Syrian Civil War: WWII weapons used

 

The ongoing Syrian civil war, which began in March 2011, is of course dominated by Cold War-era (and even 21st century) weapons, however, there is an astonishing mix of WWII gear – both Axis and Allied – in use. Some of these weapons had previously not seen combat for decades.

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(Syrian rebel with a WWII German StG-44 assault rifle.)

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(Yugoslav-made M18/43F, a copy of the WWII German leFH 18M howitzer, in action with Jaish al-Fatah rebels.)

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(A Syrian rebel with a WWII Mosin-Nagant 91/30 – retrofitted with a modern scope – takes aim in 2014.)

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(Rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) distribute WWII French MAS-36 rifles.)

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(Syrian government soldier with a WWII Soviet 61-K anti-aircraft gun in October 2015.)

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Panzers in the Golan Heights

The last appearance by WWII German tanks on the world’s battlefields came in 1967, when Syria’s panzer force faced off against modern Israeli armor. Quite improbably, Syria had assembled it’s collection of ex-Wehrmacht vehicles from a half-dozen sources over a decade and a half timeframe.

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(Syrian army Panzer IV tank)

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ENS Ibrahim el-Awal: captured at sea

HMS Mendip, a  British WWII destroyer, served in four navies after the war and saw combat in two wars, including being captured on the high seas, certainly a rarity in the modern era.

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(HMS Mendip serving in the Royal Navy during WWII.)

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(The former HMS Mendip in Israeli service as INS Haifa after her capture at sea from the Egyptians.)

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German 98k rifle in Israeli service

The 98k was the most common firearm of Germany during WWII. It was used by all branches of the German military, in all theaters on all fronts, from the start of the war to the very end. It was in production for all of WWII and a total of 14.6 million were built.

After Germany’s surrender in 1945, numerous countries ranging from Norway to Vietnam employed the 98k for varying peiods of time. The most surprising, and one of the most prolific, users of the 98k after WWII was Israel.

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(The Karabiner 98K in the form it was issued to the Wehrmacht during WWII.)

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(Receiver of an IDF 98k showing WWII waffenamt, or proofmarking, and partially-defaced reichsadler (eagle-holding-swastika) alongside Israeli proofmarks.)

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(Perhaps nothing better illustrates the ultimate total failure of nazi ideology than this 1967 photo of an IDF infantryman praying at the Western Wall with a 98k.)

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