Talk:Lebel Model 1886 rifle

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1888 commission rifle NOT a Mauser rifle![edit]

There is a gross and wholly inappropriate mistake here! The M1888 German commission rifle was not a Mauser design at all! It replaced, and then was replaced by, two Mauser designs. However, the 1888 is called a commission rifle because it was designed by a military commission rather than by any single manufacturer, and Mauser was one of few companies in Germany that didn't even produce the gun under license. By design, the M1888 isn't a Mauser gun at all. The comparison of the qualities of the Lebel to the 1888 may be decent, but to say the 1888 is a Mauser puts into question that writer/editor's knowledge of anything regarding the rifles of the period. That is such basic information. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:48, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Use in Spanish-American War?[edit]

some mentioning of its use during the spanish-american war would improve the article.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Answer: France was never even remotely involved in the Spanish American War. Furthermore the Lebel rifle was never marketed in foreign countries until very late, to be precise after WW-2 (1945), and only as a declassified surplus weapon .—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

What was the point of the first post. The French, much less the Lebel, were nevetr close to the fighting in the Spanish-American War. The Spanish used Mausers, the Americans and Cuban rebels used a combination of Springfield Armory Model 1873 Trapdoor rifles and carbines, Remington Rolling Block rifles and carbines, and Krag-Jorgenson M1897 rifles and carbines. Furthermore, after the Great War, the Lebel was marketed to some of the new nations that found themselves being created. Greece and Yugoslavia both recieved Lebel rifles in the inter-war period, along with some Beethier rifles and carbines. These rifles were still being used during the Second World War by both of these countries militaries, and after the German invasion of both of these countries, by their partisan fighters. I have even seen some Lebels int he hands of Russian partisans (in a book entitled Allied Infantry Weapons of World War Two by Terry Gander, an excellent and informative book about many weapons used by the Allies, inlcuding the Lebel. I am also going to add a short section about German usage of the weapon during World War Two (because if you don't know, the Germans regularly used captured weapons in garrison and reserve units). —Preceding unsigned comment added by SAWGunner89 (talkcontribs) I have a Berthier or Lebel ,I think they are one in the you know where I can get information? CONTINSOWZA Mle-M-16 1931 ? Answer: check out the web site entitled "Berthier rifle". 8mm I am having trouble IDing the 1931 part ...lots of info 1886 thru1914 ````


Huh, I heard that the Lebel was slightly unbalanced because of it's tubular magazine which extended nearly to the muzzle? AllStarZ 03:57, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

Yes, it is a bit less balanced than other rifles from the same time period. And the center of gravity of the rifle changed as it was fired, as the rounds in the magazine moved to the rear after each cycling of the bolt. The over all effect of this is very minor. These rifles were never designed as long range tack drivers. Rather they were meant to be able to hit a man-sized target out to 400 yards. The Lebel rifle is most notable for being the first smokeless powder military rifle to be employed in large numbers. Not of its innovative design or balance. Another point: Winchester rifles,from the 1866 to the 1894,also had tubular magazines extending to the muzzle yet they have never been qualified as unbalanced... n -CR —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:38, 12 October 2007 (UTC)


Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe all of this article is NPOV. --Redlock 01:54, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one article was rated and this bot brought all the other ratings up to at least that level. BetacommandBot 07:08, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

I highly doubt that the maximum range of the Lebel was 4,500 yds. however, I don't know what the correct distance is. Hope someone with more knowledge of the weapon can correct it. (talk) 23:36, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

poor link direction[edit]

This article contains a link to "boat tailed" bullets, but the link actually directs to a species of bird. Answer: this has been corrected.Thank you. The correct designation is "boat-tail bullet" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:42, 3 January 2010 (UTC)


This page is redirected from Lebel and Bertheir Rifles. It's not Bertheir, it's Berthier rifle. This should be adjusted. Thank you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:30, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Unsourced/Original research in the 'Post-WW-1 Use' section[edit]

The 'Post-WW-1 Use' section contains the following claim:

'Yet another result of the failure to modernize, is that outdated Lebel rifles - many of which had since been modified into a carbine-length version, the "Mle 1886 M93R35" - were still in the hands of French Army second line troops at the outbreak of World War II. One is at a loss to explain negligence on such a large scale, except by blaming the upper levels of the French military for laxness and/or incompetence. There is little doubt that their neglect to fully modernize French infantry armament after WW-1 was one of the contributing factors to the defeat that they suffered in June 1940.'

This is a very 'hard' claim and it is not verified by any references or similar. Furthermore, to link the presence of outdated (but, I would contend, not completely obsolete) rifles in the hands of 'second line troops' (whatever that means) with France's defeat in 1940 is to me a very 'hard sell'. Particularly considering that the Germans were using Mauser rifles little different (apart from being slightly shorter and lighter) from those of 1914-'18 (compare the List of infantry weapons of World War I with the List of common World War II infantry weapons).

Yes, the Lebel and its bullet were dated, but they weren't commissioned to frontline troops, and I doubt that they were so inferior to the Karabiner 98k as to make a difference. Also, when one considers similarly or even more dated weapons of the Imperial Japanese Army with the exploits of that force, the contributing factor of French infantry weapons to the Fall of France seems dubious.

Mojowiha (talk) 14:47, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

alle D ==

I was under the impression that the historical significance of the Balle D bullet was that it was the first pointed bullet (preceding slightly the German Spitzer) adopted, not that it was boat-tailed (which is not a great thing in rifles, anyway).-- (talk) 08:47, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

On a related note, why is "AND" written in all capital letters in the lead to emphasize the rightness of the cartridge being pointed and (allegedly) boat-tailed?-- (talk) 03:51, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

"Allegedly" ? Really ? If you own a specimen of French-made Lebel "Balle D" ammunition ( it has become collectible nowadays ), the solid brass "Balle D" bullet is easy to pull out from the case and then you will observe that it is boat-tailed as well as spitzer... furthermore that fact is also described and illustrated on page 132 of Huon's book :" Military Rifle and Machine Gun Cartridges" published in 1988 (ISBN 0-935554-05X) as well as on page 6 of "French Autoloading Rifles" also by Huon ( ISBN 0-88935-164-4 Parameter error in {{isbn}}: Invalid ISBN. ).  ! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:27, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

How was it reloaded ?[edit]

The text states the tube magazine was a weakness in reloading. The article needs to explain precisely how the soldier reloaded this rifle, especially in combat. E.g. compare and contrast reloading ease/difficulty and speed in comparison with its clip-loading competitors. Was a French rifleman originally expected to fire no more than 8 or 9 rounds in an individual action, in which case reload speed was not an issue, whereas a British rifleman was originally expected to be able to deliver sustained aimed fire, in which case reload speed was crucial l ? I understand the SMLE originally had only a 5 round magazine, so a French rifleman could fire 8 or 9 shots to the British 5 before reloading. I.e. was the ammo loading system influenced by French infantry doctrine of the time ? Rcbutcher (talk) 00:39, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

The SMLE has always had a 10 round magazine capacity as did the earlier Lee-Metford, so your argument may be effected by this assumption. Check the links given for info on these rifles. On the Lebel reloading,See the excellent youtube video featured as external link for this. Its in the last 3 mins or so. Open the action, and there is an elevator. The user just basically loads cartridges into an aperture at the front of the action using the elevator as the guide platform. It loads a tubular forestock shrouded magazine, so the forestock is basically the mag. It is very slow to reload compaired to clip-loaded rifles like the Lee Enfield SMLE or the 5 round Springfield 03. British regular troops were trained in the techniques of the Mad minute. This was unique amongst infantry tactics of the time in any nation. A trained rifleman was expected to fire at least 15 aimed rounds per minute. Often this was exceeded. At the Battle of Mons German units were utterly convinced that they had been decimated by massed machine gun fire, as opposed to intense and accurate rifle fire. The Brits only had 2 machine guns deployed in the action. The French Army was inspired by the philosophy of "The utter attack", using the sheer elan of the french Infantry, backed by the force of the bayonet and the Canon de 75 modele 1897, which with Shrapnel shells was expected to clear the way. The British technique was considered a defensive mentality by French military thinkers of 1914. The 8 round reserve was seen as adequate for the technique of massed bayonet charges which were so responsible for the huge French loss rate during the execution of Plan XVII Irondome (talk) 02:18, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
My point is that the all this relating to French military doctrine should be in the article : we need the Why and How as well as the What. BTW : the stuff about 15 rounds per minute being the required British standard, and Germans mistaking rifle fire for machine-gun fire at Mons, are myths. 15 rounds per minute was the maximum capability of the SMLE and only achieved by some exceptional Regular marksmen; the required standard of the ordinary soldier was much lower. There is no way trained soldiers, and definitely not officers, mistake individual rifle fire for automatic weapons fire. If any German reports in fact claimed they were wiped out by machine-gun fire they were probably trying to cover up for the incompetence of their own tactics. However, I believe the Mons myth is probably British propaganda. Rcbutcher (talk) 03:36, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
I agree the loading technique could be clarified in mainspace, Then there should be a separate article about French military tactics and doctrine 1871-1914. I attempted to answer the question on tactics. It is a huge field of study and does deserve an article of its own. BTW the rapid rifle fire capability of the regular British infantry is no myth. Remember those four infantry divisions of the BEF were the cream of the British army. They were trained for a staggering 5 years. See Lynn McDonald, 1914. The SMLE can fire 20+ aimed rounds per minute, and this was certainly the standard of most units in the BEF in August 1914. I have never heard of the British propaganda idea. Is that OR?. All attacking infantry advance tactics in all the armies involved were crap in 1914. The British and all the others were often decimated in attacks during this period when attempting to advance against intense firepower, be it MG 08's or the clip-loaded rifle, either SMLE or Mauser. Check Lynne McDonald, 1914 and Richard Holmes, Tommy, for further info. It was not propaganda. It is in German army reports as early as September 1914, and is constantly repeated, from both German and British sources. Do check Irondome (talk) 03:58, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

rate of fire ?[edit]

"Tests at Spandau in the winter of 1887-1888 found that the Lebel could fire 43 rounds of smokeless powder ammunition per minute compared to just 26 of black-powder ammunition for the M-71/84". Huh ? with a manual bolt action and an 8-round tube magazine to reload ? 8 rounds a minute more likely. Maximum. Rcbutcher (talk) 05:10, 17 October 2016 (UTC)