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Post Info TOPIC: Infantry weaponry in belgian service


Lieutenant-Colonel

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Infantry weaponry in belgian service
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Hi everyone.

I´ve got some doubts about the infantry weapons of the Belgian Army from mid-1915 onwards.

Belgian forces were dependent upon their  allies. My question is: what weapons (MGs, hand grenades, rifles...) did they adopte?

Can anyone give me some kind of info about french rifles/pistols/MGs in belgian service? And british Mills  hand grenade? Were the Belgian Army issued with the american Colt M1895 "potato digger" machinegun?

Thanks in advance for your answers.


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Legend

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Hi Colts and Chauchats were both used by the Belgians, also VB rifle grenade launchers..

Cheerswink

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Legend

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Ironsides is correct about the Chauchat (9 per company of 180 men) and grenade launchers (12 per company). They also received many captured MG08s, and some Hotchkiss M1914s. There is certainly a photo of Belgians in khaki manning a Colt MG, but exactly how many were received is very hard to say - the US phased it out by, I think, 1916. I suspect that all sorts of odds and ends were handed over to them.

AFAIK they continued to use the Mauser M1889 rifle, but other rifles found their way into Belgian hands, including the French Lebel.

The grenade question is an interesting one. Apparently, 2 men per platoon were designated bombers, but I'm still looking for info on what type were used. The Osprey book has an illustration of a Belgian brandishing a stick-grenade of some kind that has a fragmentation head, but there are no more details

BTW, there are a couple of photos of Belgians in kepis and leather sheepskin coats with stick grenades of some kind, but it appears that this outfit was designed for the Belgian Armoured Car crews in Russia, so the grenades are probably Russian.

I am, as always, happy to be corrected.

-- Edited by James H on Monday 5th of July 2010 02:49:24 PM

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Colonel

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Here are a couple of images of Belgian soldiers in late 1915/early 1916 with Aase Grenades.

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Colonel

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These photos come from a Belgian Machine Gunner's album in which the latest images are dated in mid-1916

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Colonel

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Here is an interesting photo showing an array of weapons carried by Belgians, ca. 1921.  The grenade throwers are utilizing British Mills bombs.

John

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Legend

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"The Osprey book has an illustration of a Belgian brandishing a stick-grenade of some kind that has a fragmentation head, but there are no more details"

Hi All....

 James, That may be a French grenade the P3 Mle 1915...

http://members.shaw.ca/dwlynn/french/P3.jpg

Jagjetta, The french produced a grenade the F1 which looks a lot like a mills bomb the large ring makes me think it may be one of these...

Cheerswink

-- Edited by Ironsides on Monday 5th of July 2010 06:01:45 PM

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Colonel

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Ironsides:
The F1...that is a good idea and it never occurred to me that those fellows might be using them!  Going to get out the magnifier and study a bit more closely. Thanks so much for the idea.

John

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Legend

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Hi Jagjetta Nice photos by the way....
I noticed the guys serving the Chauchat have different mags to the normal half circle one, a slightly curved mag with no visible openings as I understand it a new mag had been developed by the french for this gun but I thought it had been dropped , this is not the US mag which was straight.... possibly its a Belgian innovation..... also note the VB grenade is improperly loaded in the launcher it should'nt be visible.....

Cheerswink

-- Edited by Ironsides on Monday 5th of July 2010 09:55:41 PM

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Legend

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Fantastic photos, John.

I don't think that's a Chauchat in the post-War photo - I think it's the FM24.

This grenade business is complicated. Still looking.

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Legend

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Hi James If its not a Chauchat.... i'll buy you the first box of Pegasus WW1 french to hit the storeswink

Cheerssmile

 

 



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Commander in Chief

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the Belgians made a lot of wooden dummy MG's too, by mutilated soldiers in a special revalidation centre in France.


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Legend

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Ironsides wrote:


Hi James If its not a Chauchat.... i'll buy you the first box of Pegasus WW1 french to hit the stores




 I'll accept as an alternative a ticket to see England in the World Cup Final, whichever is the sooner.

Ok, then. Maybe it's the Chauchat M1918.



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Commander in Chief

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I'll accept as an alternative a ticket to see England in the World Cup Final, whichever is the sooner.

sorry for interfering but I can't resist...you can buy here now plastic orange colored Pickelhauben....



 



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Legend

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HGi James not convinced the gunner appears to be holding the forward handle in the normal position, interesting pic though it could just be some older guns were converted to the new mag...
Perhaps a better scan would solve it?

"I'll accept as an alternative a ticket to see England in the World Cup Final, whichever is the sooner."

I have to say however unlikely it seems, England  winning the WC seems the more likely option....wink

Cheerssmile



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Lieutenant-Colonel

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Hi all.

Good info and fantastic pics. Thanks a lot.


Best regards from Spain.




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Commander in Chief

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another Belgian Colt, in AA role

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Commander in Chief

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and a Farina protected sniper, with a periscoped rifle, in Flemish (Carl!) called a 'peerdekop' which is a phonetical abberation but literally means 'horse head'.

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Commander in Chief

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sorry, forgot to attach, here's the picture


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Commander in Chief

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Ironsides wrote:


Jagjetta, The french produced a grenade the F1 which looks a lot like a mills bomb the large ring makes me think it may be one of these...


the type with the ring, wasn't that the OF as the F1 didn't have a ring but a small tube on top, brass but I think early ones were card board?

 



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Legend

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Hi Kieffer, there at least 5 types of F1(Fusante) probarbly more as I keep seeing different fuse arrangments, bodys more or less all the same..
early with long plunger on top 1915 (pushing the plunger started the fuse)..
later with short plunger 1916 with less deeply segmented body(the tube cover made them safe HA HA)...
with ring pull 1916( I think this is a friction pull) and two with with a ring pull and lever like the mills, Billant fuze 1916 and Bourny 1918 .... 

But your right it could be the OF type in the photo I get the impression at least one is segmented....

http://www.passioncompassion1418.com/decouvertes/ImagesDecouvertes/Grenades/F1d.jpg

Cheerswink

-- Edited by Ironsides on Tuesday 6th of July 2010 11:36:44 AM

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Commander in Chief

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Hi Ironsides,
thanks for the info! The lever was indeed inspired on the Mills. The OF wasn't fragmented , they consisted of two halves soldered together. They must have been effective weapons, easy to fuze, strong detonation and light weight, 0.25 kg.
May be not exactly an infantry weapon (but depends on the definition) was the Mortier Van Deuren or MVD, again nicknamed in Flemish as Mortier Val Dood, mortar drop dead.
The one with the typical winged grenades, they must have had some idea of aerodynamics these days..
Regards, Kieffer



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Legend

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The defeat of the Uruguayan team (by a certain European power with supporters who wear lots of orange - congratulations to the Dutch) reminds me of Fray Bentos (in Uruguay where the business started), bully-beef and the the British practice when the German troops were hungry to catapult several tins of their Fray Bentos corned beef into the German trenches. Then to catapult a grenade.

Horrible - especially when it was Germans who started the industry at Fray Bentos in the 19th century. But war is like that.

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Legend

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kieffer wrote:

...The lever was indeed inspired on the Mills. The OF wasn't fragmented , they consisted of two halves soldered together. They must have been effective weapons, easy to fuze, strong detonation and light weight, 0.25 kg.


Typical "offensive" grenade, used in attacking, relies on explosion "over-pressure" for effect, which is short-range (an inverse cube of distance relationship) so can be fairly precisely targeted. Fragmentation types like the Mills are properly "defensive" grenades - too dangerous to use much in advances and melees.

The careful "pineapple" effect of the casing of those defensive grenades has nothing to do with assisting fragmentation of course. The explosion at 8,000m/s is too rapid for lines of least resistance or anything like that to have effect - the fragmentation "pattern" of the casing is essentially random - except the base-plate often comes out more or less intact - also the striker well and assembly often stays intact but "imploded" being at the centre of everything. Those larger parts can travel a long distance - never have figured out how that extreme "distance expelled" works with the striker assembly but, somehow, it apparently does.

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Legend

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I happen to have a copy of Militaria magazine that I remembered contains an article on French grenades of the Great War. Thinking that it might throw some light on the matter, I dug it out. I am startled to see that it is Part 6 in a series. There is clearly a lot to this subject.

There are some links here that might help:

http://www.activeboard.com/forum.spark?aBID=63528&p=3&topicID=25268518

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Legend

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Hi James some more links on grenades...

http://members.shaw.ca/dwlynn/french/frenchguide.htm

http://www.inert-ord.net/rod02h/french1915/index.html

http://www.passioncompassion1418.com/decouvertes/english_grenades_fr.html

cheerssmile

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cdr


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I've got a little list
1. Mauser 1889
2. Turkish mauser 1890 1893
3. carabine 1916
4. cavalry carabine mauser
5. FN m1900 pistol
6. Colt pistol
7. VB rifle grenade with assorted LEBEL french rifles
8. Delattre riflegrenade with (captured) German Mauser 1898 rifle
9. Mills and O.F. Grenades
10. Maxim machine gun
11. Colt machine gun
12. Hotchkiss machine gun
13. Chauchat M1915 light machine gun 7.65mm(with belgian ammo) ammo carriers for the chauchat used the French Berthier rifle
14. Hotchkiss M1909 light machine gun
15. Lewis light machine gun

Carl

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Legend

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That's great, Carl. Any idea how many Lewises?

BTW, an article by Pierre Lierneux doesn't clear up the grenade matter; it says that after the front stabilised on the Yser grenades reappeared and "les modèles foisonnent" - there was an abundance of models. Still looking.

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Thanks a bunch, Carl. I suppose the turkish Mausers were captured and delivered by british.


btw, from Osprey´s "WWI trench warfare":



Keep looking.

Best regards.

 



-- Edited by diorama1914 on Saturday 10th of July 2010 03:45:42 PM

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Colonel

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cdr wrote:

I've got a little list
1. Mauser 1889
2. Turkish mauser 1890 1893
3. carabine 1916
4. cavalry carabine mauser


Here's a pretty good picture of members of the 7th Regiment armed with French Model 1874 rifles.  The second photo is a 1916 photo from an MG unit member's album showing one of the Chauchats the unit used.

John

 



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cdr


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re the Lewis guns

BSA apparently delivered 5 guns on (02/08/14) and 15 more guns some days later

The sole foto evidence I've got is the Henkart a/c.
The rest is guesswork (maybe through the socalled Moscow archives ? )

I'm inclined to think that they were used by the carabinier cyclistes.
a ) Carabinier cyclist fought frequently in support of the early armoured cars
b ) the cyclistes who fought in Russia used the Lewis gun
c) in 1918 the carabinier cycliste units attached to the cavalry division used the Lewis as an LMG

Carl

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Legend

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Most interesting, Carl. We had a discussion about Lewises in Belgian service a while ago. I wrote at the time that I thought the Belgians could not have had many, since production in Belgium was on a very small scale and mass manufacture didn't begin until after the move to Britain. That seems to be more or less your view. They weren't approved for service with the British until late 1915. Do you know if Belgium received any after the khaki uniform was adopted?

As regards the Carabinier Cyclists, we had a lively discussion on the HaT website when they attempted to equip their figures with Madsens. Although there are some photos and illustrations of Cyclists with Madsens, these seem to be of a trial that didn't result in the Madsen being adopted. What did happen was that they received two Hotchkiss Portatives, probably salvaged from one of the fortresses, and used them at Haelen.

http://pub19.bravenet.com/forum/static/show.php?usernum=1619281253&frmid=6&msgid=865032&cmd=show

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cdr


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Re the Lewis

before 14/08/1914 the Belgian ordered 174 lewis guns. I do not know if they were all delivered. I do not think that the hotchkiss portable of the carabinier cycliste came from Fortresses. At haelen there was a section with 2 Hotchkiss LMG under the command of a capitaine Vandesande. Both of the guides cavalry regiments had a similar section present. it was apparently the idea to equip all cavalry regiments with such a unit.

At Haelen the carabinier cycliste lost 2 of 3 company commanders

Carl

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Legend

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I think the suggestion that the Portatives came from the Fortresses is made in The World War One Sourcebook, but there is a pre-War photo of Cyclists with a Portative, so the Sourcebook could be wrong.

I know the Chasseurs à Cheval / Jagers te Paard had some Portatives (there are several photographs) , but I didn't know the Guides did.



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Legend

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I think the CSRG is a Belgian variant using a 7.65x54mm cartridge it seems to have worked fine....

Cheerssmile



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