Chiang Kai-shek rifle
|Type 24 / Type Zhongzheng|
Type Zhongzheng rifle/Type 24 rifle
|Type||Bolt action rifle|
|Place of origin||Republic of China (1912–49)|
|Used by||National Revolutionary Army, Viet Minh, Chinese Red Army, various Chinese Warlords|
Second Sino-Japanese War,|
First Indochina War,
Chinese Civil War,
|Manufacturer||Kung Hsien, Hanyang, Jinling and Canton Arsenals|
|Variants||Chiang Kai-shek rifle Type 1, Chiang Kai-shek rifle Type 2|
|Weight||4.08 kg (9.0 lb)|
|Length||1,110 mm (44 in)|
|Barrel length||600 mm (24 in)|
|Rate of fire||15 rounds per minute|
|Muzzle velocity||810 m/s (2,657 ft/s)|
|Effective firing range||500 m (550 yd)|
|Feed system||5-round stripper clip, internal magazine|
The Type Zhongzheng rifle (中正式), also known as the Chiang Kai-shek/Jiang Jieshi Rifle, Generalissimo Rifle, and Type 24 (二四式) after the Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, was a Chinese-made copy of the German Mauser M1924, the forerunner of the Karabiner 98k. Pre-production of the Chiang Kai-shek rifle started in August 1935 (year 24 of the Republican calendar, hence the Type 24). It was later renamed the Type Zhongzheng and was in full-scale production as early as late 1935. It was designated the Type 79 by the Chinese Communists and would often have the ideograph of Chiang defaced by them. Although the Hanyang 88 rifle was produced in greater numbers than the Type Zhongzheng, the full standardization of the Type Zhongzheng rifle only started during the Second Sino-Japanese war.
The weapon served as one of the main battle rifles for the Chinese National Revolutionary Army (NRA, or Nationalists). Like the Karabiner 98k, it was a shortened and lightened version of the Gewehr 98, specifically, a copy of the Oberndorf Export Mauser named Standard Modell of 1933, which was sold to China in some quantities and provided to Chiang's best troops before the Germans provided the tooling to make the Type 24 in China. The quality of the weapon varied from arsenal to arsenal, but all German made Standard Modells of 1933 or 1934 pattern were first rate except for some 98k Mausers factory rejects which China bought after the Wehrmacht refused them. Some Chinese-made Type 24s were of excellent quality while others were crudely made. Although it entered service in 1935, China's limited industrial capacity meant that it was built in relatively low numbers. As the war progressed, however, China's industry in western cities like Chongqing and Kunming allowed more and more of these rifles to be produced. Production was largely unaffected during the Bombing of Chongqing because many of the machines had been moved underground. Roughly speaking, during the war, the rifle was only used by the non-German trained units of the Central Chinese Military, which was the core of the NRA. The German-trained units used a very similar weapon, the Mauser Model 98k Carbine. By the 1950s, the Type Zhongzheng rifle was phased out in favor of superior American aid equipment, such as the semiautomatic M1 Garand, M1 carbine, and Thompson submachine gun for the Nationalists. The Type Zhongzheng Rifle (along with the American M1 Garand) is still used by the ROC Army as a ceremonial/parade rifle to this very day.
The major advantage of the Type Zhongzheng over the Arisaka was that it had better stopping power with the use of 8mm Mauser rounds; the rifle also had a better rate of fire and a greater range than the Arisaka. The weapon was shorter, (similar in length to the Karabiner 98k) when compared with the Gewehr 98 and the Arisaka Type 38.
Together with the Mauser C96 handgun and the M35 Helmet, these weapons have become recognizable features of the Generalissimo's National Revolutionary Army and the Chinese army during China's turbulent early 20th century. In an ironic twist, the rifle, although named after Chiang Kai-shek and used by his Nationalists, was also used by the Communists during the Chinese Civil War.
The rifle can have a HY1935 bayonet attached, replacing the dadao (大刀 or literally "Big Blade", a Chinese single-edged curved sword). Some divisions and guerrilla militias who did not receive any modern weapons continued using the dadao for close combat.
The Chinese People's Militia and smaller local paramilitaries were using Chiang Kai-shek rifles (as well as Arisakas and Mosin–Nagants) up until 1980 before it became a supplemental ceremonial weapon (the main ceremonial rifle is the SKS) for the People's Liberation Army to the present day. Many of these rifles (along with other PLA and People's Militia small arms) were used by various Red Guard factions during the Cultural Revolution in the mid- to late 1960s.
There are two variants of Chiang Kai-shek rifle:
- The Type 1 has a longer barrel and foregrip.
- The Type 2 has a shorter barrel and foregrip with a turned-down bolt handle
- Notes on the Viet Minh Army, The War Office, June 1956, p.25
- 奋战八年－－中正式步骑枪. Archived March 31, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on August 2, 2008. (Simplified Chinese)
- A series of information films, Why We Fight: The Battle of China
- Osprey Men-at-Arms 424 : The Chinese Army 1937-1949 : World War II and Civil War
- World War II Chinese Army. Archived July 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on November 23, 2008.