Ethiopians in the Korean War: WWII gear used

Sixteen nations sent forces to fight in the Korean War on the allied side. One of the lesser-known contingents was Ethiopia’s Kagnew battalion. It was equipped almost entirely with surplus American WWII gear.

jeep

(WWII-era Willys jeep of the Kagnew battalion in Korea.)

soldiers

(Ethiopian soldiers in the Korean War. All of their kit – M1 steel pot helmet, OD green fatigues, web belt, M1911 sidearm – is WWII American gear.)

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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.

orig98k

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

cover

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

98KIsrael1967

(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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Moschetto M95 carbine postwar

The Moschetto M95 carbine is a modification of the Mannlicher-Steyr 95 rifle, as used by the Austro-Hungarian Empire during WWI. Italy captured a number of these guns during WWI, and received many more after the armistice. Meanwhile the collapsed empire’s neighbors inherited some, especially Bulgaria, which adopted it as it’s main carbine in the inter-war period. The M95 was a standard carbine of the Italian colonial forces and Bulgarian army during WWII, and also saw some use by the German army which acquired them via overrunning Poland and Greece; who had themselves previously captured or inherited them from the Austro-Hungarians. The Yugoslav and Hungarian armies also used it to a smaller extent during WWII. Finally, the USSR had some left over from Imperial Russian stockpiles of WWI.

M95carbineSomalia8mmx50R(A Somali militiaman with a M95 carbine.)

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USS Orca’s second life in Ethiopia

USS Orca (AVP-49) was a Barnegat class seaplane tender. Before WWII, this category was intended to service and maintain long-range float aircraft as it’s name implies. However as WWII progressed, that became unimportant and they were instead used as makeshift smallcraft tenders, repair ships, buoy tenders, tugs, merchant escorts, and other miscellaneous useful tasks.

USS_Orca_(AVP-49)_2(USS Orca during WWII) (official US Navy photo)Read More »