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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
DocAV
Posted - 04/19/2004 : 12:10:10 AM
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The fascist Era (EF) year date runs from 28th October each year, so there is alsways overlap between calendar year and ER on Carcanos, makes it simpler to pin down a rifle made between 28th October and 31st December, a shorter time period, where the ER overlaps the year date. That explains the 1940, XIX mark (year I began 28th October, 1922: The march on Rome)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Moschetto TS 91/28 with carved "K" in stock

It does not belong into date codes, but into markings and codes more generally. But I'll put it here, so that it will be stored somewhere until a more specific thread pops up.

* * *

Dino in Reno
Posted - 06/19/2004 : 6:40:21 PM
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PS
1918
BRESCIA
BC8840
BL in a small oval

The stock is walnut, has the bottom butt sling swivel slot filled in with beech, and has a side sling installed on the forend and the butt.

The bad news, some Bubba carved a 3" bt 2" K deep in the right side of the butt, and no hand guard.

If I buy it I will cover the K the way the sling loop slot was filled.




DocAV
Posted - 06/21/2004 : 02:04:16 AM
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By the way,. the "K" may not be "bubba" but official.
Even though the letter "K" did not exist officially in the Italian Alphabet,it was common practice in Italian Colonial Units to mark different initials and combinations of Letters on the Buttstocks to Identify areas, units or group of Issue.

Examples of markings are "R.E" in an oval (Reggio Esercito= Royal Army) ; "AOI" (Africa Orientale Italiana"= Italian East Africa and "CAS" (Corpo Arabo-Somalo"= Arab-Somali Corps Muslim Somali Troops).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Colonial markings on stocks

rra227
Posted - 07/04/2004 : 9:26:52 PM
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Got a 1870/87 V-V rifle at the flea market today for $85. It is dated 1891.
There is a circle with the letters AOI burned into the stock.
Is this a common marking? Thanks, Rich



Prez1981
Posted - 07/05/2004 : 6:57:31 PM
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I don't think it's very common on VV's, but is usually seen on Steyr M95 stutzen (in my experience). Just means that it was in Italian East Africa for the Colonial Army.
Hope this helps, John



Atlpete
Posted - 07/06/2004 : 08:35:50 AM
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I have read of AOI marked M95 long rifles, captured or reparation Austro-Hungarian arms being issued to colonial troups, it would stand to reason that VV's would go the same route, but is the marking really found on the shortened M95's as well?



Prez1981
Posted - 07/06/2004 : 09:18:13 AM
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I have probably seen 6-8 AOI marked Steyrs and of those, only one had been a long rifle, but that is just my experience. Perhaps the AOI forces were armed with 2nd class weapons like the Steyr and VV to free up the Carcano's for other Italian troops?

I have also come across a very few non-AOI marked Italian capture M95 long rifles.



Atlpete
Posted - 07/06/2004 : 2:10:50 PM
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Interesting, I had no idea the AOI-issued rifles included stutzen, thank you for the clarification. I have a yen for an AOI marked rifle however had never considered the stutzen as I had assumed(wrongly) that the conversion (like the M1924) was done post WW1, this is good because the M95 long rifles are hard to find and expensive around here yet the stutzen are pretty common. Though based on the range reports I've read, the long rifle sounds preferable to the stutzen's brutal recoil. Thanks again. Pete



rra227
Posted - 07/06/2004 : 9:20:05 PM
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Thanks for the input guys. I did not know they used Steyrs.
Prez1981 when you said Colonial Army do you mean the Italian "Colonial" Army or the "Local" ("local" PAI,ascari) part of the Army? Thanks,Rich



DMala
Posted - 07/07/2004 : 3:12:35 PM
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The "national" (Italian) troops stationed in east Africa were armed with the standard array of Carcano rifles (which were however introduced with some delay compared to the motherland). The indigenous troops and paramilitary corps up to WWI were armed with a mix of Carcano and Vetterli 70/87 models. Post WWI many of these indigenous troops received Austrian M95 models and accoutrements. I would not define them as "second class" because they were actually quite appreciated for their higher stopping power. I am not sure to which extent the Vetterlis remained in service with the native troops, but certainly they did, up to the end of the Italian colonial empire.



DocAV
Posted - 07/07/2004 : 7:10:19 PM
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Quite correct, Mala.
The other day I was tidying up some of my Italian Colonial History Books, and again saw several photos of Dubats, Ascari, and "irregular" native Bands from both Eritrea and Somalia in the 1920s and 30s.
I have a VV TS with AOI markings, several M95s (Rifles and Stutzen) with either AOI or C.A.S. ( the Arab-Somali Corps...Muslim Somalis enlisted as semi-regular troops) markings.
Also "RE" marked M91 rifles ( to distinguish them as "Royal Army" from the native issue "AOI" or "CAS" markings.
The issue of types of rifles depended on the nature of the troops.
Ascari in Eritrea received either Carcano rifles, or Austrian WW I Booty; irregular troops in "Bande" (either Dubats or other tribesmen, under the command usually of an Italian Junior officer and a seasoned Ascari Scium-basci (sergeant major) were issued with whatever was available; If the officer had "connections" they got Austrian Rifles...if not, they got Vetterlis, Remingtons, Gras, Werndls and any other Black powder rifles which were common in the Horn of Africa.
The natives troopers regularly went out into the plains after a skirmish, and collected the undamaged spent bullets for both their Austrian and Black powder rifles (Diary of an Italian officer who led "Bande" right to the fall of Eritrea in 1941); these were (despite the rifling marks), reloaded by native "Handloaders" supplied with Powder and primers by local Arab and Jewish and Greek traders.

The Ethiopian Theatre, as Col. Burling Jarret said in late 1941, was an "Ordnance Officer's Nightmare" ; He examined over 3000 examples of firearms, and some he had never seen, or was able to catalogue properly, due to wear, modification and "tinkering".



NebrHogger
Posted - 07/08/2004 : 08:40:34 AM
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What are some titles of books on the topic of Italy's colonies? I'd like to get some through inter-library loan to brush up for those gun show 'sleepers'. The pics of armed native levies are always interesting, too! SW



DMala
Posted - 07/08/2004 : 3:11:03 PM
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Ciao DocAV, this is the first time I hear of the Carcanos marked "RE" on the stock as being marked so because issued to "national" (Italian) units in the East African colonies. It makes sense. Where did you read/hear it?

When I was a kid (in Italy), say maybe 8 or 10 (in the '60s), I remember my father commenting on a newspaper article showing some sort of Ethyopian forestry service employee, armed with a Vetterli 70/87.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Italian Army R-E marked Carcanos

Franchi
Posted - 01/13/2006 : 1:17:11 PM
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I have a couple of M38 Carcano cavalry carbines which have Italian Army "RE" markings. One was made by Gardone and is serial # E7190 1939 XVII in cal 7.35.
(see photo links below)
I have only seen cavalry carbines with this "RE" marking.
Has anyone seen any other Model Carcano with a Crown R-E Italian Army acceptance marking? (not the RE Terni manufacturer marking)
Never seen or heard of it used on Italian bayonets either, anyone seen one?

David Franchi

"RE" barrel marking.
http://pic12.picturetrail.com/VOL439/2051017/8463133/125531123.jpg
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Close-up of "RE" marking.
http://pic12.picturetrail.com/VOL439/2051017/8463133/125531122.jpg



airdale
Posted - 01/13/2006 : 3:25:42 PM
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David I have two Armaguerra Cremona M41's with the crown and RE stamp, one is dated 1942 and the other has no date (late war). I also have two FNA Brescia Cav carbines with this stamp, dated 1935 and 1941. I will dig out my bayonets and check them and will post if I have any.



Z71
Posted - 01/13/2006 : 9:39:00 PM
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I also own an FNA Brescia cavalry carbine 6.5mm XIX(1941?). She has the crown RE stamped on the side of the barrel.



DocAV
Posted - 01/14/2006 : 03:10:07 AM
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Official Royal Army Acceptance mark; later version;
The Pre- and Post-WWI mark (up to the late 1930s) was an Oval Relief stamp of the Shield and Crown of Savoy (St.George's Cross) along with the letters "RE" in a relief stamp along side it. These are also found occasionally on accepted Austrian M95 rifles after WW I...sometimes very hard to see, as the shallow relief stamp is usually caked up with grease and dirt).

I would suppose the cost of making these small relief stamps led to the use of common impressed stamps. as in the photos, with resulting economy...one stamp instead of two, and less individual stamp cost.

Also note that this RE Crown stamp is mostly found on "Contractor" Guns, And it does not seem to "Always" appear, especially later into the war. A detailed Carcano survey would be necessary to see when it was introduced(year) and which rifles got it, and whether it was universal, or tended to vary as the war went on.

Regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics

PS, since I am in the process of re-catalogueing all my Movie Carcanos, will check the distribution of the "RE" marks on my M91/38s FC and M91 CCs ( close to 50 of them, all makers)



Aethelbert
Posted - 01/16/2006 : 10:49:16 PM
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I have a 1936 M-91 cav carbine (FNA Brescia) with the crown-over-RE stamp. A 1942 M-91/38 cav carbine (Gardone-VT) has no such mark. My 1943 Armaguerra-Cremona M-41 does not have the mark, either. My M-41 marked FAT 41 also lacks the mark but does have a crown over the FAT 41 stamp.



airdale
Posted - 01/25/2006 : 3:23:00 PM
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My friend showed me an FNA Brescia 91/38 TS carbine today that is dated 1940 and it has the crown and RE stamp.
 

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VVV on Carcano stock 10/05 Alexander another "stock marking" thread

VVV on Carcano stock
Franchi Posted - 10/05/2005

Any ideas on what [vvv] on a cal. 6.5 M38 short rifle, 1940 R.E. Terni buttstock would stand for?

David Franchi
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DMala Posted - 10/06/2005

Is this one of the recent imports from Albania ?

DMala
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War is Peace Posted - 10/06/2005

I found one of these rifles about 20 years ago and the first thing that came to mind when I saw the letters, "VVV", was the famous statement by Caesar, Veni, vidi, vici (I came, I saw, I conquered). I doubt that's the explanation, but the circa 1940 Italian Fascists were quite fond of the Roman Empire's glory days under Caesar.
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Franchi Posted - 10/07/2005

DMala, Rifle doesn't have any import marks, it is on an auction site, seller states it is from a collection. I have seen this mark on other Carcanos.
War Is Peace, I like your explanation, sounds like it could be this.
David Franchi
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greggdw Posted - 10/07/2005

i have found this mark on a german 98/40.i think it is a partizan marking.i think it was discussed a long time ago on the forum.
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Franchi Posted - 10/09/2005

While searching for more info on the "VVV" marking I found this tread I saved from a post on Tuco's in 2002, thought I read about the marking before. Shows how good my memory is.
David Franchi
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Old Post from 2002.
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Subject : "VVV" markings on M95 Rifle What does it mean??
Palefrei
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According to Hoffman and Schott's book on Military Rifle Marks, they are inverted "V's" which are Greek "L's" meaning "Laos-Likourgos-Lefteria" (the people-the King-Freedom). Greece recieved many Austrian weapons post WW1.
OTOH, they also claim that the circled "AOI" also seen on M88 and M95's is "Greek", but we are now pretty sure the AOI is Italian? I tend to think they are correct on the Greek "LLL".
Jack Carnahan
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Subject : Veni Vidi Vici
Paul: I have seen this marking on several M1938 Carcano short rifles.
When I saw the initials ("VVV") it rang a bell in the back of my mind but I couldn't complete the thought. Like an annoying song you can't shake, those three letters followed me all day. Later that night I woke up from a sound sleep with the answer to the mystery: "Veni Vidi Vici". The English translation of Julius Caesar's famous quote is the commonly heard utterance, "I came, I saw, I conquered!" Perhaps this marking on stocks is a patriotic Italian rallying call or the mark of a special unit. Limited numbers of M95 Mannlichers were used by Italian troops, especially in the African Colonies.
This theory is strictly conjecture on my part. I have nothing to support it other than the convenient similarity in initials and the desire of Mussolini's Italian Fascist government to reestablish the greatness of Caesar's Empire.
Richard in NY [email protected]
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Thanks Richard, could be?
Jack Carnahan
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The AOI markings are Definitely Africa Orientale Italiana (Italian East Africa)
The Abbreviation is an official one, used in documentation, news reports, etc of the 1935-41 period. The Italians did not use "Limited quantities" of M95 Mannlichers, unless you consider several Hundred Thousand rifles as a "limited quantity!!!". They also fielded several thousand M07/12 Schwarzlose MGs in both East Africa and Libia ( photo proof of capture at Bardia, 1941, by Australian troops).Italy even produced its own 8x50R ammo in the 1930s. As to the VVV (Lambda-lambda-lambda) marking: During the 1920-1940s period, Greece was a "Demokratia" ( a republic, under Venizelos); rifles of the period (Breda, Steyr-Mannlicher M1930 (MS Carbines)) have the Cross of St.George, (NO Crown) on the receiver, and the roundel "ELLENIKI DEMOCRATIA" on the butt ( Republic of the Hellenes); So any VVV marks either pre-date WWI, or are Post WW II; On M95 rifles, I would tend towards a Pre WW I (Greece became a Belligerant in 1917); M95 rifles would have been the fruit of the several Balkan Wars ( 1908-1913); several of the belligerants here used M95 Mannlichers ( Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia etc). JPS will probably have more detailed knowledge of Balkan affairs leading up to WW I.
The idea of VVV on Carcano rifles would be a Post WW II Greek inscription,
When the King of the Hellenes was re-instated to unite the people and the Army against the Communist threat ( 1944-4; The Italians in 1943 left large quantities of Carcano arms in Greece. The Veni-Vidi-Vinci statement ( Caeser at a battle in the Balkans, or alternately, against the troops of Cleopatra's half brother, in Egypt; the phrase is ascribed to both) sounds plausible, given the usual bombast of the Regime in Fascist Italy; but is unlikely, given that the Army was staunchly Royalist, and such a mark would have been applied to many rifles, if used by the Fascist Militia units. IMHO, the VVV mark is a Royalist Greek period mark, so it would be applied
pre WW I; but more likely Post WW II, during the Communist Civil war. I have a M30 MS (Model 03/14) carbine with writing in the finger grooves which give name, place and political organisation (communist resistance group) and date (1944).
Another Point, the pre-1910 mark of the Royal Army was Basileos Stratis (?) Elleniki ( Royal Greek Army), seen on some Greek Gras Rifles and early M88/90 Mannlichers ( found as a stock roundel); The more anti-communist sounding "People, King and Freedom" is more in keeping with late WW II and early civil war dating. Of course, the Lambda is the Shield emblem of the Spartan Warriors of Thermopylae ( Laconia, Leonidas, Lefteria) Laconia was the alternate name for Sparta, Leonidas was one of its two kings, and lefteria = freedom or liberty);
Regards, Doc AV
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I have a M98/40 with the boxed VVV mark on the side of the butt stock.
GREGgdw
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Gew 98/40 rifles being made in Hungary (7,9mm version of the 35M Turnbolt Mannlicher Hungarian Service rifle, adopted by Hungary as the 43M in 1943) these rifles were restricted to the troops in occupation in the Balkans (incl. Greece) to allow the use of kar98k in true Combat areas (Russian Front); so plausible for the rifle to have Greek triple lambda marking of late war/ civil war period.
Regards, Doc AV
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Yo Palefrei, Doc Av & company,
There is little question about the three Lambda's being a Greek cartouche. All of the usual has already been stated above. The problem is in determining the exact period or periods when the cartouche was in common use. Try as I may, I have never been able to confirm it's use during the WWI/pre WWI Imperial period. This cartouche usually, but not always, appears in a rectangle. It was certainly used at some point post WWI as it has occasionally turned up on Gew 98s and other rifles which were to be found in the Greek Army after WWI, during the Greaco-Turkish War (1921-23).
I find it very interesting that it has turned up on a Model 95 Mannlicher. Greece was one of the few original countries which purchased Model 88 and 95 Mannlichers from Steyr during the late 19th Century. The Greek connection with Steyr predates the invention of the Mannlicher when the Greek Army purchased 216,000 Model 1874 Gras rifles from Steyr in 1877. The problems begin when you attempt to tie down the details of the Greek 88 and 95 contracts! The turn of the Century Steyr catalog lists the Greek contract for the 216,000 Gras rifles, but makes no mention of the Model 88s or 95s? It is possible that the rifles were ordered AFTER this catalog was published, but in 1903, the Greeks adopted the Mannlicher-Schoenauer, so this is very unlikely. I have never been able to 100% identify a Greek Mannlicher, although I have a rifle in my collection that may be a Model 95 Greek Stutzen. The rifle has a V on either side of the receiver/barrel where the national marking normally appears on the right side of the receiver/barrel group (normally an A-H eagle, Hungarian coat of arms or a Bulgarian lion). It's completely matching, is chambered for the 8x50mmR cartridge, lacks any A-H acceptance marks on the barrel and has a fouled anchor cartouche in a circle on the stock. After struggling with this carbine for years, I have come to the conclusion that the Vs, might be upside down Lambda's. This will remain a theory until such time as I can independantly confirm this. Another Mannlicher marked in this fashion appeared here on the Forum a month or so ago and we had this discussion. The reason I believe this might be an original Greek Mannlicher is based on the markings of my Model 1874 Greek Gras, made by Steyr. The Gras lacks any "St. George slaying the dragon" marks what so ever. This may point to the possibility that the St. George markings found on the Mannlicher-Schoenauers might have been first introduced with the adoption of the Model 1903 rifle. The 1903 and 1903/14 M-Ss display a St. George cartouche on top of the stock wrist as well as a small mark on the side of the receiver and on issue bayonets. In addition, the Greek Army of this period tried to draw inspiration and tradition by taking their lineage back to the Classical days of Spartan military hegemony and the epic stand of Leonidas and the 300. If this Stutzen is original Greek issue, then it might also point to the Model 95 cartouche with three Lambda's as being Imperial and pre WWI. The last time I was in Greece, I went to the Army Museum in Athens. They had stacks of Gras rifles on display, along with Mannlicher-Schoenauers and later rifles, however, there was not a single Model 88 or 95 Mannlicher to be seen. Unfortuneatly, our trip to Athens corresponded with the Millenium celebration and the Museum staff was all on holiday! I had hoped to have a look at the portion of the collection which was not on display. Maybe next time.
In my opinion, it is going to take some hands on research in Athens to prove the case one way or the other. The problem with your M95 Palefrei, is that unless it is 100% matching and in the original chambering, then it is impossible to tell exactly what configuration the rifle was in when the cartouche was added. Greece acquired some additional number of Model 95 rifles from Bulgaria following the 2nd Balkan's War in 1913. In addition, following the Armistice in 1918, Greece, like everyone else, received large numbers of captured weapons from the Salonika Front from both Austro-Hungarian as well as Bulgarian forces. They were also given additional M95 Mannlichers as war reparations. These weapons were used during the war with Turkey. The movement of Model 95s around Eastern Europe during the period right after the war, includes a who's who of nearly every country that fielded and army. Now that all of this is as clear as mud, can you tell us more about your Model 95 which bares this cartouche? If luck is shining down on us, the national markings on the right side of the receiver/barrel group will have either Lambdas or St. George doing in the dragon. Most likely, it is going to be a post war, S marked, mix and match! That's about all I can tell you about this one. I wish I knew more. This one has bugged me for years. Have a great weekend!
Warmest regards,
JPS
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John,
I disassembled the M95 to look for markings. Unfortunately, this is a disabled model, with a hole drilled in the chamber. The bubba who had this rifle before me apparently attempted to patch it w/ JB Weld and fire it. Any marks there are long obliterated. The SN was a 4 digit number on the receiver, with a "V" apparently added later. Contrary to my other 4 M95 Steyr of various ilk, this one had no corresponding serial number on the barrel. The only other marks I found were a "K" in the bolt channel near the rear action screw, and a "+05" on the bottom of the barrel, inbetween the bottom bands of the rear sight base. No other markings on the stock either.
Palefrei
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I have a Polish Wz.29 stock with a large "VVV" in a box. The proof of a Greek origin for "VVV" will come when we find several VVV rifles amonst the thousands of M1903 and 1903A3 Springfields brought back from Greece by the DoD and now being sold by the CMP.
Regards, John Wall
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Not necessarily; the US military aid only started flowing AFTER the Korean War, when the Greek battalion in Korea was completely armed with US Equipment; prior to that, all the Greek equipment was made up of British, German and Italian WW II types, and some reconditioned original MS rifles
(FN made a batch of 6,5mm MS Ammo in 194. So the reason for the VVV mark would have long passed by the time the M1903s arrived. The fact that the VVV mark was found on a M98/40 is more significant, placing its use definitely after the rifle had passed to Greek hands ( 1945 onwards)...in the Civil war period. As to a Polish Wz29, with the markings, the same logic applies...wartime Axis equipment taken up by the Royal Hellenic Army from '45 onwards.
Regards, Doc AV
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Hi Doc,
Not quite.
In March, 1945, the US Congress authorized US$300M in aid to Greece, half of which was supposed to be military aid. In 1947, with the declaration of the Truman Doctrine, the US and the Greek Army established a joint staff. In 1949, the newly retrained Greek Army, carrying US equipment, launched the second phase of the Greek Civil War and cleared Greek Communist forces (the KKE) from their mountain garrisons, forcing their remnants into Albania by September. Forty years later, capitalism's victory was finally complete when Albania sold all the KKE rifles to Century, who sold them to us, everyone making a healthy profit in the process!
Best Regards, John Wall
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DMala Posted - 10/10/2005

Good discussions here!

DMala
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http://old.gunboards.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=127761
 

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Discussion Starter #6
DocAV
Posted - 10/11/2006 : 9:40:41 PM
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The large "RE" (Regio Esercito) branded into the buttstock is typical of Guns issued to the Italian Troops as distinct from the Native troops (Askaris, Dubats and so forth) of the Italian Colonies, especially East Africa (AOI).The Native troops rifles were branded "AOI" (Eritrea or Ethiopia) and "CAS" ( Arabo-Somali (ie, Muslim) Corps): The CAS mark was usually in small stampings under the wrist of the Stock, the AOI as a side brand in large letters on the flat of the Right side of the stock.

This occurred in the 1920s to 1940s.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
AOI Marked Steyr M95 Rifle

Michael Jon Littman
Posted - 10/21/2003 : 08:50:18 AM
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I recently pulled a rifle out of my collection to drag around to shows for possible sale. I wanted to know your opinions about possible values on this piece. The rifle is branded into the butt with the mark AOI, which I understand is the initials of the Italian Army of the East. Is this correct?

The stocks do show some signs of prior war damage that is consistent with damage I have observed on other rifles in my collection from the same era. The damage takes the appearance of small chunks blow off and inclusions on the wood that seem to indicate damage caused by shell fragments. This damage is finished over and seems to indicate a reused butt/handguard. Both butt and handguard serial numbers do not match. The wood is on good shape with the exception of the small chunks and inclusions with a lined out serial number (no replacement number) and the AOI circular brand in the butt. The barrel and receiver serial numbers do not match. The barrel is numbered 4021k and the receiver is marked 3912x...that is a x suffix and not a replaced number. The barrel is marked with Wn15 but only has one proof marking on the right chamber side. The receiver and barrel finish is starting to plum but is still much intact. The magazine is mostly totally blued.

My conclusions: This M95 is a total rebuild after WWI using older previously used parts and a new/old stock barrel. Question: How did this end up in the hands of the Italian Army? Capture or reparations? The rebuild job does not appear to be consistent with one that has been observed on other M95 rifles, carbines or stutzen in the following manners:

1. No attempt to make the serial numbers match or electropencil the bolt
2. The stocks were not bleached/stripped of finish but appear to have had a new layer of finish applied over the old finish
3. Rifle is still in rifle form and has not been converted to stutzen form
4. Chamber is not S marked; which MAY indicate it has not been converted to the newer chambering..I have not checked yet
5. The metallic surfaces on this rifle have not been dipped blued or prepared for refinish by buffing. Indeed the surfaces appear to indicate original, as made, finish.
6. The overall appearance of the rifle does not look like rifles that I have seen that came out of post-WWI Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary or Austria nor does it bear any indicator markings it may have resided on these countries at any time
7. No import markings

My questions:

1. Is there any way to determine if this rifle was captured by the WWI Italians, given to Italy as war reparations, or captured later by the Italians in Africa, Greece, etc?
2. What would be a ball park value on this rifle?



Mc
Posted - 10/21/2003 : 10:41:50 AM
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Doc AV is the expert on these, but I believe the AOI is
the only evidence you will find that this is Italian Eastern Army.
They were issued to the native troops (I believe)and I think it is
very common to find them mismatched.
Value, 200-300 dollars? If you decide to sell let me know,
I would be interested.
Mc



Michael Jon Littman
Posted - 10/21/2003 : 11:39:03 AM
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Originally posted by Mc
Doc AV is the expert on these, but I believe the AOI is
the only evidence you will find that this is Italian Eastern Army.
They were issued to the native troops (I believe)and I think it is
very common to find them mismatched.
Value, 200-300 dollars? If you decide to sell let me know,
I would be interested.
Mc
Mc

Thanks for the response. I am secure in the fact that this rifle was in the service of the AOI. What I am unsure of is how the Italians obtained it. Capture in WWI and later rebuild in Italy, from scrounged parts, would account for the battle damage and the abnormal rebuild. On the other hand reparations Post-WWI might also be a possible explanation. I expect that the Italians might have been handed rifles that were not in the best condition by the Austrians. The explanation that this was a WWII capture from Greece or other places does not jive with the time-line. So I am back to my question if this rifle was obtained via WWI capture or reparations?



Devo
Posted - 10/21/2003 : 11:57:09 AM
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AOI is the Italian acronym for "Italian East Africa." Italy received a large number of M95s as war reparations after WWI. I don't know if there is any way to differentiate between a captured vs. reparations M95. M95s in Italian service were not converted to 8x56r, so your rifle is most likely in the original 8x50r.

A very interesting find... If only it could talk!

-Devo



Michael Jon Littman
Posted - 10/21/2003 : 1:55:48 PM
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Originally posted by Devo
Hello,

AOI is the Italian acronym for "Italian East Africa." Italy received a large number of M95s as war reparations after WWI. I don't know if there is any way to differentiate between a captured vs. reparations M95. M95s in Italian service were not converted to 8x56r, so your rifle is most likely in the original 8x50r.

A very interesting find... If only it could talk!
-Devo
Italian East Africa...humm, I knew that! What in the heck did I write above? OK where was Italian East Africa? Is that present day Somalia/Ethiopia?



Devo
Posted - 10/21/2003 : 3:38:32 PM
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Michael,

Italian East Africa (1913-1942)consisted of Eritrea and Italian Somaliland (roughly the northern half of present-day Somalia). Ethiopia was added in 1935. Italy's East African colonies collapsed during WWII from a combination of British invaision and Ethiopian rebellion. Ethiopia regained its idependence and was awarded Eritrea (which much later and after a long civil war became independent). Italian Somaliland remained under British control until 1950, when it became a U.N. Trust Territory under Italian administration. In 1960 it was united with British Somaliland to form present-day Somalia.

Here endeth the lesson...

-Devo



DocAV
Posted - 10/21/2003 : 6:48:37 PM
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dear MJL, re Your AOI M95: Africa Orientale Italiana (Italian East Africa) calibre 8x50R; Captured and or Booty(reparations) during & end of WW I; Mismatched barrel to receiver could be either an Italian Post-war refurbishment or wartime (quite common in AOI rifles);

AOI was already a referral to Eritrea (italian colony since 1885) and Somalia Italiana (Southern part,(1905-07)Mogadishu;--Northern part was British--1907...the "Mad Mullah revolt"). In 1936 Ethiopia became part of the African "Empire"; Brit. Somaliland was absorbed in July 1940, but Djibouti (France) remained "Vichy" and was not occupied.
All reverted to British/Ethiopian control by end of 1941, and in 1945, Ethiopia gained partial control of Eritrea; it gained total control (absorbed into the Ethiopian State) in 1960-61.
Eritrea gained its independance in the early 1990s, after a gruelling revolt lasting 30 years. Somalia was under British-UN administration till about 1950, then Italian-UN Admin. till 1960, whereupon the two colonies gained Independance as the Republic of Somalia.

M95 rifles and carbines were the standard issue for native troops raised in both Eritrea and Somalia ( also Schwarzlose MGs) M91 carcanos etc in 6,5mm were only issued to Italian metropolitan troops based in AOI. The rifles for the Somalia units were also marked "C.A.S." (Corpo Arabo-Somalo) on the underside of the wrist of the stock...this signified the issue to the Muslim Somali Corps ("Somali-Arabic Corps") Most Somalis are Muslim (as distinct from the Erireans, who are 50/50 Muslims and Coptic Christians). The Italian Military culture in AOI gave full recognition to tribal religions, observances, and customs, and white officers in charge of "Bande Indigene" (native irregulars, or "Dubats") were expected to inform themselves of all the cultural necessities of living amongst their troops, who were ably led by long serving native NCOs (Buluk-bashi, or "sgt.major").

Most of these AOI rifles have come from all over, having been sent after 1941 to India (most of them), to Palestine, and dispersed throughout the East African area, as far down as Rhodesia by internal trading and black market. I have several of various parts combinations, including a M90 carbine, several M95 rifles and Stutzen, all with AOI/CAS or Italian Acceptance mark on barrel stub (relief oval with crown and two letters, very small). All were Aussie "bringbacks" from Africa after WW II.(some from new immigrants from Africa since "independance" in many former British Colonies...The "King's African Rifles" which took Ethiopia, was mainly a Native manned Unit.

Regards, Doc AV



Michael Jon Littman
Posted - 10/22/2003 : 7:35:12 PM
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I have to say I am always amazed at the amount of information on these forums. Thank you to all whom replied to these questions. I am still dragging this rifle to shows here in Florida, more as a conversation starter than for sale.

I have a few more M95 rifles in my collection that I am going to have to pull out and ask questions about. I know at least one has some unit markings on it. For what it is worth the AOI marked M95 is the crappiest condition one in my collection....even then it is not that bad off. When I place it on the table at shows it does not get much attention. I wonder if that it is because these are just not too many people collecting these in Florida or if the SVT 38, Serbian carbine, etc that it is sitting next to (on LenS's table) make it blush in comparison..?
 
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