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...skirmish warfare, partisans, heck just raiding a neighbouring village has been the way things have been done on the Balkans forever. So a shorter handier rifle that is easy to load and cycle should fit the requirement nicely...

Not only that, but people were generally short and long rifles were not liked - main complain about Mosin in Serbian service was that. Anyway, since it is related I have full list of complains by Serbian soldiers:

 

- Main problem was too much length, 130cm vs 114cm for Serbian Mausers. That made problems since average height of the soldier was 165-167cm (note that Montenegrin soldiers did not report that problem as much, since average height of their soldier was about 177-178cm). Problem got worse once it was found out you need to have a bayonet on in order for it to be properly sighted. This was especially noticeable in prone position, or firing from a tranches;

 

- Way less reliable than Mauser, more susceptible to failures, especially bolt, which was main source of problems;

 

- Long sight line length aided long range shooting (once people realize you need bayonet on for it), but hindered quick shooting.

 

- Sights were bad for a rapid target acquisition. Sight is bad for quick range change.

 

- More susceptible to dirt tham Mauser, plus more open surfaces that enabled dirt to come inside.

 

- Only good thing was excellent accuracy when properly sighted, in post-ww1 trials, while estimated as "partially suitable" it was most accurate rifle trialed;

 

- Some of the rifles came with had old sights, but new ammo while some came with new sights and old ammo (I am not sure if this was Russian or local fuckup)

 

Post war trials:

Suitable (in order of preference):

- Serbian 1910, German 98, and Austrian 1912 Mausers - main problem was length which was seen as trivial to solve

- Romanian Mannlicher 1893 - length and rimmed ammo

- A-H Mannlicher 1895 - length and rimmed ammo

- Lee-Enfield - main problem - shortest sight base, not suitable for very high pressure ammo, rimmed ammo - while it got lowest score notes say all of those are good and that differences minor and not in favor of one or other in any significant way.

 

 

Partially suitable:

- Mosin (best accuracy of the all tested, but nothing more to commend it)

- Serbian 1899, Spanish 1893, Turkish 1890 Mausers - lesser strength of action, somewhat marginal for 7.9x57mm which was already decided on as future cartridge

- Berthier with 5 rounds - hard to convert to 7.9x57, long, rimmed ammo, weak action;

 

Not suitable

- Berthier with 3 rounds - too little ammo, convertible to 5 round configuration however, weak action, hard to convert to 7.9x57

- Carcano - barrel life only 3000 rounds, weak action, long, hard to convert to 7.9x57

- Lebel - obsolete tube magazine, rimmed ammo, weak action, non-suitable for conversion to short rifle

- 8mm Kropatschek - same + very weak action

- Vetterli (does not say which one, but I suspect 1915 conversion, since all other rifles were small bore smokeless) - nothing positive was found out.

Vetterlis were only ones to be scrapped, and considering that Werndls and other single shots were kept it says a lot about it...

Edited by bojan
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Most enigmatic is Major General Engelsohn (sp?), a Swedish émigré apparently, who serves as Inspector of Cavalry. At his insistence the Ministry has ordered several variants of the Mauser C96 pistol for evaluation as a future cavalry armament.

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Cavalry is of limited use in the most of the Balkans due the difficult terrain. Dragoon type "mounted infantry" would be much more useful.

Serbia considered C-96 for Chetnik assault groups pre-WW1 but never got them. Some of those had private purchase ones.

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Most Tankovian cavalry are dragoons, essentially used for scouting and flank protection. I will leave General Engelsohn to describe the Guard Cavalry Regiment which has all the spiffy finery for parades.

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Most enigmatic is Major General Engelsohn (sp?), a Swedish émigré apparently, who serves as Inspector of Cavalry. At his insistence the Ministry has ordered several variants of the Mauser C96 pistol for evaluation as a future cavalry armament.

 

Major General Harrisohn, if you may. (stiffupperlip mode on)

 

The Mauser C96s come with wooden holster stocks, the officers from the various regiments are swooning like young girls at the sight of them.

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Most Tankovian cavalry are dragoons, essentially used for scouting and flank protection. I will leave General Engelsohn to describe the Guard Cavalry Regiment which has all the spiffy finery for parades.

 

Curved light cavalry sabers are used for all dragoon and mounted rifles regiments, the Guard Carabineers Regiment use heavy pallasch swords. French style dragoon helmets (with black tails and brass details) are used for all dragoon regiments, the Carabineers have a similar helmet in copper with more extensive details/ornaments, the mounted rifles wear regulation kepis.

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So are the dragoons going to adopt the short rifle? We can just put appropriate slings for them. We cannot afford to give them both a rifle and a Pistol.

 

C96 for squadron and troop officers ("encouraged" purchase), nco`s and corporals will receive theirs from the regiment, carbines/short rifles for privates.

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Think about guerrilla and commando war, assault groups and such stuff. You have Serbians, Bulgarians and Greek in Macedonia before and during Balkan wars to use as an example.

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Much joy from finding out that the Hungarians (FEG) had a Model 14 straight pull in 7x57 under consideration just before War Were Declared. Mauser type 5 shot flush magazine. Since there is some agreement on the matter of calibre, i.e. an 'intermediate' in 7mm Mauser, perhaps we can agree on a straight pull (General Bojanovic frowns) using stripper clips (saves on proprietary en bloc clips since nobody else has them).

 

http://www.hungariae.com/Mann14.htm

 

Using a 20" barrel, the Standard Rifle has slinging arrangements for both infantry and cavalry. A German style slot in the stock is proposed in lieu of rear side swivels. Bayonet lugs are standard and have no impact on those who do not use them.

 

Later batches will feature a revised turned down and swept back bolt handle that places it right beside the trigger. This leads to a rapid firing technique which uses the middle finger to pull the trigger, leaving the thumb and forefinger on the handle, which in turn will lead into extended magazines to exploit this.

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Straight pull is OK if all rifles will be imported, but if you want a local production Mauser is best one.

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I fear that even by the 1910s, Tankovia is unlike to have the level of industrialization to be able to produce barrel blanks let alone the steel needed to make such. I was just rewatching the Ross MkIII episode and their pains would probably be less than our own as a far smaller and less affluent country. Thus for the near term, all these rifles would have to be produced abroad.

 

The first step might be to manufacture our ammunition domestically, rather than rifles.

 

As far as domestic rifle production, I thought we might start with a modest project to convert Martini-Henry's into 7x57mm to serve as training rifles and to equip reserve and militia forces. They would use the same barrel length and profile as our standard rifle as well as fittings like sights, bayonets and slings. These would be not dissimilar to the Turkish Peabody-Martinis converted to 7.65x53mmR. This should accelerate the fielding and conversion to all 7x57mm from the hodge podge of ammunition and rifles.

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Why not buying surplus Remington Rolling Blocks and convert those? It is a good single shot, and I don't know if British arsenals will let go of MArtini-Henries? RRBs OTOH are nearly ubiquitous and even chambered for black powder strong enough to take nitro barrels.

 

 

You touch on an important point, simon: how much can the Royal Tankovian Army (I think we have a monarch?) spend? how well (or bad) is Tankovia off? Looking at photos of bulgarian, serbian, romanian troops they look more like a bunch of hobos that have found rifles most of the time.

 


Straight pull is OK if all rifles will be imported, but if you want a local production Mauser is best one.

 

Alternative would be Steyr turn bolts (which are sorta kinda 88 commission rifles), either import or license manufacture.

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You touch on an important point, simon: how much can the Royal Tankovian Army (I think we have a monarch?) spend? how well (or bad) is Tankovia off? Looking at photos of bulgarian, serbian, romanian troops they look more like a bunch of hobos that have found rifles most of the time.

 

Serbian green M.1908 uniform was quite decent, with short and practical blouse, pants narrow in the lower part, but large ammo pouches sucked.. But there was never enough of it, even in Balkan wars so only 1st call and some 2nd call units got them. Older blue (IIRC M.1894) uniform was much worse (thinner material, no cammo factor), but there was not enough of those either. so 3rd call used whatever they had (usually not a lot). I suspect situation was same in Bulgaria and Romania. Also lacking were shoes, so opanci were often used.

 

Bulgarian one was also quite good, but ammo pouches were also too large.

 

Best thing would be something as Serbian/Bulgarian uniform, but with Austrian pattern web gear and ammo pouches.

 

PS. Hand grenades, learn from Serbia and Bulgaria.

 

Edited by bojan
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Being the footwear of farmers a pair of opanak does not seem too bad to me? Remind me of mocassins. Probably suck for long marches though

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opanak

 

 

 

But as I said, formally and bureaucratically introduced uniforms are all nice and dandy and may even be adequate to good for the purpose. Especially what is up with bad weather gear? We are talking balkan mountains after all.

 

But if Tankovian Royal Treasury cannot pay to equip the army with uniforms for all, it is not much use anyway.

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Being the footwear of farmers a pair of opanak does not seem too bad to me? Remind me of mocassins. Probably suck for long marches though...

 

They were traditionally worn with thick woolen socks, sometimes with padded soles.

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Being the footwear of farmers a pair of opanak does not seem too bad to me? Remind me of mocassins. Probably suck for long marches though

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opanak

 

 

 

But as I said, formally and bureaucratically introduced uniforms are all nice and dandy and may even be adequate to good for the purpose. Especially what is up with bad weather gear? We are talking balkan mountains after all.

 

But if Tankovian Royal Treasury cannot pay to equip the army with uniforms for all, it is not much use anyway.

Nah, just issue everyone called up a bottle of olive-green dye.That way they can at least there clothes can be the same color. :)

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Tankovia is often seen as a bucolic land off the beaten path, let alone the railways of the modern age. This is of course a little myth we like to keep going for the benefit of our neighbours to appear less threatening and competitive. We leave the Greeks, Serbs and Bulgars to take the fight to the Porte while helping them and the odd Pasha to finance these activities using modern fiscal instruments.

 

Tankograd is sometimes called the Balkan London, where people come to make deals and do business. The banks and merchant house are all in New Town on the southern bank of the river. Though lacking the majestic scale of larger capitals, the tree lined boulevards and open squares are elegant and refined places, There is much pride in the splendid General Post Office and Central Exchange building completed not so long ago which has all the modern amenities such as water closets and electric lights! It is said some visit to just marvel at these devices of the modern age.

 

Thus while Tankovia as a nation is prosperous, much of it is held in few private hands. The government in a constitutional monarchy with a unicameral parliament.

 

The standing army is small, comprising mainly specialist troops. Dragoons comprise a significant part of this as they support the gendarmes in maintaining law and order in the hinterlands. I do not believe we have a levy at this time, though I might be persuaded otherwise.

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Why not get rid of Dragoons altogether and make a mounted Gendarmerie like the Netherlands have with the Koninklijke Marechaussee? (Or the canadian mounties, italian carabinieri etc pp) Which should lead to a country wiht a bit more law and order in rural areas, than the average balkan nation with clan feuds dominating the countryside (covering up the regular mutual raiding).

Dunno maybe introduced by a prince that studied in france or netherlands or so adn took notes about code civil and modern law books and enforcement? Tankovia would then have a quickly reacting police force in peace time and "dragoons" in war. Horses are really expensive keeping fed, but a half dozen or dozen or so per police station should be easier supplied from the local farmers.

 

 

recent wars (Napoleon, USCW, franco-prussian...) have shown that we are going to need a lot of soldiers, so a mandatory conscription? Incentives for voluntary reserve service?

 

Incentives like it being mandatory to get a civil service job for example. Or school grants for up to secondary. University would be a bit much and too expensive I think. Who needs so many eggheads anyway.

 


Nah, just issue everyone called up a bottle of olive-green dye.That way they can at least there clothes can be the same color. :)

 

Now this is fiscally responsible thinking! :)

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Good sideways thinking! But rather than issueing dye....which is expensive...I propose to subsidIze the production of cloth of a color and type suitable for making uniforms. Let the commercial market help us to defray costs!

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Hmmm....all that time in Heidelburg has given you some strange ideas. We are struggling to teach our population to read and write after much angst over what they should learn! To avoid antogonizing different ethnicities...we settled on English!

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Are you expecting Tankovia to discover it's sitting on oil reserves? I'm not quite sure where itis located in relation to the actually didcovered reserves in the region, but oil would be interesting on top of banking.

Edited by DB
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Hmmm....all that time in Heidelburg has given you some strange ideas. We are struggling to teach our population to read and write after much angst over what they should learn! To avoid antogonizing different ethnicities...we settled on English!

 

English? Stay away from this new-fangled humbug.

 

French I could see for the culturally sophsticated, Maybe as second or third language for upper class and nobility. French is the language of diplomats and international politics after all. Also german as foreign language, as we all know all balkan countries border Austria. At least according to TV series MacGyver. The Austrian border must be really crowded. ^_^

 

 

How strong are the panslavists? The russophiles? How does Bulgaria stand towards our own aspirations? What are Tankovias aspirations actually? Dominating the Blakans? Just getting by and not get crushed by neighbours? :unsure:

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The balance of power in Tankovian politics is evenly balanced between the Central Powers and the Grand Entente, although no faction or party openly sides with a bloc. Officially Tankovia is neutral and peace loving but armed and ready to repel all attackers.The reality is that we have a small standing army with a mix of professionals and conscripts supported by regional reserves and militias. The regional elements tend to be somewhat reflective of their ethnic and cultural composition, militias are not funded from the Royal Treasury so they will have a wide assortment of equipments furnished locally.

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