Albania & the last Mosin-Nagants made

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.

Read More »

AAC.1 Toucan: France’s post-WWII Ju-52

France restarted domestic production of the Junkers Ju-52 transport after WWII. Although intended as a quick, cheap stop-gap solution, the AAC.1 Toucan fought in three post-WWII conflicts and quietly served as long after WWII as the famous original Junkers did before and during WWII.

1940trauining

(Junkers Ju-52s of the Luftwaffe training Fallschirmjäger during WWII.)

indochine1(A French air force AAC.1 Toucan – the post-WWII French copy of the Ju-52 – flies over a burning Vietnamese jungle during the Indochina War.)

AAC1algeria1

(A French air force AAC.1 Toucan in Africa during the 1950s Algerian War.)

Read More »

M33 helmet: post-WWII use

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.

desert(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.

new

(Italian army 1970s-vintage camouflage cover and foilage net on a M33.)

Read More »

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.)

Read More »