Mauser Model 1889
|Mauser Model 1889|
Argentine 1891 Mauser Full Length
|Place of origin||German Empire|
|Used by||See Users|
|Wars||First Melillan campaign|
Belgian colonial conflicts
First Balkan War
World War I
Turkish War of Independence
World War II
Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken
|Variants||Belgian Mauser rifle M1889, Turkish Mauser rifle M1890, Argentinean Mauser rifle M1891, Belgian Mauser cavalry carbine M1889, Belgian Mauser Engineer carbine M1889, Argentinean Mauser cavalry carbine M1891, Argentinean Mauser Engineer carbine M1891,|
|Muzzle velocity||2,100 ft/s (640.1 m/s)|
|Feed system||5 round box magazine|
|Sights||Iron sights adjustable to 1,900 m (2,078 yd)|
The Mauser Model 1889 was a bolt-action rifle of Belgian origin. It became known as the 1889 Belgian Mauser, 1891 Argentine Mauser, and 1890 Turkish Mauser.
After the Mauser brothers finished work on the Model 71/84 in 1880, the design team set out to create a small caliber repeater that used smokeless powder. Because of setbacks brought on by Wilhelm Mauser's death, they failed to have the design completed by 1882, and the German Rifle Test Commission (Gewehr-Prüfungskommission) was formed. The commission preferred to create their own design. Paul Mauser created two different variations of the same rifle, one with a stock strengthened with a barrel shroud and a traditional design following the layout of the 71 series in hope he might be able to overturn the commission's decision, or at least sell his design to the Kingdom of Bavaria, which adopted its own arms. The two rifles became known as the 89 Belgian (with a barrel shroud) and the 91 Argentine (with a 71 layout) Mausers, identical in their function and feed system. The main features were the ability to use stripper clips to feed the magazine (a revolution in rate of fire), and its rimless cartridge (7.65 Argentine), advanced for the time.
When the modernizing Belgian Army required a new service rifle all their own, they turned to the existing and proven German designs, bypassing any lengthy, and untimely costly, indigenous initiative in the process. The German design served as the basic framework for the Belgian offering which was slightly modified to suit Belgian military requirements. It was this rifle that turned out to be the very first successful firearm to be produced in number by Fabrique Nationale.
The system proved impressive at the 1884 Bavarian Arms Trials. Both firearms were a success, but decision-makers were not convinced that the stripper feed was superior to the en-block system employed by Mannlicher. In response, Mauser started small-scale production of the design in an effort to interest foreign nations, but failed to convince any of the European major powers. The Belgian attache, however, urged his government to contact Mauser, hoping the design might give them a chance to found a domestic arms industry. The heavy-barreled Mauser with the barrel shroud was deemed superior to the competing Belgian designs, and resulted in the founding of arms manufacturer Fabrique Nationale d'Armes de Guerre, now known as FN Herstal. FN's factory was overrun during World War I, so they outsourced production to a facility in Birmingham, England originally set up by the well known gunmaking firm, W. W. Greener and subsequently handed over to the Belgian Government later in the war, and Hopkins & Allen in the United States. Many Belgian Model 1889 rifles were captured by the German Army and some were modified to fire the 7.92×57mm Mauser cartridge. Paraguay purchased 3,000 Belgian Model 1889s in 1930.
Rifles captured by the Nazi Germany after 1940 were designated Gewehr 261 (b) (Mle 1889 rifle), Karabiner 451 (b) (Mle 1889 carbines), Karabiner 453 (b) (Mle 1916 carbine) and Gewehr 263 (b) (Mle 1889/36). Models 1889/36 were used by German second-line troops or pro-German organisations such as the Vlaamse Wacht. Some Model 1889/36 rifles were still in service in Belgian Congo at the time of the independance of the Republic of the Congo-Léopoldville in 1960.
- Model 1889 Carbine with bayonet - with a standard bayonet
- Model 1889 Carbine with Yatagan - with a yatagan-like bayonet, used by the Foot Gendarmerie and fortress artillery
- Model 1889 Carbine with bayonet - shorter variant, reconditionned during World War I, using the Gras bayonet
- Model 1889 Carbine with bayonet - shorter variant, with a long bayonet and an heavier stock, used by the Mounted Gendarmerie
- Model 1916 Carbine - slightly modified Mle 1889 with Yatagan, to replace all the earlier models of carbines
- Model 1889/36 Short Rifle, a modernized Model 1889 or Turkish Model 1890 with the barrel of the Mauser Model 1935 (Belgian 7.65mm version of the Gewehr 98)
The Belgians talks with Mauser prompted the Ottoman Empire, whose contract for Model 1887 rifles included an "escape clause" allowing them to alter their order to account for any new advancements the Mauser brothers made, to consider the design. In the end they ordered their own improved version of the 89 Mauser known as the Turkish Model 1890 rifle. These rifles saw service during the First Balkan War and World War I. Large numbers of these rifles were captured by the British Army during World War I and sent to supply the Belgian Army. Mauser 1890 rifles were fielded by both Nationalist and Sultanate armies during the Turkish War of Independence. Some of these rifles were captured by Kurdish and Circassian rebels. The Royal Yugoslav Army received Turkish Mausers as war reparation. Some were used unmodified as Puska M90 T and others shortened as Puska M 03 T. Some of these rifles were captured by the Nazi Germany and designated Gewehr 297 (j).
While this was taking place, the Argentine Small Arms Commission contacted Mauser in 1886 to replace their Remington Rolling Block rifles. 180,000 rifles and 30,000 carbines, all chambered in 7.65×53mm Mauser, were ordered. As with other early Mausers, the arms, designated Mauser Modelo 1891, were made by the Ludwig Loewe company and the Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken. Bolivia bought 15,000 Argentine-made Modelo 1891s during the late 1890s and designated them Modelo 1895 (not to be confused with the Mauser Model 1895). So did Colombia and Ecuador.
Spain bought some 1,200 Mauser 1891 rifles and carbines in 7.65×53mm Mauser for trials. Eventually, the Kingdom adopted the Mauser Model 1893, firing the 7×57mm Mauser cartridge. In 1893, Spain bought several thousands of Modelo 1891 rifles and carbines from Argentina to quell the Melilla revolt in the Moroccan Rif. Latter shipped to Cuba, the guns were captured in 1898 by the American forces at the end of the Spanish–American War.
One of the principal defining features of the Belgian Mauser was its thin sheet steel jacket surrounding the barrel—a rather unusual element not common to any other Mauser mark of note. The jacket was instituted as a feature intended to maintain the effectiveness of the barrel and the solid wooden body over time, otherwise lengthening its service life and long-term accuracy when exposed to excessive firing and battlefield abuse. In spite of this approach, the jacketed barrel proved susceptible to moisture build-up and, therefore, introduced the problem of rust forming on the barrel itself–unbeknown to the user. In addition, the jacket was not perforated in any such way as to relieve the barrel of any heat build-up and consequently proved prone to denting. As such, barrel quality was affected over time regardless of the protective measure. Furthermore, another design flaw of the jacket was its extra steel content. Not only was it expensive but it was also needed in huge quantities to provide for tens of thousands of soldiers. By many accounts, the barrel jacket was not appreciated by its operators who depended on a perfect rifle in conflict. Another defining characteristic, unlike most Mausers, was a spring-loaded cock on closing bolt action resembling that of the British Lee-Metford, which predates the Mauser 1889 by five years. This development allowed for faster firing and was well received.
The Model 1889 featured a single-piece solid wooden body running the entire weapon, ending just aft of the muzzle. It contained two bands and iron sights were fitted at the middle of the receiver top and at the muzzle like virtually all other rifles of the time. Overall length of the rifle was just over 50 inches (1270 millimeters) with the barrel contributing to approximately 30 inches (762 millimeters) of this length. Of course, a fixed bayonet was issued and added another 10 inches (254 millimeters) to the design as doctrine of the period still relied heavily on the bayonet charge for the defensive victory.
All variations used the same 7.65mm round-nosed cartridge. Many parts were interchangeable, with the exception of the bayonets of the 89 and 90/91; the barrel shroud made the bayonet ring too wide.
- German Empire
- Nazi Germany
- Ottoman Empire
- Huon, Jean (September 2013). "The Chaco War". Small Arms Review. Vol. 17 no. 3.
- Vanderlinden, Anthony (2015). "The Belgian Model 1889 Mauser". American Rifleman. National Rifle Association. 163 (February): 73–76 & 103.
- Ball 2011, pp. 23-24.
- Ball 2011, p. 273.
- Ball 2011, pp. 422-424.
- Guillou, Luc; Denamur, Patrick (January 2012). "Les fusils Mauser Belges modèle 1935 et 1936". Gazette des armes (in French). No. 38. pp. 36–41.
- "WWII weapons with Force Publique in the Belgian Congo". wwiiafterwwii.wordpress.com. 29 June 2015.
- Ball 2011, p. 29.
- Smith 1969, p. 218.
- Ball 2011, p. 34.
- Smith 1969, p. 219.
- Ball 2011, p. 35.
- Ball 2011, p. 36.
- Ball 2011, pp. 377-380.
- Athanassiou 2017, p. 46.
- Athanassiou 2017, p. 45.
- Athanassiou 2017, p. 47.
- Athanassiou 2017, p. 44.
- Ball 2011, pp. 320-321.
- Ball 2011, p. 427.
- Ball 2011, pp. 9-12.
- Ball 2011, p. 57.
- Ball 2011, p. 100.
- Ball 2011, p. 127.
- Ball 2011, pp. 287-288.
- Ball 2011, pp. 335-338.
- Ball 2011, p. 436.
- Athanassiou, Phoebus (30 Nov 2017). Armies of the Greek-Italian War 1940–41. Men-at-Arms 514. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 9781472819178.
- Ball, Robert W. D. (2011). Mauser Military Rifles of the World. Iola: Gun Digest Books. ISBN 9781440228926.
- Smith, Joseph E. (1969). Small Arms of the World (11 ed.). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: The Stackpole Company.