The last country to produce new Mosin-Nagants was perhaps the most obscure player in Cold War-era Europe, Albania. There a small run of this rifle was made in the early 1960s, a decade and a half after WWII ended and the world (including Albania itself) had already moved on to more modern firearms.
(Albanian-manufactured Mosin-Nagant 91/30 rifle, the final production run of this legendary WWII rifle.) (photo via Armslist website)
(Enver Hoxha, the WWII guerilla who would become Albania’s dictator from 1944 – 1985.)
(Mosin-Nagant M44s being looted by an Albanian civilian during the 1997 chaos.) (Associated Press photo)
The Cold War-era Albanian military overall was a blend of different generations (including WWII) of weapons serving alongside one another.
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The M33 helmet (more formally, Elmetto Mod.33) was the standard helmet of the Italian army during WWII. It was designed in the early 1930s to replace WWI-era helmets. Made of 1.1mm heat-treated steel, the M33 was said to offer triple the protection of the French army’s then-current Adrian helmet (Italy expected France to be it’s enemy in any future war). All in all, the M33 was effective, comfortable, and economical for Italy to manufacture during WWII. It was a quality helmet.
(Italian troops in WWII wearing the M33 helmet.)
Unlike Germany’s M40 stahlhelm or Japan’s M30-32 Tetsu-bo, the Italian M33 had a generic, nondescript shape and thus it carried no “political baggage” after WWII ended in 1945. It went on to have a long postwar career with the new Italian army, and also saw some overseas usage after WWII.
(Italian army 1970s-vintage camouflage cover and foilage net on a M33.)
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The Curtiss SB2C Helldiver was a standard US Navy carrier-borne dive bomber of WWII. Despite it’s somewhat mixed reputation with American pilots, it was extremely effective during the war. The Helldiver scored more dive bombing sinkings of enemy ships than any other Allied dive bomber. It’s post-WWII career with the US Navy was short. The US Navy began converting Helldiver squadrons to other types (or simply disbanding the squadrons) in 1946. The final US Navy attack squadron to fly Helldivers was VA-54, which flew them off USS Valley Forge (CV-45) in 1949. However, the Helldiver saw long and varied use after the war elsewhere.
(A French navy Helldiver takes off from the aircraft carrier Arromanches in the 1950s.)
(Hellenic Air Force Helldiver unit in the late 1940s)
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