GREEK MANNLICHER-SCHOENAUER RIFLES
|Made by Osterreichische Waffenfabriks-Gesellschaft, Steyr, 1914
Caliber: 6.5x54mm rimless
Turning bolt action with 2 locking lugs
1226mm overall length, Weight 3.77kg
725mm long Barrel, 4-groove, rh.
Muzzle Velocity: 680m/sec with M1903 ball cartridge
|Receiver markings: M1903 on the left, M1903/14 on the right.
The 1903/14 is a modification of the 1903 model: Greek Crest added, Full length handguard added, (Note, handguard is missing from the picture above), Grasping groves simplified, Stacking hook added.
|These Greek Contract rifles intended to the Basileos Stratos (Royal Army) were sequestered and issued to their troops by Austro-Hungary in 1914. Millions of freshly made ammo was also commandeered, and ammo production continued until the end of WW1. After WW1 some of these rifles were forwarded to Greece as war reparations.|
5-rd integral charger loaded spool mag.
|Tangent leaf front sight is graduated 200-2000 meters|
|Bayonet mount for M1903 Knife bayonet. M1903 bayonets were made by Steyr and FN Belgium. Old Greek Gras bayonets were altered to fit the M1903. These had a 522mm blade and 643mm full length or 400mm blade and 521mm full length.|
Stacking hook and front sight protector
Greek letters in the serial numbers
Greek proofmarks, St.George killing a dragon
Carbine front sight
Carbine rear sight
Mfg date on an M1903
|Between 1927-30 Societa Italiano Ernesto Breda, Brescia, Italy assembled about 100,000 rifles and 10,000 carbines? for Elleniki Demokratia (Post WW1 Greek Republic).|
There are two theories for
the origin of the parts:
1. The majority of the Y:1903/14 Mannlicher-Schönauer rifles left in Austria after WW1 were delivered to Italy as reparations and Breda refurbrished them with parts and machinery supplied by Steyr. When Greece placed the contract with Breda, they assembled new rifles using some of the aforementioned Steyr-made parts and when these were exhausted they produced complete rifles on machinery obtained from Steyr.
2. This contract was completed from Steyr maufactured parts by Breda, to circumvent the military weapon manufacturing prohibition imposed on Austria after WW1.
In 1930, Greece purchased from Steyr Werke AG (SWAG), 25,000 6.5mm M1904/14/30 Mannlicher Schoenauer carbines.
Receiver left side legend
St.George's Shield and Cross crest and the Acceptance mark (St.George and the dragon) are common throughout before and after WW1.
4. The Repeating Rifle Era (1905-1941) For Greece, the first decades of the 20th century was full of war events. The armed phase of the Macedonian Struggle (1904-1908), the victorious Balkan Wars (1912-1913), WW I (1914-1918), and the campaigns to Russia 1919) and Asia Minor (1919-1922) had all a decisive effect upon the organization and the armament of the Greek Armed Forces.
4a. Up to WW I (1905-1914) The armed phase of the Macadonian
Struggle last 4 years (1094-1908) and Greece took active part in it by
sending men and arms to this region. The small arms used by the Greek armed
guerillas (andartae) who participated in the conflict were Gras and Martini
single shot rifles and carbines.
After 1905, there was also a limited number of 6.5 mm Mannlicher-Schönauer repeating carbines, which were slightly different from those adopted by the Army. An assortment of rifles and carbines, coming from war booties (Turkish Mausers 9.5mm and 7.65mm and Bulgarian Mannlichers of 8mm) and commercial sales, was also used.
In the field of handguns, most were Chamelot-Delvigne and Montenegrin Gasser revolvers, but any other type of pistols and revolvers (Nagant, Colt, Smith & Wesson, Mannlicher etc) could also be seen in the hands of Greek guerillas. In Athens, after long debates and repeated trials, the Army adopted the 6.5mm Mannlicher-Schönauer repeating rifle and carbine on October 28, 1904. The first contract between Greece and the Steyr company (Oesterreichische Waffenfabrik Gesellschaft, Steyr) was signed on October 29-November 11, 1905 for 60,000 rifles and the first weapons were issued to troops in July, 1907. Up to the autumn of 1912, when the first Balkan War began, 130,000 Mannlicher-Schönauer rifles and carbines had been delivered to Greece, along with 100 million 6.5 mm cartridges bought from the Austrian Hirtenberger and G. Roth companies, and the Greek Powder and Cartridge Company.
This rifle was used in both Balkan Wars, WW I, the campaigns to Russia and Asia Minor and the Greco-Italian and Greco-German Wars of 1940-41. It was also used by the resistance organizations during Axis occupation of Greece.
B. Up to the Treaty of Lausanne (1914-1923) When WW
I broke out, Greece preferred to remain neutral for a certain period. This
neutrality caused her to be cut off from any possible channel of armament
procurement, including small arms and ammunition. Till then, Greece had
in her arsenal 190,069 6.5mm M1903 and M1903/14 Mannlicher Schönauer
rifles & carbines, 77,000 11mm M.1874 Gras rifles & carbines, and
44,000 Turkish Mausers and Bulgarian Mannlicher rifles and carbines.
C. Up to the Eve of the Greco-Italian War (1923 to October 27, 1940). After the Asia Minor debacle, the salvaged material, inter alia, included: 1. 96,000 6.5 mm M1903 and m1903/14 Mannlicher-Schönauer rifles 2. 8,650 M1903 Mannlicher-Schönauer carbines 3. 16,000 8 mm M1888/90 and m1895 Bulgarian Mannlicher rifles 4. 700 8 mm M1890 and m1895 Bulgarian Mannlicher carbines. 5. 26,000 7.65 mm M1890, M1893, and M1903 Turkish Mauser rifles 6. 10,500 7.65 mm M1890 and M1905 Turkish Mauser carbines. 7. 9,150 M1898 Mauser rifles8. etc.
All these weapons were old, worn out an short of spare
parts, while most of them needed repair. In order (for) the Army to be
ready for combat, new small arms had to be bought. After long debates and
repeated trials, in 1925, Greece ordered tom the Italian Breda Factory
100,000 6.5 mm M1904/14/27 Mannlicher-Schönauer rifles, which were
delivered in 1927. In 1930, Greece also purchased from Steyr Werke AG (SWAG),
25,000 6.5 mm M1904/14/30 Mannlicher Schoenauer carbines, making a total
of 224,700 Mannlicher-Schönauer weapons (old and new)." (Courtesy
of John from Gunboards)