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Volkssturm:fighting with muskets and crossbows taken from museums...did this happen? Plus a few other questions.

Article about: I'm trying to learn every detail I can about Nazi Germany. I was studying into the Volkssturm a good bit, which is a very interesting area to me. The wikipedia article at Volkssturm - Wikipe

  1. #1

    Default Volkssturm:fighting with muskets and crossbows taken from museums...did this happen? Plus a few other questions.

    I'm trying to learn every detail I can about Nazi Germany. I was studying into the Volkssturm a good bit, which is a very interesting area to me. The wikipedia article at Volkssturm - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia says: " In the last few months of the war, the shortages of modern firearms led to the use of weapons such as shotguns, and even muskets and crossbows taken from museums."

    Is there any source, reference, or proof of this actually occurring? I've came up with nothing as of yet, but I would love to read an old war story about a Volkssturm soldier carrying a musket into battle.

    Next question, I'm looking to learn more about Fritz Zimmermann, Stuttgart. The code on my HJ enamel pin is m1/72, and I wanted to learn more about the manufacturer. Someone told me Zimmermann "pieces" are a bit more desirable than others, but I'm not sure if that's true. I would love to find some photos of his factory, pins and such being manufactured. Actually, photos from any badge-maker would be great. Is there any way to accurately date this HJ pin?

    Also on the subject of manufacturers, my painted NSDAP pin is m1/17 which is F.W. Assmann & Sohne, Ludenscheid. Would anyone happen to have some historical info on this manufacturer too? I have not been able to come up with anything. Is there any way to accurately date this pin?

    Lastly, when was the transition made from enamel pins (NSDAP membership, HJ, etc) over to painted zinc? I always read "Late war" for the painted ones, but what defines late war: 1944 - 1945? I'm a fan of 1945 pieces, because that's when Nazi Germany really started to break down and it shows in the quality of the manufactured items. Still searching for that Deutscher Volkssturm Wehrmacht armband if anyone would like to sell theirs

    I have done a lot of research online about my questions here, but I would like to try and take that a step further.


    Once again thank you everyone for the help!

  2. #2

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    In regards to the Volksstrum question it is entirely possible that said weapons may have been used, but there is no photographic evidence to my knowledge. More or less Voksstrum were equipped with a mix of equipment from all over, out of date weapons or captured weapons. Some were armed with last ditch German rifles and pressed metal sub-machine-gun.
    The photos caption details, captured Russian and Polish weapons used near Berlin
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Some examples of the last ditch firearms
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  4. #4
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    Quote by KMMorris View Post
    Some examples of the last ditch firearms
    Click image for larger version. 

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    A detail which in no way takes anything away from your post; while the persons carrying slung rifles may very well be and most likely are 'Volkssturm' members, the rifles in the bottom pic doesnt look like 'last ditch' rifles, as much as they resemble Italien 'Carcano' rifles - vast quantities of which were captured after Italy had a bit of a falling out with Germany in '43.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Scout; 04-07-2014 at 09:23 AM.

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    Some more info on the Caracano Moschetto Modello 91/38 Cavalleria

    The Carcano was an early smokeless gunpowder design dating from 1891. While Italy had prospered well enough since its unification a strong industrial base had not taken hold. The Italian military was structured around colonial ambition and wasn’t geared towards a European conflict. So the old 1891 action hung around nearly unchanged for decades. It uses an en-bloc magazine taken from the Gewehr M1888 with a six round capacity. Its cock-on-open bolt was inspired by the same but merged with an earlier breech loading conversion design utilizing a safety tab that releases the spring pressure off the firing pin. While often derided, the Carcano is a strong rifle made of superior steel. Refurbished models for the commercial market often lack polishing between the bolt and the ejector, which gives the action a grinding feel and may have contributed to the negative opinion.

    This particular model, featuring a shortened barrel and folding spike bayonet, was adopted in 1893 for cavalry use. The handy carbine was always a troop favorite and when the Italians revisited their rifle designs in 1938 it was readopted in the new 7.35mm caliber with simplified fixed rear sights. When military demands strained logistics, the new caliber was dropped and the Carcano returned to the 6.5mm cartridge. Its compact size made it an easy choice for couriers, cavalry, and paratroopers.


    Cartridge
    6.5 x 52mm

    Overall Length
    953mm (37.52.8″)

    Action
    Bolt, front locking, cock on open

    Barrel Length
    541mm (17.75″)

    Magazine
    6 round stacked, en-bloc fed, fixed

    Weight
    3.16kg (6.9lb)
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #6

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    Cheers for adding that scout.

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    Very unlikely any one was using muzzle loaders for many reasons, not the least of which was that they weren't actually short on reasonably modern weapons-the Germans had captured stocks from most of Europe but the problem was ammunition as there was no standardisation between countries-the 7.92 x 57mm round was fairly widely used in central Europe but was not universal-even inside one country such as France there were multiple types of ammo for the available weapons in 8mm Lebel ball D or N and 7.5mm in more modern types-Volkssturm were even issued such ultra modern types as the Stg 44 and civilian hunting rifles were an obvious choice with their owners if possible-it was all very haphazard as to what was issued and when-it's possible that some much older types were used in training for Drill Practice but the oldest German weapon I've heard of being used was the Mauser G71/84 11mm-an obsolete weapon but still a magazine fed bolt action rifle.

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    Scout-coincidently, I saw a presentation Carcano cavalry carbine that was given to Haile Selassie, Emperor of Abyssinia, by Mussolini (presumably before the unpleasantness of 1935 on). Had an etched, gilded receiver and inlaid monogram in the buttstock-was brought in to my local militaria collector group monthly meeting last Wednesday night.

  9. #9
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    Would have liked too have seen a pic of that one.
    A nice carbine. Supposedly, the rebels used the old carbines during the troubles in Libya.

  10. #10

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    Scout-I'll see if the owner will let me take a photo of it.

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