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Old 09-19-2012, 10:00 PM
Nyles Nyles is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 920

Finally, here's one very special rifle for me, it was my holy grail for alot of years and I had to sell a few firearms to buy it since it came on sale at the same time I bought my house:

This is a Belgian Mauser M1889 rifle, made by Manufacture d'Armes de L'Etat (MAE) just prior to WW1. The Belgian M1889 was the first small-caliber smokeless powder Mauser, the first to use a box magazine, the weapon FN was set up to make, and is almost impossible to find in any condition. This one is even rarer for being made by MAE, the Belgian state arsenal, who only started making them just before WW1 as it was considered good for the Belgian economy to give the contract to FN, a civillian corporation.

It's in really nice shape, all matching, with clear King Leopold II cartouches, a sling and bayonet. I've wanted one of these for years, not just because of the unique design but the history. It's no exagerration to say that in 1914 Belgium single-handedly saved the Allies from a quick German victory.

When Germany made their plans for the upcoming European war, they wanted to knock France out of the war as soon as possible so they could put the majority of their armies in the East to fight the giant Russian army. The plan was to invade France from the north through neutral Belgium while a smaller force held the bulk of the French army in Alsace-Lorraine along the French / German border. The Germans assumed that the Belgian Army, 1/10th the size of the German, would either let them pass unhindered or be quickly crushed - Belgian resistance would be "the rage of dreaming sheep" in the words of one German general.

Neither happened. The Belgians bled themselves white resisting the German advance for a month under the personal command of King Albert I, first at Liege and then Antwerp. They delayed the Germans long enough for the French to re-organise and halt the German advance at the Battle of the Marne. The Belgians eventually retreated to the river Yser, refusing requests by Allied command to abandon Belgium entirely and intentionally flooding it to provide a natural defence. This left only a tenth of Belgium unoccupied, and the Belgians held that line for the remainder of the war.

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