American Rifleman - February 2015 - 103

belgian mausers

continued from p. 76

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Shortages were critical during the war. Dissatisfied with available
French designs, Belgian purchasing commissions started working in November
1914 to manufacture Mausers abroad. The Belgians found a willing manufacturer
in Hopkins & Allen and signed a contract on August 4, 1915, for the manufacture
of 140,000 Model 1889 rifles and 10,000 Model 89/16 carbines. Hopkins & Allen
greatly underestimated the demand and cost of materials and labor in time of war
and underbid the contract. This ultimately led to its bankruptcy. The rifles were
paid for by the Belgian government unlike what is often reported. The first Hopkins
& Allen rifles were completed in October 1916, but most did not arrive at Belgian
arsenals until 1918! These were mostly issued with Belgian occupation troops in the
Rhineland in the 1920s. These Mausers are easily identified by the "Hopkins and
Allen Arms Co. Norwich, Conn. U.S.A." marking on the receiver.
The bulk of wartime replacements came from Birmingham, England, where
the Belgian government set up a complete arsenal to manufacture and repair
Belgian Mausers. Carbines and rifles were marked "Birmingham Etat Belge"
(Birmingham - Belgian State). This marking has led some collectors to incorrectly believe that the rifles were built by the British government. The arsenal
was in fact a Belgian government facility, employing Belgian refugees, most
from the Li├Ęge region with backgrounds in armsmaking.
The receiver markings indicate the manufacturers: Fabrique Nationale,
Manufacture d'Armes de l'Etat (the pre-war Belgian State Arsenal), Hopkins &
Allen or the Belgian arsenal in Birmingham. While the receiver indicates the
manufacturer, the stock cartouche indicates if the rifle was used by the Belgian
army, the civil guard, or the Force Publique in the Congo. Some buttplates are
marked with regimental markings.
Before any new carbines were manufactured, the Belgian wartime arsenal
in Calais streamlined the many variances into one model. Known as the Model
89/16, it replaced all pre-war variants, and existing carbines were converted
during the war to the new Model 89/16 specifications. Pre-war Model 1889
bayonets were converted as well-the quillion was removed as it proved to be
cumbersome in barbed wire.
The Germans recognized the quality of the Model 1889, though. Many captured rifles and carbines were issued to German troops after being converted to
8 mm Mauser. Although operational, the German conversions lacked precision.
After the war, there was an abundance of Model 1889 Mausers, and Belgium no
longer placed orders for the Model 1889 with FN. In 1936, a conversion program
began to modify some 1889 Mausers to the modernized Model 89/36 rifle, but relatively few were completed.
Both the Model 1889 rifle
and 89/16 carbine remained
in service through May 1940
when the Belgians were
once again faced with a
German invasion.

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BREAKING THE FORTRESS
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ARMING BELGIUM AND
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Belgian riflemen casually pose with their Model
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four of them are sharpshooters.

americanrifleman.org

february 2015

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American Rifleman - February 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - February 2015

Contents
American Rifleman - February 2015 - Cover1
American Rifleman - February 2015 - Cover2
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 1
American Rifleman - February 2015 - Contents
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 3
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 4
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 5
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 6
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 7
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 8
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 9
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 10
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 11
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 12
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 13
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 14
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 15
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 16
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 17
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 18
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 19
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 20
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 21
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 22
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 23
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 24
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 25
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 26
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 27
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 28
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 29
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 30
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 31
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 32
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 33
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 34
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 35
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 36
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 37
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 38
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 39
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 40
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 41
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 42
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 43
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 44
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 45
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 46
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 47
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 48
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 49
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 50
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 51
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 52
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 53
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 54
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 55
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 56
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 57
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 58
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 59
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 60
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 61
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 62
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 63
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 64
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 65
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 66
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 67
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 68
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 69
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 70
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 71
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 72
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 73
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 74
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 75
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 76
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 77
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 78
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 79
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 80
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 81
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 82
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 83
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 84
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 85
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 86
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 87
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 88
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 89
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 90
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 91
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 90b
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 91b
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 90c
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 91c
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 90d
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 91d
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 90e
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 91e
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 90f
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 91f
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 92
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 93
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 94
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 95
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 96
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 97
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 98
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 99
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 100
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 101
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 102
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 103
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 104
American Rifleman - February 2015 - Cover4
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