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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 15:57 pm 
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A Brief History of the Mauser Company

The Mauser company was set up by Wilhelm and Peter Paul (a redundant designer from Wuttemburg Govt. armoury). The brothers were two of a brood of seven (children of Franz Andreas) who started business with the adoption by several German states of their first design (an improved Chaspot rifle) in 1871. With Peter Paul designing and Wilhelm playing the role of statesman and diplomat, the company took off making fine military and sporting arms of all types.

Despite being stripped of machinery after 1918, then destroyed by Soviet order in 1946, the company of Mauser still operates in Obendorf a' Neckar, hometown of the Mauser brothers.


The Major Mauser Designs

Development
Rather than follow the whole of the Mausers' history, we shall only concern ourselves here with the 'direct bloodline' ancestory of the K98k.

Gewher 88
Entered into service in 1888, it was designed to even the balance of the Lebel Mle 86 (which had an 8mm smokeless cartridge which gave power and a flatter trajectory), which gave the French troops a distinct advantage.
Tested in 7, 7.5 and 8mm, the 8mm cartridge was selected and the rifle entered service with Prussia, Saxony and Wuttenburg on the 12th of November.
Though clumsy by latter day bolt action standards, it was very good for it's time and inspired what became the Belgium Mle 89 service rifle.


Length 124.5cm
Unladen weight 3900gm
Calibre 8mm
Loading system clip
Capacity 5
Velocity 630 m/sec

A cavalry version was made ( Kar 88 ), being 95cm long.

1896 Mauser Kleinkalibriges-Versuchsgewher

Since 1892 Germany had been experimenting with 'small' calibre bullet, (as low as 5mm), in cartridge cases of 67-68mm. In 1896, Mauser received an order to make 2185 experimental rifles, improving the actions with their newer refinements. These were built without the '88 barrel jacket and had tangent rearsights (instead of Lange Visiere) and straight hand stocks. Tested with calibres of 6, 6.5, 7, 7.65 and 8mm, the result showed that those small cartridges gave a flat trajectory and high velocity, their inferior lethality meant that the 8mm Patrone 88 was retained, thus the programme ended.

Length 125cm
Unladen weight 3630gm
Calibre 6-7mm
Loading system charger
Capacity 5
Velocity variable

The only likely outcome of this test was the Swedish M96 rifle, calibered in 6.5mm and almost identical in layout.

Gewher 88/97

New Mauser actions, utilising charger loading, were built into a new rifle, which was troop tested since November 1894. In January 1895, 2000 were ordered for trials and were delivered by early summer. Two patterns of breech were employed and these '97s bore the 1895 patented action, superior to the 1893 model fitted into the 1896 test rifles.

The Kaiser signed the adoption orders on 11/03/1897. Although they should have gone into complete production with sub-contractors, arsenals etc. the Gewher 98 arrived before production was finalised.


Length 124cm
Unladen weight 3630gm
Calibre 8mm
Loading system charger
Capacity 5
Velocity 630 m/sec


Gewher 98

The third in the '88 replacement series. Several major changes were involved between 88 and 98, a solid ( not split bridge ) receiver, bolt handle locking behind ( not in front of ) the bridge, a one piece bolt with double locking lugs forged integrally ( instead of a seperate bolt head ), a third locking lug in the receiver wall opposite the bolt handle, a special rearsight by Oberst Wilhelm Lange ( instead of the old leaf type ), an improved bayonet mounting system, no barrel jacket, a pistol grip ( rather than straight hand ) stock and a charger rather than clip loading system. All officially adopted on the 5/4/1898.

The Gew98 was made for the Paronen 88, but the French suddenly introduced a pointed bullet ( instead of the almost universal round tip ) for their lebel cartridge. Experiments in Spandau began and the final bullet was 9.8gms, with a .5 cupro-nickel jacket. At the same time the powder charge was changed to that of smaller, thinner flakes ( thus burning quicker, more completely, leaving less fowling and more propellant per given volume ). By 1904 the S ( Spitzgeschosse ) Patronen was being delivered to the armed forces at 97 marks per 1000. Official changeover day was 1/10/05. All rifles ( both 88 and 98 ) were converted for S-Patronen between 1903 and 1905. Converted guns bore a 2.5mm letter S on top of all their chambers and on the barrel behind the backsight ( all new guns made during that time were marked S also and this continued with new guns long after the existing rifles were all altered, this practise eventually fell away ). A new backsight was fitted to the flatter projectory of S.Patronen. These were found to be inaccurate at 50-100m ( as the minimum setting was 400m ). By the end of 1916 several wartime modifications had took place. A washer for protecting the firing pin whilst stripping the bolt was put into the butt, a grasping groove was put into the forend, only one lock-screw position instead of three was provided, finishing began to decline, cheaper woods, along with accelerated seasoning processes were introduced and some stocks had the lower butt dovetailed on from a seperate piece, so inferior stcok blanks could be used. Many were destroyed after the war. The few the Reichswher did keep had lange sights swapped for simple tangent leaf types ( now with minimum 100m sighting range ), the bolt handles turned down, their barrel bands revised and their designation changed to Karabiner 98b.


Length 125cm
Unladen weight 4100gm
Calibre 7.92mm
Loading system charger
Capacity 5
Velocity 870m/sec

The total number of Gew98s made is unknown, but it is probably above 5 million. Interestingly the Imperial German troops did receive small numbers of a semi-automatic 'Mondragoon rifle' during WWI.


To be continued.......


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 16:06 pm 
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Looks like Old Speiss just wrote the K98 article. OK to use Speissy? :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 16:08 pm 
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There's lots more to come yet Chris :!:

Anyone can use it, just give me some credit :wink:

I do have line/sketch drawings that accompany it as well, but couldn't get the damn things to load :?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2004 19:17 pm 
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Karabiner 98

Experimental versions made at Erfut arsenal were troop tested and the results formed a finalised pattern in June 1900. These were not a success and were made on a limited basis until the Kar98A showed up in 1902. ( Where upon the Kar98 faded away ). Remaining service ones were converted into 5mm training rifles, " Zeilkarabiner ". It has a 'spatulate form' turned down bolt handle. a special Lange-Visier and butt side sling mounts. It also had a hand gaurd which ran from nosecap to backsights.

Overall length 94.5cm
Unladen weight 3325gm
Calibre 7.92 / 8mm
Loading system charger
Capacity 5
Velocity
860m/sec

Though out of service in 1903, it is still an important step toward the K98k.

Karabiner 98A

This is essentially a modified K98, except that it takes the Gew98 bayonets, now having a bayoney bar. Being made in 1902-1904 these were made for patronen 88. The weapons were converted to S-Patronen, but were unpopular due to exctssive recoil, fearful muzzle flash ( which blinded firers at night time 0 and strong muzzle blast. Production was halted, pending a longer barrel version.

Overal Length 94.5cm
Unladen weight 3425gm
Calibre 7.92/8mm
Loading system charger
Capacity 5
Velocity
860m/sec

Neither this or the K98 had butt mounted firing pin protection washers.

Karabiner 98AZ ( of which the editor owns a very nice example )

This had a 59cm rather than a 43.5 cm barrel, fitted with a modified muzzle band and bore a foresight protector similar to that worn by the later British P14. With this weapon several steps were taken closer to the perfected WW2 model. The bolt handle was folded with half-sphere ball knob ( instead of the spatulated handle of the Kar98 and 98A ). A recess was cut into the stock above the trigger to make the bolt handle more accessible. A sling aperture was carved through the butt on the left side, and the forward mount was a bar on the barrel band. ( Swivel mounts were dispensed with includingthe one on the Gew98's trigger gaurd). A new tangent leaf sight replaced the Lange-Visier, ranging from 300-2000m, and this was surrounded by a hand gaurd that ran from muzzle band to breech. The immediate teature that stands out on this carbine is the large piling hook under the muzzle band. Adopted by 16/01/08, at least 1.5 million were made by 1918. Though still a little uncomfortable in recoil ( though the Gew98 butt was modified on the Kar98AZ for greater control ), muzzle flash etc. the greater handiness was much appreciated in the trenches.

Overall length 109cm
Unladen weight 3800gm
Calibre 7.92/8mm
Loading system charger
Capacity 5
Velocity 869m/sec

A few were maintained after the war and renamed the K98a to distinguish from the K98b.

Karabiner 98b

When the treaty of Versailles cut the Imperial Army from 13 million to the Reichsheers 100,000, the quantity of rifles permitted to be made was 84,000 and carbines 18,000. After 3 years Gew98s were modified, refinements of the Kar98AZ. Bolt handles were folded, with recesses cut behind them, Lange-Visiers were replaced and sling cuts were made within conjunction with the new side mounting barrel band. Conversion and refinishing confused and erased the Treatys' inventory marks ( possible a deliberate ploy ) and now it's almost certain that Simson & Co. assembled about 150,000 'new' K98b's from old surplus parts.

length 125cm
Wieght 4150gm
Calibre 7.92/8mm
Loading charger
Capacity 5
Velocity 870m/sec

First issued in 1923, the title 'Karabiner' is curios as the length is still unchanged fron the GEW98's!

Karabiner 98k

The army were keen to standadise the 'sS' Patrone ( a heavy pointed version of the S Patrone introduced in 1918 for improving long range accuracy in the Maxim ). The sS Patrone, though it has a muzzle velocity of 785 m/sec, it has the same velocity as the S Patrone at 300m ( 645 m/sec ) and by 700m is now moving at 481 m/sec compared to 394 m/sec of the S Patrone. (sS stood for Schwere Spitsgeschloss ).

Experiments with the Kar98a ( Kar98AZ ) showed that the optimum length of the barrel was 60cm, in order to give the best balance between handiness and minimal excessive blast etc. the rifle produced the Kar98k ( k is for kurtz or 'short' ) was basically a K98b with 14cm removed from it's length between the two bands. The Whermacht first received them between 1934 and 1935. Stocks were experimental with :- walnut, beech, laminate and even hollow bakerlite covered metal types were tested> Laminated stocks proved best for warping resistance and strength, but Mauser continued to use walnut or beech until 1940, along with their full, immaculate finish.

Kar98k production was given to the Mauser factorys at Obendorf and Berlin-Borsigwalde, ( a factory opened especially for K98k's in 1934 ). Other contractors were recruited when demand outstripped Mauser's amazing output. ( The Obendorf plant made nearly 4 million between 1939 and 1945 ). Total rifle procurement of the armed forces and police reached 15 million ( discounting captured rifles ).


Kriegsmodell Kar98k.

The 'war model' was a simplified finish version with laminated stocks ( originally a beech / plywood combination, but after 1942, anything available was used ), an unexpected bonus here was that stock blank wastage in finishing dropped form 10% to 2%. ( laminate stocks were less susceptible to flaws in the grain, and though stronger were 200-300gms heavier ). Fittings were stamped from lower grade steel ( instead of milled ) and gradual simplification set in throughout the mechanism, utilising precision stamping and castings where possible ( this greatly accelerated production of key components ).

Length 111cm
Weight 3800gm
Calibre 7.92 / 8mm
loading charger
Capacity 5
Velocity 785m/sec

Several other European countries began making short Mausers, sometimes on original Mause machinery confiscated after WWI. ( Obendorf machines went to Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, while the Prussian arsenal at Danzig had it,s machinary to Random in Poland ). Fabrique Nationale of Belgium and Steyr of Austria also made a version of short Mauser ( the Belgium rifle was very short indeed, and quite nasty to fire ), and in fact the Belgians and Czechs both had started theirs without waiting to discover the findings of the German tests on their completion ( especially the decisions on barrel length! ). Hungary soon took up production of a 'K98k' rifle, following the German version. All of these saw service in or beside the Whermacht. Prior to 1939, Mauser also made rifles for sale to countries who required a good modern rifle ( sometimes the country received a licence from Mauser to make their own ). Chile and Spain are examples of contract work ( most tend to wear native crests which tell their origin ). 24 countries at least standardised the Mauser, and many more unconfirmed adoptions exist ( Great Britian, and even USA copied the Mauser action for their own designs ). The rifle was a major export success in a time of great depression for a country least equippes of all to cope, and the K98k was even produced after the war in Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Iran, Israel and Yugoslavia.

Gewehr 33/40

With the capture of Czechoslovakia, a whole armoury and manafacturer fell to the Germans. Having issued arms of the Czech forces, ( mainly to the SS-VT [ of waffen-SS ] who not yet written into the military supply system in perspective with their growing size ). The HWaA ( Heerswaffenamt or Army Supply Office ) soon had the company of Ceskoslovenska Zbrojovka, in Brno, working again, ( under the name of Waffenfabrik Brunn AG ) making their version of the Mauser carbine for the Whermacht. The company made their vz16/33 ( used by the Czechs as their police carbine vz33 ) under the German designation of Gew33/40 ( This is odd as the Gew33/40 is shorter than the K98k ), 40 being the German year of adoption. The weapons were fitted with a reinforcement plate on the left of the butt ( so they could be used as a walking stick ), and issued to the Gebirgsjager. All the troops who fired the Gew33/40 disliked the 49cm barrel ( for its flash, blast and recoil [ even the 60cm barrel is deemed to have an insufficient length for the whole of the powder in SS-Patronen to burn]), and the factory made 150,000 before being changed over to proper K98k production. The arm has nearly or features of the K98k, but 99cm, not 111cm long, the difference in length is in the barrel region. ( The handguard runs right uo to the muzzle band). The sights are only graduated to 1000m and the Gew33/40 differs from the vz33 only in its bayonet bar.

Length 99cm
Weight 3775gm
Calibre 7.92/8mm
Loading charger
Capacity 5
Velocity 854m/sec


to be continued......


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2004 19:18 pm 
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Anyone still interested in this article continuing :?:


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2004 20:45 pm 
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One word

YES!!!

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2004 21:20 pm 
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Hallo All And Pete
Yes also
Bitte mein Herr. Bitte weite mit ihre Waffengeschichte ueber die K98 u.anderer waffen.

regards

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komm zu uns!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2004 21:53 pm 
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Very interesting mate actually...

Even if it is the weapon of the oppressors of the People :)

Keep going!

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I would reply with a witty comment, but I can't find me computer :wink:

I shall continue this shortly then, It's just that it had very little response in the viewing stakes I wondered if it was worth it :?


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So sadd, Spiessy.... No social life what-so-ever..... guess you did not reach the menu, huh?

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be good if this became a sticky so it never leaves the top - can the forum do Sticky`s ???


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There were no "sargents" in the German Heer, they were called Feldwebels.

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Mischa,

The only social life I have is when I am with you darling. We all know how much you wanted me to miss that flight home :madhappy:

Please keep this from Ed, he may get jealous

:tank: :soldiers:


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All hail great Spiessy for having the first non-general forum sticky thread! (I think) Now write me an article for the website :wink:

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I've not finished it yet Chris! Club stuff as taken priority, but I will get to the end eventually. Espcially as I've no social life or Gunther to keep me occupied.

Watch this space.


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Nearly all done Mister Paul, trip to staples this morning for more envelopes, letters to write, newsletter to compile, then the members will get them in time for easter :!:


and they call this a hobby :roll:


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