So the Cuban rifles were similar to the British version? How were they different to the standard Belgian? Also, how many were ordered, and did Castro order any more?These standard FALs (with woodwork etc very similar to British Commonwealth L1A1) were ordered by the Battista regime, and partly delivered by the 1959 New Years Day occupation of Havana and surrender of the Gov't to Castro's rebels.
What did it look like? Was it a shield with the words Ejercito del Cuba?The Rifles carried the National Crest of Cuba on the right side magazine-well wall.
Could you give some examples, if you don't mind? Also, does Cuba still have any in their stocks, even if it's just reserve or mothball? PS, did Libya give any rifles or parts to Cuba?After some use in Cuba (including the defence against the "Bay of Pigs" invasion,) the Cubans gradually accepted Soviet arms (and Czech) and changed to using Soviet Bloc ammo. With their ventures into South American and African "freedom movements" the FN-FAL rifles, because of their 7,62 Nato calibre, were ideal rifles for use in such countries, were ammo was plentiful (stolen from Government troops).
Could you tell me more about what Che was doing in Africa?In order to avoid identifiying the rifles as Cuban, the crest was "milled out" completely, leaving a half-dollar sized hole in the right mag-well wall, which did not affect function.
A few years ago, I watched a "propaganda" film, made in Africa (Zimbabwe or Zambia) about the Independence of the Belgian Congo, under the name of "Lmumba", about Patrice Lmumba, the Congo's first president, who was finally captured, tortured and executed by other rebels in the Congo civil war.(1960s)...The FN-FALs used in the film all had the typical "hole" left by milling out the Cuban crest...and it is well known that Che Guevara worked with the various Rebel groups close to Lmumba during the Liberation struggle and then after in other African colonies.
Some have trickled back via intel sources to collectors (in Canada), and feature in the Book "The Metric FAL".
Regards, Doc AV
Some made it out to the Sandinistas with the 'Republica De Cuba' shields. In the early 1980's, I briefly visited Costa Rica and saw two Fals that were traded to a Costa Rican farmer by Sandinistas for a couple of cows. They had wood furniture and had little if any finish, and both had the shields.I had an old SOF magazine where there was an article that said many Cuban FALs were sent as aid to the Sandanistas but the crests were cut out.
WHere in Africa did it come from?I handled one of these that came out of Africa (some Government type got caught smuggling back a bunch of stuff in his personel property) This one was incomplete as I recall (no bolt group or top cover) but the Crest was intact and a crude Comunist hammer and sickle was painted on one side of the butt stock. It was well used (had the been their done that look most weapons which come out of Africa seem to have) but I remember thinking how cool the history behind it was. Mecanically despite the wear I have no doubt that had I found a bolt group this would have functioned just as well as it did when it was delivered in 1958.
Here's an article where the Venezuelan FAL used by Fidel is mentioned, detailing names more than events:I have heard that Cuba used to have and use FN FAL rifles. Does anyone know are there any differences between them and other FALs? What happened to them? Were they exported?
Dave,There are photographs of Fidel Castro himself carrying one up the Pico Tarquino.