Russian infantryman, WWI
Württembergisch Landsturm Infanterie Ersatz Bataillon ‘Bietigheim’ (XIII. 21)
Women in Russian Revolution, 1917
Russian Imperial Army soldiers, 1915
The First Mosin Nagant was a French Mosin Nagant
The Mosin Nagant is a rifle that represents Russia. When one thinks of Russia typically vodka, potatoes, hard bass music, and the Mosin Nagant come to mind. However, believe it or not the very first production models of the Mosin Nagant did not come from Glorious Motherland, rather the Mosin was first manufactured in the Land of the Baguette; France.
How did this come to be? While Russia adopted the Model 1891 Mosin Nagant in 1891, it was taking some time for Russian arsenals to retool in order to manufacture the rifle. At around the same time, Russia and France were discussing an alliance. Russian relations were not very good in the 19th century, with France invading Russia during the Napoleonic Wars in 1812 and again during the Crimean War. However in 1891 tensions were cooling, and there was a bigger foe on the horizon in the form of Germany. An official treaty was signed in 1892, among which was an agreement in which France would produce 500,000 Mosin Nagant rifles for Russia. Production was contracted to the Chatellerault Arsenal, which produced 503,750 Mosin Nagant rifles between 1892 and 1895 for the price of 59 Francs each. This price included production of the rifle, accessories, and proof testing.
The Chatellerault Mosin Nagant is little different than Russian production Mosins, but the most interesting difference was the addition of a finger rest on the stock.
The barrel was stamped with the double headed eagle which represented the Czar, while the receiver featured Chatellerault Arsenal markings in Cyrilic.
Imperial Russian Dragoons
The Easter Uprising and 20,000 Russian Rifles,
During World War I Germany and Irish Republicans were allies as it was in Germany’s best interest to destabilize the British Empire in any way possible, and or course the Irish Rebels needed weapons and supplies. In 1916 the German government offered support for the Easter Uprising, a planned rebellion to take place in Dublin on April 24th. On April 9th, 1916 the SS Libau (disguised as the Norwegian merchant ship SS Aud) disembarked from the port of Lubeck, steaming around Denmark and Norway, sneaking past the British blockade, then looping around the North Atlantic before steaming south and secretly delivering it’s cargo at an Irish port.
The cargo carried by the SS Libau consisted of 20,000 Russian Mosin Nagant Model 1891 bolt action rifles along with 4 million rounds of ammunition. The rifles had been captured by the German Army on the Eastern Front, and since they did not share common caliber with standard German infantry firearms, was used as a second line rifle, or supplied to Central Power nations and other allies. In addition to the rifles were ten machine guns and explosives.
The SS Libau was able to reach the Irish coast, however it was discovered by three British destroyers who were suspicious of an unexpected visit by a “Norwegian merchant ship”. Once in Cork harbor the crew scuttled the ship, sending it to the bottom of Cork harbor on April 16th, a mere weak before the Easter Rising. A number of Mosin Nagant rifles were salvaged by Royal Navy divers, and today there are dozens of examples on display in museums across Ireland and the UK. The rifles pictured above are on display at the National Museum of Ireland, the rifle pictured below is part of the Royal Collection Trust.
Mosin Nagant M19/30 Sniper
Stacked Mosin Nagants
US Army ROTC with M1891 Mosin Nagant