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Old 02-02-2014, 09:37 PM
Nyles Nyles is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 917

Picked up a few interesting additions to the collection in January:

First was a rifle I've been looking for for years, I finally gave up on finding one in Canada and imported it from the US. It's a Mauser Infanterie-Gewehr 1871, the original single shot Mauser in an 11mm blackpowder cartridge that replaced the Prussian Dreyse need rifle after German unification. Call it the German equivlent to the Trapdoor Springfield or Martini-Henry. Interesting rifle, it has an extractor but no ejector, so you have to manually remove the empty from the action. Otherwise it's a thoroughly modern weapon for the era, though it doesn't have much in common with the familiar smokeless powder Mausers of the 20th century.

These were never really used in combat by the German army, but were the most common rifle used by the Chinese in the Boxer rebellion, and about 1200 were smuggled into Ireland for use by the Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army in 1913. They're known there as Howth Mausers after the site of the initial landing. They were used in the failed Easter Rising of 1916, which can be looked at as the Irish equivalent of Lexington & Concord. That's really why I'm so interested in this model, I've always has a passion for the history of the Irish struggle for independence.

My other purchase was a Canadian-marked Pattern 1908 Cavalry Sabre, made in February 1918 and issued to the Fort Garry Horse, a cavalry regiment (now "armored" reconnaisance) from my home town of Winnipeg that I've actually done alot of exercises with over the years. In 1918 the Garrys were serving in France as part of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade, and actually made mounted charges during the 100 Days Offensive that ended the war. Although it's well known that most British & empire cavalry units were dismounted and used as infantry in 1916, they were remounted in 1917 and saw alot of action after the breakout from the trenches in 1918.

The Pattern 1908 sabre is actually a very interesting design, much along the same lines as the American M1913 Patton sabre. Rather than being designed for cutting attacks, it's meant entirely to be used as a thrusting weapon from horseback, with a long, straight, narrow blade that was often not even sharpened before battle and a large guard intended to protect the hand during the charge. The whole idea was that the power of a cavalry charge came from the weight and momentum of the animal, and that stabbing attacks were more often fatal than cutting. Interestingly this sword was designed to be carried on the horse, not the man, reflecting it's intended role.

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