured between the three firms, the first rifles to be delivered in February 1915 and the contract concluded by October 1916. Subsequent arrangements were agreed upon and it is estimated that between the three firms a total of 450,000 – 500,000 rifles were eventually delivered during the war.

This production is often considered the scarcest of the wartime makers, all the Suhl makers are difficult to find in collectable, matching-original condition today. It is also difficult to know which maker is scarcer amongst the three firms; this is primarily because the three firms shared serial ranges. As each firm was assigned blocks and the blocks intermingle, it is impossible to know which firm made the most rifles under this arrangement.

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German Contract Rifles for Turkey

Recently there was a discussion on the German contract rifles delivered to Turkey during 1917 and 1918; with the help of Jon Speed we have much more information about the circumstances of this contract and delivery.

When the war expanded with the Turkey’s entry into the war on Germany’s side, Turkey was isolated, along with Bulgaria, from her allies by Serbia and Rumania, which was neutral until August 1916. This caused enormous logistical problems for the Central Powers, both Bulgaria and Turkey were heavily dependant upon supplies from Germany, especially critical was ammunition. While Rumania had strong economic ties to Germany and some things in common with A-H, she increasingly became hostile to the Central Powers due to British and French intrigue. While trade with Germany never ended prior to August 1916, the transit of supplies from Germany and Austria to Bulgaria and Turkey had been repeatedly disrupted and hampered.

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Kaiserliche Marine

Welcome to our new website, we have been down for awhile but it was necessary for updating the website. We have set up this site with a new feature, I will try and do a short blog every week or so to keep new information on our website, especially while is down during its update.

The Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine) was initially formed from the Prussian Navy in the 1870’s, it was an Imperial force, unlike the Imperial era German Army, which was made up of the Armies of Prussia, Saxony, Württemberg and Bavaria, united under the Kaiser only in emergencies. Originally the Imperial German Navy was a rather small force, funded by the Imperial German parliament (Reichstag) rather than the individual state legislatures, and really didn’t become an ocean going force before the turn of the 20th Century, when Germany began upon an expansion program “for its place in the sun”, party in response to its trade rivalry with Britain and its quest for a colonial empire. The timing was perfect in relation to the Gewehr98, the First Naval Bill was put forward on December 6, 1897 and passed in 1898, it was followed by subsequent Naval Laws that great expanded the German Navy.

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