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|Hanyang Type 88|
A Hanyang Type 88 rifle
|Place of origin||Qing Dynasty|
|Used by||Qing Dynasty, Republic of China, People's Republic of China|
|Wars||First Sino-Japanese War, Boxer Rebellion, Xinhai revolution, Long march, Central Plains War, Chinese civil war, Second Sino-Japanese War, Korean War|
|Rate of fire||~15 rounds per minute|
|Feed system||5 round en-bloc clip, external box magazine, clip fed|
|Sights||rear sight with a range of 2000m, front blade sight|
The Type 88, sometimes known as "Hanyang 88", was a Chinese rifle that was used by the National Revolutionary Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The name derived from the Hanyang Arsenal factory that made this rifle. The rifle had a bayonet attachment to use in close combat after a charge. Another standard rifle the NRA issued was the Chiang Kai-Shek rifle.
This firearm was a rifle directly patterned on the German Gewehr 88 and were initially fielded by the New Armies of the Qing Dynasty. Since production started in 1895, the Type 88 was modified twice to improve performance, in 1904 and in 1930. Throughout the War of Resistance against Japan, the Type 88 more than held its own against the newer, higher quality Japanese Arisaka Type 38 and Type 99 rifles. It served as one of the standard battle rifles used by the National Revolutionary Army since the unit's founding in 1925 until the late 1940s, after the end of World War II. It was also used by the Chinese Communists, who used during the same time period, but also during the early phases of the Korean War. Production of the rifle ceased in 1944.
The Hanyang 88 was essentially a copy of the Gewehr 88, with a few minor differences, including the absence of the barrel shroud, and an extension of the bayonet. It was a bolt action rifle that cocked on opening, and its integrated box magazine could hold 5 rounds of 7.92x57mm Mauser rounds. This magazine could be loaded either by inserting the cartridges individually, or by using a 5 round en-bloc clip. When the last round was chambered, the clip would fall out of the magazine via a hole in the bottom. The main advantage of this kind of loading mechanism was that it allowed the user to reload very quickly. The disadvantages, however, were that the hole in the magazine could allow dirt to get in, thus possibly causing reliability issues. In addition, the sound of the clip falling out could give away the user's position, but experienced soldiers could use this to their advantage by luring the enemy in.
The Hanyang 88 was originally chambered for the German round-nose 7.92x57mm I round. By World War I this round had already become obsolete. Nevertheless, it was still used by the Chinese National Revolutionary Army in their engagements with the Japanese in the early stages of the Second Sino-Japanese War. In 1935, however, the new Chiang Kai-Shek rifle was introduced. This new carbine variant of the Gewehr 98 used the modern 7.92x57mm IS or 'spitzer' round, which had much better ballistic performance. This being said, it is very likely that the Hanyang 88 rifle was standardized to use this new round as well, especially considering the presence of photographic evidence that the Hanyang certainly could use this new round, and even accept it in the old 5 round en-bloc clips.
The Hanyang 88 also had a carbine variant, which was shorter and lighter, albeit with inferior accuracy and range.
The Hanyang 88 was cheap and easy to produce, sturdy and reliable.
When compared to the Type 38, the Hanyang 88 was heavier, produced more recoil when firing, and was not as easy to handle due to the significant differences in manufacturing quality. The Hanyang did, however, possess superior stopping power, assuming that it used the new 'spitzer' round introduced in China in 1935.
When compared to the Type 99, the Hanyang was once again heavier and had inferior manufacturing quality. In this case however, stopping power and felt recoil were similar.